Monday, January 14, 2008

Rev. John Simpson, "ardent Whig"

From The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780, by Edward McCrady, published 1901, Macmillan & Co., ltd., South Carolina, pp. 591-592:

    The Rev. John Simpson, a Presbyterian minister of Irish descent, a native of New Jersey, had, some years before, succeeded the Rev. William Richardson in charge of the congregations of Upper and Lower Fishing Creek. He was an ardent Whig, and was regarded as the head of the party who had broken up the assemblies of the Tories both at Beckham's Old Field and at Mobley's Meetinghouse. On Sunday morning, June 11, [1780, British captain Christian] Huck and his party took their way to the church, where they expected to find the pastor with his assembled congregation, determined, as was believed at the time, to burn both the church and the people by way of warning to other "disturbers of the King's peace." The pastor had fortunately escaped. The Friday before he had shouldered his rifle and taken the field, joining Captain John McClure, one of the young men of his congregation, who was then with Sumter across the State line. On their way to the church the British killed, with circumstances of great atrocity, William Strong, an inoffensive and pious young man, who was, at the time of their assault upon him, reading his Bible. Mrs. Simpson, the wife of the pastor, while sitting at her breakfast table, heard the report of the gun which killed young Strong and announced the approach of the enemy. The church was but a short distance from the dwelling-house of the minister. Huck's party went first to the house. Mrs. Simpson, seeing their approach, fled with her four children and concealed herself in an orchard. Huck's party rifled the house of everything valuable, destroyed the bedding, and, after taking all the clothing and other articles they fancied, set fire to the house, which was soon burned to the ground, together with a valuable library of books and important manuscripts which were in Mr. Simpson's study.