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Home: Surnames: Pendarvis Family Genealogy Forum

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Posted by: Albert Nason Date: January 15, 2000 at 21:40:17
In Reply to: Re: Pendarvis/ KENNETH COURTRIGHT by Ruby Ann of 638

Ruby Ann & Kenneth Courtright:
I think Ruby Ann is confusing two different William Pendarvises--uncle and nephew. In the 1735 will of Joseph Pendarvis in Colleton County, he mentions his children by Parthena:
James [who married Cath. Rumph]
William [may be the husband of Cath Pound]
Brand [who married Ursetta, not Ursula, Jennings]

Of these, James and wife Cath. Rumph, had daughters Ann who maried Samuel Perry [apparently an Englishman] and Elizabeth Mary who married Thomas Smith Jr. They were apparently also parents of the William Sr who married Mary ?, these last the parents of Wm Jr who married Margaret Vance, according to some here on Genforum.
There was also a Josiah Pendarvis who married an Ann Rumph on May 8, 1817, somewhere in South Carolina. This is 66 years after Catharine Rumph married James Pendarvis on Sept 5, 1751, but these HAVE to be the same families. Coincidence boggles otherwise.
Somewhere in this genforum chain, there was mention of Joseph Pendarvis, protector of Parthena, having a legitimate son who took the name Bedon to set himself apart from his mulatto siblings. I had not heard of this, but if true, there is another odd marriage. On March 10, 1800, the SC Gazette says, Alice Pendarvis married Richard Bedon Screven; I don't know who either of them was but perhaps, after 60 years, one of Joseph Pendavis' descendants by son Bedon married one of his wealthy cousins. Stranger things have happened when wealth and property are concerned--like when Louis XIV married his illeg. daughter by Mme de Montespan to his legit. nephew the duc d'Orleans. Besides, after Parthena, each generation married with whites, so by early 1800s, they would only be one-sixteenth or one-32nd part black. In the federal census of 1790 and 1800, as well as tax lists of 1785 and 1786, James Pendarvis and family were reported not as free persons of color but as WHITE. In the slave states, only Arkansas and Texas ever had that "one drop of blood" law about Negro heritage. SC said that a Negro was a person with one Negro parent or one Negro grandparent: an octoroon thus was considered white, if free, tho plenty of legally "white" octoroons were slaves, of course.
During the French Revolution, Charleston was visited by the refugee Duc de la Rouchfoucault-Liancourt who wrote an account of his travels to SC. The duc referred in 1794 to a "free Negro" named "Pindaim" (Pendarvis) whose plantation was worked by 200 slaves "so successful that he was able to breach the barriers of white society"--actually, they had done that LONG BEFORE, altho "Pindaim" was James Pendarvis, son of Parthena, and thus half black. (Wealthy quadroons and octoroon planters of Haiti had been marrying their daughters to the French aristocracy, but apparently not half blacks, hence the duke's amaze. Since James Pendarvis had a Negro mother, he may have been born technically a slave until emancipated by his father, so the duc de Liancourt was right about that, and since SC law said you had to be a free octoroon to be legally white, James was technically "black" thru his mother Parthena. However, his listing in the census and tax lists as white shows how tactful the govt bureaucrats could be to wealthy men, justifying the modern Brazilian proverb of how money has bleaching power to make men white.)
A modern historical work, "A World in Shadow" recounts how "Pindaim" was "an emancipated slave" in the parish of St Paul's, Charleston, and "married a white woman [Cath Rumph] and later gave his mulatto daughters in marriage to white men". This makes it seem that James Pendarvis had been a field hand, which was certainly not the case. He was a son of the manor. The whole story makes us remember that strict "Jim Crow" laws were a product of the post-Reconstruction era.
Besides "A World in Shadow', other good works touching on the Pendarvis saga are "The Free Negro in Antebellum South Carolina" by the Sri Lankan sociologist Wikramanayake [I may have that spelling wrong] but the best account is Larry Kogel's "Black Slaveowners: Free black Masters in SC, 1750-1860" (NY: McFarland press, 1985), where he identifies duc de Liancourt's "Pindaim" as James Pendarvis.


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