Lynches Creek Massacre.

Other names: Lynches River, Lynch's Creek

What: Dec 1780 (ca. 10 Apr 1780?), Lt.Gordon vs. *Capt.Butler. Gordon's men murdered after surrender.


  • 33.835225 -79.448514 Lynches Creek Massacre (JCP)

    Maps: [map notes]


    • Terry W. Lipscomb, "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles - Part Ten", (MS H-2-2)Unpublished manuscript,
      On Lynches Creek in the southern part of Florence County, there occurred an especially provocative incident that was credited with escalating the level of violence among the inhabitants of the Pee Dee. A small scouting party of Marion's Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant Roger Gordon, halted for provisions and refreshments at a tavern in the neighborhood. Here they were surprised by a large force of Tories under an officer by the name of Captain Butler, particularly noted for his ferocity.

      The building was set on fire and Gordon's men surrendered upon being offered quarter, but as soon as they had grounded their arms, Butler and his Tories butchered the entire party. When the Loyalist forces of the region surrendered to General Marion at Burch's Mill in 1782 (NSC XXVIII:36), Butler presented himself and claimed the same protection that was being extended to other Tories. Marion granted him clemency over the complaints and threats of his own officers, who protested that "to defend such a wretch was an insult to humanity.42.

      42 David Ramsay, History of South Carolina, vol. 1, pp. 234-35; James, Life of Marion, p. 68; Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, vol. 1, p. 281; Gregg, Old Cheraws, pp. 395-96; Audited Account of Roger Gordon (AA2979), South Carolina Archives. Lamuel Benton was so incensed at the indulgent treatment of Tories in his district, that he went over Francis Marion's head and took the matter up with the governor. See R. W. Gibbes, Documentary History of the American Revolution, vol. 2 (1776-1782)., pp. 207-9.

    • William Dobein James, "A Sketch of the Life of Brig. Gen. Francis Marion", Chapter II, Campaign of 1780
      He [Marion] lay here to receive them, and to repose his men, and horses; which, from the time he left the White marsh until he halted at Snow's island, had passed over at least three hundred and sixty miles, in rapid marches and counter marches, made principally in the night. Marion now kept out a strict watch upon the enemy. About this time, Lieut. Roger Gordon was sent out with a party, to patrole on Lynch's creek, and stopped at a house for provisions and refreshments. While there, he was attacked by Capt. Butler with a much larger party of tories, who having succeeded in making good his approaches to the house, set it on fire. Gordon then capitulated on a promise of quarters; but no sooner had his party grounded their arms, than they were all put to death. Not long after, Col. Kalb, Mr. Thomas Evans and some others, were murdered by Gibson, a coloured man, and his party of tories, in a manner still more shocking to humanity.

    • Gregg, History of the Old Cheraws, p.395
      In the neighbourhood of the DuBoses, on Lynche's Creek, was a famous Tory captain, Jef. Butler. He had been guilty of many acts of plunder, and at different times treated the family of Elias DuBose with great rudeness and cruelty. William Dick, a brother-in-law of Mr. Du Bose, who moved to that neighbourhood after the war, went to Butler's with a small party, and found him on the ridge pole of a corn crib which he was covering. Dick ordered him down, and upon Butler's refusal to obey, knocked him off with an ear of corn. He was then tied and carried to DuBose's residence, and upon being confronted with Mrs. DuBose, denied having ever seen her. She knew him, however, too well. He was then taken out, tied up, severely whipped, and told if he did not leave the country in a given number of days, he would be dealt with more severely. Knowing what the result would be, he went off without delay, and was never heard of afterwards. As a Tory leader, the courage and ferocity of Butler were well known on the Pedee.

    • The 1820 Mill Atlas showed such a tavern near Lynches Creek (40 years later):

      Lynches Creek Massacre

    • Jack Parker: ca. 10 Apr 1780. This tavern is at the junction of 3 major roads connecting from Georgetown, Marion, Indiantown, Kingstree & Manning.

      I believe that the "Massacre on Lynches Creek" happened at the tavern shown on the 1825 Mills Survey, ... (on the east side of Highway 41 where it crosses the Railroad Tracks). This is the most likely site for the Massacre for the following reasons:

      1. There is a tavern shown on the 1825 Mills that is in lower Florence County. Since taverns were very profitable, even though burned, it would have been rebuilt and probably located on the same site.
      2. Lieut. Roger Gordon was sent out with a party from Snow's Island about 6-7 miles from the Tavern.
      3. Captain Butler was from the DuBose Ferry area, which is another name for Witherspoon's Ferry (as shown on the 1825 Mills) and where the Tavern is located. I could not find another tavern from Johnsonville to Highway 15 bridge (M`Callum's Ferry) on or along Lynches Creek on the Cook 1773, Jefferys 1776 or 1825 Mills.
      4. However, the fly in the ointment, so to speak, is that M`Callum's Ferry, which was where Highway 15 crosses Lynches Creek. There is a Historical Marker there telling about Peter DuBose's Ferry. Even though, this Historical Marker exists, it must be noted that the Historical marker says Peter DuBose and the account with Captain Butler from Gregg says Elias DuBose. This gives additional strength to my location of the "Massacre on Lynches Creek" at the Tavern at Witherspoon's/DuBose Ferry. The tavern may also have been owned by Elias DuBose or another member of his family.

    • Dubose Ferry hm

    • NBBAS:Two.
      P.378-379: ?? Dec 1780, Lt.Gordon vs. *Capt.Butler. Gordon's men murdered after surrender.
      Revlist post

    • Sherman's Calendar.... Not found. To avoid future long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".

    • RevWar75 RevWar75  
    • Apr 1780 listing. Not found.
    • Dec 1780 listing ?? Dec 1780 listing for a Patriot victory on Lynch's Cr.
    • Jan 1781 listing 1/13/1781 Waccamaw Neck (Lynch's Creek Swamp). Draw.
    • Mar 1781 listing 3/1781 Lynch's Creek. Insufficient data.

    Related sites: Witherspoon's Ferry,   Snow's Island, Major James House Burned, Skirmish at McGill's Plantation, Indiantown Church Burned, Major Ganey/Marion First Skirmish

    Confidence level: See above.