Today In Charleston History: November 11

  1775 – American Revolution

hog islandSouth Carolina’s first Revolutionary War naval skirmish took place. William Henry Drayton., president of the Second Provisional Congress of South Carolina,  was on board the newly-commissioned South Carolina schooner Defence, supervising the sinking of the hulks in the Hog Island channel. Captain Edward Thornbrough ordered six shots fired from the HMS Tamar and HMS Cherokee. Drayton replied with his nine-pounders. Over the next several hours the British fired 130 ineffective shots, which rallied public opinion to the side of the Revolutionaries. Lord William Campbell was aboard the Cherokee during the battle.


Charles Pinckney, deeply in debt, signed an agreement with his creditors for a group of trustees to sell his property, which included:

  • 500 acres on the Black and Pee Dee Rivers near Georgetown
  • 1200 acres on the Lynches River
  • 815 acres at Snee Farm
  • Shell Hall, his house at Haddrell’s Point
  • His mansion on Meeting Street
  • Two tracts of land from his father-in-law, Henry Laurens – one in Savannah and one called Mount Tacitus on the Santee River which included a lumber mill and Pinckney’s Ferry
  • 240 slaves

Today In Charleston History: October 25

1718 –Piracy  
col rhett and bonnet

Col. Rhett and Stede Bonnet

Some local merchants were nervous about the recently captured pirate, Stede Bonnet. They were afraid his testimony at his trial may link them to the buccaneer’s trade. Due to the lax security (and most likely a bribery of gold by merchant Richard Tookerman) at Capt. Partridge’s home, Stede Bonnet and David Herriot escaped. Bonnet disguised himself as a woman to escape undetected.

Accompanied by a slave and an Indian, they stole a small boat and planned to leave the harbor under cover of night and rendezvous with Moody’s ship, Cape Fear.  However, foul winds and lack of supplies forced the four of them onto Sullivan’s Island., where they cowered. Gov. Johnson at once placed a £700 bounty on Bonnet’s head and dispatched search teams to track him down, led by Col. William Rhett.



Charles Pinckney, son of Charles Pinckney, Junior and Francis Brewton Pickney, and cousin to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, was born in Charlestown. He would later sign the U.S. Constitution with his cousin.

Charles Pinckney

Charles Pinckney

Today In Charleston History: September 18


George Washington wrote a letter of introduction for Charles Pinckney for the Marquis de Lafayette. Pinckney was planning to finally fulfill his dream to travel to Europe, delayed first by the Revolution and then his father’s death. However, he delayed the trip to return to South Carolina to campaign for the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. 


Today In Charleston History: September 17


The three ships of the Carolina expedition – the Carolina, the Albermarle and the Port Royal – left Ireland for the trans-Atlantic crossing. Mr. Joseph West was appointed Governor and Commander-in-chief of the Carolina expedition until its arrival at Barbados, or until another Governor was appointed. 

1739 – Births

j. rutledgeJohn Rutledge, son of Dr. John and Sarah Rutledge was born. He would become the most prominent lawyer in Charles Town, the first governor of South Carolina and a signer of the U.S. Constitution.  

1787 -Constitutional Convention.

South Carolina delegates John Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney and Pierce Butler signed the new Constitution of the United States.


Howard Christy’s “Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States.” The South Carolina delegation is pictured in the lower left hand corner.