Papers, 1775 - 1963, of the Law, McIver,| Manuscripts Gifts 2009 | Front Page 2009 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
and Wilcox Families
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2009
One and one-quarter linear feet of material from the Darlington County, S.C., families of Law, McIver and Willcox chronicles the history of these families for almost two centuries through correspondence, business records, and genealogical and historical reminiscences. | Manuscripts Gifts 2009 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
Most items in this collection relate to Junius Augustus Law (1839 - 1881), his wife, Blanche Angelica (Bannie) Crawford (1848 - 1895), and their children and grandchildren. Junius was the younger brother of Confederate Major General Evander McIver Law (1836 - 1920), and both were born in Darlington, sons of Ezekiel Augustus Law (1809 - 1882) and Sarah Elizabeth McIver Law (1815 - 1885). Blanche Crawford was the daughter of Major Chapman James Crawford and his third wife, Margaret M. Cormic, of Williamsburg County. Because Blanche’s parents died while she was a young child, she and her elder sister, Gulielma, were raised by their aunt, Elizabeth Crawford, and her husband, David C. Milling, of Darlington. And it was in Darlington, on 24 October 1866, that eighteen-year-old Bannie Crawford married twenty-seven-year-old former Confederate colonel Junius A. Law.
A letter from Evander R. McIver to his wife Eliza A. Cowan McIver, Sarah Elizabeth McIver Law’s parents, written from Tuskegee, Alabama, 10 May 1837, present in the collection as a transcript, illustrates the propensity of South Carolinians to seek new opportunities in the rapidly growing frontier regions of Alabama and Mississippi. McIver ran a store in Tuskegee that produced "$15 to 40 a day" during a time when "the Banks [were] all suspending specie payment & every thing [was] in a state of absolute distress for money." He planned to return to South Carolina during the summer, after a stop at "the sulphur spring & limestone springs of Talladega" (located in Talladega County, Ala.) where he hoped to restore his "feeble" health. In the meantime, he was "putting up a house - 16 by 30 - 2 shed rooms & piazza into which we must crowd & lodge next winter." McIver’s health did not improve, however, and he died in June 1837 at Talladega Springs (Talladega County, Ala.). McIver’s business interests in Alabama demanded the personal attention of his son, Cowan, who settled in Tuskegee after his father’s death.
Family members from Darlington County, S.C., paid frequent visits to Alabama in the decades before the Civil War. Cowan McIver’s sister Margaret J. McIver was in Alabama when she received a letter from sibling Sarah Elizabeth Law, written 12 January 1848, present in this collection in transcription, recounting the family news from home. Her husband, "Mr. Law[,] thinks he can serve the people if they will let him, in the Legislature, & is accordingly doing his best to get there." Her letter writing was interrupted by her children and, she informed her sister, "I must stop for the present." "McIver & Elma are punching me to help them with their lessons... , Junius is begging to have his finger tied up, Gus crying out in his sleep & Johnny and the little one are fast asleep," she complained. Because of their Alabama connections, both McIver and Junius Law were in that state when the Civil War began and, as a result, joined Alabama military units instead of regiments from South Carolina.
McIver Law had graduated from the South Carolina Military Academy (The Citadel) in Charleston, S.C., in 1856, and his brother Junius spent a short time there before enrolling at the University of North Carolina, where he studied briefly. For three years, McIver had instructed young cadets at the King’s Mountain Military Academy (York, S.C.) with his South Carolina Military Academy classmates Micah Jenkins and Asbury Coward before joining his brother at the Military High School in Tuskegee, where both taught during the fall and winter of 1860 - 1861. After Alabama seceded in January 1861 the brothers became captains in Alabama organizations: McIver in the Fourth Alabama Regiment and Junius in the First Alabama Battalion of Artillery.
One letter from Junius A. Law to his father survives from the Civil War period. Writing from camp near Sibley’s Mills, Alabama, 20 August 1864, Junius observed, "The enemy seem to be trying to get entire possession of the bay [Mobile], before making any attempt on the city." He also reported, "About a week ago I was ordered to Pollard to take command of the 2d Ala regiment (a new reg’t just raised) and have been in command of it ever since. Yesterday, I received the appointment of Lt Col of it," he wrote. "I am not sure that I will accept it yet, but will hold on to it until my company is exchanged."
