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Descendants of William Wofford

    The Wofford family is widespread in the United States and its members have played prominent roles in the histories of many states.  A number of websites are dedicated to the family and its history.  David Foster maintains a site with excellent sources; Debbie Wafford also has a site that has connections to a number of interesting sites; Kristi Gross keeps a  Wafford Family Database Clearinghouse.  There is also the website of Wofford College, founded by a member of the family prior to the Civil War.

    The Wofford's story in America begins with William Wofford, who was born around 1620 in either England or Scotland.  He emigrated to St. Mary's County, Maryland and died there around 1655.  About1647, he married a lady named Mary, whose last name is unknown to me.

    William's grandson, also named William, moved to Maryland's Prince George's County, which is today a suburb of Washington, D.C.  At this time, Prince George's County included the modern-day Maryland counties of Frederick (formed in 1748) and Montgomery formed in 1776 from Frederick County).  He, too, married a lady named Mary, whose family name is also lost. 

    William Wofford's great grandson was again named William.  Inevitably, he married first a Mary, then a Hannah, and finally an Abigail Terrell.  William was born in Prince George's County, but moved to 96 District in South Carolina.  He is usually referred to as William Jr.  He died in South Carolina around 1788.  There are a number of pre-Revolutionary War land grants to Woffords in South Carolina, and many of them are to several men named William.  They were all closely related and it is often difficult to tell which is which.

    Originally, South Carolina was divided into four counties, of which one was Berkeley County.  Around 1765, there was a move to divide the colony into seven districts and "96 District" seems to have been created from Berkeley County.  Each district was divided into sections or counties and 96 District contained two: Union and Spartanburg, now referred to as "old Union County" and "old Spartanburg County."

    Many of the Woffords served in the Revolutionary War.  Absalom Wofford, William Jr.'s brother, had five sons (known as the "Spartanburg Five" for having settled there) of which at least four served in the patriot cause.  Many of William Jr.'s sons and grandsons also served in the rebellion, but William Jr. himself seems to have been of a loyalist bent for he is referred to as the "rich Tory" in the diary of an Ensign Campbell who reports that he and his troops "obtained an abundance of necessary refreshment" from him.  There is some suspicion that the family was hedging its bets on the outcome of the rebellion.

    William Jr.'s daughter, Elizabeth (whose mother was Hannah), is my 6th great grandmother.  She married William Rhodes, a cooper.   There appears to have been a degree of familiarity between the Rhodes and Woffords.  William Rhodes's nephew, also named William, married Rebecca  Wofford, granddaughter of Absalom Wofford and daughter of James Wofford, one of the "Spartanburg Five" and a Revolutionary War officer. 

Another of Absalom's sons, William, was also a Revolutionary War officer.   His grave, in Franklin County, Georgia, has a DAR marker.  William was an ardent American revolutionist.  He was a captain and later a colonel in revolutionary service in South Carolina and Georgia.  He commanded his own regiment, among whose enlisted men was his son, Sgt. Benjamin T. Wofford.  William was one of the leading patriots of that region and served as lieutenant colonel on  Williamson's Cherokee Campaign of 1776.  He served in Georgia and South Carolina under General Lincoln and doubtless shared in the Battle of Stono.

He was a member of the Second Provincial Congress of South Carolina November 1, 1775 to March 26, 1776. He seems to have made his living as a surveyor.  The Woffords went to Georgia Indian Territory in 1793 and built Wofford Station, a fort in the northeast corner of Banks County. It was the first white settlement in northeast Georgia.

    William Tatum Wofford, the grandson of Revolutionary War sergeant Benjamin Wofford, was a Confederate general who had also raised and commanded a company of cavalry in the Mexican War, seeing service with Zachary Scott at Vera Cruz.  Although he opposed secession and campaigned against it, he volunteered for service and raised an infantry regiment that was first attached to Hood's Division and later to Cobb's Brigade in McLaw's Division.  He took over command of the brigade and was made general after Cobb was killed at Fredericksburg.  His Civil War service was colorful and he enjoyed a successful post-war career as a lawyer.

    While my story departs from the Wofford family in the 18th century, the sites above contain a lot of information about the current day Wofford family.  I am especially interested in knowing more about the connections between the Rhodes and the Woffords, the Woffords' history in Maryland, and their motives for moving to South Carolina.  As with all of my ancestors, I would enjoy finding connections to family members in the British Isles.

Here is a descendant report for William Wofford.