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Colleton home to America’s birth place

The United States of America is about to celebrate her 240th birthday, with the upcoming July 4th Independence Day holiday marking another year of our nation’s creation and freedoms. Many of our nation’s fights and strides toward independence occurred in Colleton County. According to numerous state and national historical publications, Colleton County is one of the original battlegrounds where the American colonies fought against the British.
While there is no official booklet about Colleton’s historical sites, Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society President Jeff Grigg says Colleton County is a historic ground for Revolutionary War battles. Grigg is a national best-selling author and avid historian. “The Revolutionary War was very fluid here, so there were no tangible and real markers left here in Colleton County from that time frame, unlike in Charleston,” said Grigg, in a prevous interview with The Colletonian. “Most sites are now on private property, but there are a few on public land for viewing,” he said.
According to a list compiled by Manning resident Mary Jo Jones, South Carolina is hostess to more than 130 military battles during the Revolutionary War. Approximately eight of those battles occurred in Colleton County, including a March 18, 1780 fight at Salkehatchie; the Battle at Pon Pon on March 20, 1780; three battles in April of 1781 that went from Four Holes Swamp to Pocataligo Road; the July 8, 1781 Battle at Horse Shoe; the Battle of Parker’s Ferry on August 31, of 1781 and then the Combahee fight in August of 1782.

Some of Colleton’s most well-known Revolutionary War and Pre-Revolutionary War sites include areas that are still open to the public. These sites include:

The Pon Pon Chapel
According to Grigg, the Pon Pon Chapel was a vibrant part of the community’s pre-Revolutionary War era and was used during the war itself. It is currently owned and cared for by the Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society, which monitors the grounds. Visitors can view the historic national site while near another Revolutionary War marvel – Parkers Ferry Road.
The historic Battle of Parkers Ferry between the British and Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion was held on these grounds. The battle site is noted by a historical monument that sits on the edge of the dirt road.

The Tomb of Isaac Haynes
Isaac Haynes was ultimately taken as a prisoner of war by the British and hanged to death. His love for the War of Independence began when he became a captain of artillery. In 1780, the British invaded and he fought during the final siege of Charleston. He was captured, but paroled on the condition that he would not serve against the British as long as they held control over Charleston. But, one year later, the British demanded that he join the Royal Army or face imprisonment. Haynes believed this request violated his original terms of parole from the British, so he immediately joined a rebel militia and became a Colonel. He was then captured by the British during a battle. Hayne’s tomb is located in Colleton County along Charleston Highway. His tomb and its grounds are being cared for by the state.

The Burial of John Laurens
John Laurens was an American soldier from South Carolina in the Revolutionary War. He was an entrusted member of George Washington’s personal circle, and saved Washington’s life once by taking a bullet for him. With an extensive resume in fighting for the nation’s independence, Laurens is also known for his efforts to recruit slaves, telling them to fight for their freedom as soldiers.
While there is no official site to mark his death, history tells us that Laurens was killed in Colleton County at the end of the Revolutionary War. He is buried at Mepkin Abbey, a monastery in Moncks Corner. A marker once reminding the public of Laurens’ contribution to our nation’s birth was placed alongside U.S. Highway 17 on the edge of Colleton and Beaufort counties. That marker was lost during the widening of U.S. Highway 17 and has not been replaced, said Grigg.

The Steel Bridge
The Steel Bridge that sits on the dividing line of Beaufort and Colleton counties along U.S. Highway 17 is the spot where many scrimmages were held during the war. This entire area is scattered with sites and markers, including the nearby Temple of Sport. This sylvan temple was originally located near the Highway 303 and Highway 17 intersection by Col. Barnard Elliott, a Revolutionary patriot and an avid sportsman. It stood as a deer stand and was part of Elliott’s plantation, Belleview. But, this monument was burned during the war. A historical marker now marks the spot where the monument was located. “Highway 17 was also used during the war for the original marches against Charleston,” said Grigg.

Heather Walters (837 Posts)