George Galphin’s 1776 Will

mcmullan's law reports

In South Carolina’s McMullan’s Law Reports, from Nov 1840-May 1842, we find only one document of interest regarding Native Americans.   But that article is indeed, VERY interesting.

A will, sworn and signed in April of 1776 by George Galphin is being contested.  The portion having to do with the Indian is not being contested. Ironically, what is being contested is whether a mixed race descendant of George can inherit.

In any case, George, back in 1776, freed his female Indian slave and even gave us the name of the Indian slave’s parent.

galphin will

“…one Indian (daughter of Natechuchy)…”

This will was finally sworn, after a codicil, in 1782 in the Ninety-Six District of SC, and George subsequently died that same year.

Ninety-Six District was created on 29 July 1769 as the most western of the seven original districts. Its boundaries included the current Abbeville, McCormick, Edgefield, Saluda, Greenwood, Laurens, Union, and Spartanburg counties; much of Cherokee and Newberry counties; and small parts of Aiken and Greenville Counties. The lands further west were Cherokee Indian lands; and Tryon County, North Carolina infringed on much of its northern boundaries through the 1770s due to poor surveying.

The Journal of Gentry Genealogy published a map showing the 96 District in 1790, the shaded areas taken from Indian lands.

96 district

Given this proximity to the Cherokee, as well as the Creek and other southern tribes, it’s certainly possible, and probable, that the Indian slave freed and her parent were Cherokee or Muskogean, or captives traded to settlers through those tribes.

Given that no “increase” is mentioned, it’s also possible that this was a relatively recent enslavement.  He doesn’t say if the mother is or was enslaved, but that too is likely.  However, either the mother has already been freed, or the mother has died because his language clearly says:

“The testator first gives freedom, from the time of his death, to all legatees devisees not then free…and especially to Barbara, daughter of Rose.  Then having given freedom to two mulatto girls, and one Indian (daughter of Natechuchy).”

This strongly suggests that the Indian freed is indeed a legatee, but who is she?  And why would she be a legatee?

He leaves land and slaves to six individuals, as follows:

  • George – son of Maturney
  • Thomas Galphin – son of Rachel Dupee
  • John – son of Maturney
  • Judith – daughter of Maturney
  • Martha Galpin, child of Rachel Dupee
  • Barbara (Holmes), daughter of Rose, who married a white man

Then, there is this confusing entry in the Law Reports pertaining to this case.  Is it relevant to the Indian portion of this confusing situation, or is it simply comparative ‘legal-speak?’

galphin will legal issue

Is it possible that even though George refers to some of those he freed as mulatto, that they were indeed half Indian, and he was using mulatto in the context of the time as meaning “not entirely white?”  If so, then why did he specifically refer to one individual as “Indian” and the others as mulatto?

There has to be more to this story.  There is no wife in evidence, and George apparently leaves his entire worldly estate to those he had enslaved?

Checking my Native Names Project, I found two items that proved very interesting.

In the “Colonial Records of South Carolina: Documents Relating to Indian Affairs 1750-1754” by William McDowell, we discover that George Galphin was an Indian Trader to the Creek Nation.

You can read more about South Carolina Indian traders at in this article.

Licensed Traders to the Creeks from Carolina

  • George Galphin

In another article by J. Michelle Schohn, Historian of the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek, we discover that indeed, George Galphin did have a son with a Native woman.

“Also listed are additional names associated with the Pee Dee and other Indian communities: … George Galphin (the half-Indian son of Indian trader George Galphin, with whom the Beaver Creek Pee Dee worked). “

Aha, things are becoming to come a bit more into focus.

A little digging around shows us that indeed, there was even more.

A GenForum posting by Bonnie Rapert tells us the following:

George Galphin was a Creek trader, born in Ireland in 1709. He was in South Carolina in 1739 and settled at Silver Bluff, below Augusta on the east side of the Savannah River. By 1746 he was trading with the Creek Indians from Coweta. In 1794 he was described, along with Lachlan McGillivray and John Pate, as a partner in the trading firm of Brown, Rae, and Company. In 1775, the year that trader James Adair dedicated his HISTORY OF THE INDIANS to him and McGillivray, George ws appointed South Carolina’s Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Two years later, he visited the noted naturalist William Bartram. George Galphin at Silver Bluff on December 2, 1780. Historian T. S. Woodward wrote that Galphin “raised a large family; and of the five varieties of the human family, he raised children from three, and would no doubt have gone whole hog, but the Malay and Mongol were out of his reach”.

