Smoothbore Musket
Unmarked
Continental Europe
1805-1810
Between South Carolina’s secession on December 20, 1860 and its firing on Fort Sumter the following April, Charleston scrounged for whatever weaponry it could procure to supplement its growing defenses. In so doing, the state appropriated several stores of outdated flintlocks from by-gone eras and subsequently put them to use among Charleston’s first volunteers. This .69 caliber smoothbore musket - first used by New York troops during the War of 1812 and similar to French Charlevilles used during the American Revolution - is just such an example. Also noteworthy is its hastily improvised conversion from flintlock to percussion cap (the latter being a more reliable ignition system invented in the 1830s). Instead of replacing the entire action, the original flint jaws were fitted with a blunt hammerhead, and a percussion socket was drilled into the rear barrel.  Lastly, officials stamped an “SC” the lock plate to denote its state issue.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

Even before the explosive 1946  introduction of the bikini in France, two piece suits were gaining in popularity. This perky yellow swimsuit of elasticized fabric dates to the 1940s. In the late 1930s and 1940s, man-made fibers such as Celanese acetate and Dupont rayon were used to create a number of exciting new and practical fabrics. This suit has a Par-Form / Original label, indicating it was made by Par-Form Foundations, Inc., New York.

The bandeau top has encased elastic top and bottom and ties in back. It originally had a removable matching tie that slipped through a loop inside the front center and tied around the neck. The matching bottom has an additional gathered panel over the front along with encased elastic at waist, bottom of front panel and leg openings. There is a 7” yellow metal zipper in back with a concealed yellow plastic button at the waist.

This summery suit was worn by Audrey Nash Jordan (1921-2005) of Greenwood and Greenville, S.C.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Lt. Bill Williams was the son of Agnes E Jones and Lewis E. Williams, born circa 1916, likely in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He attended the Citadel, graduating in 1937. His Senior yearbook photo showed he concentrated his studies in Artillery and Business Administration. In the 1940 census, he is listed as an officer in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1941, he was back at the Citadel, this time as an instructor. At some point, probably in 1942, he would be assigned to the 99th Coast Artillery as the return address on the envelope shows. In 1943 (the time he was writing), the unit would have been in Trinidad (then part of the British West Indies), before being reassigned stateside in December of that same year. Unfortunately, that is all that on-going research has been able to discern of Lt. Williams. It is unknown if he ever got serious about “Margot” or any girl or if he made the Army his career as would seem was his original intent. His mother, lived her entire life in Orangeburg, raising her family and receiving letters from her son, Bill, during the war and one would assume after if he were not at home, as she was his “best girl.” She died in 1957 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery.

The Coastal Artillery was a branch of the Army (in the United States military) and after 1907 was actually a separate branch from Artillery.  Their primary concern was operating fixed gun batteries or anti-ship batteries in coastal fortifications.  In such a capacity, they would not deploy to the European or Pacific theaters.  After World War II, with the advances in both aircraft and guided missiles, fixed batteries were deemed too vulnerable.  Coastal artillery units were either disbanded altogether or became the current Air Defense Artillery units.

TRANSCRIPTION:

