The Louise Ancrum Steffens Collection

Kirkland and Kennedy identify William Ancrum (1722- 1808) in Vol. 1 page 344 as

“Of the wealthy firm of Ancrum, Lance and Loocock, probably never set foot in Camden, his extensive business interests here being looked after by such competent agents or partners as the two Kershaws. He was a native of the County of Northumberland England. On his tombstone in the old Scotch Churchyard, Charleston, it is written that he was “for many years, a respectable merchant of this city, and an elder of the Scotch Church of Charleston for nearly half a century. Through a long life of integrity and honor, he performed the duties of a man and Christian, and died, esteemed and regretted, on the 24 Feby, 1808 in the 86th year of his age.”

Historic Camden Foundation is pleased to announce that descendants of William Ancrum, have loaned and given several historic items for display: The Louise Ancrum Steffens Collection of artifacts and furniture includes a portrait of the first William Ancrum painted in 1968 by Charleston artist Alicia Rhett.

Southwick (Cary) Briggs reviewed the collection and noted that “As we continue to explore the mercantile and trade aspects of early Camden, opportunities to tell statewide stories of the leading business concerns attached to the Kershaw name will add depth to our living history demonstrations and further engage America’s remarkable story”.  The William Ancrum portrait is complemented by the family loan of his 18th century travel desk.  An interesting box made of mahogany, hinged with brass and hiding several secret compartments.

Many items including the portrait and travel desk will be on display at the Kershaw Cornwallis House in January. Historic Camden Foundation members are encouraged to review the items on display.

Developing further information on William Ancrum and his Camden concerns, Historic Camden will enhance the exhibit with primary source records from the William Ancrum Papers, 1757–1789: Letter Book and Account Book held at the South Caroliniana Library. These records hold stories of Camden properties, accounts, overseer instructions and enslaved persons. In the digital collection description we see the many histories to be explored through his writings.

William Ancrum Papers, 1757–1789: Letter Book and Account Book

Clothing the African-American slaves on his backcountry plantation proved difficult for Ancrum throughout the Revolutionary War years, and a number of his letters address the problem. On 19 September 1776 he wrote to Captain Vesey about a cask of indigo shipped on board the brig Fanny and urged Vesey upon the ship’s arrival in the West Indies to sell the indigo and invest the proceeds in “white or col[oure]d Negro Cloths such as is commonly used here for winter Clothing of Negroes.” Again, on 30 October 1776, Ancrum urged Marlow Pryor to minimize the slaves’ exposure to the weather because of insufficient clothing, and on more than one occasion urged his overseers to “plant some Cotton as there is no dependence on getting Clothing but by making Homespun.” A letter dated 23 March 1776 discusses Ancrum’s purchase of cattle and slaves, but notes that the latter decision hinged upon “the unsettled state of our public Affairs [which] at present discourages me from running a debt.” The same letter comments on the scarcity of farming tools on the Charleston market: “there is not a Hoe nor a Bar of Iron to beg of in Town” and advises Pryor to “patch up the old ones in the best manner you can.”

Historic Camden Foundation recognizes outstanding volunteers

On November 6, 2021 Historic Camden Foundation celebrated its’ 51st Anniversary at the Main Campus on Broad Street. The day included an exploration of South Carolina Revolutionary War records and genealogical discoveries relating to veterans of our nation’s fight for independence from Britain. The SC Archives and History Foundation ended the anniversary celebration with an engaging talk on the Marquis de Lafayette in South Carolina and a showing of the Lafayette jewel replica held at the Camden Archives. Historic Camden Foundation members met after the talk for an Awards Ceremony.  Special awards have been created in honor of two trailblazers in our mission of preservation, education and celebration of Camden’s extraordinary story. Unique Around Camden Plates were made by Marti Boykin Wallace as the award gifts.

1) The Joanna Craig Award was established to thank her for her work, vision and ability to
encourage volunteer participation to keep the history alive and relevant.

2) In honor of our first Director Hope Cooper, we have established the Hope Award for
longtime service at Historic Camden Foundation. Hope gave years in the formation of
this site and has never stopped her volunteer involvement.

The inaugural Joanna Craig Award was given to Philip Hultgren for his assistance in identifying and performing the vision of the Joeph Kershaw Horticulture and Trade Program. Director Ginny Zemp thanked Philip for going above and beyond in his time, talents and commitment. “Philip’s expertise and willingness to share himself with our staff and program has made all our efforts possible in terms of actual structural components – the bones of this plan would not have started without his help and that of his volunteer crew!”


