Today In Charleston History: July 26

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion. Executions

denmark_veseyThis was one the largest days of executions in Charleston history – twenty-two more conspirators hanged just north of “The Lines.” The entire city turned out for the Friday morning spectacle. There was such a large crowd and so much excitement that a small black boy was trampled to death.

The bodies of the convicted were given to the Medical College of South Carolina for dissection. The executed were:

  • Smart Anderson: Smart was a drayman who stole two muskets, hiding them on his cart to be used when the occasion arose. He claimed he was in the rebellion “as much as possible.”
  • Charles Billings: Worked in a commercial stables and planned to steal horses on the night of the rebellion. Claimed that he was “ready and willing” to do what needed to be done.
  • Jemmy Clement: Member of the A. M. E. Church
  • Jerry Cohen: One of the last arrested but claimed that if everyone involved was killed, he was “still willing to go on.”
  • Polydore Faber: Good friend of Gullah Jack. Faber was convicted of hiding at least twenty pike poles which were to be fitted with blades and used as weapons on the night of rebellion.
  • Julius Forrest: Claimed to have been “charmed” by Gullah Jack into joining the rebellion.
  • Lot Forrester: One of the most active of Denmark’s recruits. Worked at the State Arsenal and was able to steal a slow fuse to be used in setting fires throughout the city.
  • Jack Glenn: Although he was lame in both feet, he told Vesey he would serve as a horseman on the night of rebellion. He collected money about town to finance the plot.
  • Bacchus Hammett: Stole a keg of black powder, a sword and pistol for the rebellion. ON his way to gallows he shocked the white crowd by laughing and shouting good-byes to his acquaintance. Upon his execution, the mechanism failed, and he did not drop. According to a witness, Bacchus “threw himself forward, and as he swung back he lifted his feet, so that his knees might not touch the Board.” He was shot with a pistol by Captain Dove because he was taking so long to die dangling from the gallows.
  • Mingo Harth: He was a skilled laborer and worked at a lumberyard. Mingo hosted Bible study classes in his quarters in order to discuss the rebellion.
  • Joe Jore: Considered an invalid, Joe pledged to take a sword and fight on the night of rebellion.
  • Dean Mitchell: Assisted in collecting money to make spears and pikes.
  • Jack Purcell: One of Denmark’s first recruits. However, on the gallows he stated that “if it had not been for the cunning of that old villain, Vesey, I should not now be in my present situation.”
  • Adam Robertson: Participated in the ceremony where a chicken was eaten bloody by all present as a sign of their commitment to the rebellion.
  • John Robertson: Also participated in the chicken ceremony.
  • Robert Robertson: Helped conceal pikes and spears. Also, stole a pistol from his master.
  • Tom Russell: A blacksmith who forged pikeheads and spears as long as the group took up a collection to pay for the materials. Russell was also trained by Gullah Jack to be a sorcerer.
  • Dick Simms: Property of the family William Gilmore Simms, famous novelist of the time. Dick stole a pistol from his master for use during the rebellion.
  • Pharo Thompson: Pharo possessed a sword fashioned out of a scythe.
  • Adam Yates: Adam had the responsibility of leading the rural blacks into the city on the night of rebellion.
  • Bellisle Yates: Responsible for hiding some of the plantation blacks in the city during the night of rebellion.
  • Naphur Yates: Yates took an oath and swore that his “heart was in this business.” He claimed that his name had ordained him to be part of the rebellion since the word naphur is defined in the Bible as “purification fire”.

Charleston City Council urged restraint from anymore executions, due to the expense. Constable Belknap complained the city had spent $2284 “confining the accused in the Workhouse, erecting a Gallows and obtaining carts to carry the criminals to the place of execution.”

James Louis Petigru, also advised restraint stating,

“I am afraid you will hang half the country. You must take care and save negroes enough for the Rice crop.”


John C. Calhoun wrote a letter to the Pendleton Messenger openly avowing his nullification philosophy. 

1864-Bombardment of Charleston
Gen. Samuel Jones

Gen. Samuel Jones

Gen. Samuel Jones received a telegram from General Winder at Andersonville Prison in Georgia that 600 Union officers and soldiers were being sent to Charleston and that it would “continue … to all are sent.”

