This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid.
|Size||8.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 4,500 items)|
|Abstract||The Springs family of Mecklenburg County, N.C., and York District, S.C., included John Springs III (1782-1853) and his son, Andrew Baxter Springs (1819-1886), both of whom resided at and managed Springfield Plantation, York District, S.C.; served in the South Carolina legislature; and were stockholders and directors of various banks, railroads, and manufacturing firms. Other family members included Mary Springs (1778-1834), the wife of John Springs III, and Julia Blandina Baxter Springs (1827-1902), the wife of Andrew Baxter Springs and daughter of Eli Harris Baxter (1778-1866) and Julia Richardson Baxter of Hancock County, Ga., and Cherokee County, Tex. The collection consists of family, personal, and business papers, chiefly 1845-1870, of the Springs and related families, including much Baxter family correspondence. Family and personal correspondence document daily activities and concerns of plantation life. Letters report news of family and friends, school life, social life and conditions, and frequently comment on politics. The lives of plantation women and children are particularly well documented. Business papers document various agricultural and financial ventures in which the Springs and Baxter families were involved, especially management of crops, slavery, and livestock at the family plantations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. There are also papers concerning investments in railroads, including the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad; South Carolina banks; and the Graniteville Manufacturing Company, a South Carolina textile firm. Civil War materials chiefly relate to service in the South Carolina First Cavalry and the Sixth Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, and to Baxter Springs's work as commissioner of the board that provided relief to the families of York District soldiers. Post Civil War materials comment on Reconstruction politics, freedmen, and race relations in the South. Also included are letters from individuals who moved west that give fairly detailed accounts of life on the frontier before and after the Civil War.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
The Springs family of North and South Carolina are descended from the Springsteens, a Dutch family who migrated to New York in the middle of the 17th century. One line of the Springsteens later shortened their name, moved to Delaware, and from there to Mecklenburg County, N.C., circa 1776. John Springs, who led the move to North Carolina, bought property near the Square in Charlotte, as well as property in the Providence area of the county. His sons, John Springs Jr. (1751-1818) and Richard Springs (1754-1833), both of whom served in the Revolution, together amassed much greater property holdings.
John Springs Jr. resided at his father's plantation in Providence, but acquired three plantations in Lincoln County, N.C., large tracts of land on Sugar and Steele Creeks, and additional lots near the Square in Charlotte and in what later became the Myers Park area of the city. He also obtained mineral rights for some of his Mecklenburg lands and later was involved in gold mining. His brother Richard bought a tract of land on Big Sugar Creek in Lancaster District, S.C., and moved there shortly after the Revolution.
Both brothers invested in business ventures. Richard, in particular, invested in bank stocks. His son and grandson, John Springs III (1782-1853) and Andrew Baxter Springs (1819-1886), continued his practice of investing, first in banks, then in railroads, cotton mills, and other kinds of companies.
John Springs III, at the time of his marriage to his cousin Mary Springs (1778-1834) in 1806, moved to the Indian Land section of York District, S.C., a short distance from his father's Lancaster plantation, and built Springfield. At his death in 1853, his property, including lands in York District, Lancaster District, Lincoln County, and downtown Charlotte, and most of his stocks were divided among his surviving five children: Richard Austin Springs (1807-1876), who served in the South Carolina Legislature; Leroy Springs (1811-1863), who went into the mercantile business; Laura Springs Davidson (1813-1872); Andrew Baxter Springs, who served in the South Carolina Legislature, developed extensive business investments, and succeeded his father at Springfield Plantation; and Sophia Springs Myers (1821-1883).
The Springs intermarried with several other early and prominent Mecklenburg County families, in particular the Alexanders, Baxters, Moores, and the Davidsons. The Baxters, who figure importantly in these papers, had migrated to Mecklenburg from Lancaster County, Penna., just prior to the Revolution. Richard Springs married Jean Baxter (1761-1804), whose brother Andrew Baxter (1759-1816) moved to Georgia following the Revolution. Andrew Baxter's oldest son, Eli Harris Baxter (1778-1866), established himself in Hancock County, Ga., where he was a judge and the owner of a large plantation called Cornucopia. Judge Baxter also acquired a great deal of land near Alto, Tex., early in the 1850s. From then until his death in 1866, he divided his time between the management of his Texas and Georgia plantations. One of Judge Baxter and Julia Richardson Baxter's daughters, Julia Blandina Baxter (1827-1902), married her cousin Andrew Baxter Springs in 1850.
