Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Samuel Prioleau and Margaretta Fleming Ravenel Family Collection, 1807-1950

Finding aid created by
Naomi Herman-Aplet, October 2012, and Meg Hixon, November 2013

Summary Information
Title: Samuel Prioleau and Margaretta Fleming Ravenel family collection
Creator: Ravenel family
Inclusive dates: 1807-1950
Bulk dates: 1837-1902
Extent: 0.75 linear feet
Abstract:
This collection contains correspondence and other materials related to the family of Samuel Prioleau Ravenel and his wife, Margaretta Fleming Parker Ravenel. Many of the letters concern life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, South Carolina, before, during, and after the Civil War (particularly during Reconstruction). Other items pertain to family news, European travel, and other subjects.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1992. M-2886.1 .

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Samuel Prioleau and Margaretta Fleming Ravenel Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged into the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Photographs
  • Series III: Printed Items

The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

Daniel Ravenel (1789-1873) and his wife, Caroline Cripps (1791-1844) had eight children: Daniel (1812-1833), John Cripps (1814-1838), Elizabeth Farr (1816-1822), James (1818-1880), Catherine Prioleau (1820-1821), Samuel Prioleau (1822-1902), Henry Edmund (1824-1863), and William Chardon (b. 1828). The Ravenel family lived in Charleston, South Carolina.

Samuel Prioleau Ravenel served in the 1st South Carolina Artillery Regiment during the Civil War. He married Margaretta Amelia Fleming Parker (1833-1913), a widow, on December 6, 1865, and they had four children: Samuel Prioleau (b. 1868), Marguerite Amélie (b. 1870), Clarissa Walton (b. 1872), and Caroline Eliza (b. 1874).

Margaretta Amelia Fleming Parker Ravenel, the daughter of Thomas Fleming and Clarissa Walton of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had one surviving child, Thomas Fleming (1860-1926), from her previous marriage to Thomas Parker, who was killed in battle during the Civil War. Samuel Prioleau and Margaretta Ravenel built an estate in Highlands, North Carolina, after the war.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of correspondence, photographs, and other materials related to the family of Samuel Prioleau Ravenel and his wife Margaretta Fleming Parker Ravenel. Many of the letters concern life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, South Carolina, before, during, and after the Civil War.

The Correspondence series (215 items) comprises the bulk of the collection. Many of the earliest items are incoming personal letters to Clarissa Walton and Thomas Fleming from friends, their son. These and other early items largely pertain to everyday life and social activities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, South Carolina. The series includes a group of letters that Thomas and Margaretta Fleming Parker wrote to the Flemings, his in-laws and her parents, about life in Charleston in 1861; Margaretta occasionally referred to the war. James McCarter wrote two letters from Charleston in June 1862 about the flight of civilians from the city and other effects of the war.

Ravenel family correspondence begins in the late 1850s with letters that Samuel Prioleau Ravenel received from a correspondent in Philadelphia; at the time, he lived in Pendleton, South Carolina. Ravenel began to correspond with Margaretta Parker in 1862, and they discussed their courtship, plans to marry, and daily lives until 1865. In letters to Margaretta and, in the late 1860s, to his father, Daniel, Samuel Prioleau Ravenel often wrote about Reconstruction policies, freedmen, and other political topics. Daniel Ravenel wrote to his son and his daughter-in-law about life in Charleston.

Samuel Prioleau and Margaretta Ravenel spent much of the late 1860s in Switzerland and in Paris, France, which Margaretta described in letters to her mother Clarissa Walton Fleming. Fleming responded with news from home, including comments about the 1868 presidential election and her life in Philadelphia. Throughout the 1870s, Samuel and Margaretta corresponded with their families about Charleston socialites and family news from South Carolina and their home in Highlands, North Carolina. They often discussed the births and growth of their children. A group of letters written in 1902 concerns the death of Samuel Prioleau Ravenel. Additional items from the early 20th century concern the Ravenel family's interest in a sugar mill and other topics.

The Photographs series (5 items) contains carte-de-visite portraits of S. Prioleau Ravenel in a military overcoat (1 item), Arthur Parker (1 item), and a woman, tentatively identified as Margaretta Ravenel or "Annie" (2 items), as well as a cabinet card photograph of three men around a table, taken in Mexico.

The Printed Items series (7 items) includes copies of a Supplement to Charleston Mercury (November 30, 1867), the Charleston Daily Courier-Extra (December 3, 1867), and The Charleston Mercury (May 2, 1868). Also included are a page from The Tri-Weekly Courier (December 9, 1867), a playbill for a production of Ten Nights in a Barroom at the Wardman Park theatre (April 23, 1929), a newspaper clipping containing a copy of "Mother Shipton's Prophecy" (undated), a calling card for "Miss Loat" of Balham Hill (undated); and a single book: Mason Smith Family Letters, 1860-1868, edited by Daniel E. Huger Smith, Alice R. Huger Smith, and Arney R. Childs (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1950).

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Charleston (S.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Charleston (S.C.)--Social life and customs.
    • Courtship--United States.
    • Freedmen.
    • Highlands (N.C.)
    • Paris (France)--Description and travel.
    • Pendleton (S.C.)
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social life and customs.
    • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--South Carolina.
    • Switzerland--Description and travel.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Soldiers.
    Contributors:
    • Fleming, Clarissa Walton.
    • Fleming, Thomas.
    • M'Carter, James Jefferson, 1800-1872.
    • Parker, Thomas.
    • Ravenel, Daniel, 1789-1873.
    • Ravenel, Margaretta Amelia Fleming Parker, 1833-1913.
    • Ravenel, Samuel Prioleau, 1822-1902.
    Genre Terms:
    • Books.
    • Cabinet photographs.
    • Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Newspapers.
    • Playbills.
    • Visiting cards.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folders   1-26
     September 26, 1807-November 25, 1908
    Box   2 Folders   1-4
     January 4, 1909-April 15, 1915, and  undated
     
    Photographs [series]
    Box   2 Folder   5
     July 11, 1869, and  undated
     
    Printed Items [series]
    Box   2 Folders   6-7
     November 30, 1867-April 29, 1929, and  undated
    Box   2  
    Mason Smith Family Letters, 1860-1868, edited by Daniel E. Huger Smith, Alice R. Huger Smith, and Arney R. Childs (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1950)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    This collection arrived at the Clements Library with the John S. Cripps collection. John S. Cripps was a relative of the Ravenel family.

    Bibliography

    Chambers, Isabel Hall, and Overton Chambers. Remembering Highlands: From Pioneer Village to Mountain Retreat. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2009.

    Ravenel, Henry Edmund. Ravenel Records: A History and Genealogy of the Huguenot Family of Ravenel, of South Carolina; with Some Incidental Account of the Parish of St. Johns Berkeley, Which Was Their Principal Location. Atlanta: The Franklin Printing and Publishing Co., 1898.