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ST?RY Of THE HAYS' STATION ~~
MASSACRE OF MANY PATRIOT:
(By S. E. Boney I
In Laurena County, about eight mi
southwest of the little town of Clint
a half mile east of Little River. 8
midway between Belfast and Mill
settlements, may be found the ru
of a small and unpretentious moi
meat, erected to the memory of fo
teen patriots, who were massacred
Hays' Station in October. ITS I, m
the close of the Revolutionary w
This monument which was erected
May, 1855, is now in a dllapitated ci
dition, the result of vandalism dur
Radical days. At least. It is the cc
mon opinion that a band of negrc
under the impression that the moi
ment was erected to the memory
soldiers of the Confederacy, souj
vengeance in this manner of destr
tion. It Is said by some that the im
\ ument was struck by lightning, 1
?f this seems Impossible since the ii
fence, enclosing tue spot, remains
tact and apparently uninjured even
the passage of time.
Hays' Station was so-called becni
it was somewhat the nature of a f<
a place of rendezvous for the YVh
? of that section, and at the same ti
the residence of Col. Joseph Hays, v
had retired from active service
the war, after the battle of Kill
Mountain. It was ut^his home and
this quasi -fort thai t'ol Hays, t.oge
er with thirteen fellow Whigs were
brutally murdered by "Bloody B
Cunningham, on one of his notori*
expeditions of plunder, lncendiaria
and murder. The burning of this 1
and the murder of these patriots, v
surrendered only alter faithful ass
mice that they were to be treated
prisoners of war. became known as
"Massacre a tllays' Station." It \
hut one of the many such, occasloi
by the conflict between neighbo
Tory against Whig, Loyalist agai
? Patriot. The Piedmont section of
state suffered much from this com
particularly toward the close of
war, after many of the American troi
had returned from Charleston.
Bloody Bill Cuiliugluim.
In connection with the massacre
Hays' Station, it might be well to st
that "Bloody Bill" Cuningham, as
/ was known, because of his many li
rlble deeds of vengeance and the bio
shed he caused, was not a common I
gand or ruffian, lie was a good extr
tion, a member of an excellent fan
of proud people, whose holdings w
along the Saluda River in the
Ninety Six district, of which Laur
county was a part. At the beginn
of the war, William Cuningham, ti
an enthusiastic patriot, and a pron
ing young man, enlisted In Capt. .!<
-Caldwell's company. This was in
ly 1775. During the following spr
Caldwell's company was ordered
Charleston, and while there, for sc
cause, left his command and been
a violent Tory. The story is that C
ingham had enlisted in Caldwell'8 (<
pany on the promise that he would
be forced to go tothe low county, t
when he was ordered there in 1776,
claimod release under the pron
made him; that, instead, he was pm
chains, tried by a court-martial,
was acquitted, however, and left
company, returning later to his h<
Another account of Cuninghnm's
sertion is from "Random Recollect!
Of the Revolution," which lias it t
.on account of some small offence ('
Ingham was not promoted to the li
tenantcy, that for this offence ho \
sentenced to he whipped and nctUl
did suffer this Indignity, which can
him to desert his companions in ai
T ' and join the Tories.
Which account is correct cniuiol i
be stated definitely, Anyhow, there
a great many good people who h
declared that William Cuningham 1
been outrageously maltreated and I
his works of pllnge and murder w
but retributive veugennco on those \
had wronged him, particularly
John Caldwell, his former comma
der, who was slain by some of
band, just a short while before
massacre at Hays' Station. In f;
it is said that on the day when C;
well was murdered and his house bu
ed. his younger brother, William Cl
well, warned Col Joseph Hays, t La
was "Bloody BUI" Cuninghnm's w<
and that be had better flee or be
the defensive. Hardly had he finis!
the conversation, when Cunlngh
and his band were sighted across
The Massacre at IIays' Station.
Col. Hnys and his men defended tin
selves in tho fort so long as their s
munition lasted and until the build
wn? sot nfiro by a burning arrow s
from a rille. Then they surrendei
only, however after the solemn
surnncc thnt they were to be rega
ed as prisoners of war and so trf
ed. But the pledge wan not kept. 1
mediately after their arms had b
laid down, Cuningham ordered
llrys and Major Daniel Williams ha
n The News and Courier.)
ed, which was done; but the pi
broke and with bis own sword, it
told. Cuningham. literally hewed th<
to pieces. Eager for the blood of
enemies, he gave the order that
men might slay whom they would,
spare if they desire. Only four of I
patriots were spared: James and Go
ing Tinsley, Major William Dunl
and John Cummins.
Those who were slain, and win
names are inscribed on one slab of I
monument that now marks the bloc
spot were: Col. Joseph Hays, Ca
Daniel Williams, Lieut. Chrlstopl
Hardy, Lieut John Nell, Clement Hi
cock, Joseph Williams, Joseph Ir
Sr, Joseph lrby, Jr. John Mllven, Jan
Ferris, John Cook, Greof lrby, Ben
min Goodman und Yancy Saxon.
