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Abbeville in Abbeville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

First Secession Meeting Boulder

 
 
This Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 21, 2009
1. This Stone Marker
Inscription.
This stone
marks the spot
where
the
first secession
speeches
were made.

 
Location. 34° 10.733′ N, 82° 22.483′ W. Marker is in Abbeville, South Carolina, in Abbeville County. Marker can be reached from Secession Avenue (County Road 01-120) east of Branch Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located near the treeline on the hill. Marker is in this post office area: Abbeville SC 29620, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Secession Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Secession Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Henry McNeal Turner (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Conservation Cabin (about 500 feet away); This Water Fountain (about 500 feet away); Marie Cromer Seigler (about 500 feet away); First Secession Meeting Columns (about 800 feet away); Clarence E. Pressley (approx. 0.2 miles away); Abbeville County Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Operation Desert Shield / Storm Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Abbeville.
 
Regarding First Secession Meeting Boulder. Secession Hill was once known
This Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 21, 2009
2. This Stone Marker
as Magazine Hill due to its close proximity to the site of the second powder magazine in Abbeville. After the fateful meeting, the name was changed to its current one. The hill is stop five on the Abbeville Historic South Walking Tour.
 
Also see . . .
1. Secession Hill. Secession Hill, just east of modern-day Secession Street in Abbeville, South Carolina, is the site where local citizens gathered on November 22, 1860 to adopt the ordinance of South Carolina's secession from the Union. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Chesterfield County First in State to Secede; New Evidence Found. An important historical document has been found that settles a question which has for some time been agitated in Chesterfield as to when [the first organized] secession meeting was held here. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Milledge Luke Bonham. Milledge Luke Bonham (December 25, 1813 – August 27, 1890) was an American politician and Congressman who served as the Governor of South Carolina from 1862 until 1864. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. Samuel McGowan. Samuel McGowan (October 19, 1819 – August 9, 1897) was a general from South Carolina in the Confederate States Army during
This Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 2, 2010
3. This Stone Marker
the American Civil War. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

5. Armistead Burt. Armistead Burt (November 13, 1802 – October 30, 1883) was a U.S. Representative from South Carolina. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

6. Newspaper Abstracts from The Abbeville Press, Abbeville, South Carolina. A collection of articles, including "To the Memory of John W. Wilson" by D.L. Wardlaw. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. The Great Secession Meeting, November 22, 1860
The Abbeville Medium
Robert R. Hemphill
May 2, 1907

I remember the great Secession meeting in Abbeville in 1860 which was an introduction to the War Between the States. It was on the twenty-second day of November and a great multitude was in the town. Augustus M. Smith was Marshal of the day. W.M. Rogers and J.F. Livingston were his assistants. The procession formed in the public square and escorted by about 500 minute men marched in the grove near the Southern depot where the mass meeting was organized by electing T.C. Perrin, President; Judge D.L. Wardlaw, Col. John A. Calhoun, Dr. J.W. Hearst, Capt. John Brownlee, and Dr.
This Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 21, 2009
4. This Stone Marker
John A. Logan, vice presidents, and James C. Calhoun and George McDuffie Miller, secretaries.

Hon. A.G. Magrath of Charleston was the first speaker and I remember his first sentence was, “The time for speaking has passed and the time for action has arrived.” He rolled his “rís” in fine style. He was a very handsome man and made a capital speech urging immediate action on the part of South Carolina at any and every hazard. He was followed by Hon. M.L. Bonham who also favored immediate action. Resolutions were unanimously adopted favoring secession of the state.

A Committee of Twenty was appointed to select nominees for the Convention which met December 17, 1860. While this Committee was out, speeches were made by Samuel McGowan, W.C. Davis, and J.N. Cochran. The following gentlemen were elected to the Convention: Edward Noble, John A. Calhoun, Thomas Thomson, John H. Wilson, and D.L. Wardlaw. Called upon for an expression of views, each one endorsed the resolutions adopted which were published in the county newspapers. The speeches, however, were crowed out and lost to the generations that came after.

