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 10



Lord Ashley Cooper

A deed of transfer was registered by Lord Ashley Cooper by which the Cassoes ceded “the great and lesser Cassoe [River]” between the Ashley, the Stono and the Edisto for cloths, hatchets, beads, and other manufactured goods.


Henry Peronneau was one of sixty-three petitioners who were granted “the rights and privileges of citizenship.”

1780 – The Seige of Charlestown  

Lt. Colonel William Washington’s regiment joined forces with the remnants of the 1st Continental Light Dragoons at Bacon’s Bridge (20 miles north of Charlestown) to reconnoiter, screen and disrupt the advancing British troop. They felled trees across roads, burned bridges and boats in an effort to slow the march toward Charlestown.

Today In Charleston History: February 28

1752 – Births

William Washington

William Washington

William Washington was born in Stafford County, Virginia. He was second cousin to George Washington and would later play an important role during the Revolution in South Carolina.  

Washington was elected a captain of Stafford County Minutemen on September 12, 1775, and became part of the 3rd Virginia Regiment, Continental Line on February 25, 1776, commanding its 7th Company. His lieutenant and second-in-command was future President of the United States James Monroe. 

On November 19, 1779, was transferred to the Southern theatre of war, and marched to join the army of Major General Benjamin Lincoln in Charleston, South Carolina. On March 26, Washington had his first skirmish with the British Legion, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, which resulted in a minor victory near Rantowle’s Bridge on the Stono River in South Carolina. Later that same day, during the fight at Rutledge’s Plantation Lt. Col. Washington again bested a detachment of Tarleton’s dragoons and infantry.

Washington and Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens

Washington and Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens

During the Battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781, Washington’s cavalry was attacked by Tarleton’s forces again. Washington managed to survive this assault and in the process wound Tarleton’s right hand with a sabre blow, while Tarleton creased Washington’s knee with a pistol shot that also wounded his horse. For his valor at Cowpens, Washington received a silver medal awarded by the Continental Congress executed under the direction of Thomas Jefferson.

September 8, 1781, the Battle of Eutaw Springs was the last major battle in the Carolinas, and Washington’s final action. Midway through the battle,  Washington charged a portion of the British line positioned in a blackjack thicket along Eutaw Creek. The thicket proved impenetrable and British fire repulsed the mounted charges. During the last charge, Washington’s mount was shot out from under him, and he was pinned beneath his horse. He was bayoneted and taken prisoner, and held under house arrest in the Charleston area for the remainder of the war.

The British commander in the South, Lord Cornwallis, would later comment that “there could be no more formidable antagonist in a charge, at the head of his cavalry, than Colonel William Washington.”

After the war Washington married Jane Elliott of Charleston and for the remainder of his life lived at 8 South Battery and on the Elliott family plantation at Rantowles.

William Washington House, 8 South Battery, Charleston

William Washington House, 8 South Battery, Charleston


A “New Barracks” of pine-timber was constructed for British soldiers on what is now the site of the College of Charleston. Lt. Col. Bouquet again demanded that the Assembly pay the officers’ rents in private homes. The legislature refused, claiming that the traditional right of Englishmen to be free of quartering soldiers was being violated. 


The South Carolina Gazette reported of “a most infamous and dangerous Set of Villains, of whom the Public had entertained very little Suspicion.” Two slaves were arrested as “Principals” in “several of the Burglaries and Robberies, which had been so frequent of late.” After questioning the slaves, authorities also arrested “John Thomson, an Umbrella-maker and Shop-keeper, Richard Thomson, who kept a Livery Stable, and George Vargent, a Coachman.”

The two slaves received a death sentence and were hanged a few days later. The three white men were sentenced to sit twice in the pillory where they were “most severely pelted,” given a whipping of thirty-nine lashes each, and fine from 25 to 500 pounds.

Today In Charleston History: November 19

1755 – Deaths.

Andrew Rutledge died. The childless attorney left his estate – a house and plantation valued at £12,000 in trust for his brother’s oldest children, John, Thomas, Andrew and Sarah. John Rutledge  was serving a five-year apprenticeship in the Charlestown law office of James Parsons, along with another local young man, Thomas Bee.

1779 – American Revolution – Arrivals.

William Washington by Rembrandt Peale

Lt. Col. William Washington, second cousin to George Washington, was transferred from New Jersey to the Southern theatre of war, to join the army of Major General Benjamin Lincoln in Charlestown.

1832 – Nullification Crisis

South Carolina called for a convention By a vote of 136 to 26, the convention overwhelmingly adopted an ordinance of nullification drawn by Chancellor William Harper. It declared that the tariffs of both 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and unenforceable in South Carolina. While the Nullification Crisis would be resolved in early 1833, tariff policy would continue to be a national political issue between the Democratic Party and the newly emerged Whig Party for the next twenty years.

