I am in the process of bringing Renney Belue's family history online. This may take several months, so please keep checking back for updated changes and more information.
A Family Rich in American History
First let me start with all the different ways I have seen Renney Belue’s name spelled or listed on documents and now on the Internet. Renney Belue, Renny Belue, Reny Belue, Rene Belue, Renny Beleu, Rainey Belew, Rayney Balleu, Renny Ballew, Riny Below, Renny Ballow, Rayney Baller, Renny Billue, and then tack on Senior or Sr. to some of them. His signature on several documents and his Last Will and Testament shows his name spelling as Renney Belue, which is very clear and distinct. I will also point out I never found it signed as Senior or Sr., although he was referred to this on court documents when Renny Jr. was involved.
As to his birth place and date of birth has not been documented, although there are several assumed places and dates, which is misleading. Using his first born child’s birth date of 1758, it appears Renney’s birth year was in the 1730s. Census records did not start giving names and birth dates until 1850. Renney has only been found on two census records. The first was on the 1779 Ninety-Six District Census and didn’t list any ages. Then on the first Federal Census of 1790, he is listed in the column of Free white males of 16 years and upward.
With today’s DNA testing and with the surnames of Pruitt and Pruett matching almost all of my Y-chromosome, there is a theory that a Renney Pruett in Halifax County, Virginia, who sold his land in 1766, is our Renney Belue. His father, Thomas, Olde Tygar Tom, Prewitt, was named in a court record as paying the fine for a bastard child of Judith Chastain. Since nothing more can be found on this Renney Pruett after the 1766 deed and nothing can be found on our Renney Belue before 1767, some researchers feel they are the same person. There is nothing documented on this. I am not saying this is not possible, but documentation is needed first. More on this is listed in “The Renney Belue Mystery.”
There have not been any records found on Renney Belue until October, 1767, in Anson County, North Carolina, where he was a witness on a deed. The deed was Thomas Hightower selling land to a John Cook. There were two other witnesses, John Hightower and a Sarah Belue. It is felt she was probably Renney first wife, but nothing more has been found to document this Sarah Belue as his wife. See "Renney's Wives."
The next document found is the deed in Anson County, North Carolina in 1769, where he is buying land. After the new boundaries of North and South Carolina were redrawn in 1772, this land was now in Union District, South Carolina. In 1773, Renney is granted from the King of England, 250 acres that connect to the land he bought. In all, Renney ends up purchasing over 1000 acres in Union County.
Renney and his first wife had nine children. The only document found listing them is in his Last Will and Testament. They were Zachariah, Reuben, Susannah, Renny Jr., Sarah, Judith, Elizabeth, Jesse, and William. It is not known if there were other children who may have died before his last will was made. See "Renney's Children."
In July, 1776, Renney Belue was sent to Fort Prince George as a Lieutenant in the South Carolina Militia to put down the Indian uprising at the start of the Revolutionary War. Later in 1786, it is documented where Renney Belue provided provisions and use of his land in 1779, 1780, and 1781, and was paid 17 pounds and 15 shillings silver for this service. His three sons, Zachariah, Reuben, and Renny Jr. also served in the South Carolina Militia and fought in the Revolutionary War.
Renney along with his sons served on many jury trials in Union County and was appointed as overseer of roads near his land in the county. He also had a still along with a retail spirituous liquor license indicating he sold liquor from his still.
On December 14 1797, Renney Belue makes his Last Will and Testament and died before January 1, 1798, when the will was recorded in court. The only place his wife’s name is listed is in his will where he states, “First I give and bequeath unto my wife, Ann, the sum of one dollar, whereas she has eloped from and left me in my sickness.” In later documents we see this Ann and Nancy Belue is the same person. Nancy Belue’s Last Will and Testament does not leave anything to Renney’s children, which most likely indicate they were not her children. See "Renney Belue's Will."
The place of burial of Renney Belue is not documented. There is a grave marker for him in the Fairforest Baptist Cemetery in Union County, South Carolina, but he is not buried there. This military marker was placed there in the late 1990s, by Ann Montanari, a descendent of Reuben Belue, and the birth date shown as 1735, is not documented. In March 1826, Renney son, Zachariah, deeds one acre of land near his house to Union County to be used as a burying ground. This is done just before he moves to Tennessee. With this one acre of land dedicated as a burying ground, most of the researchers feel this is the finial resting place of Renney Belue and if so, he is probably buried beside his first wife.
Court documents were found on his estate sale of his personal property. It is very interesting seeing what he owned and seeing what his children bought in the sale. Renney was an honorable and respected citizen of Union County and you can also see those who fought in the Revolutionary War were respected and honored for this.
As a descendent of Renney Belue you can only be proud of his accomplishments and being a part of our early American history. My research of his life has let me know parts of his life and my reward is knowing him; instead of just a name and date on a lineage chart. This is why I felt the need to write a book to pass on his legend, along with part of his family, in my family line.
After my 40 years of research you will find documented records on Renney Belue and his family through this website.