Photograph of slave quarters behind First Professors House, 1940s

Slavery at South Carolina College, 1801–1865:

The Foundations of the University of South Carolina

Remembering the Slaves

Between 1801 and 1865, South Carolina College owned a number of slaves and employed countless others. It is difficult to locate information about the majority of these people as college records rarely listed names or identifying information about individual slaves. In most cases, we do not know who these slaves were, what labor they performed, or where they lived. Although slaves made significant contributions to the construction and maintenance of the college and to daily life on campus, whites frequently regarded slaves as an invisible part of the landscape. In providing the following list, we remember the slaves who did appear by name in the college records. This list is by no means complete, but it represents a preliminary effort to honor the slaves who built South Carolina College and, by extension, the University of South Carolina.

Jack (1)

Jack (1) was first hired by the college in 1810 and was purchased in 1816. He worked primarily in the laboratory until his death in 1822.

Letter to the Governor, circa 1815
“Letter to the Governor,” ca. 1815, SCDAH

Sancho and his wife

Professor Thomas Cooper purchased Sancho and his wife (not named in Cooper’s records) in 1819. The couple worked on campus until Cooper resigned in 1834. Sancho and his wife gained their freedom after Cooper’s death in 1839.

Jim (1)

The college purchased Jim (1) in 1828. He worked primarily in the laboratory.

Henry (1)

The college purchased Henry in 1829. He ran away in August 1833, but was soon captured. He was sold in November 1833.

Jim (2)

The college purchased Jim (2) in 1829.

Receipt of payment to James Henton, circa April 1834
“Trustees of S. C. College,” ca. April 1834, SCL


Professor Thomas Twiss hired Lucy at some point between 1835 and 1846.

Receipt for Lucy, circa 1834 to 1846
“Rec’d Columbia June 25th,” ca. 1834–1846, SCL

Tom (1)

Professor Lieber hired “Little Tom” in 1836 to work in his home on campus. Tom was 14 years old.


Marshal J. G. Self hired Charles to clean campus wells in August 1837.

Joe (1) (or “Joe Mason”)

The college hired Joe (1), a brick mason, to repair campus buildings between 1837 and 1839.

Joe (2)

The college hired Joe (2), a carpenter, in March 1839.


President Barnwell owned Toby and hired him out as a carpenter for campus building projects during the late 1830s and early 1840s.

Receipt to James Fuller, February 26, 1844
“So. Ca. College to Jas. Fuller,” February 26, 1844, SCL


President James Thornwell owned Amanda. She likely lived on campus between 1851 and 1855.


Simon was hired between 1855 and 1860.

Tom (2) and Henry (2)

Marshal W. B. Broom hired Tom and Henry between 1858 and 1860.

Receipt to W. B. Broom, circa 1858 to 1860
“S. C. College to W. B. Broom,” ca. 1858–1860, SCL

Mal., Anthony, Abraham, and Peter

Marshal W. B. Broom hired Mal., Anthony, Abraham, and Peter between 1858 and 1860.

Receipt to W. B. Broom, circa 1860
“So. Ca. College to W. B. Broom,” ca. 1860, SCL

Jack (2)

Marshal W. B. Broom hired Jack (2) between 1858 and 1860.


Anna was hired in 1846 as a washerwoman.