Inventory of the Carr Family Papers, circa 1671 - 2009

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: The Carr Family were central members of the African-American community known as Maryville, South Carolina. Thomas Tobias Carr, Sr. (b. 1863) was the last Mayor to serve the town. His wife, Mary Green Carr (d. 1963) was a dressmaker and licensed midwife.
The Carr Family Papers includes correspondence, photographs, school related materials including diplomas, a family scrapbook, and other materials collected and/or generated by family members: Rosemary and Thomas Tobias Carr, III, and Mildred and John Wesley Carr, Sr. among others. Included is a section regarding the formation and history of Maryville, South Carolina, (originating from the former Lords Proprietors Plantation), by founder Mary Mathews Just, with brief information on Mayor Thomas T. Carr, Sr. Also, included are documents generated from the Maryville/Ashleyville Neighborhood Association with materials regarding the Township of Maryville Historic Marker Dedication (1996).
Title: Carr Family Papers, circa 1671 - 2009
Repository: Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston
Call Number: AMN 1073
Dates: circa 1671-2009
Bulk: 1920-1995
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 0.75 Linear feet
(3 archival boxes)

Historical Note

The Carr Family were central members of the African-American community of the Town of Maryville, SC. Thomas Tobias Carr, Sr. and his wife Mary Green Carr relocated to Maryville from Charleston in 1904. The Honorable Thomas T. Carr, Sr. (b. 1863) a carpenter, was the last Mayor to serve the town. Wife, Mary, referred to as "Mamie," (d. 1963), was a dressmaker turned licensed midwife. They had fourteen children.

Their son, John Wesley Carr, Sr. (1916-2005) was educated at Denning School and Avery Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and Hampton Institute, Virginia. He became an educator who taught at Burke High School, and became the first principal of Wallace Consolidated, Wallace Middle, and Springfield Elementary Schools in Charleston, SC. He married Mildred Ellison in 1953 and raised five children.

Thomas Tobias Carr, III (1930-), was educated at numerous institutions including Immaculate Conception High School, Charleston, SC (1947); South Carolina State College, Orangeburg, SC (1951); and Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago, Illinois (1956). After serving in the United States Army (1951-1953), Dr. Carr, III worked as a Head Chemist at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, SC and a Staff Optometrist at the Dorchester Training Center, Summerville, SC. He married Rosemary Johnston.

The Town of Maryville, chartered in 1886, included the site of the original English settlement in South Carolina and the plantation owned by the Lords Proprietors (1670-1699). The former plantation was subdivided into lots and sold to African Americans in the 1880s. After her husband, Charles Frazer Just died, Mary Mathews Just, saved her wages earned from the local phosphate mines and purchased land from the Hillsborough Plantation. Located "West of the Ashley River," Just named Maryville after herself, eventually establishing a school while governing the town. Noted biologist, Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941) is her son. Though Maryville was widely seen as a model of African-American "self-government," the South Carolina General Assembly revoked the town charter in 1936. The Town of Maryville is remembered in the current Ashleyville-Maryville neighborhood (City of Charleston), as a African-American municipality important to the history of South Carolina.


Historic Markers Across South Carolina. "Maryville Marker." Web. 8 Apr 2014.

House of Representatives, State of South Carolina. "A Concurrent Resolution: Saluting the Maryville Community in Charleston County..." 2 Jun 1999.

Medical University of South Carolina. "Ernest Everett Just: Outstanding African American Biologist of the 20th Century." Charleston: MUSC, 2013.

Collection Overview

Correspondence, photographic material, printed materials, and financial documents (1671-2009) document the history of the Lords Proprietors Plantation and Maryville collected by members of the Carr Family. The collection is divided into two series: The Carr Family and Town of Maryville, South Carolina.

The Carr Family holds documents pertaining to Thomas Tobias Carr, III (son of Mary and Thomas T. Carr, Sr.), illustrating his education, military service, organizational affiliations, and career as an optometrist. There are also documents relating to Carr, III wife, Rosemary, his brother, John Wesley Carr, Sr., and his wife, Mildred. Of special interest is a scrapbook (dissembled) pertaining mostly to John Wesley Carr, Sr. and his years at Hampton Institute, Virginia (1936-1938) with programs from school events, plays, concerts and postcards of the campus. There are items (programs and certificates) from Carr, Sr.'s last year at Avery Institute. The remainder of the scrapbook holds family photographs (mostly unidentified), but features his father, Thomas Tobias Carr, Sr. (former Maryville mayor) with family members; a separate enlarged photograph of his wife, Mary Green Carr and a folder regarding son, Leroy Ashley Carr, with his graduation diplomas from Avery Institute and Fisk University.

