Jefferson Davis Trail Stop #1
April 9 – Robert E. Lee surrenders Army of Northern Virginia.
April 10 – Davis receives word of Lee’s surrender; Davis and party leave Danville by rail for Greensboro, NC; Davis and Secretary of War Breckinridge confer with Generals Johnston and Beauregard over military situation.
April 15 – Abraham Lincoln assassinated; Davis and party continue flight from Greensboro toward Charlotte, NC by wagon and horse with cavalry escort; Davis sends his personal secretary, Burton Harrison, to escort Varina and the children deeper south. The fleeing Confederate government pass through Salisbury and Concord, NC.
April 17 -Davis and cabinet arrive in Charlotte; Davis learns of Lincoln’s assassination.
April 18 – Davis leaves Charlotte accompanied by five “demi-brigades” of cavalry, numbering between 2,000 and 3,000 troops; Johnston surrenders the Army of Tennessee to Sherman; Davis and party border into South Carolina and arrive in Fort Mill.
April 26 – Davis stays at Springfield Plantation in Fort Mill
The group stayed their first night, April 26, in South Carolina in Fort Mill. President Davis spent the night at Springfield, in the home of Colonel Andrew Baxter Springs, just north of the town. The Confederate Cabinet and their staff stayed at the home of Colonel William E. White in Fort Mill.”
That night, in an effort to relieve himself of some of the pressing political matters, President Davis was said to have indulged in a game of marbles with Postmaster-General Reagan, Secretary of War Breckinridge, Secretary of State Benjamin and the two young sons of Colonel Springs. According to tradition, Davis was teamed with Reagan and Eli Springs, while Benjamin, Breckinridge and Johnny Springs composed the opposing team. Secretary of the Navy Mallory later wrote, the game lasted nearly an hour and not withstanding the skills of his opponents, Breckenridge, who plays the best game of marbles of any public man since Judge Marshall, and who had his usual good luck, came off victorious. The youngsters, two bright, intelligent Southern boys, will never forget the ardently disputed game of marbles with Mr. Davis, who to their infinite delight seemed as much at home with the words of caution and command from “knuckle down at taw” to “roundings” as themselves.
Jefferson Davis in S.C. by Sam Thomas, 1998 the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (See book in PDF form this page.)
Leaving Springfield, Davis’s party traveled a short distance to meet at the White’s plantation home….
See additional information on Jefferson Davis as well as local history below…
SPRINGFIELD PLANTATION AT FORT MILL, S.C.
City Directories and History: Springfield Plantation, on the old Nations Ford Road, is one of York County’s earliest and most important homes. Having been constructed on the old Nation Ford
Road, sometimes called the Saluda Road, this house features exquisite architectural features uncommon to home of the early 19th century in South Carolina’s piedmont region. The house was constructed with fine materials by artisans who were highly skilled in their workmanship and knowledge of designs. The interior features a handsome staircase and beautifully carved fan motif mantels. The home is currently used as the headquarters of the Springs-Close Foundation.
Aug 18, 1848 – From A. B. Springs to his father, John Springs III: “Mordock has contracted for the Masonry of the R. R. Bridge across the Catawba. He is to commence operation the first of October. He wrote to Leroy offering him $100 pr. Month for his wagon & teams for the months of October, Nov. & Dec. & authorizes him to hire two men on the same terms. (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
Springfield Plantation House is one of the oldest documented frame buildings in York County and certainly the oldest in the Fort Mill area. In January 1806, John Springs III took his new bride, Mary, to live at Springfield Plantation. John Springs, Jr. is supposed to have built the house in 1790. As no solid evidence for this date exists, the date of construction can be considered sometime prior to 1806. The house has never left the ownership of the Springs family, which has provided economic, political, and agricultural leadership to the area and the nation. The two-story residence underwent a remodeling and enlargement project in the 1850s, and was restored in 1946, at which time electricity and plumbing were added. In addition, Springfield Plantation served as one of the final meeting places of the Confederate cabinet during the last days of the confederacy. On April 26, 1865, President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America, five members of his cabinet, and a cavalry escort spent the night at the plantation. The following
morning, Davis assembled his cabinet and high-ranking military officers on the front lawn of the house and conferred on future actions and the most advantageous route for further retreat. Andrew Baxter Springs, then owner of Springfield, advised that the cabinet should separate to avoid capture. It is believed that the group stayed at Springfield for two or three days before continuing their flight across South Carolina. Listed in the National Register September 12, 1985. [Courtesy of the S.C. Dept. of Archives and History] Scots – Irish Heritage and History – SC Civil War Heritage Site
The RH Herald reported on Oct.28, 1880 – “The gin house of Mr. Baxter Springs recently caught fire. Help arrived in time to save the building and some of his cotton.”
