William Dunlap Simpson papers, 1819-1951.

Creator: Simpson, William Dunlap, 1823-1890.
Collection number: 3344
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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).

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Folder 2 contains a March 1849 letter to Lucy Young, describing the capture of an enslaved man who had runaway and threatened the lives of the overseer and other family members. The relative also discusses how another enslaved man Henry, refused to be whipped by the overseer as he had not been whipped by his master before.

Folder 21 also contains a letter dated 23 Dec 1880 from W.R. Balch, managing editor of  The American, discussing among other topics the role of African Americans in the Democratic Party.