Today in Charleston History: July 12

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion.

Gullah Jack Prichard and John Horry were executed. Gullah Jack was accused of not only planning to massacre white Charlestonians, but also to have “endeavored to enlist on your behalf all the powers of darkness.”

During the trial Gullah Jack played the fool so much that some of the judges could not believe he was part of the rebellion.  However, as the trial progressed and six witnesses testified against him, Jack’s demeanor changed. He scowled and gave his accusers hard looks. He made motions and designs with his fingers until the judges admonished him for trying to bewitch the witnesses. From the Negro Plot, Gullah Jack was admonished.

In the prosecution of your wicked designed, you were not satisfied with resorting to natural and ordinary means, but endeavored to enlist on your behalf, all the powers of darkness, and employed for that purpose the most disgusting mummery and superstition. You represented yourself as invulnerable; that you could neither be taken nor destroyed, and all who fought under your banners would be invincible. Your boasted charms have not protected yourself, and of course could not protect others … You will shortly be consigned to the cold and silent grave, and all the powers of darkness cannot rescue you from your approaching fate.

Jack had to be “dragged forth to the scaffold … and gave his spirit up without firmness or composure.” Despite this second round of executions, the authorities saw no end in sight. Each new arrest led to more evidence “that the Conspiracy had spread wider and wider.”


On his way for a tour of the Northeast, James Petigru met with Pres. Jackson at the White House and commented that “the old gentleman looked better than I expected.”

1923 – Jenkins Orphanage
Rev. Daniel Jenkins

Rev. Daniel Jenkins

By this time, the Jenkins Orphanage Bands were spread out across the eastern United States every year, bringing in more than $10,000 annual income for the Orphan Aid Society. Each band traveled with a male chaperone, often a minister, a cook and a valet to care for the uniforms and instruments. Because they were blacks traveling across the country during the Jim Crow Era of America, the chaperone also carried a letter of introduction from the mayor of Charleston to be given to the mayor or police chief of each town at which they stopped, as proof of their honorable character and intentions. In 1923, the letter read:    

City of Charleston Executive Department, July 12, 1923 

To the Mayor, Board of Alderman and the Officials of any City in the United States

This is to certify that Rev. D. J. Jenkins, President and Founder of the Jenkins Orphanage of this city, has been conducting an orphanage for over thirty-two years, having since connected with it a reform school and industrial farm and a rescue home for girls only. Reports show that he had handled and trained over three thousand little Negro boys and girls. They have been sent here from all portions of the country to be reformed. This he had done practically entirely on voluntary contributions.

There are four brass bands connected with the work, known as the Jenkins Orphanage Bands. We would appreciate anything you may do for him in letting his boys give entertainments and play upon the public streets of your city. It is raising money for a purely charitable work on a small basis, and I will assure you that he has ever managed to keep the order and conduct of his bands so that they have not become a nuisance, but rather a pleasure for the citizens to hear them play.

Rev. Jenkins has a Board of leading white citizens to keep up with the accounts and advise whenever necessary.

Very respectfully,



The above Jenkins letterhead, 1923, reflected the Jim Crow attitude of the time. The implied racist message of the letterhead is: The Jenkins Orphanage was run by a black man, but there were responsible white citizens monitoring the Orphan Aid Society, assuring donations were used properly. Even after thirty years of success, Rev. Jenkins was still not fully trusted by the white citizens of Charleston.

Today In Charleston History: June 27


The Assembly passed an act “for the more effectual Preventing the Spreading of Contagious Distempers” and appointed Gilbert Guttery the first health commissioner. He was empowered to board any ship coming into the harbor and order anyone quarantined in the “pest house” on Sullivan’s Island, under penalty of fine or whipping for leaving.

1723 – Politics. 

     By the order of the Lords Justices the “Act for the Good Government of Charles Town” was repealed. Some folks say “good government” never returned.  

1767 – Revolutionary War.

The sloop Active was seized by Capt. James Hawker of HMS Sardoine. This was the initial incident that sparked a major contest between British authorities and the Carolina merchants – all because of the Townshend Acts and the sugar tax levied against the colonies.

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion.

Monday Gell was arrested at his harness shop.

