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Collection Number: 03344

Collection Title: William Dunlap Simpson Papers, 1819-1951

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 3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1900 items)
Abstract William Dunlap Simpson, lawyer of Laurens, S.C., served during the Civil War with the 14th S. C. Volunteers and in the Confederate Congress. In 1876, he was S.C. lieutenant governor, and, in 1878, was acting governor until he became chief justice of the state Supreme Court in 1880. He marrried Jane E. Young, daughter of Henry Clinton Young (b. 1794), lawyer of Laurens, and Lucy Melissa Young (1802-1874). William and Jane's children included William Dunlap, Jr., and Ernest, both lawyers, and John W., banker of Spartanburg, S.C., Greensboro, N.C., and Tennessee. John W. Simpson married Mabel Donald Fleming in 1895. Correspondence and related items, 1819-1852, include family and business letters, including an 1849 letter describing the capture of a violent runaway slave in Alabama. There are also letters of Mary Owen Dean in Spartanburg, S.C., and her husband Hosea G. Dean, clerk of the S.C. House of Representatives, 1852-1853. Letters in the late 1850s relate to William Simpson's law practice. During the Civil War, most letters are from William in the field, 1861-1862, with the 14th S.C. Volunteers, or from Richmond in the Confederate Congress, to his wife Jane, in charge of the Simpson platnation in Laurens. In 1876-1879, there are letters to William requesting political favors and outlining political deals, among them a letter from Wade Hampton, and to state Democratic Party activities. Similar letters appear during Simpson's tenure as chief justice of the S.C. Supreme Court. After William's death, there are letters from his son Ernest from a sanitorium in Battle Creek, Mich., where he was trying to improve his health. Most letters, 1900-1942, relate to John W. Simpson's banking career or to Mabel Fleming Simpson's interest in the history of the Dean, Fleming, Simpson, Wade, and other families. Other items include a few writings by family members, who were particularly intent on defending old southern ways; legal notes; pictures of family members, including a strip of photographs of a baby with a nurse and a homemade calendar for 1899 with photographs of children; a copy of Tri-Weekly Guardian, an 1863 news sheet; and a copy of a history of the Gregg/McGowan South Carolina Brigade (1866).
Creator Simpson, William Dunlap, 1823-1890.
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 William Dunlap Simpson papers #3344, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased in 1958; purchased from Doug Mattox of Raleigh, N.C., in February 1995 (Acc. 95028); received from Joyce Talton and James Edward Gibson of Smithfield, N.C., in February 1995 (Acc. 95027).
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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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 Dunlap Simpson of Laurens, S.C., was the son of Dr. John W. Simpson. He was graduated from South Carolina College in 1843. He studied law with and became the partner and son-in-law of Henry Clinton Young of Laurens.

Simpson served in the state legislature, and, during the Civil War, was aide to M. L. Bonham, on active duty as lieutenant colonel with the 14th South Carolina Volunteers, and member of the Confederate Congress in 1863. After the war, he practiced law at Laurens and ran successfully for lieutenant governor, with running mate Wade Hampton, in 1876 and 1878. During his second term, he served as acting governor, and, in August 1880, before the expiration of his term, was named chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Simpson married Jane E. Young, daughter of Henry Clinton Young (b. 1794), lawyer of Laurens, S.C., and Lucy Melissa Young (1802-1874), daughter of John M. and Jennie Nisbet Young of Iredell County, N.C. William and Jane's children included William Dunlap, Jr., and Ernest, both lawyers, and John W., who was a banker in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. John W. Simpson married Mabel Donald Fleming on 25 September 1895 in Spartanburg, S.C.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Correspondence and related items, 1819-1852, include family and business letters, including an 1849 letter describing the capture of a violent runaway slave in Alabama. There are also letters of Mary Owen Dean in Spartanburg, S.C., and her husband Hosea G. Dean, clerk of the S.C. House of Representatives, 1852-1853. Letters in the late 1850s relate to William Simpson's law practice. During the Civil War, most letters are from William in the field, 1861-1862, with the 14th S.C. Volunteers, or from Richmond in the Confederate Congress, to his wife Jane, in charge of the Simpson platnation in Laurens. In 1876-1879, there are letters to William requesting political favors and outlining political deals, among them a letter from Wade Hampton, and to state Democratic Party activities. Similar letters appear during Simpson's tenure as chief justice of the S.C. Supreme Court. After William's death, there are letters from his son Ernest from a sanitorium in Battle Creek, Mich., where he was trying to improve his health. Most letters, 1900-1942, relate to John W. Simpson's banking career or to Mabel Fleming Simpson's interest in the history of the Dean, Fleming, Simpson, Wade, and other families. Other items include a few writings by family members, who were particularly intent on defending old southern ways; legal notes; pictures of family members, including a strip of photographs of a baby with a nurse and a homemade calendar for 1899 with photographs of children; a copy of Tri-Weekly Guardian, an 1863 news sheet; and a copy of a history of the Gregg/McGowan South Carolina Brigade (1866).

