My Ancestors in the American Revolutionary War

My great-great-great-great grandfather David Grimbs was born probably in Ballymoney, County Antrim, Ireland in about 1731. He arrived in Charleston, South Carolina on 19 December 1772. In January, 1773 he was granted 400 acres of land near a branch of Rocky Creek in Chester County, South Carolina. The land grant gives his name as David Grimbs, See Scotch-Irish Migration to South Carolina, 1772: (Rev. William Martin and His Five Shiploads of Settlers) by Jean Stephenson, page 74. Three of his children, Andrew, Jean and Matthew Grimbs, received 100 acres each.

The family also used the name Graham rather than Grimbs. This has caused controversy among genealogists and historians.


His name was also written as Grimbs and Grimes. Many other variations. Possibly born in Ballymoney, County Antrim, Ireland. Died between 2 April 1795 (date of will) and 18 November 1800 (probate of will).

The IGI has a David Graham who died on 09 JUN 1799 but does not say where he died.

There was a criminal case brought in Belfast Ireland in 1772 against a man named Andrew Graham.

Their landlord, Lord Donegall, was known for drinking and gambling and in 1770 needed ready cash, so he had raised their rents so high that they could not possibly pay it. This led the Rev. Martin to give a sermon in which he proposed that all members of his church accompany him to South Carolina, where they had been promised free land. A total of 1200 persons decided to join him. It took five ships to carry them all to South Carolina.

David Graham and his wife and children were among five shiploads of settlers led by the Rev. William Martin from Ulster to South Carolina. They were on the ship Pennsylvania Farmer leaving Belfast on 16 October 1772 and arriving Charleston 19 December 1772.

Each household was promised 100 acres of land plus 50 additional acres for a wife and each child. This explains why David Graham brought along his wife and then seven children. This gave him the right to a total of 500 acres of land. This land was only available on the recommendation of a minister of a church. This explains why it was necessary for the Rev. William Martin to accompany the group, so that they could get their land. The first ship arrived two months before the ship bringing Rev. Martin, so the passengers on that ship had to wait two months for him to come. Those passengers stayed on the ship, which was anchored next to an island off of South Carolina. They were allowed to get off the ship and go onto the island. This was also because there had been smallpox on the ship and five children had died.

The reason the other four ships came two months late was that their farmers had waited to bring in their crops in Ireland before leaving. Because of this, they had more than enough food with them on the ship, plus they had money to pay for their journey.

Some family members remained behind, planning to come later. However, the American Revolutionary War broke out right after this and that stopped all immigration from Ireland to America. The families became separated and never re-united.

There is a book about this at

As the beginning, South Carolina stayed out of the American Revolutionary War. However, in 1780 British Troops invaded South Carolina. This led Rev. William Martin to give a sermon. He said that they had been driven from Scotland to Ireland by the British and then they had been driven from Ireland to America by the British. Now the British are trying to drive them from here. There are times to pray and times to fight, and now is the time to fight.

This led David Graham and two of his sons, Andrew and James, to join into the American Revolutionary War. Andrew was captured and taken prisoner. A son named Matthew died during the war, but it is not known how he died or if he died in the war. The youngest son, James, was most actively involved in the fighting.

The Rev. Martin was captured by the British and taken before Cornwallis. However, a Col. Phillips who knew the Rev . Martin from Scotland happened to be present and prevailed upon Cornwallis to free him. Rev. Martin fled to Charlotte, North Carolina and sat out the rest of the war. When the war was over, he returned but found that his house had been burned by the British. Rev. Martin spent the rest of his life traveling around preaching, where he was in great demand.

Sam Sloan

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