The children of "Baxter" and "Blandie" Springs, in particular Eli Baxter Springs (1852-1933), Brevard Davidson Springs (1860-1936), and Leroy Springs (1861-1931), became active in business and politics. Eli Springs became mayor of Charlotte, N.C., and later a member of the New York Stock Exchange. Brevard Springs and Leroy Springs acquired a number of cotton mills that later became Spring Mills Inc., under the management of Leroy's son Elliott White Springs.
Biographical and genealogical information is derived from the following sources: Katherine Wooten Springs, The Squires of Springfield (Charlotte: William Loftin, 1965), and Julia Amanda Springs Gibson, Lineage and Tradition of the Family of John Springs III (Atlanta: Foote and Davies Company, 1921).
See also the original finding aid, filed in folder 1a, for genealogical charts and additional biographical information embedded in series descriptions.Back to Top
The collection consists of family, personal, and business papers, chiefly 1845-1870, of the Springs and related families of Mecklenburg County, N.C., and York District, S.C., and the Baxter family of Hancock County, Ga., and Cherokee County, Tex. The papers are chiefly those of John Springs III (1782-1853), his first wife Mary Springs (1778-1834), his son Andrew Baxter Springs (1819-1886), and Baxter's wife, Julia Blandina Baxter Springs (1827-1902), and concern family; social life and conditions; politics; agricultural and financial ventures; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and frontier life. The papers were organized by the donor into two series, each arranged chronologically. The first series is comprised almost entirely of correspondence; the second series is much smaller and contains financial, legal, and military papers.
Series 1. Correspondence contains many family, personal, and business materials that document the daily activities and concerns of plantation life. Letters report news of family and friends, school life, social life and conditions, including improprieties and crimes, and frequently comment on politics. The lives of plantation women and children are particularly well documented. Business materials relate to various ventures in which the Springs and Baxter families were involved, especially the management of crops, slaves, and livestock at Springfield plantation in South Carolina, Cornucopia plantation in Georgia, and other family plantations in Texas.
Other business papers concern investments in banks, railroads, and manufacturing. Correspondence, mainly letters from officers, directors, and stockholders, begins in 1842 and continues throughout the papers. Some of these letters are very brief and routine, announcing dividends, stockholders meetings, etc., while others are extremely detailed and candid in their comments on individuals and on business conditions. The chief companies discussed are the Bank of Hamburg, Bank of Camden, Merchants Bank of Cheraw, and Bank of Chester, all of South Carolina; the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad; and the Graniteville Manufacturing Company, a South Carolina textile firm.
There are numerous papers for the Civil War period, many of which relate to the 6th South Carolina Infantry Regiment and the 1st South Carolina Cavalry Regiment. Many members of these regiments were from York District, and many of them wrote to Baxter Springs, who was a commissioner for the board that provided relief to soldiers' families in York District. These letters and other correspondence document civilian wartime conditions in York District, S.C., at Springfield plantation and in Texas; camp life and battles in Virginia; Confederate politics; and slave wartime experiences. Post Civil War materials contain many comments on Reconstruction politics, on the system of freed labor, and on race relations in the South.
Also included is the fairly frequent correspondence of individuals of differing social classes who moved west to Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas before and after the Civil War. A number of these people were overseers who had worked for John Springs III and Baxter Springs. Many of their letters describe conditions in the places they settled and indicate the extent to which their hopes for prosperity were being realized or disappointed. There also are numerous letters about Texas from Baxter Springs' brother-in-law, William R. Myers of Charlotte, N.C., and father-in-law, Judge Eli H. Baxter of Hancock County, Ga., both of whom owned plantations in Texas where they spent part of their time.