Historic Camden Foundation Co- Chairs, Karen Eckford and Tiffany Fields, with Hope Cooper, presented an Around Camden Plate to recipients of the Hope Award. “Longtime service is a hallmark at HCF and we did have a hard time making a decision” noted Tiffany Fields. Karen Eckford related that “Historic Camden Foundation’s Board of Trustees is a working group and these last years have been full of growth and change, with inclusion of the Battle of Camden site, the Longleaf pine initiative and the City’s Visitor Center project. In appreciation of the leadership and work done on Historic Camden Foundation’s behalf, the inaugural Hope Award was presented to Amy Sheheen, Bob Giangiorgi and Davie Beard.”


Ely Kershaw: A Patriot Remembered

by Lance Player: Communications Manager – Historic Camden Foundation

The name Joseph Kershaw is one that many people recognize, especially those from Camden. A name they’re likely not quite as familiar with is Ely (Eli), Joseph’s younger brother. Ely was born in 1743 in Yorkshire, England and spent his childhood there before traveling to the newly founded town of Pine Tree Hill in 1761. Joseph, with businesses already established in the town, took Ely on as an apprentice to work in his store. During his apprenticeship he was appointed as a tax collector. From there, he would go on to open Ely Kershaw & Co. at Cheraw Hill, now known simply as Cheraw. While in Cheraw, he served as overseer for the construction of Old St. David’s Church. His influence in the Carolina backcountry continued to grow with his 1769 marriage to Mary Cantey, a member of a prominent area family.

At this point, Ely was well-established and had become quite successful, much like his brother, Joseph. Though he enjoyed his success as a businessman, the war that would eventually consume the young nation motivated him to answer the call to action. In 1775, Ely was commissioned as a member of the newly founded South Carolina 3rd Rangers regiment, led by Major William Thompson. During his service, Ely was involved in numerous battles and skirmishes, most notably: The Snow Campaign of December 1775, the Battle of Sullivan’s Island/Fort Moultrie, the Cherokee Expedition of 1776, the 1779 Battle of Kettle Creek in Georgia, and the Siege of Charleston. By 1780, Ely had seen significant combat, which took a heavy toll on him, both physically and mentally. Ely traveled to Charleston to see to his business affairs and spend time tending to his health. During the Siege of Charleston he was still there recovering, and became one of the thousands of soldiers captured, as was his brother, Joseph.

They were taken back to Camden, where the British had established their inland forward operating base. They were paroled on June 10th, 1780 but Ely’s health had spiraled downward after contracting smallpox. It is likely that Ely had already contracted the disease during his time in Charleston, further explaining why he had felt so weak and ill despite being there to recover. British commander, Earl Cornwallis, wanted to send the brothers away immediately but Joseph pleaded with him to delay their exile in order to give Ely time to recover. Cornwallis agreed to Joseph’s request but on August 8th they were sent back to Charleston to be placed on a prison ship destined for Bermuda. Conditions on the ship were horrible and the seas were unforgiving. After nearly three weeks in such miserable conditions Ely’s health worsened, until finally, he perished on the eve before the ship’s arrival in Bermuda. Joseph would make arrangements for Ely’s funeral and the handling of his affairs, and would remain in exile in Honduras until the war ended.

Historic Camden Foundation remembers Ely Kershaw and his service to his family, his home, and his nation by displaying his sword, engraved with the date of 1774 and his name. His sword was loaned by his descendants to be displayed at the Kershaw Cornwallis House starting November 6th.  Visit this beautiful artifact and relic and learn from our ACBA blacksmith on site how a sword was made in the colonial era.

HCF & the Katawba Valley Land Trust

by Virginia Zemp: Executive Director – Historic Camden Foundation

Michelle Evans is the new Executive Director of the Katawba Valley Land Trust (KVLT) and as such she oversees the Battle of Camden site enforcement of conservation and environmental easements. Historic Camden Foundation asked Michelle to tell us a bit more about the important work KVLT does in our region and the projects she is working on with the SC Battleground Trust. 



KVLT has had a long relationship with the SC Battleground Trust in the region. In addition to the Battle of Camden site, we hold conservation easements on the Battle of Hanging Rock near Heath Springs and the Battle of the Waxhaws (Buffords Massacre) near Buford. We are currently looking at possibly protecting additional battlefield land in conjunction with the Battlefield Trust.


Michelle, what are the goals of conservation and environmental easements and how does KVLT support the protection of land?


