The Diaries of Ralph Leland Goodrich, 1859-1867
Very pleasant day. Manget acts sometimes very mean. He is often insipid & seldom sharp. Took a walk down to the cars this evening. Singing in the parlor. Mr. Mack sung. Though he knows the mysteries of the sonnet, he has not a good voice.
March 2, 1860
Very warm. In school. Kept Parker after school. Read.
March 3, 1860
Read & finished the work on art. Made some drawings. Went into the woods
& got some leaves & flowers. Took a short walk after tea. Yesterday
Manget lent me $0.50. Think of writing a letter to [cousin] Lucy Stratton. Very
pleasant day. Attended church. In afternoon, [attended the] funeral of a maiden
lady. There seemed to be no feeling in the matter. Quite a number were present.
The pall bearers went on horseback with crape. Read
the bible & wrote. Charles, the nigro – about 12 years old – is
bothering me considerably. He says the little Mack girl told him I
The robins are nearly all gone. A few blackbirds are to be seen. The weather is
most pleasant & remind one of what the halcyon days are, or at least what we
dream they are. The sky is clear & the sunset in a flood of purple &
The robins are nearly all gone. A few blackbirds are to be seen. The weather is most pleasant & remind one of what the halcyon days are, or at least what we dream they are. The sky is clear & the sunset in a flood of purple & gold.
March 5, 1860
Very rainy and dismal day. Few in school. Been studying French, German, Latin, & Greek. I am making some progress. Received a letter from home & one from J. Belknap. I hardly know what our folks will think when they get my letter, but I am terribly disappointed in not being able to suit. I wish I was sure of getting another place. The nigros use very often [the expression], "he has done gone." They think as little of me as possible here and I believe I was made for a great fizzle.
one stuck a pen in my chair this morning so that when I sat down, it would stick
into me. It stuck up [from the chair] about half an inch. But before I sat down,
one of the class saw it & told me. Whoever did it signally failed in
effecting his object. Had a hard time of it today. They are the worst creatures
to govern I ever met. Took a walk this evening. Received a letter from Johnson.
I see no improvement in him. Reading the history of Scandinavia. The peach trees are in
bloom. They raise a great
quantity of fruit here when the season is good. Few rattlesnakes, black snakes,
Very pleasant and warm day. Hard days work. Took a walk to the Factory Pond  & it is a beautiful place. The planters have a peculiar kind of wagon box scalloped like junk, high front & back, and ribbed. Manget brought some moss & said that Miss Lucy Fisher, one of the teachers in the seminary sent it to me.
March 8, 1860
Very warm. Mr. Mack scolded considerably. Yesterday I received a letter from [my sister] Augusta. The grass grows rapidly [and] the oaks are budding. Talked quite awhile with Mr. Mack after tea. He is a pleasant man when he chooses to talk. I will try to do well & please him while here so that I may merit his respect as one who tries to do well.
March 9, 1860
Chilly today. Speaking day [in school]. The boys are miserable speakers & it does not seem as if they [are] of South Carolina's great geniuses. They [are] hard to govern & revengeful to govern them. [It] requires a great deal of firmness. Took a walk down to the depot. When going to school this morning, I was looking into a yard & nearly stumbled upon a lady. Mack & Manget were along & if they had only spoken to me, it would not have been so, but Mack scowled terribly.
cold today. Writing a letter home & to Mr. Smyth. Went
with Mr. Robinson, a scholar, to the [
Read & studied the rest of the day. Got to bed about twelve.
Read & studied the rest of the day. Got to bed about twelve.
March 11, 1860
Attended church in forenoon. Read & wrote.
windy day & rather cold. In school all day. When I came back a paper was
here & a letter from [Henry] Handerson. He says that he will try to get me a
place to teach & I will write immediately. The paper was the [Owego]
Gazette. I sent a letter home & one to Mr. Smyth, [Editor of the Owego
Gazette]. The [wind] is blowing terribly hard. The woods are on fire a great way
off and the livid fire streams up to the zenith and the black rolling clouds. It
was a glorious sight. Reading & writing. Mr. Mack's children we would say
were not very modest. The girls roll and kick up on the floor in all kinds of
shapes showing it matters not what. Charles is in here bothering me. He
has taken a key and given it back to me & says it will be lost in such a
time. This is one of the nigro superstitions. Bloodhounds are not a feature of
the South. I can hear of none anywhere. Longfellow says in his poems on slavery,
“the nigro heard the bloodhounds distant bay.” 
