Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Reede River Falls Historic Park
Richard Pearis, Greenville's first white settler, was an Irish adventurer who had settled in Virginia with his wife and family by the middle of the eighteenth century. He developed good trade relationships with the Cherokee Indians, had a son by an Indian woman, and in 1770 acquired title to 100,000 acres of Indian land in what is now Greenville County. He set up his "Great Plains" Plantation with a trading post and grist mill on the banks of the Reedy River. Pearis was wooed by both Patriots and Tories when the American Revolution began. When he went with the British, Patriots burned his home, mill, and store. He fled to the Bahamas and never returned to Greenville. Paris Mountain is named for him.
Location. 34° 50.691′ N, 82° 24.031′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is on Falls Street near Camperdown Way (South Carolina Highway 124). Touch for map. This marker is located in Greenville's historic Falls Park, on the east end of the Liberty Bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Greenville SC 29601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Camperdown Mill (here, next to this marker); Cradle of Greenville (here, next to this marker); Liberty Bridge The Reedy River (within shouting distance of this marker); Reedy River Falls (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hunting Grounds to Mill Town (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Liberty Bridge (about 300 feet away); McBee's Mills (about 300 feet away); Falls Place (about 300 feet away); Vardry Dixon Ramseur, III (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenville.
More about this marker. This marker is one of a series of markers in the Historic Falls Park covering bits of Greenville's history.
Also see . . .
1. Richard Pearis. Richard Pearis (1725 – 1794) was an Indian trader, a pioneer settler of Upstate South Carolina, and a Loyalist officer during the American Revolution. (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Richard Pearis Will. A transcription of a transcription of the will. (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. Falls Park. Greenville's birthplace, featuring Reedy River Falls. (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
4. American History: Greenville County, South Carolina. While the lower parts of South Carolina had been settled for many years, Greenville County remained part of the old Cherokee hunting grounds and white men were strictly forbidden to enter the area. (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. About Richard Pearis
Richard Pearis was born in Ireland and settled in Frederick County, Virginia, before 1750. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war he was a successful planter and Indian trader on the Enoree river in South Carolina.
An orator of rude, savage eloquence and power, he commended himself to Governor Dinwiddie by his loyalty and efficiency. He became lieutenant in the Virginia Provincial regiment in 1755 and was commissioned captain in 1756 to command a company of Cherokees and Catawbas in an expedition against the Shawnee towns west of the Ohio, under Major Andrew Lewis. Pearis served under Generals Forbes, Stanwix, Monckton, and Bouquet. He was the first to enter Fort Duquesne. His military ability was apparent in his services on the borders
Having married a Cherokee wife, Captain Pearis acquired great influence among the Indians, and was consequently ordered south. In 1768 he was settled at the Big Canebrake, on the Reedy river, South Carolina.
Every effort was made by the Whigs in 1775 to induce this powerful man and the Indians to join them, or at least to secure their neutrality. However, Pearis took part in the siege of Ninety- Six on the British side and many other actions.
In July, 1776, he was one of a party of 260 loyal militia and Indians which unsuccessfully attacked 450 "rebels" in a wooden fort.
According to his own narrative, his services to the crown in the same year include the dispersal of 700 "rebels" in the district of Ninety-Six. By the turn of fortune he was captured and consigned to Charleston jail, where he was a prisoner in irons for nine months. On his release, Pearis wended his way on foot, traversing 700 miles, to West Florida, through the settlements of the Indians, who supplied him with food. Arriving at Pensacola, he was on 13 December, 1777, commissioned captain in the West Florida loyalist refugees, by Colonel John Stuart, superintendent of Indians in the Southern Colonies, who ordered him to capture Manshac on the Mississippi river, a task which he accomplished. This corps was also engaged in the suppression of the rum trade at Mobile Bay with the northern Creek Indians. Pearis was present at the capture of Sunbury in Georgia.
The romantic tale of his exploits includes the raising of 5000 to 6000 loyalists and the disarming of all rebels from the Savannah river to Broad river, near the borders of North Carolina, as well as destroying their forts and capturing men, arms and ammunition. To his mortification, this series of successes was no sooner accomplished than Colonels Innes and Balfour ordered the arms and ammunition to be returned to the "rebels" and their leaders released. Incensed by this treatment, he returned to Georgia and settled his family near Augusta.
While Pearis was a prisoner at Charleston, his wife, two daughters, and a son were surprised at home by Colonel John Thomas and 400 followers, who subjected them to abuse and punishment, as well as carrying away their portable property and burning the rest. Not content, Colonel Thomas forced the family to march on foot 25 miles a day, without food and without protection for their heads from the sun. They were also confined for three days without food, and were afterwards sent off in an open wagon a ditsance of 100 miles, to shift for themselves among "a parcel of rebels," without money or provisions. For three years Captain Pearis was separated from his family, who were in daily fear of massacre by their enemies.
A son of Captain Pearis was an ensign in the West Florida Rangers.
For the loss of his real estate in South Carolina, Colonel Richard Pearis claimed £15,576. 18s. and was awarded £5,624. An account of his property has been published. The name appears also as Paris, whence Paris Mountain, near Greenville in South Carolina.
After the war he settled in Abaco in the Bahamas, where he had a grant of 140 acres of land, and where Margaret Pearis, presumably his wife, received a grant of 40 acres. Colonel Pearis received a military allowance of £70 a year from 1783 to 1804, when he probably died. It was perhaps his son, Richard, who married Margaret, daughter of General Robert Cunningham, the South Carolina loyalist, in Abaco, 22 June, 1790. (Source: Contributions in History and Political Science, Issue 7 by Ohio State University, pgs 107-109.)
— Submitted April 11, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Categories. • Native Americans • Notable Events • Notable Persons • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,276 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on March 27, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 2. submitted on June 1, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 3. submitted on September 13, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 4. submitted on May 26, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.