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Tuesday, February 23, 2010
107 Years don’t cloud bright blue eyes.
I went with Grandpa to see his Aunt Mary, not too long before this newspaper article (below) was published in the 80's.
They had a large bash in celebration of Aunt Mary’s birthday and she decided to take a ride with her nephew instead. They went to the mountains to see the leaves changing colors. When you get a certain age you can pretty much do as you please. The party went on without her.
She heard that coffee was bad for you, so at age 98, she gave it up. She was a beautiful soul. She watched you carefully and a smile came easily to her face.
She seemed content and happy. She wanted me to sit close to her, so she could see me better.
She was a very nimble lady when I last saw her. She sat on the ground beneath a tree and when we decided to go back to the house, my grandparents required help to stand, but not her. She got right up by herself, patiently waiting for her nephew, years her junior.
She had the most remarkable sparkling blue eyes. They were an amazing color of blue.
The following article was published in the York Observer in 1985. York, South Carolina.
105 Years of Memories Don't
Cloud Bright Eyes
Bethel--She's 105 now and her world is a smaller place, but Mary Barrett's
eyes still sparkle and her farmer hands look strong.
"So many people come by, but not often enough for me to know them...."
she says slowly after puzzling over a new face. She doesn't say much more: talking has been difficult since a stroke five years ago. But as others talk her eyes are lively, bouncing back and forth like a spectator's at a tennis match. They smile sometimes even when her face doesn't.
These days Miss Mary stays at home. She's one of those York County people you'd like to meet but probably won't see on the street or at church. Mostly she sits in her wicker-back, oak rocker, watching TV or looking out the window across the pasture. "She'll say, "There goes a little white one and there goes a little red one," says Naomi Baird, marveling that her mother can spot cars on the highway several yards away.
Miss Mary has lived with the Bairds, Naomi and her husband, Bill, since 1961, when she sold her 83 acre farm off Faulkner Road west of Clover. Around the house are a lifetime worth of memories. She sleeps on the oak bed and eats from the oak table that she started her household with in 1903. Beside a window is the treadle sewing machine that turned out many wardrobes.
Sewing and gardening were her hobbies when she was still active, up until she broke her hip a couple of years ago. She did heavy yard work into her 80s, and later - even after the stroke - grew flowers, vegetables and fruits.
She married William Monroe Barrett in 1903 and settled in Clover. He was an overseer at Clover Spinning Mill until 1923 when he moved to Hawthorne Mill on South Main Street. He died three years later of leukemia at age 42.
In 1930, Mary Barrett took her seven children and moved to the Faulkner Road farm, where she built a two-story, eight-room brick house for $3,500. It was a busy place. In addition to the eight Barretts, she took in her parents as well as a niece (Lillian Barber) and a grand daughter.
They grew corn and cotton, and her mother's hard work is the thing Naomi Baird remembers most about that time.
"She was such a strong person," Baird says. "She always worked with us. She didn't just send us out to work; she went out in the fields with us. As the kids began growing up and moving away, Miss Mary did less and less farming, finally renting the field to other farmers.
She lived on the farm until 1961, the year after her son Fred died. A lifelong bachelor, he had lived with her since graduating from the Citadel. After his death, she had the house to herself.
Six of the nine others she raised are still living - niece Lillian Adams and grand daughter Jane Burrell in Clover, daughter Naomi in Bethel, and three sons, Cecil and James in Gastonia and Archie in Rock Hill. Cecil is oldest at 81 and Archie youngest at 64.
The family didn't stop there, of course. There are 17 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.
The clan got together at Archie Barrett's house for the matriarch's 100th birthday in 1980. That Sunday dinner in the yard was the last big get-together. The stroke came soon after, and crowds make Miss Mary nervous now.
These days she sits in the room the Bairds added on when she moved in - wood floor, an unused fireplace, light blue walls with white trim, lots of windows with ruffly white curtains.
She watches TV some. Favorites include Horse racing and nature shows."She likes shows with a lot of movement," says Naomi Baird. "No soap operas....
"She kept up with things until she was about 100," Bair says. "She never missed the TV news or her Newsweek magazine." Favorite journalists: former NBC team Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.
Keeping up with a lifetime of history gets tough when the lifetime is a century. For Miss Mary, that's 21 American Presidents.