The Second Regiment, also known as the Sixty-third Regiment Infantry, was organized in July 1864 at Montgomery as a reserve organization and was filled with young men between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Junius asked his father’s help in procuring a horse "for we have some hard marching to do, and when I can not borrow a horse I have to foot it." As a final plea, he quoted, "‘A horse a horse a kingdom for a horse.’"
Colonel Law’s regiment participated in the defense of Mobile Bay in the fall and winter of 1864 - 1865 and was in action in the last phase of the war in April 1865 when Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely were overwhelmed by Union forces. An account of Law’s escape from Spanish Fort is included in the collection. Even though undated and not attributed to a specific source, the narrative was probably recorded by a family member who had heard the story repeated during childhood.
When it became obvious to the defenders of Spanish Fort that the fortress would fall quickly to the enemy, the Confederates tried to escape. "The only place for our boys to go was out of the windows into Mobile Bay," the chronicler reported. "Those that couldn’t swim were shot or drowned and in a few minutes there were sharpshooters in every window, picking off our boys as their heads appeared above water for air. After swimming under water... three young soldiers came to the surface... so they stuck together and swam Mobile Bay... and escaped," the story concluded. The three men, Junius Law, George Culpepper, and J.N. Suggs, were friends from Darlington County, S.C., and had all learned to swim in Black Creek. After the surrender of the Confederate forces in the Mobile area, Colonel Law made his way back to South Carolina and settled in Darlington among his relatives.
In early 1866 Junius began to court a young Darlington woman, Angelica Blanche Crawford, known as "Bannie." "J.A. Law presents his compliments to Miss Bannie Crawford and requests the pleasure of a horse-back ride with her tomorrow evening," he wrote in a note dated 5 March 1866. The courtship progressed rapidly; an October wedding was in the offing. A complication developed when Bannie proposed a brief postponement of the wedding so she and her older sister, Gulielma V. Crawford, engaged to William Augustus Law, could have a double wedding. Junius, in a letter written on 21 September 1866, responded to the suggestion. "The postponement for a short time, although a disappointment, would be nothing to mar the joy of the occasion when it does take place," he explained. "But the double wedding can only be endured for the sake of one I love so dearly." Bannie agreed to forgo the double ceremony and she and Junius were married 24 October 1866 and her sister’s marriage took place 8 November 1866.
After his marriage, Junius worked as a merchant and continued in that business until 1874. An unnamed correspondent writing to "Junie" from Gaston, Alabama, on 1 September 1874, mentioned that he thought "you pulled out of merchandizing in good time... .The question is now can you farm... [... ]" Apparently this reference was to Law’s recent purchase of the old Cannon farm of five hundred acres located on High Hill Creek, about four miles southeast of Darlington near the village of Palmetto, S.C. A deed in the collection shows that Junius paid $7,000 for the land in January 1874, and a tax receipt dated 8 February 1875 lists taxes of $71.36 levied on the land and thirteen buildings.
By the time the couple moved to the farm, the family included Elizabeth McIver Law (Bessie), born 2 March 1868, Gulie Elma (Demmie), born 1872, and Margaret Stevenson (Maggie), born 1874. A son, Junius A., Jr., was born 13 July 1879 and in 1882 Blanche was born. A letter from Pauline DuBose, a Presbyterian missionary living in Soo Chow [Suzhou], China, written 17 June 1876 to Miss Bessie Law and four other "little friends," illustrates the family’s support for Presbyterian causes. The five children had contributed $2.50 to a fund for the support of a school Mrs. DuBose and her husband, the Rev. Hampton DuBose, operated in China. Another letter to Bessie Law, this one from W.P. Jacobs of the Thornwell Orphanage in Clinton (Laurens County, S.C.), dated 3 January 1877, acknowledged a contribution of $3.75 received from a "kind" Sunday school teacher and given by "her class of six little girls." A manuscript in the collection titled "Report of the Committee on Pastor’s Salary of the Presbyterian Church at Darlington C[ourt] H[ouse] So[uth] C[arolin]a, for the year 1875" confirms that J.A. Law paid his entire $50 pledge for the year. Fifteen receipts signed by the pastor, William Bearley, acknowledged payment of his salary, in installments over the course of 1876, by J.A. Law as agent of the church.