From "Random Recollections of i
Revolution" is taken the following
reference to the massacre:
Hays was a bold, inexperienced,
cautious man. (This description i
author's information induces him
qualify. Hays bad seen some servi?
he certainly was with Col Willia
at King's Mountain, and probably
I most of his former services, as he
I mentioned by Col. Williams just bef<
the action as part of bis military fa
Uy.) His station was at Col. Edgehl
I in Laurens district, east of Little Ri
and Simmons'8 Creek on or near
old Charleston road from Rabun Cr?
to Orangeburg. The dwelling hot
built of logs, was his fort. He v
told by William Caldwell to put hi
Self in a position of defence; point
to the smoke seen southeast, be sa
"That is my brother's house am
know Cuningham Is in the nelghb
hood." Hays was at work In a bla
smith shop making a cleat to boh
lady's netting and hooted at Caldwo
suggestion, saying that Cunlngh
"had tOO much sense" to come tin
Caldwell said: "I will not stay to
butchered," and mounted and fled
full speed. As be went out at one i
of th cold Held he said he saw Cuni
ham come in at the other.
The surprise was complete and ov
whelming, Hays and his men, aim
without resistance, were driven i
the house, and Cuningham's part
was so close that John Tinsley stri
a full blow with his sword at Hays
he entered the door. A few guns w
fired from within and without. '1
men were killed?supposed to h
been slain by -their own. respect
(ires. !. >cky Leonard was killed
the '.^use and one of Cuningha
men in the yard. A ramrod tip]
with llax and saturated with tar ^
set on lire and was shot out of a m
ket into the roof of the house. It \
in a moment In a blaze. Hays and
party?on a promise of good quar
it has always been said?surrend
ed. Cuningham selected Hays i
Major Daniel Williams?a son of (
Williams, who fell nt King's Mo
tnln?as his victims. He was ah
hanging them on the pole of a fod
stack when he was accosted by
young son of Col. Williams, Josi
Williams, a lad of IC or 17 years, v
had from infancy known Cunlnghi
"Capt. Cuningham, how shall I
home and tell my mother that ;
have hanged brother Daniel?" Cuni
ham instantly swore that be BhO
not have that melancholy duty to l
form. He hung him up with his brc
er and Hays. The pole broke, s
with his sword be (Cuningham) lit
ally hewed them in pieces. Then
work of death went on. each mem
of the company having the right
kill or spare as he pleased. Cold
and .lames Tinsley, Major Willi
Dunlnp, of iluntervllle, Laurens i
John Cummins, commonly cal
"King" Cummins, were those v
were spared in the savage slaugh
This was the last of the bloody tri
of the Revolution.
For much of the following Infori
lion regarding the monument t
now marks the spot of the massa<
I am indebted to .Mr. W. II. Wall;
editor of the New berry Observer.
Wallace, says that the shaft of
monument was not the solid die bl<
now customary, hut consisted of si
about four feet long, and three Inc
thick, their broader ends resting
a groove in the plinth, with a cap
the upper end, surmounted by a b
The inscription was on Cieso sir
which formed the sides of the mo
ment. When the monument fell
Mil- was thrown down these slabs w
un- broken into more than n dozen plec
ing By gathering up the fragments i
hot putting them together along the II
?ed, of breakage, he was able to make
as- in part the Inscriptions on all si<
,rd- Dn one side are eiiRraved the nar
>at- of the slain; these are given ahc
Ini- Beneath these names appears th
Ben "Who were massacred by Willi
Col Cuningham and his bloody scot
ng- October, 1781, after surrendering thr
lHC LAUSENS ADVERTISER
?????wimw t w?
selves prisoners of war. Put up M
1855. by Mrs. M. A. Brown, Columt
On the second slab Is: "The defei
es of this rendezvous consisted 01
of a log house, and here the bn
j men, upon intelligence of the appro:
; of Cunlngham and a large maraudi
; party of Tories, assembled to deft
themselves, but being assailed by
i overwhelming number, resistance v
unavailing, and the house being hi
they were forced to surrender. 'I
work of death was soon begun,
effort to hang the two chief ofllci
falling, the marauding party?Cunii
IQ. ' ham, could not brook the delay ol
an second trial; being the chosen victi
i of his relentless hate, he hewed th
to pieces with his sword, and a sii
lar death was perpetrated upon 1
defenceless bodies of their unfortuni
comrades by his followers, only t
of the party being permitted to esct
by the intercession of friends."
On the third is: "In the great stn
gle for National Independence they
poused the cause of their country, a
were necessarily involved in the cl
war between the Whigs and Tories
war perhaps unparalleled in the v
dlcMvn florceness of rancor with wit
it was waged but amid the trials, d
olation and ruin of this fearful perl
that they remained linn in their hi
resolve to win Independence or dea
no more enduring testimony can
;e' ! offered than the unvarnished sta
lns j meat of this bloody tragedy?dea
?defence of one's?country."
On the fourth side of the iiionunn
is the following: "This monument
erected by Col. John l). Williams s
Col. James II. Irby to mark the spo
ashes?their patriotism and their y.
in behalf of their country in its stn
gle for Independence."
Col. James H. Irby, mentioned
bove, was tho father of the late s
ator John L. M. irby. of Laurens;
was a grandson of Joseph II. Irby.
who was among those slain by Ci
Ingham and his scouts, it was lar
ly through the activities of Col. Jail
H. irby, that the monument was crt
<m1 at Hays' Station.
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But such troubles fly before Dr. Kin
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Von are certain of thai hind If you
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Laurens, S. C.
Come and see us
week for a
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17 pounds Sugar for. 1
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Trade with us*aiid we will
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Staple and Fancy Grocers.
W. Main St., Laurens, S. C.
Home Building and
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Start With April Series!
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