What's kept her going all these years? Well, she worked hard, she never smoked or drank alcohol, and she read the Bible a lot. She was never sick until her stroke; she didn't go to the hospital even then. Her only trip was for her broken hip. She takes no medicine except a sleeping pill, and eats three big meals a day, savoring sweet potatoes most.
"But there's something else that keeps her ticking." Baird says. Maybe it's a quick mischievous mind inside the slowed body.
"She knows a lot more than people give her credit for." Says Lilly Mae Bailey, who has stayed with Miss Mary during the day for the past 2 1/2 years.
"She told me the other day, "Let's slip off and go for a walk.' And I said, 'No, we can't do that.' And she said, 'Yeah, I used to do that all the time.."'
Her visitor rises to leave, and the blue eyes dart. At that moment her age is amazing; she could pass for a generation younger. Gray hair frames a
small face, wrinkled but soft and lively. Two braids of gray hair fall across the shoulders of her pink robe and down behind her.
She reaches out to touch.
"Goodbye. Good to see you," she says. "I can't talk much. Goodbye.
Hope you'll be back."
September 01, 1880 ~ February 17, 1987
She was the daughter of William M. Barber and Margaret Ann McCarter. The grand daughter of William George Barber. She was the sister of Nancy "Nannie" Ann Barber.
Imagine the all the changes and all the life those blue eyes saw.
Mary Barber Barrett is buried alongside her family at Woodside Cemetery in Clover, South Carolina.
Monday, February 22, 2010
John Barber , my fourth great grandfather, landed in Charlestown, South Carolina on December 19th, 1772, a passenger on the ship, "Pennsylvania Farmer".
The ship departed Larne, Ireland, in October of 1772. It was one of the five ships chartered by the party of settlers headed by the Covananter Presbyterian Minister, Rev. William Martin. Rev. Martin, having received a "call" from the Presbyterians already settled along Rocky Creek in South Carolina, brought 450 families from Northern Ireland, the southeastern part of Ulster on the River Bann, from his Ballymoney and Kellswater congregations because of high rents, working conditions, and religious persecutions. Conditions in Northern Ireland had been no better for the Covananters than had been the case earlier in their native Scotland.
Click on picture for larger view.
The state, (Colony then of course) of South Carolina, already heavily populated along the coast , was offering land in the inner sections of the area to settlers of good reputation who would work hard and be good citizens. As early as 1731, the " poor Protestants " were offered this land, and the Scotch-Irish migration had begun in the early 1700's, first to the ports of Pennsylvania and Boston, and then later to Charlestown, in response to Acts of the General Assembly of South Carolina.
John Barber married Mary Agnew, apparently here, in York County, S.C. and they had eight children together.
These settlers were given free land, first by Royal Grant, and then by State Grants, security in the lands and possessions, and the right to worship in the churches of their choice. Rev. William Martin's Party were Presbyterians, and primarily farmers from the County Antrim Estates of the Earl of Donegail, and absentee landlord who kept raising the rents and was slowly bankrupting all families involved.
There were five ships and members of the Barber family came on the "Lord Dunluce" along with the Rev. Martin. Before sailing, it was announced that this ship had more applicants than she could handle. John and his brother James, sailed on the next ship that sailed, and Charles Barber was a passenger of yet another ship . When the Lord Dunluce arrived in Charlestown, a letter was mailed back to the Belfast Newsletter, published on June 8, 1773, describing the passengers and was signed by all "heads of households" aboard. The only Barber signing was Samuel, even though Isabel, James and Joseph were also aboard, so I without proof, assume that Samuel was head of the family.
Exact relation of these Barbers is not known, but James and John were brothers, this fact known by the
will of James in Fairfield County.
In Scotland, the name "Barber" means a "cutter of hair or person". Quite a difference from today's trade as barber and the profession of surgeon…interesting thought, that it could have been combined back then.
In his "History of Fairfield County", Fitzhugh McMaster describes the early settlers as "true frontiersmen who carried the rifle, the axe and the Bible everywhere they went, happy and proud to be secure in their own lands and free to have churches of their own choice." He also said, "Fairfield County was not as homogeneous as York and Chester Counties, the Whigs and the Tories being about equal at the time of the Revolution, so it was not as affected by the War and was York and Chester Counties. Also , after the war, divisions were quickly healed and many of the survivors of the War, refused to tell their children (or any younger generation) which side any person was on."
