Biographical Sketch of Abraham Mayfield (ca. 1754-1826) of Fairfield County and Pendleton District, South Carolina
By Phil Norfleet
Section 1 - Introduction
Abraham Mayfield (ca. 1754-1826), son of Robert (d. 1816) and Sarah Mayfield, was probably born in Culpepper County VA in about 1754. As a small boy, he and his parents removed to Granville County, North Carolina. In 1764, when Bute County was formed out of the eastern part of Granville, the plantation where Abraham and his parents resided fell within the boundaries of the new county. About 1775, when he was in his early twenties, Abraham and his parents migrated to the Ninety-Six Judicial District of South Carolina; shortly after their arrival in SC, they moved to the Camden District on the east side of Broad River. In about 1776, Abraham married Dorcas Bishop, daughter of a certain Joseph Bishop. During the Revolutionary War, Abraham served in the SC Whig militia as a private, sergeant and quartermaster.
Abraham Mayfield's primary civilian occupation seems to have been that of a planter. After the war, in 1785, Abraham patented land on Rock Creek in the northwestern part of what is now Fairfield County SC; Abraham lived here for over 10 years. During the 1777-1794 time frame, at least seven children were born to Abraham and Dorcas Mayfield. Unfortunately, Dorcas died about 1795 and Abraham married a woman named Martha (Peggy); her maiden name is unknown. All of his children seem to be by his first wife. In the late 1790's Abraham, Margaret and his children removed to Pendleton County/District SC; at that time, this area was near the frontier between South Carolina and the Cherokee Nation. Abraham Mayfield lived here for the rest of his life; he died testate in about 1826.
Section 2 - Abraham Mayfield's Brothers
Three of Abraham's brothers, John, Edmond and Samuel also served in the SC Whig militia during the War. One brother, Lieutenant John Mayfield, was killed by Tories in 1782; however, all of his other brothers survived the War.
Abraham Mayfield resided in South Carolina for all of his life. Conversely, most of his brothers seem to have emigrated from South Carolina in the years following the War of 1812.
The following table summarizes the probable removal dates and death information for Abraham Mayfield's brothers.
Section 2 - Wives of Abraham Mayfield
Abraham Mayfield had two wives (Dorcas and Margaret); however, it appears that all of his children were by his first wife, Dorcas. The maiden name of Dorcas, first wife of Abraham Mayfield, was probably Bishop. She seems to have been the daughter of a certain Joseph Bishop of Fairfield County/District, South Carolina. Bishop had patented land near the 425-acre tract patented by Abraham Mayfield in 1785. Shortly before his death, Joseph Bishop removed to Edgefield District SC, where he died testate in about the year 1803. He probably had moved to Edgefield with the family of one of his daughters. Pertinent excerpts from Bishop's will, which mentions the name of Abraham Mayfield but not his deceased daughter (Dorcas) are summarized as follows:
Based on the land records of Fairfield County SC, it appears that Dorcas Mayfield died in about 1795. In February 1796, Abraham Mayfield sold 100 acres of land to a certain Miles Nevitt; Margaret Mayfield signs to indicate her relinquishment of dower. Accordingly, I must conclude that Dorcas had died and Abraham had married Margaret (AKA Peggy) as his second wife (see below).
Section 3 - Children of Abraham Mayfield
Information regarding Abraham Mayfield's seven (7) known children are summarized in the following report:
Section 4 - Abraham Mayfield in the Federal Census Reports
Section 5 - Records Chronology for Abraham Mayfield In Fairfield County
Abstracts, in chronological order, of all the official records that I have been able to find for Abraham Mayfield in Fairfield County SC are presented below:
28 July 1784: A 425-acre tract of land is surveyed for Abraham Mayfield in Camden District. The land lies on Rock Creek a tributary of Broad River in what is now Fairfield County.
21 January 1785: Abraham Mayfield receives the patent for the 425-acre tract of land on Rock Creek that was surveyed for him on 28 July 1784. His land on Rock Creek was in the northwestern part of Fairfield County near border with Chester County; his land was also near the Sandy Creek area where Abraham Mayfield (d. 1840) of Chester, son of Jonathan Mayfield (d. 1818), lived. Abraham's land grant has been plotted on a regional map prepared and published by the Union County Heritage Society.
