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).