“An important Scots – Irish heritage site along the Eastern U.S.A.”
City Directories and History: One of the region’s premier historic restorations is Historic Brattonsville, which host generations of Bratton homes. This sequential
history of architecture is one of the sites main attractions. And the oldest of these dwellings is the home of William and Martha Bratton, early Scots-Irish settlers from Virginia who settled in the Bethesda community of what would become York County, S.C. prior to the American Revolution. Their modest but well constructed log cabin was two stories with a shed room addition on the rear. Many believe the cabin is the oldest standing structure in York County.
Following the deaths of Colonel and Mrs. Bratton, the cabin could have been used for many purposes but in 1839, the cabin underwent extensive remodeling to accommodate the education of the Colonel’s granddaughter as well as others who boarded in the neighborhood.
Dr. John Simpson Bratton, the owner of the Homestead house (across the street), hired a local contract, Mr. Noah Isenhower to add the wing to the home, install new windows, a back to back fireplace, and many 19th century embellishments. In his contract three presses were also to be built. These would have served as storage. Soon thereafter, Catherine Ladd started her girls school on the premises.
The Brattonsville Female Seminary, the school taught by Principal, Catherine Ladd with husband George, was in operation only a few years. ca. 1839-1841, before Catherine S. Ladd and her family moved to Fairfield County where she became the Principal at the Feasterville Academy (See link this page). The Rev. Hugh A. McWhorter and his wife Mary took charge of the academy following the Ladd’s departure. The McWhorters also left and moved to Chester, S.C. to operate the Chesterville Female Seminary.
Little information is available that tells how the cabin was used following her departure. With an extensive plantation and numerous employees, slaves, and visitors the cabin could have served any number of purposes. However, by the 20th century, the house was beginning to be in poor condition and the Bratton decedents rented it to numerous tenants. By the 1960′s by most standards the house was uninhabitable and was abandoned.
It was during this period that a young lawyer with ties to the Bethesda area, S.B. Mendenhall began his journey to ultimately see all of the Bratton’s homes saved and restored. He met with success early with Fisher Draper, who had acquired the Colonel’s old home agreed to lease it to the York County Historical Commission along with one acre. By the mid 1970s the house remained vacant, open to vandalism. It was during the Bicentennial celebrations that York County, the York County Historical Commission, and volunteers began working on
securing funds to stabilize and restore the cabin. During this brief period of enthusiasm a new roof was installed, chimneys repaired, window and door rebuilt, and shutters either repaired or reproduced. By 1979 the cabin remained unfinished but much improved and by December of that year was opened to the public as part of the Christmas tours.
During the 1980′s the Colonel William Bratton became a focal point of restoration and interpretation along with the highly important American Revolutionary Battle of Huck’s Defeat. Colonel William Bratton, a major militia leader in the backcountry of South Carolina, was not at home when Captain Christian Huck and his military unit of British and Tory soldiers arrived at the cabin on July 11, 1780. The ensuing battle was the first defeat of the British in the colony of South Carolina since the fall of Charleston, earlier that spring and helped demonstrate that rebels under their leaders such as Colonel William Bratton could play a decisive role in hampering British forces under Lord Cornwallis.
Every York Countian should remember with justifiable pride that the very first steps on the road that led to the ultimate victory at Yorktown were taken in the New Acquisition of South Carolina on the plantation of James Williamson on July 12, 1780. The end result of the American victories over Christian Huck at Williamson’s Plantation and over Patrick Ferguson at King’s Mountain three months later was the turning of the tide of battle against the British in the South. And it was in the South that the great issue of the struggle was settled once and for all time to come: the American colonies were to be “free and independent States.” Information from: The Genesis of York, by Wm. B. White, Jr., Yorkville Historical Society, 2015 – Jostens Publishing Company
COL. WILLIAM BRATTON’S LIST OF TORIES IN REVOLUTION
(One of our members, Jean Fountain, found the following in the South Carolina Archives as a part of the returns, 26 July 1783, “of Sundry Persons Objects of an Ordinance for disposing of Certain Estates, &” and the notation that the list was to go to the Board of Commissioners of Confiscated Property in Charles town [Charles Town was the state capitol in 1783]. Thanks to Jean for sharing this most interesting information. The handwriting is difficult to read and our interpretation may not be the correct one. (If you think we misread the list we will be happy to send a xeroxed copy of the list for you to judge for yourself.)
Sirs: I hear with send you list of the names of the Torys belonging to my Regiment that gone with the British which I Believe is the total of all that is in my bounds. I am Sir your omble Ser’t W. Bratton to Mr Oheam July the 26 1783 Torys Names- James Bar, Samuel Carel (Covel?), Joseph Christy, John Reay, Charles Reay, Peter Juland Junior, Benjamin Juland (Julien?), John Davis, Wm Travours (or Favours?), Jas Lashley, Salias Mots, Wm Mots, Moses Collins, Wm Glover, Jeremiah McCrossers? (MCerossen?), Jas Morrow, Samuel Stevenson, Lowry Glover, Peeter Juland (Julien?), Wm Juland, Wm Wilson, Daniel Ponder, Jary Juland (or Julien?), Ritchard Price, Wm Reagon, Isaac Collans, Josiah Wamock, Robert Black, Moses Quals (Quarles), Wm Deason, Symon Kyrkandall (Kuykendal?), James Irvin, Wm Patterson. A second page is in such poor condition that at least four names are missing. It is also in Colonel Bratton’s handwriting.
A list of the Tories names that is now with the British belong to Colo. Brattons Regt. To wit are as follows (Camden District): Mathew Gregg, Joseph Woods, John Woods, Mathew (tom) Ritchard Price, Wm Wilson, Robert Black, Joseph Black, Nathaniel Harrison, Thomas Peeterson (Patterson?,) John Black, Mathew Black. (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
Informative link: Battle of Huck’s Defeat , YC History #1, YC History #2, YC History #3
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[…] It was during the remodeling of the Col. William Bratton log house in 1839, for the purposes of making it into a school, that contractor Mr. Noah Isenhower was hired to take on the job. For years curators at the museum have asked themselves why someone from outside of the immediate area would have been hired to conduct the work. Just why would the Brattons have chosen him rather than experienced local artisans such as Jedidiah Coulter, who lived within a short distance? This question may never be answered. But perhaps it had something to do with the explosive demand for contractors in the early 1840s, at which time someone like Mr. Coulter could have been working outside the immediate area. What has been ascertained is that Noah Isenhower was a native of Fairfield County, where the Isenhower family had been engaged in construction of local brick church buildings. The Isenhower family was involved in the construction of two lovely rural churches: Concord Presbyterian, Mt. Olivet Church and then later the Col. Bratton House. […]