Rather cold today. Felt miserable all day. Nothing has passed me but urine in four or five days & now I am feeling rather used up. I do not know whether it is the water or the food, but I never was thus in my life to my recollection. Yesterday the ladies caught Charles doing his business in the garden and they had considerable sport over it. [They] laughed considerably at tea. Charles looked awfully queer. His eyes rolled wonderfully. Reading & writing.
March 14, 1860
Mr. Mack has gone away today. Rather cold. The boys were very unruly. I kept one of the Starke's till 5 o'clock. Evening, read & wrote. Had an evacuation of the bowels this morning. Do not feel as bad as I did. The people do not know what we mean by "hay mow." The Methodist Ministers in church always say the Lord's Prayer when praying.
March 15, 1860
Rather cold. I hit the crystal to my watch & I think injured the watch for it stopped. Got some tobacco. Charles is rather vulgar. Manget lent me $0.50 today. He has lent me $1.50 now. Reading & writing.
March 16, 1860
room all day, reading & writing. Got a paper from home. Got my watch fixed,
paid $0.50 for it. Rainy. Feel bad. Finished the history of Scandinavia. Wrote
a letter to [Ex-Governor] Brown, Florida.
cold. Attended church. Tom Davis, son of Bishop [Davis] preached. Passable
preaching. Remained in my room the rest of the day. The South Carolinians
are a polite people. The standard of morals is higher than at the North. Female
virtue is not of that easy kind which characterizes the North. A gentleman can
never succeed in ungraceful familiarities. Cases of seduction are rare. Illicit
connection is entirely confined to the slaves, is between the whites
and the female slaves. And yet, if a man is known as a certainty to have many by
he is little esteemed by the best of the community. This state of society seems
to be the result of slavery & if it be a sin as some believe, it has its
good effects. As a general thing, virtue and morals are higher throughout the
South than at the North.
They have poor classes here as well as at the North but the educated portion goes in good & [with] the highest society. A lady, handsome & fashionably educated, is received everywhere by fashionable education. I mean in the common branches, Latin & Greek, & French, Spanish, & Italian & Music. The poor educated women are careful to look out for rich husbands & as my chum says, you can know that from the size of their hoops. He himself is poor but goes in the best society. The majority are better Christians than at the North.
March 19, 1860
hard day. Mr. Mack had me hear my classes in his room under his supervision. The
class bulled along most gloriously. he roved & stormed & swore. He took
the chair & I was obliged to stand up all the time. The class was in from
early in the morning till nearly two o'clock & when we finished, I was
completely tired out. He as much said before the school that I did not know how
to teach in that the boys knew something when he had them but now they did not.
I can't stand any such work. I hope I can get another place. I will put my trust
in God. Wrote a letter to [my sister] Augusta. Buckley's here. The people gone.
Mack & two of the ladies went. He asked Manget to go, & after a time,
[he] asked me to go. All the time did not want me to go.
March 20, 1860
Same in school today as yesterday. I feel very miserable. I pray God to be with me and assist me in everything. Received a letter from home containing a letter from Smith Woodman & Co. for two men to write to -- one in Delhi & the other in New York. Sent a letter to [my sister] Augusta.
March 21, 1860
Same today. I am very tired & sleepy. Sent a letter home today.
March 22, 1860
Rather chilly. Hard work in school. One boy in reduction did not know how to multiply 16 by 14. Reading & studying. Received a letter from [cousin] Lucy Fiddis. I wrote to her on the 11th of February and she did not receive it until the 3rd of March. She wrote [on the] 6th. She wrote a very good letter. She is a talented girl. I [wish I] was as much so a man as she is a woman. Reading Scott on Witchcraft.
warm & pleasant. Today was the speaking & composition day. The boys are
miserable declaimers -- much more so than one would suppose from Carolina being
the chivalrous state. Feel tired & stupid. Took a walk out to the Factory
Pond & picked up some stones. The
people may be chivalrous but they have appeared very cold to me. I have not been
a warm spirit in their hearts. None but my roommate to sympathize with. Laughed
at for my awkwardness. I am deserted indeed. Vegetation does not advance as
rapidly as at the North.
