The papers of the Rev. Charles Stuart Vedder (1826–1917) consist primarily of letters as well as diaries spanning a period of over sixty years. Vedder moved from Schenectady, New York, to Columbia, South Carolina, to study at Columbia Theological Seminary. He was called upon to become pastor of the Summerville Presbyterian Church in June 1861.
Of particular historical interest are Vedder’s three diaries from 1861 to 1866, in which the Civil War is woven into Vedder’s discussions of social life and religion. In 1865, as the war reached its conclusion, Vedder even buried his diary for three months “to avoid its being taken and destroyed by anticipated Raiders.”
After the end of the war, Vedder became pastor of the French Huguenot Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he served for forty years. The postbellum portion of the collection concerns Reconstruction as well as Vedder’s interactions with members of prominent South Carolina families.
This collection will continue to grow as more of Vedder’s papers are digitized and cataloged.
This morning, at 4½ the bombardment of Fort Sumter began, and it continued all day. Major Anderson did not begin to respond until about 7 o’clock, and kept up a brisk fire all day. The intelligence created great excitement in Presbytery.
… Mr. Dukes embraced the opportunity to tell me how they came to call me. He said Mr. Porter had recommended me, but had stated that I was a northern man. They had replied that the objection was fatal. He had written again, telling them I was just the man they wanted … They had called a church meeting; laid Mr. Porter’s letter before them; unanimously pronounced it satisfactory, and wrote for me.