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Fellowship Society records

Identifier: Mss 0151

Collection Overview

The collection consists of numerous records series. Membership rules and records contain handwritten copies (1762, 1770, 1774, and 1837) of the Society's rules with signatures of members up to the 1950s; lists (1839-1847) of those on the Society's bounty, and later printed rules (1859-2005) of the Society. There is a broken series of rough minutes (1815-1956, with gaps) consisting of first drafts, with additions and corrections made; and an unbroken set of minutes (1769-1993) detailing the meetings of the Society consistently over the years with just a few months hiatus in 1865. Early volumes (1769-1800) mention the plans for a hospital, the Charleston fire of 1778, political happenings of the day, including adopting an oath of allegiance for its members to take, the Revolutionary War, the capitulation of Charles Towne to the British and a few references to engraver Thomas Coram (d. 1811). The next volumes (1800-1832) contain many references to the school administered by the Society, with mentions of teachers Joseph Vesey (d. 1835) and John C. You and the progress of students. There is a copy of an 1810 letter from Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1825) re the Charleston Bible Society, mentions of War of 1812 fortifications; and the purchase of property for rental use and the establishment of a Fellowship Hall on property between Broad and Chalmers streets. Minutes (1832-1854) reference the decline of the schools, the death of President Charles Steedman (1783-1838), killed in the Charleston fire of 1838, Eliza Murden (d. 1847), as teacher of the Society's school for girls, starting her own school on more religious lines, with a reference to her being tolerant to all religions, including Judaism. The Society's gift of funds to establish a normal school in Charleston, the growing rift between North and South, the championing of its President Richard Yeadon (1802-1870) for his stand on southern rights, the effect of the Civil War on the city and the Society's members, and striking Charles Steedman from membership due to his service in the Union Navy are detailed in the minutes of 1854 to 1867. Post Civil War era minutes (1867-1903) make mention of a political riot, the South Carolina Dispensary system, a memorial to William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870), and other topics of the day. Twentieth century minutes focus on purchasing and fixing up 370 King Street, events around World War I, the Spanish influenza epidemic and Word War II. Throughout the series of minutes are detailed analyses of the situations and finances of the widows and others on the Society's bounty, purchase and use of silver, mentioning the Charleston firm, Hayden and Gregg, commissioning portraits of various presidents, mentioning artists John Beaufain Irving (1808-1881), and R. I. Curtis, [Thomas] Wightman (1811-1888) and others. Financial records (1774-2004) include cash books, rough cash books, receipt books, journals and ledgers, detail finances, costs of meetings, payments for food, spirits, rentals, and incidentals, with periodic listings of the Society's assets. Records (1895-1921) of the Auxiliary Fellowship Society include minutes and financial accounts. Miscellaneous items include a proclamation (1770) re the Society by Lieutenant Governor William Bull, the Society's charter (1770), and a 1847 Bank of Camden broadside.


  • Creation: 1762-2005


Language of Material

Materials in English

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Historical Note

The Fellowship Society was founded in Charleston, South Carolina (then Charles Towne) on April 4, 1762 and incorporated with the approval of the British crown, on April 12, 1769. Its founding President was Edward Weyman (1730-1793) and its mission, varying to some extent over the years, has been benevolence, helping the poor, the sick and destitute, both among its male-only members and their families and the general public. An early stated goal included the erection of a hospital to help the mentally and physically ill. That shifted to educating poor children in Charleston, both boys and girls. A donation of $3,000 to the city of Charleston in 1858 helped established what later became Memminger Normal School, benefitting general education in the city. The organization met in various rented spaces and "Fellowship Halls" it had bought and subsequently sold, through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and other social disturbances, always allocating part of its annual budget to the upkeep of widows and other dependents of deceased members. In the 20th century, the organization began to donate funds to various organized charities and it has followed this procedure into the 21st century. An Auxiliary Fellowship Society was in existence from 1895-1921, its mission being to assist ill members and to create an annual fund.


11.0 linear feet (12 document boxes, 28 volumes, 1 oversize folder)


Minutes (1769-1963), membership records (1762-1993) and financial records (1774-2004) document all activities of the Fellowship Society, a Charleston, South Carolina benevolent organization dedicated to charity, education, and upkeep of widows and orphans of its members.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Incorporation papers, 1770
  2. Rules and membership ledgers, 1762-1915
  3. Miscellaneous membership records, 1839-1847, circa 1940s
  4. Rules of the Fellowship Society, 1859-2005
  5. Minutes, 1769-1961
  6. Rough minutes, 1815-1956
  7. Cash books, 1774-1945
  8. Rough cash books, 1826-1909
  9. Receipt books, 1793-1860
  10. Ledgers, 1896-1945
  11. Journals, 1944-2004
  12. Miscellaneous financial records, 1820-1862
  13. Miscellaneous records, 1848-circa 1949
  14. Fellowship Auxiliary Society minutes, 1895-1921
  15. Fellowship Auxiliary Society financial records, 1895-1921

Acquisitions Information

Gift of the Fellowship Society, 2009.


Further accruals of non-current records are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Harlan Greene, 2011.

Inventory of the Fellowship Society Records, 1762-2005
Processed by: Harlan Greene; machine-readable finding aid created by: Martha McTear
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)