Today In Charleston History: June 4

1770

During the celebration of King George III’s birthday, Peter Timothy noted that, in comparison to the celebration over the John Wilkes affair and the arrival of the William Pitt statue:

few [houses] were illuminated because the People are not Hypocrites. They will not dissemble Joy, while they feel themselves unkindly treated, and oppressed.

1772-Slavery

The South Carolina Gazette, ran this advertisement: 

RUN AWAY: Dick, a mulatto fellow . . . a remarkable whistler and plays on the Violin.

1773

Henry Laurens was unhappy with the level of education available in England for his sons. He wrote about Oxford and Cambridge saying:

The two universities are generally, I might say universally censured. Oxford in particular is spoken of as a School of Licentiousness and Debauchery in the most aggravated heights.

1774-American Revolution

The First Provincial Congress adopted the American Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation. On that same date, the First Provincial Congress authorized the issue of £1,000,000 in paper currency for military defense of the Province, and appointed thirteen new members to the Council of Safety, with power to command all soldiers and to use all public money in the Province. No military person could now sit on the Council of Safety.

The Congress ordered that 1500 special troops be raised to

go forth and be ready to sacrifice our lives and fortunes against every foe in defense of the liberty outraged in the bloody scene on the 19th of April last near Boston.

1831   

The final route of the Charleston & Hamburg Rail Road was confirmed. It was designed with nine turnouts – a parallel track joined to the mainline, an amazing innovation at that time. There were also twelve pumps/watering places for the locomotives.

Map of the rail road route.

Map of the Charleston & Hamburg rail road route.

 

Today In Charleston History: February 24

1698 – Disaster

A devastating fire destroyed about one-third of Charles Town, burning the “dwellings, stores and outhouses of at least fifty families … the value of £30,000 sterling.”

1819

President James Monroe visited the Charleston Orphan House and in the evening attended the Charleston Theater.

orphan house postcard

Charleston Orphan House

 

1828 – Charleston & Hamburg Rail Road

Charles Parker and Robert K. Payne, at the direction of William Aiken, left Charleston by carriage to examine a potential route for the C&HRR. They

“arrived at the Six Mile House at one o’clock, where Mr. Arnot, the keeper, was requested to provide dinner as soon as possible.”

They paid $1.62 for the meals. Later that afternoon they crossed the Ashley Ferry (later known as Bee’s Ferry).

Over the next several weeks, they traveled west toward Hamburg, South Carolina, using Ashley River Road (passing Drayton Hall, Mangolia Planation, Runnymede, Millbrook and Middleton Place) to Bacon’s Bridge. They crossed the Edisto River at Givhan’s Ferry.

Today In Charleston History: February 13

1829

To generate support for their proposed railroad, to the Savannah River, the Charleston & Hamburg Rail Road Company built a test track of rail 150 feet long in the middle of the cobblestoned Wentworth Street in Charleston. They added flanged wheels to a small flat cart, which they then loaded with forty-seven bales of cotton. A single mule, hitched to the cart, was able to pull this load, four times a normal load, with ease, amazing the spectators. 

1900

James O’Neill appeared as D’Artagnan in The Three Muskateers at the Academy of Music, with Maud Odell, billed as “the beautiful South Carolina girl.” Odell was born in Beaufort, S.C. and had appeared in several productions in New York.

Maude_Odell

Maud Odell, Library of Congress 

Odell’s first major success was The Prisoner of Zenda, in which she appeared for 400 nights in New York. She later performed in Show Boat, and Tobacco Road. Her career spanned almost 40 years.

Odell was found dead of a heart attack in her dressing room just before a performance of Tobacco Road. She was buried at the cemetery of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Beaufort, South Carolina.

academy of music

Academy of Music, Market and King Street (present site of the Riveria Theater.

Today In Charleston History: December 19

1774

During the elections Francis Salvador was elected to the First Provincial Congress from the Ninety-six district – the first Jew elected to office in the American colonies.

1801

The legislature chartered South Carolina College, now the University of South Carolina.

1827

The Charleston & Hamburg Rail Road was chartered by Alexander Black and William Aiken. Black proposed to build and operate a railed road from Charleston to Hamburg Columbia and Camden.

Map of route for the Charleston & Hamburg line.

Map of route for the Charleston & Hamburg line.

Charleston’s economy heavily depending on the shipping of three staples: cotton to England, rice to southern Europe and lumber to the West Indies. The development of steamers that sailed the Savannah River that brought Georgia and South Carolina crops and goods from August to the port of Savannah, severely cutting into Charleston’s trade.

The proposed railed road from Hamburg (on the Savannah River across from Augusta) was considered the best solution – goods could be transported by rail 136 miles to Charleston. 

1828 – Nullification Crisis. State’s Rights.
John_C_Calhoun_by_Mathew_Brady,_1849

John C. Calhoun (by Matthew Brady, 1849)

The South Carolina legislature adopted the Exposition and Protest (secretly written by Vice-President John C. Calhoun) which argued about the unconstitutionality of the Tariff of Abominations because it favored manufacturing over commerce and agriculture. Calhoun believed the tariff power could only be used to generate revenue, not to provide protection from foreign competition for American industries. He believed that the people of a state or acting in a democratically elected convention, had the retained power to veto any act of the federal government which violated the Constitution.