Today In Charleston History: July 28


Christopher Gadsden married Jenny Godfrey in Charlestown. During this time he also owned a store on Shute’s Wharf.

1769Slavery. Executions

Dolly, belonging to James Sands, and Liverpoole, a slave doctor belonging to William Price, were burned at the stake on the green in front of the workhouse. Dolly was convicted of poisoning her master and his child, while Liverpoole was convicted of providing the poison.

Dick, a former slave who had been freed, was “accused as instigator of these horrid crimes.” He initially escaped but was eventually retaken and given “twenty-five Lashes…at four different Corners and the same Number last Tuesday, in all 100 each Day, and to lose his Right Ear.”

1856 – Duelling

 Col. Cunningham and editor Hatch met on the Washington Race Course to settle their differences with a duel.

On July 21 the Charleston Evening News published an editorial by Col. John Cunningham, which prompted a response from L.M. Hatch, the editor of the Standard. Cunningham charged Hatch with a “studied and wanton personal insult” and demanded satisfaction. He appointed his friend William Taber, editor of the Charleston Mercury, as his second – to negotiate the details of the duel.

The two exchanged shots with no injury to either man.

Washington Race Track - 1857. A one-mile loop around what is present day Hampton Park. Library of Congress

Washington Race Track – 1857. A one-mile loop around what is present day Hampton Park. Library of Congress

Today In Charleston History: September 29


Rice was placed on the list of enumerated goods, meaning that all rice shipped to Europe must pass through an English port.

1786 – Charleston First – Golf Club

golferSeveral Scottish merchants organized the South Carolina Golf Club on Harleston’s Green – a rough rectangle used as a public pleasure ground, wedged between present-day Calhoun & Beaufain Streets and Rutledge & Barre Streets. Slaves apparently served as the earliest “finders” (caddies). They cleared the Green for the golfers, yelling “be forewarned!” to alert children and families. 

1812 – Dueling 

A duel took place at the Washington Race Course. William Bay, son of a local judge, was killed by William Crafts. Crafts had publically stated that the local bishop was “too much a Gentleman & a man of sense” to be a Republican. Bay, a Republican, took offense and challenged Crafts to a duel. Bay was shot in the heart and died immediately.

1938 – Natural Disasters – Tornadoes 

tornado, st. philips

Tornado damage of St. Philips Church

Five tornados crossed Charleston in the span of less than 90 minutes, 2 of which crossed the peninsula and 1 coming ashore on Sullivan’s Island. 32 people died and the damage was “estimated to be over $2 million.”

tornado 1938

View of tornado damage – looking up Market Street from the U.S. Custom House on East Bay Street.

1938 tornado001

Tornado damage on Market Street.