Rocky Creek Settlement

Other names: Covenanter Church, Land's Plantation

12 June 1780, Capt. Ben Land vs. *unknown British dragoon cdr, skirmish
3 Mar 1781, Unk. American captain vs. *Capt. Daniel Muse, skirmish

Where: 34.608171 -81.00138 Covenanter Church (approx. 2 mi. east of Catholic Church, on hill near "Rocky Mount road", near intersection, about 1/2 mile from Rossville) (JAR)

Maps: [map notes]

  • 34.608171,-81.00138 Covenanter Church (approx. 2 mi. east of Catholic Church, on hill near "Rocky Mount road", near intersection, about 1/2 mile from Rossville) (JAR)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5(Covenanter Church,6-'80), 2(Capt. Land's home,3-'81)

  • 34.5993087 -81.0353621 Old Catholic Church
  • GNIS record for Old Catholic Church. Note mapping options.
  • Confidence: 5(Old Catholic Church), 0(Covenanter church)

  • 34.61016,-81.041203 Historical marker for Catholic Presbyterian Church (JCP)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5(marker)


  • Covenanter Church marker, courtesy of Jack Parker:

    Rocky Cr DAR Mkr

  • John W. Sproull, Thomas Sproull, David Burt Willson, James McLeod Willson, The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 1876 Myers, Shinkle [etc.], p.172-173
    Rev. William Richardson, of Waxhaw, was the only minister within a hundred miles. They "applied to him to supply them with preaching; he consented, and directed them to build a church, as he would preach for them on week days. The first preaching day was on Monday; he named the church (which they had built according to his directions) Catholic. It is situated fifteen miles south-east from Chester Court House, near the Rocky Mount road.*

    Rev. William Martin emigrated from Ireland at least-as early as 1772; he was the first covenanting preacher in the settlement. I have in my possession, from Henry and Margaret Malcolm, a letter written to their son-in-law John Lin, in which they refer to Mr. Martin as being over here in this Rocky Creek settlement. This letter is dated May 30th, 1773, County Antrim, Ireland, in answer to one from his son-in-law, John Lin. The reference to Mr. Martin is in these words: " We hear it reported here that Mr. Martin and his Covenanters had ill getting their land, and John Cochrane had the occasion of all their trouble." I suppose that this trouble about laud was, that they expected to settle all down close together in a colony ; but such was then the situation of the country that they had to scatter and select lands at a considerable distance from each other. They were entitled to bounty lands, a hundred acres to each head of a family, and fifty to each member. Those who had means bought from the old settlers. Rev. William Martin bought from William Stroud a plantation one mile square, six hundred and ibny acres, on the north side of Big Rocky Creek, on which he built a rock house and a rock spring bouse. The place selected for a church was two miles east of Catholic on the Rocky Mount road, near the house now occupied by Mrs. James Barber Ferguson. It is described as having been a log building; was burnt down by the British in 178O.** After Martin was released by Coruwallis at Winnsboro, owing to the disturbed state of the country, he went to Mecklenburg, N. C.


    After the war, when Mr. Martin returned to Rocky Creek, he was employed as supply at Catholic for three years. He was dismissed by the people of Catholic on account of becoming intemperate. He however, did not quit preaching. He preached at a school house at Edward McDaniel's, about a mile or two west of the place, at which a brick church, was afterwards built. He also went down to Jackson's creek in Fairfield, and preached there. I recollect that Richard Gladney was a Covenanter in that neighborhood, and doubtless there were others. He was also in the habit of crossing the Catawba river and preaching at the house of William Hicklin, who had moved from Rocky Creek to Lancaster. He frequently preached at other places, often at private houses. A congregation afterwards built him a church two miles east from the site of the one formerly burnt down near the Rocky Mount road, on a beautiful hill, in rear of what was called Earle's House, in a fine grove of trees. The lands are now all cleared up, and there is a negro house now on top of that hill, where the church once stood.

    *Dr. Howe's " History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina."
    ** Mrs. Ellet's " Women of the Revolution," 3d vol., article "Nancy Green"; also Dr. Howe's " History of the Presbyterian Church," article " Mary Barkley."

  • Elizabeth Fries Ellet, The Women of the American Revolution, Vol. III, 1856, Scribner, p.117ff.
    An interesting glimpse into the life and character of the Scotch-Irish patriots of South Carchina at the period of the Revolution, is afforded in the history of Mrs. Green. She was the daughter of Robert Ste- phenson, (commonly called Stinson) a native of Scotland, and was born in the county of Antrim, Ireland, in 1750. The family was reared in the strictest tenets of the covenanting faith, in the parish of Bal- lymoney, under the pastoral care of the Rev. "William Martin, who about the year 1773 emigrated to America and took up his abode on the banks of Rocky Creek, a branch of Catawba River, in the county, now district of Chester, South Carolina. ... At this time bounty lands were bestowed by the government as inducements to emigration. Those who received such warrants, on their arrival took care to fix their location as near as possible to a central point, where it was their intention to build a meeting-house. The spirit was that of the ancient patriarchs, who, wherever they went, first built an altar unto the Lord. The spot selected for this purpose was the dividing ridge between Great and Little Rocky Creek. Here, in the summer of 1773, the pious covenanters might be seen from day to day, felling trees and clearing a space of ground, on which they reared a large log meetinghouse, many of them living in tents at home, till a place was provided in which they could assemble for religious service. The land selected by William Anderson lay about two miles to the east, half a mile from what is now Rossville, near Great Rocky Creek. On a small elevation near the road leading to McDonald's Ferry, stood his tent, until the meeting house was completed.

