SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
Edwin S. James research materialsOne and one-quarter linear feet, 1969-1991, research materials used by Edwin S. James in preparing his illustrated lecture, "The Last Confederates Live in Brazil." The extensive files document this Rock Hill resident's half-century quest for information on the intriguing topic of the post-Civil War Confederate migration to Brazil, one of the largest planned outward migrations from the United States ever to take place.
Based largely upon the experiences of Chester physician James McFadden Gaston, whose 1867 book, Hunting a Home in Brazil, hoped to entice other Southerners to seek a new home in Brazil, James's lecture, replete with maps, posters, and photographs, examines the basis for Southern colonization of Brazil and the plight of families, among them a number of South Carolinians, who settled in Gaston's colony at Xiririca near Iguape. Additionally, the text traces settlements planted by William H. Norris at Santa Barbara D'Oeste, by Frank McMullen at New Texas, by The Rev. Ballard Dunn at Lizzieland, by Charles G. Gunter on the Rio Doce at Linhares, and by Warren L. Hastings on the Amazon River at Santarem.
Brazil actively encouraged Confederate immigration before the end of the war with offers of financial assistance in transportation, land ownership, and settlement to come and establish new homes in a country where slavery still existed and where cotton might once again become king. Though not all Southerners favored the idea of leaving the South, and Robert E. Lee vociferously opposed it, Dr. Gaston traveled to New Orleans in June 1865 to confer with Brazilian agents and other leaders from across the South to plan scouting expeditions to consider the pros and cons of resettlement. Gaston departed for his investigatory tour in September 1865, and after returning to South Carolina to publish his book and gather up his colony, set out again in 1867 with some one hundred settlers. Only partially successful in his colonization efforts, Gaston never realized his dream of establishing himself as a planter but was forced to continue his work as a physician to the Brazilian colony. He remained in Brazil until 1883, then returned to the United States and settled in Atlanta, Ga.
Similar fates awaited many of the Brazilian colonists. By the early 1870s the flow of immigrants from the American South had slowed considerably. The vast number of Southerners fleeing the South during Reconstruction initially anticipated by colonization leaders and the Brazilian government never materialized. By 1870, there were about three hundred fifty families reported to be living in and around Santa Barbara D'Oeste, and there it was that the survivors from the colonies of Gaston, Hastings, Gunter, Dunn, and McMullen who did not leave Brazil resettled. Today the descendants of Confederate immigrants are scattered throughout Brazil and have banded together into a brotherhood, Fraternidade Descendencia Americana, which meets periodically at the Confederate cemetery site near Santa Barbara D'Oeste.
The research files, including materials in both English and Portuguese, consist of letters from the descendants of Confederate immigrants; photographs; tearsheets of newspaper and journal articles; names and addresses of Brazilians descended from Confederate immigrants; and genealogical information on immigrant families. Ancillary materials include a typescript copy of "Our Life in Brazil," April 1867 - August 1870, a combination diary and reminiscence compiled ca. 1874 by Julia L. Keyes, wife of a Montgomery, Ala., physician, giving the story of their experiences when they emigrated to Brazil following the fall of the Confederacy; "Brazilian Recollections," an undated reminiscence by Lucy Judkins Durr; "Confederates in Brazil," 7 April 1969, a typescript by Frances Walker; and "Gunter, Gaston, and the Graveyard," published by James in the July-August 1971 issue of Sandlapper magazine.
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