Five Brothers

Moultrie Creek today

Moultrie Creek today

I live on Moultrie Creek just south of St. Augustine, Florida. There is also a town called Moultrie in Georgia, a county in Illinois and Fort Moultrie in South Carolina. These three Moultrie locations are named for one man, William Moultrie, who was a South Carolina patriot and a hero of the American Revolution. My creek is named for his brother, John, a loyalist and the Lieutenant Governor of the British colony of East Florida.

John and his brother, James, came to Florida not long after the British took control of the territory from Spain in 1763. John became the Lieutenant Governor and James became Chief Justice. James died in 1765. John took advantage of the opportunities Florida offered and developed several plantations along the east coast including one at the mouth of Woodcutter’s Creek about five miles south of St. Augustine. He built a large stone house there, calling it Bella Vista.

Back in South Carolina, brother William fought in the Anglo-Cherokee war and later served in the colony’s colonial assembly. He was commissioned as a colonel in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment and in 1776 would organize the defense of a small fort on Sullivan’s Island which stopped the British attempt to capture Charleston. This was the first real victory for the Patriots’ cause and made William an American hero. The Continental Congress made him a brigadier general. In 1778, he would be instrumental in preventing the British capture of Savannah.

Brother Thomas also served in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment holding the rank of captain. He was killed during the battle to save Charleston.

One last brother, Andrew, served as a colonel during the war. When the British captured Charleston in 1780, Andrew was arrested and shipped to St. Augustine with about twenty other Charleston patriots. On their arrival, Governor Grant offered them parole as long as they stayed in the local area. Andrew would stay with his brother, John.

After the war, William would later become the 35th governor of the state of South Carolina. That small fort on Sullivan’s Island was named Fort Moultrie in his honor. Andrew became South Carolina’s first Attorney General. As a result of Britain’s defeat by the Americans, the Florida territory was returned to Spanish control, forcing John to leave the colonies. He spent the rest of his life in Shropshire, England. Although his house at Bella Vista no longer exists, Woodcutter’s Creek is now known as Moultrie Creek.