& pleasant. In the room during nearly the whole day. Took a walk to the
Cornwallis house & gathered a branch of the "China Berry" or
"Pride of India" as it is called here. The mistletoe grows generally
on the oak here. The
stores in the village, many of them are miserable low & the upper part
[used] for [a] dwelling sometimes. The streets are seldom paved & [sidewalks] never cross
the street. The sand makes a good walk in all kinds of weather. The cherry tree
are nearly in leaf. Rice is raised
in the state but near the coast. There is a great deal of it. I have not seen
any but they say it looks very much
like oats. The people are fine horseback riders. They have fine horses [here]
& come into town or through it in their 2 horse covered carriages with a
driver & a negro behind. Their lumber wagons are drawn often by 2 or more
span of mules & the driver on a saddle rides the near one & swings a
huge whip. Nights the negro boys make a kind of rolling, caroling screech, which
no one but a negro can make. Received a paper from home.
Received a paper from home.
March 25, 1860
Attended church. Mr. Mack is a low churchman. The Bishop [is] rather inclined to low churchism. His son is a stiff High churchman. There is much discussion on the question of High & Low Church doctrine & some are very rabid. The negroes of the Methodist give about 80 dollars a year for the support of the minister. Tom Davis was sick & one of the theological students read the service. Miss Lucy wants Manget to take me to see her. I think I will go sometime.
In school. Tired & feel sick. I am troubled considerably with dyspepsia. The boys acted badly today. One was expelled but he is going to apologize and come back. I did not get out until half past four today. That has been my usual time. The water is soft that we drink, there being but little lime in the soil. There is not such a thing as hard water in the state. Lime is much needed for the plantations. Manget drills the boys in infantry in the morning. That is considered an accomplishment here. It is cold today -- at least I feel it more than I would at home. The people generally live on light food such as is fitting to a warm climate & it is not strong enough to keep off the cold as far as I am concerned.
is a good country for lawyers and doctors. Manget has just received a letter
from one of his friends in Alabama -- a doctor -- and he writes that he made
over three thousand dollars last year, board only ten dollars a month &
March 27, 1860
Chilly. Received a letter from Austin. Sent a letter home. Lent Miss Morgan [my] Translation of Horace. There are quite a number of French families in this state -- the descendants of the Huguenots. They form quite a large portion. There are many along the coast.
Somewhat warmer than
yesterday. I was obliged to send Woods out of the class today for impudence.
Sent off a letter to [Nathaniel] Davis & [Willoughby] Babcock. After
school, went down street where they were raising the steeple to the market. It
was raised by ropes & pulleys on the outside surmounted by a flat figure of
an Indian fitted so it will move in the wind. He has bow drawn & arrow in
it. Supposed to represent the Catawba Indian. 
A photograph taken while raising the steeple on the tower in front of the town market. The King Haigler weathervane can be clearly seen on the top of the steeple as described by Goodrich.
After school went to the bookstore with Manget. He got a Webster's Dictionary. Studied that all the evening.
March 30, 1860
Rather warm. Composition day. Some were awfully bad. Evening went to church with Manget at the Methodist. They all kneel in prayer. Went up to see Miss Lucy [Fisher]. Miss Dargan was there. Had quite a pleasant time though they made considerable fun of me. Miss Lucy is quite a servant girl & knows considerable. Got to our room about _____. Charles Fisher was there. He is an inferior looking person.
March 31, 1860
Rather warm. Read some & took a walk out into the country & got some flowers. I walked a good deal. My legs ache considerably now. I find that there is more pleasure in anticipation than there is in actual enjoyment or the possession of an object diminishes its value. I have not heard a single [thing] about a place [to teach] as yet. My fate is dubious. I do hope I can secure a place somewhere here. The time is approaching when I must leave. How soon, I do not know. I pray God help me to secure another place. My hope is in Him.
Pond was the name given to a large basin of water adjacent to
McRae’s Mill, constructed in 1760 by the Kershaw family. McCrae’s Wheat
Mill was an impressive structure, five stories and the first in South Carolina
to use the turbine wheel.
 Goodrich probably refers to the Pre-Columbian Indian Burial Mounds bordering the Wateree River not far from Camden, South Carolina. The "Adamson" burial mound was one such mound on the Mulberry Plantation.
Goodrich is referring to the stanza in Longfellow’s poem, The
Slave in the Dismal Swamp which reads:
dark fens of the
 After Camden’s first marketplace burned in a fire in 1812, a new marketplace and town tower was erected in the 1820’s on Broad Street. A weather vane in the likeness of King Haiglar, designed by J. B. Mathieu, was placed on top of the tower. Haiglar was a Catawba Indian chief who was friendly to the white man. In 1859, construction of a second, freestanding town tower was begun in front of the market building near 1021 Broad Street (west side) and this tower was topped by the same King Haiglar weathervane that had been on the first town tower.