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Franklin Harper Elmore papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-0166

This collection is chiefly family correspondence which gives a glimpse of antebellum life. Gov. John Taylor agrees to the marriage of Harriet and Elmore in a letter, 17 Oct. 1826, and states "what I may [be] able to give as a Dowry . . . I claim the Right of giving as I have given to my Daughter Rebecca." Although the collection provides little information on Elmore's career as a lawyer, banker and U. S. Congressman — serving in both houses — correspondence with his family reveals him as a devoted husband and affectionate father. A letter of John C. Calhoun, Fort Hill, 19 Feb. 1843, to Elmore, suggests Calhoun's interest in his "devoted disciple," encloses an introduction to the President, and assures Elmore of "no difficulty in counteracting the Richmond movement, if our friends should take a firm and active stand against it. We have truth, justice and the Constitution on our side, and all that is wanting is zeal, energy and discretion to ensure success." Appointed to the U. S. Senate to fill the vacancy created by Calhoun's death, Elmore served only twenty-eight days before his death, 29 May 1850. During his illness Mrs. Elmore writes the daughter Ellen — "a thousand times . . . have I wished we were all at home again — these worldly honors ! What are they? a shadow a fleeting shadow worth nothing and yields no happiness." Two Civil War letters of Albert Rhett Elmore suggest the family's contribution to this conflict. Harriet Elmore in a letter to Ellen, 8 May 1865, describes conditions in Columbia — ". . . we seem to have no law civil or military, the disbanded soldiers are perfectly lawless breaking open Government stores rifling private houses, and taking horses and mules whenever they find them . . . the town has been without rations for three days, the poor are becoming clamorous, & we are kept in constant dread of an outbreak from that quarter. Gen. Hampton has assumed, & is organizing a guard to protect the citizens . .. We are all pennyless now I would find it very difficult to supply all of my negroes with what they lost by the Yankees." Harriet Elmore's death brought a letter of condolence from Benjamin Morgan Palmer, New Orleans, 21 May 1866, to Ellen, in which he expresses a high regard for the Elmore and Taylor Families — "Your excellent & noble rather I remember from my boyhood .... I knew him well enough to esteem the high qualities which adorned him in private life, & to honor those larger endowments which rendered him so valuable a citizen . . Your venerable Grandmother [Taylor] whom I loved to contemplate as the most perfect relic of the old school gentlewoman . . . never to be reproduced," recalls her aid and motherly advice "when, a green youth, I settled in Columbia to be her Pastor," and comments "Your mother was a mother in all the wide, deep strong emphasis of that endearing word."A letter of U. S. Senator from Ga. and Confederate Gen. John Brown Gordon, Washington, 28 Nov. 1877, to "Mrs. Grace Elmore," thanks the women of Columbia for a "Silver Salver," stating "Whatever of assistance I have . . . contribut [ed] to the relief of [S. C.] . from the evils of misgovernment was rendered to a people bound to those who sent me here by every tie of kindred, of interest, of deathless memories & enduring sympathies," and promises "to cherish this beautiful gift . . . as a memorial of South Carolina's new birth & of the too generous tribute paid me by her daughters for the aid . . . in the time of her distress and humiliation."


  • 1818-1877


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Collection is open for research.

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


251 items