1864- Bombardment of Charleston

Gus Smythe wrote:

The Yankees are shelling as usual but nearly all their shells have fallen short. Yesterday, only two or three came in & they burst on the Bay.  There was also considerable firing at Sumter … the Yankee prisoners are in Mr. O’Conner’s house at the corner of Broad & Rutledge Sts. It is a splendid house & a delightful situation. They have a large yard & empty lot to walk in & the other day the Govt. sent round & had gas fixtures put up so that they might have light all at the expense of the Confederacy. Have plenty of money which they spend for coffee & sugar etc. It seems a shame to treat them so well.


O'Conner House, Broad Street

O’Conner House, Broad Street


Today In Charleston History: June 22

1663-Founding of Carolina

Capt. Robert Sandford, exploring the Carolina coast for Sir John Yeamans, sailed five miles up a “fair river” and came across “a canoe with two Indians.” They informed Sandford that this was the country of “Edistoh.”


The city of Charlestown was incorporated by Governor Nicholson.


In the Gazette, Christopher Gadsden wrote:

It seems amazing, and altogether unaccountable, that our mother country should take almost every means in her power, to drive her colonies to some desperate act; for what else could be the motive (besides oppressing them) of treating them with that contempt she upon all occasions affects to do?

1781-American Revolution

The American prisoners in the British ships in Charlestown harbor were exchanged, and sent to Philadelphia.

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion

Frederick Wesner and Capt. William Dove arrested Denmark Vesey at the “house of one of his wives,” most likely his former wife Beck.

1864-Bombardment of Charleston

Gen. Samuel Jones

Gen. Samuel Jones

Gen. Sam Jones (CSA) angrily replied to Gen. Schimmelfenneg’s assertions that the bombardment was aimed at military targets:

The fire has been so singularly wild and inaccurate that no one who has ever witnessed it would suspect its object … the shells have been thrown at random, at any and all hours, day and night …



Edmund Thorton Jenkins

Edmund Thorton Jenkins

Edmund Thornton Jenkins (Jenks) composition for grand organ and orchestra, Prelude Religieuse, was performed at the Queen’s Hall at the Royal Academy.  In a mere two years, Jenks had progressed to the point where his compositions were being performed at one of London’s leading concert halls. As the war raged across Europe, Jenks had something more important on his mind – his musical future.

Listen to one of Jenkins’ compositions, “Charlestonia: A Folk Rhapsody.” 

Today In Charleston History: June 20


Lord Ashley Cooper wrote to Sir John Yeaman:

The Distinction of the Governor from the rest of our deputies is a thing rather of order than of overruling power, and he hath no more freedom thereby than any one of the council to swerve from these rules.


Governor Joseph Blake gave £1000 sterling to the Independent (Congregationalist) Church.

1776-American Revolution. Battle of Ft. Sullivan

Gen. Clinton sent a brigade under Maj. Gen. Charles Cornwallis to pitch camp within sight of The Breach on Long Island (Isle of Palms). Cornwallis reported that the depth of The Breach at low tide, initially thought to be only half-a-yard, was in reality seven feet. Col. Willliam Moultrie had already stationed an Advance Guard of 400 men on the other side of the Breach to defend against the crossing, effectively stranding Cornwallis’s force.

1779-American Revolution. Battle of Stono Ferry

Under Lt. Col. John Maitland, the British had established their defenses at Stono Ferry, located on the Stono River. British troops were camped on one side with a detachment of Hessians camped on the other side.

The British rear guard force was attacked by Patriot forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. Within a hour the Patriots had taken the British redoubts and the British and Hessian troops were falling back, with many causalities. The Patriots were on the verge of victory when fresh British reinforcements came up.

The Patriots attacked the Hessian camp and  immediately came under fire from a British galley in the Stono River. The Patriots returned fire on the ship, forcing it to withdraw from the fight. The South Carolina Navy schooner Rattlesnake came down the river and began to fire into the rear of the British and Hessian forces. They both turned from the Patriot force and fired upon the Rattlesnake. The Rattlesnake was able to repulse the attack, however, incurring heavy losses.

The American loss in the battle was 34 killed, 113 wounded and 155 missing. Among the dead was Hugh Jackson, brother of future President Andrew Jackson. The British casualties were 26 killed, 93 wounded and 1 missing.