The second series, Maryville, South Carolina, contains records relating to the history of the Lords Proprietors Plantation (original site of Maryville); various maps, plats, and surveys (photocopies); an undergraduate thesis regarding the establishment of Maryville; photocopied newspaper clippings regarding Thomas Tobias Carr, Sr. as deposed mayor (c.1930s), and the eventual annexation of the town (1993). Also, included is brief information through letters by the Maryville/Ashleyville Neighborhood Association, an organization devoted to preserving the memory of this community and materials regarding the Township of Maryville Historic Marker Dedication (1996).

Collection Arrangement

1. The Carr Family

2. Town of Maryville, South Carolina

Subject Headings

  • Carr, John Wesley, Sr., 1916-2005.
  • Carr, Mary Green, d. 1963.
  • Carr, Thomas Tobias, III, 1930-.
  • Carr, Thomas Tobias, Sr.
  • Just, Mary Matthews, d. 1902.
  • African American neighborhoods--South Carolina.
  • Lords Proprietors Plantation--South Carolina.
  • Maryville--South Carolina.
  • Maryville/Ashleyville Neighborhood Association--South Carolina.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: The Carr Family, 1895-2009, and undated.

Contains documents pertaining to, Thomas Tobias Carr, III (son of Mary and Thomas T. Carr, Sr.) and his wife Rosemary, along with his brother John Wesley Carr, Sr., and his wife Mildred. Also, included are photographs (mostly unidentified), and funeral programs of various family members and friends. Lastly, a scrapbook curated by John Wesley Carr, Sr., highlighting his college years at Hampton Institute, with additional family photographs (mostly unidentified).

1.1 Thomas Tobias Carr, III and Family, 1916-2009, and undated.

Contains documents pertain to Dr. Thomas T. Carr, III's education, military service, organizational affiliations, and career as a optometrist. Also, holds brief papers regarding his wife, Rosemary.
Box 1   Folder 1
Education, 1916-1951
Contains commencement programs from The Colored Industrial School (Charleston, SC); report cards from Immaculate Conception Grammar & High School (Charleston); and letters from State Agricultural and Mechanical College, (Orangeburg, SC)
Box 1   Folder 2
Military Records, 1952-1980
Holds documents pertaining to Carr, III's military service in the Army.
Box 1   Folder 3
Professional Records, 1955-1987, undated
Contains documents pertaining to Carr, III's career as an optometrist, beginning with his graduation for the Illinois College of Optometry (1957)
Box 1   Folder 4
Correspondence, 1969-1980, undated
Includes a letter from James E. Clyburn, executive director with South Carolina Commission for Farm Worker, Inc., requesting Carr to consider working as an optometrist for an adult education program (1969), and a letter to James Island Constituent School Board nominating Carr (in addition to J. Arthur Brown and Joseph C. Grant, Jr.) to the Board (1972). Includes a handwritten vita of Carr, III.
Box 1   Folder 5
Organizational Affiliations, 1964-2009, undated
Includes agenda, minutes, letters, programs and invitations from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc (Mu Alpha Chapter), Cannon Street YMCA, and the Owls Whist Club.
Box 1   Folder 6
Financial Documents, 1962-1981
Holds various invoices and receipts pertaining to the Carr, III family
Box 1   Folder 7
Various Programs and Invitations, 1960-2009, undated
Box 1   Folder 8
Materials regarding Rosemary Carr, 1967-1981
Materials pertaining to the wife of Carr, III. Includes documents from Mrs. Carr's tenure at South Carolina State College (1967, 1969)

1.2 John Wesley Carr, Sr. and Family, 1951-2005 and undated.

This sub-series contain brief documents pertaining to John Wesley Carr, Sr. and his wife Mildred.
Box 1   Folder 9
Materials regarding John Wesley Carr, Sr., 1981, 2005
Includes his wake and funeral programs (2005) and a certificate from the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (1981)
Box 1   Folder 10
Materials regarding Mildred Ellison Carr, 1951-1981, undated
The wife of John Wesley Carr, Sr. Includes programs and letters from State Agricultural and Mechanical College/South Carolina State College; Mrs. Carr's father's funeral home program