It was not however, the official action of the mass meeting that I now undertake to record. It is the small and commonplace incidents of the day. I came down with several students from Due West which was rather a conservative community,
This Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 21, 2009
5. This Stone Marker
a place where the war spirit had not reached. Four of us did not join the procession but stood on the sidewalk where the post office now is. Near us was a great watch hung out as a sign that H.T. Tusten was in business there. W.W. Lindsay and I.L. Grier of Due West, Robert Yeldell of Alabama and I kept together during the way. Yeldell would not march in the procession because he was afraid of giving offence to Samuel Jordan, a kinsman who held strong Union sentiments. We could not get near enough to hear much of the speeches and so we sat down on the ground and watched the firing of a cannon at intervals during the meeting. It was all new to us and we wondered how anyone could stand before artillery. In time, however, we learned the lesson. The last I saw of Yeldell, he was a lieutenant in an Alabama artillery company with the army near Yorktown in 1862. I.L. Grier was killed at the battle of Gainesí Mill. W.W. Lindsay was mortally wounded at Snickerís Gap in Virginia, November 2, 1862 and died on the 20th day of the same month, and only I escaped to tell the story.

There was a man in the crowd that day from Turkey Creek on the Saluda side of the District. His name was Wesley A. Robertson. He was up in years, well past the military age, slender in figure, with keen eyes, and full of good humor. When Judge Wardlaw in his speech inquired what we would do if a revenue cutter
This Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 2, 2010
6. This Stone Marker
of the U.S. Navy would come into Charleston harbor to collect duties on imports, W.W. Perryman made some interruption and Robertson shouted, “Iíd wade in and sink her, ---- her, sink her.” He never heard the last of it while the war was on. He was nor the kind of man to help get up a fight and not back out of it. He and his boys went to the front. He did all his age and strength would allow as a member of Co. G, Orrís Rifles, the famous command. In the winter of 1863-1864 when camped near Orange, he was sent up the mountains upon light duty to look after commissary supplies. Returning from his detail when he came in sight of the regiment, he wore a high crowned, white stove pipe hat and was mounted on a skewbald or calico horse. He was greeted with the cry, “sink her, ---- her, sink her,” and received with the warmest welcome. No joke of his comrades ever disturbed his equanimity and the pleasure of his comrades in seeing him on this occasion was particularly enhanced by the fact that he had in his commissary wagon a barrel or two of eggs for Co. G, which he had received from the pretty mountain girls for telling their fortunes. He always told them something good and pleasant. After the close of hostilities, he went west and died in Texas in 1894.

I write this narrative to keep in the minds of our people a son of Abbeville past the vigor of young
This Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 2, 2010
7. This Stone Marker
manhood and gray haired, who fought a good fight and risked all for his home and friends.
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. First Secession Meeting Boulder
This rough granite boulder with a bronze tablet inset probably marks the site where Abbeville's delegates to the Secession Convention were elected. Through the years, Abbevillians have debated about its position, some saying that the marker was not placed in exactly the right spot on Secession Hill. In 1958, the Abbeville County Historical Society refurbished the marker and cleared the property to make the marker, which is only two feet tall, more visible and accessible to the public. (Source: A Guide to Confederate Monuments in South Carolina: "Passing the Silent Cup" by Robert S. Seigler (1997), pg 35.)
    — Submitted November 22, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. Milledge Luke Bonham (1813-1890)
Milledge Luke Bonham, a Representative from South Carolina; born near Red Bank (now Saluda), Edgefield District, S.C., December 25, 1813; attended private schools in Edgefield District and at Abbeville, S.C.; was graduated from South Carolina College (now the
View Down Secession Hill from Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 2, 2010
8. View Down Secession Hill from Marker
University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1834; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Edgefield in 1837; served as major and adjutant general of the South Carolina Brigade in the Seminole War in Florida in 1836; during the Mexican War was lieutenant colonel and colonel of the Twelfth Regiment, United States Infantry; major general of the South Carolina Militia; member of the State house of representatives 1840-1843; solicitor of the southern circuit of South Carolina 1848-1857; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth Congresses and served from March 4, 1857, until his retirement on December 21, 1860; appointed major general and commander of the Army of South Carolina by Gov. F. W. Pickens in February 1861; appointed brigadier general in the Confederate Army April 19, 1861; resigned his commission January 27, 1862, to enter the Confederate Congress; elected Governor of South Carolina in December 1862 and served until December 1864; appointed brigadier general of Cavalry in the Confederate Army in February 1865; again a member of the State house of representatives 1865-1866; delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1868; member of the South Carolina taxpayersí convention in 1871 and 1874; resumed the practice of law in Edgefield, engaged in planting, and also conducted an insurance business in Edgefield, S.C., and Atlanta, Ga.,
The First Organized Mass Meeting for Secession image. Click for full size.
By Wilbur George Kurtz
9. The First Organized Mass Meeting for Secession
One of South Carolina's earliest organized mass meetings for secession was held in Abbeville on November 22, 1860. In this painting, Judge A.G. McGrath of Charleston, the principal speaker is seen making his argument in favor of secession. The other speakers that day were General M.L. Bonham, Congressman McGowan, Major Armistead Burt, and others of equal prominence.
1865-1878; appointed State railroad commissioner in 1878 and served until his death at White Sulphur Springs, N.C., August 27, 1890; interment in Elmwood Cemetery, Columbia, S.C. (Source: Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.)
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

