William & Elizabeth Pickle of Williamstown, South Carolina



William Pickle was born in South Carolina on 30 October 1776, according to several United States censuses of him and several of his sons. He died 26 February 1866 and was buried in the Big Creek Cemetery, two miles from Williamston, South Carolina, in a red brick vault above ground. The inscription and epitaph on his grave reads:

"Here lies the remains of William Pickel, born Oct. '30, 1776, died Feb. 26, 1866, aged 89 years, 3 months, and 26 days. He was a citizen of this district for 50 years, a member of the Baptist Church for 68 years, he was a peaceful citizen, a good neighbour, a kind parent and was beloved and respected by all who knew him. Farewell dear children. Peace I give unto you."

Grave of William and Elizabeth Pickle

His obituary from clippings in the possession of both Alice Pickle Thomas, Athens, Texas and Lois Pickel, Bay City, Texas reads:

"Died, at his son's residence at Williamston, Anderson. County, S. C., on the 26th of February, 1867, in the 91st year of his age, Mr. William Pickle. He was pious and devout Christian, a kind neighbor, a devoted husband and father. He had been a member of the Baptist Church and served as Deacon and Clerk for some sixty-five years. He always had plenty and to spare his needy friends, never turned his back on the poor and needy, his house was ever open to the suffering. During the war, he never sold corn for more than one dollar per bushel to the soldiers and their wives, and went to rest none the poorer for it. He never had a lawsuit with his neighbors, but always in peace and love with them. He was strong-minded, active and hearty until near the close of his days, attending to his farm until the fall of 1866, and never relinquished that robustness till a few days of his departure for the spirit land. During his entire life, he lived in the fear and love of the Lord, advising those around him, in his dying moments to live for Christ. He died strong in the faith, not fearing to meet his God."

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

The correct spelling of his last name is not clear. On his tomb it is spelled Pickel; on a powder horn in the possession of the writer is carved "W. Pickle 1824." The name is spelled both ways on several documents as well as Pikle and Pickell. The same variations are found in his sons' names. Most of the descendants remaining in South Carolina spell the name Pickel or Pickell while those that came to Texas generally spell it Pickle, although this is not always true.

His parentage is unknown, but family traditions indicate two possible countries of origin. One states that there were three brothers that came to Colonial America from Ireland. One went south; this would be William's father. The other two went north, possibly to Kentucky, Tennessee, or Illinois. Two of the brothers spelled the last name one way; the other brother, the other way. At first it seems unlikely that a family would come from Ireland and have a last name of either Pickle or Pickel. Upon further research, it was found that several families from the Palatine and surrounding areas went to Ireland and later they or their descendants came to America.

The other origin was outlined in a biography of one of his grandsons, William E. M. Pickle, which was published in History of Texas. Lone Star State - Centennial Texas. page 669, published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, in 1896.

"William Pickle, the father of C. W. Pickle, was reared and passed his life there (Williamston, S. C.), being a slaveholder and a prominent farmer and dying in that state at the extreme old age of ninety-one years. His father had emigrated to this country from Holland and made settlement in South Carolina at a very early date."

Again this points to the probability that they were of Palatine or similar origin in what is now southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Other family traditions indicate that William Pickle's ancestors left Holland because of religious persecution and one went to Canada. Other traditions state that three brothers came to America; two stayed in South Carolina and one went to Tennessee.

His parents probably emigrated to America to one of three areas. Many landed at Philadelphia, later moving to western Pennsylvania, the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia, North Carolina and finally to South Carolina. "This was the path of many who settled the areas east of the Appalachian Mountains. Immigration to the eastern part of North Carolina around New Bern on the Neuse is another possibility. Many Swiss and German families first settled in that area. The third possibility is immigration directly to Charles Town, South Carolina or by way of Georgia and settlement in Orangeburg, Congaree, Wateree, and Newberry. All of this is speculation but based on the history of many similar families who settled in South Carolina. Family tradition according to Hampton Pickle, son of Albert W. Pickle, is that William Pickle's dad was killed in the Revolutionary War and his mother died shortly afterwards. "Bill" was raised an orphan by relatives and friends.

