Addition, 1844-1848, to Francis Mayrant| Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Front Page 2008 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2008
Two letters, 22 May 1844 and 5 October 1848, of teacher, lawyer, and planter Francis Mayrant Adams (1821-1884) further the South Caroliniana Library’s documentation of ties between the family of College of Charleston president the Rev. Dr. Jasper Adams and the Rev. Sewall Harding of Massachusetts who had married sisters, Mercy and Eliza Wheeler. The eldest son of Jasper Adams and his second wife, Placidia Mayrant, Francis Mayrant Adams graduated from Yale College in 1841, taught at Pendleton and Sumter in South Carolina, and also studied law. Adams later resided at St. Mary’s, Georgia. | Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
The earlier of the two letters, written from Pendleton, S.C., by Adams and addressed to his uncle, Sewall Harding, East Medway, Massachusetts, reports that Adams’ connection with the Pendleton Male Academy had been dissolved and that he planned to relocate to Baltimore, where his wife had inherited an estate. “I thank God that I have done with teaching,” he wrote. “I hope never again to resume it. It is to me an employment both disgusting and hateful.” Mr. Renick, who had been principal for the preceding nine months, had resigned at the same time, and as a result of their resignations the school had closed until another teacher could be procured. Adams considered that the school was in “pretty tolerable condition,” noting that in addition to English, mathematics, and languages, Renick had trained the pupils in military exercises -- “the members of the company had procured their cadet dress; officers had been appointed; we were daily expecting the arrival of the state muskets, and military accoutrements, both of which had been ordered some time before, as, in the mean time, we had to use common muskets and guns....”
Adams thanks Harding for managing his portion of the estate of his grandfather and expresses eagerness to apply his portion of the estate to assist him in his professional studies, noting that he was in debt as a result of having tried to support himself and his mother on a teacher’s salary and that he had recently applied to the equity court for his portion of the estate of his father.
The later letter, written from Sumterville, S.C., 5 October 1848, advises that Adams had been admitted to the bar but continued to teach. He had not yet read the equity course or been admitted to practice in the equity court and while he had a law office in Sumterville he did not expect to practice there as he intended to relocate to New Orleans. To prepare himself financially, he had applied “for the situation of Principal of the Male Academy in this village.” If unsuccessful, he planned to seek employment with a country school.
Adams desired to live in New Orleans as he hoped his sister Ann Richardson “Anzie” Adams, who had recently been engaged to Dr. John C. Calhoun, Jr., would live there. However, their mother opposed the match, in part due to the health of the city, and Adams was uncertain whether he could ever practice as an attorney there since Louisiana law was “civil law and very different from ours.” He wanted to dispose of his remaining interest in his grandfather’s property to the other heirs and asked Harding to assist in promoting the sale.