This is a shot in the dark but who knows....
Short version: Do marriage records exist in Laurens County from the late 1700s to 1810s?
Longer version: Archibald Meharg (a corruption of the name McHurg) had a daughter, Mary Meharg (possibly called Polly) who married James Downing around 1805-1808 or so. Archibald appears in the 1790 Census of Laurens County. But no record of this specific James Downing exists before 1820 in St Clair County Alabama (he eventually ended up in Benton/Calhoun County.)
This James Downing was born in the 1780s/90s in South Carolina. His parentage is unknown, but according to family accounts (recorded in the 1930s by a family member who might have known him), his family was from Ireland. Two or three brothers arrived (supposedly) in South Carolina-- George, Solomon, and if there was a third brother, his name's unknown (however, these tales always have three brothers, so I have taken this with a grain of salt).
One of these brothers was the father of my James Downing. James also had a sister, born about 1780, whom I have reason to believe was named Mary and married a Cooper (the name, not the occupation:-). She probably married him in South Carolina and at least part of her family ends up in Alabama (Benton/Calhoun and Etowah Counties).
But I cannot find any George or Solomon Downing listed in the South Carolina Census.
The reason I am thinking maybe Laurens County is because James's 1st wife, Mary's family is there. And like James, Archibald Meharg, as well as many of their neighbors, eventually packed up and moved to St Clair County (it is amazing how many of the names on the 1790 Census there are that are the same names on the 1820 Alabama Census).
Any help would be appreciated. Any suggestions of where there might be records (online, via snail mail, or an eventual visit in person) would be great.