He married Elizabeth Wilson in Edgefield District, S. C., probably sometime before 1800. Her surname was mentioned in William E. M. Pickle's biography mentioned above, in a letter from a grandson, Walter L. Pickell, in 1936 and in a Bible belonging to Ida Pickle Stirman. Elizabeth was born 2 May 1782 but the location not clear; it has been listed on various documents as South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, or Belfast, Ireland. Her father, according to W. E. M. Pickle's biography, came from Ireland to America at or before the time of the American Revolution and settled in South Carolina. He was a surgeon in the patriot army. He was identified as James Crawford Wilson in one reference, but this has not been verified.

She died 4 March 1869 and was buried beside William in the same red brick vault. The inscription and epitaph on her tomb reads:

"Here lies the remains of Elizabeth Pickel, born May 2, 1782, died Mar. 4, 1869, aged 89 years, 10 months, and 2 days. She was a member of the Baptist Church for 52 years, a kind neighbor, beloved wife --- (broken and illegible). Those who knew her best loved her most. Farewell, dear Mother. 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."

The obituary reads:

"Died at her son's residence at Williamston, Anderson District, S. C. March 4th, 1869, Mrs. Elizabeth Pickle, wife of William Pickle, in the 88th year of her age. She was a pious Christian, devoted wife and mother, and a kind neighbor. She had been a member of the Baptist Church for some 70 years; always lived in the fear and love of Christ, daily imploring her children and friends to live and walk with Christ. She was stout and hearty until within 2 days of her death. And a few hours before she died, she closed her eyes oh the world bidding adieu to all this world'a affairs, fearing nothing but the sting of death, telling
her children she did not fear to meet her Savior. She was some twenty-seven hours before she died, apparently in a deep sleep, no doubt looking into the spirit world, and now she lives with Christ and the saints, singing praise with her husband in heaven. She was buried in a vault, with her husband at Big Creek Church, near Williamston. Both the funerals were preached by Reverent R. King, who had been pastor of their church some forty years ago, and for a number of years."

In a letter written by a son, 0. A. Pickle, Greenville, South Carolina on March 9, 1869 to relatives in Texas, he states "Elizabeth died Thursday the 4th at 3:30 o'clock P. M., buried Saturday 3 P. M. in brick vault and walnut coffin above ground by side of her husband, William."

William and Elizabeth first lived in Edgefield District, South Carolina in 1800. According to the 1800 census the family is listed as:

William Pikle: 1 male 16-25 years old, 1 female under 10, 1 female 10-15 years and 1 female 16-25 years.

William would be 24 and Elizabeth 18. The youngest female was possibly a daughter and the older girl a sister.

The first land transactions that have been found that William Pickle was involved in were in Edgefield District. He sold 150 acres south of Saluda River for $1000 to George Roiser on 3 August 1809 (Book 31, p. 371). He purchased 170 acres for $425 from John Bond on 27 October 1809 (Book 30, pp. 12 & 13). He purchased 125 acres of land from George Sawyer for $1400 on 3 March 1815 on the Columbia Road and Chinquapin Creek (Book 32, p. 212). His next sale was to Elkanah Sawyer on 30 March 1816 for 125 acres on the road to Columbia and head of Chinquapin for $500 (Book 38, p. 46). Then he sold for $725 to Peter Lamkin on 6 April 1816 220 acres on Cloud Creek (Book 33, p. 119). According to a document found in the South Carolina Archives the inhabitants of Edgefield District petitioned in 1823 against the establishment of a new road to replace Pickle's old road.

In 1810 the census of Greenville County, South Carolina has:

William Pickell: 1 male 26-45, 1 male 10-15, 1 male less than 10, 1 female 26-45, 4 females under 10 years.

They may have been living in Pendleton District, South Carolina or Greenvill County, South Carolina. Many at that time
conducted all th Greenville instead of Pendleton.

In 1820 they are listed in the census as living in Pendleton District, South Carolina:

William Pickle: 3 males under 10 years, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 26-45, 2 females under 10, 2 females 16-25, and 1 female 26-45.

In the book Traditions and History of Anderson County by Louise Ayer Vandiver, in 1929, page 212, "Some of the early settlers were named Pickens, Pickle, Mallikens, Wilson, and others." The village was first called Slabtown because wooden slabs were used for building construction. Rankin built a mill and a bridge across the creek on the road from Pendleton to Greenville. Pendleton District, S. C. was broken up in 1826 and Anderson County was formed which included the area in which they lived.

