Courtney, Killing of

Killing of Courtney

What: Murder, *Levi Odom et al vs. Courtney, unk. date

Other names:

34.29278 -79.45817 Killing of Courtney

Maps: [map notes]


  • JP:
    Alexander Gregg, HISTORY OF THE OLD CHERAWS, New York, Richardson and Company, 1867. pp.393 to 394:

    In the fork between Lumber River and Little Pedee was a noted band of Tories, who continued to hold out against the Government, even after it became firmly established. A party of Whigs, consisting, with others, of Jordan Gibson, William and Thomas Neville, Enos Tart, John Bethea, sen., John Bethea, jun., and Levi Odom, banded together to bring these outlaws to terms. A man named Courtney, who had acted as commissary for the enemy in these parts, was particularly obnoxious to the Whigs. They had often tried to take him, but in vain. He was in the habit of going to old Shoemake’s, a noted Tory, and at length, this Whig party in passing found him there. Shoemake lived in an open field, and in order to make sure of Courtney, his pursuers stationed themselves at some distance around. Courtney, seeing their approach, attempted to escape on his horse, which was a very fleet animal. He came first upon Gibson, who fired, but missed him. He then approached Tart, who took better aim, and broke his leg, bringing him to the ground. As they gathered around him, Odom, who was a relative of the Betheas, and had served as a soldier in Virginia, called on the Nevilles to shoot the wounded man, but they refused. He then said if no other would he would shoot him himself, and did so, putting an end to his life. Long afterwards, when sick and in delirium, Odom was seen to exhibit the utmost terror at the vision of the bloody victim of his revenge.

    Proceeding from this place, the Whigs, having reached the neighbourhood of the Tories, succeeded in capturing several, and determined to execute them without delay. But, the alarm being given, a sufficient number gathered from the adjacent country to rescue the prisoners, and bring their captors to treat with them. The result was that the Tories, satisfied by this demonstration of the fate that awaited them should they persist in their course of opposition, agreed to submit to the Government of the State, and henceforth keep the peace. The agreement continued to be observed, and no further difficulties of consequence occurred in this locality.


    I have plotted the names of the Whigs on the attached DeLorme Map, using the Gregg text, the 1825 survey (showing most of the Whig names) and the fact that Sampson Shoemake had land surveyed in 1803 with the names of the adjoining land owners. Bass was an adjacent land owner, not one of the Whigs (although there was a skirmish at Bass's Mill at a different time) involved in the killing of Courtney.

    The survey information is below:

    JAMES (8) SHUMATE, SR. (JOHN DE (7) LA SHOEMATE, JEAN DE6 LA CHAUMETTE, DANIEL DE5, JEAN DE4, JEAN DE3, ETIENNE DE2, FRANCOIS DE1) was born Abt. 1738 in Prince William County, Virginia, and died Bef. 1800 in Marion District, South Carolina. Children of JAMES SHUMATE, SR. are: 11. i. SAMPSON (9) SHOEMAKE, b. Bet. 1760 - 1770, South Carolina; d. Bet. 1830 - 1840, South Carolina. ---.ii. SOLOMON SHOEMAKE, b. Abt. 1750, South Carolina. ---iii. JAMES SHOEMAKE, JR., b. South Carolina. ---iv. SARAH SHOEMAKE, b. Abt. 1772, South Carolina; d. Austin County, Texas. Special Note: Marion Co. Plat Book "A" page. 129 7 Oct. 1803 surveyed for Sampson Shoemake by John Russ (Deputy Surveyor) for 265 acres on NE side of Great Peedee River between Catfish and Gum Swamps. Bounded by John Bethea, Solomon Shoemake, Grief Whittington, Christopher Dew, Andrew Berry, Jonathon Tart, and Joseph Bass: was entered in location office 8 Oct. 1803.

    I believe that James Shoemake, in his early 40s, is the Tory and owned the house where Courtney was visiting. Since he was a Tory, he was either killed or the State confiscated his land. The land either passed to Sampson or Sampson bought the land back and had it surveyed. Three of the adjacent land owners are on the 1825 map. Using that information, I located the site of Courtney's killing approximately at: 34.29278N 79.45817W. This is just inside modern Dillon County.

    Related sites:

    Submitted by: Jack Parker

    Confidence level: 1