The goals of the land trust are to insure that properties protected under conservation easement are maintained and managed in a manner consistent with the terms of the easement in perpetuity. Conservation easements are generally written in a manner to protect the natural, cultural or historic values of the property, and the document describes these values and what activities may or may not occur on the property. KVLT inspects each property at least once per year to confirm that the use of the property is consistent with the easement.


Historic Camden Foundation took possession of the Battle of Camden site with 476 acres already under conservation easement. KVLT helps us through review of plans and continued processes designed to protect the environmentally sensitive and historically significant property.


Michelle, your geographic area includes what SC counties?

Michelle: Our main focus is in Lancaster, Chester, Kershaw and Fairfield counties.


Several battlefields lie within your regional protection, where are you assisting in the conservation of SC’s historic landscape?


Besides the battlefield protection previously mentioned, we have a number of historic houses under protection. They include the Richards house in Heath Springs, the Wade-Beckham house and the Craig Farm in Lancaster. From a historic agricultural perspective, we also hold easements on working family farms that have been around for generations.


South Carolina has been a leader in the preservation of land, both through private landowner easements and public protections.  We continue, thanks to organizations such as KVLT  to be in the forefront of the nation. What are those totals for SC and how can we continue to protect important landscapes. 


KVLT has protected almost 12,000 acres of land in the region. Anyone interested in protecting their property in its existing condition can contact KVLT to learn more or 803-285-5801.

A Historic Gift


Historic Camden Foundation has again been given an incredible gift to engage the history of the Camden region and Kershaw County through our collection.  Thanks to a very generous gift we are establishing the Robert David Carpenter Gallery for Decorative Arts.  The Dining Room of the Kershaw Cornwallis house will begin to feature conserved pieces of colonial arts and artisans.  Security measures are already being added and the Col. John Admanson (1744 -1816) portrait has been sent for conservation.

Another exciting addition is returning to the Kershaw House, the portrait of Catherine DuTarque (1760-1793) by renowned colonial artist, Jeremiah Theus (1715-1774). This painting is one of two found in the attic of the house just prior to its burning. The other original is held by the Smithsonian Institution. Both portraits have been beautifully restored by the family.

A 1958 authentication by The Corcoran in Washington DC notes that Theus painted two similar portraits of Catherine.

“The portrait represents a young girl. Her hair has been drawn back severely and a stiff bunch of flowers plac

ed in it. There is no opening in the front of the bodice for a contrasting vest, but this bodice is heavily trimmed with a conventional pattern of embroidery.  One of the two portraits is owned by Cecil Young, Anniston, Alabama; the other was willed by Mrs. Harriet K. Leiding to Tallulah Kershaw, Mt. Pleasant, SC”

Catherine DuTarque, married Capt. Isaac DuBose IV (1754 – 1816), a Lieutenant in the 2d Regiment of Foot, organized in 1775. He was one of the officers stationed in Fort Moultrie at

the time of the British attack on Sullivan’s Island.  Catherine and Isaac were the parents of Mrs. John (Harriett) Kershaw (1791-1845).



Capt. Isaac DuBose, according to Historic Camden Volume I, was sent to the Constitutional Convention (1790), was Intendant of Camden (1792) and elected to the Legislature in 1796, 1800 and 1806.

Portraits at Historic Camden Foundation and housed at the Kershaw- Cornwallis House add to the story of South Carolina backcountry settlement and the Revolutionary War experience. These important artifacts along with colonial pottery, furniture, textiles and horticulture trades will engage the life of the citizens of early Camden.

“…Architecture is the most ubiquitous expression of the arts, But it is the decorative arts that truly mirror the aspirations of the people who have settled here and fills in where historians leave off-“ Quoted from the Forward by Joanna Craig in the Kershaw County Historical Society 1988 publication The Decorative Arts of Camden and Kershaw County, South Carolina.


Historic Camden Foundation is a private non-profit with a mission to protect, educate and celebrate the extraordinary colonial and Revolutionary War history of Camden. With this gift, Historic Camden will continue its programs and enhance the Colonial Village living history demonstrations:

* Conserving the items we own,

* Exhibiting artifacts from Native Americans to the Federalist Period,

* Producing items from the Forge, Pottery and Horticulture spaces,

* Educating the visitor and residents.

Creating a greater appreciation of America’s remarkable story.