John Springs, III builder of Springfield Plantation – (John Springs III, (1782-1853) who occupied the house beginning around 1806, was a successful farmer who owned over 3,200 acres of land. His successful business investments helped to create some of South Carolina’s economic growth in the years before the Civil War. In 1836 he entered a partnership which formed the Bank of Hamburg, and owned stock in at least three other banks. In 1845 he became one of the initial partners in the Graniteville Manufacturing Company, one of South Carolina’s first textile operations. John Springs was also one of the pioneers in the development of the railroads in the South Carolina. He was president of the convention called in Charlotte, North Carolina, to initiate a railroad line between Charlotte and Columbia. He became one of the largest investors in the line, as well as other fledgling railroad companies. John Springs, III, was also prominent in local and state politics and government. He was a member of the South Carolina Legislature from 1828 to 1834, favoring a strong states-rights stand within the union. He was serving the legislature during the Nullification controversy in 1832. In 1839 John Springs served as one of the commissioners who negotiated the 1840 treaty with the Catawba Indian Nation at nearby Nation Ford. John Springs III was attending a board meeting for the Bank of Hamburg when he took ill at the Planter’s Hotel in Augusta, GA & died a few days later with his wife Elizabeth Hill Springs at his side. SC Historical Magazine. July 1994.), son of Richard Springs (born 22 Oct 1754 in Jonesneck, Delaware) Revolutionary War soldier (1776 in North Carolina; placed on the pension roll of Mecklenburg county, 1831, for service of private, lieutenant and captain in the North Carolina militia) (lived in Providence & Clem’s Branch), father of Andrew Baxter Springs (Andrew Baxter Springs, (1819-1886) who inherited Springfield from his father John Springs III, in the 1850’s, was regarded as an agricultural pioneer in upper South Carolina, adopting new and innovative agricultural techniques. He was elected to the South Carolina Legislature in 1852, as a delegate to the South Carolina Secession Convention in 1860, & the state convention which ratified the constitution of the Confederacy in 1861. He became a Commissioner for Subscription for the Confederate government and was charged with the responsibility of raising supplies and rallying recruits. He attained the rank of colonel in the Confederate Army.) He along with Samuel Elliott White were present at the last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet at the White Homestead in Fort Mill, SC. (Information written and submitted to R&R by the Close Archives – Fort Mill, S.C. – 2017)
STORE ACCOUNT BOOK OF J & E SPRINGS, 1806-1834
We are excited that we are able to print the following valuable and fascinating store ledger dating from early last century. It is very likely the oldest York County store account book in existence. The first entry is in 1806. The next-oldest one known was kept in the 1840s.
John Springs, III (1782-1853) kept the book for a store he owned at Springfield plantation in the Fort Mill area with his brother Eli until Eli’s death in February 1833. The last entry is in 1834 when the business was known as “Springs and Dinkins.” Springs kept a very careful and precise record in a neat handwriting that makes it possible to read in spite of the crossing through of accounts when they were paid. While the book only shows those items charged and not those for which the customer paid cash, it reveals in general what wares were carried, what customers most often purchased, and the extent of barter.
The number one item sold was whiskey. Springs had a tavern license and built a Still House (listed in the book). Frontiersmen (and York District had the characteristics of a frontier before the 1830s) were heavy consumers of whiskey. Probably the second most frequently entered item on the books was salt. John Springs had a cotton gin and he purchased a considerable amount of cotton in the seed. These transactions are shown in the book. While the date of the invention and the name of the inventor of the cotton gin is controversial, the usual date given is 1794. Springs and his customers obviously at the beginning stages in the development of the cotton ginner-cotton grower relationship.
Ginned cotton sold for high as 25 cents a pound. The high price of cotton made men wealthy and created a demand for more slave labor. Subsistence farming with its reliance on a variety of grains and root crops is replaced by a single crop—cotton. This shift in labor and the uses of land will also spur a westward migration small farmers lacking the capital to purchase slaves and higher-priced land. The insights gained from Springs’ account book are particularly valuable in helping us to understand what was happening in York County in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. It is interesting that there is not a single mention of linen cloth. Many of John Springs’ customers wove cloth and spun thread which they brought to him to pay for their purchases. He entered the amounts, the price, and the nature of the product. It appears that cotton was being woven to a greater degree, and earlier, than we have previously thought.
John Springs wore other hats, or “Hatts,” than a ginner and cotton buyer. The account book reveals he was a banker for his neighbors. He contracted labor and services for “hailing,” splitting rails, furnishing plank, shingles and stonework, as well as hiring the labor for the building of their houses. He handled matters at court for his neighbors—paying their taxes for them and, in at least two cases, handling their estates. The estate records of William Pettus and Frederick Dinkins were entered in detail. Because some of the estate records are repetitious and may be found elsewhere in York County Estate Records, we have not copied all of the detail but have abstracted the most interesting and informative parts. The store accounts are given in full. That which follows is published by courtesy of Close family descendants of John Springs, III.
