SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
A[bram] Blanding Letter, 21 June 1836, Camden, SC, to William Blanding, Philadelphia, PA
Filed as an Addition to the William Blanding PapersLetter, 21 June 1836, from A[bram] Blanding to his brother William fills a gap in the South Caroliniana Library's collections. Forty years ago, the Library acquired papers of William Blanding, including nine letters Abram wrote between 23 January and 14 September 1836. Now a missing piece of that correspondence has surfaced.
William and Abram were transplanted New Englanders who had become prominent residents of Camden. William practiced medicine and ran a drug store; Abram practiced law and developed wider interests-in banking and public works-that caused him to move his residence to Columbia. Neither had much sympathy for the slave system that underlay South Carolina's plantation economy.
During the 1830s, the nullification controversy caused strained relations between the Blandings and some of their neighbors. By 1836, William had moved north to Philadelphia, and Abram was strongly considering a similar move to Madison, Indiana. "We have been consulting with great interest and deep anxiety as to the propriety of removing to the west," he wrote William on 12 April. "Our minds are finally made up to go. Mr. [J.K.] Douglas, Daniel Desaussure & William Anderson will go with us." A later letter posted from South Carolina advised, "We have become entirely Indianians (Hooshers) and hope to bring up our boys out of the influence of slavery."
The newly acquired letter reveals that on 21 June, Abram advised William of his imminent departure from Columbia for the Knoxville railroad convention that had been called to discuss the proposed Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad. As soon as the meeting adjourned, he would proceed directly to Madison and negotiate the purchase of more land. To date, the partners had acquired about 7,000 acres.
Abram also offered an insider investment tip on buying stock in the Bank of Kentucky-"I consider the bank a good one but shall take only $10,000 in it. We do business largely with it, and know its standing....I think that if you could sell your U.S.B. stock...& buy into this...you would do well. But I think it imprudent to hold too much of ones fortune in one institution."
The railroad project, which proposed to connect Charleston with the developing west, proved incompatible with Abram's relocation plans. He accepted the presidency of the South Western Railroad Bank (the financial underpinning for the L.C.& C.), and moved from Columbia to Charleston. There, in 1839, he contracted yellow fever and died at the age of sixty-three.
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