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and related items, 1819-1951 and undated.

About 1,400 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1819-1852.

About 70 items.

Chiefly letters of members of the Simpson family and their Young, Dean, and other relatives. Among these are letters of Jane Young Simpson's parents Lucy Melissa Young (1802-1874) and her husband (and cousin) Henry Clinton Young (b. 1794) of Laurens, S.C., including some relating to Young and Wright, Henry's law firm. There is also a March 1849 letter to Lucy from a relative in Mobile, Ala., that describes the capture of a violent runaway slave.

Many of the letters 1828-1847 were written by Mary Owen Dean in Spartanburg, S.C., and her husband Hosea G. Dean while she tended the farm and he traveled on business. In 1851-1852, Hosea wrote of legislative and other events in Columbia, S.C., where he served as clerk of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Folder 1

1819-1845 #03344, Subseries: "1.1. 1819-1852." Folder 1

Folder 2

1846-1850 #03344, Subseries: "1.1. 1819-1852." Folder 2

Folder 3

1851-1852 #03344, Subseries: "1.1. 1819-1852." Folder 3

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1853-1865.

About 130 items.

Dean and Young family materials continue during this period, especially from Hosea G. Dean, who serve as clerk of the South Carolina House of Representatives at least through 1853. The first William Dunlap Simpson letter appears on 8 February 1853. This and other 1850s letters relate chiefly to Simpson's business deals and legal activities, particularly 1858-1859.

During the Civil War, there are family letters written to Lucy Young in Iredell County, N.C., giving details of conditions on the homefront. Most of the letters during this period, however, are from William in the field, 1861-1862, where he served as aide to M. L. Bonham and as lieutenant colonel with the 14th South Carolina Volunteers, to his wife Jane Young Simpson, who was in charge of the Simpson plantation in Laurens, S.C. On 6 February 1863, William wrote that he had qualified as a member of the Confederate Congress, and, on 24 February 1863, he wrote from Richmond of his hope for a speedy peace. In late 1863 and through 1864, William wrote of his social and legislative activities in Richmond, inquired about conditions on the plantation, and lamented his long separation from his wife and family.

Folder 4

1853-1860 #03344, Subseries: "1.2. 1853-1865." Folder 4

Folder 5

1861 #03344, Subseries: "1.2. 1853-1865." Folder 5

Folder 6

1862-1863 #03344, Subseries: "1.2. 1853-1865." Folder 6

Folder 7

1864-1865 #03344, Subseries: "1.2. 1853-1865." Folder 7

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1866-1890.

About 580 items.

The Fleming family, of which Mabel Fleming Simpson was a member, makes its appearance in 1866 with a legal document from Laurens, S.C. Papers through 1874 include family letters to Lucy Young and a few business letters of William. From 1874 to 1876, almost all of the materials relate to William's legal work in Laurens and to his political career.

In 1876, there are a few letters to William as lieutenant governor of South Carolina, chiefly relating to political deals and favors. Legal and political materials continue through 1877, when William served as president of the South Carolina Senate, and into 1878, when William as acting governor received many letters requesting political favors and outlining political deals. Also in 1878, there are a few letters relating to state Democratic Party activities, and a small number of letters about routine family affairs.