Map drawn by British officer, 1780.

Map drawn by British officer, 1780.


A writer named “Rusticus” wrote a letter to the editor about white anxiety over the presence Haitian slaves:

The circumstances which occasion’d their introduction gave new ideas to our slaves which the opportunities of conversation with the new comers could not fail to ripen into mischief. It may be perhaps true that the generality of those admitted were not immediately concerned in the revolt  – their hands were free from blood but they witnessed [sic] all the horrors of the scene – they saw the dawning hope of their countrymen to be free – the rapidity with which the flame of liberty spread among them …

1822-Slavery. Denmark Vesey Rebellion.

One of the incarcerated conspirators, most likely William Paul, finally broke down and identified Denmark Vesey as the “instigator and chief of the plot.” This set off an intense, frantic two-day long search of Charleston, from wharfs to streets and buildings.

Today In Charleston History: June 15


Rebecca Brewton Motte

Rebecca Brewton Motte

Rebecca Brewton, daughter of Robert Brewton, was born at her father’s house, 21 Church Street. She married Jacob Motte and later lived in her brother’s house at 27 King Street and live there with the British occupying force in 1780. 

1786-Natural Disasters

Fire swept down Broad Street, destroying fourteen buildings, including the state house.

1818-Slavery. Religion. Denmark Vesey Rebellion

In direct defiance of the City Council, Rev. Richard Allen (of Philadelpha) conducted a Sunday service in a private home for a blacks-only congregation. The city guard once again disrupted the service. Allen and his Philadelphia delegation were arrested and sentenced to “one month’s imprisonment, or to give security and leave the state.”

Allen and his group returned to Philadelphia under the threat of his arrest, but black religious services continued to be conducted in private homes at night, often conducted by Denmark Vesey.  Gullah Jack, however, was angered by what he called “the desecration of sacred ground” (the disruption of religious services), and claimed he “wanted to begin” to organize against the whites. 

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion

Watching the increased militia activity on the streets, and hearing of the arrests, Denmark Vesey and Monday Gell destroyed all incriminating letters and documents they had in their possession. Gullah Jack buried a small cache of gunpowder and weapons on the Buckley farm in the Charleston Neck. All three men then went into hiding.

Thomas_Bennett_JrGov. Bennett signed a General Order calling out Col. Croft’s 16th Regiment, the Washington Light Infantry, the Republican Artillery and the Charleston Neck Rangers. Bennett also requested the assistance of the federal government. He wrote to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, a South Carolina native, about his “State of alarm and his inability to defend his city.” Bennett wrote that a show of federal force:

would tend not only to tranquilize the public mind, but produce the happiest effects upon that class of persons who have caused the present excitement.

1864-Bombardment of Charleston   

Gen. Foster notified General Henry Halleck, Army Chief of Staff, that:

The fire upon the city of Charleston had been somewhat increased, and had been continued night and day, at irregular intervals, the number of shots varying from 30 to 60 in ordinary firing.

Today In Charleston History: June 14


Charlestown was divided into two Anglican parishes: St. Michael’s, south of Broad Street and St. Philip’s, north of Broad.

1774-American Revolution

Christopher Gadsden wrote to Sam Adams in Boston, assuring him that South Carolina would stand firm with Massachusetts, reminding him that South Carolina was the last to desert the non-importation agreement in 1770. He wrote:

For my part I would rather see my own family reduced to the utmost Extremity and half cut to pieces than to submit to their damned Machinations. 

(L) - Sam Adams. (R) - Christopher Gadsden

(L) – Sam Adams. (R) – Christopher Gadsden

1775-American Revolution – Continental Congress 

Edward Rutledge was appointed to a three-member committee to draft George Washington’s commission and instructions as commander of the Continental Army.  

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion

George Wilson informed his master, Major John Wilson of 106 Broad Street, about the plot to kill whites, related to him by Rolla Bennett.

8:00 p.m.

Major Wilson informed Intendent (mayor) Hamilton that the governor’s slaves were involved in an insurrection planned for two nights hence – Sunday June 16. The story Wilson told was so similar to that of William Paul and Peter Prioleau that Hamilton and Governor Bennett had no choice but to believe it.

