Julia Fripp Papers, 1838-1918
| Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Front Page 2006 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
Ninety-three manuscripts, 1838-1918, chiefly personal, legal, and business correspondence, comprise the papers of Julia Fripp (1845-1918), originally a resident of Beaufort, South Carolina, who settled in Winnsboro, S.C., after fleeing from her home during the Civil War. | Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
Along with Julia Fripp’s personal papers, this collection also contains the papers of other family members which had come into her possession, mostly those of her sister Anna Fripp Chaplin (1837-1894).
The earliest item in the collection is a 13 November 1838 letter from William Fripp (1788-1861) to his distant kinsman Edward Fripp, of Bristol, England. In this message, William Fripp describes his return journey to South Carolina after a visit to England two years before and additionally provides genealogical information about the American branch of the family.
The ten letters which survive from the period of Civil War and its immediate aftermath are among the most noteworthy items in the collection. Among them is a 17 September 1863 letter to Julia Fripp from her father, John M. Fripp (1815-1882), who was working in a military hospital in Columbia, S.C. In this message he gave descriptions of his work and patients, including casualties from the Battle of Morris Island. Based on his conversations with men who had been present during the siege of Morris Island, Fripp provides a fairly graphic description of the combat and conditions in the fort during the fighting. In one passage, he writes, “Heart sickening indeed must have been the sights the brave men witnessed. 9 men they had seen killed and wounded by the explosion of one shell, some torn in fragments, that pieces of the arms and legs of about 6 in. long could be found which had to be gathered up on shovels.” He concludes with an expression of his thanks “that it has not fallen to the lot of our dear boys to be sent to this unfortunate beleaguered city where in all probability they would, being artillery have been sent in time to Morris Isld.”
There are also three letters to Julia Fripp from her brother Milton, who was serving in the Confederate Army. Originally stationed on James Island, South Carolina, Milton Fripp and his company retreated into North Carolina as Sherman’s army and the end of the war approached. Nevertheless, in a letter written only days before Lee’s surrender, he still holds out hope that the tide of battle will turn in favor of the Confederacy. On 31 March 1865, while encamped in North Carolina, he wrote to his sister, “Sherman I suppose will soon be again on the move (from Goldsboro) when old Johnston will arouse the sleeping energies of his troops by putting them again in motion. A big battle must soon come off. Sherman must be flogged and thus hurrah! for peace and freedom.”
After the war’s end, the Fripp family undertook a long struggle to obtain compensation from the United States government for property lost to them under the provisions of the Direct Tax Act of 1861. Most of the documents relating to this matter consist of correspondence between members of the Fripp family and lawyers both in South Carolina and Washington, D.C. The documents relating to this matter preserved in this collection are not entirely clear as to the details of the case, but it appears that there were at least two claims on behalf of the family that worked their way through the courts, involving claims to the properties owned by Julia Fripp’s father and those of her sister Anna’s late husband, Marion Chaplin.
Complicating their cases was the fact that many of the original titles and tax records proving their ownership had been destroyed during the war. The documents indicate that the family eventually received compensation, but it was not a simple or swift process, as shown by the fact that correspondence related to the matter spanned the years between 1882 and 1893.
Another interesting document is a copy of Julia Fripp’s 1880s application for a clerkship with the United States Department of the Interior in Washington D.C. The application paperwork includes recommendations from many prominent South Carolinians, including governors Wade Hampton and J.P. Richardson, South Carolina Secretary of State R.M. Sims, state senator H.A. Gaillard, state legislator G.H. McMaster, and other leading citizens. Despite this impressive list of recommendations, the Department of the Interior apparently did not offer Julia Fripp employment, as she remained in Winnsboro, S.C. She used the references again in her application for a position with the South Carolina delegation to the Jamestown Exposi¬tion of 1907.
Most of the remaining documents in the collection relate to the personal financial affairs of Julia Fripp. The bulk of the material consists of brief notes between Miss Fripp and attorney J.Q. Davis. These communications continued up to the time of her death in 1918.