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Boylston and Salley families papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-11184

The papers of the Boylston and Salley Families consist of six and one-quarter linear feet of correspondence, land papers, receipts, photographs, genealogies, scrapbooks, and other volumes documenting the history of the Boylston and Salley families and the town of Salley in Aiken County, S.C. The collection spans from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century.

Boylston items primarily document the family of Austin Boylston (1802-1880) and Mary Reed Boylston (1801-1877). A year before her death, their daughter Ellen received a letter from a friend in Carterville, Georgia, written on 20 June 1861. “Fannie” discusses the troops leaving her town, and remarks about “those detestable yankees,” saying “I could not keep from saying confound them for they have been the instigators of all our national troubles.” She goes on to say that “while our hearts should overflow with gratitude [that the South has been victorious thus far] we should feel chastened and humiliated for as a people we had reveled in wealth and prosperity untill we had become almost forgetfull of Him whose beneficient hand had so long showered these rich blessings upon us.”

Austin and Mary Reed Boylston's son George William Boylston and his wife Caroline Riley Boylston (1844-1913) are heavily represented in the collection, mainly through correspondence and receipts. A photograph album containing over eighty portraits of Austin and Mary Boylston's descendants includes members of the Crum, Staley, and Phillips families and the family of Austin's brother Jason Boylston (b.1801).

Salley family items, mostly legal and land papers, pertain mainly to the descendants of Howell Allan Salley (1835-1894) and Eugenia Haseltine Corbitt Salley (1838-1894), particularly their sons Francis Eugene Salley (1871-1930), Oscar Jacob Salley (1873-1928), and Bird Salley (1879-1933). The majority of Salley correspondence in the collection belonged to Bird Salley's wife, Maggie Pridgen Salley (1880-1961). A 1918 letter from her brother Adolph with the 119th U.S. Infantry, stationed in Greenville, S.C., complains that “one of the new duties imposed on me is the instruction of a bunch of illiterate men. I have to instruct them in the simple art of reading and writing.”

A number of items not immediately relating to the Boylston and Salley families shed light upon the town of Salley, from a copy of Salley's incorporation papers, to a series of scrapbooks documenting the Salley Chitlin Strut from 1966 to 1992. The 1890 poll list for “School Election in Salley'' contains the names of 180 voters. The original 1898 Muster Out Lists for the Bamburg Guards of Bamburg, S. C., and the Palmetto Rifles of Aiken, S. C., including Salley men, can be found in the Boylston and Salley Family Papers. Also available is the Salley Town Council Minute Book covering 4 May 1908 to 6 Nov. 1917. Another item of note to those interested in Salley is the 1997 nomination paperwork for the town to the National Register of Historic Places.

Besides the Salleys and Boylstons, others prominently featured in the collection include the West, the Dicks, and the Jones families. The West family files consist mainly of correspondence written during World War I from brothers Jerome and Holley West to their father Perry West (1853-1926) and younger brother Lawton West (1897-1963). The family of Angus Fulton Dicks (1856-1935) is represented by correspondence, photographs, and various memorabilia. Jones family material consists of letters written from 1964 to 1972 to Ernest and Ruth Jones from Beverly Hills by their daughter Madelyn Earle Jones (1919-1999), better known as Hollywood's Lois Collier.

Individual items of note in the collection not related to the Boylston and Salley families include the two earliest items. One, dated 5 March 1770, is a land grant to Richard Hall for 150 acres “in Granville County [S.C.] in the Fork of the Three Runs & Tinkers Creek the Waters of Savannah River” signed by William Bull. The other, dated 3 Apr 1786, is a land grant to John Green, for 250 acres “in the District of Orangeburgh [S.C.] on Both Sides of the upper three Runs Waters of Savannah River,” signed by William Moultrie and accompanied by a plat. An 1837 policy from Charleston Fire and Marine Insurance Company to William Patton, Esq., of Charleston, S.C., insured “the lives of Nine Negroes for One year,” listing names, occupations, and ages of the slaves covered by the policy. A letter written in 1866 by “Cousin Camilla'' in Norfolk, Virginia to an unnamed cousin promises that the author looks forward to joining her cousin in the White Mountains some summer when “we have all been reconstructed (if we can be!)”

In 1925, Lillian Younger wrote from Winthrop College (Rock Hill, S.C.) to her aunt in Salley. She proclaims that it “was awful about that policeman getting killed. I dont believe I want to live in Wag[e]ner [Aiken County, S.C.] if the people are all that mean.” She also informs her aunt that at Winthrop, the “colored ladies were going around with out their uniforms.”


  • 1809 - 1951


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.


346 items

Biographical / Historical

This collection documents the descendants of Austin Boylston (1802-1880) and Mary Reed Boylston (1801-1877) who lived in an area currently within Aiken County, S.C.

The couple lost four children in the Civil War: Samuel Reed Boylston (1829-1864) and Lucian Austin Boylston (1846-1864), both of the 5th Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry, Company I; and Ellen (1836-1862) and Mary (1831-1864) to typhoid. Two other sons of Austin and Mary served in the Civil War, both in the 2nd Regiment, South Carolina Artillery, Company B: Pressley Jefferson Boylston (1840-1920) and George William Boylston (1843-1925). Another son of Austin and Mary Reed Boylston, James Wyatt Boylston (1827-1889), would become the grandfather of Ena Boylston (1907-2003) who married Hemrick Nathan Salley, Sr. (1903-2004), uniting two of Salley's oldest families.

The Salley family represented are descendants of Howell Allan Salley (1835-1894) and Eugenia Haseltine Corbitt Salley (1838-1894). Howell ran a general store, H. A. Salley and Brother. He served in the Civil War in the 2nd Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry, Company B. H.A. Salley and Eugenia H.C. Salley had eleven children from 1857 to 1879, of whom three are heavily represented in this collection: Francis Eugene Salley (1871-1930), who married Ella Phillips (1868-1905) and Caroline Price (1869-1930); Oscar Jacob Salley (1873-1928), who married Alma Boylston (1875-1902), a daughter of James Wyatt Boylston; and Bird Salley (1879-1933), who married Maggie Pridgen Salley (1880-1961). It was Francis Eugene Salley's son, Hemrick Nathan Salley, Sr., a local judge, who married Ena Boylston.


Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

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

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