Collection Number: 00078

Collection Title: Boykin Family Papers, 1748-1932, 2001

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.

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Size 800 items (1.0 linear feet)
Abstract The Boykin family of Camden, S.C., included Alexander Hamilton Boykin (1815-1866), cotton planter, state legislator, and Confederate officer. The collection includes family, business, and military papers of Boykin family members, chiefly 1830s through 1862. Much of this material is correspondence and accounts with Reeder & DeSaussure, Charleston cotton factors, regarding cotton produced at the Plane Hill, the Boykin family plantation near Camden; bills of sale for land and slaves; legal papers; and correspondence among members of the Boykin and DeSaussure families, including Alexander Hamilton Boykin's wife, Sarah Jones DeSaussure Boykin (fl. 1835-1866) and his son, Alexander Hamilton Boykin, Jr. (1846-1923). There is also Civil War military material pertaining to Boykin's Rangers, which became Company A of the Second South Carolina Cavalry and which Boykin commanded in Virginia, 1861-1862. Items relating to Boykin family genealogy are also included.
Creator Boykin (Family : Camden, S.C.)
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English.
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Boykin Family Papers #78, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Gifts of Mrs. Burwell H. Boykin and May Boykin of Boykin, South Carolina, before 1940; with additions in February 1944 and January 1952 from May Boykin and Mary Boykin Haile of Boykin, South Carolina, and Mrs. Morris Boykin of Pelham, New York, and from Anthony T. Lathrop of Charlotte, N.C., in March 2002 (Acc. 99191).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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Processed by: SHC Staff

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, November 2009

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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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Alexander Hamilton Boykin (1815?1866) was the son of Burwell Boykin (1752-1817) and Mary Whitaker. Educated initially in Camden, he entered South Carolina College as a sophomore in 1832, but left the following year without receiving a degree. He became a successful planter in Kershaw and Sumter districts where he possessed 5,737 acres at his death. His residential plantation, which he purchased in December 1835, was Plane Hill near Camden. Other of Boykin's holdings included Hillyard, Carter Hill (700 acres), Millway, Pine Grove, and the Mill plantations on Swift Creek; Boykin's Mill in Sumter District; and tracts on the Wateree River. According to the 1860 federal census, his real and personal estates were valued at $55,000 and $241,000 respectively; the slave schedules for that year listed 189 slaves in Kershaw and 58 slaves in Sumter as his property.

Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, Hamilton Boykin represented Kershaw in 1846-1849 and 1852-1859. After Kershaw chose him for the state Senate in a special election, he resigned his seat in the House and qualified on 28 November 1859 for the Forty-third General Assembly. Subsequently, Boykin represented Kershaw in the Senate, 1860-1864. Locally, he was a member of the Wateree Agricultural Society, ca. 1841; director of the South Carolina Railroad Company, 1849; and a communicant at Grace Episcopal Church of Camden.

During the Civil War, Hamilton Boykin organized and financed Boykin's Rangers, which became Company A of the Second South Carolina Cavalry. As captain, he served from 26 June 1861 until 1 October 1862 when poor health forced him to resign. He engaged the enemy at the First Battle of Bull Run, 21 July 1861, and at Williamsburg, May 1862. Appointed judge advocate in December 1862 by Confederate president Jefferson Davis, he declined to serve, citing his lack of legal experience. Toward the close of the war, he expressed a strong dislike of Davis and his policies.

On 22 November 1835, Boykin married Sarah Jones DeSaussure, daughter of William Ford DeSaussure (b. 1792) and Sarah Davie. Nine children were born to them: William DeSaussure (1841-1858); Mary Whitaker (m. Edward Brevard Cantey); Alexander Hamilton, Jr. (1846-1923); Elizabeth Gabriella (m. Brown Manning); Burwell Henry; Elias Miller; Allen Jones; William DeSaussure (1852-1902); and Lemuel Whitaker. Survived by his wife and eight children, Alexander Hamilton Boykin died 8 March 1866 in Charleston and was buried in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden.

Source: Reynolds, Emily B. and Jean Reynolds Faunt, eds., Biographical Directory of the Senate of the State of South Carolina, 1776-1986. Columbia, S.C.: South Carolina Archives Department, 1986.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection chiefly consists of business papers, but also includes some personal correspondence and military papers of Alexander Hamilton Boykin. There are also papers of Boykin's wife. After 1865, the papers are mainly those of Alexander Hamilton Boykin, Jr. There is also personal correspondence among other members of the Boykin and DeSaussure families.

The papers are mostly business correspondence from Reeder & DeSaussure, Charleston cotton factors; accounts; bills of sale for land and slaves; legal agreements; and personal and family letters. The papers for 1861-1862 are military papers of Captain A. H. Boykin, leader of Boykin's Rangers, a company of South Carolina mounted rangers, detailing the activities of the company in Richmond, Flint Hill, and Manassas, Virginia, during campaigns of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. Items relating to Boykin family genealogy are also included.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, Financial, Legal, and Military Papers, 1748-1932 and undated.

