In tracing three generations of a family in the South Carolina backcountry, Nancy Pressly explores how the communities along Hard Labor Creek, located at the crossroads of several major wagon routes, evolved from a newly settled frontier in the 1760s to a remarkable center of wealth and power in the decades before the Civil War. The author presents the compelling story of a close-knit, rural farming community of mainly Scotch-Irish settlers, where intermarriages over several generations created interconnected kinship groups. These alliances grew into a vital economic force as yeoman farmers became entrepreneurial planters and slave owners and their children remarkably successful lawyers, physicians, merchants, politicians, and clergy. The lives of the Presslys and other families, such as the Hearsts, who were ancestors of William Randolph Hearst, revolved around the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, which nourished a faith rooted in conservative, old-world Seceder beliefs and the singing of psalms. Over generations many Presslys became distinguished clergymen, educators, and theologians whose deeply pious connections to the church were linked to an intellectual understanding of the scriptures. The author of this generously illustrated text is an art historian and writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Praise for Settling the South Carolina Backcountry

If you are researching the Pressly (or any variation of the spelling of that name) family, this book is a MUST. It solved so many questions and major problems for me. It is a literal treasure trove of information. And Ms. Pressly does not assume anything. It’s all researched and wonderfully sourced. I have a doctorate and post-doctorate studies. Ms. Pressley deserves a PhD for this work!” ―Amazon Reviewer

The book was everything that we expected plus much more. I have purchased additional copies for gifts and recommended to book to others in our family.” ―Amazon Reviewer

This scholarly work presents detailed research on the struggles and progress of a clan of Scots-Irish Presbyterian emigres on the edge of the frontier. This is of great interest to their descendants and those studying the period. The prose is clear and precise with few generalizations. Well done!” ―Amazon Reviewer

Love this book. It’s well researched yet is easily read.” ―Amazon Reviewer

If you need more info on the Pressley/Pressly family, this is the book for you. Well done, well documented.” ―Amazon Reviewer