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South Carolina Archives
Series Description

Governors' Messages, 1783-1877


CALL NUMBER:        S 165009

CREATOR: General Assembly.

TITLE: Governors' messages

DATE: 1783-1877

VOLUME: 21.83 cubic ft., 9 microfilm reels, and 1 folder

ARRANGEMENT: 1783-1845 reassembled into packets as delivered to the General Assembly and arranged roughly chronologically by modern arbitrary assigned number, which differs from contemporary governors' message numbers; 1846-1877 chronologically arranged. In the microfilm of the 1783-1830 messages, the contemporary docketing of the items was filmed where it appeared on the back of the last page of the item. Some scholars of the Denmark Vesey conspiracy (Message No. 1328) have been confused by this placement and have applied the docketing erroneously to the following item on the microfilm..

RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS: Digital images of the 1783-1845 messages (or microfilm for the 1783-1830 messages) should be consulted for general use. Portions of the post 1830 messages are in fragile condition.

This series contains the messages sent from the governors of South Carolina to the General Assembly and includes many of the documents that were enclosed with those messages. As chief executive, the governor received many communications from the federal government and from other states and foreign nations. He also handled many in-state matters and forwarded documentation to the General Assembly when it came back into session. Subject matter includes a wide range of national and international political, constitutional, social, and economic affairs as well as more local concerns. The trial transcript from the 1822 Denmark Vesey slave revolt conspiracy or reputed conspiracy is in the series.

The 1783-1845 messages represent a modern reassembling of these documents with their enclosures as they were submitted to the General Assembly and for the period 1783-1830 include some photocopies of retained or other copies of missing items from other repositories. These photocopies are depicted on the microfilm of the 1783-1830 messages but are not included in the digital images of those messages due to copyright issues. The messages and enclosures had been arranged in a subject file in the early twentieth century. One carton, 1846-1859, contains a partial organization and arrangement of materials for a continuation of the reconstruction project, but the project has not been completed. Two cartons contain the messages for 1860-1877 as they were filed in the old subject file arrangement. Three unarranged cartons, 1782-1859, contain mixed materials, some of which are believed to possibly be message enclosures

INDEX/FINDING AID: 1783-1845 indexed in detail to personal names, geographic locations, and topics in the repository's On-line Index to Legislative Papers, 1782-1866. 1783-1830 were also included in a fifteen-reel computer output microfilm (COM) Index to Legislative Papers made available by the repository in 1991. The numeric code 0010 006 was used to designate this series in the computer output microfilm index. The names of businesses, manufacturing firms, similar incorporations, churches, educational institutions, benevolent and social organizations, fire companies, and military organizations were indexed with topics. Many messages were indexed as one document packet, but others had some of the enclosures treated as separate indexing units.

ADDITIONAL FORM: The 1783-1845 portion of this series has been digitized. The digital images are linked to index hits from the On-line Records Index on the repository's website. 1783-1830 also available on microfilm produced by the repository. Some oversized documents and a few other documents that were discovered later are not included on this film. The unfilmed oversized documents were noted with targets.

The messages from Governor Thomas Pinckney, 1787-1789, and Governor Charles Pinckney, 1789-December 1791, are also available in the first volume of The Papers of the Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen, a subscription digital documentary edition published under the Rotunda imprint of the University of Virginia Press ( All significant messages are fully transcribed and annotated and can be both full text and key-word searched. Messages that merely transmit documents to the General Assembly with no substantive content by the Pinckneys are calendared.

ASSOCIATED MATERIAL The texts of the messages of Gov. John Drayton, 1800-1802 and 1808-1810, can be found in series S507001 and S508001, Executive Journals of South Carolina. The texts of some other messages that have not survived in this General Assembly series can be found in the journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives

HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of the General Assembly.