Galphins wives and concubines included:

1. Bridget Shaw, a white, whom he married on July 1, 1742 at St. Phillips’ Parish.
2. Sapho, a slave
3. Nitehucky, an Indian
4. Rachel Dupee, a white, who died at Placentia, Georgia on October 31, 1795.
5. Metawney, the daughter of Tustenugee Micco, the great Warrior of the Coweta’s.

Gilpin was the father of:

1. Barbara Galphin ( her mother was Sapho) She was given a land grant near Augusta in 1775 which was bounded on one side by Lachlan McGillivray, and on another the Savannah River.
2. Rachel Galphin ( her mother was Sapho)
3. Betsey Galphin ( her mother was Sapho)
4. Rose Galphin ( her mother was Nitehucky )
5. Thomas Galphin ( his mother was Rachel) born in 1762. Served in Capt. Partick Carr’s Loyalist Rangers in Burke County, Georgia 1781 – 1782, along with his brother, George. He was a planter in Barnwell District South Carolina when he died on May 5, 1812. He married Sarah who died November 6, 1802. He had children named; George ( born 1789, died 1807), George, Milledge ( who married Eliza Ardis in 1819), and Martha, who married Capt. Timothy Barnard on October 7, 1800.
6. Martha Galphin ( her mother was Rachel) She married John Milledge who served as Georgia’s governor from 1802 to 1806. She died at Sand Hills near Augusta on November 5, 1811. John died there on February 9, 1818.
7. George Galphin (his mother was Metawney) He served as a private in Capt. Patrick Carr’s Loyalist Rangers in Burke County, Georgia in 1781 – 1782. Married a woman named Frances.
8. Judith Galphin (her mother was Metawney)
9. John Galphin ( his mother was Metawney ) Was the Speaker of the Lower Creeks in 1789. In 1793 he attacked and robbed several traders near St. Mary’s apparantly because Georgians had confiscated some 40,000 acres of his Tory father’s estate.

George Galphin wrote his will on April 5, 1776, providing for his family and many others, including David Holmes, the son of his sister, Margaret, and his trading partner until David’s death at Pensacola in 1779, his sisters Judith Galphin, Margaret Holmes, Mrs. Young who was in Ireland, and Martha Crossley, the wife of William Crossley, to Timothy Barnard, and to all the “poor widows and fatherless children within 30 miles of my home”, as well as to “all the orphan children I have raised, to the poor of Eneskilling and Armagh in Ireland, to John McQueen and his brother Alexander Galphin, and to Parson Seymour and his wife.”

Source of this info:

1. Who Was Who Among the Southern Indians 1698 – 1907, by Don Martini,(book) published 1997, pages 271 – 272
2. English Crown Grants, (book)by Hemperley
3. Adiar’s History (book)
4. Men of Mark in Georgia ( book) Vol 1:99
5. South Carolina Marriages ( book)
6. Abbeville District Wills and Bonds, pages 128 – 129
7. Georgia Intestate Records
8. Men of Mark in Georgia ( book ) M.B. Warren pages 262 – 269

So, yes, indeed, there was much more to the story and now, the story makes sense.  George Galphin left his estate to his children, some of which either were or had been his slaves, or there was some legal question thereof and he made sure to remove any question.  Other children were highly placed within the Creek Nation.

Given the number of children he had, there is certain to be Irish Galphin DNA in the Creek Nation today, especially Y DNA in his direct paternal male descendants, by whatever surname they might have eventually have adopted.

