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The date of her birth is not certainly known, but was 1763 or 1765, as at the time of her ride it is stated she was sixteen or eighteen years old. (It should here be stated that South Carolina's public records are very fragmentary; in Lexington County, it is said there are none prior to 1865). About 1785 she married Llewellyn Threewitz, Thurwitz or Threewitts (the latter is claimed to be the correct spelling, strange as it may appear). She had a daughter, Emily Elizabeth, who died at about twelve years old. There was also, according to some authorities, a younger child, a son, but nothing certain has been learned about him.
Her death was apparently about 1796, the daughter is said to have survived her. This, again, is denied by some, who assert Emily survived till 1825-26, and that she attended a ball given to Lafayette at Charleston, in 1825. No portrait of her exists, but she is said on the testimony of Mrs. Elizabeth Kaigler, her cousin. to have been an attractive brunette, of medium size. She is buried in the family buryingground (of the Threewitts family) on the property now owned by W. N. Martin, eight miles below Columbia, on the banks of Tom's Creek. No stone marks her grave, but one is to be placed there by the D. A. R. and a tablet to her memory has been placed in the State-House at Columbia-by the same society.
The house to which she was taken after her capture, and where she was searched by the two Tory women, still stands. It is the Cacey house, (Lossing gives a picture of it, in his Field Book) known as Fort Granby during the Revolution. The hole made by an American cannon-ball still shows in one of its gables, and it is inhabited by one of Emily's numerous kinsfolk, Mrs. Elizabeth Geiger Cayce.
A number of articles of varying interest and value upon the subject of her ride have appeared in South Carolina newspapers. I feel that I cannot do better than to reproduce the best (so far as I have been able to collect them) written some years ago by Dr. W. T. Brooker, of Swansea. The Doctor, now nearly eighty years old, has given much time and thought to the subject, and though he differs from all others in putting Emily's death so late as 1825, assures me that as a young man he knew a very reliable German woman who came to Lexington County in 1815, and was for a time employed in the household of Abram Geiger and who told him that while there Emily was often a visitor.
THE STORY IN DETAIL
Place a quiet country home, between the Broad and Enoree rivers and near their junction in Union County, South Carolina.
Time-about midnight of July 1st-2d, 1781.
Scene-the encampment of General Nathanael Greene; sentinels posted around the dwelling, that of Hans Geiger, a well-known patriot, but then an old man and an invalid. A courier arrives with the news that Lord Rawdon, before whose force Greene has been retiring, has abandoned further pursuit, to retrace his steps and recapture Fort Granby, near Friday's Ferry on the Congaree. Colonel Cruger, who has just sucessfully withstood Greene's siege of Fort Ninety-Six, has been ordered to abandon it and, keeping the North Edisto between Greene and himself, to march to Orangeburg and there join Colonel Stuart who is coming up from Monk's Corner; the united forces to join Rawdon at Friday's Ferry. The obvious course for Greene is to attack the British in detail to destroy Rawdon before the others can reenforce him. Unfortunately his own troops are widely separated. Though Lee, with his Legion cavalry, is nearby, Marion is on the Santee, trying to intercept or delay Stuart, while Huger and the Hamptons are near Camden. Colonel William Washington is on the Congaree, Hill and Bratton are above Winnsboro, in the direction of Charlotte. The uncertain factor in the case is Sumter, Just where he was is not known even to Greene, as he has not been heard of for several days, though he had then been moving to join Greene, and had been ordered to move from his position between the Broad and Saluda, down to the Congaree. To accomplish his purpose of striking Rawdon, Greene must communicate quickly with all his subordinates, and couriers are hurried off-to every one but Sumter. The uncertainty of his camp, and the certainty of exposing a courier to him, to danger in a region full of Tories, made extreme care necessary. Their spies were active, and Greene's movements closely watched. But Geiger and his family could be trusted, and Emily, learning of the difficulty, eagerly sought the dangerous privilege of taking a message to Sumter. She had often visited her relatives on the Congaree, and was therefore familiar with the intervening country. The importance of the matter, the doubt as to a scout's getting through, where a young woman would not be suspected, -above all, the brave girl's earnestness, overcame Greene's hesitation, and so, early on the morning of July second, just as Greene was start
ing for Winnsboro, she left the camp on her perilous mission, bearing a despatch to Sumter to move rapidly to Friday's Ferry, where all the commands were to unite and intercept Rawdon. But before leaving Greene read it over to her, and cause her to memorize it, lest by any chance it should be lost on the way. She had been gone but five hours, when through some spy a rabid Tory named Lowry, living nearby, was informed of her errand and departure. Knowing that unless she could be overtaken ere she reached "Morgan's Range", where she had friends she would escape, a rider was hurried after her-but too late. A notorious and merciless Tory, "Bill" Mink, was sent on her track. At nightfall, wearied with the long ride, she stopped at a farmhouse to ask the distance to Elwood's, where she hoped to rest till morning. Learning it was ten miles away, and being invited to stay, she did so but was hard put to answer the questions asked her. She told her name however, and that she was going to the home of relatives on the Congaree; then went to bed, only to be awakened by the halloo of a belated rider whom she heard ask the alarming question: "Have you seen a bit of a girl, riding a small bay horse, pass during the afternoon?" She knew Bill Mink had found her, and would pass the night under the same roof as herself. Before dawn, while all were sleeping, she managed to leave the house, find and bridle the horse, and ride off as quickly and rapidly as possible. Quick-witted as well as brave, she determined to throw her pursuer off the track by changing her route, and instead of going to the Broad river, turn across country to Kennerley's (now called Lovick's) ferry on the Saluda.
