City Directories and History: When the General Assembly undertook the task of appointing trustees for Ebenezer Academy, it sought men of substance by the standards of that day. From the 1827 York County tax returns, the only antebellum tax returns for York County known to exist, one can discern something about the wealth of those who served as trustees.
Robert Becquim Walker was born in South Carolina in 1766. He was graduated from Mount Zion College in Winnsboro, and in 1794 was ordained and installed as pastor of Bethesda Presbyterian Church, a position he held for 40 years. In 1827 he owned 360 acres and 10 slaves and paid property taxes of $8.27. In 1847 he moved with his son to DeSoto County, Mississippi, where he lived until his death on April 10, 1852.
John Gallant was born in Virginia about 1770. He was the son of John Gallant, Sr., who died in 1807 in York County and is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery. John Gallant was married to Nancy Miller, whose father, Stephen Miller, was an uncle of Stephen Decatur Miller, Governor of South Carolina (1828-30). In the 1810 census his name is followed by “Esq.” which means that he was probably a Justice of the Quorum (similar to a present day Magistrate). He lived in the Nation Ford section of the Indian Land. In 1827 John Gallant is shown as owning one slave and lots valued at $150. He paid property taxes of $5.81 1/4. He suffered financial reverses in 1839 when his property was levied on and sold to satisfy a civil judgment against him. Thereafter he moved to Amite County, Mississippi, where his son, James Madison Gallant, was already living. He died there about the year 1853.
Captain John Anderson was born in 1785, the son of Captain John Anderson of the Revolution and Jane Neely. He married Elizabeth Neagle. Their son, John Monroe Anderson, born in 1821, became pastor of Ebenezer Church, taught at the Academy, was president of the Yorkville Female College, and taught logic and belle letters at Davidson College. In 1827 Captain Anderson owned 8 slaves and paid property taxes of $6.00. He died April 15, 1845, and is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery.
Dr. Edmund Jennings, who was descended from a distinguished colonial family of Maryland and Virginia, was born on April 23, 1792, at Wadesboro, N. C. He was the son of Major John Jennings, Jr. of the Revolution, and High Sheriff of Anson, and Elizabeth Lanier. Elizabeth Lanier died in Yorkville on Feb. 10, 1824. Dr. Edmund Jennings married (1) Isabella Beatty, daughter of Jonathan Beatty of Yorkville, who was bom in 1797 and died in 1824, buried in Ebenezer Cemetery; (2) Lucy Martha Birchett, born 1802. Dr. Jennings lived in Ebenezer, where in 1827 he owned 102 acres adjoining Ebenezer Church and 9 slaves. He paid property taxes of $24.12, which included lots valued at $500 and stock valued at $2,000. In 1832 he bought the home of Judge William Smith in Yorkville. He was engaged in business with William C. Beatty. Edmund Jennings died in Shelby, N. C. on Dec. 2, 1863.
Thomas Williams, Jr. was born in Williamsburg County, S. C., on June 8, 1789. He studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1811. He practiced law in Lancaster for a time, but was induced by his friend Judge William Smith, to move to Yorkville, where he continued his practice. He was elected to the state House of Representatives from York District in 1820 and served until 1827, and again in 1830-31. In 1828-29 he served as lieutenant-governor of South Carolina. In 1827 Mr. Williams owned 1,543 acres and 68 slaves. In 1835 he moved to Mobile, Alabama, and later to Montgomery, where he lived the rest of his life. He was still living there in 1858.
Randolph Withers was born in 1768 in Virginia When he came to South Carolina is not certain; however, before leaving Virginia he was married to Sarah Bailey. They had nine children. Their eldest son, Thomas Jefferson Williams, who attended Ebenezer Academy, was a signer of the S. C. Ordinance of Secession from Kershaw County, whither he had moved, and served briefly as Senator from S. C. in the Confederate Congress. Randolph Withers was a planter who owned two tracts of land southwest of Ebenezer Church, one 535 acres and one 310 acres. In 1827 he owned 18 slaves and paid property taxes of $13.50. His home was located on the site of Piedmont Medical Center. He died on July 22, 1845, and is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery.
John Henderson Barry was born in 1782, the son of William and Jane Hanna Barry. He married Violet Moore. They had five children. He was a planter and owned 666 acres west of Ebenezer Church. In 1827 Mr. Barry owned 16 slaves and paid property taxes of $12.00. He was Ruling Elder in Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, and in his will bequeathed $100 to Rev. P. E. Bishop, pastor of the Church, to be used for the support of foreign missions. He died April 15, 1845, and is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery.
Josiah Harris was born in 1796, the son of Robert Harris. He was graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and the Theological Seminary of Virginia. In 1823 he was ordained and installed as pastor of Ebenezer Church and Unity Church in Fort Mill. In 1827 Mr. Harris owned 6 slaves and paid property taxes of $4.50. He resigned from the ministry in 1827. He died on Oct. 5, 1858, in Prattville, Alabama, where he was teaching.
Courtesy of the YCGHS—June 1999 – Written by S.B. Mendenhall
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