John Springs, III, was 23 years of age at the time and had married his cousin, Mary Springs, on January 9, 1806. Their mansion, Springfield, still standing, was in the process of construction at the time. (Courtesy of the YCGHS, MARCH 1990)
Of all of the early settlers in the Catawba country of South Carolina, the Springs family, that was established nearby, seems to have had the most consistent success. The details of this family are beautifully recited by Katherine Wooten Springs. John Springs, the third, she notes, had firmly established this family by the time of his death in 1853. He built Springfield, c. 1805, which is situated on Highway 21N in Fort Mill. John Springs, in later life, when travelling abroad, often wrote to his son, Andrew Baxter Springs, and he addressed these letters to “Spring Hill, York District.” Springfield, the family home, was restored in 1947 by Colonel Elliott White Springs. Also near Nations Ford on the west side of the Catawba was another family plantation called “Springsteen.” Other Springs’ property was located up and down the Catawba, including that in Pleasant Valley, Lancaster County. The Springs name is found quite frequently in the county records of York and Lancaster counties. In the Minutes of the Commissioner of Roads for York District in 1817 is a notation that the treasurer paid John Springs $185 for erecting a bridge over Steele’s Creek. John Springs was also elected one of the road commissioners for York. Many other references can be seen in these records.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
SPRINGFIELD POST OFICE: Historian Harvey Teal’s, S.C. Postal History, 1989 states: Springfield PO was established in 1814 by John Springs and operated about two years.
Also see the MORE INFORMATION link under the primary picture for further details and a significant research article on John Springs and Hiram Hutchison.
Other important connections to this site include: The White Homestead, Springstein Plantation, Jefferson Davis’s Flight and Thomas Hoover’s home in York, S.C. Mr. Hoover was the contractor of the White Homestead.
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NEWS FROM SPRINGFIELD – Part I
(The following excerpts from these 1830s letters written by members of the family John Springs III of Springfield, Fort Mill township are bits of information about the neighbors—their marriages, deaths and illnesses. The originals of the letters, more than 4,000 in all, are in the Southern History collection of the University of North Carolina.) 12th Dec 1837. To Baxter Springs:” My cotton has turned out remarkably well, I shall make on the two places upwards of 90 Bales., though I am selling it for low prices. The old Pamunkey Indian March 32 is dead, and Wm. Boyes. Young Jim Alderson married to Tommy Kimbrels Daughter, and your Uncle Andrews Daughter Jane last Thursday to a Mountain sprout (from Burke the name of Faulkner), 19 years of age and weighing 220. Austin and Sophia were among the witnesses and on their return Sophia remained in Charlotte to enter school _ I hope you will exercise much diligence to improve your time and opportunities in storing your mind with useful information. It is natural for me to have large hopes and expectations from you, as well your Relatives and Friends will look for you to prepare to make yourself active and a useful member of society.33 In Haste Affectionately your Father, John Springs.” 30 Dec. 1837: To Baxter Springs:”… on the first of this month I sold another lot of cotton .. .making in all 92 bales this fall 72 of which I have hauled with my own wagons. … Austin has had a brash ? been quite sick, looks worsted. The rest of us are well. I have the Typhus fever among my Negroes, it was that Joe died of about two weeks ago. I lost little Richard. Janus has been as low as any person I ever saw to live. He is on the mend but this bad winter weather is against him and he is far from being out of danger and Yellow Alfred has had the same fever now for about a week. Dr. Harris says there is much danger of it going through the family. Mr. Robert Mursh married a Catawba woman and served as assistant minister of Flint Hill Baptist Church. Baxter Springs was then a student at South Carolina College, now Univ. of S. C.
Bell stays with me the next year. I have got a new hand (Eli Bales) for my lower place, and, Austin has moved Mr. Jennings his wife and 5 children into the house with him. Mr. Kee is ill of Typhus fever. Young Jim Alderson married to Tommy Kimbrels (Kimbrell’s) daughter about a month ago and they now have a Son or a Daughter. Henry Fields married to John Bennets last daughter. Wm. Bowden to Edmund Smith’s second Daughter. James Mills to Betsy Alderson and I believe 1 stated in my last that Jane Springs was married to a Mountain Sprout Mr. Faulkner &c. Your affectionate Father, John Springs” July 14, 1838. To Brother (probably Baxter Springs): “I received your letter by N. Hutchison & have postponed answering it until after the fourth of July, expecting that I would have something more interesting to communicate. … I will commence by informing you where I spent the Fourth. I attended the celebration at Lancasterville. We had an exhibition there—two nights performance & a comedy on the morning of the 4th. A fine oration by John Williams a young lawyer of that village. A dinner & a ball at night well attended. There was something like fifty ladies at it, your old chum was there—Wm Barnes. He told me that he was looking for you there. By the by his Dulcinea was also there-a Miss Brown, it is said that they are engaged how true it is 1 cannot say. Our cousin Margaret Harris was also at the Ball. Allen Green paid his humble obeisance to her by falling down before her, in dancing, as he was turning her—that is the best evidence of a man doing his best