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Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Faces of the Past: Whisper Those Pee Dee River Names in the 1844 SC Militia

Cruising along the waters of the Great Pee Dee River in South Carolina has been a journey.  Gone are the plantations of old.  Gone are many memories.

Found today, however, is the 32nd South Carolina Regiment of 1844. Wait... 1844?  That seems a little early to be getting ready for the Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression.  Or is it?  This 1844 petition signed by the Marion area men is a new find for me.  The petition signers ask for a dedicated muster ground for their battalion rendezvous so they can minimize crossing the Pee Dee River.  The location suggested is on the southwest side of the river.  What was cool was seeing the almost four pages of names that started jumping off the page, kind of like fish jumping just waiting to be caught.  Grandpas, uncles, cousins--  they are all there with their neighbors.

Why was there such a big militia at the ready in 1844?  Back up a few years in our nation's history and think of John C CALHOUN and his opposition to the Federal Government and its 1832 Tariff Act. South Carolina threatened to secede if the Federal Government enforced the tariff as the state saw it as a way to bring the south to obedience. Hmmmm... sounds familiar.

In 1832, South Carolina adopted the Ordinance of Nullification, as a formal protest, and to see if the Federal Government would honor the principle of states' rights. The next month the Federal Government issued a warning to South Carolina and passed the Force Bill which authorized use of force to collect those nasty tariffs.

At the same time period in 1832-33, South Carolina revamped its militia. Thus the birth of the 32nd Regiment South Carolina Militia which was mostly made of Marion men.  The men met every two months for drills.  There was no pay for service.  This practice continued up to the time that South Carolina actually did secede from the Union, some thirty years later.

Interesting tidbits emerge and help me to understand more of my country's past.  Reading the history means just so much now then when it did in school.

Ahh, genealogy, let me count those names on the 1844 petition.  And let me see how many I share blood with--- POSTON, GIBBBS, COX, FINKLEA, SINGLETARY.  Time to hit those genealogy files to confirm more names!

Rice, William. A Digested Index of the Statute Law of South Carolina, from the earliest period to the year 1836, inclusive.
Sellers, W W. History of Marion County. South Carolina, from its earliest times to the present, 1901.
SC Department of Archives and History, Petitions to the General Assembly S165015

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