22 January 2016
Family Friday - Catherine Montgomery Calhoun
One of my favorite things to study is family history. I have always found history itself to be a fascinating subject. This week hasn't let me down on either one.
Members of my family were in this country long before the United States was officially the United States, long before it was even a British colony. I come from a multi-ethnic background, with Irish being the most represented, but the Native Americans are strongly represented as well. This brings us to today's story.
Catherine Montgomery Calhoun was my eighth great-grandmother. She was born in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1684. She was married to James Patrick Calhoun. They were the grandparents of future vice-president John C. Calhoun and also the grand-parents of my sixth great-grandmother Rebecca, who was married to General Andrew Pickens.
Back to Catherine: She was living in South Carolina during a time when there were lots of skirmishes with the Native Americans, specifically the Cherokees. Because of increased land disputes with the Cherokee, the Scots-Irish settlers decided to leave South Carolina and head towards Fort Moore near Augusta, Georgia.
According to some of the articles that I have read, the wagons bogged down and they were ambushed by the Cherokee. At least 23 settlers were killed and about the same number of Cherokee. One of these settlers brutally massacred was Catherine. One of her sons returned after the massacre to bury the dead.
While I will never understand the murder of the children, I do understand that the Native Americans were doing what they could do to defend land that was legally and morally theirs. I also understand that the Scots-Irish were just looking for a better life after leaving the oppression suffered in Ireland.
Both sides were my family.
I look forward to learning more about these people in my family and their part in the early history of South Carolina and the founding of this country.
For more information on the massacre, as well as pictures of the site, please visit: Long Cane Massacre.