In reply to your request, I offer the following information:
First, let me say that the 'town of Cosat' is actually spelled Cassatt, and that it is not a town at all. It is a community outside the City of Camden, SC. I do not recall how the community got its name, but I lived there as a child and went to school there until I was 12 years old. I don't think that it connects with your ancestor, unfortunately...
However, the Kershaw family is another story entirely! The County of Kerhaw was named for Col. Joseph Kershaw, a Revolutionary War commander and patriot. Joseph was born in England, the eldest son of Joseph Kershaw and Mary Ryly of Yorkshire. He grew up in England and was employed as a young man by a Mr. Royds. On 22 Mar 1748, he left for America and by June 1748, was residing in Charleston, SC.
He went to Camden around 1758 as the agent of Ancrum, Lance and Loocock, and in a few years acquired lands, a saw and grist mill, flour mills and indigo works, a tobacco warehouse, a brewery and a distillery.
Sometime after Joseph moved to Camden, he met his wife Sarah Mathis, whom he married on 2 Oct 1762. They would become the parents of nine children. Their second son, John Kershaw, would become the father of Gen. Joseph Brevard Kershaw of the Civil War or 'War Between the States'.
Joseph and Sarah remained in Camden, and their family grew and prospered. But Joseph wasn't the only Kershaw in the area... his brothers, William and Eli, had also come to America.
In 1771, Joseph was appointed Sheriff of Camden District. And it was around this time, with the first whispers of revolution, that the Kershaw clan was irrevocably split. Joseph and Ely were patriots and leaders of the revolution, while William was a staunch Tory. I know very little about William Kershaw or what happened to him after he argued with his brothers. But I do know he lived in Charleston for a time.
When war broke out in 1776, Joseph Kershaw served as a Colonel in the militia. He fought and was captured, along with his brother Ely (who was a Captain). They were sent by ship to a prioson on the island of Barbados, but Ely died in route. Joseph Kershaw managed to escape and returned to SC to continue the fight for independence.
In the end, he lost much of his property and all of his wealth, trying to finance the American Cause. He died a proud but broken man and is buried in Camden. Incredibly, his tombstone reads:
'Sacred to the Memory of Colonel Joseph Kershaw. A native of the West Riding of Yorkshire, one of the earliest inhabitants of Pine Tree Hill, now Camden, of which town he was the principal founder. In the Revolution, he took a decided part in favor of American liberty and suffered in that memorable contest, a ruinous loss of property, the hardships of a prisoner of war, and deportation as a Rebel Enemy. He departed this life December the 28th, 1791, in the 64th year of his age.'
After his death, Camden District was broken into several counties, and the area around the City of Camden was named Kershaw County in honor of the Colonel, who was considered a hero and great patriot.
Kershaw County was named for Joseph Kershaw (1727-1791), an early settler. Originally part of Camden District, Kershaw County was formed in 1791 from parts of Claremont, Lancaster, Fairfield, and Richland counties. The county seat is Camden , which is the oldest inlandcity in South Carolina. This site was settled around 1732 by English traders and farmers who moved inland from Charleston. During the Revolutionary War the British occupied Camden from June 1780 to May 1781.Fourteen battles took place in the area, including the battle of Camden (August 16, 1780) and the battle of Hobkirk Hill (April 25, 1781). Kershaw County later produced six Confederate generals: Joseph Brevard Kershaw (1822-1894), James Chesnut (1815-1885), James Cantey (1818-1873), Zack Cantey Deas (1819-1882), John Bordenave Villepigue (1830-1862), and John Doby Kennedy (1840-1896). Union troops under General Sherman burned parts of Camden in February 1865. Mary Boykin Chesnut (1823-1886), who chronicled the Civil War in her diaries, was a resident of Kershaw County. Statesman and financier Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965) and labor leader Lane Kirkland were also born there.
The Colonel's grandson, Joseph Brevard Kershaw, was born on 5 Jan 1822. He was the son of John Kershaw and Harriet DuBose. He married Lucretia Ann Douglas in Nov 1844, and like his grandfather, was the father of nine children.
This Joseph was a lawyer and politician. He served in the Mexican War, and during the Civil War, he commanded as a Colonel at Morris Island during the Fort Sumter bombardment.. this was the 'shot heard round the world' - the first battle of the Civil War.
