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A Carolina spiderweb of connections …

By Margaret McNab Gale


My great grandfather, Joseph Benjamin Heustess, was born July 16, 1847, in South Carolina. His first wife (I’m related through his second wife) was Mollie J. Bolton. One of Joseph and Mollie’s grandchildren was Neville Worth Bennett, who married Margaret Crosland. Neville Bennett was born 1902 in Marlboro County.


Bennett was a powerful member of the S.C. House of Representatives; in the book titled South Carolina and the New Deal by Jack Irby Hayes, Jr., published by the USC Press, it states that Bennett was chairman of the S.C. House Ways and Means Committee. The S.C. Department of Agriculture Yearbook from 1946 states that “a sub-committee of the Commission on Agriculture of the United States met November 10, 1047. Approximately 500 farmers were present. Hon. Neville Bennett of Clio acted as chair of the steering committee on arrangements and other members of this committee were: Dr. R. F. Poole of Clemson College, E. H. Agnew of Starr, C. P. Key of Lodge, B. F. Williamson, Jr. of Darlington, Earle Taylor of Greer, W. A. Hambright of Blacksburg, Henry Cauthen of Columbia and Clair Shadwell of Columbia.”


Neville ran for the United States Senate in 1948. He lost to Charlestonian Burnet R. Maybank, descended from a prominent Charleston family. Maybank attended Porter Military Academy and was a graduate of the College of Charleston, later becoming mayor of Charleston in 1931 and governor of the state in 1938. He was the first governor from Charleston since the War Between the States.


Burnet Rhett Maybank. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 

Maybank’s unexpected death at his summer home in Flat Rock in 1954 led to Strom Thurmond’s election to senator by way of a write-in vote. According to Wikipedia, Governor Maybank “strictly enforced liquor and gambling statutes.” He also fought the KKK, which was active in the state in the 1930s. Shortly before his death, Maybank was noted as one of the “20 Most Influential Americans” by Fortune magazine. He is buried in Charleston’s historic Magnolia Cemetery.


A few years ago, several friends of mine in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) also joined the Charleston chapter of the National Society United States Daughters of 1812. I enjoy the research involved in joining heraldry groups, but I knew almost nothing about this early 19th century war. We all know about America’s Revolutionary War in 1776, but in 1812 America was still in conflict over trade agreements and other policies with Britain.


The Mt. Pleasant Podcast.com states that the “War Hawks” in the U. S. House of Representatives, led by John C. Calhoun advocated for a declaration of war, and on June 18, 1812, President James Madison complied with their wishes. According to the book America: A Narrative History, co-authored by a relation of mine, the War of 1812 was often called “America’s second war for independence” in that American families were divided in their allegiances to support America or the British Empire. Canada was also involved in the war and the book provides a report illustrating this family division: “Once, after killing an American militiaman, a Canadian soldier began taking the clothes off the corpse, only to realize that it was his brother. He grumbled that it served him right to have died for a bad cause.”


Among the first U.S. military units to be mustered was the Third Regiment of the S.C. militia, stationed at Haddrell’s Point in Mt. Pleasant with orders to protect Charleston Harbor. The podcast states: “In the shadow of the Revolutionary War, Charlestonians had good reason to feel very nervous about the possibility of British naval bombardment and invasion.” The Third Regiment of state troops was led to action by Lt. Col. John Rutledge, Jr., who was the son of John Rutledge, our state’s first governor. An 1812 encampment marker stands today on Carr Street in Mt. Pleasant’s Old Village historic district.


I want to thank the deputy director of the Charleston County Library, Bennettsville native Jim McQueen and his sister Lynn McQueen, a former newspaper reporter and now museum and cultural affairs director for Marlboro County, for their ongoing assistance in helping me to document the heritage of our S.C. family.


Margaret McNab Gale, MLS, is a reference librarian and genealogist who has been published more than 50 times in the Lowcountry and upstate counties of South Carolina. She owns a computer consulting company and a photography company with her husband Larry Gale, who is also a professional writer and percussionist.

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