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Collection Number: 01022

Collection Title: Ravenel Family Papers, 1790-1918

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 section for more information.


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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 400 items)
Abstract Descendents of early French Huguenots, the Ravenel and related DuBose families of South Carolina ranked among the most prominent members of the state's planter class. William Francis Ravenel (b. 1828), son of physician/planter Henry Ravenel (1790-1867), achieved note as a lawyer and planter in the Berkeley District. His half-brother, Henry W. Ravenel (1814-1887), became a well-respected botanist. Around 1857, William Ravenel married Ellen DuBose, whose brother, Theodore Samuel DuBose (b. 1785), was a graduate of Yale and a prosperous planter in the Fairfield District. The collection includes papers, chiefly 1850-1890, pertain primarily to estate settlements and postwar plantation finances, and include deeds, wills, indentures, receipts, and cotton factor accounts. Estates represented include the following: Abigail Ravenel (fl. 1840s); Henry Ravenel, Edwin DuBose (fl. 1859), Jonathan Eady (fl. 1850), Frederick Simons (fl. 1880s), and Rebecca H. Waring (fl. 1880s). Personal correspondence and other miscellaneous papers also appear, including livestock records, 1790-1897, and a brief journal of two unidentified sisters in the 1840s. Information on slaves owned by the Ravenels and other families often appears in the correspondence and and estate papers in such items as slave bills of sale, a birth list, and receipts for clothes and other materials distributed to slaves.
Creator Ravenel family.
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 Ravenel Family Papers #1022, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mr. and Mrs. Samuel F. Ravenel of Greensboro, North Carolina, in October 1945, and Ann Ravenel Saslow of Greensboro, North Carolina, in May 1983.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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

William Francis Ravenel, to whom the majority of the papers in this collection belonged, was born in 1828, the son of Henry Ravenel (1790-1867) and Elizabeth Catherine Porcher (1798-1846). Ravenel worked as a lawyer, handling the estates of many of his relatives, and operated the Woodlawn Plantation located in the Berkeley District of South Carolina. Included in the collection are the estate papers of his father, a prominent planter and physician, and those of his great aunt, Abigail Ravenel. A few letters written by noted botanist Henry W. Ravenel, William's half brother, also appear. Rene Ravenel (1826-1875), another of William's half brothers, acted as executor of the estate of Jonathan Eady, and his papers on this estate, along with a few of his business papers, appear here.

William Ravenel was of Huguenot descent, and he married Ellen M. DuBose, a descendant of another prominent South Carolina Huguenot family, around 1857. Ellen's brother, Theodore Samuel Marion DuBose, was a prosperous planter in the 1840s and 1850s. Educated at Yale University, he returned to South Carolina in the mid 1830s to run Farmington Plantation, and later Roseland Plantation outside Winnsboro in Fairfield District. His son, William Porcher DuBose, became an influential Episcopal theologian in the latter part of the century. Ellen and Theodore DuBose account for much of the personal correspondence in the collection. The estate papers of their brother, Edwin, and of their father, Samuel DuBose (b. 1785), are also included.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Series 2 and 3 make up the bulk of the collection. Series 2 contains almost exclusively papers pertaining to the settlement of the estates of the Ravenels and related families. Most of these papers were those of William F. Ravenel, who acted as executor of the estates of Abigail Ravenel, 1852-1869; Dr. Henry Ravenel, 1866-1903; Edwin DuBose, 1851-1886; Frederick Simons of Ophir Plantation, 1885-1890; and Rebecca H. Waring, 1890. William Ravenel's accounts with cotton factors, merchants, and tax collectors, and his business correspondence are included in Series 3.

Other estates for which settlement papers are included are: John Edwards, 1809; John Louis Ravenel, 1828; Mary Gaillard, 1828; Mrs. Paul Ravenel, 1852; Samuel DuBose, 1857-1858; and Jonathan Eady, 1854-1876 (Rene Ravenel, executor).

Series 1 contains personal correspondence, mostly of Theodore S. DuBose and his sister Ellen, who married William Ravenel. Series 4 includes miscellaneous items of interest, including a livestock record (1790-1897, incomplete) and a 10 page journal kept by two unidentified sisters. Information on slaves can be found in the personal correspondence and in the estate papers of Jonathan Eady, Samuel DuBose, Abigail Ravenel, John Louis Ravenel, and Mary Gaillard.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Personal Correspondence, 1837-1918.

41 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Family and other personal correspondence. Most of the letters from the 1840s are written by Theodore S. DuBose to members of his family. Most of those after the 1840s are written to or by DuBose's sister Ellen M. Ravenel and her husband William Ravenel.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1830s-1840s, 1837-1847.

12 items.

One letter to Peter C. Porcher in Paris, 1837, and eleven letters from Theodore S. DuBose to his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel DuBose, who lived in the Charleston District. Most letters discuss DuBose's wife and children, news about friends, acquaintances and local events, and legal matters and business transactions. There is one letter, 27 May 1847, concerning a recent railroad convention and subscriptions to construct a railroad along the Catawba River in South Carolina.