                                March 23, 1943.
Dearest Mom: —
        Have been receiving your frequent letters and clippings and appreciate them more than I can say.  Glad you received my cablegram O.K.  Y’know, Gen. Summerall’s birthday is one day after yours, so I sent him one too at the same time.  A few days later, I got a personal letter of gratitude from the old boy.  He seemed to be deeply grateful.  Guess little courtesies like that don’t do a bit of harm.
        A short time ago, I received a phone call from the transient officers’ quarters of the nearby army air field.  A southern drawl informed that Louis Williams had asked him to call me when he passed thru here.  The caller was a flight surgeon who used to room with Louie before Dot & Jean went to Texas.  Of course, I got in my jeep and went right over.  While I was talking to the doc, a Major Alexander walked up and was introduced to me.  “Williams,” he said, “Not Louie’s brother!”  I said yes, and he said, “Well, come on over to the quarters and see Col. Ferguson.”  And there he was.  Tommy and I had a very long and enjoyable chat about Louie, the war, the States, and everything else you can mention.  He asked me whether I wanted to send anything back by him, but I told him “only greetings.”  Tommy was piloting a big bomber and there were scads of other planes in the same mission to “somewhere” and back.  Really was nice to see somebody from home.
        Mom, after a long period of being stymied by fate in a regiment which was already preformed when I entered it, your baby boy has finally taken command of a battery of over 130 men.  I have four junior officers under me all of whom were just commissioned from officers’ candidate school a month or so ago.  Of course, they’re green but willing and accommodating.  They’re from Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Kentucky respectively.  This battery was considered to be on the down grade when I took over, and I’m supposed to be a “reform man” and perk it up.  So far we’re doing just that.  It looks much better already if I do say so myself.  I’m getting a lot of satisfaction and feeling of pride in achievement out of sitting in the skipper’s seat.  I’ll certainly never regret choosing the army as a career.  It’s my meat.
        Any news of Bill Atkinson lately?  Please give my regards to his family for me.  How is your health?  Please see Dr. Culler often, will you?  Love to Lynda, Nellie Lena Effie Sallie Mr. Orrin, and the Salleys.  Of course, I still like it here very much, but I’d like very much to come home for a thirty-day furlough and see especially my Mom and incidentally all my other friends.  It’s been almost a year now, and that’s a long time these days.  I have so much to be thankful for and so little to complain about that I shouldn’t complain about not seeing my mother.  We’ll make up for lost time when I return.  You and I are going to Washington and a lot of other places.  Are you willing?  O.K., then keep the chin up and take care of your health at any cost – conserve energy for our trip. 
        Did you read Life’s account of Eddie Rickenbacker’s 21 days adrift in the Pacific.  Read it.  You’ll notice that his navigator on the ill-fated flight was a Citadel graduate named De Angelis, a short dark skinned son of Italian parents.  I know him well.  Guess I should, ‘cause he slept thru most of my lectures for a whole year when I was instructor.
        Margot De Gannes and I are still seeing each other as often as my many duties permit.  Sometimes we go out to one of the nearby islands and spend the day with some of my Citadel friends stationed there.  As I told you, Connor goes with Toni, her sister.  We sometimes double-date.  Don’t worry; it’s nothing serious; merely platonic.  She’s a swell little girl who is just as Southern in nature as if she’d been born and raised in South Carolina.  Takes a dislike to any American who is from north of the Mason and Dixon.  Keeps asking what you’re like, do I look like you, and will I take her to see you when she visits South Carolina after the war.  She swears she’s coming, says S.C. is the only state she cares to see.  You’d like her plenty.
        Guess I’ll wind up this rambling letter and get back to my work.  I’m now Duty Officer at Regimental Headquarters and took time off from my command Post duties to write my best girl.  Take care of yourself
                            ‘cause
                                I love you,
                                        Bill
P.S.  New Address:
    Btry. C, rest the same.

Horseman’s Saber
James Potter
New York
1775-1782
Made from a whip-saw blade, New York cutler James Potter became such a master at reproducing British horseman’s sabers that his particular works became well-known throughout the colonies. Known as “Potter swords” or sometimes “Potters,” these large, heavy weapons measuring just under 3 ½ feet in length soon became the standard for Patriot forces during the American Revolution. This piece, on exhibition in the Revolutionary war section of the Charleston Museum’s second hall, is one of only three known Potter swords to retain its original leather-sewn scabbard, and was carried by Sergeant Ezekial Crawford of General Francis Marion’s Brigade while fighting in the Pee Dee region of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

These horseracing images come from our historical photograph collection.  They were all taken at Belvidere Race Track in Eutawville, South Carolina, in either 1936 or 1937. Belvidere track was built on the grounds of Belvidere Plantation in Orangeburg County (originally the plantation fell in Berkeley County but when county lines were re-drawn in 1908, it became part of Orangeburg County) with the first race being held in November of 1936. The plantation was owned by the Sinkler family and images of two of their three (married at this time) daughters appear in the images here. Unfortunately, the track was destined to be short-lived.

Belvidere lay in the flood path of the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project - like so many other plantations in the area. In 1941, the house was emptied and the family left the property for the last time. The track (and the rest of the property) is now underwater. For more on the Sinkler family and Belvidere Plantation, check out An Antebellum Plantation Household by Anne Sinkler Whaley LeClerq (descendent) and Belvidere: A Plantation Memory by Anne Sinkler Fishburne (pictured in some of these images). For more on the “sunken plantations,” read Sunken Plantations: The Santee Cooper Project by Douglas Bostick.

