Museum to look at S.C. silver in Civil War

The S.C. State Museum will hold a silver symposium Sunday, May 1, with an afternoon program titled “South Carolina Silver in the Civil War: Did Sherman Take it All?”

In addition to Curator of History Fritz Hamer’s reading of two February 1865 accounts of the theft of silver and jewelry in the Palmetto State by Union troops, members of the South Carolina Silver Society will speak on hidden silver in Cheraw, Charleston and Trinity.

They will also discuss how the Hampton silver escaped the fire at Millwood Plantation as Sherman’s troops laid waste to the Midlands in the waning months of the War Between the States.

It was barely five years ago that a cache of Wade Hampton silver returned to South Carolina for the first time in two generations. The collection had left the state and then the country two generations earlier with an adventuring Hampton heir.

Its return only occurred, according to information from the S.C. Archives and History Foundation, because an astute South Carolina collector named Frank Fletcher and his wife had a chance encounter with a Hampton heir in, of all places, Fiji.

Fletcher remained vigilant in efforts to get the silver back to South Carolina, eventually conveying word of his discovery to Walker Clarke, then-president of the Archives and History Foundation.

The foundation’s board was able to work with the silver’s owner and bring the famed silver back to the city where it once graced dining and tea tables of the antebellum rich and famous.

Sunday’s program, which runs from 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m., is free with museum admission or membership.

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