Folder 1

1830s-1840s #01022, Subseries: "1.1. 1830s-1840s, 1837-1847." Folder 1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1850s-1918, 1852-1865, 1867, 1873, 1881, 1918 .

17 items.

Ten letters to Ellen M. DuBose Ravenel from various friends and family members concerning miscellaneous topics, such as her marriage, ca. 1857, to William Ravenel. Also included are a letter from Henry W. Ravenel to his brother William upon news of William's engagement to Ellen and two letters written by Theodore DuBose, one to his father and another to his brother, Edwin DuBose. Of special note is a letter, 24 June 1865, written by Alfred Huger at the age of 80 to William Ravenel reminiscing about his years at Princeton University, 1803-1807, and discoursing on secession and the nature of the federal union, as well as the burning of Columbia during the Civil War.

Later letters include a sympathy letter from Ellen M. Ravenel to her aunt, Nina, 1873; one letter to Annie S. Ravenel from her father, 7 Jan. 1881; and one letter from Capt. William F. Ravenel to his mother, Mrs. Theodore D. Ravenel, from somewhere in France (28 October 1918).

Folder 2

1850s-1865 #01022, Subseries: "1.2. 1850s-1918, 1852-1865, 1867, 1873, 1881, 1918 ." Folder 2

Folder 3

1867, 1873, 1881, 1918 #01022, Subseries: "1.2. 1850s-1918, 1852-1865, 1867, 1873, 1881, 1918 ." Folder 3

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. Undated and Fragments, Undated (probably 1840s-1850s).

12 items.

Letters and fragments written by Theodore S. DuBose, William DuBose, Henry William Ravenel, and others to family members. These letters discuss illnesses and deaths, personal relationships, church and family matters, crops, and business transactions. Most of these letters were probably written in the 1840s and 1850s, though a few appear to be from a later period.

Folder 4

Undated and fragments #01022, Subseries: "1.3. Undated and Fragments, Undated (probably 1840s-1850s)." Folder 4

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Legal Papers, 1809-1912.

About 140 items.

Primarily papers concerning the settlement of Ravenel and other South Carolina family estates. Also included are miscellaneous legal papers, most of which pertain to Ravenel family members.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890.

About 130 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by estate.

Wills, deeds, bills of sale, receipts, probate records, and correspondence related to the settlement of estates as noted below.

Folder 5

Edwin DuBose estate, 1851-1886 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 5

Certificate of executorship; letters testamentary; warrant of appraisement for executors; and survey of Stewarton Plantation.

Oversize Paper OP-1022/1

Deed for land in St. John's Parish, Charleston District, South Carolina, sold to Edwin DuBose by Steven Deveaux #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." OP-1022/1

Folder 6

Samuel DuBose Estate, 1857-1858 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 6

Will (mentions by name slaves owned by DuBose); deed for St. Stephen's Parish land sold him by Theodore Gourdin; and deed for St. John's Parish land sold him by Edwin DuBose.

Folder 7

Jonathan Eady Estate, 1854-1876 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 7

Will; deed for Charleston District land sold him by Edward Owens; letters testamentary; accounts of the estate; and receipts. Included is a letter fragment referring to, and a receipt for the sale of, a slave named Isaac.

Folder 8

John Edwards Estate, 1809 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 8

Promissory note to estate executor for John Edwards.

Folder 9

Abigail Ravenel Estate, 1852-1869 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 9

Will, estate accounts, certificate of annual account, correspondence, and order for sale of personal property. There is material on slaves belonging to the estate, including a bill of sale for a slave named Rose, correspondence concerning the hiring out of several slaves, accounts for goods and services purchased for the slaves, and a slave birth list.

Folder 10-12

Folder 10

Folder 11

Folder 12

Dr. Henry Ravenel Estate, 1866-1903 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 10-12

Will, correspondence receipts, accounts of the estate, letters testamentary, railroad stock certificates, and bill for survey of Woodlawn plantation.

Folder 13

John Louis Ravenel and Mary Gaillard, 1828 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 13

Memorandum to the court concerning a dispute in which these estates were involved. Slaves who were part of the disputed property are mentioned.

Folder 14

Paul Ravenel Estate, 1852 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 14

Property appraisal and one receipt.

Folder 15

Frederick Simons Estate, 1890 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 15

One letter, tax receipts, and bills of redemption for land seized for failure to pay taxes.

Folder 16

Rebecca H. Waring Estate, 1890 #01022, Subseries: "2.1. Estate Papers, 1809-1890." Folder 16

One letter and a bill of redemption for land seized for failure to pay taxes.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Other Legal Papers, 1823-1912 and Undated.