In addition to his involvement with his church, Junius also was active in public and political spheres. When he spoke to the survivors of the Eight Regiment and the Inglis Light Artillery at a reunion held in the 1870s, he closed his remarks with a poem:
The principles for which you fought are living - not lost,
Ingrained deep in human heart,
Your valor treasured above rubies or gems of earthly coal,
Southern history’s grandest part.
Not only did Law’s service to the Confederacy bring him respect in the community, but his efforts in behalf of Wade Hampton in the election of 1876 also helped elevate him to local office. The disputed presidential contest in 1876 and the challenge to Hampton’s election as governor caused many Southern Democrats to despair. W.C. McIver, Tuskegee, Alabama, attorney and Law’s close friend, wrote on 12 February 1877, before the election issues had been settled, "we are greatly troubled about the gloomy outlook in the political world." "I fear the effect [of Hayes’s election as president] on Hampton’s governorship & South Carolina politics will be very damaging to our cause," he predicted. Law was appointed chief deputy constable for Darlington County, S.C., by William Butler, the state’s chief constable, on 21 March 1877, even before Hampton’s rival, Daniel H. Chamberlain, left the state and abandoned his claim to the governorship. He was also appointed Darlington County Treasurer, a position he held until he died in 1881.
As part of his duty as county treasurer, Law remitted tax money collected in Darlington County to the State Treasury Office. A receipt dated 18 November 1880 and signed by the State Treasurer, S.L. Leaphart, acknowledged that Law had delivered $10,000 cash for the previous tax year. As an office holder, Law was involved with the State Democratic Executive Committee in scheduling speakers for local campaign rallies during the campaign of 1878. John E. Bacon sent Law a list of available speakers on 16 September 1878 and added General M.C. Butler’s name the next day. From Florence, S.C. in a letter written 20 September, Ned Schouboe asked Colonel Law to "inform us... how many speakers will pass through going to Darlington and on what train they may be expected." Schouboe, who represented the Executive Committee of the Florence Democratic Club, also reported, "Last night we captured a Radical meeting here, divided [speaking] time, and completely demoralized them."
Law was still active in supplying speakers for rallies during the fall campaign of 1880. D.G. DuBose, in a letter written 25 October 1880, asked Law to "send us some two or three speakers to DuBose X Roads on Saturday 30th Inst. 2 O’clock P.M. We need something stirring just now." Former Confederate General John Bratton, chairman of the State Democratic Executive Committee, in an October letter addressed to "Chairman, Darlington County," informed Law of the voting precincts that would open for the November election.
In early 1881 Junius began to experience health problems. His wife, in a March post card, implored "Dear Junie," "Do take good care of your self & try & get well - home is not home with out you." Junius wrote his daughter Maggie from Gastonia, North Carolina, on 22 April 1881 and reported, "I feel a great deal better than I did this morning." He planned to return to South Carolina via the 2:00 A.M. train for Spartanburg and Glenn Springs "if I feel rested... ." In the collection is a funeral announcement, bordered in black ribbon, dated 21 July 1881, inviting the "relatives, friends and acquaintances of Col. J.A. Law and family... to attend the funeral services of the former, from his residence this afternoon at 5 o’clock."
After her husband’s death, Blanche had to provide for her four children, the eldest of whom was thirteen and the youngest still an infant. The family moved to Darlington, S.C., from the farm and, a few years later, Blanche was appointed Darlington’s postmaster by President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat elected in 1884. Her term of office was four years from the effective date of the appointment, 20 December 1886. For the first time since the end of the Civil War, federal patronage jobs were controlled by the Democratic Party, but Blanche benefitted from that political reality only briefly, because with the election of Benjamin Harrison in 1888, presidential power reverted to the Republi-cans.
