Nov 15, 2009, 06:20 PM
Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust
Blackstock Hidden Silver
This story ran in the Chester Report(SC) on February 17, 1995 during Black
Trust of ancestor remembered by great-granddaughter
General William T. Sherman left Columbia 130 years ago headed
north toward Chester County and Blackstock. The main body of his troops
did not reach Chester County, but turned east and then north again heading
for North Carolina.
Raiding parties or foragers, they were more nicely known came into
the southern and eastern parts of the county.
Burrel Hemphill was a slave, left by his master to guard the
Hemphill homestead in Blackstock. He encountered a Union foraging party
with tragic results. Hattie Jean Hemphill Holmes, 83, is the
great-granddaughter of Burrel Hemphill. She lives near the old Hemphill
place and for decades the story of her grandfather has been handed down
from family member to family member.
"He gave his life before he would tell where the silver was
hidden," Mrs.. Holmes said. "He wouldn't betray his master's trust".
Burrel Hemphill was a trusted slave of Robert Hemphill, the
bachelor property owner that was said to be benevolent and kindly toward
his slaves. Robert Hemphill owned a large plantation of 2,200 acres, most
of it near Hopewell Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church. "The Hemphill
place was down the road from the church," Mrs. Holmes said of the stories
that she was told as a child. "The Yankees, I think it was, asked him
(Burrel Hemphill) to tell them where the silver was hidden. But they had
told him not to tell where he had hid it. They watched him to see if he
would show them where it was hid. But he wouldn't tell where the silver
was hidden so they hanged him.
Mrs. Homes says that she does not remember many details of the
story, but she does remember members of her family telling the story of the
bravery and determination of her great-grandfather who gave his life in
order not to betray a trust.
Tradition has it that as Sherman's troops made their advance from
Columbia northward, Robert Hemphill headed toward North Carolina, leaving
Burrel Hemphill in charge
Sherman's plan was to head north making it appear that they were
heading (this part of the paper is missing). Troops crossed the
Wateree/Catawba at Rocky Mounty, near Great Falls rather than crossing
further into Chester County.
Sherman's troops were in the area until the end of February
1865. The left wing of the army was at the Rocky Mount section and the
right wing crossed the river at Peay's Ferry on Feb. 23.
The right wing built a pontoon bridge across the Wateree at Rocky
Mount but it was swept away because of the flooded conditions of the river
and all the troops did not get across until Feb. 28. Raiding parties
however made it to the Hemphill plantation some 10 miles away.
There they encountered Burrel Hemphill. Sherman's Army generally
burned many homes and other pieces of property in their path as they
marched northward from Savanna. The foragers were supposed to be
searching for food for the troops, but generally they hunted for tools and
valuables that were left behind by fleeing refugees.
As the Yankee's approached Burrel they tried to get him to lead
them or tell them where the silver was hidden. When he refused, they
tortured him, tying him to a horse and dragging him from the Hemphill home
to the church which is about a half mile or more. Torture would not entice
Burrel to reveal the valuables and the soldiers took him be hind the home,
secured a rope on the limbs of a blackgum tree and hung him. While he was
hanging and dying they shot him in the legs.
This was typical of raiding parties. There are documented stories
on my first cousin (5 times removed) who was one of the signers of the
Ordinance of Succession for SC. Dr. Columbus Cauthen, MD was suffering
from TB (consumption) when Sherman's troops came through Lancaster. He
was dragged from his bed and taken outside to the horses watering
troth. His head was submerged repeatedly until he passed out. He died a
short time later as a result of this. Claude Sinclair
I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow
Nov 15, 2009 06:20 PM
Mar 18, 2011, 12:52 AM
Pannin' Fer Gold!! WolfPack="WP"
Re: Blackstock Hidden Silver
Yes that is typical of Sherman and his "army" I have some Confederate Money that is in excellent, near new condition. It was hidden in the walls of the Edgefield (SC) County Court House as Sherman was vandalizing South Carolina, this money was not found until the late 1990's when the Court House was being remodeled!! So I'm sure that there is much hidden treasure out there somewhere, in the areas that Sherman passed through or passed closed to, and the "passed close too" may be the ticket, as Sherman's band of bandits spread great fear throughout the South!
GODS, GUNS & GUTS made this COUNTRY FREE...I'll KEEP all THREE you can have the CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!