8 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Deed transferring title of Pine Ville, South Carolina, land from Peter Gaillard to Mrs. Charlotte Ravenel, 28 June 1823; deed transferring title of St. John's Parish land from R.D. McKelvey to Steven Deveaux, 7 November 1839; letter of guardianship appointing Theodore D. Ravenel as guardian of minor Samuel F. Ravenel, 9 January 1912; two unidentified fragments, one dated 8 March 1805 and the other undated; and four oversize plats (a 10 1/2" x 15" plat of St. John's Parish lands; a plat of St. Stephen's Parish land owned by Theodore Gourdin; a plat of Berkeley County lands for sale by John Ward; and a plat of Charleston District(?) land owned by Daniel Ravenel).

Folder 17

Other legal papers #01022, Subseries: "2.2. Other Legal Papers, 1823-1912 and Undated." Folder 17

Oversize Paper OP-1022/2

Plat of St. John's Parish lands #01022, Subseries: "2.2. Other Legal Papers, 1823-1912 and Undated." OP-1022/2

Oversize Paper OP-1022/3

Plat of St. Stephen's Parish land owned by Theodore Gourdin #01022, Subseries: "2.2. Other Legal Papers, 1823-1912 and Undated." OP-1022/3

Oversize Paper OP-1022/4

Plat of Berkeley County lands for sale by John Ward #01022, Subseries: "2.2. Other Legal Papers, 1823-1912 and Undated." OP-1022/4

Oversize Paper OP-1022/5

Plat of Charleston District(?) land owned by Daniel Ravenel #01022, Subseries: "2.2. Other Legal Papers, 1823-1912 and Undated." OP-1022/5

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Financial Papers, 1833-1903.

About 125 items.

Cotton factor accounts, tax receipts, and other financial papers, mostly of William F. Ravenel.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1. Cotton Factor Accounts, 1865-1900.

About 60 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by cotton factor.

Accounts of William F. Ravenel with cotton factors S.L. Howard & Company, 1865-1875; Ravenel & Co., 1890-1900 (includes a lien on his crop); W. B. Smith & Company, 1883-1891; and Whaley & Rivers, 1889-1899.

Folder 18-20

Folder 18

Folder 19

Folder 20

Cotton Factor Accounts--S.L. Howard & Co. #01022, Subseries: "3.1. Cotton Factor Accounts, 1865-1900." Folder 18-20

Folder 21

Cotton Factor Accounts--Ravenel & Co. #01022, Subseries: "3.1. Cotton Factor Accounts, 1865-1900." Folder 21

Folder 22

Cotton Factor Accounts--W.B. Smith & Co. #01022, Subseries: "3.1. Cotton Factor Accounts, 1865-1900." Folder 22

Folder 23

Cotton Factor Accounts--Whaley & Rivers #01022, Subseries: "3.1. Cotton Factor Accounts, 1865-1900." Folder 23

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.2. Tax Material, 1868-1900.

About 40 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Tax receipts of William F. Ravenel and others for South Carolina state and property taxes. Many of these receipts probably were related to estates for which Ravenel was the executor, but for which no other papers have survived.

Folder 24

Tax material #01022, Subseries: "3.2. Tax Material, 1868-1900." Folder 24

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.3. Other Financial Papers, 1833, 1855, 1859, 1871-1903 .

26 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Account receipts with bankers, grocers, hardware merchants, and others, mostly of William F. Ravenel. There are also several bills of lading with the Atlantic Coast Line and North eastern Railroad Company. Four receipts of Theodore S. DuBose are also included and are dated 1833, 1855, and 1859.

Folder 25

Other financial papers #01022, Subseries: "3.3. Other Financial Papers, 1833, 1855, 1859, 1871-1903 ." Folder 25

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Other Papers, 1790-1897.

13 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by type.

An arithmetic (ciphering) book belonging to William DuBose at the Newport Academy, Rhode Island, 1802; genealogical material on the Gaillard, Stevens, Palmer, and Ravenel families; women's diary entries from the 1840s; a livestock record, 1790-1897; and miscellaneous items including poems (manuscript and printed), recipes, and other miscellaneous materials.

The diary entries are by two unidentified women, one who wrote in the early 1840s, mostly about her religious beliefs, and a second, sister of the first, who wrote several later entries reflecting on the first woman's death and on her own religious feelings. Also of note, among the miscellaneous items, is a copy of the Rules of the Courting, Wooing, and Matrimonial Society, an organization of over 100 South Carolina gentlemen formed to promote marriage and proper conduct among courting couples.

Folder 26

"Cyphering Book," 1802 #01022, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1790-1897. " Folder 26

Folder 27

Genealogical material #01022, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1790-1897. " Folder 27

Folder 28

Diary entries of two sisters, 1843, 1849, and Undated #01022, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1790-1897. " Folder 28

Folder 29

Livestock record, 1790-1897 #01022, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1790-1897. " Folder 29

Folder 30

Miscellaneous items #01022, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1790-1897. " Folder 30

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Processing Information

Processed by: Linda Griggs, November 1983; Jill Snider, July 1990

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, November 2009

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