March 1860

March 1, 1860

Very pleasant day. Manget acts sometimes very mean. He is often insipid & seldom sharp. Took a walk down to the cars this evening. Singing in the parlor. Mr. Mack sung. Though he knows the mysteries of the sonnet, he has not a good voice.

March 2, 1860

Very warm. In school. Kept Parker after school. Read.

March 3, 1860

Saturday. Read & finished the work on art. Made some drawings. Went into the woods & got some leaves & flowers. Took a short walk after tea. Yesterday Manget lent me $0.50. Think of writing a letter to [cousin] Lucy Stratton. Very warm today.

March 4, 1860

Rather pleasant day. Attended church. In afternoon, [attended the] funeral of a maiden lady. There seemed to be no feeling in the matter. Quite a number were present. The pall bearers went on horseback with crape. Read the bible & wrote. Charles, the nigro – about 12 years old – is bothering me considerably.  He says the little Mack girl told him I swore. The robins are nearly all gone. A few blackbirds are to be seen. The weather is most pleasant & remind one of what the halcyon days are, or at least what we dream they are. The sky is clear & the sunset in a flood of purple & gold.

March 5, 1860

Very rainy and dismal day. Few in school. Been studying French, German, Latin, & Greek. I am making some progress. Received a letter from home & one from J. Belknap. I hardly know what our folks will think when they get my letter, but I am terribly disappointed in not being able to suit. I wish I was sure of getting another place. The nigros use very often [the expression], “he has done gone.” They think as little of me as possible here and I believe I was made for a great fizzle.

March 6, 1860

Pleasant day. Some one stuck a pen in my chair this morning so that when I sat down, it would stick into me. It stuck up [from the chair] about half an inch. But before I sat down, one of the class saw it & told me. Whoever did it signally failed in effecting his object. Had a hard time of it today. They are the worst creatures to govern I ever met. Took a walk this evening. Received a letter from Johnson. I see no improvement in him. Reading the history of Scandinavia. The peach trees are in bloom. They raise a great quantity of fruit here when the season is good. Few rattlesnakes, black snakes, moccasins, etc.

March 7, 1860

Very pleasant and warm day. Hard days work. Took a walk to the Factory Pond & it is a beautiful place. The planters have a peculiar kind of wagon box scalloped like junk, high front & back, and ribbed. Manget brought some moss & said that Miss Lucy Fisher, one of the teachers in the seminary sent it to me.

March 8, 1860

Very warm. Mr. Mack scolded considerably. Yesterday I received a letter from [my sister] Augusta. The grass grows rapidly [and] the oaks are budding. Talked quite awhile with Mr. Mack after tea. He is a pleasant man when he chooses to talk. I will try to do well & please him while here so that I may merit his respect as one who tries to do well.

March 9, 1860

Chilly today. Speaking day [in school]. The boys are miserable speakers & it does not seem as if they [are] of South Carolina’s great geniuses. They [are] hard to govern & revengeful to govern them. [It] requires a great deal of firmness. Took a walk down to the depot. When going to school this morning, I was looking into a yard & nearly stumbled upon a lady. Mack & Manget were along & if they had only spoken to me, it would not have been so, but Mack scowled terribly.

March 10, 1860

Rather cold today. Writing a letter home & to Mr. Smyth. Went with Mr. Robinson, a scholar, to the [Wateree] river about two miles away & thence to an Indian mound.  The river is nearly as broad as the Susquehanna at Owego – very deep and muddy. Very large trees grow on the bank. I got some pottery at the Indian mound. It is situated in a plain near the river and is between 40 and 50 feet high, nearly perfectly round & covers nearly half an acre of ground. The top & sides are covered with thick undergrowth & several large trees are growing on the sides. It must be centuries old & is probably built as a tomb. There is a smaller one near by north of the larger one not more than ten feet high. This [one] has been dug into by a party of picnickers. Some say bones were found but whether human or not, that’s the question. The larger one has never been searched for the Camdenites have either no curiosity or ambition to care for what is in there & investigate, or they are reluctant to disturb the dead-house of the Indian. That it is a very ancient mound, there is no doubt. And could it [be] well searched, its result might be of some advantage to the Indian antiquary. The wide plain is covered with broken pieces of pottery, small yet large enough to see that they are beautifully ornamented. Read & studied the rest of the day. Got to bed about twelve.

