The Long Cane Massacre

The Long Cane Massacre, as described in The Scotch-Irish, and their First Settlements on the Tyger River

The following excerpt was taken from The Scotch-Irish, and their First Settlements on the Tyger River, and Other Neighboring Precincts in South Carolina, a Centennial Discourse, delivered at Nazareth Church, Spartanburg District, S.C., September 14, 1861, by George Howe, D.D.; reprinted 1981 by A Press, Inc., Greenville, South Carolina.

The margins of many streams almost equalled the cane-brakes of the South-West. These facts are established by the names which many of the streams in the Up-Country still bear, as Reedy River, Reedy Fork, Cane Creek and Long Canes. The cane growth of the country was, we are told, the standard, to many, of the fertility of the soil, a growth twenty or thirty feet high denoting the highest fertility, and that no higher than a man's head, a more ordinary soil.

But now came a season of dreadful trial to these devoted people. The Indian tribes, which almost surrounded them, became incensed against the whites, and rose in arms to destroy them. The inhabitants of Long Canes, in Abbeville, fled for refuge to the older and more settled parts of the country. A party, of whom Patrick Calhoun was one, who were removing their wives and children and more valuable effects to Augusta, were attacked by the Cherokees, on February 1st, 1760, and, according to cotemporary journals, some fifty persons--according to other accounts, twenty-two persons--mostly women and children, were slain, and fourteen carried into captivity. After the massacre, many children were found wandering in the woods. One man brought fourteen of these young fugitives into Augusta, some of whom had been cut with tomahawks and left for dead. Others were found on the bloody field, scalped, but living still. Patrick Calhoun, who returned to the sopt to bury the dead, found twenty dead bodies, inhumanly mangled. The indians had set fire to the woods, and had rifled the carts and wagons, thirteen in number.*

[Footnote: *This attack was made on February 1st, 1760, on a descent just before reaching Patterson's Bridge, as they had stopped to encamp for the night, while they were entangled by their wagons, and could make but little resistance. Some, by cutting loose the horses, and joining a portion of the company in the advance, were so fortunate as to escape, under cover of the night. Among the slain was the mother of the family, Mrs. Catherine Calhoun, and a curious stone, engraved by a native artist, marks the spot where she fell, among her children and neighbors. Two little girls, daaughters of William Calhoun, brother of Patrick, were carried into captivity, the eldest of whom was, after some years, rescued; the other was never heard of. [Reference: MS. of M. E. Davis] The grandfather of Mr. Samuel Clark, now of Beech Island, and several members of his family, were killed in the attack. The wife and four children escaped.

In the congregation of Long Canes, about the end of 1763, the Creek Indians broke in and killed fourteen persons in one house, on the Savannah River.

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Last revised 18 October 1998