Series 2. Other Papers contains financial, legal, and military papers that document slavery, cotton, livestock, medical care, plantation improvements, transfer of Native American land, estate settlements, investments in banks and railroads, raising and outfitting South Carolina troops, and the work of the Soldier's Relief Board. Materials include receipts, accounts, stocks, bonds, marriage agreements, wills, inventories, land surveys and plats, broadsides, and Confederate military and administrative papers.Back to Top
Series 1 consists of family, personal, and business correspondence of the Springs and related families of Mecklenburg County, N.C., and York District, S.C., and the Baxter family of Hancock County, Ga., and Cherokee County, Tex.
|1797-1829||Papers are chiefly those of Mary Springs (1778-1834), and consist of letters from her husband John Springs III (1782-1853), their children, and other Springs and Alexander family members. Topics include family and local news, the availability and price of slaves, business conditions in Philadelphia, quilting, and whooping cough.|
|1830-1844||Papers chiefly involve John Springs III and several of his and Mary's children, including Mary Laura Springs (1813-1872), Leroy Springs (1811-1863), Sophia Springs (1821-1883), Richard Austin Springs (1807-1876), and especially Andrew Baxter Springs (1819-1886). Letters discuss family, including Leroy's mercantile business; school life; the estate of Eli Springs; plantation concerns, including slave health and productivity, crops, and raising and exhibiting livestock; and investments and business dealings with the Bank of Hamburg and other companies. Letters also provide fatherly advice; impressions of Philadelphia, Charlotte, N.C., and various warm springs resorts in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia; and commentaries on the tariff controversy, nullification, currency, the U.S. Bank, and South Carolina politics. Also mentioned briefly are gold mining; crime, including a theft committed against a free African American and a murder committed by a runaway slave; prices and politics in Alabama; and warfare with Native Americans in Perry County, Ala.|
|1845-1853||Papers are a mixture of family and personal correspondence and John Springs III's business correspondence. Letters comment on family news; politics, including secession and the affairs of the South Carolina legislature; general business and economic conditions; investments in North Carolina and South Carolina banks and railroads, including the Bank of Hamburg, Bank of Camden, Merchants Bank of Cheraw, Bank of Cape Fear, the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad and other railroads; the Graniteville Manufacturing Company; cotton prices and speculation; and slave health, crops, and livestock at Springfield plantation. Other topics briefly mentioned include the affairs of single women; Cornucopia plantation matters; travel to and society in North Carolina, South Carolina, and northern cities; the slave trade; a slave suicide and attempted slave infanticide; sexual promiscuity and prostitution in Charleston, S.C.; and crimes, including patricide, larceny, and arson.|
|Beginning is this time period and continuing through the years following the Civil War, the collection includes a number of letters that describe conditions in Arkansas, Monroe County, Miss., Shelby County, Tenn., Perry County, Ala., and Cass County, Tex., where former Springs overseers had relocated and other family members, including Baxter Springs' brother-in-law, William R. Myers of Charlotte, N.C., and father-in-law, Judge Eli H. Baxter of Hancock County, Ga., had acquired additional property. These letters remark on crops, prices, land, farming methods, and slave violence, and indicate the extent to which their hopes for prosperity were being realized or disappointed.|
|1854-1860||Papers, 1854-1860, are a mixture of family, personal, and business correspondence, chiefly addressed to Baxter Springs and his wife Blandie Springs. Letters discuss the settlement of the estate of John Springs III, including the difficulties of transferring stock to married women; the affairs of Richard Clark Springs, half brother of John Springs III, at Cedar Spring Asylum for deaf and mute students; improvements to Springfield and to property in Statesville, N.C.; plantation affairs at Cornucopia, Marietta, and Mt. Zion in Georgia; hard times, illness, and labor needs at the family plantations in Texas; cotton crops and markets; politics and campaigns, including the Know Nothing party in Georgia, the Texas House of Representatives, and the Kansas controversy; and the administration of the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad and Blue Ridge Railroad, the banks in Chester, Cheraw, Hamburg, and Newberry, the Graniteville Manufacturing Company, and various other stock investments. Other topics briefly mentioned include anticipation of war; runaway slaves; slave punishment; roads and river transportation; improper administration of a Native American land treaty; slavery and the possibility of reopening the African slave trade; and the arrest of a white family rumored to have aided the planning of slave rebellion.|