In 1830 the Anderson County, S. C. census states on page 108:

William Pickle: 1 male 50-59, 1 male 20-29, 1 male 15-19, 3 males 10-14, 2 males 4-9, 1 female 40-49, 2 females 10-14, 2 male slaves 10-23, and 2 female slaves 10-23 years.

The first record of taxes paid was in the Anderson County, S. C. Tax Returns of 1837. He paid $4.56. The last record of tax payment was in 1861.

The first record of land purchase in Anderson County, South Carolina was on 22 November 1834 when he bought 400 acres on Hurricane Creek from Josiah Johnson and 292 1/6 acres on 23 Mile Creek from Levi Wempey. In turn on the same day he sold to Jacob Pickle 100 acres on 23 Mile Creek, beginning at the headwater of Saluda River, from the corner of Hurricane Creek to the Baptist Meeting House.

In 1840 the census of Anderson County, South Carolina lists the family components as:

William Pickle: 1 male 60-69, 2 males 16-20, 1 female 50-59, 2 females 20-29, 1 male slave 55-100, 2 male slaves under 10, 1 female slave 10-23, and 4 female slaves under 10 years.

William sold 142 acres of land on 23 Mile Creek to James E. Pickle on 6 March 1843 for "natural love for son." He also sold to C. W. Pickle 150 acres on Hurricane Creek for $380, witnessed by Ezekiel Murphey and Elijah Webb.

In 1850 the Anderson County, S. C. census listed the family

William Pickell, 73, male, born in S. C. Elizabeth Pickell, 68, female, born in S. C.

In 1860 the Anderson County, S. C. census listed them as:

William Pickell, 83, male, born in S. C. Elizabeth Pickell, 79, female, born in Va.

On 26 April 1852 William sold William A. Cason 175 acres of land on Hurricane Creek waters of Saluda River for $1000. The land was next to W. C. Pickle. Later the same year, on 24 August, he brought 15 acres of land on 23 Mile Creek from J. J. Hunt. A few years later on 2 December 1856 he sold 140 acres of land on Hurricane Creek to Chesley Pickle for $370. Again in 1865 he sold 197 acres to J. E. Pickle on 23 Mile Creek for $1200.

William Pickle was a leader in the Baptist Church for many years according to the History of Mt. Pisgah Church. Although formed in 1791, no records were found prior to 1824. William and Elizabeth were listed at the top of the first membership roll. Also listed were some of their children and spouses, J. E. Pickle, Jane Cobb, Mary Pickle, Elizabeth Pickel and Ester Cason. In the first records in January 1824 Deacon Pickle was part of a presbytery along with Rev. Moses Holland from Big Creek Church that ordained the new pastor, Bro. Neighbors. In May of the same year Bro. Pickle was part of a presbytery that ordained Bro. Bradley to the office of deacon. Bro. William Pickle was appointed clerk in January 1837. Also he had served as moderator and delegate for the church. No records indicate who was clerk prior to that date. Bro. William Pickle and wife were granted letters of dismission during the November term in 1853. This was about the same time the William Pickle family moved to Williamston. No record could be found when they joined the Big Creek Baptist Church where they were buried. He probably was not as active there as he had been previously because he was already in his late seventies.

William built a large two story house in Williamston. It became a hotel according to a Mr. Wilson who now owns the land on which it stood. The house was on the street from town to the tannery and mill that the Pickle family owned. It was across the street from the Presbyterian Church and a new post office is built on the lot.

The Pickle families in Williamston were William and sons James Elbert, Crawford Wilson, and William Chesley. Between them, they owned most of the southern part of the town. Ownership of the tannery and mill is not clear. Eventually, the son James Elbert owned the business, based on records found of real estate transactions. The mill was powered by water from a canal that had been built along side Big Creek which had been dammed. The tannery was downstream of the mill. Shoes were made for the Confederate army during the War Between the States. According to the 1860 Census, two of William Pickle's neighbors were shoemakers.

William and Elizabeth had a large family. Their sons were Jacob, James Elbert, Crawford Wilson, William Chesley, and Obadiah Ayres. Their daughters were Esther, Theresa, and Jane.

Jack R. Pickel, History of the William Pickle Family (Self-published, 1990), II-1 through II-7.

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