James S. Brice

Male 1768 - 1845  (77 years)

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  • Name James S. Brice  [1, 2, 3
    Born 1768  County Antrim, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Gender Male 
    Occupation 1790  Tailor and Planter Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Buried Jan 1845  New Hope Cemetery, Fairfield Co., SC Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Death 9 Jan 1845  Fairfield County, South Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Died 9 Jan 1845  Fairfield Co., SC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • [chance.FTW]

      James S. Brice came to Fairfield County, South Carolina direct from County Antrim, Ireland, between 1780 and 1790. He purchased land and built a home about two miles from Little River. This home was near what is known as "The Old Rock Spring" and like all homes of that day, was of logs. He later erected a large two-story house on a prominent hill near the cross-roads (near what was afterwards a post office known as Albion) which was burned during the War between the States.

      He had been a tailor in the "old country", and when he reached America, was quite poor--was often heard to say that he possessed nothing, but his "needle, thimble, and goose." He quickly accumulated several large tracts of land, owned slaves, and became one of the wealthy planters of that section. He owned ten thousand acres of land before dividing with his children.

      James Brice was known as "Peg Leg Jim" on account of his having lost a leg from the effects of typhoid fever. It is related that the nearest physician and surgeon...a Dr. Bratton (father of Brig. Gen. Bratton of Confederate fame) lived some twenty one miles away. he was sent for, came and amputated Mr. Brice's leg. Anesthetics, of course, were unknown at that time. After taking a drink of brandy, Mr. Brice got upon the operating table, and sat up, watching the operation with a great display of nerve.

      He lived to old age, was twice married, the second wife dying several years before his death. He is buried in the same grave with his first wife, and his second wife lies "along side" all in the cemetery of New Hope, ARP Church, Fairfield County, SC.

      In _I Had a Real Good Time_, the recollections of James Moffatt Brice (1862 - 1926) the family ancestry as far as Mr. Brice knew it was discussed:

      "How far back in the past was it that my ancestor crossed the English Channel and located in Scotland? How many thousands of years did it take for that primeval horde from which he descended to travel from the great parent state, located perhaps somewhere in the Hindu Kush, to the western part of Europe?

      Did my wild and heathen ancestor in Scotland learn of Julius Caesar's visit to Great Britain? Caesar says that the interior tribes lived on milk and meat and and that they did not sow and reap. James Bryce, the English statesman, says that the Brices belonged to the Picts of Scotland. The Picts lived in the lowlands, the plains, of Scotland and had cattle and sheep and lived in established homes. the Scots lived in the northern and western Highlands. The word Scot means wanderer or vagabond. They were bands of wild, rude, half-naked barbarians and referred contemptuously to the Picts as "wheat-eaters."

      We know that we are Celts. History knows much of the virtues, the vices, the strong points and the weaknesses of the Celtic race and we are descended from that branch of the Celtic family that apparently exhibits more of the virtues and fewer of the defects than any other branch. We refer, of course, to the people of Scotland.

      My great-grandfather was "Stick-legged" Jamie Brice. He left County Antrim near the year 1800 and came to South Carolina, where he married Miss Agnes Wilson. Mr. Brice was a tailor by trade. He prospered in the New World. And, like all Old World people, he was hungry for land. Investing judiciously, he soon acquired a large, landed estate.

      Mr. Brice developed a trouble in one of his legs. Whether is was "white-swelling" or tubercular is not known. anyway, he determined to have his leg taken off. So, one summer day, he was taken to the shade of a tree out in the yard. Chloroform had not yet been discovered, but very likely copious draughts of whiskey were used and the leg was sawed off. A carpenter's saw was the instrument applied. My Aunt Amanda [my ggrandmother] has told me that in her early girlhood, long after his death, she saw up in the garret the old wooden leg that he used after this operation.

      The old man, we expect, was unhappy in his Old age. He married again after the death of his first wife. There was a large family of sons and daughters - among them, Robert Brice, my grandfather. Jamie was accustomed to going from the home of one child to another till he made the "grand round." Whatsoever home he was at, he would express dissatisfaction, what things were in better shape at the homes of all the others and that they were all making better progress. We presume his idea was to stimulate to supreme the one he was with for the moment, so as to create a generous rivalry and thus secure a general family uplift.

      The old man seems to have fondly loved liquor. Returning from town one Saturday afternoon, he got no further than the big gate. He could get no further. The horse and the partially empty jug were nearby. His son, Sam Brice, came along and took him home and then the next day reported the whole proceeding to the church session.

      This church was the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, so-called Seceders of "psalm-singing" Presbyterians. It was something fierce! They "had it in" for Odd-Fellows, and in fact, all secret orders; also for dancing, drunkenness and so on.

      A member could not observe the sacrament of the Lord's Supper unless he had a "token." The token was a sort of admission ticket to the Lord's Table and to get the token, the member applied on Sunday morning (or Sabbath, as they all then called it) to the elders who sat in a little house just off the main building. Members who had been indulging in worldly things or had been getting too drunk were refused their tokens, or at least refused them till repentance and contrition of heart was expressed.

      "Stick-legged" Jamie seems to have had some stern and severe and rugged stuff in his make-up. Upon being summoned before the church board, he defied it and told them to go ahead and "unchurch" him, which they did. He lived out of the church till he died, which was about 20 years.

