Database

Shirer's Ferry.

Shirer's (Shiroe's, Shirar's) Ferry is associated with the skirmish described as Brierly's Ferry, 18 Nov 1780

Other names: Shaurer's Ferry, Shearer's Ferry, Byerley's Ferry, Brierly's Ferry, Strother's Ferry

What:18 Nov 1780. BG Sumter vs. Lt.Col.Tarleton, skirmish.
Ferry, camp used by Tarleton in 1780, between modern Fairfield and Newberry counties.

Where:

  • [Just below mouth of Heller's Creek] 34.32124 -81.36335 Arbitrary location consistent with Faden map and Ken Sheltons conclusions. See following:

Maps: [map notes]

  • 34.3520888,-81.3723203 [Morris/Dawkins Ferry] Believed to be north of Shirer's Ferry (per Ken Shelton)
  • 34.321534,-81.3645424 [Heller's Creek] This can be considered to be where the mouth of the creek would have been before any impounding. Point of reference for selecting location consistent with Faden map
  • 34.32124,-81.36335 [Just below m. of Heller Creek] Arbitrary point consistent with Faden map
  • 34.3137565,-81.35982 [Ruff's Ferry] Believed to be south of Shirer's Ferry (per Ken Shelton)

Sources:

  • SCAR, Vol.Two No.One, page 27: Pension Application of Col. Samuel Hammond S21807, dated October 31st and November 1st, 1832, Transcribed and Annotated by William T. Graves   This, Immediately after Sumpter had returned (with a good number of his command) from taking a view of Tarleton's camp at Shirer's Ferry on Broad River

  • Sherman's Calendar.... Search online for shirar's. To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader". In almost all cases, Sherman names Shirer's and Brierly's ferries together and as if they were a single ferry. .


  • Snippet from map in Tarleton's History.. shows Shirer's about
    25 mi. north of confluence of Saluda and Broad Rivers.

    Snippet from Faden's "Cornwallis" map show it clearly:

  • SCAR, Vol.Two No.10, page 15: "...a hand colored map published in 1796 by William Faden, Royal Geographer, entitled “The Marches of Lord Cornwallis in the Southern Provinces Now States of North America", footnoted:
    William Faden, royal geographer, “The Marches of Lord Cornwallis in the Southern Provinces Now States of North America….,” in Banastre Tarleton, A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North America (London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1796).
    from an article "The Battles of Stallions’ Plantation and Bigger’s Ferry" by Michael C. Scoggins, starting on p.10. A snippet from this map:

  • Note that Shirer's Ferry is shown almost directly opposite, slightly downstream, of a creek of significant size. The creeks names on this map are wrong at least compared to their modern counterparts. This opposing creek will have significance when considering Ken Shelton's long email of evidence, below.

  • Note that between Shirer's Ferry and the mouth of Wateree Creek is an unnamed crossing, the *only* other crossing shown on this snippet. Note the tan hashed line likely indicating Tarleton's route.

  • I enlarged the above image and used a plastic mm ruler and a hand calculator and found that the unnamed crossing was .697 of the distance between Shirer's F. and the mouth of Wateree Creek. Cannon's Cr. is badly out of position on this map or simply mislabeled (more probable), so we should not use that in any estimation.

  • See Morse, Jedidiah, 1794 map below, JR email 28 Feb 2006. Likely dependent upon Faden's map above. Note that the crossing is shown slightly below and opposite the mouth of a sizeable stream. Note that Morse confirms a locale Lee to the northeast of the ferry, the only such identification retained in the vicinity from Faden's maps of a few years earlier.

  • Boatner, p. 182: "...71st Highlanders were posted at Brierly's Ferry on the Broad River."

  • Babits, p. 49: "...on 1 January 1781, Tarleton was at Brierly's Ferry on Broad River."

  • Edgar, p.58: "Men from Lacey and Bratton's unit joined with Colonel Richard Winn and defeated Tory militia at Gibson's Meeting House and Brierley's Ferry."

  • Tarleton, p.203, "...I detached Major M'Arthur with the 1st battalion of the 71st, and the 63d regiment, after having sent my aid-de-camp, Lieutenant Money, to take the command of it, to Brierley's ferry, on Broad River, in order to cover our mills, and to give some check to the enemy's march to Ninety Six.". Viewable online at Schistory.org.

  • Sherman's Calendar.... Search online for brierley. There are 17 instances. To avoid future long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader". In almost all cases, Sherman names Shirer's(Shirar's) and Brierly's ferries together and as if they were a single ferry.

  • Patrick O'Kelley post on the skirmish at Brierly's Ferry.

  • O'Kelley, NBBAS, Vol Two., p. 363.

  • RevWar75   listing. 18 November.