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described these Indian mounds in a subsequent piece he wrote for a Northern newspaper. It read:]

The Catawba Indians, of whom nothing now remains but their great earth-houses of the dead, once lived in populated villages in this region. Several miles from Camden and lying on the river are the unmistakable evidences of the dwelling place of this race. There is an unbroken, cleared plain extending for miles along the river, with here and there a patch of woods, and suddenly there arises a mound to the visitor as he crosses the outskirts of a large pine grove, standing alone in the plain, now covered with thick undergrowth and tall trees of more than a century’s growth. At a few rods distance are several smaller mounds. The larger mound is between fifty and sixty feet high and covers about half an acre of ground. One of the smaller was dug into by some gentlemen of a pic-nic party one or two summers ago and it is said bones were found. But whether human or animal, no one could tell me. The wide plain is covered with small broken pieces of pottery, yet large enough to see that they are beautifully ornamented. I found several pieces of broken pipe stems and beautiful arrowheads of white silox.

March 11, 1860

Attended church in forenoon. Read & wrote.

March 12, 1860

Very windy day & rather cold. In school all day. When I came back a paper was here & a letter from [Henry] Handerson. He says that he will try to get me a place to teach & I will write immediately. The paper was the [Owego] Gazette. I sent a letter home & one to Mr. Smyth, [Editor of the Owego Gazette]. The [wind] is blowing terribly hard. The woods are on fire a great way off and the livid fire streams up to the zenith and the black rolling clouds. It was a glorious sight. Reading & writing. Mr. Mack’s children we would say were not very modest. The girls roll and kick up on the floor in all kinds of shapes showing it matters not what. Charles is in here bothering me. He has taken a key and given it back to me & says it will be lost in such a time. This is one of the nigro superstitions. Bloodhounds are not a feature of the South. I can hear of none anywhere. Longfellow says in his poems on slavery, “the nigro heard the bloodhounds distant bay.”

March 13, 1860

Rather cold today. Felt miserable all day. Nothing has passed me but urine in four or five days & now I am feeling rather used up. I do not know whether it is the water or the food, but I never was thus in my life to my recollection. Yesterday the ladies caught Charles doing his business in the garden and they had considerable sport over it. [They] laughed considerably at tea. Charles looked awfully queer. His eyes rolled wonderfully. Reading & writing.

March 14, 1860

Mr. Mack has gone away today. Rather cold. The boys were very unruly. I kept one of the Starke’s till 5 o’clock. Evening, read & wrote. Had an evacuation of the bowels this morning. Do not feel as bad as I did. The people do not know what we mean by “hay mow.” The Methodist Ministers in church always say the Lord’s Prayer when praying.

March 15, 1860

Rather cold. I hit the crystal to my watch & I think injured the watch for it stopped. Got some tobacco. Charles is rather vulgar. Manget lent me $0.50 today. He has lent me $1.50 now. Reading & writing.

March 16, 1860

In school.

March 17, 1860

At my room all day, reading & writing. Got a paper from home. Got my watch fixed, paid $0.50 for it. Rainy. Feel bad. Finished the history of Scandinavia. Wrote a letter to [Ex-Governor] Brown, Florida.

March 18, 1860

Rather cold. Attended church. Tom Davis, son of Bishop [Davis] preached. Passable preaching. Remained in my room the rest of the day. The South Carolinians are a polite people. The standard of morals is higher than at the North. Female virtue is not of that easy kind which characterizes the North. A gentleman can never succeed in ungraceful familiarities. Cases of seduction are rare. Illicit connection is entirely confined to the slaves, is between the whites and the female slaves. And yet, if a man is known as a certainty to have many by such, he is little esteemed by the best of the community. This state of society seems to be the result of slavery & if it be a sin as some believe, it has its good effects. As a general thing, virtue and morals are higher throughout the South than at the North.

They have poor classes here as well as at the North but the educated portion goes in good & [with] the highest society. A lady, handsome & fashionably educated, is received everywhere by fashionable education. I mean in the common branches, Latin & Greek, & French, Spanish, & Italian & Music. The poor educated women are careful to look out for rich husbands & as my chum says, you can know that from the size of their hoops. He himself is poor but goes in the best society. The majority are better Christians than at the North.

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described his observations of South Carolina society in a subsequent piece that he wrote for a Northern newspaper, included below. It is no doubt embellished; for example, Goodrich says that he spent “a few weeks” on a plantation observing slavery first-hand. We know from his diary that this was not true.]