By 1862, Joseph Brevard was a Brigadier General, and commanded a brigade in McLaws Division at First Manassas. He participated in the Peninsula campaign, and in the battles of Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Chickamauga, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Gettysburg.
After the war, he remained a prominent lawyer and politician, and also became a judge and postmaster in Kershaw County. He died 13 April 1894 and is buried in Camden. His wife, Lucretia, died in 1902.
Joseph Brevard Kershaw (1822-1894)
Confederate Major General;
Member of the South Carolina
House and Senate; Judge
Joseph Kershaw was the embodiment of the Confederate gentleman-turned-soldier ideal, a lawyer from the "Cradle of the Rebellion," South Carolina. He was intelligent, literate, and dignified, a man of high character in whose life religion had first place. Blond, with light blue eyes, refined features and a resolute expression, he was clean-shaven except for a drooping blond mustache. He had the bearing of command and a clear voice that seemed to inspire courage when it was raised in battle. "Gallant and pious," was how division commander McLaws described him; "cool and judicious."
His father was several times mayor of Camden, S.C., and served a term as a member of Congress. Young Joseph, though orphaned at seven, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1843. In addition to his law career Kershaw had some military experience, having been a lieutenant with South Carolina's "Palmetto Regiment" in the Mexican War. Later a member of the state legislature and a member of his state's secession convention, he raised a militia regiment which went into Confederate service as the 2nd South Carolina regiment when the Civil War began. When he went off to war, his beautiful wife Lucretia made herself a necklace and bracelets woven from locks of his hair.
Kershaw's regiment was present at Fort Sumter and First Manassas. He had some rough edges early on--he annoyed commanding general Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard after First Manassas by not filing a report with him and instead writing an article for a South Carolina newspaper in which it appeared that Kershaw had won the battle himself. Beauregard later referred to him as "that militia idiot." Fortunately for Kershaw, Beauregard was transferred away from the Virginia army, and in January 1862 Kershaw took command of his brigade when the previous commander, Brig. Gen. Milledge Bonham, resigned in a huff over a seniority dispute. Two weeks later Kershaw was promoted to brigadier general.
On the Peninsula the next summer, Kershaw led his brigade in action at Williamsburg and again at Savage Station during the Seven Days' Battles. In division commander Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws's official report after those battles, he wrote "I beg leave to call attention to the gallantry, cool, yet daring, courage and skill in the management of his gallant command exhibited by Brigadier-General Kershaw." Thus there was already much expected of Kershaw and and his men before the Maryland Campaign in September, where Kershaw's men forced Union soldiers off the critical Maryland Heights before the capture of Harper's Ferry. There, some of the men had to load and fire from positions where they had to use one arm to keep from rolling down the mountainside. After the Battle of Sharpsburg at the climax of that campaign, Kershaw was again highly praised by McLaws.
At Fredericksburg, Kershaw had his finest hour, reinforcing Brig. Gen. Thomas Cobb's brigade behind the Stone Wall on Marye's Heights and taking command of that embattled salient when Cobb was mortally wounded. Leading his brigade on horseback, Kershaw emerged on the crest of the hill a conspicuous and defiant target, seen and admired by thousands on both sides. It was said later that when he reined in his horse, the Yankees withheld their fire as if out of respect, and that Kershaw took off his cap in acknowledgment before he disappeared behind the bastion of the Stone Wall. At Chancellorsville, for once, Kershaw was not heavily engaged.
By the summer of 1863, Kershaw, forty-one years old, had been a brigadier for a year and a half, and had distinguished himself in almost every battle Lee's army had fought. Kershaw showed an ability for quick rational decisions--he had both dash and good sense. His brigade was always well put in, and Kershaw never endangered his men rashly. McLaws had complete faith in him and his brigade, and he was much admired by his South Carolinians. The official reports Kershaw wrote are graceful, literate, and restrained. He was a man who passed among the whistling bullets and shrieking shells with a calm center, never losing his dignity.
Bio Source: Excerpted from "The Generals of Gettysburg: The Leaders of America's Greatest Battle" by Larry Tagg
Picture credit: Joseph A. Matheson, Confederate Historian and Editor
Hope this fills you in a little on the Kershaw family of SC. There are still living descendants of this family in Kershaw county today.