Today In Charleston History: October 28


First Masonic Lodge in Charlestown was organized under a warrant issued by Lord Weymouth of England, Grand Master of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons. An announcement in the Gazette said:

Last night a Lodge of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, was held, for the first time, at Mr. Charles Shepheard’s, in Broad Street, when John Hammerton, Esq., Secretary and Receiver General for this Province was unanimously chosen Master, who was pleased to appoint Mr. Thomas Denne, Senior Warden, Mr. Tho. Harbin, Junior Warden, and Mr. James Gordon, Secretary.

sheapheard's tavern2

Shepheard’s Tavern (corner of Broad & Church Streets), circa 1740s; In the distance on the left hand corner can be seen St. Philip’s Church


Gov. Glen proposed a plan for repairing and improving the city’s fortifications. He claimed the defenses were “piece-meal” and suggested the hiring of a “regular Engineer.” Without consulting the Assembly, Glen hired German-born engineer William De Brahm.

1765 – Stamp Act

Due to political pressure and threats of violence, George Saxby and Caleb Lloyd, stamp officer and stamp distributor, publically promised not to perform their duties.

Lt. Gov. Bull called the Gazette the “Conduit Pipe of northern propaganda … poisoning the minds … against the Stamp Act.” In an effort not “to directly support and engage in the most violent Opposition” Peter Timothy temporarily suspended the publication of the South Carolina Gazette.


Charleston City Council passed an ordinance that established the Charleston Orphan House. Until a structure could be built Mrs. Elizabeth Pinckney provided a building on Market Street, close to the Sailors’ Homes, for children too young to be bound out.

Today In Charleston History: October 18

1765 – American Revolution -The Stamp Act

The Planter’s Adventure arrived in Charlestown, carrying the hated British stamps, in preparation of the Act taking effect in November. Lt. Gov. Bull first placed the stamped paper in the warship Speedwell but feared it might be attacked while docked. He secretly transferred the stamps to Ft. Johnson for nine days.

 A forty-foot high gallows was erected at Broad and Church Streets in front of Dillon’s Tavern with three effigies: that of a stamp distributor hung between a Devil on one side and a boot on the other. On the front of the gallows was a sign which read – “LIBERTY and no STAMP ACT.” On the back of the gallows was another sign which read:

Whoever shall dare attempt to pull down these effigies had better been born with a mill stone about his neck, and cast into the sea.

 Two thousand people paraded the streets looking for the stamps. The home of the stamp officer, George Saxby (53 Tradd Street), was searched and ransacked. Many in the crowd were part of Christopher Gadsden’s artillery company – labor-class artisans.The mob marched to the “New Barracks” (present-day location of the College of Charleston) and burned an effigy of Saxby and buried a coffin labeled ÁMERICAN LIBERTY.”

1794 – Charleston Orphan House Opens

The Charleston Orphan House opened to 115 children at 160 Boundary Street (present-day Calhoun Street) on the outskirts of the city. Designed by Thomas Bennett the center structure was 40×40 feet, with two wings 65 by 30 feet each. Brickwork was done by Anthony Toomer. It cost $11,000 to construct and was the first public orphanage house in America.

orphan house postcard

Today In Charleston History: September 19


 A new election law was passed, dividing the representation of Carolina into parishes. It remained that way until the Revolutionary period.


The chapel at the Charleston Orphan House opened. Designed and constructed by Gabriel Manigault, the Gentleman Architect, it was completed in less than one year. Baptist minister, Rev. Richard Furman, preached the dedication sermon.

Charleston Orphan House Chapel, 13 Vanderhorst Street

Charleston Orphan House Chapel, 13 Vanderhorst Street


A letter by Angelina Grimke, decrying the mob violence against abolitionist literature, was published by William Lloyd Garrison in his paper, The Liberator.

I can hardly express to thee the deep and solemn interest with which I have viewed the violent proceedings of the last weeks. The ground upon which you stand is holy ground: never – never surrender it. If you surrender it, the hope of the slave is extinguished. If persecution is the means by which God has ordained for the accomplishment of this great end, EMANCIPATION; then … I feel as if I could say, LET IT COME, for it is my deep, solemn deliberate conviction, that this is a cause worth dying for.

Understanding that the publication of this letter had burned all her Southern bridges, Angelina later wrote in her diary:

To have the name of Grimke associated with that of the despised Garrison seemed like bringing disgrace upon my family, not myself alone … I cannot describe the anguish of my soul. Nevertheless I could not blame the publication of the letter, nor would I have recalled it if I could.