Robert Pickens1

b. circa 1697, d. circa 1787
Robert Pickens|b. c 1697\nd. c 1787|p6291.htm|William Pickens|b. c 1670\nd. c 1735|p6289.htm|Margaret (—?—) (Pickens)||p6290.htm|Robert (Andre) Pickens|b. c 1644\nd. 1699|p6315.htm|Esther J. Benoit|b. c 1644|p6316.htm|||||||

4th great-grandfather of William Lemuel Horn Jr.
6th great-grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Horn and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for William Lemuel Horn II
     Robert Pickens was born circa 1697 in Northern Ireland.1,2,3 He was the son of William Pickens and Margaret (—?—) (Pickens).1 He married Miriam, traditionally Miriam Davis, in 1729.1 He died circa 1787 or 1793 in Ninety-six District, South Carolina, in that part that later became Anderson County.1 He was the first to be buried in the Pickens Graveyard, Anderson County.1 His will was proved on 1 June 1793.4
     It is thought that Robert Pickens came with his parents and siblings to Pennsylvania about 1719.1 Scots-Irish emigrants were flooding into Pennsylvania at that time, and finding the coastal land already taken, most pushed westward. Robert's family, however, first settled in lower Bucks County north of Philadelphia where in 1719 his parents are recorded as "Newcomers from Earlandt" in the Dutch Reformed Church records in Bensalem.5

     Sharp believed Robert lived first in Bucks County, then Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, before moving in about 1739 to Frederick County in either Maryland or Virginia, at the same time that his brothers were moving from Lancaster County to Augusta County, Virginia.2 While either is possible, the more logical assumption is that Robert moved to Virginia, where at that time the royal governor was encouraging Scots-Irish settlement in the newly authorized counties of Frederick and Augusta in the Shenandoah Valley west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering an exemption from taxes for ten years and land titles. These new counties were authorized in 1738, and the idea behind the inducements was that the Scots-Irish would serve as a buffer between the Indian tribes west of the Alleghenys and the English planters in the Virginia Tidewater region, a task for which they were particularly well-suited.

     About 1754, Robert moved to the Waxhaws1 in Anson County, North Carolina, where his brother Andrew had settled four or five years earlier. How long he stayed is not known. Tradition, according to Sharp, is that upon reaching the Waxhaws, he and his wife immediately decided to move on further south. Most believe he remained in the Waxhaws for about eight years. On 3 December 1763, he obtained a grant of 250 acres in Granville County, South Carolina, on Long Cane Creek.2

     Granville County, abolished in 1769, was a long, narrow county that ran along the Savannah River Bordering Georgia, and extended into the region that is today Abbeville County. In 1769, South Carolina was divided into districts, and this area of old Granville fell into Ninety-six District. Long Cane is a few miles southeast of the present city of Abbeville.

     In 1783 Robert's son, Captain Robert Pickens, moved from the Long Cane settlement to what is today Anderson County, and took his elderly father with him. There they settled at the headwaters of Three and Twenty Creek.3 This area was at that time in Ninety-six District. In 1789, it became Pendleton County, a division of Ninty-six District. In 1791, Pendleton County was annexed to Washington District, and in 1798, Pendleton County became Pendleton District. In 1826, Pendleton District was abolished by being divided into Anderson and Pickens districts.

     Robert Pickens made his will on 20 January 1783 in St. Bartholomew's Parish, Granville County, South Carolina. Mentioned were his son Robert, wife Miriam, grandchildren John, Martha, Margaret and Elizabeth Pickens, daughters Eliner Prater and Jain Norwood, and son Andrew; executors, son Robert and wife Miriam.6 Click to view image There seems no satisfactory explanation why Robert Pickens made his will in "Granville County." Perhaps it is as simple as a stubborn resistance to change, that the oldtimers continued to call it Granville County long past the time it ceased to exist.

     According to Sharp, Robert's gravestone was placed by descendants, and the dates are only a guess.2 Furthermore, the death year on the marker has been reported as both 1787 and 1793. Regardless, he lived a very long life and tradition is that in his old age he was almost blind and had to be cared for like a child. It is also said that he spoke in almost an Irish brogue.3

Children of Robert Pickens and Miriam (—?—) (Pickens)


  1. [S674] Terry Pickens McLean, online <…>, Terry Pickens McLean (e-mail address), downloaded 2004.
  2. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South (Memphis, Tennessee: E.M. Sharp, 1963), 95.
  3. [S671] Monroe Pickens, comp., Cousin Monroe's History of the Pickens Family (Easley, South Carolina: Kate Pickens Day, 1951), 81.
  4. [S671] Monroe Pickens, Cousin Monroe's History of the Pickens Family, 83, citing [Anderson County] Will Book C, page 15.
  5. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South, 10.
  6. [S671] Monroe Pickens, Cousin Monroe's History of the Pickens Family, 82, citing [Anderson County] Will Book C, page 15.