Colonial Pottery at Historic Camden: Revolution and Trade

Colonial Pottery at Historic Camden: Revolution and Trade
Excerpt from Fireside Chat Resources found on

John Bartlam was born 1735 in Stoke-on-Trent
Staffordshire, England landed in Charleston, South Carolina as a master potter.
By 1765 Bartlam had established
South Carolina’s first Pottworks making fine English tableware
referred to as a Manufactory of Earthern Ware at Cain Hoy,
about 10 miles upriver from Charleston, on the banks of the
Wando River.
Bartlam’s relocation to South Carolina was of great concern to
Staffordshire potter Josiah Wedgwood, who in 1765 wrote
to his business partner Thomas Bentley stating
“This trade to our colonies we are apprehensive of losing in a
few years, as they have set foot on some pottworks there
already, and have at this time an agent amongst us hiring a
number of our hands for establishing new a pottworks in South
Carolina; having got one of our insolvent Master Potters there
to conduct them. They have every material there, equal if not
superior to our own, for carrying on that manufacture; and as
the necessaries of life, and consequently the price of labor
amongst us are daily advancing, it is highly probable that more
will follow them…”

At some point in the latter part of 1771 probably shortly after
the close of the Cainhoy Pottery & China Manufactory Bartlam his wife
Mary and his two daughters Honour and Betty Allen relocated
to Camden. We know that Bartlam used his account at Joseph
Kershaw’s store in July of 1772 and by October 10, 1772
Bartlam was in the custody of the Camden Sheriff on the
charge of bad debit brought by four men in Charleston. There
is no record of how Bartlam resolved his debits or raised the
money to build his third and final pottworks. But by the spring
of 1774 his Camden pottworks was in full swing and he was
shipping and selling his queens ware, cream ware and earthen
ware in Charleston were according to the South Carolina
Gazette, April 11, 1774. “equal in quality and appearance and can be afforded as
cheap, as any imported from England.”

And two years later, on April 13th, 1776 Dr. James Clitherall, a
Charleston Physician wrote in his diary
“Mr. Kershaw, who entertain me with a Ride of about four
Miles around by his Flour and Saw Mills which were very
large and in good order and by Log Town to the Pottery. Here
I saw some exceeding good Pans etc. which a Man who had
set up these found great demand for.”

There is no telling if Bartlam was a loyalist or a patriot when he arrived in Camden in the spring of 1772. But we do know that his probable patron Joseph Kershaw was an outspoken patriot and by March of 1775 Kershaw had personally raised a regiment of 200 patriots which included Bartlam called the Camden District Regiment which was active throughout the American Revolution. We have no evidence of what battles Bartlam saw action in as a patriot and member of Kershaw’s Camden District [patriot] Regiment. But we do know at the second battle of Camden known as the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill on April 25,1781 Bartlam was fighting as a loyalist in Starke’s Company under JohnMarshall’s Regiment in Camden District. While there is no evidence of Bartlam being wounded, or killed during the battle of Hobkirk’s Hill. We do know that two weeks after the battle Mary Bartlam and her two daughters where part of Lord Rawdon’s evolution of Camden as loyalist refugees. And two months later, while living in the squalor of the of the loyalist refugee camp outside of Charleston, Mary Bartlam was appointed administer of her late husband’s estate.

In 1783 Bartlam was officially declared a deserter of the Camden District [patriot] Regiment and his property valued at £525 confiscated. Bartlam’s widow Mary tried to claim compensation from the British Government for her husbands confiscated property but there is no evidence that she was awarded anything. Mary and her two daughters did eventually return to Staffordshsire where Mary died in 1818.

Below you will find a link to a PDF with more discussion about John Bartlam

Bartlam Docent Narrative 02-05-21 (1)

DAR History

Historic Camden Foundation wants to highlight some of the historic preservation efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution here in South Carolina.  In Kershaw County, the Hobkirk’s Hill Chapter led the efforts to save the site of the Battle of Camden in 1907 setting aside 5 acres of the core battlefield.  Within that preservation, this group of local women, (Who incidentally were not allowed to vote in national or local elections at the time) conceived of, funded and protected the land, and artifacts of that 1780 battle for independence.  In so protecting, they along with DAR chapters across the United States, became leaders in preserving our nation’s Revolutionary War story.

