William and Nellie Golden of Edgefield, South Carolina

Edgefield District, South CarolinaNote: Extensive revamping of this page is necessary. YDNA testing from mid-2017 has allowed the confirmation of some prior theories (to include disproval) as to which Goldens in the region belonged to which families.

We have also now been able to confirm within about five miles as to where William and Nellie Goulden lived. Documentary evidence usually refers to ‘Edgefield’ as being their home, but we now know that this is a reference to the Old Edgefield county. They lived in what is now Saluda County (since 1895), just off of Beaverdam Creek.

William and Nellie Goulden lived in the Beaverdam Creek area.


ORIGIN of William and Nellie Goulden

This area of South Carolina opened for settlement in 1755 (eastern border areas of Ninety Six District) and again in 1763 (Ninety Six District). Many settlements were planned subdivisions from which entire groups of settlers were brought in and settled en mass: French Hugenots, German Palatinates, Ulster Scots, Swedes and some others.

William and Nellie do not appear to be from among any of those groups.

We know that a good many Pennsylvanians and Virginians also settled in this area. They do not appear to have settled in planned subdivisions. Each family applied and were given a land grant.

Golden families by YDNA type

My current theory is that William Goulden is the son of Thomas Goulden who applied in 1763 and received a land grant, with him settling in 1767. While the land grant is well documented, we do not know anything about the names of members of Thomas’ family, although we do know the approximate size.

Thanks to extensive DNA testing we have been able to both identify and to eliminate membership in many families in the region whose name begins with Gold and Gould (-en, -in, -ing).

While there may be more than five unique families, we can now use yDNA to easily identify members of five different family groups having similar names.

We have also been able to use DNA to discount membership in similarly named families in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia … although there are many Golden/in/ings and Goulden/in/ings from NC, PA and VA that remain to be tested.

My current theory of origin: After examining the family histories of families married into my direct Golden line, and looking for DNA links to the same, I strongly believe that Thomas and William Goulden descend from Virginians in the region of modern Caroline County, Virginia, which was part of the old Lancaster and Rappahanock counties. Two families are of direct interest and neither are known to have been DNA tested: Thomas Goulding and Thomas Gould/Gouldman. Both are from families that settled in the region after 1622 and by 1655.


What we know about William and Nellie Goulden

YDNA evidence has identified William and Nellie Golden of Edgefield, South Carolina as being my oldest identifiable grandparents.

There are some family histories that blend our Edgefield and Pickens, South Carolina Goldens with kinship to either the William Golding and Elizabeth Foster Goldings of the Abbeville area, or to the William Golden and Elizabeth Ellender Goldens of  nearby Lincoln/Wilkes County, Georgia. >>> We have YDNA-tested multiple males from both family lines and we are not related in any way.



1800 Census for William Goulden (Golden) of Edgefield, SC:

DNA testing has confirmed descendants of the family members shown below as being children of William Golden and Nellie.

Free White Persons – Males – Under 10 Abraham (1791/YDNA)
Free White Persons – Males -10 thru 15 Isaac (1785/YDNA)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over William (c1750/YDNA)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10 Name Unknown (aft 1790)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: may be  Sarah Frances (aft 1790)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15 Name Unknown (aft 1785)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25 Margaret Frances (1784/ATDNA)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over Elender “Nellie” (mother, c1750)
Number of Household Members Under 16 5
Number of Household Members Over 25 2
Number of Household Members 8

Not shown in the above census is son Nathaniel Greene Golden (YDNA) who married Rachel Isabelle Morgan  (ATDNA) in 1799. It is believed that they lived in the Pickens area, although they do not appear in any census until 1830 or 1840.


Relevant History

1750 – Edgefield, South Carolina begins to receive non-Native American settlers. Settlement would be steady between 1750-1775 with most settlers coming from Virginia and Pennsylvania via “the Great (Philadelphia) Wagon Road”. North Carolina itself was under steady settlement so there was little reason for North Carolinians to settle in South Carolina.

The Great Philadelphia Road
Link to original map


1775 – the Revolutionary War begins, although 1776 was the formal Declaration of Independence. The war from beginning to end was very bitter in South Carolina with much of the war being South Carolinians fighting one another rather than a large British army fighting insurrectionists.

Wilkes County, Georgia, formed 1777 -- Georgia's first county.
Wilkes County, Georgia, formed 1777 — Georgia’s first county.

1777 — Did our William Golden (Goulden / Goulding) serve in the Revolutionary War with the 1st Spartan Regiment? A William Goulding did serve as a private in the regiment, as did an Isaac and Thomas Morgan. William’s son Nathaniel Greene Golden would marry into the Morgan family in 1799 when he married Rachel Isabella Morgan. Both the Golden and Morgan families lived in the Newberry area. Thomas Morgan would have been Rachel’s uncle, and Thomas Morgan b1751, Newberry, SC is my 5th great-uncle.

Regimental roster: http://tinyurl.com/jkdsrea

>> Several challenges to proving this: No Golden family written record of service — no family records of anything exist. Were it not for DNA testing, we would be unable to prove that any child of William and Nellie were their child, except possibly for son Isaac.