In 1879, political and legal papers continue. Included is a 19 April letter from Wade Hampton discussing political issues and a 28 September letter from a poor women asking the governor to send money to support her children.

On 25 May 1880, there is a notice that William is to become chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, and, on 1 September, there is a copy of his letter resigning the governorship to assume his position on the bench. A 23 December 1880 letter from W. R. Balch, managing editor of The American, who was interested in learning how northern Republicans could help southern Democrats. The letter includes a survey of questions relating to carpetbaggers, the position of African Americans in the Democratic Party, and other issues.

Patronage letters continue, sometimes directed to William as governor and sometimes to him as judge. On 19 August 1890, there is the first letter from Mabel Fleming, and, on 30 December, there is a letter lamenting the accident that lead to William's death.

Folder 8

1866-1872 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 8

Folder 9

1873-1876 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 9

Folder 10

1877 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 10

Folder 11

1878 January-May #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 11

Folder 12

1878 June-December #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 12

Folder 13

1879 January-March #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 13

Folder 14

1879 April-May #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 14

Folder 15

1879 June-September #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 15

Folder 16

1879 October #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 16

Folder 17

1879 November #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 17

Folder 18

1879 December #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 18

Folder 19

1880 January-March #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 19

Folder 20

1880 April-July #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 20

Folder 21

1880 August-December #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 21

Folder 22

1881-1882 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 22

Folder 23

1883-1886 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 23

Folder 24

1887 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 24

Folder 25

1888-1889 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 25

Folder 26

1890 #03344, Subseries: "1.3. 1866-1890." Folder 26

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. 1892-1899.

About 145 items.

Materials during this period chiefly relate to Simpson family members, including William's widow Jane and sons William Dunlap, Jr., Ernest, and John W. Most of William, Jr.'s letters are directed to Jane and discuss routine family affairs. Ernest's letters relate to legal deals until October 1897, when he wrote long letters from a sanitorium in Battle Creek, Mich., where he was trying to improve his health through diet, exercise, and "warm electric baths." On 25 September 1895, there is the announcement of the wedding of John W. Simpson and Mabel Donald Fleming in Spartanburg, S.C. By late 1897, letters show that John was assistant cashier at the National Bank of Spartanburg. Items in 1898 and 1899 document the beginning of Mabel's life-long interest in family history.

Folder 27

1892-1895 #03344, Subseries: "1.4. 1892-1899." Folder 27

Folder 28

1896 #03344, Subseries: "1.4. 1892-1899." Folder 28

Folder 29

1897 January-July #03344, Subseries: "1.4. 1892-1899." Folder 29

Folder 30

1897 August-December #03344, Subseries: "1.4. 1892-1899." Folder 30

Folder 31

1898-1899 #03344, Subseries: "1.4. 1892-1899." Folder 31

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.5. 1900-1951.

About 425 items.

Materials in this period relate almost exclusively to Mabel's interest in family history. Included are replies to her letters requesting information about various family lines--among them the Boatwright, Dean, Farrow, Faust, Fleming, McDonald, Middleton, Rutherford, Simpson, and Wade families--from relatives, professional genealogists, and others.

Among the letters not relating to genealogy are a few in 1926 that show that the Simpsons had moved from Spartanburg to Greensboro, N.C., where John worked for the Atlantic Bank and Trust Company and served as vice president of the North Carolina Bankers' Association. In 1934, letters show that John had moved his family to Morristown, Tenn., where he was receiver for the First National Bank. A letter of 18 June 1936, documents Mabel's winning a Pontiac car and 1,000 gallons of gasoline in Proctor & Gamble's Ivory Flakes Contest. Letters 1940-1942 show that the Simpsons had moved back to Greensboro. Materials in 1951 are condolence letters relating to John's death.

Folder 32

1900-1904 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 32

Folder 33

1905 January-March #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 33

Folder 34

1905 June-December #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 34

Folder 35

1906-1913 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 35

Folder 36

1914-1919 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 36

Folder 37

1920-1922 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 37

Folder 38

1923-1924 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 38

Folder 39

1925-1931 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 39

Folder 40

1932-1933 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 40

Folder 41

1934-1937 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 41

Folder 42

1938-1939 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 42

Folder 43

1940-1942 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 43

Folder 44

1951 #03344, Subseries: "1.5. 1900-1951." Folder 44

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.6. Undated.

