Waxhaws Meeting House

Other names:

Skirmish, church burned, raid, Maj. Robert Crawford vs. *Maj. John Coffin, 10 Apr 1781

Where: 34.788671 -80.83298 Waxhaws Meeting House

Maps: [map notes]


  • Terry W. Lipscomb, "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles - Part Ten" (MS H-2-2), unpublished manuscript, p. 22-23
    Not long after the Dutchman's Creek affair, the British sent a large force from Camden to the Waxhaws, in order to help the local Tories intimidate their opposition. This expedition, commanded by Major John Coffin, was made up of one hundred and fifty troops, including a corps of light dragoons, a company of infantry, and a considerable number of Loyalists. The Patriots of Major Robert Crawford's command turned out to meet this threat, assembling at Waxhaw Presbyterian Church, their regular place of muster. About forty armed and mounted troops were at the church on the evening of April 10, 1781, when the British regulars arrived in force, screened by their Tory militia, "who were dressed in the common garb of the country." The Patriots were taken completely by surprise when a party of enemy dragoons charged up the road to the meeting house with drawn sabers. Eleven were captured and the rest were scattered; the British then burned Waxhaw Church and proceeded to plunder the neighborhood, burning houses and taking prisoners. General Sumter sent Colonels Hampton and Taylor in pur-suit, but they were apparently unable to overtake the enemy force before it returned safely to Camden. Here again is a skirmish that is interesting not because of its intrinsic military significance, but because one of the participants was historically significant. One of the forty Patriots at the church was fourteen-year-o1d Andrew Jackson, the future seventh -president of the United States. On the following morning, April 11, at the home of Lieutenant Thomas Crawford, there occurred the famous incident of Jackson's capture by the British and his refusal to clean a British officer's boots.29

    29 YBC 1899) appendix) pp. 8-9; Andrew Jackson) The Papers of Andrew Jackson) ed. Sam B. Smith and Harriet Chappell Owsley) vol. 1) p. 5; John Reid and John Henry Eaton) The Life of Andrew Jackson) P?11-12; Marquis James) The Life of Andrew Jackson (1938 one-volume edition») pp. 25-26; Robert V. Remini) Andrew Jackson and the Course ~American Empire 1767-1821, pp. 20-21; Howe, Presbyterian Church, vol. 1) pp. 538) 540; Perry, Writings) vol. 1, pp. 15-18. On p. 18 of Remini's book is a good reproduction of the map from Amos Kendall's 1843 biography) corrected and approved by Jackson him self, and showing the places connected with his Revolutionary boyhood. A less complete but in many respects more accurate map is published in James's book between pages 48 and 49. Neither map should be regarded as altogether accurate, particularly with regard to the battle sites that are shown.

  • "Discover South Carolina"
    "Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church",
    The church received its name from this region located in the upper part of the state known as "the Waxhaws," a name taken from a now extinct Indian tribe that once inhabited the area. Scot-Irish settlers from Pennsylvania established a meeting house on this site in 1755. Andrew Jackson was baptized here in the first meeting house and it was used as a hospital during the Revolutionary War. The original meeting house was burned by the British after a skirmish in 1781...The adjacent cemetery, is the final resting place of many of the area’s pioneer and Revolutionary War heroes including: Rev. William Richardson, pastor 1759-71; Andrew Jackson, Sr. father of the President Andrew Jackson; Andrew Pickens, Sr. father of Andrew Pickens, Jr., hero of the Rev War and William Richardson Davie, general in the American Revolution, founder of the University of North Carolina and governor of the Tar Heel state. The cemetery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

  • University of SC Manuscript Collections, "Waxhaw Presbyterian Church records, 1754 and 1807",
    Two manuscripts, 1754 and 1807, relating to site of Waxhaw Presbyterian Church, consisting of the original North Carolina colonial plat surveyed in 1754 and also the 1807 Lancaster County deed for an additional 4˝ acres of land purchased by Waxhaw Presbyterian Church.

    The original North Carolina colonial plat documents John Barnet's 599 acres surveyed in 1754. In 1757, Barnet deeded the land to Robert Miller, minister of Waxhaw Church. On 9 March 1758, Miller conveyed from his 599 acre holdings the 4˝ acres tract of land on with the Presbyterian Meeting House stood to the trustees of the Congregation of the Waxhaws "for the good will & affection...& every of their greater advantages & conveniency in attending upon divine worship at all stated or occasional times...conform[able] to the practice of the Church of Scotland." The original Anson County, N.C., deed was signed by Andrew Pickens as one of the witnesses. [filed as P -- John Barnet -- 1754]

    Waxhaw is reputed to be the oldest Presbyterian church in upper South Carolina. It had a meeting house in use as early as 1755. The diary of an itinerant preacher recorded that date, and Thomas Sumter's correspondence later documented that in 1781 the British army burned the original building.

  • NBBAS:Three p.185. 9 Apr 1781.
    Revlist post.

  • Sherman's Calendar....
    9 April. (or thereabouts) [raid] Waxhaws Church (Lancaster County, S.C.): The Waxhaws settlement was raided, and the meeting house there, and several homes, burned by a mounted party of 150 Provincials and loyalists under Capt. John Coffin. An unknown number of whigs were killed, wounded and 14 were captured. Sumter’s men, under Col. Thomas Taylor and Col. Henry Hampton, were unable catch Coffin in pursuit. Sumter then later struck back by raiding the loyalists of the Mobley and Sandy Run settlements. See Mid to Late April.1865 On 13 April, and from his camp on the Catawba, he wrote to Greene: "On Tuesday night a party of horse & foot to the Number of about one hundred & fifty men from Camden appeard [sic] in the Waxsaws [Waxhaws], they Marched with Great precipitation as far as the Meeting House, Which they burnt together with Some other houses Barns &C. They have Kild [sic] Wound[ed] & Taken Several persons Carried off all Kinds of horses, plundered the Settlement of as much as they Could Carry. As Soon as I Received Intelligence of Their approach, I Detached Cols Hampton and Taylor after them, but as they began to Retreat on Wednesday Night, Don't expect they will be overtaken. By accounts Just Received from Genl Pickens Who Wrote me about ten days ago that he had Collected Men of his Brigade, and also a few Georgians, but was unable to attempt anything against the Enemy. I give orders to the Cols Commanding four Regemnts [sic] in My Brigade Westward of Broad River to Join Genl Pickens, Which has been Done accordingly. I Requested Genl Pickens to Move Down & Take a position upon Tyger River Near the Fish Dam Ford to indeavor [sic] to Cover the Country and Collect Provisions..."1866

    1866 NGP [Nathanael Greene Papers] vol. VIII, pp. 91-92.

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  • RevWar75 RevWar75  
  • Apr 1781 listing 4/9/1781, Waxhaws Church. British victory. Per O'Kelley.

Related locations:
Buford's Battleground,   Wahab's (Wauchope's) Plantation,  

Confidence level:: 5