City Directories and History: The development of the Nation’s Ford section in the Catawba Indian land was also unique and interesting. Daniel Sturges (Sturgis) and Thomas Sprot (Spratt) were given the ferry established at Old Nations Ford near the center of this area in 1786 for a fourteen-year period. Ferriage was set at three pence for foot passengers, four pence for man and horse, and three shillings and six pence were collected for a four-wheel carriage with a horse. In 1799 the ferry was rechartered to Sturgis and Thomas Spratt, the younger, for fourteen years. In 1813 Andrew Herron received their rights. Again in 1828 William Moore and Thomas Spratt received ferry rights there, and finally William Moore controlled it solely for the next several years.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
STURGIS FAMILY-EARLY SETTLERS by Louise Pettus The gathering together of histories of the first families to settle in Rock Hill was one of the projects adopted to celebrate Rock Hill’s centennial in 1952. Of all accounts submitted, the one about the Sturgis family written by J. Boyd Creighton was probably the lengthiest and one of the more interesting.
Creighton’s mother was a Sturgis and his older brother and sister had for many years collected information on the family. Creighton observed that the Sturgis family “probably married into more families in York county than has been the case with any other family in this section.” Daniel Sturgis, son of Shadrach, was the first Sturgis that Creighton knew of in York County. Daniel was thought to be of English, Irish and Welsh descent, one generation removed from Northern Ireland. Three Sturgis brothers were believed to have settled in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, in the January Court of 1788 some of the Sturgis family submitted a “Certificate from under the hands of several Gentlemen in the State of Delaware respecting the Character of Daniel Sturgis & family” which was ordered to be recorded. This would indicate that the Sturgises came to this area from the state of Delaware.
Creighton didn’t say when Daniel Sturgis and his family arrived and settled on the west bank of the Catawba River but it was probably about 1763-at the end of the French and Indian Wars. The area was a part of the Catawba Indian Land with only a few whites in the 15-mile-square area. The Sturgises probably located from the beginning at the spot that contains the old Sturgis-Schooley graveyard, a short distance south of the present location of the Celanese Plant.
The first record of the Sturgis family in York County records is an entry in Minute Book A dated April 12,1786: “Ordered that James Smith be appointed Overseer to lay out and mark a road and keep in repair the same from James Smith’s at fishing Creek to Sturgis’s and Spratt’s ferry on the Catawba River.” Spratt was Thomas “Kanawha” Spratt who lived on the opposite side of the river. The state of South Carolina chartered a public ferry (which may have existed prior to the charter) in the names of Thomas Sprott and Daniel Sturgis in 1786 at Old Nation Ford for a 14-year term. In 1799 the charter was renewed by Daniel Sturgis, Jr. and Thomas Spratt the Younger. By 1813 the ferry was out of Sturgis hands when it was rechartered and vested in James Spratt and Andrew Herron. Apparently Sturgis and Spratt of the older generation had their differences. A year after the ferry was chartered, in the April 1787 court, the case “Daniel Sturgis vs. Thomas Spratt” was heard. Sturgis charged that Spratt trespassed. The court ordered the matter turned over to three state commissioners of the Indian Land, Joseph Lee, Hugh Whiteside and Andrew Foster, to settle the boundaries of the disputed lands. The jury found in favor of Sturgis and ordered Spratt to pay him 18 pounds. Spratt was also charged with Trespass, Assault and Battery by Joshua Sturgis, son of Daniel. Spratt pled guilty and paid 30 shillings. Daniel Sturgis died in 1787 leaving his widow Jean Bratton and four sons and one daughter: Laban, John, Daniel, Joshua and Mary. One of Daniel’s sons, A fifth son, James Armstrong Sturgis, never came south with him and lived in New Jersey. Laban Sturgis never married and John, who married the widow Schooley and had 16 children, moved to the Old Northwest Territory. Mary married a Wilson and moved away. That left Daniel, Jr. and Joshua to be the ancestors of many of York County’s citizens. The Sturgis families tended to be large in number, so much so that Creighton decided that the family injunction was “be fruitful and multiply, replenishing the earth.”
When Creighton had finished his paper on the Sturgis family he had demonstrated a connection of York County Sturgis’s to families by the name of Bratton, Wilson, Neely, Schooley, Thomson, Creighton, Peacock, Mackintosh, Duntin, McFadden, White, Jordan, Shillinglaw, Shields, Kerr, Wherry, Bennett, Irby, Giles, Burns, Cone, Dunlap, Carter, Cowan, Frew, Parham, Bobbitt, Hart, Dumas, Lanier, Shirley, Miller, Adams, Ruff, Hamilton, Strain, Maloney, Gaulden, Williford, Ormand, Craig, Fewell, Ratterree and Lesslie. And, remember, Creighton was writing in 1952 and only about the older generations! (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
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