CHAPTER STORYTELLERS

CAPTAIN WILLIAM DE WITT

As each of us traces our roots, we invariably come up with interesting stories that enthrall us. I would like to share a story about one of my favorites, as printed in the "History of the Old Cheraws" by Gregg.

My ancestors came from many different countries to claim America as their own; and so it was with Captain William DeWitt who had come from Holland. The Revolutionary War period found him and his family in the Old Cheraws, an area on the border line of South and North Carolina -- mostly in South Carolina.

As the British came nearer and nearer to the widespread plantation area, attacking and destroying homes and property and taking prisoners of war, "The dwelling of Capt. Wm. DeWitt, on Cedar Creek on this, or a subsequent occasion, was also destroyed. On the approach of the British, Capt. DeWitt took his family to Guilford, N.C., but immediately returned himself, and took an active part to the close of the war. When called upon to take the Oath of Allegiance to the King, he is said to have drawn with his sword a circle on the ground, indicating that spot to be his country, and standing thereon, to have uttered words of proud defiance to those who would thus have prohibited him from his sacred fealty as an inhabitant of Carolina and an American citizen. Similar to this in tone by him and others was this response, 'THE QUESTION WAS NOT ONE OF PROPERTY, BUT LIBERTY!'"

By Kathy Heard-Fate
Ancestor: Thomas Powe, SC


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HARRY MONTGOMERY SALTER

Born: June 11, 1868, Moundsville, Marshall County, West Virginia
Died: February 1927, Lake City, Florida
Service: Spanish American War

Harry Montgomery Salter was my great grandfather. As a child, I had asked questions about him, but no one in the family had any information on his past. All they knew was that he was from West Virginia and claimed to have ridden up the hill with Teddy Roosevelt during the Spanish American War. He would never talk about his family or home in West Virginia.

After receiving his Military records, I believe I know why. These records show he was married at the time he joined the military. Harry was listed as 1 Master Sgt., Co. M, 1 Reg't, W. VA Infantry. He enrolled as a Corporal and was mustered in as a 2M Sergeant, May 7, 1898, in Charleston, W. VA. He had traveled from Moundsville W. VA, which was 254 miles away, in order to join. He was age 29 at that time; his occupation was listed as Painter. Harry mustered out in Columbus, GA, February 4, 1899. That is where he met and married my great-grandmother, Maggie Ham. Further research shows he was married in W. VA to Minnie Allison. I have never found anything to show he divorced his first wife or that she died before he married Maggie.

His second wife, Maggie Ham, died in 1914, leaving three children -- two boys, Harry, Jr. and James Bernard, and one daughter, Clara Elizabeth. A family story says he didn't feel comfortable raising a girl, and Maggie's family wanted to keep her with them. My grandmother, Clara, lived with her grandmother and an aunt for two years. At the time of her grandmother's death, her Aunt Mattie Ham, called "Aunt Sweet," continued to raise Clara.

Harry Salter did marry again. He and his new wife moved to Lakeland, Florida, where he died in February, 1927. He is buried in the American Legion Section, Riverdale Cemetery, Columbus, GA.

Harry's family in West Virginia was full of history. His father's uncle, William Salter, was a Judge and Senator in Scioto County, Ohio. William's father was Samuel Salter who fought in the Revolutionary War. Harry's mother's family can be traced back to the Zane family of Ohio and West Virginia. His great-grandmother was Elizabeth "Betty" Zane, who was the heroine of Ft. Henry in Wheeling, Virginia, later to become West Virginia. One of Betty's brothers was Col. Ebenezer Zane of Ft. Henry. Col Zane's great-grandson was Zane Gray, who was a well known western novel writer who wrote a series of three stories about the Zane Family.

By Anne Brown
Ancestor: William Hamm, Sr., NC

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