Peter Horry

Edited by A. S. Salley

(South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, April, 1937)

Peter Horry, who played a conspicuous part in the history of South Carolina during the Revolution and for over thirty years subsequent thereto, was born in South Carolina about 1747. After the death of his father, John Horry, which occurred April 10, 1770, he became possessed of a plantation near Winyah Bay in Prince George's Parish, Winyah, probably a tract of 475 acres which had been granted to his father in 1762 and which adjoined a plantation composed of two tracts, which his uncle, Elias Horry, had bought from Henry and Benjamin Smith, by deeds dated March 25, 1756 and March 2, 1757, respectively and amounting together to 1779.75 acres. These lands were originally a part of Winyah Barony, which had been granted to Landgrave Robert Daniell by the Lords Proprietors, June 18, 1711, and by him conveyed to Landgrave Thomas Smith the next day, June 19, 1711.

By his will Landgrave Smith, who died May 9, 1738, parcelled out the Barony of 12,000 acres "more or less," to his children. Henry and Benjamin were two of these children. At the time of Peter Horry's death in 1815 he owned three plantations on Winyah Bay embracing the whole of the greater part of these lands which his uncle Elias had purchased from Henry and Benjamin Smith. These were named by him in his will as Belle Isle, Prospect Hill and Dover. On June 12, 1775, the Provincial Congress of South Carolina elected twenty captains to serve in the 1st and 2nd South Carolina Regiments, which on September 16, 1776, were taken on the Continental Establishment as the 1st and 2nd Regiments, South Carolina Line. Peter Horry was elected one of those captains, and receiving the fifth highest vote, was ranked fifth of the twenty and assigned to the 2nd Regiment.

On September 16, 1776, he was promoted to major of the 2nd Regiment, and in 1779 was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and assigned to the 5th Regiment. When the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th Regiments were consolidated February 12, 1780, into three regiments he was placed upon the "supernumerary list" to await a vacancy in the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Continental Line of South Carolina.

In July, 1780, all officers and men of the South Carolina Line not in the hands of the enemy or on parole were directed to report to General Gate's headquarters at Hillsboro, N. C. In accordance therewith Horry reported to Gates, but as he was without a command, Gates assigned him to duty with the militia of South Carolina. After the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Marion, another officer of the South Carolina Line without a command--his regiment having been captured at the fall of Charles Town while he was on furlough--to be brigadier general of the lower brigade of the militia of South Carolina by Governor Rutledge, Horry became colonel of one of the militia regiments under Marion.

He subsequently organized a regiment of light dragoons for State service and so served until his regiment was consolidated with Maham's and placed upon the Continental Establishment near the end of the war. He kept an order book while so serving which has been printed in this Magazine (Vol XXXV). He also wrote a history of Marion's brigade which he entrusted to Mason L. Weems to be improved in style--but not changed in sense--for publication. Weems changed most of the statements from truth to falsehoods, invented and inserted many things that had never happened and called it a life of Marion. Very little of the actual career of Marion is recorded therein. Horry's annotated copy is extant and it shows many of Weems' false statements, but not near all. To Horry Weems acknowledged that he had written a "military romance."

The title page of the first edition credits the alleged biography to Weems, but after Horry's death new editions falsely assigned it to Weems and Horry, despite Horry's repeated repudiation of it during his lifetime. Soon after the Revolution Colonel Horry was made brigadier of the 6th Brgade of the militia of South Carolina and so served until 1806.