4. Armistead Burt (1802-1883)
Armistead Burt, a Representative from South Carolina; born at Clouds Creek, near Edgefield, Edgefield District, S.C., November 13, 1802; moved with his parents to Pendleton, S.C.; completed preparatory studies; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1823 and practiced in Pendleton; moved to Abbeville, S.C., in 1828 and continued the practice of law; also engaged in agricultural pursuits; member of the South Carolina house of representatives, 1834-1835, and 1838-1841; elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1843-March 3, 1853); chairman, Committee on Military Affairs (Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses); served as Speaker pro tempore of the House of Representatives during the absence of Speaker Winthrop in 1848; was not a candidate for renomination in 1852; resumed the practice of law in Abbeville; delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1868; died in Abbeville, S.C., October
Secession Hill Postcard image. Click for full size.
Abbeville County by the Abbeville County Historical Society
10. Secession Hill Postcard
One of a series of postcards sold by McMurray's Drug Store.
30, 1883; interment in Episcopal Cemetery. (Source: Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.)
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

5. Edward Noble
Edward Noble was the fourth child and third son of S.C. Governor Patrick Noble and Elizabeth Bonneau Pickens, daughter of Ezekiel and Elizabeth Bonneau Pickens. Governor Patrick Noble was a son of Major Alexander Noble, husband of Catherine Calhoun, a daughter of Ezekiel Calhoun, and sister of Rebecca Floride Calhoun, wife of General Andrew Pickens.

Edward Noble married Mary Bratton and they had two daughters: Mary Noble and Floride Noble. (Source: http://freepages.books.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pickensarchive/day/day05b.html.)
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

6. Thomas Thompson
Thomas Thomson was born in Scotland on the 5th of June, 1813, and went to Abbeville, South Carolina, in his youth. After he grew up he taught school for a time and studied law under the Honorable Armistead Burt. For many years he was associated with Colonel Robert A. Fair in the practice of his profession, the name of the firm being Thomson & Fair. At the bar he stood
Secession Hill Mass Meeting Notice image. Click for full size.
Abbeville County by the Abbeville County Historical Society
11. Secession Hill Mass Meeting Notice
Abbeville's own General Samuel McGowan spoke at the meeting in opposition to secession, even though he later became one of the most distinguished generals of the Confederate Army.
deservedly high, his tastes causing him to prefer civil practice. There was no lack of substantial recognition of his ability, and he amassed sufficient to make him independent of the chances of the future. In Abbeville district he had his home until the end. There he made his reputation, and there in consequence he was best known.

In 1846, Judge Thomson was elected a member of the State Legislature, distinguishing himself there by the cogency and brevity of his uttrances. With the exception of two terms, he served continuously as Representative and afterwards as Senator until 1868. When the State seceded, exchanging the gown for the sword, he went into service as captain of a company from Abbeville in the Second Regiment of Rifles, rising step by step to the rank of colonel. His bravery was everywhere conspicuous, and he enjoyed the full confidence of his men. Upon his election as State Senator in 1862, Colonel Thomson resigned his commission in the army.

He was a member of the cooperation convention in 1851 and as a member of the secession convention in 1860 signed the ordinance of secession. From the time of the dissolution of the State Government, prior to the Reconstruction of 1868, he remained in private life until February, 1878, when he was elected by the General Assembly Judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, receiving one hundred and thirty-seven of
Secession Hill Looking Northeast image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
12. Secession Hill Looking Northeast
the one hundred and thirty-nine votes cast. The next month he was elected a Judge of the Court of Claims, before which the issues involving the validity of a portion of the State debt were tried. Judge Thomson delivered the leading opinion of the court, sustaining generally the report of the bond commission.

