Noble John Sarratt’s life spanned nearly all of the 19th Century, from 1809 to 1897. He spent it in the lower part of Cleveland County, and in northern Cherokee County, South Carolina, specifically in the area north of the town now known as Gaffney. Noble was the son of a prosperous land owner, Anthony Sarratt, and was the great grandfather of several Cliffside natives you might know or remember. He was also something of an historian, who was able to describe in fascinating detail the life and times of his contemporaries, as you’ll see below.
Anthony was the son of John Sarratt and Letitia Ellis, the daughter of James Ellis who ran a ferry between the North Carolina and South Carolina sides of Broad River in lower Cleveland County near the Mt. Sinai community. Ellis Ferry Road exists to this day, on both sides of the river, in both states. Anthony owned over 100 slaves, who worked his land from the Grassy Pond settlement down to what is now Gaffney.
If you’d like to examine a fairly complete listing of six generations of John Sarratt’s descendents, view this PDF file.
Noble too was a ferryman on Broad River, at a location somewhere near the NC-SC state line. It is told that a young couple once boarded his ferry on their way to Gaffney. When Noble learned the reason for their journey—to get married—he performed the ceremony himself then and there, for, after all, he was captain of the “ship.”
Some researchers have it that Noble married Elizabeth H. McCraw in 1832. Other sources have her name as Deborah. In any event, she was born in 1819 and died in 1860.
One of Noble’s daughters, Nancy, married a school teacher named John Nicholson. Together they started a community called Nicholsonville at the point where Sandy Run Creek joins Broad River, a few miles SSW of Boiling Springs. Eventually this little town had its own post office.
This fragment of a township map shows the town, along with the homes in the area and their owners’ names.
According to the 1880 Federal Census, Noble, then 71 years old, lived in Cleveland County’s Township 2, which would have been north of Broad River, perhaps in the vicinity of Nicholsonville. He is listed on the census sheets as living alone near another daughter.
That daughter was Letitia Lucretia, born in 1846. She was known as “Lettie” like her grandmother Ellis, for whom she was named. Lettie married her first cousin, Ugenius Sarratt, a Civil War veteran who lost his left arm in the battle of Petersburg. Four of Lettie’s and Ugenius’ children would become the parents of some well-known Cliffside residents.
In her widowhood, Lettie is said to have asked—in jest?—to be buried in the old Sarratt graveyard with her father, Noble, instead of at Camp’s Creek with Ugenius. She was afraid, she said, that when the devil came for Ugenius, he would take her too. If that was indeed her wish, it did not come true. She lies at Camp’s Creek Baptist Cemetery with her one-armed husband.
Of the seven children of Ugenius and Lettie Sarratt, these four contributed to the population of Cliffside:
Samuel L. (1870-1951) married Rachel Carrie Blanton (1868-1940). They were the parents of Homer Sarratt (1902-1980); Tinnie Sarratt (1901-1992), who became the wife of Clayton Scruggs; and Valoree Sarratt (1897-1984) who married Jesse Frye. Valoree and Jesse were the parents of Sam and Joe Fry.
Nancy Jane (1864-1908) married Leander Hamrick (1860-1916). Leander and his children are listed in the 1910 census, living in Fairview. In that listing you’ll find young Carves P. Hamrick (1892-1961), who for many years would be our friend and grocer, and Bertie Pearl Hamrick (1891-1995), who was later the wife of Thomas J. Price. Carves and his younger brother Clarence Dixon Hamrick (who died in 1936) joined the U. S. Army on the same day during World War I.
Cora D. (1866-1949) married Columbus P. Moore (1865-1940) and three of their children were Otto Moore (1908-1989),Tencie Estelle Moore (1899-1968) and John Geary “Pete” Moore (1895-1961).
John L. (1881-1922) married Mary O. Vinsett (1880-????). One of their children was Johnson Eartell Sarratt (1902-1988).
View more photos in the Sarratt family album.
Toward the end of his life Noble John Sarratt wrote a small book titled “The History Of The Sarratts Along Main Broad River.” Much later, The Gaffney Ledger, as an introduction to its reprint of the history, wrote:
A seventy-six-year-old man, who lives in No. 2 TWP, Cleveland County, N. C., found this clipping in his family Bible. It is quoted in its entirety. It was printed in The Gaffney Ledger Gaffney, S. C., on Thursday, June 2, 1927.
“The Sarratt Family,” a 24-page history by Noble Sarratt, who has been dead for a score or more years, was one of the first jobs printed by The Ledger, something like a quarter of a century ago.
There are numerous members of the Sarratt family now residing in Cherokee County, and The Ledger is herewith reproducing this interesting document in full below.
You may find parts of the book a tangle of kinships not particularly interesting, but don’t fail to read the middle chapters, which describe the hardscrabble lives the people in this area led in the 1800s.