In November 1889, more than a year before her four-year term was scheduled to end, a report in the Charleston News and Courier newspaper mentioned that President Harrison planned to remove the Darlington postmistress from office. When Blanche heard the news, she immediately launched a campaign to retain her position. One of the first letters she wrote was addressed to Paul Whipple, a local Republican officer holder who had served as county treasurer under Governor Daniel H. Chamberlain. In response to her plea for help, Whipple composed a letter to President Harrison, dated 18 November 1889, and enclosed it with a letter to Mrs. Law for her approval. Whipple wrote: "Mrs. Blanche C. Law is a widow lady with a family of children dependent on her office for support, & has given entire satisfaction to all classes & parties."
After Whipple cited his service in the Union army from 1861 through 1865 and claimed that he was "an adherent of the Republican party," he requested "that Mrs. Law be not only retained in her office, but reappointed at the expiration of her term." Blanche also turned to Wentworth Rollins, an official with The Central Carolina Land and Improvement Company, headquartered in New York City, for help. Rollins sent the postmaster general a letter in support of Mrs. Law on 8 May and continued his active involvement until the final result was known. After Rollins learned that Mrs. Law would not be reappointed, he confessed, in a letter written 15 December 1890, that he was "surprised [,] shocked and ashamed to be made aware that I live in a country and under a flag that can be so unjustly represented." "How they could have in the face of all the strong testimonials and personal letters sent to Washington, make this change I am at a loss to under-stand," he continued. Mrs. Law had contributed to the barrage of letters sent to Washington when she wrote President Harrison on 1 December. The form letter she received in reply simply stated that the matter "has been referred to the Honorable Postmaster General." A final letter from Rollins, written from New York, 19 December 1890, summed up his frustration with the campaign to keep Mrs. Law in her position: "I have written J.G.B. [James G. Blaine] a very strong letter, if this does not bring Harrison to his senses I shall give up all hope, believing that they are all crazy."
After Blanche wrapped up the post office business, she devoted her time and attention to her children. Her sister, Jennie Law, in a letter of 15 January 1891, expressed her sorrow at learning that Blanche had lost her "situation" and her "hope you will find some pleasant way of making a living, but what it will be, unless a private boarding house, I cannot imagine; it is so very hard for females to find any work to do." Another sister, in a letter of 20 January 1891, written from her home in Merced, California, offered Blanche another perspective: "I wonder if you have leisure now; I should think more time at home and the hourly compan-ionship of the children would be a constant pleasure to you, after the years of constant toil and long hours of separation... ."
The children, however, were growing up and the eldest, Bessie, had married Henry Mood Willcox, of Marion, on 12 February 1890 and moved away. Demie and Maggie were in their late teens in the early 1890s. Maggie was a very popular young woman as evidenced by the numerous notes, dated from 1891 through 1894, in the collection from Darlington suitors. Oscar Baker’s request, dated 18 September 1891, is typical: "Miss Maggie, If agreeable may I have the pleasure of your company to attend the sociable to be at Mrs. Welling this evening." Blanche, the youngest child, aged eight, wrote to an otherwise unnamed uncle and aunt on 19 February 1891: "Mama has left the Post Office and before I knew it... and we all are going to the graded school but I don’t like it much, but Maggie does." During the summer of 1895, Blanche spent a month with her daughter Bessie Willcox, her two young grandsons, and other family members in Saluda, North Carolina. She had been ill for some time and hoped the mountain air would help her recover. In a letter from Saluda, written 10 July, she mentioned her improved condition. "I am getting along very nicely & I think gaining flesh every day," she informed her children. Her condition, however, did not improve after she returned to Darlington in the late summer, and she died in December 1895.
An account of the Crawford family written by an unnamed member of the family around 1905 described the situations of the Law children at that time. Bessie Law Willcox and husband, Henry Mood Willcox, lived in Marion, with their three sons, Junius Law, James Carter and McIver Willcox. Mr. Willcox was in the hardware business with his brother-in-law, Junius Augustus Law, Jr. The anonymous writer also reported, "Demie and Maggie Law for several years have been keeping a dry goods store and doing well - this spring they have opened up a millinery establishment in connection with their store. They are splendid business women and certainly deserve credit - their business is run in the names of D. and M. Law, Darlington, S.C."