  1. Weighing in the jockeys. Photographer M.B.Paine, 28 December 1936
  2. Kirby Tupper on Sun Sire wins most firsts in St Johns Race Meet. Photograph, M.B. Paine, 03 April 1937
  3. photographer M.B. Paine, 28 December 1936
  4. photographer M.B. Paine, possibly 1937
  5. Mule race, jockeys appear to be African-American. Photographer M.B. Paine, 28 December 1936
  6. 3 & 4 in a close finish; photographer M.B. Paine, 03 April 1937
  7. Weighing in at the end of each event; photographer M.B. Paine, 03 April 1937
  8. Mrs. Lockwood, “Carrie Sinkler,” records the exciting events with her pet Bell & Howell Movie camera in Kodacrome; photographer M.B. Paine, 03 April 1937
  9. Caroline Sinkler Fishburne (left) and Anne Sinkler Lockwood (right); photographer M.B. Paine, 03 April 1937

Hand-tinted map of South Carolina coast and inland area, published in 1696 by Nicholas Sanson, a French cartographer. Titled in French, it reads as,   

A particular map of Carolina, drawing on the New memories of Mr. S of Amsterdam from the House of Pierre Mortier Bookseller. With privilege our Lords of the States.

The map, based on the c. 1695 Thornton-Morden map, was first published in Sanson’s Atlas Nouveau Contenant Toutes Les Parties du Monde. It depicts the area from the South Edisto River to the Santee River. Relief shown pictorially, depth shown by soundings and bathymetric shading. Landowners, rivers, creeks, Native American settlements, mountains, and trees are represented.

Our little painted velvet and silk bag was made by Maria Martin [Bachman], probably in the 1820s. The bag is silk, with cream velvet inserts, each painted with a lovely flower. Silk tassel fringe encircles each insert and across the bottom of the bag. The top has an encased drawstring ribbon, too delicate to pull at this time.

Maria was born in Charleston on July 3, 1796, the youngest of four daughters of John Jacob and Rebecca Martin. When her sister, Harriet, married Rev. John Bachman (1790-1874) of St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1816, Maria and her mother also became part of the new household.  After her sister Harriet’s death in 1846, Maria married the Rev. John Bachman on December 28, 1848. She died in Columbia in December 1863.

John James Audubon, a friend of the Bachman family, noticed Maria’s talents as a watercolorist on his visit in 1831. She subsequently supplied many paintings of plants that were used as backgrounds for Audubon’s birds in The Birds of America. In doing so, she became the only well-known South Carolina female artist of the 19th century.

Coming Friday: a selection of Maria’s watercolors will be featured in our Ephemera Friday posting for 3/8/13

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Theodosia Gordon Collection
This collection came to the Charleston Museum in 2007 and is comprised of books, photographs and memorabilia including postcards, certificates, and a family Bible. The owner of the items, Theodosia Elizabeth Cox Gordon Robinson, was born in 1874 to Thomas Campbell Cox and Elizabeth Singleton. Thomas was twice elected as Darlington County Sheriff and, per family lore, was a member of the Charleston “Mulatto Elite.” Theodosia’s mother died when she was young and she was adopted by her paternal aunt, Julia Cox Gordon. Raised in Charleston, she moved to Washington, D.C. in her early 20s. She married and raised her children there, working for, and eventually retiring from, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Theodosia died in 1947. The images here are just a small portion of the 123 photographs in the collection. While some are identified, many including these shown here, are unknown.

Click here and here to view 1920s textiles from the Cox-Gordon collection

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.

Cased “Dueling” Pistols
Maker: Durs Egg
Origin: London, England
Date: 1800-1815
Though most cased and matched handguns are today considered “dueling pistols,” many were marketed simply as “sporting” or “target” pieces to avoid South Carolina’s casual anti-dueling laws. Despite being formally outlawed in 1812, dueling nevertheless remained an almost standard solution for personal matters beyond the courts. In fact, not until after the Cash-Shannon affair on July 5, 1880 (the last fatal duel fought in the state) did the South Carolina General Assembly begin strictly enforcing harsh penalties on duelists regardless of their personal status. This particular cased pair was owned by Aiken Simmons of Charleston, who had the original flintlock mechanisms converted to percussion cap likely sometime in the 1830s.

Lecture & Book Signing: Dueling in Charleston
February 20, 2013  6:30 
Details http://bit.ly/W84bpa

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

These shoe advertisements all come from our Trade and Advertising collection, in particular the ephemera subset, which consists mostly of trade cards and ads. The Trade and Advertising collection also contains a large amount of billheads and receipts. While these specific examples may advertise a nationally available product, these particular ads all promoted local Charleston businesses. While we do not have exact dates available, it is thought that most of these ads come from the late 19th century.

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.