      When he died at about the age 84, the grave of Agnes Wilson Brice was opened and, according to Mr. Brice's instructions, his coffin was placed directly on and over her coffin. He must have loved her with a fondness, with a depth and a tenderness inexpressible. After the storms of life when death had ended all, he wanted to sleep the sleep of eternal rest as close as possible to the sweetheart of his young manhood."

      From _The History of the Brice Family_ by George Wilson Brice of Charlotte NC in 1944:

      It was the custom in those days for most men to have a trade but the indications are that the last two generations of Brices had declined financially and socially, as compared with the preceding generations. This is entirely conjecture on my part and the lack of data on Alexander and Nicholas may have been due to fire destroying some of the records. This is the explanation given in a letter from a Dr. Heron, who was a family connection still living in that part of Ireland, up to a few years ago.

      At any rate, James Brice landed at Charleston possessing nothing of consequence but his trade as a tailor and the tools of his trade. Nevertheless, he had been in South Carolina but a short time before he had accumulated several large tracts of land, owned slaves and became one of the wealthy planters of that section of South Carolina.

      He built a home about two miles from Little river. This house, like all of the houses of that day, was of logs, but later he erected a large two story house on a prominent hill at the crossroads near what was afterwards a post office called Albion. This house was burned during the War Between the States.

      Sanitation was practically unknown and it is not surprising that he became a victim of typhoid fever, which made it necessary to amputate one leg. The nearest physician Dr. Bratton, lived more than 20 miles away. Anesthetics were, of course, unknown and after taking a drink of brandy, James sat upon a table and watched the operation with a great display of nerve. Forever afterward, he was know as "Peg Leg Jimmy" and as this is a true history with no "whitewashing" it must be told that Peg Leg Jimmy was very much given to going off on drinking sprees. It must have done him no harm as he lived to the ripe old age of 71 years.

      He was twice married and is buried in the same grave with his first wife; the second wife, Mary Cathcart, is alongside in the same cemetery of New Hope ARP Church, in Fairfield County, SC.

      At the time of his death, he owned about 10,000 acres of land. An original letter written to his son, Walter, Dec. 15, 1830, shows that he was a man of education, as the handwriting, spelling and diction are beyond reproach. It also shows that he was a good judge of real estate values.

      The date of his death was January 9, 1845. His first wife, Jane Wilson, was an only child, born in 1764; died Sept 8, 1804; and this narrative is concerned mostly with the six children born to this union.... (the children of Mary Cathcart are also listed.)"

      Altogether there were 11 children.
      From an essay entitled "The Household Economy in Early Rural America and Ulster" included in a collection called _Ulster and North America_ published in 1997 we learn that:

      "Although the existence (and exploitation) of both secondhand and homemade clothes must be assumed, the central feature of clothing acquisition and maintenance, as measured in both [family in Ulster, family in VA] family accounts is that of tailor making and mending." p.71

      From this we might conclude that the tailor doth understate his worth.

      From L. S. Brice: "Petition for Administration on Estate of James Brice, Sr.,
      The State of south Carolina, Fairfield District......
      In the Court of Ordinary

      To John R. Buchanan, Esq., Ordinary in and for the the District of Fairfield in the State aforesaid.

      The petition of John Simonton of the District and State aforesaid respectfully showeth--
      That James Brice late of the District and State aforesaid departed this life on the 9th day of Jany. intestate. That said intestate was possessed at the time of his death of personal property supposed to be worth about seven thousand dollars; and also of considerable real estate.
      That he left the following persons his heirs at law viz--
      Robert Brice, William Brice, John Brice, Nancy Simonton, wife of your petitioner, Walter Brice, Samuel Brice, Jennett Brice, wife of John Brice, David Brice, Mary Miller, wife of George Miller, children of said intestate, and Leroy Grissom, son of Jane Grissam, deceased, who was a daughter of said James Brice, deceased.

      Your petitioner prays that Administration may be granted to him upon the personal estate of said deceased.

      And you petitioner will pray--

      Jany. 19th, 1845 John Simonton


      Tomb inscriptions of The James Brice Family: Sacred to the memory of Jane Brice, wife of James Brice who departed this life the 8th of Sept. in the year of our Lord 1804, in the 40th year of her age.

      Also here lies James Brice Senior who departed this life on the 9th day of January A. D. 1845 aged 77 years. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like this.

      Sacred to the memory of Mary Brice wife of James Brice who departed this life the 1st day of November 1828 in the 50th year of her age. (From New Hope Cemetery)
    Person ID I0073  Hull
    Last Modified 18 Oct 2009 

    Father William Brice,   b. Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Jennie McClure,   b. Co. Antrim, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F133  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Jane Wilson,   b. 1764, Columbia, SC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Sep 1804  (Age 40 years) 
    Married Abt 1787  [3
    +1. Robert Brice,   b. 8 Oct 1791, Fairfield Co., SC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Apr 1871, Fairfield Co., SC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
    Family ID F026  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S01942] "I Had a Real Good Time" The Making of a Country Editor, recollections of James M. Brice (1862-1926) 1984, Forrester, Rebel C. and Betty B. Wood, pp 1 - 5.

    2. [S02905] Brice Family History compiled by J. R. Moffatt, James R. Moffatt, (unpublished).

    3. [S03436] chance.FTW.
      Date of Import: Dec 19, 1999

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