I am not doing anything for myself in the matrimonial line ___ I saw Leonidas Spratt about a week since he is teaching school in Providence he discourses as learnedly as ever… .we have a Regimental Review at Ebenezer on the 9th of August which I shall be compelled to attend Your affectionate brother, R. A. Springs [Richard Austin Springs] 26th July 1838: To Baxter Springs: “… .Nanny had a premature birth some 4 or 5 weeks past. Has lingered on and will I fear finally die. I am at home now on her account… At a celebration on the 4th at Peoples store they burst a cannon. Killed dead Mr. Patton, so seriously injured a young Mr. Buoys, that one arm has been amputated at the shoulder, also wounded a young Mr. Peoples. On Sunday night the 15th Mr. Wm. McKee & Wallace Harris attempt to take a Negro who had eloped a few days previous from the former who he had lived last January belonging to Robert Spratt. The Negro after leaving apparently submitted to be tied, drew a knife and lunged it into McKee. Harris struck at him with a stick, he then stabbed him. This took place at H. M. White’s. Mr. White and Mr. Kimbrel hearing some noise went to the kitchen, and found both the young men holding their intestines in their hands. McKee died Tuesday the 17th and Harris Friday the 20th. The Negro was taken Monday night the 16th, tried on Tuesday the 17th, hung on Friday the 20th and his head stuck on a pole at the fork of the road upper end of Dr. Moore’s Plantation. Your Aunts Harris & Ross are at Creswell Springs affectionately your Father John Springs.” 13th Nov 1838. To A. B. Springs: “Miss Sarah Pettus (of Stephen) is married to a Baptist Preacher Mr. Braker [Breaker]. This makes three Baptist Preachers in the course of three months have taken wives in this neighborhood and they go in for the handsomest and richest. I think the young men ought to assemble themselves together and remonstrate against any more young Baptist Preachers being permitted to come to Flint Hill.” Your father, John Springs. 14 Feb. 1839. To Baxter Springs: “…. You say there has been a reorganization of the Cadet Company and as you did not accept an appointment, I hope you will continue as a Member. 1 think and a good and useful exercise and would have advised you at any rate to have taken a sergeant’s place. The first Sergeant is an active Post, 1 before remarked to you. Military exercise I think a great improvement to the graces and Manners, leaves a Man to stand out to, to walk systematically and gracefully to mark time & is a useful accomplishment. It is pleasing to see a Man whatever he undertakes to do well and you may likely (if you live) be required to do Military duty in some way or other till you attain 45 years of age… .Mr. Henry Hunter was 16 married last Thursday to Miss Massey Clawson, a great wedding. I heard from Wm E. White that Joseph Mack White has taken a Frolick or Rowdy, since he returned to Athens, got into an affray that cost him 70 or 80 Dollars and it was with some difficulty he got reinstated in College …. Affectionately your Father John Springs”
23 Mar 1839. To Baxter Springs: “Leroy is not yet gone to Mississippi, but understand him and Austin are both to start on Monday the 25th have not seen either of them and can’t conceive any good they are to effect by the trip more than to spend money. … Dr. J. M. Harris has lost his eldest Son and Elijah Cunningham is Dead, since 1 left. Passing through York I learned that young Mr. Clawson was to be married Thursday evening to Miss Martha Williams Daughter of Col. Tom Williams I am affectionately your Father John Springs” 16 May 1839. To Baxter Springs: “Your last letter is dated 14 April, you certainly don’t write often or they don’t come to here. I have not heard the result of your tests. Young Mr. Harvey Harris died on the 7th his Mother on the 9th your Aunt Ross on the 11*, three funerals I attended last week. Dr. Ross seems in great distress having no child or one to fill up the void. William, Solomon & Shop Alfred are all in the House and I fear won’t be able to do any good this Summer, if they live. They are in a lingering way. That I have never had any before and the balance of my hands won’t be able to work my crop and save the small grain. John Maguire married to Ellen Richardson. A great celebration is to take place in Charlotte on Monday the 20th. You perhaps know that Mecklenburg claims to have declared Independence 20 May 1775. Do write me. – John Springs
NEWS FROM SPRINGFIELD—Part 2
(The following excerpts from these 1840s letters written by members of the family John Springs III of Springfield, Fort Mill township include bits of information about the neighbors—their marriages, deaths and illnesses. The originals of the letters, more than 4,000 in all, are in the Southern History collection of the University of North Carolina.) 13 June 1842: To Andrew Baxter Springs, studying law in Camden with York District native Thomas Withers, from his father John Springs: “I now forward a check for two hundred dollars. I never have yet, out of the thousands of dollars I have furnished you and my other away from home, had one statement to show how they have been expended. I know this is not right, and I have been remiss in my duty that 1 have not enforced it by order for 1 have always requested each one to do so… .1 heard a man say that you were sitting for Mittag to paint your portrait, but I did not believe it. Nevertheless, it may be true. If so, I hope you will not call that a necessary expense. And besides a great piece of vanity and folly! What have you ever done to render your likeness a matter of interest to future ages? A man ought to marry, clear a field, plant a tree, write a book, or perform some meritorious deeds to perpetuate his name before he thinks of leaving his likeness as a bequest to posterity.”
