Lt. Col. James Steen (1734–1780) was a successful planter who, at the time of the American revolution, resided in the Thicketty Creek area of what was once the northern part of Union County (formed in 1785) and is now part of Cherokee County, South Carolina(formed 1897). Steen, a stanch Presbyterian, had been born in County Antrim, Ulster Province, Ireland in about 1734. In the 1750s, he moved to America along with his father's family, that included his brother John Steen. Originally residing in Pennsylvania for only a few years, John (Steen)and James (Steen) both had recorded land deeds on Thicketty Creek 1766 & 1767.
Both John and James Steen, as well as many other local natives of Thicketty, South Carolina, were heavily involved in the American Revolution. There were families who were British loyalists, as well as families such as the Steen's who were Whigs and Colonial Militia Officers. In quite a few instances, Thicketty Creek neighbors found themselves on opposite sides and battles throughout the war, in surrounding areas.
According to Lyman Draper (1815–1891), as written in his well-known book titled Kings Mountain and Its Heroes:
- "James Steen, also of Irish descent, was probably a native of Pennsylvania, and early settled in what is now Union County, South Carolina. In August 1775, he was fully convinced and ready to sign the Continental Association and doubtless led a company on the Snow campaign, as he did the following year against the Cherokees, and, in 1777, commanded at Prince's Fort. In 1779, he served in Georgia, then at Stono, and Savannah; and performed a tour of duty from November in that year till February 1780, near Charleston. At this period, he ranked as Lieutenant-Colonel, distinguishing himself at Rocky Mount (Battle of Rocky Mount), Hanging Rock (Battle of Hanging Rock), Musgrove's Mill (Battle of Musgrove Mill), King's Mountain (Battle of King's Mountain), and probably with his superior, Colonel (Thomas) Brandon (Fair Forest Regiment), at the Cowpens (Battle of Cowpens). According to his grave, he died in the Battle at Kings Mountain (Cleveland County, North Carolina/York County, South Carolina). He was married to Eleanor Bogan about 1762 in South Carolina.
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