Henry James McLaurin was born January 16, 1838 In Sumter, South Carolina, a son of Daniel Benjamin (1807-1876) and Agnes Druscilla Chandler McLaurin (c.1810-1863). He attended Davidson College in NC and the University of Virgina, graduating in 1860. He specialized in surgery and internal medicine and practiced in Manning before the war.
Henry enlisted at Columbia on June 19, 1863 and married Elizabeth Montgomery McFaddin a month later on August 20, 1863. They had twelve children: Mary (1865-1950), Catherine (1869-1973), Henry (b.1870), Helen (1872-1955), Hugh (1875-1963), Leonora (1876-1949), Daniel (1878-1882), Annie (1879-1901), Isabel (1881-1954), Ruth (1883-1976) and Cornelia (1886-1973).
Henry was originally a private with Company C, Hampton Legion Infantry. He was assigned as hospital steward September 1861 and transferred to Hampton Legion Field and Staff. Present June 1861 - May 1864. Wounded in action at Seven Pines on May 31, 1862; promoted to Captain/Assistant Surgeon on June 1, 1864 and assigned to the 7th SC Cavalry. Present January 7, 1865 and paroled at Appomattox.
Henry was a resident of Wedgefield from 1869 - 1886 and practiced medicine in the Wedgefield - Stateburg area. He acquired Argyle Plantation near Stateburg and built a home which he called Stirling, for Stirling Castle in Scotland. In December 1886, he moved to Sumter where he was in the lumber business. In 1896 - 1897 he was Alderman of Sumter.
The following is a letter written by H. J. McLaurin from Sumter, SC on March 26, 1888 to Captain Enoch Stahler in Minneapolis, Minn., in response to an inquiry about an operation performed on the Union soldier by a Confederate doctor during the war. (Enoch was in command of Company C, 3rd Regiment, NY Cavalry):
Enclosed find article from News and Courier, containing your letter making inquiry for surgeons (of Hampton Legion who operated upon your arm Oct. 7th after the engagement upon Darby-town Road.
I think Dr. Jonathan J. Bozeman of Ninety-six Abbeville, SC performed the operation. I was with the command from its organization in 1861 but am under the impression that I was serving with the 7th SC Cavalry at the time of the engagement referred to, but might have assisted Dr. Bozeman. If I did, the operation has entirely escaped my memory and I would esteem it a favor if you would send me your photograph, also of your arm. Dr. Bozeman is a most excellent gentleman and if I am correct in my opinion, I would like very much to see him enjoy the distinction his operation entitles him to.
He, like a great many of us, was actuated from true and patriotic principles (in the late war and unpleasantness); we conceived that our cause was a just one - we put our all upon the alter - we lost, and now by the exercise of true courage we submit and hope that by united effort we will out of chaos and ruin, establish our south upon a broader and more lasting basis than ever before.
We have a delightful climate, fertile soil, warm hearts and offer to our friends up in the frozen regions of the blizzard stricken section a home with us.
We want live energetic white men to come among us - to settle up our lands.
Say to your friends that we will give them as warm a reception as we gave them upon occasion of Darby-town enagagement, but of a different character.
Yours very respectfully,
H. J. McLaurin, M.D.
Henry died May 7, 1921. He and Elizabeth are buried at Wedgefield Cemetery, Sumter County, SC.
Cemetery photos taken by Nancy Ziemba Gleaton.