SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
Cleland Kinloch Huger PapersCleland Kinloch Huger was born on 19 October 1818 in Stateburg. He was the son of Francis Kinloch Huger and Harriott Lucas Pinckney, the daughter of Gen. Thomas Pinckney and Elizabeth Motte. Cleland Huger married twice. His first wife was Mary Dunkin. Children by this marriage were Mary Faneuil, Mary Faneuil (2nd), Benjamin Dunkin, Anna Bethune, Anne Isabella, Francis Kinloch, Mary Dunkin, and Francis Motte. One son, Francis Kinloch, served in the Confederate States Army and died in April 1863. Cleland Huger's second wife was Susan Alston. Children of this union were Susan, Mary Brewton, and Lucy Pinckney.
Cleland K. Huger received his early education in Pendleton where his family located in the 1820s. He went to France for business training and remained there for several years. The collection includes his passport (25 August 1837) and correspondence with a London firm concerning letters of credit and other business matters. A letter (16 October 1841) from a young business associate, Vincent King, reviews his plans for traveling from Liverpool to Bombay where he was to remain for two and a half years as a merchant and discusses the poor diplomatic relations between England and the United States. By 1842, Cleland Huger had returned to South Carolina and had located in Charleston where he was conducting a mercantile business with J.C. Huger. A letter, 2 February 1842, from a Liverpool acquaintance congratulates Huger on his marriage to Mary Dunkin and announces that he was shipping a greyhound aboard the Thomas Bennett. These plans apparently miscarried as a later missive, 22 May 1842, states that the greyhound had been shipped aboard the Madeira. A letter of 3 February 1843 from Liverpool thanks Huger for a shipment of cigars--"if I should be at all disposed to forget you, when I puff the grateful aroma of the gentle weeds, you, my dear fellow will be feelingly recalled to my recollection," discusses the cotton market, and notes that their friend Vincent King was doing well in Bombay.
Papers dating from the 1840s include documents of other members of the Huger and Pinckney families. An agreement, 19 January 1842, between C.K. Huger and Benjamin F. Dunkin concerns Huger's Negroes who were hired out to Dunkin. A contemporary copy, 17 December 1842, of the will and codicil of Frances Motte Pinckney conveys instructions to her executor to "keep together my lands and negroes; & manage my estate to the best advantage so as to raise out of the Income thereof a fund for my Grandchildren." A contemporary copy, April 1842, of the will of Thomas Pinckney includes lists of Negro slaves on Fairfield and Moreland plantations. A broadside circular, December 1843, issued by the Pendleton Female Academy announces its opening under the superintendence of Harvard graduate James F. Gould and his daughters and presents the curriculum.
The Huger family owned considerable property in the upcountry district of Abbeville. Cleland's brother Benjamin, an officer in the United States Army, sought to dispose of one large tract. His agent, Thomas C. Perrin, wrote to Huger, 19 November 1845, Ft. Monroe, Va., discussing terms by which the property might be sold and suggesting that "the negroes may be sold to advantage in families and at public auction." Efforts to sell the property continued in 1846. A letter of 21 February 1846, from D.F. Cleckley, Abbeville, who may have been Huger's overseer, to Huger, Ft. Monroe, offered an opinion on the value of the land and Negroes, lists the slaves by name, and gives a not altogether favorable opinion of potential purchaser John Cothran--"I understood he was a negro trader, & he said if he bough[t] he would keep up the place this year but did not know what he would do next year. Captain your people do not want to be sold. Old Patrick says he hope & trust you will not sell." Correspondence between Cleland Huger and his brother Thomas Pinckney suggests that there was not unanimity of opinion regarding the sale. Thomas Pinckney wrote Benjamin, 22 February 1846, that although he did not know Cothran, he considered his offer a fair price and "it would be satisfactory to know that the people were sold to one who would be a good master." Cleland Huger considered Cothran's offer a fair price, but objected strongly to the proposed terms--"I would not give any man ten years credit for anything" (23 February 1846). Benjamin still owned the Abbeville property in November 1846, as a letter of 13 November from John Chapman Huger, Charleston, to Benjamin, Old Point Comfort, Va., includes a sales account of forty-five bales of upland cotton, relates that he was sending Charlotte to Abbeville "as your sister informs me, she will not require her services," and requests instructions for filling orders and paying drafts drawn by his overseer.
