Tyger River (Plundering Sam)

Other names:

Murder of "Plundering Sam" Brown, July 1780

34.792814 -81.94075 Tyger River, Murder of Plundering Sam Brown, July 1780

Maps: [map notes]

  • 34.792814,-81.94075 Tyger River, Murder of Plundering Sam Brown, July 1780
  • If on road from Walnut Grove (locale) to Marches Br., approx. 1.5 miles from Ott Shoals, near source of Tin Roof Branch.
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 3(murder)

  • 34.8012374 -81.9659344 Ott Shoals
  • GNIS record for Ott Shoals. Note mapping options.
  • Confidence: 5 (shoals)

  • 34.8012374 -81.9659344 Marches Bridge
  • GNIS record for Marches Bridge. Note mapping options.
  • Confidence: 5 (bridge)


  • John Belton O'Neall, Colonial and Revolutionary History of Upper South Carolina: Embracing for ..., 1897 Shannon & Co., Printers, p.131-132
    In Draper's "King's Mountain," the following story is related : Sam Brown, known as Plundering Sam, and another whose name was Butler, went to the house of Josiah Culbertson, son-in-law of Col. John Thomas, in the Fair Forest region, where he mistreated Mrs. Culbertson. Her husband coming home at night, was informed of Brown's insolence and unbecoming conduct. His temper was so aroused that he determined to capture or kill him and thus rid the country of a bad man. Selecting a man by the name of Charles Holloway, he started at once in pursuit. Early next morning they were joined by William Neel, William Mcllhaney and one, Steadman. It is stated that these determined men pursued Brown some ten miles, and as they were passing the house of Dr. Andrew Thomson on Tyger River, they discovered in the stables the horses of Brown and Butler. Retracing their steps they concealed themselves near the stables. Very soon Brown and Butler appeared at the door, when Culbertson leveled his rifle on him and sent a ball into his body which killed him. Holloway, who was near him, fired at Butler but missed his aim and Butler made good his escape.*

    * Col. T. J. Moore, of Moore, S. C., in a communication to the Carolina Spartan, April 7th, 1894, stated that he has investigated and found the scene of the murder of Sam Brown. Colonel Moore states that the house where Dr. Thomson lived is the present Pinson or "tin roofed" house, now occupied by Mr. Newton Bearden, a mile or two from Oats' [sic, Otts] Shoal going east, and on the road from Walnut Grove to Marches' Shoal bridge, in the direction of Woodruff.

    This old historic house is built of hewn logs, has two large rooms below, flight of stairs and two rooms above. Long years ago it was weatherboarded which preserved the logs. The same floor is in it now as was then. The planks are wide and notched down at every sleeper to make it level and true. There is a cellar in the middle of one room. The nails used were wrought ones. The hewn logs for the most part are in a good state of preservation. The old fire place is ten feet wide and ten feet thick between the rooms. It is further stated in Colonel Moore's article, that the blood of Brown is still on the door and floor near it, and that for a long time the hole of the bullet that was shot at Butler and which struck the house was seen, and that until the past few years the tree under which Culbertson and his friends were concealed was standing.

    Sam Brown's grave is about a mile from the place where he was killed, across a branch and near a shoal on the branch, and directly between the houses of Mrs. Trail and Belton Steadman. Colonel Moore visited the grave, which was pointed out to him by Mr. George P. Moore and Mr. Steadman, both of whom were familiar with the tradition of the killing of Sam Brown.

  • Lyman Copeland Draper, King's Mountain and Its Heroes: History of the Battle of King's Mountain ..., , 1881, P.G. Thomson


    Several interesting incidents transpired during the summer and early autumn of 1780, in the region of the present counties of Laurens, Spartanburg, and Union, while Colonel Ferguson yet held sway in that quarter. The more striking of them deserve to be preserved in the history of the times, as exhibiting something of the rancor and bitterness engendered by civil warfare.
    To such an extent had the people of the Spartanburg region been raided and over-run, during the summer of 1780, by these persistent pillagers, that the men had been compelled to fly to the distant bodies of Whigs under McDowell or Sumter, or become out-lyers in the wilderness. This left a comparatively open field for the marauders, and they were not slow to avail themselves of it. Captain Brown and his followers made frequent incursions in that quarter.
    At length Brown stepped out of the house into the yard, followed by Butler; and as the Tory Captain was enjoying lazily a rustic yawn, with his hands locked over his head, he received a shot from Culbertson's deadly rifle, at a distance of about two hundred yards. The ball passed directly through his bodv, just below his shoulders, and making a desperate bound, he fell dead against the door- yard fence.

  • NBBAS:Two p.218-219, 521
    Footnote 409:
    There is no date for the death of Sam Brown, and is only referred to as taking place in the summer of 1780. I have placed it at the end of July due the location of Josiah Culbertson at that time.
    RevList post

  • RevWar75 RevWar75   None of the following appear to be relevant.
  • June 1776 listing 6/1776 Middle Tyger River. British victory. Per O'Kelley.
  • Nov 1780 listing 11/20/1780 Blackstocks Plantation (Blackstock's Ford, Tyger River). Draw. Per Heitman, Peckham, O'Kelley
  • Nov 1781 listing 11/1781 Tyger River. Insufficient data. Per O'Kelley.

Related locations:

Confidence level:: See above.