About 50 items.

Chiefly letters relating to Mabel's interest in genealogy.

Folder 45-46

Folder 45

Folder 46

Undated #03344, Subseries: "1.6. Undated." Folder 45-46

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s.

About 375 items.
Folder 47

Certificates, diplomas, and school reports, 1843-1925: items relating to the education of and honors received by various family members. (About 15 items) #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 47

Folder 48-49

Folder 48

Folder 49

Clippings, 1860s-1950s: chiefly about John W. Simpson and other family members. Most clippings are from the 20th century, but a few of the earlier clippings relate to activities of William Dunlap Simpson. (About 35 items) #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 48-49

Folder 50-53

Folder 50

Folder 51

Folder 52

Folder 53

Family history/genealogy, 1890s-1930s: chiefly notes and other items relating to Mabel Fleming Simpson's interest in genealogy. Included is material on the Boatwright, Dean, Farrow, Faust, Fleming, McDonald, Middleton, Rutherford, Simpson, and Wade families. (About 200 items) #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 50-53

Folder 54-57

Folder 54

Folder 55

Folder 56

Folder 57

Legal materials, 1870s-1880s: copies of court papers and notes relating to cases. Most of the notes were written by William Dunlap Simpson. (About 100 items) #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 54-57

Folder 58

Writings (About 20 items) Writings by William Dunlap Simpson, including a few papers, possibly speeches, about conditions in South Carolina after the Civil War. #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 58

Folder 59

Writings (About 20 items) Writings by Mabel Fleming Simpson, including "Mother's Day in War-Time," about World War I conditions; "Prison Walls," a short story; and "Lynching as I Have Known It," a defense of states' rights. #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 59

Folder 60

Writings (About 20 items) Writings by others, including "An Appeal for the Preservation of Old Southern Customs," by John W. Simpson. #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 60

Folder 61

Miscellaneous: A copy of the Tri-Weekly Guardian (OP-3344/8), a news sheet published by Charles P. Pelham, state printer, 14 February 1863; a small undated commonplace book with miscellaneous clippings, poems, etc.; an undated funeral register; and a South Carolina Daughters of the American Republic badge made of palmetto fronds. (4 items) #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 61

Folder 62

Miscellaneous: The History of a Brigade of South Carolinians known first as Gregg's and subsequently as McGowan's Brigade , J. F. J. Caldwell (1866). #03344, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1843-1950s." Folder 62

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s.

113 items (number of images in parentheses).
Image Folder P-3344/Folder 1

William Dunlap Simpson (2). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 1

Jane Simpson (2). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 1

John W. Simpson (10). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 1

Image Folder P-3344/Folder 2

Mabel Fleming Simpson and Mabel Fleming Simpson, Jr., including a strip of three photographs of Simpson, Jr., with a maid, circa 1899 (18). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 2

Image Folder P-3344/Folder 3

Stobo James Simpson (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

John W. Simpson, Jr. (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

E. A. Simpson (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

H. G. Simpson (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Mary Ann Dean (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Edward Jefferson Dean (2). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

L. D. Fleming (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Charles Edwin Fleming (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

N. J. Holmes (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Edward Fleming Lucas (9). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Cora Cox Lucas (4). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Gladys Lyles (2). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

W. Boykin Lyles (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Lester L. Robertson (2). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 3

Image Folder P-3344/Folder 4

Unidentified people (39). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 4

Image Folder P-3344/Folder 5

Scenes and miscellaneous, including two images of an unidentified man in World War I uniform on a horse and an unidentified woman with a parasol in front of "our Spartanburg home" (12). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 5

Image Folder P-3344/Folder 6

Homemade calendar for 1899 with photographs of unidentified children (1). #03344, Series: "3. Pictures, 1870s-1930s." P-3344/Folder 6

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Processing Information

Processed by: Brooke Allan, 1961; Roslyn Holdzkom, April 1995

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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