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Huck’s Defeat

Huck’s Defeat, also known as the Battle of Williamson’s Plantation, took place on July 12, 1780, near McConnells SC.  Although a brief skirmish, the battle was important as it was one of the first battles of the Southern Campaign to be won by Patriot Militia. The Battle of Huck’s Defeat was a significant turning point for the backcountry during the American Revolution. 

SC Historical Marker 46-61

The Battle of Williamson’s Plantation

The following information is from The Bicentennial Guide To the American Revolution The War in the South, Volume 3, by Sol Stember:

…On Wednesday, July 11, 1780, Captain Christian Huck, a Loyalist officer who served with Tarleton, brought 500 Tories and British here, including some of Tarleton’s legion from Rocky Mount to wipe out a band of rebels who were preparing to join Sumter. Sumter was marshalling his militia for his role in the Camden campaign. He found two Whigs melting lead into bullets, imprisoned them, threatened to hang them, and then located the house of Colonel William Bratton…
…The wife of one of the men threatened with hanging rode off to Sumter’s
bivouac with news of the raid. Col. Bratton and Captain Edward Lacey, Jr.,
with several other officers and about 500 men, left at once, but by the time they reached the vicinity of Huck’s camp, their 500 had somehow melted away to 90. Captain Lacey, who lived nearby, had to have his own father, a Tory through and through, tied into his bed to prevent him from warning Huck. At dawn on the 12th, the Whigs attacked, catching the Tories where they were camped between plantation rail fences. Huck was killed, and so were thirty or forty of his men; only twelve of Tarleton’s men escaped. The Whigs lost one man killed, and the two
men awaiting Huck’s justice were freed…

Liberty Awakes!

Follow this link Battle of Huck’s Defeat to a great summary on the battle, by Michael C. Scoggins, author of “The Day it Rained Militia – Huck’s Defeat and the Revolution in the South Carolina Backcountry, May-July 1780”

Battlefield Trail

Camp Life
Reenactment July 16, 2022

Reenactment July 16, 2022

Adair Notes

William Adair was a patriot too old for active duty, but his sons James, William and John served as soldiers. The Tories were about to hang him, because his sons were with the army, but released him upon deciding that it was the mother who had urged them to their rebellious course.
From The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Volume 12 page 125

From: DAR Lineage Books:
Private, Col. Edward Lacey Regiment, SC Troops died 1835 Chester Co, SC
William Adair was too old to serve, but his sons James, William and John served as soldiers, as did his foster son, Edward Lacey.

Edward Lacey was born in Pennsylvania in 1742, oldest son of Edward Lacey Sr. At the age of 13, during the French and Indian War, he ran away from home to join Braddock’s Expedition against the French in Canada. Three years later joined the exodus of Pennsylvanians to Carolina. He was taken in by William Adair, father of a future governor of Kentucky, who gave him an excellent education. Edward Lacey’s father and his family followed him to South Carolina, settling in Chester Co. Edward Lacey and his father, Edward Lacey Sr. soon found themselves on opposite sides, politically, when the Revolutionary War began.

Joseph Adair, Jr. also served under Col. Edward Lacey, foster son of William Adair.” Unfortunately, the only reference or source that I can find to corroborate this statement is from a DAR application Nat’l 80223, State (PA) 5901 from 1956.

Unfortunately, the source referenced in support is unreliable at best, wrong in many cases, and without sources cited itself, the James Barnett Adair book.

Zach the Historian, who led the Battlefield Trail Tour and shared his wealth of knowledge with us, talked about “oral traditions”. Specific to Huck’s Defeat, the story of Watt and Martha is one example, the story of the Aurora Borealis is another. While widely accepted as “facts”, there isn’t a lot of solid evidence. Most of the Laurens Adair personal records and such were burned in the war (if not the Revolution, later, during the Civil War). The stone monument placed by the DAR in 1902 is another example, pointed out to us by Zach. The participant numbers are a bit inflated.

Joseph Jr. would have been 47 years old at the time of Huck’s Defeat, and far from home in Laurens County. There is a Joseph on the rosters, not listed as Jr or Sr, and could indeed be this Joseph. However. There were easily three contemporary Joseph Adairs in the upstate during the war, and this Joseph is probably son of James (not the Indian Trader James) The amount of Josephs, James, and Williams in this timeframe, in this area, are enough to make a genealogist cry.

While Joseph Jr. (and Sr.) both definitely served in the Little River Regiment, I don’t think either was at Huck’s Defeat. I think this is simply an oral tradition, elaborated on over the years. I have the same issues untangling three Thomas Hollands.

Zach’s tour was incredibly informative and interesting. There is so much history in the upstate of South Carolina, I really enjoy learning from all the dedicated people out there. So much to still uncover!

Hammond’s Store, and the Josephs, now that’s another story. I believe the Joseph’s participated, they were neighbors at Duncan Creek. And the fact that Joseph Sr. was 69 years old when he served, documented, is still incredible.

Historic Brattonsville

The Battle of Williamson’s Plantation (Huck’s Defeat)

The 1780 Presbyterian Rebellion and the Battle of Huck’s Defeat

Primary Sources

Bratton, John. William Bratton’s Account of Huck’s defeat. n.d. (43/1018). South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, South Carolina.
Bratton, William William Bratton Junior’s Reminiscences of Huck’s Defeat . Transcribed by Michael C. Scoggins. York County Historical Center, Rock Hill, South Carolina. July 2001.
Hill, William . Col. William Hill’s Memoirs of the Revolution. ed. A.S. Salley. Columbia, S.C.: The State Co., 1921.

Secondary Sources

Thomas, Sam. The 1780 Presbyterian Rebellion. Courtesy of the York County Culture and Heritage Commission. Accessed 31 August 2004.

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