However, the Covananter Presbyterians of Rev. Martin's Party were strongly in the forefront in the fight for Independence. One of his sermons encouraging them to fight for liberty was widely published in the histories of his church of that time.
John Barber rented wagons to the troops of the State Militia in 1782. (A.A. No.276, Revolutionary War Index, State Archives, Columbia, S.C. )
Also Mary Barber has a Revolutionary War file, A.A. No. 277, for providing provisions to the troops. One such sale was for 250 lbs. of beef for the State Troops in 1782 for which she got 3 pounds, 4 shillings and two pence sterling. This sale is recorded Book 1, #367, November 22, 1784.
Note: This Mary Barber would not be his wife Mary, so possibly this is John's Mother or sister. When John died in 1843, a sister "Mary Edyth" is mentioned and apparently she moved in with the family later in life.
In 1794, John Barber buys from Minor Winn, a negro boy named Cato, aged 9 years, for 35 pounds.
Witness: John Shannon and Emily Winn.
Feb. 18, 1794, Fairfield County Book A, page 216.
Sacred / to the / memory of / JOHN BARBER / who
departed this life / on the 5th of June 1843 / aged 95 years.
"Why should we mourn departing friends
Or shake at Death's alarmes,
"Tis but the voice that Jesus sends
To call us to his Armes."
John Barber and Mary Agnew Barber are both buried at Beersheba Church Cemetery, York County, South Carolina.
First Generation Born In America~
William George Barber was born October 19, 1801 in Chester, South Carolina. He was the son of John Barber and Mary Agnew Barber. He was the last and eighth child born to this couple. He married Elizabeth Ann (Annie) Neil in York County, South Carolina. They had ten children. His date of death on his tombstone is incorrect. He actually died, frozen in a snow bank, on Christmas Day in 1869. He was found the next morning. This was told to me by his granddaughter, Mary Barber Barrett that passed away in 1987. He is buried in Beersheba ARP Church Cemetery, York County, South Carolina.
Elizabeth Ann "Annie" Neil Barber married William George Barber on August 28, 1824 in Lincoln County, North Carolina. She was his first wife and Barbara Black Mauney Neil, was his second wife. Elizabeth Ann Neil was born June 10, 1806 and died May 10, 1850, at age 44. She was the daughter of John Neil and Mary Ann Ferguson Neil. They had ten children born of this union.
In 1927 a local correspondent from Clover, James Stanhope Love (also known as "Ben Hope") wrote a column for the Rock Hill Record titled "A Confederate Veteran of Clover."
The veteran, William Barber, was a private in Company G of the 18th S. C. Volunteers under Gen. N. G. Evans. Most of Company G. was raised in Kings Mountain district of York County.
Private Barber was from Clark's Fork; others in his company enlisted from the communities of Bethany, Hickory, King's Creek, Hoodtown, Zadok, and Stump.
William Barber's father was William George Barber and his mother a Miss Neil from North Carolina. His mother died when he was five and he had few memories of her but could recall a happy childhood on a farm.
General Evans' troops were independent of other units in the army, described by Barber as "freelance." Consequently, Barber in three years time served and fought in engagements from the Mississippi River to northern Virginia.
Although frequently in the thick of very heavy fighting, Barber was never wounded. In one battle, he recalled that he was the only soldier in his unit who was not wounded or killed. He did contract pneumonia after swimming in the Pearl River in Mississippi. And he got whooping cough while on furlough in York county.
Looking back, Barber believed that the Confederate War (as Hope called it) was "an ill-advised conflict." Hope pointed out that Barber was proud of his role in the war but that, at the same time, Jefferson Davis "kept the war going too long after it had become evident...that defeat was inevitable."
Especially, Barber believed that the South should not have fought to perpetuate slavery. Barber thought the whole slave system was "rotten" at the time he enlisted. Why, then, did he fight for it? Barber said there was nothing else for him to do at the time--that the South had to fight for her right to govern herself.
He was convinced that the North would have had slaves if the conditions for slavery there had made it profitable. When asked if he ever killed a Yankee, Barber replied: "I don't know whether I killed a man or not; I only know that I did some mighty close shooting."
After describing the battle in which he was his company's only unwounded man, Barber added, "Yes, it was a scrap, and one time in such a thing is enough for any man."
In the last months of the war many of Barber's comrades deserted. Others tried to tempt him to quit but Barber steadfastly refused. He said it was bad luck to start anywhere and then turn back at the last.
