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Pinckney Family Papers, 1790-1925

The principal correspondents in this collection of sixty-eight manuscripts are Elizabeth Perry Bellinger Pinckney (1808-1865), the wife of Dr. Cotesworth Pinckney (1802-1847), and her son Eustace Bellinger Pinckney (1835-1925). The Pinckneys were residents of Colleton District.

The earliest documents in the collection concern the family of William Bellinger (1758-1820) and include an account with James Taylor, January - December 1789, for the purchase of various fabrics, shoes, buttons, buckles, and household articles; a bond, 1 March 1790, of William Bellinger to James Taylor; and a letter, 12 June 1803, St. Luke's Parish, of William Bellinger to Messrs. Rhodes & Otis, Charleston, discussing taxes owed in St. Bartholomew's Parish.

The collection includes only one letter of Dr. Cotesworth Pinckney. Writing to his wife from Asheville, N.C., 12 September 1833, while traveling to the springs for his health, Dr. Pinckney expressed gratitude to his wife's sister who was staying with her. He hoped that his wife's letter concerning the "bad State of the crop...shall not...distress me." According to Dr. Pinckney's letter, he was leaving the next day for the "Sulphur Springs" and expected to return home in two weeks. He had abandoned the use of laudanum "which injured me very much although it relieved pain," and reported that he remained weak despite improvements in appearance-"my liver and spleen still enlarged and I rest badly at night."

Three of the Pinckney sons, William (1831-1855), Charles Cotesworth (b. 1833), and Eustace (1835-1925) attended Catholic St. John's College in Fordham, N.Y. Before departing Charleston by ship in May 1848, Charles informed his mother of arrangements made with Mr. Winthrop for his passage to New York-"I arrived here safe and sound, but sad yesterday afternoon. I think that I have good reason to feel sad, for six years is not a short time, however I try to make it appear as short as possible." Two days later, on May 29, Charles recounted for his mother the storm that delayed their departure. In a letter from St. John's College, 1 June, he told of his voyage and the kindness extended him by Mr. O'Connell upon his arrival, stated that he had met Amos Bellinger, and concluded-"I must not give way to my feelings so I will cheer up with the thought that we will not be separated forever."

Eustace B. Pinckney apparently enrolled in St. John's College in 1850. The collection contains six letters, 1 November 1850 - 12 December 1852, written by his mother from Walterboro and Charleston. Her first letter relates news of deaths and illnesses, informs him that a Mr. Ford [apparently Joseph Malachi Ford who married his sister Rebecca] was leaving for Charleston to take command of a schooner on the Ashepoo River-"I have understood that the neighboring gentlemen have made resolutions that no yanky should be employed in any way on the river," and tells of activities of his brother in Montgomery, Ala. In a letter of 3 October 1851 written from Walterboro, she discusses the emotional distress caused by his brother William leaving the Catholic church to be married in a Protestant church, relates other family news, and reports that she was "making up" his shirts. She sent her son New Year's greetings in a letter of 8 January 1852-"How sweet must it be to those fortunate persons, who when meditating on their actions of the past year, feel that they have lived for God alone," advises that she sent him ten shirts and collars, and reports that she was staying on the plantation "for the purpose of cutting out my negro clothes and curing my bacon." Her letter of 20 June 1852 concerns his return home after examinations for which she had sent money to Mr. Winthrop, complains of her poor health "which debilitates and unfits me for business of every kind, but I have no one to act for me, and am therefore compelled to do my business myself," provides news of the family, crops, and slaves, and observes that his brother "Charles has been disipating a great deal this week, going to the parties and galanting the Lady's about, consequently looks miserably." Her letter of 3 October 1852 laments a "miserable harvest...much of my rice has been totally ruined" and urges him in his next letter "to say that you have gone to your duty, and partaken of that Heavenly Bread, which is the only true support on which a poor miserable fallen sinner can lean." Mrs. Pinckney was in Charleston to celebrate the Christmas season of 1852-"What a blessing it is to be able to go to mass whenever I please and partake of the Holy Communion," tells of family news and illnesses, including the death of three Negroes from typhus fever, regrets the failure of her crop, states that she was hopeful of engaging his uncle to manage her plantation "and am looking for a driver in this place," mentions the possibility of his attending college in France, and urges him "to be pious and holy now, before you are entraped by Satan's snares."

