The Monument in Memory of the Great Grandparents of South Carolina Governor and Confederate General Wade Hampton III, Massacred by Indians in 1776 is located on Wade Hampton Blvd. East of Greer
On a warm July day in 1776, while Wade Hampton I and three younger brothers were tracking game far from their log home on the Tyger River, south of the Middle Indian Path (now Highway 11), a renegade band of Cherokees attacked and killed their parents, a newborn grandson and burned their home.
A stone memorial to Anthony Hampton, his wife and other family members is located on the southside of Wade Hampton Boulevard, in Spartanburg County, between Greer and Lyman. The Stonewall Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) erected the memorial in 1933. That UDC chapter is no longer active.
Camp 36, 16th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, Sons of Confederate Veterans in Greenville has adopted the monument that has deteriorated over the years. The SCV is providing labor and funding for renovation.
A rededication ceremony was held at the cite of the memorial on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The 16th Regiment Color Guard of Honor posted colors and performed other military duties. 16th Regiment Commander Rollis Smith was master of ceremonies for the rededication.
General Wade Hampton III was great Grandson of Anthony Hampton whose father came to Virginia from England. Anthony Hampton, his wife and five sons moved to South Carolina about 1774. They carved out a farm in the wilderness and built a log cabin for a family of nine on the Tyger River in what is now Spartanburg County.
Returning home from game hunting, Wade Hampton I and his younger brothers buried their parents and other family members, recruited neighbors and went in search of the Indians.
Using tracking and stealth techniques they had learned from Indians, they discovered the renegade camp and killed most of the killers of their parents, only a few escaped that they decided not to pursue.
The brothers abandoned the farm. Wade Hampton I joined the Revolution and began fighting the British and local supporters of the Crown. He was twice captured by the British and sentenced to death the second time, but overpowered guards and escaped.
His son Wade Hampton II also engaged in military action including the War of 1812. Wade II later became a large cotton farmer producing 500 bales of cotton the first year. He built a large mansion east of Columbia called Milwood.
Wade Hampton III was born at the birthplace of his mother in Charleston. He became a large, strong man, who enjoyed killing bears with a knife or a firearm.
Three generations of Hamptons lived at Milwood where young Wade III learned many things at the knees of his father and grandfather.
Wade III was not initially supportive of South Carolina seceding from the Union. However, when President Lincoln engaged in war with his homeland, Wade III put everything he owned on the line for the war effort. He pledged to sacrifice everything, “except principal and Honor.”
He recruited, equipped, paid and led Hampton’s Legion into battle and eventually became part of the Confederacy and Hampton III became a Confederate General. His accomplishments were many and a matter of history.
Union General Sherman and his troops during their pillage and destruction of Columbia looted and burned Milwood and all the uniforms, weapons and other articles going back to the Revolution.
General Hampton endured a decade of brutal military occupation and Reconstruction under the most corrupt state government in history up to that time.
The radical Republican government organized and equipped former slave militia to rule over the white population. Many small farms were confiscated because the owners could not pay the high taxes. Northern carpetbaggers and former slaves held most positions of authority in the state. Members of the Confederate military were not allowed to vote unless they signed a loyalty oath.
For many South Carolinians, Reconstruction took a higher toll than the war. South Carolina became known as the “Prostrate State.”
Hampton was persuaded to run for governor to oust the radical Republicans as a Democrat. One of his largest campaign rallies was in Greenville. He won a controversial election, and the Radical Republican Governor would not allow Governor Elect Wade Hampton III to enter the Capitol.
Hampton’s supporters were armed and ready to evict the militia out of the capitol and allow Hampton to be sworn in. He sent them home and said he would let them know if they were needed.
Gov. Elect Wade Hampton III went to Washington and convinced the President that if he would end occupation of the state, withdraw federal occupation troops and disband the black militia units, as governor he would guarantee that former slaves would not be mistreated, and that there would be no bloodshed. The president agreed. Hampton and his supporters went in the front door of the capitol and the former governor departed through the back door.
Not all South Carolinians were happy with the Hampton pledge to treat everyone born in South Carolina the same under the law.
One of his supporters during the campaign for governor, Senator “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman wanted revenge for the abuses during reconstruction. He hated the radical Republicans, but most of them had departed the state. The only people left for Tillman’s revenge were the former slaves that had been used and abused by the Republicans. Tillman’s plan was to promote the popular Hampton to senator, then send him to Washington.
The plan worked, Hampton went to Washington, Tillman replaced him as Governor of South Carolina. The so-called “Jim Crow” laws began under the Tillman Administration.
Hampton continued to be revered by the people of South Carolina including by his former slaves. Someone burned down his wood frame house and the city offered to build him a new one. He refused and lived with his unmarried daughter known as “Miss Daisy” for the remainder of his days. The state mourned the death of Wade Hampton III. Newspapers reported that thousands of former slaves waited in line for hours to pay their respects to the man they revered.
The SCV believes the Hampton family memorial is an important part of Upstate history that must be preserved.