The Gaillards of South Carolina

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The list of French and Swiss who desired to be naturalized in Carolina under the Act of 1696 includes Joachim Gaillard, the progenitor of the Gaillard family of South Carolina. Joachim was the son of Jean Gaillard and Marie Gaillard of Montpellier in Languedoc, France. The writer studied at the University of Montpellier in France and the area from which Joachim came is a fine section of France: warm, sea-scented, full of vineyards and colorful things. The inhabitants are small, sunbrowned and emotional. They speak with their eyes, their hands, and they are excitable, cynical and friendly, a thoroughly delightful lot.
The area is still one in which the Protestant Church is prominent, which was why the Gaillards left France to begin with. They were Huguenots, French Calvinists; and in 1685 Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes which gave some religious freedom to the Protestants. The Protestants fled. Such flight was illegal. Everybody was supposed to stay home and be a Roman Catholic. There is a story one of the friends of the Gaillards was smuggled out in a wine cask. He was uncorked in England, drunk and with a Bible in his hand.
 
Bartholomew Gaillard, the son of Joachim and Esther Gaillard, settled in the Parish of St. James Santee near Charleston, South Carolina. He was given 4 land grants with a total of 2500 acres of land. He had a son, Theodore Gaillard, a Justice of the Peace in South Carolina in 1756. A Justice of the Peace at that time was rather of a district squire. He married Elizabeth Serre. Either her brother, Noah, or her father was a Justice of the Peace in 1737.
 
Theodore Gaillard’s will was dated March 16, 1781. He left property to his second wife, Lydia, for life, then to the sons of his son, Charles. To son John, the Wambaw plantation, 1450 acres. Leaves 1500 pounds for the education of his grandsons, sons of his son, Charles. To son Peter, 50 Negroes, Land at St. Stephens to son Peter. Rest of estate to John, Theodore, Jr. and daughter, Catherine. (The early generations of the Gaillard family are well written up in “The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine,” Vol. 39, No. 2, April 1938. p. 72-80 and the “Transactions of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina,” No. 44, 1939, p. 36-44.)
 
Theodore Gaillard’s will was administered by Mr. Charles Gaillard, planter, of the same parish, April 21, 1786. Charles Gaillard was the grandfather of Sara Gaillard Holleman, and it was partially for her father’s education that the 1500 pounds were left.
 
Charles Gaillard, Sr., planter of St. James Santee, married Anne DuPree March 16, 1763. Among other children, they had a son, Charles Gaillard, Jr., one of the grandsons mentioned in Theodore’s will, “sons of my son, Charles.” Charles Gaillard, Sr. served as a private in the militia of South Carolina during the American Revolution and furnished Negroes for public works and supplies for the troops. The 1790 census lists him as the owner of 30 slaves. He was probably not as prosperous as his father whose will left one son 50.
 
Theodore Gaillard, Jr., the brother of Charles, played an active part in Revolutionary activities in South Carolina. He was a member of the Provincial Assembly which ratified independence for South Carolina. The South in the Building of the Nation, Volume II (Richmond, Va. 1909) under Senator John Gaillard, the U.S. Senator from South Carolina, 1805-26, states: “The Gaillard family of South Carolina is of Huguenot descent, and began to attain prominence about the time of the Revolution, in which all were patriots.” To be fair, this is not quite the case. Tacitus Gaillard, uncle of Charles and Theodore, was a prominent planter, representative in the Assembly and a strong Tory. He moved west in 1778 or 1779 “possibly because like other members of his family his sympathies were with the Tories.” (S.C. Historical and Genealogical Magazine,” Vol. 39, April 1938  p. 79)
 
If Uncle Tacitus was a Tory, the children of Theodore were not. Theodore, Jr. was making speeches for independence in the Assembly. Charles was furnishing Negroes and supplies. Sister Elizabeth Gaillard had married Job Marion, the brother of General Francis Marion, “the Swamp Fox.” The children of Theodore were wholeheartedly committed to the Revolution.
 
