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Today In Charleston History: March 9

1686-Arrivals.  

Jean Boyd, a well-educated Huguenot merchant, arrived in Charles Towne and penned a lengthy letter to his sister back in London. He described various aspects of life and culture, and sketched a map of the town.

Here we are at last landed in this much longed-for country. In truth, I had imagined that I would find the town of Charlestown built differently and much larger than it is … The temperature of the air is here the same as in the southern provinces of France.  The English, in truth, who are not accustomed to hearing large claps of thunder in England exclaim in surprise at those in Carolina, but they would never scare a French person.

boyd map - 1687

Jean Boyd’s map of Charles Towne

The head of the rivers & principally the creeks are full of crocodiles so monstrous that we saw some that were 22 feet long. They do not hurt anyone and people fear them so little that several people who were bathing went swimming after them.

When one sells something here one must specify if it will be paid for in silver; otherwise they will pay you in silver of the country, which means in corn or animals & there is a great difference, least 25% for cattle to silver. Sometimes when silver is plentiful, that is to say when the buccaneers have come, livestock is worth a lot.

Aside from game one sees many wild beasts but a  little higher up in the  country, like wolves, wildcats, leopards,  tigers, bears, foxes, raccoons,  badgers, otters, beavers & a type of black and white cat which for its only  defense (urinates)  on people who pursue it, but its urine is so foul that it is  capable  of making one feel sick. The stench does not go away for two or three months even though one washes.

1738 – Slavery.

A writer in the Gazette addressed his concerns about the issue of Negro population:

I cannot avoid observing that altho’h a few Negroes annually imported into the province might be of advantage to most People, yet such a large importation of 2600 or 2800 every year is not only a loss to many, but in the end may prove the Ruin of the Province, as it most certainly does that of many industrious Planters who unwarily engage in buying more than they have occasion or able to pay for.

1779

Andrew Groundwater and William Tweed were hanged for treason. Both men had refused to take the oath of fidelity to the Patriot cause, and were arrested for carrying a message from a British prisoner of war to Colonel Archibald Campbell. According to Charles Pinckney:

some interest was made for Groundwater … he had been captain of a small vessel, and had been of service in the bringing in to us stores and many necessary articles which we were in want of … [but also] strongly suspected of being concerned with Tweed in setting fire to the town on Trott’s point … the inhabitants were so incensed against him, that he suffered, to appease the people.

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