The largest unit of correspondence in the collection concerns Cleland Huger's purchase and management of Exchange plantation in Georgetown District. When he purchased the plantation from Robert F.W. Allston in 1846, Huger retained his interest in the Charleston factorage business of Cleland K. and J.C. Huger. By an agreement dated 4 April 1846 and signed by Benjamin F. Dunkin, Huger's agent, and R.F.W. Allston, Huger purchased Exchange for $20,000. He immediately began to increase his holdings of slaves to plant rice. A bill of sale dated 7 January 1847 records the purchase of forty-one Negro slaves for $13,030.00 from the estate of Charles Clarke.
Most of the purchases of slaves were handled by Charleston slave trader Philip J. Porcher, who is represented here by eight letters. The forty-one slaves bought from the Clarke estate were shipped the next day aboard the schooner Medium. Porcher observed--"I hope you will be satisfied with them as...they are the best of the Lot. I had to purchase one or two of the negroes more than I wished to get some of the families complete and make them satisfied." In a letter of 2 February 1847, Porcher noted that he did not purchase any Negroes from Judge Simons' estate as "tolerable prime fellows brought $900 and over the good families prices in proportion." He also acknowledged Judge Dunkin's instructions not to purchase more slaves for Huger "unless I can get a Cooper or get them very low." Huger apparently complained about Porcher's commission as J.C. Huger agreed that while the charge was high, "he says it is the customary rate" (2 March 1847).
Porcher continued to serve as Huger's agent. Correspondence in 1847 concerns a slave, Phillis, who was shipped from Georgetown to Charleston and who died the next morning. Both J.C. Huger and Porcher were of the opinion that a claim should be filed against Clarke's estate. Porcher advised in a letter of 26 March 1847--"from all I could learn [I] thought her a sound woman....we should make a claim against the Executors...as she could not have been well when bought." Porcher noted that there were few "Rice field negroes" for sale "unless it be a single fellow or two of not the best characters," and expressed doubt that Washington's Negroes who lived in St. Paul's Parish "would stand the swamp."
Porcher informed Huger in a letter of 10 February 1848 that he purchased six Negroes for $4,000 and had declined Fishburne's offer of a forty-five-year-old man--"he is the father of one of the wenches I bought for you. He is a jobbing carpenter & cooper but nothing great at either." Huger did not always purchase Negroes through Porcher. A bill of sale dated 5 April 1850 names thirteen Negroes purchased from Thomas P. Huger.
Huger maintained his business interests in Charleston and was not always present on his property in Georgetown. During 1847 there was extensive correspondence from his manager, William G. Linerieux, who also owned a rice plantation in Georgetown District. The collection contains fifteen letters from Linerieux to Huger dated between May and November 1847. Linerieux's letters give detailed accounts of the crops that were planted, including rice, potatoes, and corn, the health of the slaves, supplies that were needed, and problems caused by high tides which threatened growing crops and dikes. In a letter of 24 June 1847, he complained of the slow progress of work in the fields--"I have only hoed four fields, other persons have hoed their rice from three to four times." Linerieux attributed the slow pace of work to the condition of the fields in a letter of 3 July 1847 and objected to Huger's claims that there was a sufficient number of task hands--"there were out of that number two women confined...two full task hands to plough two slow mules...two women pregnant and no allowance made for sickness...women staying in the house with children when sick." Linerieux reacted strongly to Huger's criticism of his management and apparent intention to spend time on the plantation "and bring the negroes straight"--"I have managed a greater number of negroes than are on your plantation and have kept and do keep them in order, and have never been called on to give acct. of work done on the plantation. An honest man have refined feelings and must say that mine are hurt."
