Professor Lloyd Johnson
G. Lloyd Johnson

The Regulator Movement is Johnson's Topic at Workshop

Campbell University News Release
Bulletin 0203, 07/19/04

Dr. Lloyd Johnson, associate professor of history at Campbell University, presented a paper on the role of Gideon Gibson, a colonial person of color, in the Regulator Movement in South Carolina during the 18th century. It further explained why Gibson's race was not a factor regarding social position in the Welsh Tract in the South Carolina backcountry where he lived. Johnson spoke at the South Carolina Genealogical Society's 33rd Annual Workshop held at the South Carolina Archives and History Center in Columbia, July 9-10 [2004].

A Regulator movement developed in the 1760s in western South Carolina among groups interested in establishing law and order. Outlaw gangs had formed in the area and legislators failed on several occasions to provide funding for peace officers and local courts. Organizations of citizens were formed to regulate governmental affairs and they eventually operated the courts in some districts. The governor and the assembly eventually realized the legitimacy of the Regulators' cause and in 1769 enacted legislation providing for the necessary reforms.

Johnson's presentation explored the role of Gideon Gibson, a mulatto militia captain and substantial landholder in the South Carolina backcountry. Gibson helped instigate the Mars Bluff Affair in which he and a few other men held a British militia captain hostage and defeated other militiamen. The governor pardoned the others involved in the incident, but not Gibson. Local leaders came to his defense, however, and he was never punished for his actions. His children by his white wife married prominent area settlers, an indication that while slavery was becoming entrenched before the Revolution, racism had not yet begun to influence peoples' thoughts and feelings.

"The Mars Bluff Affair that Gideon Gibson helped instigate was the catalyst that brought courthouses and jails to the South Carolina backcountry," Johnson said. "He was an important figure in the Welsh Tract community of South Carolina."

Dr. Lloyd Johnson is the author of The Frontier in the Colonial South: South Carolina Backcountry, 1736-1800. He also published entries in the Encyclopedia of North Carolina History, the African-American Encyclopedia of History, and the Encyclopedia of South Carolina History. He has been a book review contributor for scholarly publications, including the Journal of Southern History, North Carolina Historical Review, the William & Mary Quarterly, Baptist History and Heritage, and the Georgia Historical Quarterly. Johnson has also appeared in the BBC documentary, "Roots in Wales," and presented at the 2000 British Association for American Studies convention. He has previously presented at the South Carolina Genealogical Society (SCGS) and the Hartsville Genealogical Workshop.

Note: The above news release is reprinted from the Campbell University Web site. See, accessed 12/02/04.

|| Gideon Gibson || Gibson Genealogy || Randall Lee Gibson ||