Seeking to preserve its Revolutionary War heritage, Laurens County played host on Saturday (March 6) to sons, daughters and children of the American Revolution at the Hayes Station massacre site.
Historian Durant Ashmore detailed how a “psychopathic killer” General William “Bloody Bill” Cunningham used his sword to end the lives of 18 Laurens County Patriots. Cunningham lived in this Laurens County area fighting as a Patriot before he turned to the Tory (British) side. He knew personally, as a former neighbor, several of the men he cut to death, as they were bound together - when he ran out of steam, he instructed his troops to finish the job. Two men were pardoned from being massacre victims.
Descendants of the men cut down at Hayes Station attended the ceremony.
State Rep. Stewart Jones of Laurens told the commemoration crowd that Laurens County will submit an application to the State of South Carolina to have an American Revolution Museum located in Laurens. The County Council plans to adopt a resolution making the request (March 9 meeting) saying that Laurens County has the most Revolution battle sites in the Upstate and has physical space to offer to a Museum. The 250th Anniversary of The American Revolution celebration begins nationwide in 2025. Jones said people from throughout the world will visit Laurens County should the Museum receive state approval.
In a Facebook post, Durant said of Saturday’s ceremony, “Hayes Station is the site where on Nov. 19, 1781, Bloody Bill Cunningham brutally murdered 18 men of the gallant Little River Regiment (present day Laurens County) after these men had surrendered. This was one of the most gruesome massacres in the Revolutionary War, and Hayes Station is one of the most sacred sites in Laurens County. ... The deed for this one acre site has recently been transferred to the South Carolina Battlefield Trust. This means the site will now be protected for perpetuity, and exciting things are on the horizon. Hayes Station is only open to the public on a very limited basis and this is one of the few opportunities for visiting.” -- Vic MacDonald Photos