It was still early in the day when she crossed the Saluda, and after passing Zion Church and riding some miles on her way, she was accosted by three British soldiers, and learned for the first time that Rawdon had passed down the river on the south side, the night before, and retaken Fort Granby at Friday's Ferry.
In this trying situation, it is no wonder her replies to the captors' questions were so confused and unsatisfactory that they took her to Rawdon's headquarters, at the house-still standing and now known as the Cayce house-then "Fort Granby". There she was locked up in the southeast room of the second story. Fully aware that Greene's despatch must be discovered as soon as she was searched, she tore it up and managed to swallow it in small bits, though with much difficulity.
Near the banks of Dry Creek, a short distance above the point at which it crosses the old State Road, lived a Tory leader, Hogabook, from
whom comes the name of the well-known Hogabook Swamp. This man had the full confidence of the British, and his wife and daughter were asked to search Emily. Of course nothing was found on her, and Rawdon, it is said, offered to put her in the care of another woman until the morning, as it was then near nightfall. She, being in dread of being traced by Mink (who had in fact spent the day in a fruitless search for her) asked to be allowed to go on to the home of her uncle, Major Jacob (Herman) Geiger, some five miles below Granby. (This house was just below the mouth of Congaree Creek, on the plantation now belonging to the Kinsler family, and was afterwards burned by the Tories). Rawdon accordingly sent her, under guard, to the house; from whence the next morning she continued her journey under the care of a young cousin, down the Congaree to McCord's Ferry. Here she crossed the river, and by dint of riding and inquiring all the forenoon, she succeeded at three in the afternoon of July 4th, 1781, in reading Sumter's camp, on the Wateree, when the road to Camden crosses it. In less than an hour after hearing Emily repeat the contents of Greene's despatch, Sumter broke camp and marched and although Greene failed in his original purpose, the movement of his forces in consequence of this effort hastened Rawdon's retreat to Orangeburg, arrested Stuart's march, and put Greene in possession of Fort Motte (which was captured by Marion and Lee) and on the line of communication between Charleston and the "up country". The troops thus concentrated continued to press the British sea-ward, and soon came the decisive battle of Eutaw Springs, which practically ended the struggle in the Carolinas.
Among the captives held by the British at Granby when it fell into the hands of the patriots in May, 1781, when Greene surprised and captured the place, were four patriots then prominent, and whose names are connected with our heroine's story: Randal Geiger, a cousin, William Rea, who afterwards married Mrs. Tateman (who was Annie Geiger, Randal's sister) and John and Llewellyn Threewitts. The latter was destined to win Emily's hand, and they were married in 1789, at the home of her uncle Major Jacob Geiger, Her father, whose devoted nurse she had long been, is supposed to have died before the marriage.
Her married life was for part of it at Granby, and later near the old State road, about ten miles below Columbia on what is now known as the "Patsy Jumper place."
(To be continued)
THE NICARAGUA CANAL-A RETROSPECT
Now that the Panama Canal is a fact, this article (from the Travelers' Record, of Hartford March 1899, possesses an historical interest. The Editor well remembers a talk had with the late Edward Learned, of Pittsfield, Mass., about the time the article appeared, on the subject of the Tehuantepec Canal of which Mr.Learned was an ardent champion, and for which he claimed all-and more-the advantages so ably set forth by the partisans of Nicaragua and Panama.
And after all, neither Nicaragua nor Tehuantepec won; and now both schemes (and they really had serious merits) are as dead as Pharaoh.
"The best-laid plans o' mice and men
F public sentiment and legislative action can achieve it, the dream of the early voyagers and discovers of a western passage from Europe to Cathay is likely to be realized within the next few years.
In that narrow strip of land which connects the North American. continent to South America nature has been prodigal to the realization of the dream. It has made the narrowest strip of land the lowest on the continent. It has placed within that narrow strip a great lake, deep and wide, whose waters, breaking their path through the mountains, run by crooked courses to the Atlantic, doing for man what it would hardly be possible for him to do himself, and leaving to him for his share of the work the cutting through of a narrow table-land of fairly easy grade, the dredging of harbors and rivers, and the building of a few locks and dams.
It was Asia that Columbus sought and believed to his dying day he had reached. Cathay, that land of marvels, known to Europe by the travels of Marco Polo, in the eyes of Columbus lay north and west of his course. When, on his fourth voyage, he reached the Isthmus, he little realized that a few days' journey would have brought him to the shores of that sea beyond which lay the land he believed he had already reached.
Those who followed him were as deceived as he, until Balboa crossed the Isthmus twenty-one years later and, first of Europeans, saw the waters of the Pacific from the shores of the New World.
Even then, when the truth burst upon the explorers of that day, while they sailed here and there seeking to discover and lay claim to all