Just before midnight, Gov. Bennett ordered the arrest of ten slaves including Peter Poyas, Mingo Harth, and his own personal slaves, Rolla and Ned Bennett.

1864-Bombardment of Charleston  

Captured Union officers purposely placed in range of Federal guns at 180 Broad Street in an attempt to stop the bombardment of Charleston. The Charleston Mercury announced:

 For some time it has been known that a batch of Yankee prisoners, comprising the highest in rank now in our hands, were soon to be brought hither to share in the pleasures of the bombardment. These prisoners we understand will be furnished with comfortable quarters in that portion of the city most exposed to enemy fire. The commanding officer on Morris Island will be duly notified of the fact of their presence in the shelled district and if his batteries still continue at their wanton and barbarous work, it will be at the peril of the captive officers.’ 

The Charleston Daily Courier wrote:

We do not confine these prisoners in a fortress or a walled town or city, or thrust them forward in our battle as the Yankees do with the unfortunate negro … We place them in our city of Charleston, among and near our own wives and children …

Two views of the O'Conner House, 180 Broad Street, where Union officers were imprisoned within range of Federal guns.

Two views of the O’Conner House, 180 Broad Street, where Union officers were imprisoned within range of Federal guns.

Today In Charleston History: June 13

1713-Yemassee War.

The Cherokee war party returned north. That left the remaining Catawba force to face a rapidly-assembled militia under the command of George Chicken from Goose Creek.  In the Battle of the Ponds, the Chicken militia routed the Catawba, who returned to their villages and decided on peace.

1777-American Revolution

The Marquis de Lafayette and the Baron de Kalb arrived in America on North Island in Winyah Bay. They proceeded to Benjamin Huger’s house in Georgetown to join the American military cause. 


A fire broke out in Lodge Alley. Winds blew it westward, toward the center of the city where it burned “a vast Number of Houses and … left many Citizens without the Means of being otherwise accommodated.” St. Philip’s Church was also in the path of the fire, but was saved by the heroic actions of a slave called Boney. The fire:

would have destroyed that venerable building but for the heroic intrepidity of a negro, who, at the risk of his life, climbed to the very summit of the belfry, and tore off the burning shingles.

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion

Ned Bennett turned himself in to the authorities at the Work House. He told the wardens that he learned his name had been mentioned in association with a planned rebellion and he wished to clear his name. He was questioned for several hours, cleared and released.

He then walked the five blocks from the Work House to Denmark Vesey’s house on Bull Street to attend a meeting to finalize plans for the rebellion.       


The steamship Pulaski exploded and sank just off the Charleston harbor. It was owned by the Savannah and Charleston Steam Packet Company to safely and speedily carry freight and passengers between Savannah to Baltimore with stops in Charleston.

The sinking of the Pulaski

The sinking of the Pulaski

That night, after taking on about sixty-five passengers in Charleston the Pulaski steamed to about thirty miles off the North Carolina coast through a dark night and moderate weather. Around ten o’clock the Pulaski’s starboard boiler suddenly exploded and swept some passengers into the sea and scalded others to death. Panicked passengers, most of them wearing their night clothes, sought refuge on the promenade deck. The bow of the Pulaski rose out of the water and eventually she ripped apart.

Passengers clung to furniture and pieces of wreckage. As the Pulaski sank, the crew lowered four life boats but two of them capsizing while the other two filled with frantic passengers.

Three days later the Henry Camerdon, schooner bound for Wilmington, North Carolina, rescued the 30 survivors. There were more than 100 deaths. Passengers rescued were:
MRS. P. M. NIGHTINGALE, servant and child.
MRS. W. FREHER and child, St. Simons, Geo.
J. H. COOPER, Glynn, Georgia.
F. W. POOLER, Savannah, Georgia.
Capt. POOLER, son.
WILLIAM ROBERTSON, Savannah, Georgia.
SOLOMON ________
S. HIBBERD, 1st mate Pulaski.
W. C. N. SWIFT, New Bedford.
GIDEON WEST, New Bedford, boatswain.
B. BRAGG, Norfolk, steward.

