Today In Charleston History: March 16

1699 – Piracy

Collector of Customs, Edward Randolph, arrived in Charles Town and announced that the royal government was tightening its grip on all the colonies and was considering voiding all Proprietary charters. Randolph also made it clear that the Royal Admiralty Courts believed the Proprietors allowed:

illicit trade … and sought to establish a sort of independence of the King … traded with the Dutch, welcomed pirates as free spenders and have no regard to the acts of trade.

Randolph also discovered that Governor Blake was “a notorious offender against the act.” He also accused Blake and his brother-in-law, Judge Joseph Morton, Jr. of:

fraudulently condemning vessels as contraband and then colluding to purchase, at auction, ships and cargoes at bargain prices … took bribes to ignore smuggling and traded with pirates and the Spanish in Florida.


Charlestown, 1735


Josiah Quincy, visiting Charlestown from Boston, wrote about race week:

spent this day in viewing horses, riding over the town … am now going to the famous races … well performed … Filmnap beat Little David (who had won the last sixteen races) out and out. The first four –mile heat was performed in eight minutes and seventeen seconds. I saw a fine collection of excellent, though very high-priced horses … Two thousand pounds were won and lost at this race and Filmnap sold at public vendue … for £300 sterling.

Today In Charleston History: March 8

1770 – American Revolution – Foundations

In the Gazette, Peter Timothy reported that British merchants had lost £300,000 sterling just in the loss of slave trading, an unreasonable sacrifice in an attempt to raise £13,000 sterling. 


During his visit to Charleston, Josiah Quincy wrote in his diary of his evening at the Miles Brewton House, 27 King Street:

Dined with a large company at Miles Brewton’s, Esq. a gentleman of a very large fortune – a most superb house, said to have cost him £8000 sterling. The grandest hall I ever beheld, azure blue satin window curtains, rich blue paper with gilt … most elegant pictures … a most elegant table, three courses, jellies, preserves, sweet meats, etc … After dinner, two sorts of nuts, almonds, raisins, three sorts of olives, apples, oranges … by odds the richest wines I ever tasted.

Miles Brewton House

Miles Brewton House

Today In Charleston History: March 7

1737 – Slavery

A curfew act was enacted for blacks in Charlestown. Any black that appeared on the street after sundown without a lantern and written permission from their master could be apprehended by any white and taken to the Watch house overnight. They would be whipped in the morning and their owners could claim them after paying a fine.

1773 – Culture
Josiah Quincy

Josiah Quincy

Josiah Quincy visited Charleston in 1773. He was was an American lawyer and patriot from Boston. He was the principal spokesman for the Sons of Liberty prior to the Revolution and was John Adams’ co-counsel during the trials of Captain Thomas Preston and the soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre.

He kept a journal of his visit in the South and recorded his impressions of Charleston. He was not impressed with the church service at St. Philips. The small number in attendance shocked his Boston-Puritan ethic. In addition he noted the minister was:

A young scarcely-bearded boy … preached and prayed as to try an affect a gay air about the service. The sermon was only seventeen and a half minutes, a solemn mockery … … few women or men stood to sing … most people freely conversed with one another during the service.

1780 – Revolutionary War

British engineers constructed a bridge over the Wappoo Cut as preparations of their siege of Charlestown.