Today In Charleston History: April 21

1704 – Births

Gabriel Manigualt by Jeremiah Theus (1757)

Gabriel Manigault was born in Charlestown, son of French Huguenot Pierre Manigault and Judith Gitton. He would become the city’s most successful merchant.


A slave in Charleston:

who at the beginning of last Month most cruelly murdered several white People at the Congarees was hung in Chains … at the dividing Path between the two Quarter-House.


The Commissioners of Fortifications called for bids to construct a more substantial seawall at White Point.

1775 – American Revolution – Foundations.

The “Secret Committee of Five,” seized the public gun powder at several magazines, including Hobcaw on the Charleston Neck, and the arms in the State House at the corner of Broad and Meeting Streets. In all they stole 800 guns, 200 cutlasses and 1600 pounds of powder.

1782 – Marriage

Eutaw Flag

Col. William Washington married Jane Elliott of Sandy Hill, South Carolina. Elliott and Washington met when she made his regiment a battle flag (the “Eutaw Flag”) that he carried into combat from Cowpens to Eutaw Springs.


William Turpin emancipated his slaves in his will. He left Jenny a two-story brick house on Society Street. He left a “brick house on Magazine Street to five slaves who were to collectively occupy it.” Sarah Gray, a white woman, was allowed to use “one tenement in the house on condition only, that She Shall Reside therein, and act as Guardian & protector to theses coloured people.”

1920 – Preservation Society Formed 

In the spring of 1920, local Charleston activist Susan Pringle Frost began a campaign to save the 1802 Joseph Manigault house, slated for demolition at the time. On April 21, 1920, thirty-two concerned citizens meet at 20 S. Battery and agree to join forces in the fight for responsible preservation of Charleston as the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings. Now called the Preservations Society of Charleston it was the first locally-based historic preservation organization in the nation.

In 1931 the Society was instrumental in persuading Charleston City Council to pass the first zoning ordinance enacted to protect historic resources. The ordinance established the first Board of Architectural Review and designated a 138-acre “Old and Historic District”. The ordinance limited alterations to the exteriors of historic buildings and made provision for prosecuting violations. In 1957 the Society took on its current name to reflect an expanded mission to protect not only dwellings but all sites and structures of historic significance or aesthetic value.


Today In Charleston History: March 17

1758 – Births  

Gabriel Manigault was born in Charlestown. He would become one of the most successful merchants in America.


106 tradd street - side view

106 Tradd Street, viewed from Orange Street

Captain Alexander McQueen held a dinner party at his home at 106 Tradd Street. After dinner Alexander locked all doors and began to propose a series of toasts. One of his guests, Lt. Colonel Francis Marion, one of the heroes of Ft. Moultrie victory in 1776, was not a heavy drinker. He removed himself from the house by dropping out of a second floor window, breaking his foot. 


The Hibernian Society was organized in Mr. Corbett’s Tavern. By 1840 the Society had constructed a magnificent hall on Meeting Street, where they still conduct weekly meetings.    



Christopher Columbus (C.C.) Bowen married a widow eight years his senior, Susan Petigru King. Bowen had met King in Washington, D.C. while she was working as a clerk-translator in the Post Office Department. He discovered that Susan was the “largely ungovernable” daughter of James Louis Petigru, one of South Carolina’s most influential citizens. The elder Petigru was an able and respected lawyer who served as the state’s Attorney General and Federal District Attorney.

1933 – Jenkins Orphanage 

In the pre-dawn morning of, one hundred and seventy-seven children were evacuated from the Jenkins Orphanage when a fire swept through the second floor. Part of the wall collapsed and several rooms were gutted. The old orphanage was no longer habitable. The fire also destroyed the majority of the Orphanage’s historical records, a monumental loss that has only become more tragic over time as various historians, writers and archivists have attempted to piece together the story of the orphanage and its music. This was the event that ended the Jenkins Orphanage presence in downtown Charleston. Soon after the fire, the city moved the orphanage to out of the city.

20 franklin, jenkins orphanage 3 (loc)

Old Marine Hospital on Franklin Street (side view). The back wing burned.