The sisters’ dry goods business, located on the west side of the public square in Darlington, flourished in the early years of the twentieth century. They placed large orders with firms in New York and Baltimore. James H. Dunham & Co., Importers and Jobbers of Dry Goods, in New York City, acknowledged receipt of an order from the Misses Law on 17 February 1900 and asked for payment of at least one-half of the estimated $1,500 cost of the goods. Two of the Law sisters were still engaged in the dry goods business when the 1910 federal census was taken; however, Blanche, who had worked in the store in 1900 as a saleswoman, was listed as an office stenographer in the 1910 census. Apparently the Misses Law closed their store before 1920 because in that census year Demie and Maggie were classified as workers in the retail dry goods business. In 1920 Blanche was working in the Darlington County Clerk of Court’s office as an assistant.
The only child of Junius A. Law and Blanche Crawford Law to marry and have children was Bessie Law Willcox. Gulia Elma (Demie), Margaret (Maggie), Junius A., Jr., and Blance Crawford all died unmarried. The Willcox sons, Julius Law, James Carter, and John McIver, therefore, were important in the lives of the Law aunts and uncle, especially after Bessie Willcox, their mother, died in 1904 when the boys were still quite young. McIver lived in the Darlington house owned by his aunts in 1910, and both James C. and McIver were resident there in 1920.
A letter to Maggie, dated 28 April 1912, from "Junie," who was a student at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., acknowledged the receipt of a check. "I know I will enjoy spending it," he remarked. "You all treat us boys too well." He also commented on the high ranking that Wofford had just received from a national education board. "I suppose this will make the Carolina people mad, because they seem to want to class ‘The University’ with the big Universitys of the country, when it is nothing but a college with a law department."
McIver "Kiver" Willcox wrote his aunts on 15 May 1917 from Charleston where he was in school. After he thanked Demie and Maggie for the checks they had sent, he expressed his support for his brother Junie who was seeking a commission in the army. "I believe it is the best thing he can do," McIver remarked. The third brother, James C. Willcox, was in the army in France with the American Expeditionary Forces when he wrote his aunts on 4 August 1918. Typical of censored letters from the front, this one contained little news of the war except for the observation, "They sure raise hell at night." Much of the letter concerned his brothers and their future: "I hope Junie will get in the Officers Training Corp. Make him stick to Engineering, and if Kever has to join make him go with him or join a field Hosp... .He is going to be a doctor anyway... ."
After the war ended, McIver did enter the state medical college in Charleston. In a letter to his aunts, written from Charleston on 23 September 1919, "Kever" announced that he had arrived in the crowded town that day and had taken a "mighty nice room" that he shared with a fellow student who had previously studied medicine at Johns Hopkins.
McIver earned his medical degree in 1923 and spent one year as house physician at the Florence Infirmary before returning to Darlington to set up a private practice. The family also lost one of its members in 1923. Junie Willcox wrote Maggie from Wilmington, North Carolina, on 2 May 1923 and apologized for not visiting her while she was recuperating from an operation at the Florence Infirmary. "I hope you are up and all right in a hurry, and I feel sure you will be," he concluded. However, Maggie died soon after, on 28 October 1923, in a hospital in Columbia, S.C. Demie and Blanche continued to live in the same house in Darlington after Maggie’s death and in 1930, when the census was taken, Demie was working as a bookkeeper for a bank and Blanche was deputy clerk of court. Two of the Willcox nephews, James, an attorney, and McIver, a physician, lived in the Law household. The sisters’ brother, Junius Augustus Law, Jr., died in Darlington 13 October 1932, where he had spent almost thirty years as a building contractor.
In 1934 Blanche began corresponding with her distant cousin John Adger Law, of Spartanburg, S.C., relative to Law family history. Blanche had loaned John "two valuable old papers" that he returned with thanks and an admonition: "I trust you will put [the original papers] where they can be preserved most carefully - specially putting them where they will not be destroyed by fire... ," John recommended in his 9 March 1934 letter.
John Law continued to write Blanche with genealogical queries throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In a letter written 12 July 1937, he commented, "Here I am again - the bad penny that always turns up - now seeking information as to Mr. & Mrs. George McCall and daughters." And again in a letter of 16 May 1941, John Law thanked Blanche for loaning an old family account book. "We spent the greater part of evening before last going over in detail the entries in Mary DuBose Law’s account book, and I plan taking it over today so that my two sisters, Mary and Margaret, can also have the pleasure of looking it over before its return to you," he remarked.