Linerieux gave a favorable account of the crop in a letter of 31 July 1847 and announced that he planned to begin harvesting before the neighbors. However, a letter of 28 August reported that high waters delayed the harvest. Bad weather caused further delays in the harvest in September. A letter of 25 September gives details of Caesar's disappearance, the death of a "child that was swollen," and the illness of Caroline's child who was "sick with fever and teething but better." Linerieux reported on the rice harvest, 9 October, as well as other crops, including corn, peas, and potatoes, and pronounced the quality of the rice as largely "bad." In a letter of 21 October, Linerieux estimated the rice harvest to be between four and five thousand bushels, reported Billy's work on the threshing floor and other buildings, and noted that nothing had been heard of Caesar. A final letter, 9 November, from Linerieux concerns the shipment of rice to the mill and an order for Negro shoes. Given Huger's apparent unhappiness with and criticism of Linerieux's management, it is likely that the relationship did not extend beyond the 1847 planting season.
Cleland K. Huger's plantation operations can also be examined through the correspondence of Charleston factors J.C. Huger, Thomas B. Huger, and Alfred F. Ravenel. The collection contains approximately one hundred twenty letters of Cleland Huger's factors between 1847 and 1853, when he sold Exchange plantation to the same Robert F.W. Allston from whom he purchased it in 1846. The factors' letters discuss the rice market in Charleston, their sales of Huger's rice, the shipment of supplies to Georgetown by various schooners and other boats that operated between the two ports, and convey news of various family members and events in Charleston. There was a family relationship between Huger and each of his factors. He clearly recognized this relationship in response to John C. Huger's apparent decision to assign his business to another factor, for he informed his cousin in a letter, 2 June 1846--"The relative position of Factor & Planter to each other is a peculiar one, as you well know--money transactions make the subject of their intercourse, & when the painful family differences that have existed are considered, & the happy termination of them is so much appreciated by every one of the name, it seems to me best to avoid all chances of disturbing the harmony which now exists & this I say with equal reference to both parties."
The relationship was ultimately a financial one and the success or failure of planter and factor depended on successfully marketing an agricultural commodity in a world market where prices could fluctuate dramatically. A depressed rice market in April 1848 caused T.B. Huger to seek Cleland's advice whether to sell or hold his rice. He noted that "there is serious talk among some of the large Factors that they will have to stop unless the Banks will help them." Another problem related to the salinity of the Cooper River which "is salt to [the] source & hardly water enough to drink on some places." The quality of a planter's product directly affected the factor's ability to market the rice. A.F. Ravenel advised Huger, 21 December 1848, to instruct Mr. Davis "to give your Rice a little more pounding & with as much brushing as he possibly can." He attributed the dark color of Huger's rice, which adversely affected its sale, to the "peculiar soil, but, beyond a doubt, it might be somewhat removed, by more thorough milling." Ravenel visited the Darien, Ga., plantation of Cleland's brother, Thomas Pinckney, late in 1848 and wrote of his favorable impression in a letter of 4 January 1849.
Cleland Huger may have been a somewhat difficult client for A.F. Ravenel. Responding to Huger's complaint about an error by a hardware supplier, Ravenel noted that his firm had rarely known the hardware supplier to make a mistake--"it is strange, that in the two instances, I can call to mind, you should have been the victim." The limits of the factor-planter relationship are addressed in a letter of 31 January 1850 in which Ravenel declined to serve as security for Huger on a two-year bond for $4,000. Ravenel noted that he was assisting Thomas Pinckney Huger in obtaining a loan through two friends who had funds to invest and offered to do the same for Cleland--"Money is so abundant, that it is not improbable that I could find someone who would be glad to get your Bond for Thirty five hundred or Four thousand Doll[ar]s."
