Renney Belue’s Revolutionary War service was through the South Carolina Militia. He was a Whig, who was the Patriots. Reading about the time leading up to the Independence and the Revolutionary War fighting in the Up Country of South Carolina we see some of his neighbors and church members were Tories; who were the Loyalist to the Crown of England. It was something like the Democrats and Republicans today. Each having their own beliefs on how the area they were living in should be run. Like today there were probably heated arguments on each side, but there was not any bloodshed amongst them in the early part of the War.
The leading Troy in this area was Colonel Thomas Fletchall and he also owned land that joined Renney’s land. There was a lot of activity and meetings for the Loyalist at Colonel Fletchall’s plantation. Knowing this, we see Renney and his family was living in the middle of what was called the “Hot Bed of Contention” of Union County. What else was interesting, instead of having only one foe, the Patriots had three to contend with – the Tories, the British, and the Indians. At the end of the war, Thomas Fletchall fled to the West Indies. His land was confiscated and sold to the highest bidder, which was Colonel Thomas Brandon.
Union County at the time was located on the edge of what was considered the frontier, which the Indians still considered their land. With the Whigs rebelling against the Crown, the British sent a party of men into the Cherokee Indian Territory to encourage the Indians to raze and kill these rebellious Whigs living near or on their land. To protect the Loyalists frontier settlers the British told them to hang a white cloth or flag on the front of their home and instructed the Indians not to harm these people or their homes with the white flags. The British felt this would make the Whigs want the protection of the British Army and therefore become Loyalists again.
What the British didn’t realize was that the Indians didn’t care who was Patriot or a Loyalist, they want all the setters off their lands and started razing and killing any settlers they came across. With the loss of family members or the loss of their home, many of these Loyalist and the ones that didn’t want involved in the War, became Patriots against the Crown because of this action.
South Carolina assembled a militia to go and put down these Indian uprisings. Finding William Littlefield’s pension application in Carroll County, Tennessee, dated December 10,1832, where he stated he was sent July, 1776, to Fort Prince, (Prince George – later King George III) to bring an end to the Indian uprising. The Regiment Colonel was John Thomas and Lt. Colonel was William Wofford and they served in Williamson’s Cherokee Campaign of 1776. He also stated he marched up the mountains of the frontier under the command of Lieutenant Renny Belue. Their tour was for six weeks at Fort Prince. Williamson’s Cherokee Campaign lasted longer where they destroyed every Cherokee Indian settlement or home they found and killing many Cherokee men, women, and children. With this Littlefield pension application lets us see Renney Belue served in the South Carolina Militia as a Lieutenant, which gives him credit as serving in the Revolutionary War. In the South Carolina Stub Entries to Indents, shows Renny Belieu served as a Lieutenant under Col. John Thomas.
The Revolutionary War lasted almost eight years stating in 1775, in the northern colonies and ending in 1783, with the surrender of General Cornwallis. It wasn’t until after the fall of Charleston in May, 1780, when the fighting had moved into the Carolinas. There were several skirmishes and two important battles in the Union District; Musgrove’s Mill August 18, 1780, and Blackstocks Battle November 20 1780. Along this same time Renney has a family of nine children with the three oldest sons old enough to serve in the War. The South Carolina Stub Entries to Indents show No. 1334 was to Mr. Renny Belue for seven pounds, fifteen shillings sterling: for provisions and public use in 1779, 1780, and 1781. This indicates Renney was furnishing provisions and more than likely use of his land for the South Carolina Militia.
They also show Stub No. 2735, 2736, and 2737 for payment to Renny Belieu, (This is Renney’s son.) Reuben Belieu, and Zachariah Below for Militia Duty in Colonel Thomas Brandon Regiment. I was not able to find what skirmishes or battles they were engaged in. I did find a lot about Colonel Brandon and with this lets us know they probably were engaged in part of his skirmishes and battles. I did find an article about Zachariah’s grandson, Richard Aaron Belew, where it states his grandfather, Zachariah, received several wounds in the Revolutionary War. It did not state the type of wounds, but does let us know he was wounded. With these Stubs of Indents also let us see they served in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War.
Colonel Brandon also was involved in the October 7, 1780 Battle at Kings Mountain defeating Lt. Colonel Ferguson’s regiment of 1000 men and the January 17, 1781 Battle at Cowpens where they defeated Lt. Colonel Tarleton’s two regiments. So it is possible for one, two, or all three of Renney’s sons fought in these two turning point battles of the Revolutionary War. What the British failed to realize was the back county Carolina colonist were skilled marksmen as hunters and many were experienced Indian fighters. With these two battles keeping Lt. Col. Ferguson and Tarleton’s regiments engaged in South Carolina, General Cornwallis couldn’t engage his full army against George Washington’s army in the north.
With the permission of the Union County Historical Society, from their Union County History Book, I was able to print parts of Colonel Thomas Brandon’s chapter in my book so the readers would have a better idea of what was happening in Union County during this time period. I also listed some about Major Thomas Young’s service as a Patriot. On the web site http://sc_tories.tripod.com/thomas_young.htm there is another great story about his service in Union County during the war and in his own words he tells about skirmishes and battles he was in. In the Mel Gibson’s movie “The Patriot,” gives some insight into the Revolutionary War. It shows how the Militia fought the British and then fighting along with the Continental Army at Kings Mountain. Even if the movie glorifies Mel Gibson’s character, you can see what Renney’s family and his neighbors faced with the war fought in their back yards.
What was found on Renney Belue and his sons serving in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War makes you proud of their service. Even though they are not listed among the notable figures of the Revolutionary War, they played a part in giving all of us the freedom we have today. I also found most men that did serve in this war were well respected and were called upon to serve in public service for Union County and is probably true for all the other counties and states. It was also interesting seeing how future generations were proud of their forefathers serving and were eager to include their war service in newspaper and book articles.
There have been several descendants of Renney Belue and his sons, gain membership in the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution by their service in the South Carolina Militia. If you can document your ancestors back to Renney or any of his three sons, you too can become a member in these organizations. These Revolutionary War records are just one of the many I found on my family line and this is why I say “Our Belew Line” is Rich in American History.
After my 40 years of research you will find documented records on Renney Belue and his family through this website.