PRE 1790 ORANGEBURG DISTRICT (SOUTH PART) CENSUS AREA BESTS
HENRY (1) BEST
He was probably born around 1748 and married (ca. 1764) MARY BROWN, the daughterof WILLIAM BROWN and a sister of TARLTON BROWN. TARLTON BROWN wrote Memoirs of Tarlton Brown about his participation in the Revolutionary War. In his memoirs he stated that his brother-in-law, HENRY BEST from Georgia, was killed by Tories in 1780. He probably owned property in both Georgia and South Carolina when he died.
TARLTON BROWN served in South Carolina as a Captain in the South Carolina Militia under Colonel WILLIAM HARDEN and as a Captain with the Swamp Fox, General FRANCIS MARION. Georgia was firmly in the hands of the British and their Tory allies. Tarlton wrote, "They often crossed the river, and killed and plundered the Whigs without mercy." Regular British military forces entered the area in force as they captured Savannah on December 29, 1778 and Charleston on May 12, 1779. At Charleston the American forces lost thousands of men and tons of supplies. With the capture of Charleston the British and their Tory allies were free to raid throughout the Carolinas. Even after General Cornwallis surrendered his trapped British forces to the combined Continental and French forces under General Washington on October 17, 1881 at Yorktown, Virginia, the British occupied Savannah and Charleston for two more years.
HENRY BEST was with TARLTON BROWN and two other men, BENJAMIN GREEN and JOHN COLDING, when he and JOHN COLDING were wounded by Tories. They had just traveled down King Creek to the Savannah River in a canoe and were paddling against the current when they were ambushed by about thirty-five Tories firing from the Georgia side of the River. HENRY BEST had just recovered from his wounds and reentered active duty when he and JOHN COLDING were killed in 1780 by some of the very same Tories. HENRY BEST was reportedly killed at Burton's Ferry. Burton's Ferry was located on the Savannah River near the home of his father-in-law, WILLIAM BROWN, in the Orangeburg District. For a time TARLTON BROWN had been part of a company of militia that kept guard at Burton's Ferry. He wrote, "We exchanged shots almost every day with the British and Tories, who were on the opposite side (Georgia)." His father, WILLIAM BROWN, was also killed in 1780 by Tories as well as his youngest brother. WILLIAM BROWN was killed guarding his home along with seventeen others at Boiling Springs. His home was burned to the ground. Boiling Springs is near the head of the Coosawhatchie River above Allendale.
The Tories and their Indian allies continued to cause problems in Georgia after the war. "Although the war had closed, the Tories were still troublesome, plundering and occasionally killing the inhabitants.' TARLTON BROWN reported that "the worst of the clan, made their escape to Carolina, where they murdered and plundered until the citizens were afraid to travel the roads, day or night." Before he settled down at Boiling Springs he tracked down and saw that justice was done to some of the worst of the Tory clan. In 1784 his uncle, BARTLETT BROWN, was killed by Indians. HENRY BEST's widow, MARY BROWN BEST, received a widows pension from 1786 to 1803. The 1791 widows pension was for her and a child paid to her brother, TARLTON BROWN. TARLTON BROWN was placed on the South Carolina pension roll on June 10, 1833 at the age of 77.
ABSALOM (1) BEST
He died around 1790 in Orangeburg District. He probably came to South Carolina from Virginia or North Carolina. He is first listed in Granville Co., South Carolina along the Great Pee Dee River. In Early Pee Dee Settlers by John M. Gregg he is on the Muster Roll of St. David's Parish in 1759. If he was around 24 years old at the time he would have been born about 1735. He was reported as a deserter from the Cherokee Expedition on November 16, 1760. In 1766 he was granted 200 acres on the Catfish Creek branch of Pee Dee River, now Marion Co., South Carolina. His land is mentioned in Deed Book L., p.335-340, Clerk of the Court's Office, Marion Co., South Carolina. In describing the land sold by BENJAMIN ROGERS and his wife to ANNE MARIA WICKHAM on March 15, 1825 it mentions it containing seven acres "... being part of that tract of Land originally Granted to ABSALOM BEST on the sixteenth Day of December seventeen hundred & sixty Six for two hundred Acres & by the said ABSALOM sold And Conveyed to JOHN SMITH by Deeds of Conveyance...." JOHN SMITH sold the land to REUBAN DEW on April 18-19, 1777.