You can see some of his descendants at this link.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Creek. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to George Galphin’s 1776 Will

  1. Joy King says:

    For additional info on George Galphin and his family, see Theresa M. Hicks, editor, SOUTH CAROLINA INDIANS INDIAN TRADERS and OTHER ETHNIC CONNECTIONS BEGINNING in 1670 (Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1998) 107-116.
    Joy King

  2. 3dogmom says:

    George Galphin was my 7x great-grandfather. An under-educated immigrant, he became fluent in Creek and a trusted trader among them. It is my understanding that he took two Creek wives, Nitechucky and Metawney, as part of an agreement to establish trading posts among the Creek, and that none of his Indian children were enslaved. He brought his sons George and John, sons of Metawney, into the trading business with him. His children through enslaved women were raised with advantages, and he sought to establish them in the community around Silver Bluff, his primary residence, with respected marriages. The first African Baptist church in South Carolina also formed at Silver Bluff, one of the earliest African congregations in the country.

  3. I’m looking for information on whether or not a John Patterson of Abbeville, South Carolina took a half Creek wife. He was on the 1790 Abbeville Census. He was my 5th great-grandfather. Any information will be helpful. Anyone with information please email me at:

  4. Kenyon. Fairey says:

    George Galpin is my 6G Grandfather . . . something I never knew until my genealogical research proved him the father of my 5G Grandmother, Judith Galphin (abt 1750—20 Nov 1839), who married ( abt 1775 Branwell Co, SC) Simeon Cushman (14 Feb 1742—25 Dec 1835). I have agreately appreciated finding his will.

  5. Lisa Hale says:

    I am researching the Cherokee roots of Rachel (McDonald) Albritton and her mother, Mary Polly (Allen) McDonald, proven through MtDNA. The Allens first settled in Burke County, Georgia. The McDonald – John McDonald, father of Rachel, was from Scotland, and moved to America before 1798. Appears in Jefferson County, Georgia 1799-1830. They lived near Galphintown/Galphinton aka Ogeechee Oldtown, where George Galphin worked. I do not know why a Cherokee blooded woman would be living in old Creek Nation unless just because her husband worked there or wanted to settle there. I do not know what occupation John McDonald had, but he seems to have been fairly affluent, being appointed the administrator of the estates of Joseph and Samuel Barber, as well as guardians of their minor children. He appears in the Jefferson County Georgia court records up until about 1827, when Georgia passed the laws that persons of Indian descent, or married to an indian or colored person could not bear witness in court, etc. Family tradition says that either John McDonald or his wife Mary (Allen) McDonald died in 1840, and was “buried on Ogeechee River.” There seems to be a man of John’s age living with a child in 1840 in another county of Georgia, but no woman of Mary’s age appears, so I think Mary died. The McDonalds moved to Madison County, Florida. Rachel Albritton lived first Jefferson, then after marriage, Burke County, then after death of husband, Lee County, Georgia. There are marriages between the Green family and others in the McDonald family. There also seems to be some family connection to the Joseph, Samuel, William, and Aaron Barber families of Burke and Jefferson Counties, Georgia. I have another Barber line that hailed from Bertie County, North Carolina, and a John Allen (also the name of the father of Mary Polly Allen McDonald – of Burke County, GA) was an attorney there that seems to have bilked an estate (persons intermarried with the Barbers of Bertie) out of money, and left Bertie County, North Carolina. The Bertie Co Barbers have at least one Barber who had two families (different wives), with the elder family children not named in his will. Any information would be appreciated. Lisa Hale.

    • This is interesting, Lisa. Can you share her mtDNA haplogroup? Have you joined any projects at Family Tree DNA?

      • Lisa Hale says:

        H1c16. Sorry for the delay in answering! Yes, I have joined several groups, but a couple of them won’t let me join because of Incorrect haplogroup for their project (Native American). I’m not sure why they won’t let others join. Most of the Cherokee lineage I have is far enough back that the blood quantum will be very watered down anyway. I don’t have that many matches on Family Tree DNA, or didn’t – haven’t checked in a while. I have quite a few matches on Ancestry, but most of them I already knew about, or they don’t have a tree connected, or I can’t find the common ancestor or a relative that connects.

  6. Leila WILLIAMS says:

    Rachel Dupee was my 5th great- grand mother born 1740-1795 . Thomas Galphine was my 4th great-grand father. My family tree provided information all grand parents beginning with Stephen
    Galphin was my second -great grand father 1844 – and so on.

  7. Tommm says:

    I am a Galphin.

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