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SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
MANUSCRIPTS COLLECTIONS

Lemuel Boykin Papers, 1778-1907

Seventy manuscripts, 1778, 1821-1867, 1884, 1907 and undated, include correspondence of Lemuel Boykin (1800-1853), son of Burwell and Mary Whitaker Boykin, and Mary Elizabeth Hopkins (1812-1877), whom Lemuel married in 1832. Lemuel's letters to his wife from resorts in Virginia and North Carolina where he traveled for what was apparently a chronic health condition constitute the bulk of the correspondence after 1832. There are some letters from their children to Mrs. Boykin in the years after her husband's death.

Several members of the Boykin family were among those South Carolinians who departed the state to settle lands in Alabama around 1820. Francis Boykin (1785-1839) wrote his brother Samuel (1795-1835) asking that he collect certain notes due him in South Carolina, urging him to come to Alabama for a visit, and offering the opinion that "you would be satisfied that you are working for nothing on them poor worn out Lands." Lemuel expressed sympathy to his brother Samuel in a letter written from Baltimore on 25 August 1824. He had learned of the death of Samuel's son in a letter from their brother John. Lemuel had been at White Sulphur Springs and was en route to Philadelphia. He requested that Samuel attend to the ginning of his cotton. Lemuel was traveling to White Sulphur again in July 1833 in the company of his mother. They had reached White Sulphur Springs by 27 July, when Lemuel informed his young wife that their separation reminded him "of our courting days." There were other South Carolinians among the guests, he noted, including "some...nullifiers, which makes us spend our time more agreeable." He hoped that the sulphur waters would prove beneficial and that he would return home "more talkative and in finer spirits than when we parted." A letter from Lemuel's wife, 16 August, reported that she had been suffering from "a very bad cough with a spitting of blood in some days."

The year 1835 found Lemuel again at White Sulphur Springs where his health was improving, and he wrote on 22 July that he was hopeful that his wife would "forego the satisfaction and pleasure of my presence at Home, with our little Brats for a short time." He thought himself relieved "of those excessive bad feelings that you are aware of my being subjected to at times, which makes me disagreeable to myself, and not pleasing to anybody." The hotel, he complained, was crowded with as many as four hundred guests, "all dining under one roof, you can imagine how boisterous and unruly so large a company must be, all wanting to be helped at once." By 18 August, Lemuel had relocated to Hot Springs, where he was recovering from a cold but felt "vastly improved by taking the hot bath." He planned to return home by way of Sweetsprings, Salt Sulphur, Red Sulphur, and Gray Sulphur. In a letter of 25 August 1835 from Salt Sulphur, he was still recovering from his cold but commented on the improvement of his "complexion and general appearance of health."

There are no additional letters from the Virginia springs until 1844 when Lemuel returned to White Sulphur. Writing on 5 August, he advised his wife to "try the blessing of God to raise our children well, teaching them good moral lessons, bringing them up in the fear of the Lord, letting them know their fallen state, and that the only hope is through the Gospell, and that every good and perfect gift comes from God." His letter of 24 August reported that among the South Carolinians at White Sulphur were former governor J.P. Richardson and his sister Mrs. Manning with whom he had taken meals. He expressed regret that he could not "attend to my religious duties here as well as at home having no room to return to for secret prayer and meditation." Letters dating from 1846 detail his travels to North Carolina resorts, including Wilson Springs and Asheville.

In addition to the Lemuel Boykin correspondence, the collection contains two letters, 16 December 1838 and 8 January 1839, of F[itzgerald] G[lover] Boykin, the widow of Samuel, to Burwell and Lemuel Boykin concerning the sale of slaves from her husband's estate. The earlier letter informs Burwell that she was sending the slaves from Charleston to Camden for the sale "with the promise...that they will be bought in from me, and returned as soon as possible after the Sale is over." Mrs. Boykin had spoken with the slaves and, she wrote, "[I] have determined that nothing but death shall separate me from them, as they are not willing to live with anyone else." Mrs. Boykin sent the Negroes from Charleston in a wagon and explained in the subsequent letter that her "feelings" precluded her coming with them-"nothing but a perfect confidence, in an over ruling providence, could sustain me in this, as well as all other trials, that have occur[r]ed in the last four years."

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