Although Ravenel confined most of his correspondence to business and family matters, he did occasionally touch on events in Charleston. In a letter of 13 June 1849, he observed--"Everything here is going on quietly enough,--now and then a Fire, or a murder, but these things are getting rather common, and don't shock us, as they would once." He also reported an attempted arson and suggested a solution--"If we could have a little hanging match, we should have no more attempts at Fire." A controversy between physicians and the Board of Health was attributed to the latter's lack of concern about the prevalence of fever. The Board of Health, Ravenal claimed, was more interested in the city's image--"Because it would be injurious to the business of Charleston, and particularly of Hayne street, they do not dare to caution strangers against coming among us, and consequently the public are not informed as to the whole truth of the case" (22 September 1849). Ravenel paid Francis Huger's contribution of one hundred dollars to the "Committee of the Calhoun fund" but complained that "Some of our rich & wealthiest men, who enjoy the reputation of being rather close, & mean in pecuniary matters have clearly proved they were not belied by the community." The governor had become the object of some criticism for not appointing James Henry Hammond as Calhoun's successor. He made "a most miserable speech before the citizens of Charleston in allusion to the responsibility of his position--and his final appointment (it is said) of Gen. James Hamilton" (6 April 1850). Perhaps the most important political letter is that of 13 May 1851 to Cleland Huger from Charleston postmaster Alfred Huger. The seven-page letter addresses the call for a convention to consider secession and the events that such a convention portended. The unionist Huger identified the dilemma confronting him which he would face again in 1860--"I, old as I am, will go with `South Carolina' to the death, but I will not pledge myself to carry out the Enactments of a Jacobinical club--the State is my mother, but it may be my duty to restrain my own parent from inflicting injury upon herself--if an arm is lifted against her children must die at her side, but every public meeting that assembles at the Court House or the musterfield with a Chairman & a Secretary is not the State."
By the end of 1852 Cleland Huger was seeking to sell Exchange plantation. A letter, 8 January 1853, from Alonzo J. White reported "a serious application" although the price of $27,000 was thought to be excessive. The offer did not bear fruit as the client, J. Harleston Read, purchased another property. A second offer was tendered by Messrs. Robertson & Blacklock who "represented a most responsible party" (18 January 1853). The responsible party was Robert F.W. Allston, from whom Huger purchased Exchange in 1846. The sale price of $25,000 did not include the slaves or plantation implements (21 January 1853). A misunderstanding developed between Huger and White as the latter advised in a letter of 27 January 1853--"In selling your plantation the taking of your Overseer off your hands was no part of our agreement with Mr. A." White was also responsible for selling Huger's slaves and urged him to decide "when & where" the sale should take place, as Negro sales were active--"your gang is a fair one not very strong in fellows however."
In 1856 and 1857 Huger was involved as trustee for Thomas Pinckney, Benjamin, and himself in the sale of a plantation owned by Charles Alston, Jr. A broadside, 27 January 1857, advertises "A List of 53 Prime Negroes Now engaged in the cultivation of Rice on Waccamaw River. For Sale By Alonzo White" and includes manuscript valuations beside the slaves' names. A serious disagreement over the valuation of the slaves and land erupted between Huger and Alston. In a letter of 1 February 1857, Alston objected to the terms in the advertisement of his plantation, stuck to his minimum price of $15,000, and disagreed with the valuation of the Negroes--"I have looked over the Broker's valuation carefully and as the owner and master of these People for five years...do not hesitate to say their opinion is incorrect in several particulars and the list at the same time is an entirely truthful one." Huger solicited a legal opinion which concluded that the sale of the property would have to be sanctioned by the Court of Equity and argued that he was not acting to depreciate Alston's property or to appreciate the property for which he served as trustee (10 February 1857). Alston disagreed strongly with this view and stated that Huger's actions did advantage himself at Alston's expense which "you have no right to do...at all" (12 February 1857).
Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Cleland Huger served with the Rutledge Mounted Rifleman and later as chief ordnance officer in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, a position to which he was appointed by Special Order No. 128 (8 May 1864). The collection contains numerous vouchers and receipts for payments made in Huger's capacity as ordnance officer. Two of the more important documents are a record of "Batteries of Light Artillery in the Department of So Ca Ga and Fla" (6 January 1865) and an inventory of ordnance in the magazines in Cheraw and Wilmington (10 February 1865). Huger accompanied the Confederate army of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston as the army moved out of South Carolina and into North Carolina. An order dated 10 March 1865 instructs Huger to proceed to Jonesboro, N.C., and to remove all ordnance there to the north side of Deep River. A letter, 20 March 1865, to Brig. Gen. Josiah Gorgas, Richmond, Va., concerns ordnance stores lost in the evacuation of Cheraw "for want of the necessary transportation to remove it" and his inability "to make an accurate report as by some unfortunate mistake all my papers &c. were burned with the stores at Cheraw."
