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Bissell Family Papers

Twenty-seven manuscripts, 21 September 1820 - 1 January 1822 and undated, of the Bissell family illustrate the mercantile ties which existed between North and South in antebellum South Carolina. The collection consists largely of letters written by family and friends in Hartford, Ct., to Titus L. Bissell, Jr., a merchant with the Charleston firm of Henry Loomis & Co.

Among the correspondents is Tho[ma]s G. Hart, who wrote on 5 November 1820 seeking his friend's help in the advertisement of "Netleys Remedy." Bissell's attempts provoked the following response from Hart--"I am much obliged to you for making those enqu[i]ries of the Druggist, but you misunderstood me; my object was to sell, not to buy." "Do you know of any way in Charleston," Hart continues, "by which a fellow (who has a New England Conscience) may make his fortune in a few days? If you do, for heavens sake tell me! & for your own sake too."

Three letters penned by Titus L. Bissell, Jr., are found among the papers. One, written from New York, 18 July 1821, and addressed to Henry Loomis, Suffield, Ct., reports on the amount of stock on hand at Loomis' Charleston and New York establishments. Family correspondence, including letters from Bissell's father and younger brothers, indicates that brother Henry wished to join Titus in the mercantile business and by October 1821 was employed as a clerk in New York. Subsequent letters allude to Henry Bissell's adjustment to life away from home as well as the temptations afforded a young man by city life.

Of particular interest is a letter, 9 November 1820, written from Hartford, Ct., by Benj[ami]n Bolles and describing the everyday scenes of Charleston. "I suppose the Planters are now beginning to bring in their Rice & Cotton which makes business brisk," Bolles writes; "it was diverting to me to see them coming in riding one of the hind horses and eating their bread and cheese as they passed through the Streets and to See the negroes morning and evening carrying their corn Grit, milk, Oysters, raddishes, &c and crying them through the streets."

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