Some of the significant Revolutionary War areas across South Carolina connected to DAR preservation efforts can be found here:

Included therein are the following:

Birthplace of Andrew Jackson Monument Marker, Van Wyck community

Buford Battleground and Gravesite, Tradesville vicinity

Culbertson Back Country Settlement, Laurens County

Fort Watson Monument, South of Summerton

General Francis Marion’s Tomb, Pineville

King’s Mountain Battlefield, York

Old Waxhaw Church and Cemetery, Lancaster City

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Charleston

Impactful preservation which the SC DAR has led and made significant effort to protect include: The South Carolina DAR Forest – between Camden and Cheraw, where sixty-six thousand five hundred Penny Pines were planted in 1940

The Tamassee School, in Tamassee, South Carolina, founded in 1919 to serve the underprivileged children of Appalachia. Historic buildings can be observed on the school campus.

In recent years the Hambright Chapter of North Carolina dedicated an impressive marker honoring African American patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain (2016).

In 2012, the Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson Chapter, Indian Land, SC dedicated a memorial to honor Colonel Abraham Buford and his regiment of 350 Virginians. Nearly all were either killed or wounded by Colonel Tarleton’s British Army, even though they waved the white flag of surrender.

In 1950, Clarendon County:  Elizabeth Peyre Richardson Manning Chapter honored General Francis Marion and Colonel Henry Lee and their militia which captured British Fort Watson on April 23, 1781 with the use of the Maham tower. This capture secured the Santee River crossing and path so that the British could not re-supply Camden, which led to the British loss in the South Carolina backcountry.

As you visit state historical sites, please take the time to note the important preservation efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

A 50th Anniversary Thank You!

The Historic Camden Foundation would like to thank all those who participated in our November 6th and 7th events. We are proud that you chose to join us in celebrating the extraordinary Colonial and Revolutionary War history of Camden and Kershaw County!

Update on the Historic Camden Horticulture and Trade Program

By:  Southwick C Briggs II

Founder:  Hemp Earth & Lime Co & CI Labor Readiness Training Co.

The City of Camden has a long history of brickmaking and now visitors to Historic Camden will be able to get their hands and feet muddy making bricks at the new colonial brickyard.  The brickyard is just the first step in a series of trade and horticultural hands-on exhibits designed to understand, interpret and demonstrate the tools and manufacturing processes used within the context of an 18th century non-plantation, semi-subsistence society like the colonial town of Camden.  Colonel Camden was the only multi-functioning, South Carolina, inland settlement during the Colonial period.

Hand-making bricks is just the beginning of the story for visitors to the brickyard.  The brickyard will be hosting all kinds of interesting hands-on workshops, starting in early July, with a 2-day fun “Do it Yourself” workshop on how to build an 18th century wood-fired earthen oven. Great for making pizza!  The brickyard will also be available on Friday evenings for fun social and team building events.

Visitors to the new colonial brickyard this summer will also have an opportunity see how relevant the past is to properly train young men and women for the future.  Journeyman Richard French has spent more than twenty years working as a highly paid refractory mason, working all over North America.  This summer French will be spending six weeks at Historic Camden’s new colonial brickyard passing along his knowledge of bricklaying and refractory masonry to young men and women taking their first steps as apprentice bricklayers.

As French explained on a recent visit to Historic Camden, “Bricklaying and refractory masonry are ancient professions passed down from one generation to another through a formal apprenticeship. The basic bricklaying skills I learned at the International Masonry Institute over 20-years ago and am now passing on to a new generation of bricklayers are the same skills taught over 250 years ago in colonial Camden.

French feels the advantage of a 21st century pre-apprentice bricklayers program being taught at Historic Camden’s new colonial brickyard, is that student will be exposed to the history and fundamentals of brickmaking, bricklaying and refractory masonry in its purest form.  Something he wished he had experienced as a young apprentice.

The pre-apprentice readiness training program was created by Historic Camden to provide underemployed and unemployed young men and women, that have graduated from youth development programs like “YouthBuild”, with the opportunity to work for large commercial and industrial companies as apprentice bricklayers or certified support labor at a living wage with ample opportunity for advancement within those companies.

The new colonial brickyard is just the first step in a series of trade and horticultural hands-on exhibits coming to Historic Camden.  For example, in the near future, a portion of the Bradley house will be transformed into an 18th century potworks throwing room displaying a working reproduction of an 18th century Staffordshire potter’s wheel, that would have been used by John Bartlam, a Staffordshire master potter from England.  Bartlam moved to Camden in 1772 and was the first potter in Colonial America to manufacture porcelain.

Demonstration and workshops will be offered by Marti Wallace, a local Camden art teacher and potter.  And with the help our new colonial brickyard pre-apprentice masonry students we will be building a reproduction of an 18th century bottle kiln which would have been used by John Bartlam to wood-fire is pottery.