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John L. Dart family papers

 Collection
Identifier: AMN 1069

Collection Overview

The collection is divided into three series:

1. Dart Family Members contains documents pertaining to William Dart and his wife Susan Fenwick Dart; their son, John Lewis Dart; his children and spouses, son, William Andrews Dart, daughter Susan Dart Butler and her husband Nathaniel Lowe Butler; daughter Anna Pierre Dart and her husband, Beverly Bronseaux, and their children, Beverly and Evangeline. Of note are various copies and transcriptions regarding the transference of John Caldwell's slave William, to Susan Fenwick, a free woman of color; with note (1844) of Caldwell allowing William to look for a new master; and Susan Dart Butler's note that William was her grandfather; transcripts of taxes paid by free people of color and a Bill of Sale for the Steamer Mab to Dart.

John L. Dart's brief papers illustrate his life as an pastor, school administrator, newspaper publisher and businessman. Included is his authored and self-published booklet: The Famous Trial of the Eight Men Indicted for the Lynching of Frazier B. Baker and His Baby, Late U.S. Postmaster at Lake City, S.C. in the U.S. Circuit Court, at Charleston, SC, April 10-22, 1899, a reprinting of newspaper coverage and appending a printed memorial to President William McKinley from Reverend Dart, Dr. William D. Crum, Dr. Alonzo C. McClennan and others. The collection also holds a photocopy of one issue of The Southern Reporter, 9 April 1904. Photocopies from a microfilm reel from the Miscellaneous African-American Publications from the Roscoe C. Simmons Collection at Harvard University. This copy provides articles and advertisements of Charleston African-American owned businesses at the turn of the 20th century.

The children of John and Julia Dart are represented by the Dart and Butler Family which includes the "Marriage Certificate Booklet" (1912) of Susan Dart and Nathaniel Lowe Butler, with signature of Edwin A. Harleston as witness; and signatures of attending guest in Boston, Massachusetts; and statements of expenses and rental receipts regarding Nathaniel L. Butler's and his brother-in-law, William A. Dart's realty company. Also included is a copy with photocopy of a petition, "To South Carolina legislators to permit African-American teachers to instruct in African-American schools in the Charleston County School District." Autographed by petitioner Dr. William Johnson with other signers including Thomas E. Miller and Edwin A. Harleston; with another printed version from the South Carolina House of Representatives Journal, also autographed by Johnson (22 January 1919).

The Dart and Bronseaux Families includes Anna Pierre Dart and Beverly Bronseaux's wedding certificate (photocopy-1922); her teaching certificate (1935) and Masters of Arts, from Atlanta University (photocopy-1936); along with school documents and brief correspondence regarding their children Beverly (Jr.) and Evangeline.

2. Various Families' Papers contains marriage certificates of William Pierce to Virginia Dandridge (1848) and Alma Kreuger and Marx Hanft, (1917-1918) with his government issued insurance policy. They were possibly friends or extended families related to the Dart Family.

3. Various Documents holds scattered photocopies of newspaper clippings of the News and Courier and an anonymous typed manuscript, "What Makes A Truly Valuable Woman," regarding the roles of women (undated).

Dates

  • 1844-1947

Access Restrictions

No Restrictions

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center 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

Reverend John Lewis Dart (1854-1915) was the son of former slave William Dart and Susan Fenwick, a free person of color in Charleston, South Carolina. Fenwick purchased the enslaved William in 1849 and ten year later he was listed as free.

John L. Dart was valedictorian of the Avery Normal Institute's first graduating class of 1872, and obtained a bachelor's degree from Atlanta University in 1879. Dart studied at the Newton Seminary, Massachusetts and was ordained a Baptist minister. Returning to Charleston by 1886, Dart was instrumental in obtaining aid for African American citizens who suffered in a massive earthquake that hit the area. He eventually served as pastor of Morris Street Baptist Church for sixteen years ,and Shiloh Baptist for another ten years. In 1887, Dart married Julia Pierre.

In opposition to the lack of public education available to African Americans in the city of Charleston, Dart established the Charleston Normal and Industrial Institute with the help from Northern benefactors in 1894. As the school's success grew, Dart built a new building on six lots on the corner of Kracke and Bogard Street. Known as Dart Hall, the school eventually held a social center for adults, and printing press for his newspaper The Southern Reporter. Additionally, Dart partnered in a real estate company with his son William, and son-in-law, Nathaniel Butler. Due to declining health, Dart retired as pastor of Shiloh Baptist in 1913. John L. Dart passed in 1915.

John and Julia Dart had three children: Anna Pierre Bronseaux (1896-1978) who attended Atlanta University and moved to Brooklyn, New York; Susan Dart Butler (1888-1959), who attended Atlanta University and was a pioneer librarian, who established the first public library for African-Americans in Dart Hall; and William Andrews Dart (circa 1890-circa 1967), who graduated from Claflin University, and the Law School of Boston University.

SOURCES:

Greene, Harlan, "Unknown Charleston: Reading Revolution," Charleston Magazine July 2012, 40-41.

Pyatt, Sherman E. Burke High School 1894-2006 Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

Extent

0.5 linear feet (1 archival box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

John Lewis Dart (1854-1915) was born a free person of color in Charleston, South Carolina. He graduated from Avery Normal Institute in 1872 and attended Atlanta University in Georgia, and Newton Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, where he was ordained a Baptist minister. He returned to Charleston in 1886 and became pastor of Morris Street Baptist Church. Sixteen years later, Dart ministered the Shiloh Baptist Church. In 1894, he opened the Charleston Normal and Industrial Institute, a public school to educate African American children. Dart was also the editor of The Southern Reporter newspaper.

The Dart Family Papers contains documents pertaining to the formerly enslaved William Dart and his wife Susan Fenwick Dart, a free woman of color; their son, John Lewis Dart; his son, William Andrews Dart, daughter Susan Dart Butler and her husband Nathaniel Lowe Butler; daughter Anna Pierre Dart and her husband, Beverly Bronseaux, and their children, Beverly and Evangeline. Holds documents pertaining to the transference of the enslaved William Dart to Susan Fenwick; transcripts of taxes paid by free people of color and a Bill of Sale for the steamer Mab to Dart. The collection includes documents pertaining to the life of John Dart as a pastor, school administrator, newspaper publisher, and businessman including his authored booklet, The Famous Trial of the Eight Men Indicted for the Lynching of Frazier B. Baker and His Baby, Late U.S. Postmaster at Lake City, S.C. in the U.S. Circuit Court, at Charleston, SC, April 10-22, 1899. Also included is a photocopy of one issue of The Southern Reporter, 9 April 1904.

Collection Arrangement

1. Dart Family Members, 1844-1947

2. Various Families Papers, 1848, 1917-1918

3. Various Documents, 1900, and undated

Acquisition Note

Papers acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, Watchung, New Jersey, 14 December 2004.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Georgette Mayo, May 2014

Edited by Aaron Spelbring, June 2014

Encoded by Aaron Spelbring, June 2014

Title
John L. Dart Family Papers AMN 1069
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Georgette Mayo
Date
May 2014
Description rules
DACS
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • May 2014: Originally processed in 2008. Records reprocessed for EAD conversion by Georgette Mayo

Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

Contact:
125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States
843-953-7608