Thursday, October 13, 2016

Loyal Christopher

At a place called New Providence, Nassau, Bahamas on the Western side of the Island is a cemetery that is known as Potter's Field.
Western Cemetery Gate, Nassau, New Providence District, Bahamas

There is a grave that reads: Here lieth the remains of Major Christopher Neeley, who was banished from his native country in the American Revolution for his attachment to his King and the laws of his Country, he acted as a Major in the Loyal Militia and a Captain of a company in a Provincial Regiment in the Royal Army.  He died the 26th of April 1807 aged 63 years.

He was my cousin, 1st cousin 6x removed. Let me make it simple, his Grandfather George Pearis is my Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather.He is not my only kin buried in the Bahamas.

Christopher was born about the year 1744, probably in Virginia. He was living in what was called the 96th District in South Carolina having moved there, sometime after 1768 with his mother after his father was killed at Fort Neeley.
 In 1776 he took to arms with the Loyalist Army and was three miles from his home trying to catch up to the Army when he was shot by a Rebel soldier and left for dead. It took him 3 years to recover and in 1779 he joined the Loyalist Army again and was made a Major. This time was not going to go well for Christopher either.

On the 14th of February 1779
an encounter between the Rebel forces and the Loyalists, who were on their way to Augusta, a British held City, broke out in Wilkes County Georgia. That incident became known as the Battle of Kettle Creek.
The Rebel Army scattered and decisively defeated the Loyalists. Christopher was taken prisoner and hauled back to the 96th District South Carolina to be hanged.

This was not going to be the end of Christopher. He was soon transferred to a jail in Orangeburgh South Carolina where he was released after a surety was agreed upon for his good behavior. In 1783 Christopher had a home and property on the Saluda River in South Carolina.

After the dust from the Revolution starts to settle the men who were Loyalists are relocated to Florida and in 1784 we find Christopher living on the San Juan River in St. Augustine Florida.

In September of 1789 Christopher places an ad in the Bahama Gazette regarding a runaway slave. In the ad Christopher mentions he bought the man in May of 1788. Placing him in Nassau at least 4 years after his move to Florida.

Christopher never married and there is not much info I can get without a trip to the Bahamas and who would believe that I was actually going there to research?