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A Nineteenth Century Law Library:
The Colcock-Hutson Collection

McPhersonville

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McPhersonville was founded as the summer village of the planters along the Combahee River.(1) Although its beginnings were peaceful, McPhersonville has seen its share of violence. The Yemassee War (1715) was fought largely around McPhersonville. During the Revolutionary War, British troops occupied the plantation of Isaac McPherson in 1780. Several battles were fought nearby. In February of 1865, General Sherman’s Union troops over-ran McPhersonville and burned all but two homes and one church.(2)

The Burning of McPhersonville
"Sherman's March Through South Carolina - Burning of McPhersonville, February 1, 1865, Sketched by William Wand [See page 138]" (from Harper’s Weekly)

Colcocks and Hutsons lived and practiced law in McPhersonville.

The Hutson House
The Hutson House

This house, built by Charles Jones Colcock Hutson around 1865, replaced an earlier Hutson home which was destroyed during the Civil War. It seems typical of the summer houses of the planter families, which are described by Charles DeSaussure as “low, broad, wide houses with large rooms and very broad piazzas, running almost entirely around the house and eaves extending about five feet beyond the edge of the piazza.”(3)

The Hutson Law Office
The Hutson Law Office

The books which comprise the Colcock-Hutson law library were kept in the small out-building, which served as a law office for C.J.C. Hutson.

The Hutson Family
The Hutson Family

Miss Theodora Hutson, daughter of C.J.C. Hutson and granddaughter of W.F. Colcock, is pictured on the steps of the Hutson house, far right, front row. Dollie, as she was known, gave the law books from the Colcock-Hutson law library to Mr. Charles Cook when he went off to law school in 1962. Other family members are unidentified, but one might be Richard Hutson, her brother.

Photographs courtesy of Charlotte Hutson Wrenn.


Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church

The original Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church was founded in 1743. The members called William Hutson as their first minister. He served from 1744 to 1756, when he moved, with his family, to Charleston to become pastor of the influential Independent Church. In 1832, the old Stoney Creek church built a small chapel in McPhersonville, to serve the summer residents.(4) That chapel stands today.

Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church
Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church

The original church was burned by Union troops, but the chapel survived because it served as a Union hospital.(5) Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. William Ferguson Colcock, Charles Jones Colcock Hutson, and Richard W. Hutson are all buried in the Stoney Creek Cemetery.


  1. Lawrence S. Rowland, et al. History of Beaufort County (1996).
  2. Grace Fox Perry, The Moving Finger of Jasper County (2001).
  3. Charles DeSaussure, “The Story of My Life Before the War Between the States,” family manuscript provided by Charles DeSaussure of Gainesville, Ga., quoted in Rowland, supra note 1 at 386.
  4. Rowland, supra note 1.
  5. Perry, supra note 2.