Skip to main content

Lide, Coker, Stout families papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-5182
A collection of six hundred forty-five manuscripts provides information on this Darlington County family which has made outstanding contributions to the social and economic history of S. C. The entire collection is family correspondence. Hannah Ann Frances Lide and Caleb Coker, Jr., married 14 Oct. 1830, established a home at Society Hill where Caleb operated a general store. Prior to her marriage Hannah attended school in Charleston but only a few letters fall in this period. Letters of Caleb writ-ten from Charleston and New York_ inform Hannah of his business activities, market prices, styles in clothes and household furnishings. During the Nullification controversy he writes, 22 Jan. 1833, of his trip to Charleston "by the side of the Honble Jno. L. Wilson whose company . . . I found very agree-able," relates excitement caused by "an express from King [Andrew] Jackson .. . which was . . . his Royal Message to the Senate & house of Representatives of the United States laying before them the proceedings of the Rebellious Colony of South Carolina, recommending . . . ways & means by which .. . that monster Nullification may be prevented," comments on visitors in town— "more than half of them are determined Nullifiers . . . very distinguished men" attending "the great State Rights & Free Mee ing... which was the most overwhelming assemblage of people I ever saw," and "few goods in market & them mostly at high prices." From Philadelphia he writes, 21 July 1836, of crowded conditions "with Southern & Western Merch[an]ts . . . It appears . . . that the whole South & West have turned fools— or they would import goods, to their Southern Towns & not be so dependent on the North for their supplies." In late summer 1846 Hannah made a northern trip visiting Washington, Baltimore, New York, and Niagra Falls during which she kept an interesting journal. Some correspondence is exchanged with Hannah's parents who migrated to Alabama in 1835. After 1847 school letters from the Coker children at Limestone Springs Female Academy, Mrs. Dupree's School in Charleston, Arsenal Hill Academy, and the S. C. College relate personal activities and school conditions. Although James, William, and Charles— sons of Hannah and Caleb— served in the Confederate States Army, the collection contains no letters from them for the war years, and the few letters for the Reconstruction period deal only with family news. From 1880 to Hannah's death in 1900 the letters are from her grandchildren attending various colleges in S. C., N. C., and Va., relating school activities and following graduation, early business ventures. Later letters were directed to "Aunt Mary." Letters from James discussing the Baptist Church in Hartsville and the Welch Neck High School suggest his leadership in the community. Love and admiration of Hannah by her family is best expressed by James' wife in a letter, 18 Feb. 1900— "Mother I wish at the close of my life I could feel like I had gathered Manna every day as you have."

Hannah and Caleb's daughter Frances married in 1871 John Stout of Ala., brother-in-law of James Coker. Following service in the Civil War John Stout joined the Baptist Church and enrolled at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Greenville, graduating in 1870. A volume, 1868-69, "Autographs of The Students of the Sou. Bap. Theo. Seminary," contains signatures of classmates who became leaders in the Baptist denomination. The correspondence of "Fannie" and John prior to their marriage discuss his school problems and activities, their religious views and Fannie's church work. They began life together in Newberry where John was pastor of the Baptist Church for four years. After the Baptist State Convention in Aug. 1871, James Coker relates the good reports he heard of them. In 1874 John and Fannie returned to Society Hill to serve the Welsh Neck Baptist Church until his death at Dallas, Texas, 1892, while attending a Southern Baptist Convention. Letters of condolence following John Stout's death indicate the esteem for him held by the laity and clergy.

Pursuing a desire expressed during his college days for foreign mission work, Stout and Theodore P. Bell applied, 1881, to the Foreign Mission Board to go to China. However, on examination, the Board rejected their applications because they could not subscribe to the "verbal theory of inspiration." Letters concerning this action from Henry A. Tupper, Theodore P. Boll, Roswell H. Graves, Eldred J. Forrester, William C. Lindsay, Crawford H. Toy, George B. Eager and other Baptist leaders indicate a difference of opinions on Baptist organization and doctrines. William Carter Lindsay (1840-1913) pastor of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, from 1877 to his retirement in 1911, maintained a close relationship with his college roommate, John Stout. The Lindsay-Stout correspondence is the most significant unit in the collection and is valuable for a study of S. C. Baptists as well as the development of the Columbia church. Removal of the Seminary from Greenville, S. C., to Louisville, Ky., 1877, provoked this comment from Lindsay : "I'd rather the Asiatic Cholrea should rage from the sea's bed to Caesar's head !I cant . . . help feeling that the institution is cutting loose from Southern Sympathy. Lt will be the Seminary of the North West, & the Atlantic & Gulf States will have another in a few years."

In answering the call of the Columbia church he refused to be "put on trial before them .... Since leaving the Seminary I consider myself as standing before the denomination 'approved'," and gives his reasons for accepting— "It is our center . location of the State paper [Baptist Courier], with a theological seminary, & a select library of 30000 volumes in the Capital, & a ragged & completely disorganized church!" Opinions on the Baptist Courier, historical figures and events, theological questions, denominational doctrine and organization, evolution, education for ministers, current events— international as well as local— reveal Lindsay as a well-informed leader.


  • 1828 - 1914


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Caroliniana Library.


704 items

Abbreviations / Legend:

ADS = autographed document signed

ALS = autographed letter signed

ALS(T) = typed copy of autographed letter signed

DS = document signed

LS = letter signed

MP = printed manuscript

MS = manuscript

n.d. = undated


Also includes accession number 9182.

Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

910 Sumter St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-5747 (Fax)