|Birth: ||Sep. 6, 1824|
South Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Jan. 20, 1904|
South Carolina, USA
--From the State newspaper, Jan 31, 1904.
Capt. John L. Agurs
Career of a Pioneer and Successful Business Man
Capt John Agurs was born in the county of Chester September 7, 1824, and spent his boyhood days on the farm. As many another of that period his education was limited to the old field school. He was not content with the limited sphere of farm life and the opportunities it offered, so in early manhood he left home to strike for himself. He spent several years traveling in South America, Central America, Mexico and Cuba, and in 1849 he went to California during the great gold rush. He engaged in mining and contracted for transporting supplies. The latter being more profitable than many ventures of the gold hunters. During his stay in California he had typhoid fever and recovered without the aid of a physician, having only a Chinese servant for a nurse.
In 1854 he decided to leave California and return home, having been very successful in his undertakings. He had accumulated about $20,000 in gold, and with this buckled around his waist he started on his homeward journey. He went by ship to Panama and crossed the isthmus of Panama on muleback with a native guide. Reaching Colon he took a ship for New York City. After reaching the east he went to Louisiana where he had a brother living and engaged in business.
In 1856 he returned to Chester and conducted successfully a large mercantile business until the beginning of the Civil War. When his State called for volunteers he was among the first to respond. He enlisted as a private but was soon promoted to a captaincy in the famous 6th SC regiment of infantry. He was in active service during the four years of war, and at its close was the quartermaster in Gen. Bratton's brigade. He was not disheartened at the bankrupt condition of the south at the close of the war but with confidence in himself and his State he at once set to work to rebuild his fortune. He secured credit in the northern markets and reestablished his mercantile business in the town of Chester. This was the beginning of one of the strongest and largest mercantile establishments that Chester has ever had. During the 70's, Messrs W L Roddy and Jos Wylie were associated with him under the firm of Wylie, Roddey and Agurs. Two years later Mr Roddey withdrew from the firm and settled in Rock Hill, SC, the business being continued under the firm name of Wylie and Agurs; and today the handsomest block in the city of Chester is that owned by him where for so many years he was a successful merchant.
The business he built up not only rebuilded his fortune but enriched others as well.
Although his large business interest made heavy demands upon his time yet as a loyal citizen he was not unwilling to give attention to the needs of his town and State. He was elected mayor for four consecutive terms and during the eight years of service he did much to improve the town. He was chairman of the county Democracy in 1876 ad served as a strong right arm to Wade Hampton in reclaiming South Carolina from the ignorant, vicious and unprincipled.
In 1885 he retired from his mercantile business and devoted his time to investments in cotton mills and banks. he did a great deal to help place South Carolina in the forefront of manufacturing States by investing in cotton mills in Spartanburg, Greenville, Anderson and Chester. he also had large mill interests in North Carolina. He was a director of many of the mills in which he held stock, and a director of the old C C & A R R Co., the Chester and Lenoir railroad company, and the Chester and Cheraw Railroad Railroad company.
In 1890 he, with his former partner, Jos Wylie, organized the Exchange bank of Chester, and during the last years of his life, it was to this institution he gave most of his time, serving as president and director until two years ago when he resigned the presidency that he might spend his last days entirely free from business cares.
As a result of his fidelity to duty he left the largest estate of any man who has lived in Chester in the past 50 years. in private life he was a devoted father and husband, kind and considerate to all who were worthy, but a man who despised a liar. His life has truly been an open book. He had nothing to hide from his fellow men, nothing to be ashamed of. Every one knew where he stood on questions affecting the welfare of the community. There was no deceit or duplicity in him.
He was a faithful attendant upon divine service at Purity Presbyterian church, and always found great pleasure by taking part in the singing of every hymn.
In the last months of his life he realized the end was near, and having the satisfaction of seeing his every effort crowned with success, a long life well spent, a life rich in example to the young men of his community, he was entirely resigned to the will of his Maker.
William Agurs (1784 - 1864)
Margaret Culp Agurs (1798 - 1878)
Mary Mobley Agurs (1837 - 1914)*
Babe Agurs (____ - 1870)*
Babe Agurs (____ - 1872)*
Maggie Lafayette Agurs (1868 - 1870)*
Mayme Agurs Aiken (1874 - 1970)*
Martha Mary Agurs Kee (1817 - 1887)*
Elizabeth Moore Agurs Drennan (1817 - 1890)*
William C. Agurs (1822 - 1878)*
John Lafayette Agurs (1824 - 1904)
Julia A. Agurs Farley (1827 - 1902)*
Catherine H. Agurs Kirkpatrick (1832 - 1876)*
Frances G Agurs Morgan (1832 - 1853)*
South Carolina, USA
Created by: Rick and Kathy Wright
Record added: Dec 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 45449081