Judge Thomson was at one time, under the old judicial system, a prominent candidate for chancellor, and came very near an election. When the General Assembly was called on to elect circuit judges in 1878, Judge Thomson was looked upon as the man of all men to place upon the bench. In the discharge of his duties he was patient, courteous, conscientious, and painstaking.

Judge Thomson was an elder of the Presbyterian Church, enjoying the fullest confidence of his associates. The office of treasurer of the De La Howe fund he held for many years, and managed to protect it and keep it intact during the Radical era in South Carolina.

Judge Thomson was married first to Miss Eliza Allen. Three children of this marriage reached maturity. Second, to Mrs. M.M. Hollingsworth, whose maiden name was Gomillion. Of this marriage four children survived.

The death of Judge Thomson, which occurred at his home in Abbeville on May 6, 1881, was wholly unexpected; there was no illness or loss of mental vigor to prepare the public for the loss of one whose career
Secession Hill Looking Northwest image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
13. Secession Hill Looking Northwest
was marked by eminent talent in his profession, by gallant service during the Confederate War, and in every relation of life by steady, modest worth. Not offensive or impulsive, he was amiable to those whom he liked and a firm friend of those whom he trusted. (Source: South Carolina Bench and Bar by Ulysses Robert Brooks (1908), pg 258-259.)
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

7. The Wardlaw Family
The [Wardlaw] family was founded in this country by Robert Wardlaw of Scotland, who first settled in Pennsylvania, later in Virginia, and finally in Abbeville County, South Carolina. John Wardlaw, great-grandfather of A.W. Smith, was the first clerk of the County Court of Abbeville County and held that office for thirty-eight years. Judge D.L. Wardlaw, father of Sarah Wardlaw. was one of the state's distinguished lawyers and jurists, and was the first male child born in Abbeville County. He served as a member of the State Legislature from 1826 to 1841, as speaker of the House in 1836, as judge of the Circuit Court in 1841, a member of the state conventions at different times before and after the war. In 1865 he was elected an associate justice of the State Court of Appeals. His brother was Chancellor Francis Wardlaw, who wrote the Ordinance
Judge A.G. Magrath<br>(1813-1893) image. Click for full size.
By Unknown Source
14. Judge A.G. Magrath
(1813-1893)
of Secession. (Source: History of South Carolina, Volume 3 by Yates Snowden, pgs 190-192.)
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

8. The Unknown Soldier
The Abbeville Press & Banner
1935

One of the things that occupied the attention of the children on Magazine Hill every Decoration Day was going to the foot of the hill leading down through the woods, and decorating the grave of the unknown Confederate soldier who died at the close of the war. He is buried where the group of negro houses are now standing. The grave was once surrounded by a small picket fence and a cedar tree grew in the enclosure. It stood out in clear view of all the surrounding country. I do not think any one ever knew who this man was, and as I remember the story, he came to town over the old Southern, the train being in charge of Mr. Coogler, the grandfather of John Harris. The man was sick with smallpox and he died before he could be taken from the train to tell his name and home town. He was buried on this hillside and the children of the Magazine Hill school took great pleasure in making wreathes and bouquets to decorate his grave. It was a half holiday and we raced down the hill and covered the quiet resting place of this stranger, with flowers.
Milledge Luke Bonham<br>December 25, 1813 – August 27, 1890 image. Click for full size.
Wikipedia
15. Milledge Luke Bonham
December 25, 1813 – August 27, 1890
S.C. House of Rep 1840-1843, 1865-1866
U.S. Rep from S.C. 1857-1860
Gov of S.C. 1862-1864
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Samuel McGowan<br>October 19, 1819 – August 9, 1897 image. Click for full size.
By NPS.gov
16. Samuel McGowan
October 19, 1819 – August 9, 1897
Asst Just S.C. Supreme Court 1879-1893
Secession Banner of the South Carolina Convention image. Click for full size.
By Unknown Source
17. Secession Banner of the South Carolina Convention
Unknown Confederate Burial image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 21, 2009
18. Unknown Confederate Burial
Located at the base of the hill, just east of the intersection of Branch Street and Secession Avenue.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,933 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3. submitted on November 5, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   4, 5. submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   6, 7, 8. submitted on November 5, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   9. submitted on November 15, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   10, 11. submitted on November 16, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   12. submitted on September 22, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   13. submitted on September 28, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   14, 15. submitted on November 19, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   16. submitted on May 3, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   17. submitted on November 19, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   18. submitted on December 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
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