William Wallace bought 100 acres of land in Long Cane Settlement, in the 96th District of South Carolina. The old 96th district was so named because it was 96 miles from the closest Cherokee village. It straddles the present McCormick and Greenwood counties of South Carolina, bordered on the west by the Savannah River. The Long Cane settlement was close to the present village of Troy.

After the founding of Charles Towne (near the present city of Charleston, S.C.) late in the 17th Century, trade and commerce increased between coastal residents and Indians of the interior. The Cherokee Path was a primary trade route between Charles Towne and the inland Indian villages, but a number of the paths across South Carolina intersected at Ninety Six. The name "Ninety Six" came from an estimate that the site lay ninety six miles down the Cherokee Path from Keowee, a major Indian town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because of the intersecting paths and its convenience as a stop-over point, the area became a hub for trading many goods and services. Leather and pelts were the principal interest of white traders and were purchased from Indians and white hunters and trappers in exchange for guns, powder, rum and other supplies.

One of the most successful white traders was a businessman named Robert Gouedy who established a trading post in the area about 1751. Gouedy prospered here and expanded his commercial enterprises to include money-lending and farming. By the time he died in 1775, Gouedy owned over 1500 acres in the area, and almost 500 people owed him money.

The base of support offered by Gouedy's enterprises and the stores of other tradesmen in the area along with reliable water and fertile bottomlands gave rise to increasing settlement here. At first the Ninety Six community was a scattering of homes for several miles around, but by the mid-1750's, blacksmith shops and flour mills had complemented existing development.

Beginning in 1731 incentives began to be given to "Poor Protestants" in order to attract them to settle in the back country. In 1731, 1752 and again in 1761 they were given a series of monetary incentives to settle in the area.

White settlement around Ninety Six was on the rise, but friction with the Indians also increased.In 1756 the Calhouns, pioneers of Scots-Irish descent, built the first group settlement on Long Cane Creek, the boundary of the Cherokee nation. For a decade, Indian attacks were common throughout South Carolina, and settlers sought refuge in frontier forts. Fort Ninety Six was an example and was built around Robert Gouedy's barn. The early settlers of the Long Cane settlement, were the victims of a massacre by the Cherokee, February 1, 1760. The common grave of 23 persons, including the grandmother of future American Vice President John C. Calhoun are buried, not far from present day Troy. During the Cherokee War, over 200 Cherokees unsuccessfully attacked this fort in March, 1760. Finally, a treaty was signed with the Indians in 1761. According to the treaty, no Indian could travel below Keowee without permission, and the Indian's hunting privileges were also largely surrendered.

A resurgence in settlement in the Ninety Six area followed peace with the Cherokees, and as population increased, demands for schools, churches, good roads and law enforcement arose. With no police, outlaws preyed on local residents. Vigilante groups formed to provide protection. But the justice of these vigilantes was often severe, and the colonial government finally provided the backcountry with law enforcement authority in 1769. This took the form of courthouses and jails to be built in each of seven judicial districts. The law authorizing these structures in the Ninety Six District specified that the buildings be "within one mile" of Fort Ninety Six. They actually were finished in 1772 about one-half mile north of Fort Ninety Six and Gouedy Trading Post. Robert Gouedy was able to enjoy the benefits of law enforcement authority without his clientele being intimidated by having a sheriff, jail and courthouse directly across the street from the Gouedy Trading Post.

The courthouse and jail provided a focus for more development, and the village of Ninety Six began to evolve. On the eve of the American Revolution, Ninety Six Village contained at least a dozen buildings (courthouse, jail, homes, blacksmith shop) and was the new center of activity in the area.

In 1771 settlers from Newry, Ireland, established the Lower Long Cane ARP Church, that serves the community to this day.

While worrying about potential hostilities with the natives, the new settlers cleared an area of long leaf pines and constructed log homes chinked with clay. they cultivated the area along the streams and put stock to graze in the back areas. Indian corn, wheat, oats, peas, beans, flax or sweet potatoes were the chief crops. The simplest form of enterprise was animal husbandry, raising horses, cattle and hogs.

SOURCES: Norfleet, Phil. "Incentives for Migration to South Carolina before the Revolution"

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John T.