Today In Charleston History: November 22

Charles Pachelbel

Charles Pachelbel

Pachelbel organized a concert of vocal and instrumental music in Charleston to celebrate St. Cecilia, patroness of musicians.

Charles Theodore Pachelbel (baptized Karl Theodorus) arrived in Charlestown, April 1736. Born in Germany in 1690, he was the son of the famous Johann Pachelbel, composer of the popular Canon in D. Pachelbel initially migrated to Providence, Rhode Island to install an organ in Trinity Church in 1733. Three years later he arrived in Charlestown and lived here until his death.

1737 – Death.

Lt. Governor (and acting governor) Thomas Broughton died. William Bull, as President of the Council, assumed the role of Lt. Governor.

Thomas Broughton was probably born in England; in about 1683 he married Anne Johnson, whose father Nathaniel Johnson would become governor (1703) of South Carolina. By the mid-1690s Broughton and his wife had come to South Carolina from the West Indies. Thomas Broughton was an Indian trader, and served in the Commons House of Assembly. He was also appointed to the Grand Council in 1705, as deputy to proprietor John Carteret. When Governor Edward Tynte died in June 1710, Robert Gibbes cheated Thomas Broughton out of the interim governorship. Broughton and his armed supporters marched on Charleston in protest, but were unsuccessful. Gibbes retained the position.

In 1731, Thomas Broughton was named South Carolina’s first lieutenant governor. He became acting governor when his brother-in-law, governor Robert Johnson, died in May 1735. Broughton died in office November 22, 1737. William Bull succeeded him as lieutenant governor and acting governor.


butlerSt. Cecilia Society was established to provide musical entertainment. Their annual ball, held on November 22, became the leading social event in South Carolina.

Some claim that 1762 was the founding year, but first newspaper notices about its activities appear in 1766. The destruction of its early record due to the 1861 fire, has lead to detailed research about the Society’s founding.


All of the issues regarding ownership of the Fort Sumter were cleared up as the Federal Government was granted title to 125 acres of harbor “land” recorded in the office of the Secretary of State of South Carolina.

Today In Charleston History: November 3

1759 –Births.

Martha Laurens was born, daughter of Henry and Eleanor Laurens, the beginning of one of Charleston’s most extraordinary lives.

Martha Laurens (daughter of Henry and Eleanor Laurens). John Wollaston c 1767Her father, Henry, was a successful merchant. Through his London contacts, Laurens entered into the slave trade with the Grant, Oswald & Company who controlled 18th century British slave castle in the Republic of Sierra Leone, West Africa known as Bunce Castle. Laurens contracted to receive slaves from Serra Leone, catalogue and marketed the human product conducting public auctions in Charles Town. His company Austin and Laurens, in the 1750s, handled was responsible for the sales of more than eight thousand Africans.

Three month old Martha Ramsay was pronounced dead of smallpox. Her body was laid out in preparation for a funeral and placed next to an open window. Dr. John Moultrie arrived and pronounced her still alive, speculating she had been revived by the fresh breeze. This event made Martha very special to her father, Henry.

In 1780 Henry Laurens was imprisoned in the Tower of London for “suspicion of high treason” as supporting the American Revolution. After his release he moved to Vigan, France and was nursed back by Martha, where she had spent the years of the War living with her uncle. In 1787 she married Dr. David Ramsay. The two had met while Ramsay writing a History of the American Revolution and reading Henry Laurens’ papers.


Mr. William Laval secured from the state of South Carolina a vague grant to 870 acres of “land” in Charleston Harbor. Acting on this odd grant, Laval made claim to the site of Fort Sumter. This also raised a question in the South Carolina legislature as to what authority the government had acted upon to begin construction. Laval wrote to the engineer in charge at Fort Johnson, Charleston Harbor:


You are hereby notified that I have taken out, from under the seal of the State, a grant of all those shoals opposite and below Fort Johnson, on one of which the new work called Fort Sumter, is now erecting. You will consider this as notice of my right to the same; the grant is recorded in the office of the secretary of state of this State, and can be seen by reference to the records of that office.

Laval’s claim was presented to Robert Lebly, superintendent in charge of the building of fortifications at Charleston Harbor. Lebly forwarded the claim to Brigadier General Charles Gratiot the next day.