In addition to the correspondence from his mother, the collection contains letters from friends, some of whom were former students at St. John's College. A letter, 2 October 1851, from Buckhead signed "English" discusses his medical studies and an upcoming "great political Meeting" in Walterboro with nine speakers-"We South Carolina boys are kicking up great rowdies about Secession[.] I am a Secessionist." There are two letters from P.K. Molony, of Barnwell, who attended St. John's College. Recalling his college experiences, 18 October 1852, Molony expressed some regret-"I did not know how pleasant college life was, until it had passed" and advised Pinckney-"you had a happier life there, than you ever will elsewhere." He also apprised him of the activities of mutual friends including John Martin who was editing the Palmetto Sentinel and was "engaged to the most beautiful and richest girl in Barnwell." Eustace Pinckney did not return to St. John's after the Christmas holidays in 1852, and classmate Molony wrote on 14 January 1853 expressing hopes that "you did not leave it in disgust as a great many of your friends have." Another classmate, Richard Stevenson, inquired on 11 [January] 1853 if he left St. John's to attend college in France and recounted a student brawl-"How the chairs & cups did fly, it was fun to see them light on Bidwell's head." While at St. John's, Eustace Pinckney received several notes written on lace-edged stationery from his cousin and childhood sweetheart, Mary Augusta Bellinger. These include an 1852 Valentine and an undated poem "To Eustace."

Elizabeth Pinckney was a devoted parent to all her children, and her poor health may have been the cause of Eustace's decision to leave St. John's College. Writing son Charles from Edgefield, 9 October 1854, she told of her arrival at 10:00 p.m. and her warm reception, compared the village with Walterboro-"I have walked nearly all over this place, some of the views are pretty, but in my opinion cannot compete with our own little village," and reported the recent discovery of a sulphur spring near the village-"It is amusing to see how the people are flocking there every afternoon, old and young for the purpose of drinking water that taste[s] more like the hogs had been wallowing in it than any thing else." She inquired of the children and other relatives, sent greetings to the servants, particularly Leah-"tell [her] not to kill her child before I return," and singled out each one "for if I do not name them separately they will think that I did not mean them." Sufffering with chills and fever in Cheraw with son Eustace and his wife Julia, 11 July 1860, Mrs. Pinckney hoped that her daughter would join them in Cheraw. Daughter [Mary] Augusta was also anxious for her to visit. Of Augusta Mrs. Pinckney observed-"Our holy religion is now showing its powerful effect. She goes to mass every morning, and frequents the sacraments..."

Eustace Pinckney married Julia Lynch, sister of Catholic Bishop Patrick Lynch, in 1857. There are a number of letters between Julia and her family in Cheraw dating from 1859 and 1860. Her sister Anna reported the death of the Rev. Mr. Faren in Boston in a letter of 4 March 1859 and announced the imminent departure of the Rev. Mr. Stafford from Cheraw-"He is so pious, but so dignified that I can never summon courage enough to talk to him." Another of Julia's sisters, Mary Baptista, served as Mother Superior at the Ursuline Convent in Columbia. In a letter of 7 May 1859 she chided Julia for returning to Walterboro from Cheraw without visiting Columbia and rejoiced over the news that "the good Sisters" had purchased a summer residence in Summerville "which will afford a healthy retreat for the orphans in summer." A letter, 8 January 1860, of Julia, Walterboro, to her sister Anna, Cheraw, concerns reports of their father's poor health, discusses Eustace's preparations for moving the Negroes to Alabama, and notes that Mrs. Pinckney was eager for the move-"The old Lady is making every arrangement for moving, & I don't think that the whole `State' could keep her back." Julia Lynch's death in Walterboro in 1861 is reported in the 13 April issue of the Charleston Catholic Miscellany.

Three documents, 29 March, 30 April, and 8 October 1860, concern Eustace Pinckney's role as an election manager in Colleton District. The first summons John Lewis, Richard Grant, and Pinckney, managers of the election at Ashepoo Ferry, to open the polls and conduct an election for ordinary. The second lists the names of those who voted in the election for ordinary at Ashepoo Ferry. The third document lists those who voted at Ashepoo Ferry for "Member, Senator, Representative."

The collection contains two letters, 5 May and 2 June 1888, of A.A. Browning, Hampton, to James Porcher. Both letters discuss the breeding of hunting dogs and an apparent misunderstanding between the two over Porcher's "slut" that had been left with Browning for breeding purposes.

There are several printed items in the collection including The City Gazette and Daily Advertiser (Charleston), 11 March 1808 issue; The Sun (Walterboro), 29 September 1858 issue; and Beaufort Gazette, 29 January 1925 issue. Other printed material includes the September 1858 number of Editor's Table containing a review of "History of the origin, formation, and adoption of the Constitution of the United States by George Ticknor Curtis..."; the 29 January 1909 issue of The News and Courier with an article about Charles Pinckney's role in writing the U.S. Constitution; and the 25 February 1910 issue of The News and Courier containing a letter advocating a monument to Pinckney.

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