Correcting my “The Dark Corner” facts
Published 3:20 pm Monday, December 27, 2010
To the Editor:
My name is Beverly Plumley Powers.
It has been quite a while since I wrote the column, “Back in Them Thar’ Hills.”
This past year, I have been asked many questions about old stories that I wrote as well as others to which I have no answers yet. Thus, for the past several months, I have been doing serious writing and research again.
A couple of years ago, I discovered that I made a mistake in the Feb. 2, 2003 article titled, “From a vacation spot to a working farm,” which was part of a series about the Gov. Benjamin Franklin Perry estate. I wrote that a person recounted she was told many years ago a Hamilton family purchased the Perry summer house.
This person told me she believes W. M. and Susan Durham (known as William or Bill and Granny Sus) purchased the farm from the Hamiltons. That was incorrect. I should have gone to the Greenville County Courthouse and researched it for myself before publishing it. The truth is that Gov. Benjamin Franklin Perry sold many properties in Greenville County in the 1800s as B. F. Perry. B. F. sold Glencoe (presently located on Dug Hill Road) to Marcus Durham on Dec. 31, 1880 (Greenville County Register of Deeds, Page 184). Marcus Durham sold the house and property to his brother, William Durham, on Nov. 21, 1883 (Greenville County Register of Deeds, Page 789).
When I wrote my columns, if I made mistakes and discovered them, I always acknowledged them. However, I wasn’t always wrong. I stated my ancestors were English, Scottish, Irish and Cherokee. I may be wrong about the Irish, but not about the others. There are experts that claim that the European ancestors of folks from Dark Corner only came from England. That is not true. The Campbell, Earl, Lindsey and Ross families definitely came from Scotland. Let me tell you two stories.
I was told this story in the late 1970s by a gentleman in Tennessee who was researching the Campbell family history.
The Campbells were famous, powerful, prosperous, whiskey makers in Scotland. Every time the king sent his soldiers to collect taxes from the Campbells, the Campbells shot them all. Finally, the king paid the Campbells to leave Scotland. There were Campbells in Dark Corner who were excellent moonshiners. I know someone who in his time was among the best, because he was an apprentice of Campbell.
The Lindseys, I was always told were Scott-Irish. There were no Presbyterian churches in Dark Corner. Thus, it wouldn’t make sense for the Lindseys to be Scott-Irish. They definitely came from Scotland. They were indentured servants. The Lindseys were only supposed to bring over the clothes on their backs, but they slipped the seeds for molasses cane in their shoes. When they arrived in this country, the Lindseys planted the cane. That is why we have molasses in this country.
There are some Durhams who profess to be Scottish descendants even though Durham County is now in northeast England. Durham County borders Scotland. I have read that Durham County may have been part of Scotland at one time. This may be the reason some Durhams say their Durham ancestors were Scottish.
The Plumleys and Fishers were among the Dark Corner residents whose ancestors came from England. The Plumleys and Fishers were Quakers who came to Pennsylvania with William Penn in 1681. The Plumleys were from Plum Tree, England.
When I was growing up, nobody would admit to being from Dark Corner.
In the Tryon Daily Bulletin’s article, “It’s now fashionable to be from Dark Corner.” Which ran on May 10, 2002, I still stand by the Dark Corner border lines designated. These borders keep getting stretched. Not only is it fashionable to be from Dark Corner, but now there are those who say they are from “The Dark Corner.” It is like they are members of an elite society. I always thought I was a redneck from Little Dark Corner, but if they’re from “The Dark Corner,” I simply must be from “The Little Dark Corner.”
Presently, I am revising the 2003 “Kings of the Mountains” series about the shooting deaths of Bill Durham and Jack Fisher by S.C. Gov. John Gary Evans’ constables.
In the past several months, I have discovered interesting new facts. Also, I hope to contact and interview descendants of the constables involved in the shooting, as well as descendants of John Gary Evans and U.S. Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman (Pitchfork Ben).
It’s amazing what one can discover about an 1895 incident. Life circumstances have offered me the time to write again. I’m glad that I’m being asked questions. It has motivated me to do what I love – reasearch and write.
— Beverly Plumley Powers