Today In Charleston History: April 4


The South Carolina Weekly Gazette is renamed South Carolina & American General Gazette by Robert Wells its publisher.

1780 – The Seige of Charlestown

John Lewis Gervais in Charlestown wrote that the American batteries “fired a great deal all night & threw Several shells at the Enemy’s Works” – a total of 573 cannonballs. Since the British were unable to return fire, they continued the construction of their fortifications.

Eamon De Valera arrives in Charleston

Eamon De Valera arrives in Charleston

Eamon De Valera arrived in Charleston. He was a leader of Ireland’s struggle for independence against Great Britain. He traveled to the United States from the newly proclaimed Republic of Ireland in an attempt to gain diplomatic recognition for and raise money to support his fledgling nation. Escorted by a select committee in a parade down King Street, he received a spectacular welcome led by Charleston’s first Irish Catholic mayor, John P. Grace, and most members of the city council which granted him “Freedom of the city.” He was celebrated at a sumptuous banquet at the grand Charleston Hotel, and applauded at speeches given to enthusiastic audiences at both the Garden Theater and the Academy of Music.

Albert Sottile recalled:

Mr. DeValera’s appearance at the Victory caused a great ovation. The applause from those in the balcony were so thunderous that it caused the balcony structure to sink several inches, causing a big bulge in the center. A near catastrophe was miraculously escaped.


Today In Charleston History: December 30

1738 – Charleston First

Lewis Timothy, editor of the Gazette, died of an “unhappy accident.” According to the franchise agreement with Benjamin Franklin, the Gazette contract passed to Timothy’s son, Peter, who was fourteen-years old. His mother, Elizabeth, decided to carry on her late husband’s work in order to keep the contract in force for her son. The announcement of her husband’s death read: 

Whereas the late Printer of this Gazette hath been deprived of his life by an unhappy accident. I take this Opportunity of informing the Public, that I shall contain the said paper as usual; and hope, by the Assistance of my Friends, to make it as entertaining and correct as may be reasonable expected. Wherefore I flatter myself, that all those Persons, who, by Subscription or otherwise, assisted my late Husband, on the prosecution of the Said Undertaking, will be kindly pleased to continue their Favours and good Offices to this poor afflicted Widow and six small children and another hourly expected.


Bottom of the front page of Elizabeth Timothy’s first edition of the South Carolina Gazette, announcing the death of her husband (lower right) and her assumption of his duties. Author’s Collection


Lewis Timothy Print Shop plaque by gregobc

She published the weekly issue of the South-Carolina Gazette starting with January 4, 1739. The masthead said “Printed by Peter Timothy” but was controlled and managed by his mother. Timothy made an announcement in the first issue she edited that she was now publishing the newspaper. This made her the first female editor and publisher of a newspaper in America.


1820 – Religion

Bishop John England

Religion. The Catholic Church in Rome created a new Archdiocese out of the Carolinas and Georgia. The newly consecrated Bishop John England arrived in Charleston.  He discovered that conditions were most uninviting and unpromising in the new diocese, with Catholics scattered in little groups over these states. Most of the few in Charleston were very poor immigrants from Ireland or ruined refugees from San Domingo and their servants.

1874 – Births

Future mayor John Patrick Grace was born in Charleston. He grew up on Society Street and attended the High School of Charleston. All four of his grandparents were natives of Ireland.

mayor grace

John P. Grace

His most lasting accomplishment as mayor was the construction of the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge, which spanned the Cooper River to connect Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. It replaced the ferry system had been used to that point and opened in 1929.

John P. Grace Memorial Bridge

John P. Grace Memorial Bridge