Today In Charleston History: May 31


The statue of William Pitt, ordered in 1766, arrived in Charlestown at Charles Elliott’s Wharf via the ship Carolina Packet. The statue created great public excitement. Cannons were fired and crowds cheered on the docks as it was unloaded. The bells St. Michaels would have rung “but were stopped out of regard to Issac Mazyck, a very worthy member of the community, who was extremely ill near the church.”

1774-American Revolution

Charlestown received word of the Boston tea party, and that the Boston merchants had called upon all colonies to cut off trade with Britain, imports and exports, to force a repeal of the Tea Act. John and Edward Rutledge supported the trade embargo.

1801 – Charleston First

On May 31, 1801, the first Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree, the Mother Council of the World organized in Charleston, with the motto “Ordo ab Chao” (Order from Chaos). Although it is the “Mother Council” for Scottish Rite, it was not the first Masonic activity in Charles Town. Read the entire story here.

1902 – South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition
Grounds of the Expo

Grounds of the Expo

The last day of the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition was “Charleston Day.” At the stroke of midnight “Taps” was played.

During the Exposition’s run 674,086 people had entered the gates, with total ticket sales of $148,062.90. It was considered a failure. Unlike the Buffalo Expo, which had been supported with federal money, the South Carolina Exposition received no money from Congress, giving the impression that Charleston was a second-rate city. There was some sentiment among the locals that it was another slight by the government to the city that had started the War.


Plan of Expo

The Cotton Palace and Sunken Gardens

The Cotton Palace and Sunken Gardens