Two hundred seventy-seven manuscripts and thirty-one manuscript volumes, 21 February 1890-16 May 1951, provide insights into the lives of two generations of the Connor family of Orangeburg County involved in cotton farming and state politics.
Lee Bonaparte Connor, central figure in the papers, was the son of Lawrence Summerfield and Susan Zeigler Connor from Orangeburg County. After serving in the Confederate military, Lawrence Connor became a successful farmer near Bowman and experimented with new farming equipment. He represented Orangeburg County in the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1888-1891 and 1894-1896, and the Senate, 1897-1900, and also was a member of the 1895 state constitutional convention. Lee Bonaparte Connor, one of ten children, was born on 21 November 1866 and carried on the family tradition of cotton farming and serving in the General Assembly. Connor farmed in the Orangeburg County communities of Parlers and Elloree and was a member of the House of Representatives, 1921-1922, and commissioner of Elloree township.
This collection consists in large part of correspondence and personal and business papers of L.B. Connor. Among the latter are receipts for agricultural products, taxes, household goods, and railroad shipping; promissory notes; leases and liens; bank records; and miscellaneous advertisements. Correspondence concerns cotton sales, shipping and processing, creditors, machine tool maintenance and repair, land speculation, home and auto insurance, and U.S. Department of Agri-culture matters.
There are also letters to L.B. Connor while a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Constituents wrote about various issues—taxes, bills before the House, and other lobbying efforts. One letter reveals the concern of Bowman businessman L.H. Shuler who expressed his displeasure about rising taxes. Taxes, Shuler argued in a letter of 14 January 1921, “will drive every industry out of business then where is the revenue for the state coming from.” Another concerned citizen, T.G. Shuler, wrote on 15 February 1921 to voice his opinion regarding proposed legislation before the House. Shuler was concerned that the bill “would mean hard times for all but the middle man who sat around on boxes barrels or may be on padded chairs and help to starve poor people and innocent children.”
Letters, 8 January 1918-11 March 1919, to Lawrence Connor regard manufactured parts for his experimental farm equipment, and according to a letter of 2 May 1921, L.B. Connor received the list of manufactured parts made for his fathers’ farming equipment from a business associate at The Columbia Malleable Iron Co., Columbus, Ohio. There are also World War II letters to L.B. Connor from grandsons Ben Dantzler and James A. Dantzler, both of whom were in the U.S. military, written from Sedalia Army Air Field, Warrensburg, Mo.; Green Cove Springs, Fla.; and the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, Hawaiian Islands.
Among the thirty-one volumes that round out the collection are fertilizer company handbooks discussing the use of fertilizer for crops; bank and receipt books; and a school register, October 1913- April 1914, for Goodby’s School, Orangeburg County, Pearle Connor, teacher. Other volumes contain records of cotton picked by tenants of L.B. Connor, with a record of hours worked and wages received, barter goods exchanged between Connor and tenant farmers, accounting records, and information relating to work details and road construction during his tenure as commissioner for the township of Elloree.