To Baxter Springs from John Springs, 5 July 1842: “We have had much sickness in the neighborhood which is very unusual in June which 1 have heretofore considered one of the healthiest months in the year. It must have been caused somehow from the very cool nights, succeeded by a very hot sun in the day, for there was no stagnant waters. Ezekiel Elms and his oldest children have been extremely ill. Mrs. Kee (?) and Elijah Darnell each lost their youngest children. Sam McKee of Alabama is dead…. I was yesterday in Steel Creek where there was a tremendous gathering of the people. Mr. Watt commenced by Prayer. Young Tom Grier read the Declaration prefaced by appropriate remarks of some 8 or 10 minutes length, and acquitted himself with great credit I have never heard it done better. He decidedly surpassed the Orator a distinguished man Wm. J Alexander who was evidently unprepared, but if he had not even ten minutes of preparation I would have expected more, it was a very feeble effort”
To Baxter Springs from his father, 18 July 1842: (Referring to illnesses about the community around Springfield plantation)…. “bilious intermittent fever and no slight affliction but some distressing sickness. E. Withers, Dr. Suggs & Mrs. E. Elms & others are now extremely ill, fortunately as yet not many cases have proved fatal James Moore continues to suffer much from Rheumatism.”
To Andrew Baxter Springs from his father, 1 Aug 1842: “I stated to you I did not believe what I myself in Person heard a Man say in Charlotte and would scarcely have done so if half a dozen more had confirmed it thinking it so vain, Foolish, out of time & so impudent and entertaining a very different opinion of your good sense, prudence and discretion. He was asked when Mr. [John F. G., a portrait painter] Mittag was coming up he replied shortly. ‘Mittag said as soon as he could get done a job or two on hand, he had one yet to take or finish for Mr. Springs.”
To A. B. Springs from John Springs, 13 Aug 1842:”… day before yesterday at James Moore’s to the Dinner made up of the Springs & Moore Family. Your Aunt Peggy’s People all present but 6 Harris & Leonidas, Dr. Wilson, 13 Davidsons, Leroy, I Caldwell and some married race of the of the Moores were not invited, your Uncle Clark was absent, not well & a, with Boils. Alek Moore & Alfred absent of account of some indisposition in their families. Austin [John Springs’ eldest son] is at Wilson Springs. Some 30 or 40 present and I have not seen a company enjoy themselves more. The Girls danced, the Boys stamped, the old Ladies gabbled, the Men talked, Dr. M. Moore laughed, the Dogs barked, the Geese hollowed, the Hens Cackled and the Chickens crowed, even your Uncle James seemed for the time to forget his rheumatism ”
To A, B. Springs from John Springs, 13 Aug 1842: “Night before last Webb’s Mill was burned to ashes, not known how. Evidently by design no fire having been about the mill. A few days since I had J. Sembler and J. Maguyer bound over for their appearance at court for secretly and severally retailing without license and the latter for trading with Negroes, and produced positive proof in both cases. In the latter only by one witness, J. Johnson who lived there at the time my man Alfred took it in bag full on a horse he told Maguyer he did not fellow enough to dodge and fool them. Sembler broke ground from Richardson after he was arrested and then sent me a message he would leave the State if I would drop it, but I think the best way will be to prosecute the case conviction and hold that in Tennessee over him. In your next statement to me, what fine or punishment by law is inflicted for each offense(?) If you don’t know you can find out by search or inquiry. Address me White Sulphur Springs, Virginia.”
To A. B. Springs from John Springs, 6 Oct 1842: ” I regret much to hear Mr. Withers is not improved in his hearing. How distressing to a man with high attainments, flattering prospects in the midst of his usefulness to be thus incapacitated for future action…. No deaths in the immediate neighborhood save George Cathey but a number at a little distance of acquaintances, John Coffee & wife, Mrs. Oren Pierce in my absence Sarah and her child both died. Nancy St Cynthia in the meantime brought forth a young one each. My Negroes are all up except little Caleb, quite sick. Bill has kept up, his wife now very sick. Fuller has had a brush, now up but his wife very ill.”
To A. B. Springs from John Springs, 19* Oct 1842: “Sickness & Death still pervade the land. Robert Watson and your Aunt Sally Harris of Charlotte are dead and Mrs. William Kimbrell at home and the fatality has been greater all through the District.”
