The American Revolution in South Carolina

Colonel Thomas Taylor


The following account is from A History of Richland County by Edwin L. Green, 1932, with minor edits.

Thomas Taylor was the eldest son of John Taylor, who came from Amelia County, Virginia, about 1750 and located on Back Swamp below Columbia. He was born in Virginia on September 10, 1743, and died in Columbia on November 16, 1833, where his body lies in the Taylor graveyard.

He married Ann Wyche of Virginia on January 2, 1767. His home on "Taylor's Hill" stood at the intersection of Barnwell and Richland Streets, on the edge of the hill at the foot of which was a bold spring known as Taylor's spring. Here in later days gatherings of various kinds were often held. The plantation was called "The Plains."

Thomas Taylor was one of the most influential men in this section of the State. He was a member of the first and second provincial congresses, one of those appointed to receive signatures to the association and was appointed in 1776 a justice of the peace for the Camden District. He and his brother, John, joined Col. Thomas Sumter as captains after the fall of Charlestown. He had also served in the militia during 1779.

Under Sumter, he served as a captain from August 5 to November 30, 1780, and as a colonel from December 1, 1780 to July 29, 1782. When Col. Sumter was surprised at Fishing Creek, Taylor was captured and wounded with a sabre after he surrendered, but with his brother John and Joel McLeMore managed to escape as they were being marched to Camden.

Taylor was with Sumter when the post at Granby was invested and at the attack on the post at Thomson's. When Sumter again invested the post at Granby on May 2, 1781, Col. Thomas Taylor was left in command when Sumter moved to attack Fort Motte. Taylor was deprived of the honor of receiving the surrender of the garrison by the arrival of Lt. Col. Henry Lee, who permitted the garrison to retire on terms that were very displeasing to the militia.

Of Mrs. Taylor, it is said that she bore all the responsibilities of the family while he was away in the field or in North Carolina wounded. Her eldest child was 13. The British of the post at Granby, which was only four miles distant, carried off her slaves; her provisions and stock were stolen; smallpox raged.

At the close of the conflict, Col. Taylor served his district in the Jacksonboro assembly, which adjourned February 26, 1782. After the convention of 1790 he was senator from the district comprising the counties of Richland, Fairfield, and Chester. He also served in the national congress. He was one of the commissioners for laying out the town of Columbia, and was for many years one of the commissioners governing its affairs. He was one of the trustees of the Columbia Male academy and one of the founders of the First Presbyterian Church. During the nullification agitation, he was a unionest.

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