Robert Gouedy and John Vann...
Fort Charlotte land had connections to 96 settlers
by David Morgan (reprinted from The Star Beacon, Ninety Six, South Carolina)
(Note: Information for this Historical Profile comes from the booklet "Fort Charlotte on Savannah River And Its Significance In The American Revolution" by Nora Marshall Davis which was published in 1949 by the Star Chapter of the DAR and Jerome A. Greene's Ninety Six: A Historical Narrative by published by the U.S. National Park Service in 1978.) The land bordering the Savannah River on which Fort Charlotte was built in the mid-1760s had apparent connections with two settlers in the Ninety Six area: Robert Gouedy and John Vann. Patrick Calhoun, Deputy Surveyor of the Colony of South Carolina, surveyed a tract of 430 acres which was to be the site of the stone fortification with ten-foot high walls. Most Back Country forts were wooden stockades. In his report to Governor Bull, Calhoun stated the land was "formerly known by the name of Vanns or Goudy Tract..." The "Goudy" named is undoubtedly Ninety Six Indian trader Robert Gouedy and the "Vanns" was probably John Vann who "operated an establishment [no doubt a tavern] the banks of Ninety Six Creek. . ." according to Greene's account. Although it is unclear, the 430 acres of land was probably owned at one time by first one man and then the other or perhaps co-owned by both Vann and Gouedy. Greene writes, "The principal settler at Ninety Six and the most influential community resident over several decades was Robert Gouedy." After trading several years with the Cherokee, Robert Gouedy took up permanent residence at Ninety Six circa. 1751. He eventually built a home, outbuildings, a trading post and a stockade around a barn which was attacked by Cherokee during the frontier war of 1760. "In all, he eventually owned over 1,500 acres of land around Ninety Six. . ." Greene further states. Part of this acreage no doubt included the land bordering the ford at the Savannah River where Fort Charlotte was constructed out of locally quarried stone. By Gouedy's death in 1775, there was approximately 500 people who were in debt to him. Tavernkeeper John Vann is less well-known to history than Robert Gouedy. The site of his establishment on Ninety Six Creek is now unknown. Records show Vann had at least five servants: three blacks, a mixed blood Indian and a mulatto. Records also show Vann was married and had a family because he evacuated them from Ninety Six during the Cherokee attacks of 1751. In 1783, the tract of land was resurveyed by Deputy Surveyor Bennett Crafton and was found to contain 325 acres; an apparent loss of 105 acres from the original survey.
Pictured above is a facsimile drawing of the survey plat done by Patrick Calhoun of the land on which Fort Charlotte was constructed. The 430 acres was known as "Vanns or Goudy Tract" which means it was owned at one time by Ninety Six Indian trader Robert Gouedy and tavern owner John Vann.
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