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Reminiscences of Western York

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1888 to 1889
Location: York, South Carolina, United Statesmap
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James L. Strain wrote a column for the Yorkville Enquirer called "Reminiscences of Western York." It includes interesting details about the people who lived in the area. These transcriptions are my best effort at recording his work. Strain was a Confederate soldier in the civil war and uses the language of the time.

Reminiscences of Western York, 28 Nov 1888

The Wylie family numbers among its members some of the oldest and most respectable citizens of Western York. The four surviving members are Mr. John Wylie, Mrs. Lucinda Seahorn and Misses Polly and Betsy Wylie. They, with the Iate Thomas G., William and Dixon Wylie, also Mrs. Peggy Bigham, were known to the writer from his earliest recollection, and to them he to this day accords that respect that their Christian lives have so justly merited.
All of them were consistent members of the A. R. Presbyterian Church, and lived exemplary lives. Mrs. Bigham was left a widow by the death of her husband, Mr. Jimmie Bigham, while her oldest sons, Theodore and Hemphill, were very young. Among the duties devolving upon her in her widowhood was the preservation of the family altar. Not unmindful of the fact that she was to provide for their spiritual as well as their earthly wants, she presented them with her prayers at a throne of grace reguiariy, night and morning, with that faith and zeal that makes the Christian's life a reality. Her prayers were answered. By the time either of those boys could plow they could take their Bibles and psalm books and conduct the family worship without embarrassment or trepidation that often makes good works unavailable.
The writer always felt that He who has promised to be a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow, was present on those solemn occasons. Like shocks of corn fully ripe, this good woman, together with her Christian influences that marked their exemplary lives, has passed to that promised rest beyond the grave.
Hemphill Bigham, (the younger of the two oldest brothers) had scarcely attained his majority when the war came on and he was elected a lieutenant in Co. B, 12th S. C. Regiment. He was killed in the battle of Second Manassas, (if I am not mistaken). The bullet that killed him removed one of York county's brightest young men from time to eternity. Thus we see the obedient child ; the dutiful son; the God-fearing youth and the brave soldier give up his noble life in the darkest hour of his country's peril. He died that it might live. With Hemphill Bigham the writer has taken many a tilt in debating societies, and I always found in him an opponent worthy of my steel. With electric speed and mathematical precision, he could summon his thoughts and with powerful force use them in his arguments.
No one is more fully aware of the fact than is the writer, that the pious training of these two young men (as weli as many others we expect to mention) is largely due to the teaching of the venerable Dr. Ross, who was the faithful shepherd of the flock of which their parents were honored useful members. The writer remembers seeing Dr. Ross perform the solemn rites of baptism upon some of the younger members of the Bigham family; and lam fully satisfied that the pledges made by these parents, that they would pray with and for their children and teach them to pray, was kept faithfully to the end of their lives.
After her husband's death, Mrs. Bigham brought her children to church at Sharon, regularly, as usual, and none were better equipped for the catechetical examination than they were. Dr. Ross generally attended to this work in person. Sometimes one of the elders would perform it. Mrs. Peggy Bigham's life would be a fair standard by which to estimate the noble virtues of her brothers and sisters, both living and dead. The Wylie family numbers among its connection (by marriage or descent) some of the best families of Chester and Fairfield counties. Among them we might mention the Moffatts, Strongs, McDills, Bighams and others. Mr. John Wylie is the father of Dr. S. M. Wylie, of Chester county, and also of Mr. W. Brown Wylie, Clerk of Court elect for York county. Mrs. R.K. Seahorn, Miss Polly Wylie and Miss Betsy Wylie live at Hickory Grove, and are among the oldest and most respectable Christian people of that community. Their mother died during the war, at an advanced age, and was buried in the family burying ground at Sharon church, where, with other deceased members of her family, her body awaits the morning of the resurrection.
Blood will tell. We find among the families of those whose names we have mentioned in this chapter of reminiscences, sons and daughters who still live to perpetuate the noble virtues of their honored ancestors. New affinities by contracts have brought about a relationship of the present generation with the Whisonants, McDills, Castles, Seahorns, Hopes, Cains and others.
Mr. Jimmie Bigham died with that most dreaded of all diseases, quinsy. The idea of a man in comparatively good health dying from mere suffocation, enables the reader to imagine better than we can describe its terror.
Mr. Thomas G. Wylie bought and settled upon the present site of the town of Hickory Grove fully fifty years ago, where he began business as a merchant and farmer. He died a few year ago. He married Miss Emily Strong, a daughter of Mr. Christie Strong, of Chester district. This excellent woman and her husband were only for a short time separated by death.
"None knew lier but to love her,
None named her but to praise."
We feel called upon to write up the history of the families in Western York, and shall proceed to do so as we collect such data as might interest the readers. Our object is to remember the virtues and forget the faults of those of whom we shall speak; and we hope our readers will pardon any mistakes or errors we commit, and receive our articles in the same spirit in which we write them. J.L.S.

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Thomas G. Wylie




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