To know a man’s pedigree & advantages, you know what he is. The harsh & the cruel are generally northern, or the offspring of some wealthy & ignorant overseer, who, it would seem, have been taught only how to exercise cruelty, both to animal and to man. By far the better & most numerous class are the mild, opulent & intelligent southern planters and in the portion of the South of which I am speaking, boast themselves to be descended from the cavaliers of Virginia or the Huguenots of South Carolina. The northern men who have settled here have risen from overseers — the lowest position that a white man can occupy – to considerable planters. They are the only savage men – savage from policy and training – that I have met in my whole wandering in the South. That myth, which originated in the brain of the abolition fraternity, expanded & intensified in its false colors by Mrs. Stowe, nowhere finds its reality except, in some case, with those men only who come here, and who claim a nearer affinity to the pseudo philanthropist and Mrs. Stowe of the North, than to the people with whom they have settled.

Those stories of famishing Blacks seeking concealment in the swamps and canebacks closely pressed by the pack of bloodhounds, his flesh torn and swollen with the chain or the lash of the overseer, his yearnings after knowledge, and of his spiritual being, of which he catches faint glimpses in the active working of his own untutored mind, have no existence whatever, and are merely a fiction of the brain of those who originated them. The bay of that barbarous beast – the bloodhound – is as seldom heard here. The African, so far as I have observed – and I have seen him in the easier servitude, and in the cotton and sugar fields – possesses a deeper and sounder realization of the truths of Christianity, a firmer faith in the merits of the crucified Son, than many of the people who are placed over them.

The negro is hilarious when he gets a few days to spend on the rivers fishing. The graceful salute & his cheerful “goo morning, Massa” betrays a spirit well at ease, and happiness in his present condition. I spent a few weeks on a large plantation several miles from the city of Camden [S.C.] and went with the master to the negro quarters, and it was the subject of the painter, to transfer to canvass the different ebonys – full grown and aged, young, or nursing – in joyful glee at the return of their absent master.

This is the land of hoecakes, waffles, and hominy. I was told by a friend that I would return from the South a rank abolitionist. I wrote to him after I had been there some months that if the negroes were freed now, they would prefer to remain with their masters than seek a precarious livelihood elsewhere. They are devotedly attached to hoecake, rough and one would suppose barely palatable, but it possess a healthy sweetness and nutritive power seldom found in the northern maize.

The people are called in history the chivalric people. That writer spoke correctly for a more ceremonious and polite race I never saw. This politeness is general. It is shown to strangers as well as friends. The hat is touched and a bow and cheerful “good morning, sir,” greets everyone. This custom belongs also to the ebony aristocracy and it is surprising to see with what readiness they adopt the manners of their superiors, and the ingenuity and exactness of the evolutions they perform.

March 19, 1860

Another hard day. Mr. Mack had me hear my classes in his room under his supervision. The class bulled along most gloriously. he roved & stormed & swore. He took the chair & I was obliged to stand up all the time. The class was in from early in the morning till nearly two o’clock & when we finished, I was completely tired out. He as much said before the school that I did not know how to teach in that the boys knew something when he had them but now they did not. I can’t stand any such work. I hope I can get another place. I will put my trust in God. Wrote a letter to [my sister] Augusta. Buckley’s here. The people gone. Mack & two of the ladies went. He asked Manget to go, & after a time, [he] asked me to go. All the time did not want me to go.

March 20, 1860

Same in school today as yesterday. I feel very miserable. I pray God to be with me and assist me in everything. Received a letter from home containing a letter from Smith Woodman & Co. for two men to write to — one in Delhi & the other in New York. Sent a letter to [my sister] Augusta.

March 21, 1860

Same today. I am very tired & sleepy. Sent a letter home today.

March 22, 1860

Rather chilly. Hard work in school. One boy in reduction did not know how to multiply 16 by 14. Reading & studying. Received a letter from [cousin] Lucy Fiddis. I wrote to her on the 11th of February and she did not receive it until the 3rd of March. She wrote [on the] 6th. She wrote a very good letter. She is a talented girl. I [wish I] was as much so a man as she is a woman. Reading Scott on Witchcraft.

March 23, 1860

Rather warm & pleasant. Today was the speaking & composition day. The boys are miserable declaimers — much more so than one would suppose from Carolina being the chivalrous state. Feel tired & stupid. Took a walk out to the Factory Pond & picked up some stones. The people may be chivalrous but they have appeared very cold to me. I have not been a warm spirit in their hearts. None but my roommate to sympathize with. Laughed at for my awkwardness. I am deserted indeed. Vegetation does not advance as rapidly as at the North.