17 March 1794: Abraham Mayfield and Dorcas Mayfield, his wife, convey to Samuel Mayfield, for 10 pounds, a 150-acre tract of land in Fairfield County "on the waters of Rocky Creek." This land was originally granted to Abraham Mayfield on 21 January 1785. Both Abraham and Dorcas sign by making their mark. The indenture is witnessed by Robert Mayfield and Thomas May and was recorded on 16 December 1795. [See Fairfield County SC Deed Book K, pages 83-84.] This Samuel Mayfield was probably the brother of Abraham; also, Robert Mayfield, who witnessed the indenture, was probably Abraham's father.
23 February 1796: Abraham Mayfield and Margaret, his wife, convey to William Miles Nevitt, for 30 pounds, a tract of land containing 100 acres on North side of Broad River and Rock Creek; land had originally been granted to Joseph Howard. [Note: Joseph Howard had patented land directly adjacent to the 425-acre grant belonging to Abraham Mayfield.]. The indenture was witnessed by Elijah Graham, Thomas Wade and Ballard Day (Ballard Day married Abraham's daughter, Sylvia Mayfield). [See Fairfield County SC Deed Book K, pages 255-256.]
Section 6 - Records Chronology for Abraham and Peggy Mayfield in Anderson District
Apparently, in about 1796, Abraham and his family, including his second wife Margaret (Peggy), removed to Pendleton District SC. Abstracts, in chronological order, of all the official records that I have been able to find for this Abraham Mayfield in Pendleton District SC are presented below:
02 February 1805: Samuel and Jenny McCully convey to Sugar Mayfield, for $300, a 327-acre tract of land lying on Savannah River. Abraham Mayfield is one of the witnesses to this deed. [See Pendleton District SC Deed Book H, pages 448-449.] Note: Sugar is probably the younger brother of Abraham Mayfield (d. 1826).
23 October 1827: The will of Abraham Mayfield, deceased, dated 21 October 1826, was entered into probate. The will mentions his wife Peggy, his second daughter "Suffy" and his eldest son Austin and another sons, Elijah and Ephraim. Abraham's wife is to receive a life time use of the tract of land where he now lives; Suffy is to receive a tract of 47 acres; Austin is to receive a 147-acre tract; Elijah a 47-acre tract; and Ephraim some land on the "south side of Spring Branch."
With respect to his wife, Abraham states:
" ... All the property that I give unto my wife Peggy shall belong to her during her life or widowhood, then all the property to be sold according to law and equally be distributed amongst all of my children. ... "
The above cited will was witnessed by William McGee, Samuel McCoy and Sanford Vandiver. [See Anderson District SC Estate Papers, Packet #427.]
23 October 1827: William McGee is appointed as executor of Abraham Mayfield's estate. [See Anderson District SC Estate Papers, Packet #427.]
23 October 1833: Austin Mayfield signs receipt indicating that he has received, from William McGee, 147 acres of land willed to him by his father. Austin signs by making his mark. [See Anderson District SC Estate Papers, Packet #427.]
11 March 1845: Peggy (Margaret) Mayfield files a petition in the Court of Equity, Anderson District, South Carolina which states the following:
" ... The petition of Peggy Mayfield respectfully herewith that she is the widow of Abraham Mayfield who departed this life in the year 1826 having duly executed his last Will and Testament which has been admitted to probate and is on record in the Ordinary office of said District. That the said will contains, inter alia, the following provisions, to wit, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Peggy my tract of land on which I now live lying on the North and Northwest side of the Spring Branch ... I give to my wife Peggy, shall belong to her during her life or widowhood, then all that property to be sold according to law and equally distributed amongst all my children ... That about the year 1831 a hurricane passed over the premises and swept away all the buildings and fence leaving the said lands in a situation to be of no value to your petitioner, as she has not the means of hiring persons to do the necessary rep[airing & the place cannot be rented & is utterly unfit for occupation in its present condition. That being far advanced in life and unable to procure a living by labor, your petitioner has for many years subsisted on the charity of her friends having passed the last eight years in the family and on the bounty of the executor. That the said tract of land contains about two hundred acres and adjoins one or more persons who are desirous to purchase and who, if said land was offered for sale at Public outlay would give for the tract a sum of money the interest on which would be abundantly adequate to the support of your petitioner for the remainder of her life, which is now rapidly drawing to a close. ... Your petitioner therefore prays the assistance of this Court in so far aiding the provisions of the said will as to permit the executor to do now what the testator directed him to do at her death. That the said executor be directed to bring the said lands to sale for cash ... Your petitioner further shows that the parties entitled to the said lands after her death are:
1. Silvy Day
2. Austin Mayfield
3. Ephraim Mayfield
4. Thaney Reeves who married Jonathan Reeves
5. Suffy McCoy
6. Elijah Mayfield
7. Heirs at law of Vina Holland, to wit, Elisha Holland, John Holland, William B. Holland, Nancy Knox who married John Knox, Dorcas Loveless who married William Loveless, and Elizabeth Hyde who married Ansel Hyde.
