Ridgeway's Fort   Dirty Creek   Kings Chapel Church  

Ridgeway's Fort / Dirty Creek.

Other names: Reedy River

What: Skirmish, 3 Sep 1781, Capt. John Ridgeway vs. *Maj. William Cunningham.


34.4096 -82.15513 Ridgeway's Fort (skirmish), arbitrary location on high ground above Reedy River in vicinity of following locations.

34.4426206 -82.124273 Dirty Creek (murder)

34.39530 -82.185749 Old Kings Chapel (muster ground)

Maps: [map notes]

    • 34.4096,-82.15513 Ridgeway's Fort (skirmish), arbitrary location on high ground above Reedy River in vicinity of following locations.
    • ACME Mapper.
    • National Map
    • Google
    • Live Search
    • Confidence: 1 (for fort), 0 (for murders)

    • 34.4426206,-82.124273 Dirty Creek (murder)
    • GNIS record for Dirty Creek. Note mapping options.
    • Confidence: 0 (for fort, murders), 5 (for mouth of creek)

    • 34.39530,-82.185749 Old Kings Chapel (muster ground)
    • ACME Mapper.
    • National Map
    • Google
    • Confidence: 0 (for fort, murders), 5 (for church)


  • Reedy River (Greenville/Laurens Co.) SC
    Reedy R Reedy R lgd

  • Per this source:
    Capt. John Ridgeway, Sr. – killed by Tories on Dirty Creek, September 3, 1781. Served under Col. Joseph Hayes. (Moss)

    J.R. note: Moss does not state that he was killed on Dirty Creek.

  • Revolutionary pension statement of Thomas Arnold, W5640 [Also here]:
    That after the expiration of his three (months) stay in North Carolina he was marched back to South Carolina Ninety Six Districts by Capt. John Ridgeway. That he continued under his command until he was killed by William Cunningham on Dirty Creek in the District of Ninety Six, by reason of whose death he was unable to get a discharge from the service.

    J.R. note: Arnold does not state that the fort was on Dirty Creek, but that Captain John Ridgeway (and presumably 9 others) was killed (presumably executed after surrender) on Dirty Creek. Dirty Creek, at some unknown point along its 5 miles length, thereby becomes a significant site in addition to that of Ridgeway's Fort.

  • NBBAS:Three. P.332.
  • RevList Post
    O'Kelley lists sources: Moss, Roster of South Carolina Patriots..., p.41 (Thomas Ballard, below), p.58 (nothing found); Lipscomb, Part Seven, below. O'Kelley says that this was Cunningham's second action at Ridgeway's Fort, the earlier effort failing. The date of the earlier attack is currently not known.

  • "Alphabetical List Of Battles During The Revolutionary War", Ohio SAR, lists:
    Reedy River, South Carolina, 1 August 1781 and 3 or 5 September 1781

    J.R. Note: The provider of the above is given as Joseph M. Goldsmith. This may provide the date of the earlier attack on Ridgeway's Fort. See Lipscomb, below.

  • Barefoot (SC), p.161. Ridgeway's Fort is described as "in this area" referring to Old Kings Chapel Church. Barefoot describes the vicinity of the church as a mustering ground during the Revolution.

  • Laurens County highway map. This location differs from that provided by GNIS record and topo map:


  • Terry W. Lipscomb, "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles, Part Seven", Names in South Carolina, English Department, University of South Carolina, XXVI, Winter 1979, p.35
    About the first of August, Cunningham raided the country between the Enoree and Saluda rivers, killed eight noted Patriots, and recruited sixty Loyalists from the area, who accompanied him to the Cane Creek base and joined his corps. 28

    The Patriot militia constructed two blockhouses on the Reedy River to protect the frontier settlers from these periodic incursions of Loyalists from the mountains. These were garrisoned by a party of men from the Little River Regiment under the command of Captain John Ridgeway. On September 3 or 5, one of Cunningham's detachments attacked this post. Captain Ridgeway, another officer, and eight privates were killed and the rest of the Patriots surrendered.29 The site was probably in western Laurens County, but it conceivably could have been in Greenville County.

    28. The Royal Gazette, September 12, 1781; Pickens to Greene, July 19, 1781. Pickens County Historical Society collection. For identification of Major Purdue, see Audited Account of Fields Pardue (AA5680), South Carolina Archives.
    29. The Royal Gazette, September 29, 1781; Audited Account of John Ridgeway (AA64 16), South Carolina Archives. For additional references to Captain Ridgeway, see the Pension Accounts of John, Samuel. and William Ridgeway, National Archives. The skirmish took place on September 3 according to Colonel Levi Casey, on September 5 according to the newspaper account.

  • JCP:
    Ridgeway’s Fort, Reedy River or Cunningham’s First Raid (Laurens County, S.C.) 8/1/1781 Lieut. Col. William Cunningham continued his raids begun in early July. In an action, which took place on 1 August, he was more successful than hitherto. The whigs lost 8 killed and wounded. Cunningham’s losses, if any are not known. One result of the fighting, was that Cunningham was shortly afterward able to recruited 60 more men. He continued to raid frontier areas in September and October, after which he made his way to Charleston. Source not recorded.

  • Thomas Ballard, S20283:
    ABSTRACT: National Pension Claim: S20283. Born 7 March 1755 at Abbeville, VA Died 28 Dec 1843. In 1799, he moved to Kershaw Dist. From Dec 1779 to May 1780 he was a lieutenant under Capt. William Nettles and Col. John Marshall and was often out scouting against Tories. He was in the engagement at Ridgeway's Fort. In 1780, 1781, and 1782 he was a Captain under Col. Frederick Kimball and Gen. Sumter and was in the battles at Hobkirk Hill and Biggin Church. Audited Acc. 265;w165

    J.R. note: It is unclear whether Thomas Ballard participated in the first or second action at Ridgeway's Fort. See O'Kelley, above.

  • Pension application of John & William Ridgeway 6416 [State Claims], p.3
    We do hereby certify that John Ridgway was a Capt. in the Little River Regiment was a Revolutor in this State before the first of January 1775 and fell in Defence of this State by the act of the Enemy thereof on the third day September 1781 and left a widow with two children who are under the age of twelve years of age. ...

    Levi Casey,...

    J.R. note: Note O'Kelley and Lipscomb comments on variance in dates given, above.

  • RevWar75 RevWar75
  • Listing for Aug 1781. 8/1/1781 Saluda River. British victory. (O'Kelley)
  • Listing for Aug 1781. 8/1/1781 Laurens Co. Insufficient data. (Peckham)
  • Listing for Sep 1781. 9/3/1781 Ridgeway's Fort. British victory. (O'Kelley)

Related sites: Dirty Creek, Old King's Chapel

Confidence level: See above.