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Bruce, Jones and Murchison families papers

 Collection — Carton: 1
Identifier: SCL-MS-4969
Chiefly family correspondence of social events, economic conditions and political news in South Carolina and elsewhere during early national period, antebellum era, Reconstruction and later 19th- and early 20th-centuries; letter, c. 1786, from Agnes Gordon to Jane Bruce, Orangeburg, S.C., disapproval among the Bruce family of Jane's marriage to Samuel P. Jones of Hartford, Connecticut. Letter, 21 Feb. 1796 (Charleston, S.C.), from John Jamison to S.P. Jones (Hartford, Conn.), offering use of a general store belonging to Jones' mother-in-law, Mrs. Bruce, in Orangeburg, S.C., should the couple return to S.C., but "she owes a debt to some British merchants" which would prevent assisting him financially, and noting Bruce's plans to leave her property "to your son... named after Mr. Bruce."; land transfer, 6 Feb. 1810, Orangeburg County, S.C., from Farquhard McRae to Roderick Murchison. Bulk of collection consists of family letters exchanged among the descendants of Elizabeth Campbell Jones (1793-1870) and Dr. Roderick Murchison (d. 1820). Class cards and letters, 1816-1817, of Dr. Murchison, while enrolled at "University of the State of New York," contribute information on medical education and his letters express views of slavery in the U.S., "One of our great crimes... is the cruelty and avarice... towards the negroes: cruelty in subjecting them... to the lash and avarice in withholding... things.. necessary for their comfort," part of a letter, 11 Jan. 1817 (New York, N.Y.), from Roderick Murchison to Eliza [Campbell Jones] Murchison (Orangeburg, S.C.); letters during this period from Orangeburg, S.C., comment on politics and elections, and various business, religious and social activities, such as horse racing, parties and other social gatherings: invitation "to the ball, to be at MR. Felder's for which he gets two hundred dollars... preaching here tomorrow... wont suit some... as the races commence." Papers ca. 1820-1860 comment on education, attending religious "camp meetings," and include two letters from soldiers serving in the Mexican War (1846-1848), "Volunteering is not the thing I thought it was," and expecting no lasting peace in Mexico as long as the Catholic Church remained influential. A very few letters cover the Civil War period, including two letters, 26 July 1862 and 5 Nov. 1863, of Martha [Salley], (Orangeburg, S.C.) to "Aunt Eliza," home-front conditions and activities of the family and community, a reference to her brother "Towney" and his service with the Rebel Rangers (a group of students from The Citadel), describes the "wayside hospital" women's war work, by which women brought food and provisions for the trains of wounded and sick soldiers, "I have seen as many as three hundred [ladies] there," crowded conditions, high prices and inflation, making syrup, weaving homespun cloth, attending religious meetings, and offering an apology for using "a Confederate envelope, it is the fashion here." Few papers mention the Civil War, two letters, 26 July 1862 and 5 Nov. 1863, Orangeburg, S.C., from Martha [Salley], to "Aunt Eliza," a membership of Salley's brother in a Citadel group known as the Rebel Rangers, providing food and provisions for wounded and sick soldiers, and religious meetings. Genealogical information, ca. 1793 and after, documents relationships among the Bruce and Jones families with many lines of Orangeburg County, S.C., and beyond, including members of the Bellinger, Bull, Caldwell, Cross, DuRant, McDonald, Pearson, Richbourg, Rumph, Salley, Spencer, Wannamaker and related families. Letters of Reconstruction era reflect family efforts to adapt to the new social order, labor issues, servant hire, race relations; other themes include projects to make money and improve family incomes, and political discussions involving impact of African American voters: " that power is in their hands we need expect no favours." Papers written after 1880 are entirely family correspondence, centering in the Durant and McDonald branches, and maintaining connections and reporting news of family members who migrated to other areas. Also including four volumes, 1820-1899, of estate records of Dr. Roderick Murchison, scrapbook of E.C.J. Murchison, farm records kept by Charles Henry Durant, and James Lide Coker's "History of Company G, ninth S.C. regiment, infantry, S.C. army and of Company E, sixth S.C. regiment, infantry, S.C. army," 1899, containing military record, 1861-1865, of Confederate soldier Moses E. McDonald. Genealogical information includes family Bible records, ca. 1740s-1860s (18 sheets; photocopies) for families in vicinity of Orangeburg, S.C., and elsewhere; family lines represented include Salley, Bellinger, Wannamaker, Cross, Pearson, McDonald, Rumph, DuRant, Richbourg, Spencer, Caldwell, and Bull families (folder 1).


  • 1785-08-25 - 1956-11-24 and n.d.

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.


629 items

Biographical / Historical

Residents of Orangeburg County, S.C., and elsewhere around South Carolina and the southeast; following their marriage, Jane Bruce of S.C. and Samuel Phillips Jones (1759-1836) lived ten years in his city of Hartford, Connecticut. Jane Bruce Jones was the daughter of Donald Bruce (1742-1795).


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Physical Location

This collection is held by the South Caroliniana Library, 900 Sumter St. Columbia, SC 29208. All collections are currently housed off-site and require 24-hours advance notice to retrieve. Please call (803) 777-3132 or email to request materials.


Also includes accession number 5101 and 5103.

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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