To Baxter Springs from John Springs, 28 Nov 1842: ”… and ought to teach us all that this is not our abiding City, that we must all go hence, for we must all die and are as water spent on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. Of which 1 was sensibly reminded only on yesterday riding to church in company with [Robert] Bell & Sophia, when my —- cold and in way of play very suddenly sprung and pitched as to throw me off my balance and I received a most dangerous fall on a hard road, but somehow saved myself from injury by easing myself down by the stirrup, though my shoulders & head first struck the ground but feel not the least hurt but I view it almost as a miracle as did those that saw me. A young man, a Son of Mr. Frews, was found Dead before Isaac Hendersons door yesterday morning when he came out to feed his stock. The Youth left Charlotte about midnight from a Drunken Rabble. By the by while relating this mournful catastrophe, I do hope and Trust you neither drink strong drink nor smoke Cigars. Touch not the wine when it looketh red in the Glass.’ If as be you have commenced these habits, I pray you received the admonition of a Father (whose interest and anxious desires for your welfare I am sure you don’t distrust). DESIST. Touch not handle not the unhallowed thing. There are other vices & immoralities on which I might admonish you, but a Father’s confidence, renders him almost fearless as regards your course, and on the first the character of Tidebot (?) Titmouse which you have read is a good lesson ”
To Baxter Springs from John Springs, 27 Dec 1842:” Dr. Colthorps Daughter ran off and married Sam Blue. Mr. Fullwood’s daughter another Suggs. The Dr. moved to Yorkville, and so we go.”
To Andrew Baxter Springs from his father, John Springs III, 3 Apr 1843: “James Johnson is dead. I understand from Austin T. Whitesides’ wife is not expected to live.41 Alsey Bennett (or Buddy) married to Nelly Cheek’s daughter had to run away at both ends. Jackson Kimbrell to the amiable and accomplished Miss Eady Hunter, George Pettus’ step-daughter (Miss Glover) to somebody. Wm. Sturgis to Miss Lanier. Mr. Drewry Wilson Esq. of while he was building the ark notwithstanding the Prophecy of Miller & his Disciples that the world is about to be an end about this time.”
To Baxter Springs from John Springs, 20 May 1843: “Thomas Richardson has lost his wife, the youngest daughter of Jack Kimbrell also dead. . . .Dr. Charles Clawson is located at J. P. Smith’s.” To Baxter Springs from John Springs, 17 Jul 1843: “Bell42 has suffered much and been confined near three weeks and I fear will not be up soon, a kind of Fever, but his Principle complaint is in the Head. Mrs (?) big Billy Potts of Mecklenburg, Mrs. Adam Ivy of Lancaster (sister of Major Morrow) dead. Mrs. Strong also, her second Daughter married and all moved off to Georgia except her son Mason. … The Indian Land tax reduced to one cent per Acre and the State Tax reduced 1/12 as I understand! What a Political Hobby. The State in debt upwards of $5,000,000 and the Taxes reduced and the responsibility thrown upon some future Legislation to again raise them, for raised they must be if we ever pay the Debt but the embarrassment and distress of the Dear, Dear, People must be relieved ”
26 Sept 1843. To Andrew B. Springs from John Bell (overseer):” I have had a sick family since you left. Sophia is not well yet but better I am not well myself Jennet & Martha, Alfred’s eldest child is very Sick Jennet was very suddenly attacked yesterday while working in the garden by drinking a heavy drought of cold water. She commenced vomiting which cramped her Stomach and bowels to such a rate that she broke some of her blood vessels which caused her to throw up blood freely & discharge it copiously from the Bowels I was over the creek picking out cotton. Betsy Niven sent for me in haste but before I could get to her she was raving distracted & as it was the first case of the kind that ever came under my observation I was pretty much at a loss to know what to do but I called fourth all my skill and went to work as this case was one of urgency & would not wait until I could get a Doctor to her. I sent for Harris but could not get him & was forced to take Gawson I got him about 11 o’clock I told him the medicine that I had prescribed he said it was perfectly right that he could have done nothing if he had been hear. She has got vomiting blood but still discharges it from the Bowels, it is very sickly in this neighborhood. Joe has just past hear on the hunt of doctor Harris for Isaac Fuller’s second child & says it is very Dangerous he has been riding since day light & cannot get on track of him. I told him if he could find the Doctor to tell him to come hear as soon as possible. Times is alarming hear. John Niven son of D. Niven died last Friday the 22 the inst. He eat his dinner hearty the Day before & the by dark was a corpse. Boswell Partlow died Sunday following & I hear that there is no hopes of the widow Sarah Parks. I have only named the cases that is considered dangerous there is sacredly a house in the neighborhood that the whole family is well. I saw R. A. Springs 43 yesterday. He says his family is all well but very Sickly on his side & he has a notion to cut out again till times gets better.”
NEWS FROM SPRINGFIELD—Part 3
19 Nov 1843. To Baxter Springs from John Springs: “I released John Sembler, put on the stand and convicted Maguyer in a few words of retailing without a license & could as easily convicted him of Negro trading.11
20 Dec 1843. To Baxter Springs from John Springs: “I am very lonely here. Betsy Niven keeping House little company for me and I don’t like the arrangement and Sophia 43 don’t like to stay alone with me.”
