The GOWDY Family
in South Carolina
Below is the tombstone of James Gouedy, son
of Indian trader Robert Gouedy from the Ninety Six District. The photograph was taken in
the 1940's at the Ninety Six National Historic Site in South Carolina. James Gouedy
is buried just South of the old trading house. His grave is the only one that is
marked and protected in the Gouedy Cemetery, on the "Gouedy Trail"
Tombstone shows "Sacred to the memory of James Gouedy, Died 5 March 1816
Aged 59 years."
Wednesday, July 26, 2000
Reprinted from THE STAR & BEACON newspaper that serves the Greenwood, Ninety Six & Surrounding communities:
Ninety Six Masonic Lodge Rededicates James Gouedy Grave Marker
Chief Ranger Eric Williams of the Ninety Six National Historic Site, left, tells a brief history of James Gouedy, while Ninety Six and State Masonic officers listen during the rededication of the Goudey gravestone July 15.
In a quiet wooded area of the Ninety Six National Historic Site lies the grave of Major James Gouedy, son of famous Indian trader Robert Gouedy.
At the top of the grave marker above the words "SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF" is a tiny Masonic symbol carved into the soapstone. During some point in his life, Gouedy was inducted into the Masonic Order.
It is for this reason that the Ninety Six Eureka Lodge No. 47, AFM, rededicated the grave of a fellow Mason who died 184 years ago on March 5, 1816.
Lodge member Alton Vaughn sitting next to the rededicated bronze plaque at the Gouedy gravesite.
Close-up of bronze plaque at the Gouedy gravesite.
Newspaperman Charlie Byars, who was then Master of Eureka Lodge, discovered James Gouedy's gravestone in 1958. The lodge took the crumbling soapstone marker and encased it in cement.
In 1999, Eureka Lodge decided to rededicate Gouedy's grave because the tombstone inscription was becoming illegible due to exposure to the elements. Lodge members Everett Parker and Alton Vaughn headed up the project to rededicate the grave epitaph and a shelter to help protect the stone.
The Ninety Six National Historic Site collaborated with Eureka Lodge in rededicating the gravestone. The Park Service also constructed a shelter with money raised by the lodge.
James Eubank, the present Master of Eureka Lodge, presided over the rededication ceremony along with Chief Ranger Eric Williams of the Ninety Six National Historic Site. Present were officers of Eureka Lodge 47 along with District Deputy Grand Master Fred Smith and Past District Deputy Grand Master George McKinney.
James Gouedy's grave is located in a non-wooded area in the southern portion of the 989-acre U.S. National Park, located two miles south of the Town of Ninety Six on S.C. Highway 248. The area surrounding the grave is thought to be the Gouedy Family Cemetery, although no other gravestones have survived.
James Gouedy and his father, Robert, are two enigmas in the history of colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina. Robert Gouedy died either in late spring or early summer of 1775. (His will was dated July 2 of that year.)
James Gouedy, as a small boy, was captured by the Cherokee and held hostage for a week before being returned to his father. Gouedy had one sister, Sarah, and three Cherokee half-sisters from his father's two Indian wives.
If James Gouedy served in the American Revolution, the records either no longer exist or have been lost. (Perhaps Gouedy tried to remain neutral and lived among the Cherokee during this time period.)
The title of Major is another missing piece of the Gouedy puzzle. Was James Gouedy a local militia commander or was this merely a complementary title like that of Kentucky Colonel?
Someday all the facts may be known.
James Goudy married Elizabeth Betty (Betsy) Chiles in 1780. Source was South Carolina marriages from the Old 96 and Abbeville District 1774 - 1890.
BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS