|The Stage Coach Inn was located about|
twenty miles from McHeath's Tavern.
Local history books provided the setting and conflict for my story, The Least of These.
The Revolutionary War was a brutal time in South Carolina when neighbors chose sides, resulting on a whopping one-third of the population as active Loyalists. This created a more true civil war than any in U.S. history. Neighbors destroyed each other's homes, raped, scalped, and hacked each other to bits. Corpses were even dug up and abused.
|A re-created tavern at the Living|
History Park, North Augusta, S. C.
From The Village of Barnwell by William Hansford Duncan, I learned the focal point of colonial life in my town was a tavern located on Red Hill, run by a man named John McHeath.
McHeath’s inn was famous for its whiskey. However, taverns were not only where folks went to throw back a few shots. They were often the only community buildings available. They could be used as courtrooms, schoolhouses, and even church services. To prevent drunkenness during these tamer activities, a set of wooden bars would be lowered to block access to alcohol. Even today,
|Note the bar that was lowered for|
Taverns were prevalent along main thoroughfares and trading routes in the backwoods. McHeath’s Tavern served as an oasis on the Charles Town-Augusta stagecoach road where travelers stopped for food, drink, or a night’s rest, if needed. Locals showed up to hear gossip, make contacts, or enjoy a game of cards, or patrons might enjoy the occasional brawl or cockfight. I can imagine some gritty political discussions, too.
|Inside the tavern at the Historic|
Camden Revolutionary War Site