The Illustrious Wardlaws

When researching family history, you find that some families have an influence beyond their direct descendants, an influence that reaches the larger community and even the nation. Such is the case with the Wardlaw family.

I’m related to the Wardlaws through my great, great grandmother Jane Moore Hugh Wardlaw graveFarlow. Her great grandfather was James Wardlaw. After Gwinnett County was founded in December 1818, James became its first Clerk of Superior Court in March of 1819. He’s buried in the Fairview Presbyterian Church cemetery in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Fairview is the oldest still-operating Presbyterian church in Georgia.

James’ grandfather, Hugh Wardlaw, was a captain in the South Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War. He fought in the Siege of Ninety Six as well as the Battle of Cowpens.  Hugh’s son William was also in the South Carolina militia as a private and fought along side his father.

Francis Hugh Wardlaw

Francis Hugh Wardlaw

Among James Wardlaw’s first cousins was Francis Hugh Wardlaw. Francis was a prominent lawyer and judge from  Abbeyville, South Carolina. He was also the author of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession that set the stage for  the Civil War. Francis died in May 1861, only one month after the outbreak of the war.

His brother David Lewis Wardlaw was the speaker of the South Carolina House, a delegate to the secession convention and one of the signers of the Ordinance of Secession. After the Civil War, in September 1865, David was issued a pardon by President Andrew Johnson for “all offenses by him committed arising from participation, directly, or implied, in the said rebellion…”  Their brother, Joseph James Wardlaw, was a medical doctor and a member of the South Carolina General Assembly in the 1850s.

The Wardlaw family had a multi-generational impact on the nation’s history and I’m proud to be among their many descendants.



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