Earl - from Donegal, Ireland

Encouraged by the Bounty Act of 1761, people from around the British Empire made their way to the Colonies on ships.  In 1761, the General Duty Act was passed.  This provided enticements specifically targeted at protestants to come and settle in South Carolina.  Four pounds sterling for every immigrant above the age of 12 and 2 pounds for those between 2 years and 12, would be paid directly to the master of the vessel upon safe arrival.  20 shillings sterling was given to each person over 2 years, would be paid directly to the immigrants to enable them to purchase tools and provisions.  Additionally each immigrants was required to "produce a certificate under the seal of any corporation or a certificate under the hands of a minister and church wardens of any parish, or the ministers and elders of any church, meeting, or congregation, of the good character of such poor protestants above the age of twelve years".  

It is here in 1767, that James aged 45 and Sarah, 38, Wylie along with their three children Rebecca 11, Samuel 6 and Margaret 5 landed at the Port of Charles Town (later renamed Charleston), South Carolina, to start their lives in the Colonies.

The Bounty Act provided only for funds, if a family wanted land, they would need to purchase it.  Purchase being a broad word, as technically, the land itself was free, but the documentation, surveys, and warrants cost.  Remember that most of the immigrants did not read or write English, so many people were swindled by men with less than noble intentions. The fear of being taken advantage of was ever present.  This likely explains why immigrants who knew each in the "old country" stuck together in the Colonies.  A trusted man who could read and write English became a leader in their community.  

As far as I can tell, the members of the Dick and Wylie family, could neither, read nor write English.  

In brief, the acquisition of land went something like this.

  1. Purchase a Warrant for a sent number of acres of land.                                                                                                                            2 shillings, 6 pence
  2. Find land that was unoccupied                                                                                                                                                                   Free
  3. Identify the land and have it surveyed, 4 pence per acre the Wylie family had about 350 acres.                                                            14 shillings
  4. Get a plat, certificated and copied                                                                                                                                                           2 pounds, 10 shillings
  5. Attested a copy of the plat (basically notarize) it.                                                                                                                                         30 shillings
  6. Convert the plat into a deed signed by the Governor of the State                                                                                                                10 shillings

The Wylie family got 5 pounds (20 shillings x 5 people), when they arrived, and paid 6 pounds, 2 shillings, 6 pence, for their land.  Hopefully, and obviously, they came to the Colony with a few pounds in their pockets.  Some records show that James Wylie was granted a "free" land warrant for 35 acres, which I have not confirmed. 


Meanwhile.... in South Carolina

The Cherokee wars created tension and bloodshed between the new settlers and the native Cherokees as their hunting grounds were threatened by settlers, land clearing and farming.  This culminated in a full scale war with the colonists in 1760.  The Royal Government sent in the military and laid waste to many Cherokee villages and by 1761 the Cherokees agreed to ceded most of their lands to the Colony.  The peace was short lived, as by 1765 bands of brigands and marauders took up operation in the area.  This time however, the Royal Government did not come to the aid of the colonists.

South Carolina was becoming a state with two distinct cultural groups.  The coastal areas where plantations and "gentleman" farmers worked the land with slave labor, and above the "Fall Line" where mostly small farmers lived and worked their own land.   

The backcountry farmers and colonist, formed their own vigilante anti-government group called the Regulators.  The Regulators demanded colonial representation and protection. Receiving none, plans were laid for the Regulators to march on Charleston.  In the end two events curbed the disagreement.  The first was the closing of the payment and free land offered by the General Duty act, thus decreasing the number of new agitators to the Regulators.  The second was the passing of the Circuit Court Act, creating seven judicial districts across South Carolina, providing local courts and rudimentary self-governance in the backcounty.   Although creating a Circuit Court and more autonomy may have temporarily alleviated the immediate tension between the backcounty Loyalists, and the tidewater plantation owners it also laid the groundwork for the continued training and militia creation that would become a necessity when the Revolutionary War came to South Carolina.    


The Old Sardis Cemetery, sometimes called Ansel Cemetery, is located on Ansel Road, just north of Hogue- Bethelridge Rd, in Science Hill, Kentucky.  In the same cemetery is Robert Adams and his wife, Rebecca Wylie Adams, Margaret's sister.