Charles Gaillard died in 1812. His son, Charles Gaillard, Jr. moved to Old Pendleton District, South Carolina. This is mentioned in the “Genealogical Table of the Gaillard Family” by Thomas Gaillard of Mobile, Alabama, 1848 on file at the State Archives in Columbia, and at the Huguenot Society at Charleston. However, a more thorough history of the Gaillard family in up-country South Carolina is found in the History of Old Pendleton District and Genealogy of Leading Familys    R. W Simpson 1913) which traces the Gaillard decent from Charles, Jr. to Mrs. N.W. Macaulay.
 
There is an interesting, if romanticized, account of the ante-bellum French settlements of South Carolina in which some Gaillards lived, found in Historical Houses of South Carolina by H.K. Leiding (J.B. Lippincott, 1921, p. 147-151). There is a great deal made about the Chateau Gaillard in Normandy, but that sort of pretentiousness is better left alone. The Gaillards were middle class from Languedoc. In America, they became prosperous, well educated and patriotic. That is enough. To inflate their origins would be to under rate their accomplishment. Yet making one’s self look big by cheapening the accomplishments of one’s fathers is contemptible in a son, betraying a weak ego and a little man.
 
Charles Gaillard, Jr. who moved to upcountry South Carolina, married at Georgetown, South Carolina on Feb.. 27, 1806, Mrs. Sara LaBorn, a widow of Georgetown. (Marriage notice in “Charleston News and Courier,” Thursday, March 6, 1806.) The Gaillard Chart of 1848 shows that Sara LaBorn, a widow, was born DuPree. She was the daughter of Lewis DuPree of North Carolina. Charles Gaillard’s mother had been Anne DuPree, sister of Lewis, and Charles and Sara were first cousins. The habit of marrying cousins was a common one in the Gaillard and DuPree families. Charles and Sara Gaillard had the following children: Anne, Charles, Rebecca, Cornelius, and Sara. Anne was to marry Edmund Peyton Holleman, Jr. and her sister, Sara, was to marry a brother, Joseph W. Holleman. Sara Gaillard lived to be an old lady, the much loved grandmother of Henrietta Holleman Macaulay.
 
Charles Gaillard, Jr., the father of Sara Holleman, was born in 1776, a child of the Revolutionary year. He was raised on his father’s plantation in the lowcountry at St. James Santee. The Santee is a river of South Carolina. The 1790 census shows his father owned 30 slaves.
 
Charles was a sensitive child, taken with the sufferings of others. In this he was like his uncle, Lewis DuPree, an early Charleston crusader against slavery. However, Charles decided to become a physician. His grandfather’s 1500 pound legacy to school the “sons of his son, Charles,” was used to provide the best medical education available at the time for Charles, Jr.
 
It was as a physician that Charles, Jr. bought a farm and moved to the upcountry to start his practice. The upcountry was then a newly settled area, full of hardship and misery. There he was impressed with the suffering of the multitudes. He was raised an Episcopalian, but touched by so much suffering he could not cure, he became a Methodist preacher. He rode in and out of the revivals of the Great Awakening of the 1820’s in the upcountry. He cured the people by day as best he could and, to those he “could not cure, he preached at night by bonfires of the land where there was no suffering, and how God would wipe away all tears from their eyes.
 
He went from revival to revival until, exhausted, he caught a fever from those he was nursing. The fever produced a delirium and he imagined himself by the bonfires. He died preaching to the incurables Job 19:26--”though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” This was in 1832.
 
His son, Charles Lewis, was also a medical evangelist in the upcountry, but progress had lessened the suffering, so that he became primarily a preacher. Uncle Charles was a well known Methodist preacher. His sermons were noted, perhaps remembering his father, for their passion and intensity. In this way these Huguenot descendents carried on a religious tradition which began in France, and for which reason these small, excitable, intelligent Frenchmen set sail for America in 1695.
 
In spite of sometimes great wealth, the Gaillards produced men of great service, and they had enough French realism to see that to produce civilized men required enough money to sustain civilization in the home and schools. Certainly this was the case with Charles Gaillard, Jr. A contemporary of Charles Gaillard, Jr., who also rendered a great service, if in a different way, was John Gaillard, the U.S. Senator from South Carolina 1805-26, a cousin of Charles'.
 
The Huguenot Society of South Carolina at Charleston has very excellent files on the early generations of the Gaillard family.
 
Today the Hon. Palmer Gaillard, a descendent of the original emigrant, Joachim, is mayor of Charleston, South Carolina.
 
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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.