Persons of African American or Native American descent with the surname
of Eaddy whose ancestors lived in the South Carolina Low country may have
at least four means of acquiring this name. They could be descendants
of Native Americans who acquired land grants, descendants of free blacks
who migrated to South Carolina to become landowners in the colonial period,
descendants of slaves who adopted the surname of Eaddy when freed by the
Emancipation Proclamation, and legitimate or illegitimate descendants of
the Eaddy Family.
1. It is believed that property was awarded by land grants to persons who were either all or part Native American who acquired land in this manner. Such a man was Daniel Eddy who was known to be a Revolutionary War soldier and a cobbler. Judging from the location of his property he may have been a Santee Indian. He married Jemima, a half breed daughter of "Indian Sarah, a Catawba Woman", see "Indians, Indian Traders, and Other Ethnic Connections in South Carolina" by Hicks, 1999. No connection has been identified between this family and that of the James Eaddy Family of South Carolina.
2. Property records in South Carolina reveal that some persons of color were free blacks who migrated into South Carolina in the colonial period and acquired land under the same laws which awarded property to whites. Some of these early settlers were free blacks who became prosperous farmers and merchants and themselves owned slaves with African heritage.
3. The Eaddy Family of South Carolina owned plantations in the Prospect-Lynches River area of Williamsburg County (now Florence County). After the Emancipation Proclamation, they established sharecropping agreements with those families who were given their freedom, but who chose to remain in their employment. For example, Taylor Eaddy made a sharecropping agreement on June 11,1865 with 5 former slaves who signed with their marks. They were Jim, Hannah, Handy, Martha, and Sara. The probability is great; but, we have no evidence that they assumed the surname of Eaddy. We know that some did assume the name; because, their descendants still live in that area.
4. It is possible that some Eaddys of color are descendants of the Eaddy family through legitimate or illegitimate birth. The records available to the family researchers have not revealed any legitimate marriages nor common law relationships with resulting issue. To our knowledge, there are no branches of the family which include persons of black heritage. Any illegitimate births would have been suppressed regardless of racial composition. They would have been hidden at any cost where racial integration existed because of the severe legal restrictions and social ostracism.
It has been common knowledge that many of the black families of South Carolina and throughout the South assumed the surnames of their plantation owners when they were liberated. I am unable to provide any concrete information regarding the ones which bear the name of Eaddy. Many of the courthouse records were burned during the Civil War. During the chaos of Reconstruction, many records were destroyed or neglected to be maintained.
The task of discovering African American Heritage is certain to be very difficult. They were given only one name and probably no record was made of that outside of the family business records and occasional written memoirs. Black churches and cemeteries of the period, would probably be the best source of this information along with family records of black families which might have been preserved. The great majority of slaves were not educated; but, there were many who were taught to read and write, contrary to the will of many local landowners and sometimes written into the legal code.
On my web site Eaddy Family Tree, the following persons have personal notes or anecdotes which reveal ownership of slaves and provide in some cases the given names of some of them:
James Eddy, I. -- May have owned a few slaves; but, we have no record of this.
James (Eddy) Eaddy, II. -- Owned 7 slaves according to the 1790 Census.
Edward Drake Eaddy -- Owned 35 slaves at the time of his will. Taxes were paid on them by his son, Taylor Eaddy, who later sold them when the estate was divided.
Henry Eaddy -- Brother to Edward Drake Eaddy and son of James Eaddy, II. was a large landowner who also operated a cotton gin near the Johnson s Ferry, Johnsonville, South Carolina. He possessed a large number of slaves; but, the articles here does not mention them.. Elsewhere (William James McEaddy, Sr.) it is mentioned that he willed $6,000 and seven slaves to each of his eight children (by two wives) . Fifty-six slaves and $48,000 were big numbers for the time.
Dr. Kenneth M. Eaddy who was reared in Bushnell, Florida visited our old home site in South Carolina sometime in the 1960-70 s and entered a store somewhere in the Lynches River area which was named "Eaddy and Sons, Proprietors". He addressed the owner as "Cousin Eaddy" and made friends with him. The store owner questioned him as to the family from which he was descended. When Kenneth informed him that he was a descendant of Henry Eaddy, the "proprietor" announced that this was the plantation from which his ancestors had come.
Taylor Eaddy -- A story of the capture of a runaway slave and a sharecropper agreement made with freed slaves. Lawrence Edward Creel, Jr. wrote about conversations with his grandfather, Gregory Beauregard Eaddy, regarding Taylor Eaddy. "His father (Taylor Eaddy) had owned about two thousand acres of land at one time, and about sixty slaves. He added that before the Proclamation freeing the slaves, his father was offered ten thousand dollars in gold for his slaves. At the time Taylor Eaddy was sure that the slaves would be freed anyway, but he could not bear to see the families broken up or to have them mistreated." Three of Taylor Eaddy's younger brothers served in the Civil War and died as a result. Slavery in America ended in the fourth generation from James Eddy/Eaddy, I. with the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln in 1865.
