Battle of Hayes Station
also known as Battle of Edgehill Plantation
19 November 1781
“Joseph Hayes owned a tavern adjacent to Edgehill Station – a stop along the local stage coach line. He and about two dozen of his men were sitting down to a nice meal when a colleague, Capt. John Owens, rode up and informed the men that smoke was coming out of the nearby plantation house of the late Brig. Gen. James Williams’ widow.
Hayes and his men jumped up from their meal and followed Capt. Owens out of the tavern and up a small hill to gather at an old Cherokee War Block House – to see what was going on at the neighbor’s home. They were instantly surrounded by “Bloody Bill” Cunningham with about 300 Loyalists. Hayes and his men ran into the small block house, but it was soon torched, so they threw down their arms and surrendered.
Each man was forced to back out of the small block house to have their hands tied behind them then affixed to a long rope, ostensibly to be marched to another location. However, as soon as the last man was attached to the long rope, Cunningham started hanging them, and then his men dismembered fourteen of them. Cunningham then rode off, leaving the body parts scattered.”
Capt. Daniel Williams and his brother, Joseph Williams, were the sons of Col. James Williams, who died earlier in battle at Kings Mountain. Daniel was 17 years old, and Joseph was 13 years old when they were killed.
Joseph Irby, Sr., and his sons, Joseph Irby, Jr. and Greaf Irby were lost. Other brother William Irby would also have been among them, but was said to have been fetching water, and survived.
Lt. James Tinsley (escaped) – (“I then continued on as a volunteer until and was present at the murder of Capt D. Williams, Col. Hayes and others by William Cunningham at the place (spelled ‘palce’) formerly known by the name of Egehill [sic, Edgehill] Station [or Hayes Station] where I was taken prisoner in November 1781. On the night after the same day on which I was taken prisoner, I made my escape and then entered on the expedition against the Cherokee Indians…”) His Pension application.
John Mangum – (survivor) was among the captives, this 18-year-old was spared his life after Cunningham recognized him as the younger brother of prominent Loyalist preacher in the neighborhood. His family records and military pension application have several of the original accounts of this battle.
William Blakely (POW for one day) – (“I volunteered again in 1782 [sic, the events described by the veteran place this service in 1781] Captain Saxon and performed duty through the upper part of the State and was at Hays[sic, Hayes] station [November 19, 1781] at the time Colonel Hayes [Joseph Hayes] & others were murdered & was there taken prisoner& kept all night by the Tories commanded by Wm Cunningham [William “Bloody Bill” Cunningham] & released next day.”) (pension application made at age 72). William Blakely was my 5th great-grand uncle.
Providence Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church – The cemetery marks the original site of the church, founded Sept. 10, 1836. Buried here is William Blakely, Sr., survivor of Hayes Station Massacre, 1871, who with Samuel Blakely donated the land for the church and cemetery. The congregation moved to Clinton about 1902.
From – Historical Collections of the Joseph Habersham Chapter, Daughters American Revolution, Vol III., 1910. Statement of Robert Long, of Laurens District, S. C. made evidently in 1843.
“Cunningham told Hayes’ men that if they would come out of the house and lay down their arms, they should be treated as prisoners of war. After some consultation, they complied. Cunningham marched them out into the old field, and after attempting to hang two on a stock pole, which broke, ordered them to sit down on the ground, took his sword and went to hacking them up and down until his fiendish malice was satisfied with the groans of the mangled and dying, when he told his men to complete the bloody work. Jos. Griffin, who belonged to Hayes’ company of forty men stationed there, had been sent off on an express the previous day. The house had been fired, and they were compelled to yield.”
“When Cunningham had selected Col. Hayes and Daniel Williams to be hung, on the fodder-stack pole, Joseph Williams said, “Brother, what shall I tell mother when I go home?” “You d-d young rebel, you shall tell her nothing,” and instantly cut him down. “
“Wm. Dunlap was spared, and on being asked about it years after, said: “Good God, sir, I have not thought of that since: I was put down in the ring, and the man on my right, and the one on my left, were cut to pieces, and I knew no more till I was discharged the next day at Young’s Mill, now Ogle’s Mills, on Beaver Dam Creek.”