Blanche, with her collection of family papers and documents, was the person to whom other family members turned when they ran into knotty genealogical problems. Vi McIver wrote from Toledo, Ohio, on 15 July 1943, "I have struck a few snags in your records and am asking your help to straighten me out." Blanche was an expert on all branches of her family tree. At the "McIver Gathering" held at Evan’s Mill, Society Hill, on 26 October 1941, she spoke on Roderick McIver. In her professional life, Blanche continued her work with the clerk of court’s office in Darlington in the 1930s, actually serving as the first woman to hold the position of clerk of court in South Carolina. From January 1937 until September 1945 she worked for the Board of Registration for Selective Service for Darlington and from 8 November 1940 to 31 March 1947 she was a member of the Advisory Board for Registrants in the Selective Service System of the United States.
During the 1950s and early 1960s she worked as secretary for her nephew, Dr. J. McIver Willcox. Blanche also continued her interest in history and genealogy. In 1961 she sent an original nineteenth-century diploma of Daniel A. Zimmerman from her collection of family papers to a distant relative in Texas, Arthur Zimmerman. Blanche died 25 January 1967 in a Darlington hospital, a few months shy of her eighty-fifth birthday, and was buried in Grove Hill Cemetery.
Even though most of the family papers and documents in the collection are from the post-Civil War era, a few items survive from the antebellum period. A militia document, "Proceedings of a Court Martial held 20th Jany. 1818 on defa[ulters] at Genl. Review of Nov. 4th 1818 [1817... ]," lists the punishments meted out to three militiamen who violated military rules. One man who failed to attend was cleared after he proved that he "got a substitute to muster in his place." Another man "left his knapsack at home" and was fined fifty cents and a third, who "could not conveniently attend," was fined $3. Another document, a bond signed by Chapman J. Crawford and William H. Crawford to the commissioner of the Court of Equity for Marion District, was not satisfied until 6 February 1868 when Wellington H. Stevenson, W.A. Law and J.A. Law, C.J. Crawford’s sons-in-law, paid the obligation.
A manuscript of sixty-two numbered pages records the reminiscences of Henry Mood Willcox (10 November 1857 - 3 November 1934), Bessie Law’s husband. Written around 1930, this narrative presents, according to Willcox, "interesting facts and occurrences in my life and in the lives of others with whom I have come in touch as I went along." "My father was Judge John Willcox, who moved to Marion [S.C.], in his young manhood from near Carlonton, N.C. where he was born," Henry wrote. He recalled many stories from the Civil War years when he was still a young child. He wrote about an expedition led by a Confederate officer, Major L.A. Durham, against a band of deserters who ravaged the countryside from the security of "a fort in 6 miles of the present town of Dillon, S.C., over which the U.S. Flag floated for several days." A group of these renegades killed an old man named Malcom Clark after he resisted their efforts to stop him as he traveled along a road at night. A son, serving in the Confederate army at the time, returned home after the war and vowed to avenge his father’s death. Henry wrote that the son "learned who the murderers were and proceeded to exterminate them." "He killed 15 and the 2 survivors went West," Willcox reported.
Willcox also recounted stories of the Reconstruction era and the "redemption" of the state by Wade Hampton and his supporters in 1876. Even though not old enough to cast a legal vote in that election, Willcox confessed that he "was asked not only to vote but to repeat [vote more than once] by men I had every confidence in." Willcox entered Wofford College in Spartanburg in the fall of 1876, in his seventeenth year and, in his view, "not well prepared to matriculate." He was deeply impressed with Wofford’s president, Dr. James H. Carlisle, "one of the most convincing and magnetic speakers I ever listened to," he remembered. He also recalled the Wofford professors he knew. "Both of the Duncan professors [father and son] were jolly and full of fun," he wrote, but "Dr.’s Carlisle, Smith & Dupre were of a different type. They wasted very little time with the lighter side of life."