March 24, 1860

Warm & pleasant. In the room during nearly the whole day. Took a walk to the Cornwallis house & gathered a branch of the “China Berry” or “Pride of India” as it is called here. The mistletoe grows generally on the oak here. The stores in the village, many of them are miserable low & the upper part [used] for [a] dwelling sometimes. The streets are seldom paved & [sidewalks] never cross the street. The sand makes a good walk in all kinds of weather. The cherry tree are nearly in leaf. Rice is raised in the state but near the coast. There is a great deal of it. I have not seen any but they say it looks very much like oats. The people are fine horseback riders. They have fine horses [here] & come into town or through it in their 2 horse covered carriages with a driver & a negro behind. Their lumber wagons are drawn often by 2 or more span of mules & the driver on a saddle rides the near one & swings a huge whip. Nights the negro boys make a kind of rolling, caroling screech, which no one but a negro can make. Received a paper from home.

March 25, 1860

Attended church. Mr. Mack is a low churchman. The Bishop [is] rather inclined to low churchism. His son is a stiff High churchman. There is much discussion on the question of High & Low Church doctrine & some are very rabid. The negroes of the Methodist give about 80 dollars a year for the support of the minister. Tom Davis was sick & one of the theological students read the service. Miss Lucy wants Manget to take me to see her. I think I will go sometime.

March 26, 1860

In school. Tired & feel sick. I am troubled considerably with dyspepsia. The boys acted badly today. One was expelled but he is going to apologize and come back. I did not get out until half past four today. That has been my usual time. The water is soft that we drink, there being but little lime in the soil. There is not such a thing as hard water in the state. Lime is much needed for the plantations. Manget drills the boys in infantry in the morning. That is considered an accomplishment here. It is cold today — at least I feel it more than I would at home. The people generally live on light food such as is fitting to a warm climate & it is not strong enough to keep off the cold as far as I am concerned.

It is a good country for lawyers and doctors. Manget has just received a letter from one of his friends in Alabama — a doctor — and he writes that he made over three thousand dollars last year, board only ten dollars a month & everything.

March 27, 1860

Chilly. Received a letter from Austin. Sent a letter home. Lent Miss Morgan [my] Translation of Horace. There are quite a number of French families in this state — the descendants of the Huguenots. They form quite a large portion. There are many along the coast.

March 28, 1860

Raising the Steeple on the Town Tower in front of the new Market in Camden on 28 March 1860. The King Haigler weathervane is clearly visible.

Somewhat warmer than yesterday. I was obliged to send Woods out of the class today for impudence. Sent off a letter to [Nathaniel] Davis & [Willoughby] Babcock.

After school, went down street where they were raising the steeple to the market. It was raised by ropes & pulleys on the outside surmounted by a flat figure of an Indian fitted so it will move in the wind. He has bow drawn & arrow in it. Supposed to represent the Catawba Indian.

March 29, 1860

After school went to the bookstore with Manget. He got a Webster’s Dictionary. Studied that all the evening.

March 30, 1860

Rather warm. Composition day. Some were awfully bad. Evening went to church with Manget at the Methodist. They all kneel in prayer. Went up to see Miss Lucy [Fisher]. Miss Dargan was there. Had quite a pleasant time though they made considerable fun of me. Miss Lucy is quite a servant girl & knows considerable. Got to our room about _____. Charles Fisher was there. He is an inferior looking person.

March 31, 1860

Rather warm. Read some & took a walk out into the country & got some flowers. I walked a good deal. My legs ache considerably now. I find that there is more pleasure in anticipation than there is in actual enjoyment or the possession of an object diminishes its value. I have not heard a single [thing] about a place [to teach] as yet. My fate is dubious. I do hope I can secure a place somewhere here. The time is approaching when I must leave. How soon, I do not know. I pray God help me to secure another place. My  hope is in Him.

Footnotes

Factory Pond was the name given to a large basin of water adjacent to McRae’s Mill, constructed in 1760 by the Kershaw family. McCrae’s Wheat Mill was an impressive structure, five stories and the first in South Carolina to use the turbine wheel.

Goodrich probably refers to the Pre-Columbian Indian Burial Mounds bordering the Wateree River not far from Camden, South Carolina. The “Adamson” burial mound was one such mound on the Mulberry Plantation.

Fugitive Slaves in the Great Dismal Swamp

Goodrich is referring to the stanza in Longfellow’s poem, The Slave in the Dismal Swamp which reads:

In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp
The hunted Negro lay;
He saw the fire of the midnight camp,
And heard at times a horse’s tramp
And a bloodhound’s distant bay.

After Camden’s first marketplace burned in a fire in 1812, a new marketplace and town tower was erected in the 1820’s on Broad Street. A weather vane in the likeness of King Haiglar, designed by J. B. Mathieu, was placed on top of the tower. Haiglar was a Catawba Indian chief who was friendly to the white man. In 1859, construction of a second, freestanding town tower was begun in front of the market building near 1021 Broad Street (west side) and this tower was topped by the same King Haiglar weathervane that had been on the first town tower.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: