Today In Charleston History: July 4


Captain Joseph West complained that several of the settlers were “so addicted to Rum, that they will do little but whilst the bottle is at their nose” and “grand abuses that prophanely violate the Sabbath.”   

1776-American Revolution

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. The ideals of individual liberty, first espoused by John Locke (partially in his Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina and Two Treatises of Government) were now clearly expressed by Thomas Jefferson.

John Hancock signed the document that day, and it was sent to John Dunlop’s printing shop where 200 copies were printed. Copies were sent across the country to all major cities in America.

South Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence

South Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence

All four South Carolina delegates voted for independence.

  • Arthur Middleton, thirty-four years old
  • Thomas Heyward, Jr., twenty-nine years old
  • Thomas Lynch, Jr., twenty-seven years old
  • Edward Rutledge was the youngest signer of the Declaration, twenty-six years old

declaration with SC delegate signature

1778-American Revolution

Dr. David Ramsay gave a public address in celebration of American independence. He stated that “our present form of government is everyway preferable to the royal one we have lately renounced.”


Members of the Union Party “marched sedately to Scots Presbyterian Church” for an Independence Day celebration. The Nullifiers met at the Circular Church and reassembled for an outdoor rally:

Under a splendid Pavilion … from which mere boys of 8 to 12 years old were carried on the backs of servants, completely insensible from drink, while dead drunk seniors staggers and swore up and down the public streets … a complete exemplification of that depravity which the foul doctrine of Anarchy and Nullification is calculated to end in.

Today In Charleston History: March 19

1778 – Politics

Rawllins Lowndes

South Carolina President Rawlings Lowndes approved changes to the state constitution that changed the title of South Carolina’s chief executive’s office from president to governor, although he was called “president” until the end of his term. It also disestablished the Church of England in South Carolina.

1785 – Education

The Legislature granted a charter for College of Charleston to “encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education.” The founders of the College include three signers of the Declaration of Independence (Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton and Thomas Heyward, Jr.) and three future signers of the United States Constitution (John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney).

The Act also granted the college almost 9 acres of land bounded by present-day Calhoun, St. Philip, Coming and George streets; three-fourths of the land was soon sold to pay debts,  In 1837 CofC became America’s first municipal college in the country.

Randolph Hall, College of Charleston main campus

Randolph Hall, College of Charleston main campus