In 1801 a part of Georgetown District was erected into a new district and named Horry District in honor of General Peter Horry whose brigade included the militia of the new district. Late in life (1812) General Horry began setting down daily occurrences in a fragmentary manner, calling each collection of fragments a "book". He had married, February 9, 1793, Margaret, or Magdalen, Guignard, a daughter of Gabriel Guignard, a French Protestant who had come to South Carolina bout 1735, and had here married, November 10,1 756, Frances DeLiesseline, of another French Protestant family that had settled in South Carolina about the same time as Guignard. General Horry died in Columbia and was buried in Trinity (Episcopal) churchyard and the following record is given on the tombstone at his grave: Sacred/ To the Memory of/ General Peter Horry/ who left this mortal life on the/ 28th day of February A.D. 1815/ aged about 68 years/ [Four lines of tribute] When Mrs. Horry died this record passed to her Guignard relatives in whose hands it has been ever since. It was loaned for publication here by the family of the late John Gabriel Guignard (1832-1914) of Still Hopes, Lexington County.

First Book

[Page 2] (Here the Journalist started to give some family connections, but scratched it all out and started which is below. The first page is missing.)

My grandfather Elias Horry fled from Paris on account of the persecutions or Edict of Nantz, took refuge and settled at what was then called French Santee in S. Carolina. See names of the French settlers there and elsewhere as related by Ramsey's History of S Carolina in Volume 1, Page 5--

[Page 3] So my Grand Father Horry were with his brothers refugees, he was a poor man and worked many days with a negro man at the Whip saw, his neighbors respected him as an industrious and honest man, he married a Miss Huger of French descent, they had four son, viz. Daniel, Elias, Peter and John (who was my father) and two daughters, named Margaret and Magdeline. Their mother tongue was French--My Grand Uncle Horry, when the Edict of Nantz was in full force was with a Detachment of the French army in Flanders, but after when the effects of the Prosecution had greatly abated, he returned to paris, and married a Protestant woman--they had four sons, named Stephen, Rene, Hugh and Peter. Rene corresponded with my father for a long time after he returned from Paris to So Carolina and when he was a young man he wrote my father the following letter, dated Paris, Feb. 8, 1769, besides other letters not now in possession of the historian -- other brothers as well besides Rene also wrote my father, their letter also not in the historians possession.

Rene Horry to John Horry (Translated thus) My dear Cousin-- It has given pleasure to gain intelligence of you by letter dated 8 May 1769, which we read in the month of Sept. of that year -- you speak to us of Mr. Dan Huger, we have not the honor of knowing him, or his place of residence -- Viz. whether tis at Paris, or in England, which occasions our not being able to write to you more frequently and prevents our hearing often from you -- That we received a letter of the 10th Oct. 1765 from a cousin Daniel Horry, who has done us the honor of writing to us, that he was married and that his brother in law would come to Paris in the month of November or December of that year -- We have inquired for him at many places in Paris but without being able to find him -- he might have inquired for us in Paris having our address as you have markt it on the letter. I will inform you that our father and mother are dead, and two of our brothers. The two eldest and our sister and brother in law Megion, and have not left but our son, who is married and has 3 children --- and there are only 3 brothers of us remaining who are all Batch, yet, we are Hugh, and Stephen Horry, who are no longer in business but live on their property -- I alone still follow the trade of a sadler as an employment --We all three live together and still in the same street, Street of the Little Caroin, opposite the street of the Bondumondie -- I will inform you that our Unkle, Mr. Gaslin, and his wife are both dead -- there remains only his son, who is married and have no children. He lives on his property --you have written to us that you have drank our health - -we are much obliged to you for your attention. If you intend coming to France inform us of your intention, that we may go to meet you and when you do us the honor of writing us, I beg of you to write in french, for it is with difficulty that we procure a translation of english -- and also inform us to what part of England we should direct, that you may hear more frequently from us. My brother and I and my nephew Megion and his wife and Mr. and Mrs. Gaslin offer you their complements, and I who am Cousin Rene Horry -- Your obt humble Servt. Cousin R. Horry

Note) "My father was in bed, very sick, in haste I delivered him the above letter, saying, tis from France --he hastily received it, knew the writing on it, broke open the seal and burst into tears, and it was a considerable time before he could read its contents.

(to be continued)
The manuscript breaks off here, but the letter has been completed from a loose copy thereof found with the journal.

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