  • Alexander Garden's Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America... (1822), first edition pages 424-425. Contributed by William Thomas Sherman.

    "In the year 1781, while Rawdon in command at Camden, and Sumter lay on the borders of North-Carolina, the male inhabitants of the intervening settlements, who were capable of bearing arms, resorted to one or the other, according to the political principles which they cherished. The Whigs in the neighborhood of Rocky Creek, forty miles above Camden, having previously to their joining Sumter, chosen John Land, a respectable resident, as their Captain, adopted a practice of occasionally visiting the settlement, to pass the night with their families, and return at early morn to camp. On the evening of the 2d March, Captain Land, with seven of his companions, arrived at his home, placed a sentinel at the door, and having for some hours enjoyed the society of his delighted family, retired to rest. The period of repose was but of short duration. The Tories had, by some unknown means, obtained information of his intended visit, and a party of them, thirty in number, under the command of Captain Daniel Muse, arrived at midnight in the neighbourhood, and having carefully secured all the old men and boys likely to communicate intelligence, pushed on for Land’s. When within about an hundred and fifty yards of the log-house which he inhabited, they were perceived by the sentinel at the door, who having hailed, fired on them. A momentary halt was made, and a guard being placed over their prisoner, two old men, a youth, and two boys, a furious charge was made on the house. The gallant inmates received them with firmness, kept up a lively fire through the open spaces betwixt the logs, and finally repulsed them, having previously mortally wounded Lieutenant Lewis Yarborough, the second in command. The Tory party taking up their line of march through woods and by-ways, now retreated, and moved with such celerity, as to reach British Head-Quarters at Camden, by twelve o’clock the same day, carrying the youth and two boys, one of them, Dr. John Mackey, now an inhabitant of Charleston, as trophies of their prowess and gallantry. The old man and wounded officer, were left on the way.

    "Poor Land did not long enjoy the triumph of this little victory. Emboldened by success, he ventured in about three weeks on another visit to his family, accompanied by betwixt twenty and thirty of his neighbours. The party reached Rocky Creek in the evening, and having agreed to assemble at the house of one Boyd on the following day, dispersed each individual retiring to his own family. But alas! Treachery was again on foot. The enemy were apprised of every movement; and Lord Rawdon having lost much of his confidence in his Tory auxiliaries, by the failure of their former essay, send a detachment of his Regular Cavalry, united with them, to cut off Land his followers. Their success, on this occasion, was but too complete. Many of the party were killed as they approached the place of rendezvous, and among them the unfortunate Captain Land, who was butchered in cold blood, in revenge, no doubt, for the detach of Yarborough, whom he had killed in just and honourable combat.”

    [Note: This account gives Land's death as in 1781. It is probable that Garden confused the date.]

  • Catholic Presbyterian Rev War Soldiers, courtesy of Jack Parker. Note Benjamin Land died 1780.

    Catholic Presby. RevWar Soldiers

    SC Highway Historical Marker 12-1
    Catholic Presbyterian Church
    SC-97 at Rd 355, about 12.7 miles SE of Chester
    One mile south. Divergent Presbyterian groups held services in this area as early as 1759. Rev. William Richardson, active in the area, is credited with unifying and naming them in 1770. The cemetery contains many graves of Revolutionary and Confederate soldiers. The present building was dedicated in 1842.
    County Historical Commission - 1964

  • SC Highway Historical Marker for Catholic Presbyterian Church, courtesy of Jack Parker:

    Catholic Presby Ch HM

  • NBBAS:Two p.175, Rocky Creek, SC, 12 June 1780.
    NBBAS:Two p.220-221, Rocky Creek, SC, 3 Aug 1780.
    Patrick O'Kelley, Revlist post: Rocky Creek, South Carolina, 3 August 1780
    NBBAS:Three p.107-108, Rocky Creek Settlement, SC, 3 Mar 1781. Footnotes acknowledge the confusion of several captains named Land and of the accounts of their death in 1780 and 1781.
    Patrick O'Kelley, Revlist post: Rocky Creek Settlement, South Carolina, 3 March 1781

    The details of Capt. Land's death are unclear.

  • Mike Scoggins, The Day It Rained Militia, p.73

  • Sherman's Calendar.... Search for "rocky creek". To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".

  • RevWar75 RevWar75
  • June 1780 listing Not found.
  • Aug 1780 listing 8/3/1780 Rocky Creek. Insufficient data. Per O'Kelley.
  • Mar 1781 listing 3/3/1781 Rocky Creek Settlement. Draw. Per O'Kelley.

Related locations:
Bechamville,   Rocky Creek (8-'80),   Rocky Mount,   Fishing Creek,  

Confidence level:: See above.