1864-Bombardment of Charleston 
Gen. Samuel Jones
Gen. Samuel Jones

Confederate Gen. Samuel Jones, in an effort to stop or reduce the bombardment of the city, notified Union Gen. John G. Foster that

five Union generals and forty-five field officers had arrived in the city for safe keeping … in commodious quarters in a part of the city occupied by non-combatants, the majority of whom are women and children. It is proper, however, that I should inform you it is a part of the city which has been for many months exposed day and night to the fire of your guns.

Gen. John Foster

Gen. John Foster

      Union Gen. Schimmelfenneg, before forwarding the letter to Gen. Foster added a note:

Charleston must be considered a place “of arms.” It contains a large arsenal, military foundries … and has already furnished three iron-clads to the enemy. It is our duty to destroy these resources. In reference to the women and children of the bombarded city, I therefore can only say the same situation occurs wherever a weak and strong party are at war … In my opinion the endeavor of the enemy to force us to give up the bombardment should be the reason for its continuation … as a means to force him to give up his barbarous practices.

Today In Charleston History: June 8


The South Carolina Gazette published a proclamation by Governor Charles Greville Montagu:

It has been represented to me that a large number of dead negroes who have been thrown into the river, are driven upon the marsh opposite Charles Town, and the noisome smell arising from their putrefaction may become dangerous to the health of the inhabitants of this province: In order to prevent such an inhumane and unchristian practice, I think it fit, by the advice of his Majesty’s council, to issue this my proclamation strictly forbidding this same: And I do hereby offer a reward of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS to be paid on the conviction of the offender to any person that will inform against any one person who shall be guilty of such practice.

1769-American Revolution – Foundations

The Gazette announced that “several Societies of gentlemen …in patriotic associations” agreed to dress in homespun and boycott all British goods that could be manufactured in America.

1776-American Revolution-Battle of Ft. Sullivan

Most of the British fleet crossed the Charlestown bar and anchored in Five Fathom Hole. General Clinton delivered a proclamation to the patriots

“to entreat and exhort them, as they tender their own happiness and that of their posterity, to return to their duty to our common sovereign.”

South Carolina President John Rutledge rejected this plea.

1776-American RevolutionContinental Congress.

In a letter to John Jay, Edward Rutledge explained that he supported the idea of independence, but for tactical reasons he was opposed to a declaration of independence which would only give Britain “Notice of our Intentions before we had taken any Steps to execute them.” He also noted that he was going to propose to delay “for 3 Weeks or a Month” the vote on the resolution for independence.

1780-American Revolution-British Occupation


Sir Henry Clinton

Gen. Clinton left for New York, appointing Lord Cornwallis to take command of all British forces in the southern provinces. Before leaving, Clinton issued one final proclamation that demanded no one in South Carolina remain neutral, “all persons should take an active part in Settling and Securing his Majesty’s government and delivering the Country from that anarchy …”

All prisoners who had not participated in the defense of Charleston were paroled as of June 20. If they did not pledge allegiance they would be imprisoned. There was also a clause that if so ordered they would have to take up arms to defend Britain. He concluded by saying that all those:

who shall afterwards neglect to return to their allegiance and to His Majesty’s government will be considered as Enemies and Rebels to the same and treated accordingly.

Clinton stated, “I may venture to assert that there are few men in South Carolina who are not either our Prisoners or in Arms with us.” He was wrong.

Col. Issac Hayne signed the declaration of allegiance to avoid be separated from his dying wife and small children ill with small pox. He was told by General Patterson that he would not have to honor the clause about bearing arms against his fellow citizens. He then returned to his plantation in St. Paul’s parish, forty miles south of Charlestown, present-day Colleton County.

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion

After a week in the “black hole” of the Work House, Warden Thomas Napier warned William Paul that “he would soon be led forth to the scaffold, for summary execution.” Paul blurted out that the plot was “very extensive, embracing an indiscriminate massacre of the whites.” He also stated he believed the leader of the plot was “a Gullah man who carried about him a charm which rendered him invulnerable.” He also named Ned Bennett as one of the conspirators.

Today In Charleston History: June 1

1734 – Culture

A billiard table was advertised for sale at Ashley Ferry in the Gazette.