|1861-1865||Papers include many letters sent to Baxter Springs by members of the 6th South Carolina Infantry Regiment, Company B, and the 1st South Carolina Cavalry Regiment because of his service as a commissioner for the distribution of relief to soldiers' families in York District. There are also a number of letters from Frank B. Sexton, a friend and distant relative of the Springs and the Baxter families, who lived near San Augustine, Tex., and who served in the Confederate Congress. These letters and other family, personal, and business correspondence document civilian wartime conditions in York District, S.C.; camp life and battle conditions in Virginia; raising troops and procurement of food and supplies; defense of the South Carolina coast; political races; and internal struggles of the Confederate government, including public debt and scarcity of commodities. Other topics mentioned briefly include rumors of crimes against white women by slaves and against slave women by Yankee soldiers; providing food for Confederate soldiers passing Springfield and encamped near Texas Plantation; exemptions from military service; refugees in Shreveport; slaves at James Island and Sullivans Island; troop morale and desertion; political rights and civil liberty for former slaves; and postwar race relations at Springfield plantation. Correspondence regarding Springs' investments and the affairs of various banks, railroads, and the Graniteville Manufacturing Company is diminished for this period, though it does not cease entirely. Likewise, the volume of family correspondence is decreased, but there are occasional letters from relatives in Cedar Spring, S.C., Georgia, and Texas, and from family serving in the 28th Texas Cavalry Regiment and 34th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Company G.|
|1866-1870||Papers, 1866-1870, include family and personal letters with news of children at school, settlement of estates, and the sale of Cornucopia. There also are many business letters relating to investments; the cotton market, per J. D. Aiken and Company of Charleston, S.C.; the development of property in Statesville, N.C.; the condition of various banks, especially with regard to the banks' wartime circulation; Graniteville Manufacturing Company; railroads, including Mississippi Central Railroad and the Columbia and Hamburg Railroad; and the Southern Famine Relief Commission operating in York District. Both family and business correspondence contain a great deal of discussion about the system of freed labor; race relations, including miscegenation, jury composition, and the Ku Klux Klan; Reconstruction politics; and social and economic conditions.|
|1871-1873, 1884||Papers are scant and rather miscellaneous correspondence.|
Includes detailed chronological analysis of series 1 and 2 and an index of selected proper names. There are genealogical charts and additional biographical information is embedded in series descriptions.
Includes a brief history of Springfield Plantation
Largely legal and financial papers. Included here are various receipts from and accounts with merchants; receipts for the sale of cotton; bills of sale for slaves; tax receipts; tuition receipts; bills for the services of midwives and physicians; bills for work done on houses and barns; receipts for newspaper subscriptions; post office accounts; marriage agreements; wills; property valuations and inventories; lists of debts due; land surveys and plats, including a few pertaining to the transfer of Native American land; lists of livestock exhibited; and lists of monetary gifts given to slaves at Christmas. Also included are papers relating to estate settlements for William Pettus, Frederick Dinkins, David Spratt, Eli Springs, Richard Springs, and Henry Kimbrell; the purchase of various stocks and bonds, chiefly those of the Columbia and South Carolina Railroad; proceedings of various railroad meetings and circulars (some printed); and the condition of various banks. Confederate military and administrative papers document mustering of troops in the Fort Mill, S.C., area in 1861; food supplies and provisions for South Carolina troops, including Forrest's Cavalry Brigade, and the 8th Texas Cavalry (Texas Rangers); orders issued from the Quartermaster's Office, Armstrong's Division; and the work of the Soldier's Relief Board.
United States documents, 1850, 1853, 1858 #04121, Series: "2. Other papers, 1772-1924, and undated." Folder 263
Includes a "Lecture on Texas"
Processed by: Susan Ballinger, 1978, and Roslyn Holdzkom, 1991
Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, November 2005
Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid.Back to Top