About 750 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1748-1860.

About 250 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Bills of sale for land, deeds, estate receipts, business letters, and accounts of A. H. Boykin relating to the operation of his plantation, Plane Hill near Camden, South Carolina, and some personal correspondence and other items, including papers of A. H. Boykin's wife, Sarah Jones DeSaussure, and some letters from her father, William Ford DeSaussure of Columbia, South Carolina. Included are numerous bills of lading and sales receipts for cotton sold through the Charleston firm of Reeder & DeSaussure. Notable items include a roll call from the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1789; bills of sale for slaves; correspondence from A. H. Boykin taking a cure at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia; a small notebook titled "A. H. Boykin" with entries dated 1835-1841; an informative letter from Richard L. Whitaker, dated 17 November 1843, appealing to Boykin as a fellow planter for assistance during hard times; a detailed receipt for landscaping at Plane Hill listing plants used (with botanical names); a letter from DeSaussure to Boykin about the South Carolina "Palmetto" regiment in Mexico, 1847; "List of Votes Taken" in a South Carolina state election, 11 and 12 October 1852, from several small towns near Camden; an informative letter from W. J. DeSaussure about a student riot at the University of South Carolina in 1856.

Several letters from the latter half of 1860 relate to Boykin's visit to Richmond, Virginia, and include brief discussions of a convention held there. In letters dated 12 June and 25 July 1860, there are passing references to Boykin's niece, Mary Boykin Chesnut, but there is no correspondence with her in this collection.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1860-July 1865.

About 250 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Largely military papers and orders for Captain A. H. Boykin and his company of independent mounted rangers for the years 1861-1862. The first significant war letter is from Boykin to his wife on 30 April 1861 from his camp in northern Virginia. The materials during these years include the following: several muster rolls for Boykin's Rangers, personal and general orders, leaves of absence, court materials, discharges, notices forbidding officers' private use of captured ambulances, and notices forbidding drunkenness and the careless discharge of firearms. Letters and other materials in 1865 include a copy of a letter from Reverend Robert Wilson to his mother-in-law, Mrs. Robert W. Shand, giving a graphic account of the pillage of Columbia, South Carolina (17 February 1865); "The Tell-Tale Letter Picked Up by a Slave," a typescript narrative and transcription of letters regarding the experiences of Mrs. John Johnson (then Miss Floride Cantey) and her mother in February 1865 in their home near Camden during its occupation by Sherman's army; John W. DeSaussure's emancipation of his slaves (22 June 1865), and A. H. Boykin, Jr.'s oath of allegiance (24 June 1865).

Folder 15

January-June 1861

Folder 16

July 1861

Folder 17

August 1861

Oversize Paper OP-78/2

Muster roll for Boykin's Rangers, 31 August 1861 (see Separated Containers below)

Folder 18

September 1861

Folder 19

October 1861

Oversize Paper OP-78/3

Muster roll for Boykin's Rangers, 31 October 1861 (see Separated Containers below)

Folder 20

November 1861

Folder 21

December 1861

Folder 22

January 1862

Folder 23

February 1862

Folder 24

March-April 1862

Oversize Paper OP-78/4

Muster roll for Boykin's Rangers, 1 May 1862 (see Separated Containers below)

Folder 25

May-November 1862

Folder 26

1863-July 1865

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. August 1865-1932.

About 200 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Post-Civil War materials include business accounts and invoices detailing the Boykins' return to full-scale cotton planting, as well as items documenting effects of Reconstruction in South Carolina. Papers include "Articles of Agreement between Freedmen and Women and S. Boykin," dated 23 January 1868; notes and letters about labor problems on post-war South Carolina plantations; and a Universal Life Insurance Company almanac, 1875, with brief financial records kept by an unknown person.

Folder 27

August-December 1865

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. Undated.

About 40 items.

Personal and family letters, undated slave lists, and plantation account receipts. Items of note include a letter to the editor of the Camden Journal by A. H. Boykin in reference to political issues of state and local interest and some miscellaneous undated military papers.

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Folder 38


Oversize Paper OP-78/1

Map of northern Virginia (see Separated Containers below)

Oversize Paper OP-78/5

List of Boykin family land holdings in Kershaw District (see Separated Containers below)

Oversize Paper OP-78/6

List of Boykin family land holdings in Sumter District (see Separated Containers below)

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Genealogical Materials, 1884, 1901-1902, 2001, and undated.

11 items.

Two letters about gathering genealogical information; the "Family Record of Captain James Boykin, C.S.A." (1823-1907), as told to his son-in-law, H. H. Parker in 1884; "Descendants of Allen Jones Boykin and Elizabeth Chardon Courtney through 2001" compiled by Sally Hardy; and other Boykin family trees and charts.

Folder 39

Genealogical materials

Folder 40

Descendants of Allen Jones Boykin and Elizabeth Chardon Courtney through 2001

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Oversize Paper Folder OPF-78/1

OP-78/1-6: Oversize papers

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Oversize papers (OP-78/1-6 in OPF-78/1).

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