1 Apr 1844. To Baxter Springs from John Springs:”… a number of Deaths in the neighborhood since we left the 15 Feb. Joe Hunter two Daughters & a grandchild, Jefferson Miller and his Negro Man his Brother-in-law R. C. Potts and others which I don’t at present recollect. Jesse Nivens is now lying not expecting to live & one of Sam Johnson’s Children. I returned from York Court Friday, Judge Butler presiding several Duty state cases & the most from the Indian Land. State vs. Garrison, a Lad 18 for the murder of Allen brought in excusable Homicide. State vs. Bums unlawfully beating a Negro of Stephen Pettus unprovoked abuse found guilty, fine and imprisonment, have not heard to what extent Rachel Thom vs. Dan’l Niven Bastardy, a tedious case a number of witnesses. Guilty and Daniel is to be sold out today have not heard what he sold for or who purchased.4412 or 15 Indian Land People met and would insist on running my name as a Candidate to Represent the Indian Land part of the District there being no one East of the Court House though Captain Avery since told me he was one and a Clay6 man. I told my Friends my Politics and that I would not sacrifice my principles for a Place of Honor or Profit… .Candidates Witherspoon & Dr. Allison for the Senate, W. C. Black, Capt. Hardin, Capt. Hood, Capt. Giles, James Murphey, all from the Western part of the District. Capt. Avery46 & myself on the East and am sorry that Capt. Avery is said to be rather personality unpopular, called] rather Aristocratic. I dislike having my mind excited and will guard as much as possible against iL Had a Clay Party have organized through the State I would have offered of my own accord and probably for the Senate ______ 6 Apr 1844. To A. B. Springs from John Springs II: *Much sickness prevails in the Country, Mr. Matthew Wallace 8 miles S. E. of Charlotte told me he had lost 10 Negroes since October ____________ Mr. Luckey lost 6 [Negroes] within a few weeks and was dangerously well himself. Wm. Wadkins Pettus buried one Sunday last Joshua P. Smith, Mr. Crenshaw and Mr. Tom Kendrick, all very iU/ When I returned from Charlotte Court last Thursday, found 5 of my Negroes very sick.—Dave now lies dangerously ill… Arthur.. .Sarah.. .Alek .has not done anything since Christmas.. .Bilious Pleurisy or Neumoroa with high Fevers. Feb. IT6 1848. Letter from Andrew Baxter Springs to his father John Springs: *. … the neighborhood is still unhealthy & pneumonia still prevailing old Mrs. Spratt was buried on Sunday last. Eli Kimbrell on yesterday. Amanda who was suffering of vein pain when I last wrote, has recovered . The old man Parks is still alive, but don’t think he can continue so much longer. The Sale of Samuel Johnston’s property Deceased continued for two days and most of the property sold remarkably well. A good portion bought by some of the Legatees who will be worse than nothing before a great while. The Negroes I did not think high compared with past sales. But Clawson put up two that was left of the Pettus sale, that went it Boy Tim 30 years & upwards, low statue, $780, Girl, ordinary, $615 Brawley staid here night before last on his way to the West.
Had started last week, but was robbed of $465 in Gold by having his Trunk stole from the Boot of the Stage between Charlotte and Mason’s Ferry, and turned back. No one as yet detected. March 1st, 1848, A. B. Springs of Spring Hill, SC to his father, John Springs III: “. . . . The Pneumonia is prevailing to great extent in some quarters and particularly on the other side of the river, with some fatality. George White died of it on Saturday evening last. Joseph F. White I learned on yesterday, was at this time bad with it. Clinton Culp, youngest son of Jno. Oip Deceased also died a day or two since I am at this time rid of two of the greatest nuisances that ever afflicted mortal man—the Irishman and Betsy Herron. We hear such talk that Theo. Garnett is sick—that his mind is someway affected & that Charles Garnett is coming up on this Road Minos Culp or rather Sol. Kimbrel lifted one of his notes. Coltharp also paid me $10 on his, promises more shortly. There is to be a meeting of the citizens of this Dist. at the C. H. [Courthouse] on Monday next. I design going over. I learn that Dr. Charley [probably Charles Clawson] & one of his overseers- Johnson- had blowed out” March 30,1848. Letter from John H. White (formerly Fort Mill neighbor) in Charleston to Andrew Baxter “Bac” Springs of Spring Hill: “Hope Minos Culp has recovered from his attack of Epilepsy. .. .I am truly sorry to hear of the death of so useful a man as Dr. John M. Harris.” June 5*11848: Letter from W. I. Clawson of Yorkville, Clerk of Court recipient not named: “I shad be much obliged to you, if you will try and attend the Reference of the case in which you have been Subpoenaed on Wednesday. Unless you attend I am fearful great injustice will be done the children of George Pettus, & his Estate, which is now but little able to pay its debts. I was told by Mr. White that you are unwell, and that you proposed to (certify?) your opinion as to the value of the lands. This would satisfy me fully but Smith at every thing and taking every technical obstacle that he can, and I am satisfied will not consent to take your testimony in this form. From the testimony of witnesses who have been looked up for the occasion, by Smith, the value of the lands has been fixed at double its true value at least In justice to some orphan children then I beg of you to attend the reference on Wednesday next if your health will permit” July 2,1848. To John Springs from Jack