Augustus Fulton & Elizabeth Sarah Hart Edwards Come Home to Darlington County

We at the Darlington County Historical Commission are thrilled that Nancy Silliman Bryant brought the Edward’s home to Darlington.

 

Edwards portraits

The Historical Commission is proud to announce the addition of two portraits to our collection.  The portraits were donated by Nancy Silliman Bryant, the great-great granddaughter of A.F. & Elizabeth Edwards.  She is a native of Johns Island, SC.  During our meeting today she said that she remembered coming to Darlington as a child and the family home in Palmetto.  Bryant, a true champion of history and a keen support of museums, felt compelled to place the portraits in a facility that would insure their care and foster their connection with the community.

We at the Darlington County Historical Commission are thrilled that Nancy Silliman Bryant brought the Edward’s home to Darlington.  The two families that are represented by this couple, are interconnected with many other families all across the county.  This donation will allow many of those families to reconnect with their ancestral roots.  What an amazing treasure it is when a family member is able to see a relative that was unknown to them for the first time.

Augustus Fulton Edwards was the youngest of 3 sons of Zachariah Edwards (he had 9 girls too). Augustus was bom in Woodruff (Spartanburg) SC in 1826. Zachariah moved to Cass County Ga. about the 1837. It’s documented that Augustus and his 2 other brothers, joined and was baptized into the Petitte Creek Baptist church in Cass. This began a lifetime of devotion to God for the three young men. It is said they all lived God-fearing lives to the day they died.

They all left home about the age of 21 to seek their fortune and all ended up back in SC. Zachariah had a lot of girls and Augustus could not be spared to go to school. Notes say he learned to read and write at an early age. His father promised him one year of school and sent him to Cool Springs. After that he went to live with a relative in South Carolina who helped prepare him for college. He went to SC College in Columbia and finished in 3 years.(What is today the University of south Carolina) He spent one year as an “agent” for Johnston University at Anderson. Then he went and lived with his older brother, Oliver and spent 2 years teaching at the “Academy” in Spartanburg. He also taught in the summer for 3 years. These jobs gave him the finances to go to Harvard Law School. He went one year and graduated in 1857.

After Law School he located in Marion SC in the “Pee Dee” Region. He then sought after a bride whom he found in Hartsville, Elizabeth Sarah Hart. The town “Hartsville” was named for her father.

At this point in life he must have felt that everything was going his way. He was embarking on a new career with his brother, Berryman, in a law practice… he found the love of his life in “Bettie” and life in the old south must have been full of promise.

Then along came the Civil War. Augustus signed up with his brother, Oliver who was a colonel and who created the 13th SCV. Augustus signed as a Captain and Assistant Commissary of Subsistance. He served in this position until the Confederacy abolished the commissary position for each unit and he was sent to the Commissary office in Richmond, VA, which was the capital of the south.

You will see later in this study that according to the records it appears he was “dropped” for a year. We (that is to say cousin Bill and I) believe this is either a mistake or we don’t understand the meaning of “dropped.” Cousin Bill, (William Edwards III), after much research, discovered that Augustus was functioning as a Commissary during this time we referred to as “the missing year.” About the time of Oliver’s death Augustus was assigned to Commissary headquarters in Richmond VA. for about a year. Then toward the end of the war, a POW camp opened near his home in Florence, SC. He was transferred there and was responsible for supplying goods for the guards and the prisoners, a job most difficult, as the south was short on supplies.

Palmetto(The Darlington Home)

After the war, in 1865, he took a post entitled “Commissioner in Equity for Darlington District, SC.” According to his wife, Bettie “The years that followed were years of anxiety, worry, and struggle, except that we were all at home. ” The war had devastated the south. Augustus must have trouble getting his practice going. He did business in Darlington and Florence and was responsible for the Railroad depot opening in Palmetto (the halfway point) and also the Darlington- Florence Hwy. (This is also stated in the book “Darlingtonian”.  He also was instrumental in starting a school where one of his daughters taught. He eventually gave up his practice and built a “plantation” in Palmetto where he resigned himself to be a farmer.

Palmetto1(The home in Palmetto)

In August of 1885 he filed a law suit against the Cheraw & Darlington Railroad Company.  He was suing them because they must have stopped service to the Palmetto station, which he established. Less than 2 months later, he died in his Palmetto home on September 30, 1885. He died in his sleep. Some family trees list his death as Oct 1. The reason for the conflict was that Oct 1 was the day the coroner did his paperwork. But by his condition it is considered he passed on the 30th. He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Florence.

From Augustus F Edwards 1826, by Wally Edwards.

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