S. Frank Sutton
(Spartanburg Chain Gang Supervisor)
Story furnished by Clarence Crocker

Mr. Sutton, “S.F.”, as he was known and called, was a supervisor with Spartanburg County roads department. The inspection report made to the S.C. board of Public Works July 16, 1920, showed that as of June 1920, he was serving as foreman of the “colored” chain gang. It also showed that Spartanburg County chain gang had 47 black male and 15 black female prisoners. The camp was shown to be in need of a second cover for tent occupied by the “chain men”. Also, a new tent was needed for the cook and a new box was needed for food storage. The beds were considered excellent but the overall rating of the camp was listed as “fair”. “S. F.” was widely known and very popular throughout the county. According to his obituary he had been promoted to the position of Supervisor before his retirement.

S. Frank Sutton was the son of James Sutton of North Carolina and Icy Guthrie Sutton of South Carolina and was born in South Carolina March 9, 1859. Marrying Susan Alice Zimmerman, (the great Aunt of this writer) from Cedar Springs, South Carolina, they moved into their spacious two story home on a small farm just across the river from the mill in Glendale at the intersection of the Bethesda/Sutton Springs Road. The roads today are named “The Emma Cudd Road and the Sutton Road“. There was a spring up the hill behind their home from which water flowed by gravity through pipes into their house. I was told that at one point they installed a ram at the spring.

At the age of 61, “S.F.“ suffered serious injury in an automobile accident on August 1, 1920. He had bought a new seven passenger Buick car and carried a group of young people on a touring trip through up-state. Returning home they had a terrible accident in Mayo, South Carolina in which one was killed instantly, one died within thirty minutes, two died within 24 hours, two others were critically injured and not expected to live. S.F. was seriously injured and another young lady suffered broken bones and bruises. S.F. survived the wreck, returning to his home and farm where he was living when he died.

Though I was only 1 year old when Uncle Frank died, I remember Aunt Sue, (as we called her) very well. Susan Alice Sutton was my Grandmother’s sister. Living just across the valley from my grandparents, George & Margaret McCombs, we would oft times see her when we visited my grandparents. Since we did not get a car until the late 30s, we would either ride the trolley to Glendale and walk the short distance to my grandparent’s home or go in the buggy. 

On one occasion Uncle Frank mentioned to my Grandpa, Frank’s brother in-law. that something was getting his chickens. Grandpa went that night to S. F.‘s chicken house and set steel traps. When he went back to check the trap the next morning, much to his surprise and sorrow, he found that he had caught a skunk. The odor on him and his clothes was so strong that everyone avoided him that could. When he stopped by John LeMaster’s store to pick up some things on the way home, the people scattered and John told him that he had run all his customers away. 

Uncle Frank died in the Mary Black Hospital on Saturday night August 22, 1925. Funeral services were held in the Glendale Baptist Church with interment following in the Cedar Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. His obituary published in the Spartanburg Herald on Sunday August 23rd stated that he was survived by his widow, Mrs. S. F. Sutton, four sons and two daughters. His obituary stated “ Mr. Sutton was known to hundreds of persons who will be grieved to learn of his death”

Aunt Sue continued to live at the home place. I remember Aunt Sue as being a small lady, about five feet tall, loving and kind. She delighted in giving her visitors a little gift of some sort. On one occasion, when my brother Albert and our cousin, John Varner Jr., visited her, she gave to each of them a piece of civil war money as a keepsake.

Aunt Sue Sutton died at home on Wednesday morning May 27, 1936. Her funeral was held in the Glendale Baptist Church where she was a member with interment following along side of her husband in the Cedar Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

They were survived by their four sons; S. Frank Sutton of Newberry, S. C., Charles H. Sutton of Pikesville, Ky., David R. Sutton of Jacksonville, Fla. and J. Larry Sutton of Spartanburg. Two daughters; Mrs. J. B. Williams of Columbia, S. C. and Mrs. Annie M. Henderson of Glendale. Their son, James Larry Sutton served as clerk of the Spartanburg County Board of Control.

Aunt Sue was also survived by her sister, Mrs. George (Margaret Ann Zimmerman) McCombs of Glendale, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. 

S. Frank Sutton and his wife, Susan Zimmerman, were the great grandparents of Jay Adams. He has furnished the following photo of them later in their life at an unknown date.

Jay has also furnished us information relating to the death and funerals of both Frank and Susan as follows:
Susan's Gravestone

Obituary of Susan
Mrs. Susan Alice Zimmerman Sutton

Funeral services for Mrs. Susan Alice Sutton, 79, who died at her home, Sutton Springs, near Glendale, yesterday morning after a long illness will be held tomorrow morning at 11 o’clock at the Glendale Baptist church, conducted by the Rev. J.J. Sparks and the Rev. J.W. Tomlinson. Interment will follow in the Cedar Spring cemetery.

She was the widow of S.F. Sutton and the mother of J. Larry Sutton, clerk of the Spartanburg County board of control.

Mrs. Sutton is survived by two daughters, Mrs. J.B. Williams of Columbia and Mrs. Annie M. Henderson of Glendale; four sons, S. Frank Sutton of Newberry, Charles H. Sutton of Pikesville, Ky., David R. Sutton of Jacksonville, Fla., and Larry Sutton of Spartanburg. One sister, Mrs. G.W. McCombs of Glendale, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren also survive.

S. Frank's Death Notices and Obituary

Death Notice

S.F. Sutton is Called by Death at Black Clinic

Formerly Was Supervisor of Spartanburg County


Dead Man was Known to Hundreds in This Section.

S.F. Sutton, 66, of Glendale, died at the Mary Black clinic last night at 11:55 o’clock following a lingering illness. Mr. Sutton, who formerly was supervisor of Spartanburg County, was known to hundreds of persons who will be grieved to learn of his death.

Funeral arrangements had not been completed at an early hour this morning.

The dead man is survived by his widow, Mrs. S.F. Sutton, four sons, S. Frank Sutton, Jr., Seneca, Charles H. Sutton, city; David R. Sutton, Atlanta; and J. Larry Sutton, city; and two daughters, Mrs. J.B. Williams, Graniteville, and Mrs. Annie May Henderson, Glendale.

Seven grandchildren also survive.



Sermon to Be Preached at Ben Avon Baptist Church


Funeral services of S.F. Sutton, formerly supervisor of Spartanburg county, will be held this afternoon at Ben Avon Baptist church, beginning at 4:30. It was announced last night. Services will be conducted by the Rev. Blackwell and the Rev. Bailey. Interment will be at Cedar Spring Ceremonies at the grave will be in charge of the Glendale Masonic Lodge, No. 271, Grand Master Sam Lanham will be in charge.

Active pallbearers will be S.F. Sutton, Jr., C.H. Sutton, D.R. Sutton, J.L. Sutton, J. Frank Williams and R. Clyde Wilkie. Honorary pallbearers are: M.V. Lancaster, J.C. Lancaster, G.W. McCombs, W.M. Chambers, B.D. Staten and R.F. Bagwell.

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