William R. Medlin Papers, 1856-1929
| Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Front Page 2008 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2008
Fifteen manuscripts and three manuscript volumes, 1856-1929, documenting the activities of Marlboro County, S.C., native William R. Medlin (ca. 1827-ca. 1866) include tax receipts, a volume related to the settlement of his estate, and two diary volumes kept in 1856 and 1857. | Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
While the diaries contain routine entries describing weather, agricultural matters, the building of a house and barn, social and religious activities, and deaths they also provide details regarding trips made by Medlin from South Carolina to Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi for the purpose of selling slaves. On the first of these trips, Medlin left Harleesville on 4 January 1856 and arrived in Chehaw, Alabama, on the eighth of the same month. While in Alabama, Medlin sold nine slaves. He spent the majority of his time there camped on the property of an individual named Gordan, just outside Chehaw.
Medlin left Gordan’s on 28 January 1856 and traveled by wagon to Montgomery where he stayed until 6 February 1856. He arrived at Cheraw by train on the ninth and returned home the following day. While on this trip, two slaves, Lewis and Eliza, escaped on 12 January 1856. The next day Medlin noted that he “Went to Chehaw to hunt Lewis & Eliza,” and on 19 January 1856 reported that he “got Lewis and Eliza to the camp & Straighend them.” Eliza and a woman named Amanda were sold to an individual identified in the record as T. Phillips on 21 January for $1500 although Medlin “took back Eliza from T. Phillips” on 5 February. Lewis was sold to “old Sanders” along with “Edmon” on 31 January for $1850.
Medlin would travel west into Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi another five times during 1856 and 1857. These trips ranged from eight to sixty days, and business was carried on in a similar fashion to the first. He conducted his trade through a series of bonds and promissory notes. After his return from Alabama, he would spend a considerable amount of time traveling to various locales in northeastern South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina paying off bonds and notes that individuals held against him. These expenditures and earnings are detailed at the end of the 1857 diary.
Also included in the collection is an account book, 1866-1873, maintained by William Medlin’s widow, Catharine (b. ca. 1826), as administratrix of his estate. It includes entries detailing expenses for educating their children as well as paying off notes held against William Medlin.