Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stroud Family

Which now brings me to my grandmother's family, the Strouds.  The first Stroud I am able to trace our family back to is Gervas De Strode, born in 1218 in Devon, England.  Again, I don't put a lot of faith in lineages that go back this far.  In 1588, my 11th great-grandfather, Robert Strowde (the spelling of the name goes from Strode to Strowde to Stroud and back again) was born in Limerick, in what is now Northern Ireland.  The family remained there until William Hampton Stroud, Jr. emigrated as an indentured servant between 1751, when he married Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) Pickett, and 1762, when he is listed as receiving payment for service in the French & Indian War in the colonies.  He returned to Ireland and sailed to America again on October 4, 1767 on the ship Snow Betty Gregg, along with Sallie and their sons William,  John, Thomas, Hampton and Hardy.   William received a land survey in 1769 and a Royal Land Grant for 450 acres along Rocky Creek; at the time, heads of households received 100 acres and 50 acres for each child.  William possibly worked off his indenture, returned to the land, and then sold it to Rev. William Martin in 1771.   Rev. Martin built the Catholic Presbyterian Church on the land.  (The term "Catholic" indicated that various religious groups could worship there.)

50 acre land plat dated June 1770
Rev. William Martin was an interesting character.  He was the first Covenantor (Reformed  Presbyterian) ordained anywhere in Ireland.   He was born in Ireland, educated in Scotland, then returned to Ireland to be ordained at The Vow, between Balleymoney and Kilrea.  He was responsible for all preaching duties for groups throughout Northern Ireland.  He was outspoken in his opposition to the treatment Presbyterians received from the Church of England, who openly discriminated against them, charging excessive rents and evicting tenants who could not pay.  Rev. Martin  felt called to emigate to Rocky Creek settlement in South Carolina, which already had many Presbyterian groups, and who were seeking a pastor,  and to take as many Covenantors, and others (Roman Catholics) as he could.  In 1772 he took about a thousand people, in five ships, The James and Mary, The Hopewell, The Lord Dunlace, The Pennsylvania Farmer, and The Freemason, to South Carolina.  

The families settled in Rocky Creek and Rev. Martin preached regularly at the Catholic Presbyterian Church.  In 1774, the Covenantors withdrew from Catholic and built a log church about two miles away.  Many of the passengers who came with Rev. Martin moved to other parts of the state, but a large number remained in Rocky Creek.

Rev. Martin and many of the other Irish immigrants became passionate Patriots when the American Revolution began.  In 1780, Rev. Martin preached a sermon reminding the congregation how the British had forced their fathers from their homes in Scotland and Ireland and how they had come to America where they had been able to build homes and church.  Now the British were coming and would again drive them from their homes.  He said there was a time to pray and a time to fight and now was the time to fight.  Immediately after the sermon, two companies under the command of Ben Land and Captain Barbour were formed, and they joined the American fight against the British the next day.  For his part in this, the British took Rev. Martin prisoner and burned his church.

Marker at site of church
Rev. Martin's grave
Covenantor marker in Rocky Creek

Catholic Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Chester, SC

William Stroud and his family were among the congregation who heard Rev. Martin's sermon that day.  William is said to have stood up in church and voiced his support of joining the American cause.  (Rev. Martin wrote that the Stroud men were all "very tall, towering over the congregation.")

In June of 1780, the British were in Rocky Creek, at Alexander's Old Field, where the community was told to come to sign an oath of allegiance to the King.  The local militia captain, John McClure, was told that the British were giving protection papers to anyone who signed the oath.  He and Hugh McClure rode the countryside, gathering volunteers to take up arms against the British and American loyalists.  Will Stroud (William's son), and his friend Joe Wade had signed the oath and were preparing to leave when the militiamen surprised the British with an attack.  After the skirmish ended, the renounced their oaths and joined McClure's men. 

On August 2, 1780, the Prince of Wales American Regiment was in Rocky Creek to reinforce the area.  Col. Thomas Sumter's milita were unable to move from their campsite on the creek because of high water and were searching for food when they were alerted that the British were nearby.  Col. Sumter decided to withdraw his troops and sent two men, Will Stroud and Captain Coleman, ahead to keep an eye on the British troops.  They came too close and were captured.  They were immediately stripped naked and hanged from a tree.  The two sides exchanged long range fire, but withdrew before a major skirmish occurred.  Will Stroud and Capt. Coleman's bodies were left to hang as a warning to other patriots.  After three weeks, his mother, a sister and Capt. Lacey or Lane, cut the bodies down during the night and buried them beneath the tree.  There is a plaque along Highway 99 near Richburg, South Carolina that commemorates their service.  During the two months that Will Stroud served in the militia, he is said to have killed more of the enemy than any other soldier.

William Stroud served as a wagoner mlitiaman, bringing food and supplies to the troops.  He was wounded in the left shoulder by a musket ball that migrated to his hip and was removed surgically.  Son Thomas served honorably, and son Hampton was wounded in the wrist and a musket ball in the shoulder,  captured by the British, threatened with hanging, and finally put on a prison ship off the coast of South Carolina, to be released after the war.  Williams other sons, Thomas, John and Yerby, also served.

Monument to Patriots of Rocky Creek

 In researching the family, I found that one of William's sons, Yerby, later moved his family to Georgia, only about an hour from where I live, and that there is a family graveyard there.  My mother and I made the trip to Henry County and were able to locate it.  The cemetery is on Stroud Road in southeast Henry County.  After driving for some time, the paved road ended and we were on a dirt road.  The cemetery was about a mile down the dirt road.  It is not as well maintained as it should be, as it is the oldest cemetery in the county and an historical site.  Yerby and his family moved to Henry County from South Carolina with two other families in 1811, settling on the South River.  Yerby served in the war of 1812 and lived until 1843, dying at the age of 82.  His wife, Jane and son, William are also buried in the cemetery, as are other family members.  The stones are all so old that those that did have writing on them are difficult to read.

Gravesite of Yerby Stroud
Plaque at Yerby Stroud's grave

Stroud family cemetery

Yerby Stroud grave

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