"That the said parties are all of age though some of them, to wit, Silvy Day, Austin Mayfield, Jonathan Reeves and wife Thaney, and Elijah Mayfield reside beyond the limits of this State. But your petitioner is informed that one James King claims to have purchased of the said Vina Holland her interest in said lands in her lifetime, also that one John J. Sloan has purchased at Sheriff Sale the interest of Elijah Mayfield in the said lands. Your petitioner prays that all of the above named parties and Claimants including William McGee, the Executor, may be made parties defendants to this proceeding & required to abide such order as ay be made in the premises. And petitioner prays general relief, etc. ... "
[See Anderson District SC Court of Equity Petitions (Packet #156) re a petition of Margaret Mayfield.]
Note: The above petition establishes the names of at least seven (7) of the children of Abraham and Dorcas Mayfield (his first wife).
11 March 1845: The heirs of Abraham Mayfield (see above) execute a statement consenting to " ... the sale of the lands of Abraham Mayfield, deceased, or to any disposition of them that the Court of Equity may deem most advisable to secure a comfortable maintenance for the petitioner during her lifetime. ... " [See Anderson District SC Court of Equity Petitions (Packet #156) re a petition of Margaret Mayfield.]
1850: The 1850 Federal Census for Anderson District SC indicates that Margaret Mayfield was then 88 years of age and had been born in Pennsylvania. At the time, Margaret was residing in the household of a certain James McCoy. This James was the son of James McCoy, Sr. and Sophia (Suffy) Mayfield, daughter of Abraham Mayfield. This census information indicates that Margaret was born in about the year 1762.
07 March 1851: William McGee petitions the Court to be able to see the remaining personal property of Abraham Mayfield that he gave to Peggy Mayfield. Note: Peggy (Margaret) Mayfield had just died on 3 March 1851. [See Anderson District SC Estate Papers, Packet #427.]
07 March 1851: The above request is granted. [See Anderson District SC Estate Papers, Packet #427.]
12 September 1851: James McCoy and Elijah Webb post a bond in the amount of $100 in support of their request that James McCoy be appointed as administrator of her estate. [See the Estate Papers (Packet #1270) of Margaret Mayfield in Anderson District, South Carolina.]
12 September 1851: James McCoy was appointed administrator of the estate of Margaret Mayfield.
12 September 1851: James M. McCoy petitions the Court of Ordinary as follows:
" ... That Margaret Mayfield, late of Anderson District, deceased, lately died intestate having in her life time and at the time of her death a small amount of money in her right in the hands of the Commissioner of Equity, arising from the sale of realty of Abraham Mayfield, deceased. ... "
[See the Estate Papers (Packet #1270) of Margaret Mayfield in Anderson District, South Carolina.]
12 September 1851: James McCoy submits accounts which are recorded in Anderson County Court of Ordinary re the estate of Margaret Mayfield. The accounts include a bill for Margaret Mayfield's subsistence from 3 August 1850 until 3 March 1851. McCoy requests payment in the amount of $22.16. He receives $18.66 from the Commissioner of Equity. After this payment and Court fees, the remaining value of her estate is fully depleted. McCoy is discharged as administrator of Margaret's estate. [See the Estate Papers (Packet #1270) of Margaret Mayfield in Anderson District, South Carolina.]
Note: the above entry implies that Margaret Mayfield died on or about 3 March 1851.