  • Shaurer Fy
    34.3017°N, 81.3539°W (WGS84/NAD83)
    Ruffs Fy
    Mills Newberry 1820
    [Red dot placed by JR at ford site shown on Faden map]
    Ruffs Fy
    Mills Lexington 1820
    Ruffs Fy
    Mills Fairfield 1820
    [Red dot placed by JR at ferry site shown on Faden maps]

  • Ken's followup email of 10 Feb 2006 builds the case that "Shirer's/Strothers" Ferry lay somewhere between Morris' Ferry and Ruff's Ferry.

  • John R.'s response to Ken S.'s email noted that Faden maps showed a sizeable creek opposite Shirer's Ferry, that Ken S. concluded that "Shirer's Ferry" lay between Morris's Ferry and Ruff's Ferry, and that the Mills 1820 Newberry map showed the only such creek to be Heller's Creek.

  • Ken's followup email of 25 Feb 2006, in which he concludes from various documents, that Shirer's and Brierley's were one and the same, and that *both* Shires and Byerley were loyalists, explaining its turnover to Winn when the Whigs regained control

  • From: John Robertson, 28 Feb 2006: I found this map from Morse, Jedidiah, 1794, David Rumsey. Likely dependent upon Faden's map above. Note that the crossing is shown slightly below and opposite the mouth of a sizeable stream. Note that Morse confirms a locale Lee to the northeast of the ferry, the only such identification retained in the vicinity from Faden's maps of a few years earlier.
    Morse1794

  • Ken Shelton's 3-21-06 email in which he concludes that Shirer's Ferry was between Ashford's Ferry and Ruff's Ferry and within 4 miles of Morris' Ferry.

  • From: John Robertson
    21 March 2006
    Faden's 1796 map in Tarleton's History (see, above) certainly confirms that multiple roads lead to Shirer's Ferry. One can even note a 2nd ferry downstream from Shirers. While one might always wonder just how much any cartographer really knows about what is shown on a map, Tarleton (read primary source) himself would have been the one providing the hashed lines showing his routes of travel. Since Tarleton shows so much detail about his movements in the area and was obviously dealing directly with the cartographer, he would almost certainly have raised an issue if a significant stream were shown so near the ferry if it were not in fact there. All these streams he shows as crossing required fording, a major factor in the life of the combatants on both sides, and also served as navigational aids. In addition to being constraints to free movement, fords were places of particular vulnerability to surprise attack.

    The Tamer Creek shown on Faden's map was likely derived from Mouzon's 1775 map (as well as the misnaming of other streams in the area). It appears very probable to me that the creek shown as Tamer is now known as Hellers Creek, but others may well differ. I believe that Mouzon also has the precinct line misplaced where it intersects the Broad River (or has the streams misplaced).

    MouzonTamer

    In Ken's latest, I understand him to conclude that Shirer's Ferry lay between Ashford's Ferry and Ruff's Ferry (a distance of some 6.3 miles) and less than 4 miles from Morris' Ferry.

    Ashford to Ruff
    1825 Mills Newberry
    Ashford to Ruff
    1825 Mills Fairfield
    [JR note: Distance from Ashford's to Ruff's is 6.3 miles.]

    As I recall, Ken earlier concluded that Shirer's would have been located between Morris' Ferry and Ruff's Ferry. Is this no longer the case?

  • From: Ken Shelton
    Date: 21 Mar 2006
    Both statements are correct -- one set of documents narrows it down to between Ashford's and Ruff's, and the other set narrows it down even further between Morris' and Ruff's. Morris' is between Ashford's and Ruff's per the ... maps.

    If you put it between Morris' and Ruff's, it is:
    A) Between Ashford's and Ruff's -- yes
    B) Between Morris' and Ruff's -- yes
    C) Less than 4 miles from Morris' -- yes
    All three conditions are satisfied.

    If you put Scheurer's say south of Ruff's, then the "within 4 miles of Morris'" condition becomes violated within a short distance.

    Similiarly, if you put it north of Ashford's, then again it quickly goes outside the 4-mile boundary.

    If you put it north of Morris' but south of Ashfords, then the petitioners who cosigned on the legislative pleas, and the land grants for Martain Scheurer, and the lands that Richard Strother later owned appear to be out of place. All these people & places are south of Morris' ferry.

    So it backs it into that stretch between Morris' and Ruff's per the 1825 Mills atlas.

    There are multiple landing points, so it isn't a single point on the north side and a single point on the south side of the river. These points probably changed slightly over the 40-some years of operation due to local conditions and road access points. The documents establish the location of some of these landing points at specific times.

  • From: Ken Shelton
    Date: 21 Mar 2006
    And actually, thinking of it some more, putting it NORTH of Morris' would then put Ashford's (William Liles) Ferry within the 4-mile keep-out zone -- therefore, the only place where you can simultaneously get (A) Ashford's outside of 4 miles and (B) Morris' inside 4 miles and (C) still on the Newberry side of the district line is the stretch between Morris' and Ruff's Ferry.

    Related locations: Brierly's Ferry

    Confidence level: 3