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Today In Charleston History: September 9

1670 – Carolina Colony

The Carolina sailed to back to Barbados for passengers and supplies. A letter asking for a clergyman was written and signed by Florence O’Sullivan, Stephen Bull, Joseph West, William Scrivener, Ralph Marshall, Paul Smith, Samuel West, Joseph Dalton and Governor Sayle.

            Florence O’Sullivan also wrote a letter to Ashley Cooper:

… the country proves good beyond expectation, abounding in all things, as good oak, ash, deer, turkeys, partridges, rabbits, turtle and fish; and the land produces anything that is put into it – corn, cotton, tobacco … with many pleasant rivers … pray send us a minister qualified according to the Church of England and an able councellor [lawyer] to end controversies amongst us and put us in the right way of the managem’t…

            Joseph West wrote to Ashley Cooper, with a warning:

Our Governor … is very aged, and hath much lost himself in his government … I doubt he will not be so advantageous to a new colony as we did expect.

1739 – Slavery – The Stono Rebellion.

The largest slave revolt in the British colonies prior to the Revolution took place about 20 miles from Charleston.

stono markersstono_rebellionLed by an Angolan named Jemmy, a band of twenty slaves organized a rebellion on the banks of the Stono River. After breaking into Hutchinson’s store the band, now armed with guns, called for their liberty.  As they marched, overseers were killed and reluctant slaves were forced to join the company. The band reached the Edisto River where white colonists descended upon them, killing most of the rebels.  The survivors were sold off to the West Indies. More than 40 black and 20 whites were killed during the insurrection. 

The revolt led to stricter slave codes with the Negro Act of 1740, dictating such things as how slaves were to be treated, punished, and dressed. It forbade them from assembling with one another or being taught to read or write. The 1740 slave codes were largely unaltered until emancipation in 1865.

      William Bull submitted his account of the Rebellion to the British authorities:

My Lords,                                                            
I beg leave to lay before your Lordships an account of our Affairs, first in regard to the Desertion of our Negroes. . . . On the 9th of September last at Night a great Number of Negroes Arose in Rebellion, broke open a Store where they got arms, killed twenty one White Persons, and were marching the next morning in a Daring manner out of the Province, killing all they met and burning several Houses as they passed along the Road. I was returning from Granville County with four Gentlemen and met these Rebels at eleven o’clock in the forenoon and fortunately deserned the approaching danger time enough to avoid it, and to give notice to the Militia who on the Occasion behaved with so much expedition and bravery, as by four a’Clock the same day to come up with them and killed and took so many as put a stop to any further mischief at that time, forty four of them have been killed and Executed; some few yet remain concealed in the Woods expecting the same fate, seem desperate . . .         

It was the Opinion of His Majesty’s Council with several other Gentlemen that one of the most effectual means that could be used at present to prevent such desertion of our Negroes is to encourage some Indians by a suitable reward to pursue and if possible to bring back the Deserters, and while the Indians are thus employed they would be in the way ready to intercept others that might attempt to follow and I have sent for the Chiefs of the Chickasaws living at New Windsor and the Catawbaw Indians for that purpose. . . . 

My Lords,

 Your Lordships Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant 
Wm Bull 

1920 – Jenkins Orphanage
jenks001

Edmund Thornton Jenkins … Jenks.

Edmund Thornton Jenkins performed a concert at his father’s church, the Fourth Tabernacle Baptist. Jenks (as he was called) grew up performing with the Jenkins Orphanage Band. His father, Daniel Jenkins, had established the Orphan Aid Society in 1891 for the “black lambs” of Charleston. Jenks attended the Royal Academy of Music for seven years in London and became an accomplished composer, pianist, and multi-instrumentalist. After graduation, he returned to visit his family in Charleston and discovered that, after years in Europe, he could no longer live in the South comfortably as a black man.  

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