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Today In Charleston History: December 25


SouthCarolinaRR_Schedule1841The first regularly scheduled passenger train in America pulled away from the Line Street station, Charleston, South Carolina at 8:00 a.m. Nicholas W. Darrell operated the locomotive as engineer for the 10-mile round trip from Charleston to San Souci and back. The trip was described a writer, Jockey of York.

Away we flew on the wings of the wind at the speed of 15 to 25 miles per hour, annihilating time and space … leaving all the world behind. It was nine minutes, five and one fourth seconds since we started and we have discovered ourselves beyond the forks of the State and Dorchester Roads … We came to San Souci in quick time. Here we stopped to take up a recruiting party, darted forth like a live rocket, scattering sparks and flames on either side, passed over three saltwater creeks, hop, step and jump and landed us all at the Lines before any of us had time to determine whether or not it was prudent to be scared.

More than 140 passengers took the first trip, riding in two cars. During the first day, the Best Friend carried more than 500 people. Truly, it was one of the most wondrous Christmases in Charleston history.

1860 – Secession.

The “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union,” written by Christopher Memminger was adopted.  The Declaration began:

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.

And ended with this paragraph:

We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.


19a. jabbo smith (author's collection)Jabbo Smith was born in Pembroke, Georgia. He grew up at the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston and became one of the major figures in the Jenkins Band. By age 17 he was playing with the Paradise Orchestra at Smalls Paradise and being called “the hottest trumpet player in New York.”  Due to excessive living, his career burned out by the time he was thirty, but to this day, his 1920 / 30s recordings are considered ground-breaking jazz music. 

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