Bio - Andrew Williamson

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Data Description:Bio - Andrew Williamson
Submitter: John C Grier
Date Posted:16 July 2001
File Size: 5 KB

WILLIAMSON, ANDREW (c. 1730-Mar. 2I, I786), "Arnold of Carolina,"
Revolutionary soldier, is said to have come to America from Scotland as
a young child. Reputedly illiterate, but highly intelligent and a
skilled woodsman, he probably began his career as a cow driver. On Sept.
22, 1760, he was commissioned lieutenant in the South Carolina regiment
which served in James Grant's expedition against the Cherokee. 

By 1765 he was established as a planter, with several small holdings on 
Hard Labor Creek of the Savannah, and three years later, with Patrick 
Calhoun and others, he voiced the needs of the back country in a petition 
For courts, schools, ministers of the gospel, and public roads. In 1770 he
was named to lay out and keep in repair a road to his plantation,
"Whitehall," six miles west of Ninety Six. Here he lived with  his wife,
Eliza Tyler, of Virginia, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.

When the Revolution began, Williamson, a fine looking major of
militia, was so influential in the back country and so sound a Whig,
that he  was elected to the first provincial congress and was awarded a
contract to supply the troops. Appointed to enforce the Association in
his district, he was summoned with the militia to support W. H. Drayton
against the Loyalists, and for the capture of Robert Cunningham he
received the thanks of the provincial congress. Besieged by the
Loyalists in Ninety Six, he signed the treaty with them on Nov. 2I, 1775
but was in the "Snow Campaign" of December which continued the civil

In 1776 he led the panic-stricken militia on his second Cherokee
expedition, and when he was ambushed at Essenecca his horse was shot
under him. Promoted to colonel, he commanded 2,000 South Carolina troops
in the devastating campaign which subdued the Cherokee. He received the
unanimous thanks of the Assembly and on May 20, I777, signed the treaty
which took from the Indians a large land cession. A popular officer,
attentive to the comfort of his men, Williamson was promoted to
brigadier-general in 1778 and commanded the South Carolina militia in
Robert Howe's Florida expedition, sharing the blame for its failure. 

In 1779 he was with Lincoln before Savannah; but it was necessary to
furlough his deserting militia when the British approached Charleston.
He was accused of treason after the fall of that city, when, encamped
with 300 men near Augusta, he reputedly concealed the news of
Charleston's surrender for a time and avoided action. It is said that he
was rewarded with a British commission for advising his officers to
return home and take protection, but no documentary evidence of this
allegation has been revealed, and his brother-in-law, Col. Samuel
Hammond, one of the officers present, affirms that he vainly urged that
the struggle be continued from North Carolina. After his surrender, he
remained at "Whitehall", where he was captured by the Americans in the
hope that he might thereby consider himself released from parole. He
escaped, however, and went into the British lines at Charleston. 

So strong was contemporary feeling against him, that when Col. Isaac Hayne
captured him, it was supposed that he would be hung in Greene's camp,
and his prompt rescue by the British confirmed that supposition. He is
credited, however, with having later supplied the Whigs with valuable
information through Col. John Lauren, and in 1783 General Greene
intervened to save his estates from confiscation. Soon after the war he
ended his days in the comfortable seclusion of his home in St. Paul's
Parish, near Charleston, leaving a name for honesty and benevolence, and
an estate, including ninety- odd slaves, valued at more than 2,600.

(From the Dictionary of American Biography)

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