Long Cane Massacre: Dispersal and starting over 1760

by Terri Burgin

After the devastating disaster of Long Cane Massacre, the refugees of Long Cane fled. Accounts of the vicious attack were broadcast in newspapers all over the country. People were “stupefied with horror and amazement” at the retelling of it.

Some families fled to James Island, SC where they were welcomed with open arms. Reverend Archibald Simpson, a minister of James Island at the time, noticed at his meetings “their melancholy, amazed and overwhelmed state, the spiritual effect on most being to harden and stupefy, on others of a truly pious spirit, to drive them to their Creator and Preserver.”

Other families fled to Waxhaws, in the area of what is now Charlotte. Among these hearty and wounded souls fled the Calhoun family. Patrick Calhoun managed the Long Cane Settlement prior to the massacre. He was the one who discovered his family members, friends and neighbors dead near their wagons. When they arrived in Waxhaws, they became acquainted with the family of young Andrew Pickens. Becky Calhoun, from the previous story, would later become his bride.

They also met a man who was to be a great influence on them and a great influence on the founding of our country. His name was Reverend Alexander Craighead. Rev. Craighead has been called a Spiritual Father of the Declaration of Independence. He was even written about by Benjamin Franklin. The Reverend preached from his pulpit concerning the evils of King George III and of the Church of England (Anglican). He urged his flock to resist the threats to their independence and their freedom. These early seeds planted by him to the wounded refugees would no doubt ring in their hearts in the not so distant future.

Immediately after the massacre, South Carolina attempted to raise a military force to confront the Cherokee. Andrew Pickens was charged with recruiting men for this purpose. After the successful conclusion of the Indian War in 1761, some of the original settlers were of the mind to return to Long Cane, but conditions were terrible. Smallpox had broken out in South Carolina and extreme poverty surrounded those hearty enough to return. At the end of 1763, Creek Indians broke into a house and killed 14 people among the Long Cane Presbyterian congregation. In 1766, the Presbyterian Synod of New York and Philadelphia were asked to send supplies to the “destitute” people of Long Cane, which they complied with. Again, in 1767 supplies were requested of the Presbyterian Synod of VA, which were provided. Long Cane residents were living on the charity of others for their very survival.


Such was the condition of the average citizen of Long Cane just prior to the Revolutionary War.

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