Monday, June 16, 2008
Dog lovers out there may be aware of a small breed named the Boykin Spaniel, which is (so I've learned) the state dog of South Carolina. Boykin Spaniels have a funny history that originates (in part) in Spartanburg.
Legend has it that the president of a Spartanburg bank was walking between his home on East Main Street and church when a scraggly stray dog wandered up to him and followed him along the way. Feeling sympathy for the little mutt, he decided to adopt him and name him Dumpy. But, since he already had a number of dogs for duck and quail hunting, he soon sent the dog to his friend, Whit Boykin, who lived near Camden, SC. Boykin liked the size of the dog and bred him with another dog and the resulting litter was the first to carry the name Boykin Spaniel.
I received a research request today from an author who is writing a detailed history of the Boykin Spaniel. Specifically, he was trying to narrow down a few details about the residence of A. L. White, the president of the Merchants and Farmers Bank, and the adoptive father of Dumpy. Probably the best place to begin researching information about buildings in the city are the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, which are easily accessible online as long as you have a Spartanburg County Public Library card (I've pretty much got my card number memorized because of this database). Sanborn maps were created for cities throughout the country beginning (at least in Spartanburg) in the 1880s. They show invaluable information about each building in the city, including building materials, number of stories, porches, general shape and often even the number of windows. So with a minimum of information, you can get a ton of information.
Sure enough, I was able to find Mr. White's home on East Main Street, next to where the Bell South building is now near Pine Street. It looks like a big house with a two-story porch and numerous outbuildings. It seems that then, as now, bank presidents have it made. Thanks once again, Sanborn Maps, you've saved the day!