SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
Kay Family Papers 1784-1945
Eighty-two manuscripts, 1784-1945 and undated, of the Kay family from the Honea Path area of Anderson County consist chiefly of land grants, deeds, and surveys showing the ownership of property on the east side of Broad Mouth Creek of Saluda River. Initial land grants were made to John Hallum (Allum), William Swift, and William Honey. These lands were originally in Ninety Six District, then were part of Pendleton District which was later divided into Anderson District. Today some of these lands lie in Anderson County and Abbeville County. Many of the deeds relate to property held by William Kay, Sr., William Kay, Jr., William Pleasants Kay, and their heirs. The area where the Kays settled was called Ghentsville (Gentsville); the community began its decline as Honea (Honey) Path was incorporated and the Greenville and Columbia Railroad came to town.
The Kay men were farmers, raising cotton as a cash crop. Items in the collection reveal that William Kay bought a Negro girl, Fanny, in 1804 and sold cotton to Dunbar & Burnside of Hamburg in 1848. Receipts indicate that William Pleasant ("Ples") Kay traded with Honea Path merchants D.V. Garrison, Brock-Armstrong & Company, and Wright, Wilson & Company. W.P. Kay's last will and testament, probated in 1869, indicates he had a number of children: W. Asbury, Venewel S., Robert P., Samuel R., Mary C. Land, Sarah H., Cinthia M., Nancy H., Lewis F., Milton A., and Corrie E. (also known as Essie C.) His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1891; there are several lists recording how the estate was sold and disbursed.
Letters of note include one written by B.F. Perry, Greenville, to William Kay, Sr., Gentsville Post Office, on 2 July 1839 thanking Kay for selling his land for him and promising to send Kay's compensation by Mr. Townes, who planned to look at a horse while there. In 1904 and 1906 Milton A. Kay took the Rural Carrier Exam and was entered on the list of eligible carriers. His appointment came on 17 August 1906 for Route 4 at an annual salary of $684. William A. Callahan was appointed Kay's substitute mail carrier.
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