1863 – Bombardment of Charleston.

During a special Thanksgiving service a Union shell exploded near the church door as the congregation was exiting. It was the last service held in St. Michael’s during the war.

 During their service at St. Philip’s a shell passed over the church and landed half a block away at the corner of Church and Cumberland Streets. Rev. Howe continued his sermon and finished the service before dismissing the congregation. It was the last service held at St. Philip’s during the war. Both congregations (St. Michael’s and St. Philip’s) continued to worship at St. Paul’s Episcopal (present-day Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul) on Coming Street, north of Calhoun Street, out of the range of the Federal guns.

For the remainder of the year 283 shells landed in Charleston. Many of the shells were filled with “Greek Fire” – an incendiary mixture of turpentine and petroleum. As the shell exploded pieces of fire were thrown great distances in the air and catch buildings on fire. 

st. mikes - wordpress

1863 – Bombardment of Charleston.  

George Trenholm purchased the abandoned Lagare’s Female Academy in Orangeburg for the removal of the children from the Charleston Orphanage House.


By resolution of the SC House a monument was erected for Issac Hayne at his burial site near Jacksonboro.


Today In Charleston History: September 8

1714 – England.

After several meetings with Chief Justice Nicholas Trott, the Proprietors issued an order declaring him:

a permanent member of the Council without whose presence there should be no quorum for the transaction of business, and without whose consent practically no law should be passed.

Trott became the most powerful man in South Carolina: Attorney General, Chief Justice and without his presence, the Upon Trott’s return to Charles Town, Governor Craven and the Assembly were obviously distressed. They wrote: “A power in one man not heard of before … unheard of in any of the British dominions.”

 1782 – American Revolution – The Battle of Eutaw Springs.

This was the last major battle in the Carolinas, and Col. William Washington’s final action. Midway through the battle, Gen. Greene ordered Washington to charge a portion of the British line positioned in a thicket along Eutaw Creek. During the last charge, Washington’s mount was shot out from under him, and he was pinned beneath his horse. He was bayoneted, taken prisoner, and held under house arrest in the Charleston area for the remainder of the war.

1895 – Charleston minister appeared in a London court.

Rev. Daniel Jenkins

Rev. Daniel Jenkins

Reverend Daniel Jenkins appeared in the magistrate’s courtroom on Bow Street, followed by more than a dozen of his charges, all under the age of fourteen. The next day the London Daily Telegraph filed the following story:

Just before the rising of the court, a coloured man entered with a troupe of thirteen little Negro boys whose ages ranged from five to about fourteen years. The man in charge of the boys said he was the Reverend D. J. Jenkins, a Baptist Minister of Charlestown [sic], America, and he wished to make an application to the magistrate.

On entering the witness box, the appellant stated that he had come over to this country to raise funds for an Orphanage with which he was connected in Charlestown. He had brought with him his boys, who all played on brass instruments, and his object was to let the boys play their band in the public streets, after which he lectured and collected money for the Orphanage. He had been stopped that morning whilst thus engaged, and told that he was liable to be taken into custody for what he was doing, and he wished to be informed whether that was so.

Sir John Bridge told applicant that of course he must not cause an obstruction in the public thoroughfares or the police would interfere. Inspector Sara, who was on duty in the court, pointed out that under an Act of Parliament no child under the age of eleven years was allowed to sing, play or perform for profit in the public streets.

Applicant: But could not an exception be made in my case, seeing the object I have in view?

Sir John Bridges: Certainly not. The law makes no exceptions.

Applicant then said he was without money to take the children back to America. Sir John Bridge said he had no fund which was available for such a purpose, and advised applicant to apply to the American consulate. Inspector Sara said he would send an officer with the Applicant to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children where probably he could obtain assistance, and Sir John Bridges gave a sovereign to applicant for present necessities, for which he appeared very grateful.

This news item provoked an editorial on Page 4 of the same issue, which concluded:

Much may be done, no doubt, to raise money for an Orphanage; but to let loose a brass band of thirteen Negro children upon an urban population suffering from nerves is likely to create almost as many orphans as it would relieve.

After the court appearance and subsequent publicity, Jenkins was approached by the owner of a local London theater who offered to feature the Orphan Band on stage. Jenkins agreed, but then changed his mind once he appealed to local churches who eagerly invited him to speak during their services. From the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Jenkins pled for help and more than £100 was raised in a matter of moments. He repeated this successful appeal at several more churches before steaming back home to Charleston, where he paid off the debt.