Bell, a former overseer for Springs, sent from Radfordsville, Alabama. “Ledbetter Parks arrived at my house about the first of March. I got him into business in about one mile of where I live the man is well pleased with him he is working for light wages $10 pr. Month. I am trying to get him in with Gen King for another year if I should he will continue hear another year if not he will Return. William Fuller & Mary G. Crenshaw arrived hear on the 8 of April Fuller has worked but one month. They all intend to start back to Taledega in a few days & wants me to go with them but I have not time to spare nor money to spend Gen King was over to see my crop yesterday & is well Pleased with it My cotton is from half thigh to breast high well filled at… .Alsey has in 22 acres of cotton & 12 in com that cant be beat… July 27** 1848. A. B. Springs of Spring Hill, York Dist. to his father John Springs. “Dr. Orr & Miss Harriet Fox were married at 8 o’clock on Wednesday morning & cut out forthwith for a cooler climate. The Methodist meeting never broke until Sunday night The whole Neighborhood now sleeps upon Abraham’s bosom. Williams was elected Sheriff by 19 votes over Thomasson & only 82 over May. The election is contested by Thomasson. Managers to meet on Tuesday the 1* of August to decide upon it. I don’t intend to go. They all intend I learn to run again. If so, they will only be licked worse the next heat White & Austin were both here today to consult with me as to the necessary preparation for our R. R. Contract. I told them of the suggestion you had made to me in reference to a purchases of the cost, & implements ? their comparative cheapness (even including freight to Columbia), their superior workmanship, good materials, & better adaptation for the purposes intended. Here we know nothing of R. Roads and our Workman consequently even though provided with suitable materials, would be ignorant of the proper forms which are requisite to execute work with easiest facility. Whereas, North, particularly in the N. E. States, & especially about Boston, they are wed versed in such matters and truly ingenuous in the construction of labor-saving machines…. Garnett estimates our contract at 105,000 Cubic Yds of Exe & [48 men, 8 carts with mules or horses and 4 mules or oxen estimated]…. The tools requisite he says are nearly as follows. 20 wheelbarrows, 8 or 10 carts with harness 1 cotton plough (of his pattern) 4 setts of Harness for mules with the plough 4 Crow Bars & 4 sledges, 6 iron wedges, 12 inch long … 18 picks 24 shovels & spades 1/2 of each. The shovels are the common long handled shovel such as we use on the plantation. What he calls spades are nothing more than the salt shovel with the edges up-turned. …”
Aug 18, 1848. From A. B. Springs to his father, John Springs III: “Mordock has contracted for the masonry of the R. R. Bridge across the Catawba. He is to commence operation the first of October. He wrote to Leroy offering him $100 pr. Month for his wagon & teams for the months of October, Nov. & Dec. & authorizes him to hire two men on the same terms. He offered me a chance. The sheriffs election in this Dist. remitted in favor of Williams. A considerable amount of property came to sale [at the York Courthouse]. White bought Kimbrell’s mare at $12. He therefore still has the use of her. Fullwoods land, a Negro boy & three head of horses were sold at the Court House. The rest of his property was sold next day at home. I was all sold, I thing subject to a Mortgage White held and brought by him Democratic meeting at York C. H. They all fully committed themselves in the affirmative. Late the same evening, Beatty to the astonishment of man, & to the particular bewilderment of Witherspoon reported himself a candidate for the Senate. Now for a struggle…. Miss Tirzah Bennett to be married tomorrow evening to young Wm. Faires. August 21st 1848. From A. B. Springs to his father, John Springs III: “Dixon Barnes, opponent of McKenna for the Senate from Lancaster, being up at a muster at Belair, paid me a visit on Saturday & left yesterday morning. Told me the duel pending between Myers & Tradwell of Col. & which was to have off on the 17th next results (to the astonishment of many) in establishing the cowardice of Myers & stigmatizing him with infamy & disgrace. The parties of their seconds, surgeons & friends all met at Cureton’s. Marked off the ground, settled the preliminaries. Myers it is said feigned sickness. Had the hostile meeting deferred from morning to evening & finally disappeared. His second Smart of Camden of course cursed him black & blue stepped forward & offered his own person as the target. Toland, his surgeon, was also much incensed. They told Smart they sought not his blood, met all friendly & put out for home again. Myers it is thought cut to “Buncombe literally run and could not be found until every person had left the ground or neighborhood & tis said that he directed his brother to sell off his property. He has gone over the mountains & sent for his wife. That comer store [Cureton’s in Lancaster District] is a fortunate or unfortunate place of meeting I told is the 5th meeting there but no duel has ever been fought there ___________ I have not much doubt but to ship carts from the North here would., like the Indians gun, cost more than they would come to. I think we could get them made here at about $25 each. Avery thinks his will not cost him more than $20. You can best know what to do after making inquiry into the matter & can do what you think is best”…
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