Thomas Eaddy -- His will listed ownership of 77 slaves divided to wife and children.
Rev. Oliver (Eaddy) Eady – Preached in Florida that "Blacks Had Souls" and was nearly lynched for this sermon.
Thomas Rothmahler Grier – He was known as Squire Grier and possessed many slaves. Some of these were acquired by marriage to Margaret Ann Johnson of the Johnson family mentioned later. His daughter, Judith Grier wrote about plantation life with much detail regarding slave life as well as favorable treatment provided them. Judith Grier married Zachary Taylor Eaddy, son of Taylor Eaddy mentioned previously. She described the personal relationship developed between herself and her appointed body servant (maid) which was given to her from a very early age. This article provides a few personal names.
Hugh Hanna, Sr. -- In his will is documentation of 16 slaves by name who were willed to his wife and children. The balance were sold with number and names unknown.
The Johnson Family -- Owners of the ferry and namesake of Johnsonville, South Carolina were slave holders. Captain William Hill Johnson, CSA, took a personal servant with him into battle. This man, named Perryman was extremely loyal and when food became too scare to provide for him adequately, he was sent home. When Captain Eaddy later became ill, Perryman assisted Mrs. Eaddy to travel over 300 miles by mule wagon to bring him home.
William James (Eaddy) McEaddy, Sr. was a son of Henry Eaddy who left South Carolina and moved to Ocala, Florida. They were land surveyors and citrus farmers who carried with them some slaves inherited from settlement of the estate of Henry Eaddy.
There are some other Eaddy family members who owned plantations and had slaves. The Eaddys did not own large numbers of slaves. This can be judged by the size of their plantations which were moderate to small compared to those in other colonies along the Atlantic Seaboard and in the Santee Cooper and Charleston area of South Carolina.
It may be that I am guilty of seeing the positive side of an otherwise painful memory of human bondage. My family possessed an ethic which required that one's livestock and draft animals should be cared for as well as family members. To beat or abuse one of them was considered abhorrent and the offender would be punished or ostracized. Slaves were regarded in the same manner and logic should reveal that a sickly, hungry, or abused person cannot and will not work efficiently. The novel ideas of widespread excessive brutality to slaves and raping of their women may be more of a "made for movies and TV" concept than reality. To be certain, attempts to escape or to create rebellion would be met with serious consequences.
From what I can tell, a relationship bond existed with owners and slaves
which sometimes even approached friendship and loyalty to each other.
This attitude still existed in the 1940-50 period of time in which anyone
who had sharecroppers working for them was obligated to care for them
in illness, provide assistance whenever they had no money, and even to supply bail and legal defense for those who got into trouble. My parents regularly visited our sharecroppers in their homes to insure their well being, they shared fresh vegetables and/or meat in season, and I went along to play with the children who were my age. When tobacco was being harvested and graded or cotton was being picked, all of the children too young to work were allowed to play together. At the end of the day, everyone was so covered with dirt that all faces were some shade of black. What an experience!
Certainly my view of harmony was not found everywhere as historically documented incidents do exist, especially in Charleston, South Carolina, where blacks numerically exceeded whites. Colonists living in Charleston about 1728 were fearful of uprisings which resulted in summary executions of anyone suspected of fomenting rebellion. They were concerned with slave rebellions such as those which occurred in Santa Domingo, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Land grants and ship bounties were provided to increase the population of whites in the colonies. Louisiana history also provides much insight into slave rebellions with Voodoo religion being used as a means of communication and resistance.
The institution of slavery was not invented by southern planters and indeed it was practiced as far north as New York State and throughout the western states of colonial America. The practice originated in prehistoric times where one person or a group of persons profited from the forced labor of others whom they acquired in the spoils of war or by purchase. Sadly, the practice continues even at present in some developing nations. At the time of this writing, the institution of slavery has been abolished in America for over 135 years. It is time to bury the past and create a society which liberates people from all bondage, some more insidious than the forced labor of ante-bellum America. Modern institutions of bondage bear the name of hatred, poverty, crime, substance abuse, and sexual or physical abuse. It is time to devote our energies to ending these institutions which also have the ability to take away freedoms which our Declaration of Independence and Constitution declare to be "Inalienable Rights Endowed by the Creator".
Eaddy Family Features
James Eaddy Family Tree