The American Revolution in South Carolina

Duncan's Creek

November 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Christopher Casey
Loyalist Cdr:

Major William Cunningham






Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present County:

Newberry County

aka Lawson's Fork.

Skirmish, Capt. Christopher Casey vs. Cunningham's men.
Murder, James Wood vs. Major William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham.
After the massacre at Hayes Station Major William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham rode to the southern portion of what is now Union County to the house of John Boyce. He had just returned home to his family after being on campaign after fighting at Kings Mountain, Cowpens, and Eutaw Springs. He was well known to Cunningham.

As Boyce sat down to dinner he heard the approach of horses. He rushed to the door and saw "Bloody Bill" and his gang. Boyce knew that he had to escape or die, so he ran right at the Loyalists horses and threw his hat in their face, making the horses shy left and right. He continued running through the startled Loyalists and into the woods. "Bloody Bill" Cunningham tried to ride him down and succeeded in striking at Boyce with his sword, but Boyce warded off the blow with his hand, almost severing three fingers. He made it to the thick woods where Cunningham’s horse couldn’t go.

Boyce watched Cunningham and his men ride off, then mounted his horse and rode to the house of his militia commander, Capt. Christopher Casey. Capt. Casey rounded up fifteen men and rode after the Loyalists. At Duncan’s Creek on the Enoree River they captured a few of Cunningham’s stragglers. Capt. Casey took them to the intersection of Charlestown Road and Ninety-Six Road and hanged them from a hickory tree. The Loyalists were buried at the foot of the tree.

"Bloody Bill" Cunningham continued his reign of terror and rode on to James Wood’s house on Lawson’s Fork of the Pacolet River. Wood was a prominent Patriot and the Commissioner of Sequestered Property. Major Cunningham dragged Woods out of his house and shot him. As he lay there wounded his wife begged for Wood’s life. In response Cunningham and his men hanged Woods from a dogwood tree. After killing James in his yard they came upon his brother, John, and hung him from the same dogwood tree.

That same day Cunningham’s gang went to the house of Hilliard Thomas. At sunset they rode up to the door of the house. Mr. Thomas came out and greeted Cunningham. Cunningham shot and killed him. Another man who had been in Thomas’s house escaped out the back.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Roebuck's Battalion of Spartan Regiment of Militia detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Christopher Casey
Major William Cunningham, with unknown number of Loyalists

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