Ben Hope reported Barber as saying: "Once when I was home on furlough, and expressed my opinion that the war would soon be over and the South whipped,--though some of the folks at home just would not believe it then,--one of my friends advised me to hide out for a while until it was all over with.
And I could have done so; but I would not, and now I am glad I didn't."
Barber was captured at Dinwiddy Courthouse near Petersburg, Virginia on April 1, 1865 and kept a prisoner at Point Lookout, Maryland until June 16. He said that he had no unpleasant memories of prison camp.
After the war, the Ku Klux Klan was very active in York County. Barber refused to have any part in it saying that he had already seen enough of strife and bloodshed.
William married Margaret Ann MCCARTER, daughter of Minor MCCARTER and Mary Ann HUFFSTETTLER, on 10 Jan 1867. Margaret was born 1 Sep 1843 in South Carolina. She died 13 Nov 1924 in Clover, York County, South Carolina and was buried Nov 1924 in Woodside Cemetery, Clover, York County, S.C.
William and Margaret Ann McCarter Barber ~
William and Margaret Ann McCarter Barber's eldest daughter was Nancy "Nannie" Ann Barber, born August 12, 1867. Nannie Ann Barber was the second wife of Robert Samuel Parrott, Sr. Robert Samuel Parrott married Amanda A. Curry in 1878 and then married Nannie Barber after Amanda's death in 1897.
Robert Samuel Parrott was born July 28, 1852 in York County, South Carolina. He was the son of Noah Tyre McKinsey Parrott and Mary Nichols Parrott. He is buried in
Beth Shiloh Presbyterian Church, York County , South Carolina. Apparently the marker is lost, so his exact location is not known. Amanda, his first wife is also buried there.
Nannie Ann Barber Parrott is buried at Woodside Cemetery, Clover, York County, S.C.
Robert Samuel and Nannie Barber Parrott had seven children. The sixth child was Wilburn Larry Parrott, born October 20, 1903. My Grandpa.
Nannie Barber Parrott
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I went to the countryside near Shelby, North Carolina, today. The sun was shining brightly in a clear blue sky, and my hopes were high.
The country scenes are just prettier than usual, on a day with lots of sunshine. We have had more than our share of overcast gloomy days recently. Snow, sleet, ice pellets, you name it, we have had it. It was great to be outside on a warm day.
The sun was warming the dash of the car nicely, and excitement was in the air.
When I search out the secrets and the life histories of our ancestors, I perhaps learn a little more about myself, in the process. Every finding brings a new thought about who we are as a family. That possibility, always present in my thoughts, is so intriguing. And exciting. Exciting for sure.
I was in search of someone special today.
My seventh great grandparents on my maternal side. I was following mostly the females in the family tree back, starting with my Great Grandfather, going all the way back in time to the very first McSwain, in our line, on American soil.
The earliest McSwain moved to this area when it was still a colony of the Crown and very much a frontier.
Most researchers claim the Isle of Skye, Scotland, as the ancestral home of the McSwains.
"The Island of Skye, situated off the West coast of Mainland Scotland, is the largest and best known of the Inner Hebrides.
Sometimes referred to in Gaelic poetry and song as Eilean a' Cheò (The Misty Isle), Skye is renown for its natural beauty, history and wildlife.
The Cuillin Hills, the Red Hills and Blaven have long been favorites with climbers and walkers. If you don't fancy the high places, the deeply indented coastline means you are never far from the sea.
Wildlife abounds on the Island, with birds from the tiny Goldcrest to magnificent Golden Eagle, mammals from Pygmy Shrew to Red Deer and fish from Saithe to Salmon."
Many researchers claim that the McSwain family are a branch of the MacQueen clan.
The spelling of McSwain sometimes appears as MacSwain, McSween, McSwaine, or other variations, depending on how the census taker heard it pronounced.
David McSwain, is believed to have come to America with his parents on the ship Snow Lowther, landing at Philadelphia on October 14, 1731.
Most probably as an indentured servant. This was the most common way an immigrant earned his passage to the New World. He would have been required to work seven to ten years before being released from his indenture. During this time he would have been seeking land of his own so that he too, could prosper. But eastern Pennsylvania was getting crowded and as a result land was becoming expensive. Many immigrants chose to leave for the frontier of western Virginia, North and South Carolina, and as far south as Georgia.