1738 – Treatment for Pox

The Gazette published Dr. Pitcarn’s treatment for small pox to help stop its spread. It consisted of bloodletting and the use of a syrup of white poppies. By the end of the summer 2112 people had come down with the disease, killing more than 400.  It was reported that there were not:

sufficient number of persons in health to attend the sick, and many persons perished from neglect and want. There was scarcely a house in which there had not been one of more deaths. Inoculation was at this time first attempted with some success and the disease soon after abated. 


William Henry Lyttelton arrived in Charlestown as the Governor on the HMS Winchelsea. Crowds of citizens gathered to toast the new governor but Lyttelton’s term would be riddled with controversies. 

1775-American Revolution – Foundations.

 The Secret Committee of Five ordered the tarring and feathering of James Dealy and Laughlin Martin for rejoicing (supposedly) that Catholics, Negroes and Indians were going to be armed in an uprising against the people.  The two men were carted about the streets and banished from town.

1776-American Revolution

Lord William Campbell

Lord William Campbell

Lord William Campbell, who, several months before, had left Charleston in the middle of the night in fear of being attacked, had been urging a major expedition against South Carolina to crush the rebellion in the South. On June 1, the British fleet, commanded by Sir Peter Parker and Sir Henry Clinton, appeared and “displayed about fifty sail before the town, on the outside of the bar.”

Col.  Moultrie described their effect on Charlestonians:

The sight of these vessels alarmed us very much, all was hurry and confusion, the president with his council busy in sending expresses to every part of the country, to hasten down the militia; men running about the town looking for horses, carriages and boats to send their families into the country; and as they were going out through the town gates to go into the country, they met the militia from the country marching into town…

1782 – Culture

Hamilton Stevenson advertised his services as a “painter of miniatures or a hair sylist.”

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion

Mingo Harth and Peter Poyas were interrogated by city officials. Another Slave, William Paul, had named them as part of a “conspiracy” against the whites.  Poyas laughed and called William Paul a young fool. Intendent (mayor)Hamilton was impressed that “these fellows behaved with so much composure and coolness.”

1825 – Politics

Joel Roberts Poinsett was appointed the first United States minister to Mexico.

1832 – Death

Statue of Gen. Sumter on the courthouse lawn, Sumter S.C.

Statue of Gen. Sumter on the courthouse lawn, Sumter S.C.

Thomas Sumter died, the last surviving Revolutionary War generals.

In February 1776, Sumter was elected lieutenant colonel of the Second Regiment of the South Carolina Line. He subsequently was appointed brigadier general, a post he held until the end of the war. Perhaps his greatest military achievement was his partisan campaigning, which contributed to Lord Cornwallis’ decision to leave the Carolinas for Virginia.

Sumter acquired the nickname, “Carolina Gamecock,” during the American Revolution for his fierce fighting tactics. After the Battle of Blackstock’s Farm, British General Banastre Tarleton commented that Sumter “fought like a gamecock”, and Cornwallis paid him the finest tribute when he described the Gamecock as his greatest plague.

1865 –  Reconstruction

By this time, more than 30,000 cartloads of material and debris had been removed out of the city under the U.S. Army’s supervision, using more than 200 laborers and 50 teams of animals. The debris was dumped in the marshes as landfill.

One visitor described the city as:

The splendid houses are all deserted, the glass in the windows broken, the walls dilapidated, the columns toppled over … arches demolished, mantels shattered, while fragments, great and small, of every description strew the floors … but where are the owners of these estates – where are they?

Charleston, after the War and fire destruction. Looking  west at St. John's Lutheran and Unitarian Churches

Charleston, after the War and fire destruction.

1882 – Politics 

The “Eight Box Law, written by Charlestonian Edward McCrady, Jr. and passed by the state assembly went into effect. The law got its name from the requirement that, on Election Day, there were to be eight separate ballot boxes for different offices. A voter had to be able to read in order to know where to place his ballot. At this time illiteracy rate among blacks was five times greater than whites. Another provision of the law was that every voter must re-register before June 1, 1882, or be forever banned from voting.

Within four years, tens of thousands of black voters in South Carolina were disenfranchised. Voting districts were redrawn, leaving only one majority black district. The state’s last 19th century black congressman was defeated for re-election in 1896