This collection highlights some of the best of the Charleston Museum Archives. Currently featured is the Charleston Signal Book. The Signal Book was kept by Union Officer Ensign LaRue P Adams during the Siege of Charleston between August and September of 1863.
The collection consists of sixteen oversize sheets listing the free men of color who comprised various fire companies in the city of Charleston in the years 1863 and 1864. Nine different companies are included – Engine companies numbers 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 as well as a Hook and Ladder Company. There are two sheets, nearly exact duplicates, for all companies except 2 and 8; there are many minor variations from sheet to sheet. The headings on the printed forms include date of enrollment, name, age, height, eyes, hair, complexion, occupation, residence and remarks, the last column always being empty. Information for all other categories is given, with the date of enrollment in most forms being the same for all enrollees, except for those men who were members of the Hook and Ladder Company, suggesting that the date might actually be the day that the rolls were taken. These sheets supply a type of visual identification for Charleston free men of color not available in any other known sources.
Collection contains handwritten minutes of the Board of Directors of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad Company, Charleston, South Carolina from 1863 to 1867. Minutes include financial accounts (1864), a report (1865) of the stockholders' meeting, a list (1866) of bondholders and their bonds, reports, resolutions, and copies of letters sent by the company. Many entries for 1866 and 1867 concern creditors.
This collection consists mostly of the correspondence, with some related materials, of the Barnwell family of Beaufort and lowcounty South Carolina. Topics covered by various family members include the solace of religion; ministering in various Episcopal Churches in South Carolina (1830s-1860s); temperance; conflict and disagreement (1830s-1860s) with the Roman Catholic Church and Father John Fielding’s conversion to the Episcopal church; the sermons and opinions of Presbyterian minister James Henley Thornwell; St. Peter’s Church, Charleston, SC; religious missions to China (1830s-1840s) and Cuba (1845-1846), mentioning the smuggling of bibles there; student life at South Carolina College (1840s-1860s) and the University of Virginia (1850s); teaching at South Carolina College (1850s), with mentions of Dr. Francis Lieber and other faculty (1840s-1860s); travel along the East Coast, including visits to Monticello (1845), Weyers Cave, Salt Sulphur, Red Sulphur and other Virginia Springs; social life of women and men in Beaufort, Charleston, Columbia, Edisto Island, SC, and elsewhere; studying and travelling abroad, especially Germany (1850s, 1869); and other topics. There are brief mentions of various SC historians including Joseph Johnson, William James Rivers, David Ramsay and William Gilmore Simms, with a letter from historian Alexander Garden (1823) and one from Francis D. Hawks (1857); care of Civil War wounded in Virginia hospitals; a Columbia, SC, celebration for returning soldiers from the Mexican War; escaping from the Union forces that captured Jefferson Davis; cuisine in France; and other miscellaneous topics. Collection also includes Florida emancipation papers (1837) from a free person of color, George P. Cark, to slave George Swelly; and letters from Will Barnwell, a slave in the Barnwell family. The collection contains one letter (1846) from John C. Calhoun; a few (1847) from Christopher G. Memminger; and one (1865) from Eliza Fludd.
The Barnwell family members present in the papers include St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Charleston, SC, minister William H. W. Barnwell (1806-1863), his brother Senator Robert Woodward Barnwell (1801-1882); his wife Catherine Osborn Barnwell Barnwell (1809-1886); her father Edward Barnwell (1785-1860); her step grandmother Mary Hutson Wigg Barnwell (1774-1854); her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Barnwell Fuller (1797-1872), her brother Edward Barnwell (1813-1885) and her sister-in-law Anne Barnwell (1799-1846). Also included are letters of William H. W. and Catherine Osborn Barnwell’s children, including Minister Robert Woodward Barnwell (1831-1863); Edward Barnwell (1832-1908); Stephen Elliott Barnwell (1842-1923); Catherine Osborn Barnwell (1835-1920); Elizabeth Barnwell (1837-1916); Esther Hutson Barnwell (1838-1925); William Finley Barnwell (1840-1861); Ann Barnwell Mazyck (1843-1915); Joseph Walker Barnwell (1846-1930); and Allard Belin Barnwell (1848-1899).