It appears that David and some member of his family began to move south between 1750 and 1760. By this time all of his children were grown. The children were the ones most likely to feel the need to go. David followed, because family was your only support in old age.
The family's route south took them on the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road from east-central Pennsylvania through western Maryland into the Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia. This would a quest for a better way of life. They would travel and settle in an area for a while, perhaps two to three years. Some of David's children and grandchildren may have married and stayed as the family group moved on.
The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road south continued from Virginia into the northern piedmont of North Carolina. Their route would have gone past present day Winston-Salem and Salisbury into the Yadkin River Valley. The McSwains would have followed the rise of the Appalachian mountains to the west into what would become Cleveland County, NC. Some of the family found a home in the rolling hills along the Broad River. Others moved into South Carolina and northern Georgia while David, the patriarch, most likely by now, in his sixties and weary, stays with his son, David.
As we made our way down the dirt road that lead into the patch of woods where the cemetery lies, I imagined how it may have looked nearly three hundred years ago.
I thought about how “country” this setting was now, and how miles removed it is today, from the bustling city (in comparison) of say Shelby, North Carolina, even.
Imagine how isolated you would have been when you turn back the hands of time, some three hundred years!
The sky peeked in among the tree tops with brilliant flashes of blue as we winded our way in, deeper into the trees. Then, there to the left, among the brambles, were the tops of headstones.
We had found it!
The path into the cemetery was no longer a real path..it was just a quick jaunt down into a dry creek bed, and up the other side , straight into a thicket of briars.
There, seemingly watching over the entrance, was David McSwain.
Standing guard beside his Grandfather’s side was William McSwain.
William, grandson of David, served in Brevard’s Company 10, North Carolina Infantry in the Revolutionary War. He served his country.
Judith A. Moore McSwain, wife of William McSwain, my 5th Great Grandmother.
My sixth and my fifth great grandfathers. Buried in the family plot on family land. Or so I thought..I was in for a surprise.
Early headstones were of local fieldstone with no or minimal engraving. Regrettably, David's exact gravesite has been lost to time. However, in the 1930's, the Cleveland County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution,(DAR), erected a granite headstone to replace David's original fieldstone one. Unfortunately, the DAR got this David confused with his son and listed the wrong spouse. The name and dates are correct, but they have the wrong spouse listed! This mistake has caused much confusion among those researching David's past.
The marker that stood before me was actually for my ancestor…but it was for my 7h Great Grandfather! Not my 6th!
His son David married Susannah Hamrick. And they had son William, that continues our line of ancestry. It is believed that several generations of this family are buried here in this family cemetery. So here in this plot of earth, lie the remains of my fifth, sixth and seventh Great Grandparents.
Another moment that causes you to pause and reflect. I tried to imagine what they would think, if I was truly standing in front of them? What would they tell me?
Scottish blood flowing proud through my veins, swirling with the German and the Irish. I paused and paid my respects to the family.
The search had come again to another ending, but it was just another beginning.
Ten generations spanned.
But, I was home, once again.
Ethel Leigh Blanton Parrott, was the daughter of
Craton Rone Blanton and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Leigh Ellis, Craton was the son of
George Washington Blanton and Mary Elizabeth Greene, Mary was the daughter of
Stephen and Judith Moore Greene. Judith was the daughter of
James Christian Moore and Elizabeth Jane McSwain. Elizabeth was the daughter of
William and Judith McSwain, William was the son of
David and Susannah Hamrick McSwain.
David was the son of David McSwain and Margaret Etta Sergeant McSwain.
David McSwain was born in Scotland and Margaret Etta was from Northern Ireland.
Just so the confusion continues on, the son David, born about 1725, had ANOTHER son named David...grin.
Hey now, listen, if the DAR gets all confused, imagine what this is like for me…?? Hey it is all part of it..detective work. But the rewards are great.
Now this marker remains, to confuse the generations to come. But it also stands in remembrance of the men, too.
This cemetery has lots of field stone markers, no etching remain on some of the monuments. Many of the family lie beneath these field stones, forever lost to us.
This cemetery is slowly being reclaimed by the earth. It lies off the beaten path, quite a way out in the country. Silently basking in the dappled sunlight. Waiting for me to come visit.
Scotch-Irish, I am.
Slight strains of bagpipe music were floating on the passing breeze as I stood among these ancient family remains…or was that just my imagination?