1.3 The Carr Family, circa 1900-2008, and undated.

Includes photographs w/photocopied images (B&W and color); funeral programs of family members and friends; and a miscellaneous folder with various programs, receipts, etc.
Box 1   Folder 11
Photographs, circa 1900-1980
Contains original and photocopied images of the Carr Family and friends. Several photographs feature Thomas Tobias, Sr. the former Mayor of Maryville. The majority of images are unidentified.
Box 1   Folder 12
Funeral programs and clippings, 1965-2008, and undated
Includes obsequies for immediate Carr family members and friends. Also, holds a biographical sketch w/newspaper clipping regarding artist and family friend, Edwin Harleston.
Box 1   Folder 13
Various Documents, 1963-1977, undated
Hold miscellaneous materials (programs, invitations, brochures, etc.) pertaining to the Carr Family

1.4 The Carr Family Scrapbook, 1895-1938, and undated.

The scrapbook pertains mostly to John Wesley Carr, Sr. and his years at Hampton Institute and Avery Institute. Also included is a enlarged photograph of John Carr's mother, Mary Green Carr; and a folder re brother, Leroy Ashley Carr, holding his graduation diploma and booklets. **Note-This scrapbook has been disassembled**
Box 2   Folder 1
Photograph of Mary Green Carr, undated
Oversize photograph (10 1/2 x 13 3/4) of the wife of Thomas Tobias Carr, Sr., former Maryville mayor and mother of John W. Carr, Sr. Includes B&W negatives
Box 2   Folder 2
Scrapbook pages, 1895-1938, undated
Includes B&W photographs of Carr family and friends (mostly unidentified); two letters (fragile) to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Carr, Sr; photographs and documents from John Carr's tenure of from Hampton Institute (1936-1938); programs from school events, plays and concerts; postcards of campus; and Avery programs and certificates (1934)
Box 2   Folder 3
Diplomas and graduation booklets regarding Leroy Ashley Carr, 1925-1929
From Avery Normal Institute (1925) and Fisk University (1929)
Box 2   Folder 4
Scrapbook cover (Front), undated
Made out of wood
Box 2   Folder 5
Scrapbook cover (Back), undated
folder includes scrapbook attachments (nuts and bolts)

Series 2: Town of Maryville, South Carolina, , circa 1671-2005, and undated.

Contains documents relating the history of the Lords Proprietors Plantation (original site of Maryville); various maps, plats and surveys (photocopies); an undergraduate thesis regarding the establishment of Maryville; newspaper clippings regarding Thomas Tobias Carr, Sr. as deposed mayor (c.1930s) and the eventual annexation of the town (1993); correspondence to and from the Maryville/Ashleyville Neighborhood Association; and materials regarding the Township of Maryville Historic Marker Dedication (1996).
Box 3   Folder 1
Documents regarding Lords Proprietors Plantation, 1936, undated
Photocopied materials detailing the plantation's history, includes photocopy of "Hill & Lining Family Records;" and a archeological report
Box 3   Folder 2
Nomination form to National Register of Historic Places, 1973-1974
Photocopy of application nominating Maryville/Lord Proprietors Plantation, prepared by Charles Towne Landing (South Carolina Dept of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Box 3   Folder 3
Various maps, plats and surveys of Lords Proprietors Plantation and Maryville/Ashleyville (photocopies), circa 1671-1685, 1954-2002, undated
Box 3   Folder 4
Undergraduate Thesis: Maryville, South Carolina: An All-Black Town and its White Neighbors, 1995
A Bachelor of Arts thesis by Allen Carrington Hutcheson, Harvard College regarding the establishment of Maryville
Box 3   Folder 5
Documents regarding Township of Maryville Historic Marker Dedication, 1996-1999
A program that also honors Mary Mathews Just. Includes copy of City of Charleston's "Resolution;" speech transcript (w/drafts) by Honorable Floyd Breeland; and event programs. Also, includes a photocopied newspaper clipping regarding Mary's son, Ernest E. Just, honored on "Black Heritage" U.S. postal stamp (1996)
Box 3   Folder 6
Maryville/Ashleyville Neighborhood Association, 1997-2003
Holds photocopies of letters and program from and by association members and the City of Charleston
Box 3   Folder 7
Newspaper clippings (photocopied) regarding Maryville, circa 1930-2005
Includes articles regarding Thomas Tobias Carr, Sr., Maryville mayor in the 1930s. The majority of articles discuss the annexation of this community

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

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The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Carr Family Papers, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donated by Sylvia Carr, John W. Carr, Sr., and Dr. Thomas T. Carr, III

Processing Information

Processed by Georgette Mayo, April 2014

Encoded by Aaron Spelbring, April 2014

Edited by Aaron Spelbring, April 2014