I have really enjoyed reading "Flower in the Sand" "The History and Heritage of Bettis Academy" by Wayne Anthony O'Bryant.
I am Caucasian and am a descendant of John Bettis and his wife Mary Wilson of Edgefield Co. SC. John Bettis, my 4Ggreatgrandfather was a cotton and tobacco planter and he also operated a mill. It was my privilege to travel to Edgefield SC and visit the Canaan Baptist Church, the Bettis Academy campus, and the grave of Alexander Bettis and others. I was speechless. And I was in awe of the kindness and interest in which I was received. My memories will last forever.
I have some info I would like to pass on that may be of help to some researchers of the Africans that were at Edgefield during those dark times of slavery. On page 14 in this book there is a picture of a document that says below it: "Portion of the Inventory of John Bettis' Estate." Pictured are the names of slaves listed in John Bettis' estate. This document does not actually pertain to John Bettis married to Mary Wilson. Rather, it is the document of John Bettis/ Mary Wilson's son whose name was also John Bettis. This son John Bettis migrated to Liberty Co., GA and so the slaves mentioned would have originated from there, not at Edgefield SC. John Bettis of Liberty, GA was a rice planter. When the son John Bettis died in 1803, his estate was settled in 1804 at Edgefield, SC with his brother Matthew Bettis (my 3Ggreatgrandfather) as the administrator/executor. It's hard to read the names here, but it may be helpful to some researchers to know these persons originated from Liberty Co., GA, rather than Edgefield, SC. I have a copy of the original and 21 slave names are mentioned. If anyone has a research interest concerning any of the 21 names, I could check my copy.
The estate settlement for John Bettis married to Mary Wilson occurred in 1784 at Abbeyville, SC. Here is an explanation of that estate:
John’s estate isn't in the Archives in Edgefield because he died at the end of the Revolution and before the Edgefield District was created in 1785. Thus, his estate was filed at Ninety Six. When the new districts were created, the Ninety Six records were transferred to the Abbeville Court House.
There are four (4) pages in the file: (1) the Administration Bond given by Stephen Bettis (John's oldest son), Vann Swearingen, Lacon Ryan and Joel McClendon guaranteeing the performance of Stephen Bettis and Vann Swearingen as Adminstrators of the Estate of John Bettis, (2) a Warrant of Appraisal from John Thomas, Ordinary (Probate Judge) of the Ninety Six District, authorizing Edward Couch, Vann Swearingen and Phillip Shipes to appraise the goods and chattels of John Bettis, (3) the Acceptance of the Appraisers to undertake the appraisal and to present the same before John Herndon, Justice of the Peace, and (4) the Appraisal detailing three slaves (one woman and two children, no names mentioned), furniture & tools, and livestock, all totaling £156/10/6.
This estate record hasn't been translated and is very hard to read.
Thank you for this opportunity to share with you. I hope it will be of some help to someone.