His first record in the Barnwell area is in 1770 when he purchase in Granville Co., now Allendale Co., 100 acres. This land deal was followed on August 30, 1784 with 200 acres of land surveyed "between the Bull Pond and Coosawhatchie" River in the Orangeburg District. His 200 acres contained Oglesby Pond. The following month, on September 23, 1784, he had surveyed 260 acres "on Nero's Branch waters of Coosawhatchie" River in the Orangeburg District. His 100 acres of property named in the 1770 memorial on Little Briar Creek was bounded by the property of WILLIAM BROWN, JAMES SIMPSON, SAMUEL COLDING and the Savannah River. Note the father-in-law of JOHN B. BEST was HENRY COLDING. ABSALOM BEST was a neighbor of WILLIAM BROWN. On March 12, 1783, as recorded in The Statutes at Large of South Carolina (pages 275-276), the Legislature established a ferry at the upper end of Green Island to be operated by JOHN GREEN who owned land on both sides of the Savannah River. "And also, that a road shall be laid out and established from the said ferry, on this side of Savannah river, through Savannah swamp to the river road leading from Savannah to Augusta." All male inhabitants and slaves from sixteen to sixty years living with in six miles of said road were obliged to work on said road. ABSALOM BEST along with JOHN GREEN and MICHAEL SWAYCORD were appointed commissioners for this project. In 1784 the General Assembly of South Carolina appointed among others as tax collectors for the "district between Savannah and north fork of Edisto" ABSALOM BROWN and BARTLET BROWN. However, in the 1784 Tax Returns for the North Fork Edisto and Savannah Rivers, BARTLETT BROWN was dead, his estate insolvent, and he did not file a return. It is supposed that ABSALOM BEST paid his tax. ABSALOM BEST is listed as paying tax in the 1785 Tax Returns for the North Fork Edisto and Savannah Rivers. Another BARTLETT BROWN, a son of BARTLETT BROWN, signed a Revolutionary War settlement account on December 31, 1785 for ABSALOM BEST. There are a number of references to ABSALOM BEST in the Minutes of Winton County Court and Will Book 1, 1785-1791 by Brent H. Holcomb. In 1786, 87, 88, and 89 he was selected for jury duty. He was an appraiser for the estate of JOHN BROWN on February 4, 1789. The administration of the estate was granted WILLIAM, TARLTON, ROBERT, STARK, and SEN. BARTLETT BROWN. Also in 1789 ABSALOM BEST, JOHN WYLD, ELIJAH GILLETT, and JOHN WEEKLY or any three of them were appointed to lay out and mark off a road being the nearest, best and most convenient way and see that the same is cleared immediately for the relief of the petitioners and the public.
According to the Minutes of Winton County Court and Will Book 1, 1785-1791 on February 7,8, 1791 ELIZABETH BEST came into court and made oath that she saw ABSALOM BEST sign the Will that was produced as his last Will and Testament. RICHARD KIRKLAND and BARTLETT BROWN were qualified as the executors of his estate. The court ordered that ABSALOM CAUSEY, JAMES MCKAY and JACOB BUCKSTON be appointed appraisers of the estate. If he was born in 1735 he would have been 55 years old. No copy of his Will has been found. ELIZABETH BEST was perhaps the widow of ABSALOM BEST. In the sale of 270 acres on King Creek by ABRAHAM MIXSON to GEORGE BRASIE on March 13, 1802 he has property that bordered KIRKLAND, ABSALOM BEST and others. The sale was witnessed by C.D.WYLD, ABRAHAM MIXSON, and RIGHT MUNSON. ABRAHAM MIXSON (MIXEN) is the closes neighbor to the three Best families in the 1790 census for the Orangeburg District.
In a petition by the inhabitants of Barnwell on the Savannah River for a river landing road between the lands of SARAH OVERSTREET, SAMUEL MAINER, and JOHN BEST, there is mentioned lands of WILLIAM J. KIRLAND as well as BENEJAH BEST and JOHN B. BEST. The land of ABSALOM BEST was probably divided between BENEJAH BEST, JOHN B. BEST and perhaps TARLTON B. BEST.
There may be a connection between ABSALOM BEST in South Carolina and JOHN BEST, JR. in Screven Co., Georgia. JOHN BEST, JR. moved to Screven Co. soon after the Revolutionary War ended. He married MARTHA WILLIAMS in North Carolina on April 28, 1783 with a son named WILLIAM WILLIAMS. BENJAMIN BEST and JACOB BEST were witnesses and bondsmen. In Footprints on the Sands of Time by Youmans he is listed as a Revolutionary soldier whose grave is between RICKEY FREEMAN'S and BEST's bridge, Screven Co., Georgia. In 1812 he witnessed the will of HEZEKIAH HOWARD with his son JACOB BEST and was perhaps the executor of the Will of JOHN MITCHINER in 1814. He is listed as being granted 60 acres in the 1817 Headright and Bounty Grants. In 1817 he was granted land with his son JACOB BEST from his son ABSALOM BEST. He was also granted land from the same son in 1818. JOHN BEST is listed in the 1830 Georgia census for Screven Co. as being between 70-80 years old. In 1834 he granted land to his son HENRY BEST. His pension application was filed on April 6, 1835 in Screven Co. His children were listed as: JACOB, GEORGE, WILLIAM, HENRY, and ABSALOM. JACOB, in 1827, became security with WILLIAM D. CAMPBELL for WILLIAM B. MITCHINER when he became guardian for HENRY B., JAMES J., and JOHN W. MEARS, orphan minors of JOHN MEARS, Screven Co., Georgia. In the War of 1812 JACOB BEST served in Lieutenant JOHN RAWL's Co., Georgia. Since JOHN BEST, JR. has a son named ABSALOM there may be a connection, yet to be established, in North Carolina or Virginia with the ABSALOM BEST that died around 1790 in the Orangeburg District of South Carolina.
Copyright © January 1999 - Thomas W. Mitchiner, Greenville, NC. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, this document is copyrighted by Thomas W. Mitchiner and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same.
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