The confusion of the final weeks of the Confederacy is evident in Huger's correspondence. He wrote Lt. Col. T.B. Roy, 5 April 1865, to request instructions concerning his duties. Another letter to Roy, 11 April 1865, inquired whether his adjutant, Capt. J.J. Legare, should accompany him to South Carolina where "there is now...a considerable amount of Stores, that were on his books, that he has not been able yet to account for."
Four years of war severely affected the economic interests of Cleland Huger and his immediate circle of friends and acquaintances. His friend Benjamin F. Dunkin, a prominent Georgetown planter and jurist, described a familiar scene on the Waccamaw River to Huger in a letter, 9 November 1865--"The stillness of the Dead Sea overspreads the land. No boat or vessel seen on the river. No sound of a mill in operation--nor of a flail on the threshing floor. All is painfully quiet and silent. The negroes work as much or as little as they please. I have met with no incivility whatever. But they cannot bear Singleton, nor would they any manager, and he is obliged to submit to the tacit disregard of his orders....The whole scene is sad and sickening...."
Huger apparently gave no thought to resuming his agricultural interests actively and on a large scale in the period after the Civil War. Correspondence and documents dating from November and December 1865 relate to an agreement between Huger and Bentley D. Hassell of Charleston and Messrs. Jesup & Co. of New York to sell railroad equipment and supplies. The co-partnership agreement was signed on 10 January 1865. A letter, 15 March 1866, to Huger and Hasell from M.K. Jesup advised them about conducting business with southern railroads--"Rail Roads receive cash & they should pay cash." Jesup opposed establishing a branch office in Savannah but urged them to consider moving their entire operation there--"We think it decidedly the best place of the two in every respect....Savannah is going to outstrip Charleston in increase of population & capital...." Correspondence in 1867 reveals that the partnership had not been successful and that Huger and Hasell were heavily indebted to Jesup & Co. A letter of 18 July 1867 from M.K. Jesup & Co. instructs Huger how to liquidate assets of the railway supply business.
Following the failure of this venture, Huger established an insurance business in Charleston in 1869. He remained in this business until his death in 1892. Huger's career during the years after the Civil War can be closely followed through his letters in three letterpress copybooks which cover the period from 1866 to 1889 (22 March 1866 - 12 August 1872, 12 August 1872 - 22 November 1875, and 27 November 1875 - 9 November 1889). The collection also includes two letterbooks of Huger's son-in-law, A.F. DeJersey, 27 December 1895 - 12 April 1899 and 21 July 1900 - 1 February 1902. Huger's agricultural and other business ventures are disclosed in three account books: 1854-1884, containing a list of Negroes owned by C.K. Huger and Mary Dunkin Huger, a record of C.K. Huger's bonds and notes to various individuals, and "Mem[orandum] of payment of taxes on Texas Lands"; 1866-1887, containing a list of articles ordered from M.K. Jesup & Co. and other suppliers, personal expenses, purchases of plantation implements for cotton and rice production, 1867-1873, and expenses for repair of Huger's residence in Charleston after the 1886 earthquake; and 1874-1884, the estate of Benjamin F. Dunkin in account with Cleland K. Huger.
Land transactions involving the Huger, Allston, Alston, Horry, Pawley, Dwight, and Izard families are recorded in approximately one hundred ten deeds, plats, and mortgages to property in Georgetown and Horry Districts. A number of the documents concern the transfer of lots in the town of Georgetown. A plat, 2 July 1757, drawn by deputy surveyor Thomas Blythe, represents lots 33, 34, 35, 36, 65, 55, and 67 bounded by Bay, Screven, and Prince streets in the town of Georgetown. Another interesting plat, 31 August 1799, represents "A Plan of Two Tracts of Land the Property of O.D. Dwight Esqr. Resurveyed August 31st 1797 by Thos. Hemingway Dept Surveyor."
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