In 1882 Willcox moved to Darlington, S.C., where he taught school for a year and then bought a drug store that he operated until about 1895. In Darlington, a town of about a thousand inhabitants, he found "many of the townsmen... unique and possessed [of] delightful peculiarities and refreshing eccentricities." As one example, he described Henry Brown, "a gentleman of color," known by the people of Darlington as "Dad." "Dad was a veteran of 3 wars," Willcox stated. He was a drummer for a company of soldiers before the Palmetto Regiment went to Mexico and in the Civil War, he "was the drummer for the Darlington Guards... and was in the 1st battle of Manassas... [during which] he personally captured a federal drummer and relieved him of his drum." And "when the war with Spain took place Dad was an old man and it was not thought expedient to take him along," Willcox asserted; however, he convinced the members of his old company to allow him to go along as a cook. When he died, Willcox recalled, he "was given a military funeral by his old co[mpany.]"
Willcox also recorded episodes about members of the infamous Bigham family from Marion County, S.C. Smiley Bigham represented Marion County in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1886 to 1887 and then served in the state Senate from the newly-formed county of Florence from 1890 to 1893. According to Willcox, Senator Bigham had "robbed his mother of her plantation by forging a deed, putting it on record and then destroying the deed. After her death there was no evidence except the forged deed as recorded." "Many of his type of low moral visibility have filled prominent offices since the downfall of the old Hampton democracy and have shaped the destiny of S.C.," he opined.
With the collection is a typed manuscript titled "Willcox Family of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia" compiled by Helen H. McIver. Although undated, the genealogy appears to have been written about 1930. There are also brief histories, genealogical charts or other family records for the Crawford, DuBose, Kolb, Law, Lloyd, Neavil, Salters and Zimmerman families. Three brief sketches, "The Fall of Spanish Fort," "The Bloodless Battle of High Hill Creek," and "Reconstruction Days," focus on the roles of the Law brothers, Junius and John K., in these episodes.
A seven-page manuscript, written by a son or daughter of William Augustus Law and Gulielma Crawford Law, describes the Civil War service of the father. The same account, changed so that Law himself became the narrator, was published with the title "A Story of the War as Told by William Augustus Law to His Children - Around the Fireside," in Treasured Reminiscences Collected by the John K. McIver Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy (Columbia: The State Company, 1911), pages 35 - 37, with the notation "Written January 19th, 1903." Typescripts of selected published material, including data on Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches in eastern South Carolina are also present.
A thirty-one-page typescript of a story, "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth," uses the visit of Grover Cleveland to the South Carolina Low Country as the backdrop for a tale set in George-town and written in Gullah dialect. Another unusual manuscript is a two-page genealogical record of a family of dogs, that records the "pedigree of two male hound pups, whelped 6 June 1874, bred by Thos. W. Holloway, Pomaria, S.C."
Among the printed items in the collection are an invitation to a "Base Ball Pic-Nic" sponsored by St. John’s Academy, 12 June 1874; an invitation to the commencement celebration of South Carolina College, sponsored by the Clariosophic and Euphradian Societies on 21 and 22 June 1886, with a depiction of the college library, now the South Caroliniana Library, in the background; and a folded card, dated 1891, with a list of officers of the Presbyterian Church, Darlington, S.C.
Other publications include two issues of The Chronicle, Vol. 4, Nos. 25, 26 (22, 29 June 1945), a publication founded, edited and published by Woods Dargan from 28 August 1942 to 22 October 1943, that contains Darlington area news, and a copy of the Darlington Presbyterian Church Directory for 1958. A copy of the Historical Sketch of the Darlington County Agricul-tural Society, 1846 - 1946, by J.M. Napier, the organization’s secretary, included in the collection, has been housed with the library’s published materials.
More than one hundred family photographs are in the collection; however, few are identified. The earliest item is a carte-de-visite with the backmark of Geo[rge] S. Cook, who was active in Charleston from 1865 through the early 1880s. The image is of a man who resembles Evander M. Law as he appeared in a photograph taken during the Civil War. A studio card, ca. 1890, shows two young children in a goat cart. Two images of a soldier, probably J. McIver Willcox, were taken ca. 1918. Three small images show the devastation from a fire, probably one that ravaged the businesses around the public square in Darlington in the 1920s. Other family photographs date from the 1930s through the 1950s. Also present is a pair of portraits, one of a man, the other of a woman, both unidentified, that appear to date from the mid nineteenth century.