Many Rev War Veterans did not get recognition until 1832 or later when pensions were authorized. Our William died in late 1809. Few records were kept of military service. Kept either by those that served or the government. Recognition for service most often came in the southern states from getting fellow militia members to testify in writing before a magistrate as to your service. If the service member died then their spouse could gather testaments … after 1832. Nellie probably died soon after 1810. The final challenge is that no one wrote down much of anything: not families, not military units, not the state governments. We have a roster of some members of the Spartan Regiments of South Carolina, but in most cases we do not even know the dates of service.

A William Golding and his son Anthony do have DAR-recognized Revolutionary Service in South Carolina. Their service did not come however from serving in any militia unit. Father and son provided provisions and several wagons to transport those provisions. Supporting the revolution is sufficient to be recognized by the DAR. William Golding was easily 70 years old by 1776 … so it highly doubtful that the Spartan Regiment roster of militia members referred to him.

1777Wilkes County is established in Georgia from land ceded by the Cherokee and Creek Indians. It is Georgia’s first county and was much larger at its founding.

1780Did William Golden (Goulding) serve in the South Carolina revolutionary militia, 1st Spartan Regiment? See 1777.

1785 — Ninety Six District was divided into smaller counties. The boundaries of Edgefield County were established at this time.

1790 — Some family lore had it that the Golden family came from Ireland c1790. We now know that our Goldens had been in the Ninety Six District, South Carolina from at least 1782. If the YDNA testing shows that William did have an earlier marriage then our Goldens were living in the area since at least the early 1740s.

1792 — Jacob Brown sold to William Golden: L&R, 16 May 1792/17 May 1792, 30 Pounds Sterling, 100 acres part of a survey of 300 acres on Beaverdam branch of Little Saluda River granted to Edward Coe by Gov Wm Bull 18 Oct 1774. Witnesses: Thos Deloach, Samuel McKinsey, Thomas Deen. /s/ Jacob Brown. Proven 17 June by Thomas Deen; Russell Wilson, JP. Recorded 20th June 1797. — Edgefield County, South Carolina Conveyance Book 14: pg 29-35.

1796 — Lincoln County, Georgia formed from the eastern half of Wilkes County.

1799 — Nathaniel Greene Goulden (Golden), Sr., marries Rachel Isabella Morgan in the Pickens, South Carolina area.

1800 Census – There is a Thomas and William Goulden living at Edgefield. This is a bit intriguing as Nathaniel Green Golden (born c1782) is listed in the Morgan family records as marrying their daughter Rachel Isabella Morgan and his name is listed as Nathaniel Goulden. There is no known census record for Nathaniel Green Golden, Sr in any year.

1808 – William’s date of death was probably at some time between 1808 and 1810. His widow is listed in the 1810 Census as Nellie. There appears to be no Will for William. A search of the South Carolina Archives for the time period 1786-1865 shows no probate records for any William Golden, Golding or Goulding.

1810 Census – William does not appear in the census. Nellie (Nelly) does appear as head-of-household. Also listed as living in Edgefield: Isaac, James and Samuel Golden.

1820 Census – There is a James and Mathew Golden living in Edgefield.

That is about all that is known about the family.


It is believed that William and Nellie had at least two sons, Isaac and Abraham Golden. Descendants from the lines of Isaac and Abraham track themselves back to William and Nellie.

  • Isaac Golden (c1785 SC – 1860 GA) married Ruth Sheehan (c1774-1860)
    Children: William Harvey Golden (1811 – 1900); Vincent Q Golden (1828 – 1919); William Wesley Golden (1834 – ??); and Sarah Emily Golding Golden (1835 – 1882)
  • Abraham Golden (1791 SC – 1870 GA) married Barbara Plymale (1810 – 1853)
    Children: David Golden (1839 – ??); Hyrum Golden (1844 – ??); Susan Golden (1846 – ??) and Abraham Golden (1847 – 1924)
  • Nathaniel Greene Golden (c1782 SC – c1746 SC) married Rachel Isabella Morgan (17.. – 1850 SC)
    Note: Within the Morgan family records the name is listed as Goulden.
    Children: Nathaniel Greene Golden (1812 SC – 1882/3 NC);  Jane Golden (1814 – 1845) ; John Richard “Dickey” Golden (1815 – 1887) and Joseph James Golden (1818 – 1900; this line YDNA tested).

While Nathaniel Greene Golden was without much doubt named after Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, the name ‘Nathaniel’ keeps in the same style as the other biblical names give to Isaac and Abraham. Within the Old Testament of the Bible the name ‘Nathaniel’ is associated primarily with being a ‘Captain of the Levites’, and within the New Testament we find that ‘Nathaniel’ is a disciple of Jesus.

Other Goldens in the area

There were other Goldens living in the Edgefield area: James, Isaac, Matthew, Thomas, Samuel, and Abraham. Based upon YDNA it probable that Abraham and Isaac were brothers or first cousins. Most of these families had moved to Georgia or Alabama by 1820.


Also interested in the William and Nellie Golden line:

Jim Golden (jgolden1 AT planttel.net)