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Family History

John and Peggy McDill Peden and several of their children, a number of their grandchildren, and McDill relatives landed in Charleston, South Carolina on October 18, 1772 on the ship James and Mary loaded with immigrants from Ireland and what few earthly possessions they were permitted to carry aboard ship. Each family had a land grant from the King of England for not less than 100 acres of land in what is now the Nazareth section of Spartanburg County. All of the men and older boys soon thereafter joined the Spartan Regiment of the South Carolina Militia and served throughout the War for American Independence. After the Revolution, our Pedens then obtained land grants from the new state of South Carolina for 7000 acres at Fairview. One of the first things these families did upon arriving at this place was to build a church – Fairview Presbyterian Church. Fairview Presbyterian Church was founded in 1786 by Peden brothers John Peden, Jr., Samuel Peden, and David Peden along with their nephew James Alexander and a family friend, James Nesbitt. The name Fairview came from the old stone church in County Antrim, Ireland, which was named Fairview.

The original structure was a log building located across the road from the present church. The current sanctuary was completed in 1858 and the fourth one to house the church. The church was built with funds left to the church in the will of David Morton, House of Jane and a grandson of John Peden and Margaret (Peggy) McDill. David Morton left half of his estate to Fairview Presbyterian Church when he died in 1848. The back portion of the rock wall surrounding Fairview Church Cemetery was built by slaves around 1850. There are about 750 graves in the cemetery. The oldest marked grave is that of a 16 year-old young lady buried in 1794. There are 11 Revolutionary War soldiers and 51 Confederate soldiers buried here. The men of Fairview have always been a patriotic group, and veterans of every war in this nation’s history are buried here. The front wall with cement cap was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp boys and men in 1933. A new cement cap was installed in the 1990’s.

The Peden/Paden Reunion was held for the first time in 1899. It was decided at that time to hold the reunion every 10 years. It was held again in 1909, but postponed in 1919 because of World War I. The reunion was not held again until 1955, and has been held every year since that time. We have had as many as 400 in attendance when prominent family members such as the late General William Westmoreland and the late U.S. Senator John Stennis were the featured speakers.

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