THE ROAD TO REVOLUTION

1757 - July 3, 1776

1758
Feb. 28 -- Lt. Col. Henry Bouquet, a "brash thirty-eight-year-old British soldier-of-fortune" demanded that the colonial Assembly pay for his officers' housing needs. Soldiers' housing would become one of colonists' biggest complaints as the colonies moved toward revolution. (Fraser Jr., West J. in Charleston! Charleston!, p. 90-91)

March 18 -- The colonial Assembly denied Lt. Col. Henry Bouquet's demand that they pay for his soldiers' housing. Among those who were opposed were Peter Manigault, Christopher Gadsden, Charles Pinckney, Henry Laurens and Rawlins Lowndes, writing "Officers and Soldiers cannot, legally or constitutionally, be quarter'd in private Houses, without the special Consent of the Owners or Possessors of such Houses."(Fraser Jr., West J. in Charleston! Charleston!, p. 91)

1760
Jan. 9 -- Gov. Lyttleton and his soldiers marched down Broad Street at noon as cannons fired to welcome the troops back to Charleston after having concluded a peace treaty with the Cherokees near Keowee. The treaty was hastily made as a raging smallpox epidemic was ravaging the tribe, and the soldiers feared catching it.

Jan. 12 -- Three days after Gov. Lyttleton's return, the worst epidemic to date of smallpox broke out within the colony.

1761
Dec. 17 -- Early Patriot leader Christopher Gadsden wrote an editorial in the Gazette accussing Lt. Col. James Grant, a Scottish officer in the British Army, of not having been aggressive enough in his attacks on the Cherokees, claiming he did not permit his men "to cut the throats of as many as they could have." In Charleston! Charleston!, author Walter J. Fraser Jr. suggests the criticism may have been fueled, at least in part, by "personal jealousies increasingly common in relations between British regular officers and provincial officers" (p. 95). 

1764

July 7 -- Joseph Brown Ladd was born on a little farm near Newport, R.I.

Aug. 19 -- Arthur Middleton married Mary Izard, "a Lady who is one of the first of her sex for sense, politeness and every female accomplishment."

1765
Sept. 4 -- Christopher Gadsden, Thomas Lynch and John Rutledge set sail for the illegally called Stamp Act Congress in New York City. Gadsden, ever the ardent Patriot, served as chair of the committee that drafted resolutions condemning the act.

Oct. 24 -- An angry mob seeking the whereabouts of the detested tax stamps issued through Parliament Stamp Act stormed several notable downtown residences, including that of Henry Laurens.

Oct. 26 -- Leaders of a rebel mob spread rumors that Charles Town's two local stamp agents, George Saxby and Caleb Lloyd, were hiding out at Fort Johnson on James Island. Over the next two days, the mob rampaged through the streets of Charles Town, threatening to kill the agents if they did not resign their office. (Source: Charleston, Charleston!, p. 109, by Walter J. Fraser Jr.)

Oct. 28 -- Because of the murderous threats by an angry rebel mob two days before, Charles Town's stamp agents, George Saxby and Caleb Lloyd, announced that to ensure the peace of the province (and save their lives), they would not enforce the hated Stamp Act. The Sons of Liberty poured into the streets and unfurled the blue flag of "Liberty." (Source: Charleston, Charleston!, p. 109, by Walter J. Fraser Jr.)

Dec. 17 -- Amid rumors of a possible slave rebellion, Acting Governor William Bull called an emergency Council meeting. A hundred militia men were deployed to patrol the city and the captains of ships moored in the harbor had their sailors stand sentinel at night. The holidays passed peacefully, though the patrols continued both day and night through early January (Charleston! Charleston! by West Fraser Jr., p. 113).

1766
Jan. 1 -- Becoming increasingly alarmed at the ratio of the enslaved vs. white population in Charles Town, the Assembly imposed heavy import duties on all slaves brought into the colony as of this date.

June 6 -- Elizabeth Thomas Broun dies and is buried in the St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease churchyard. 

Dec. 3 -- S.C. Commissary General William Pinckney, husband of Ruth Brewton, son-in-law of Miles Brewton, and father of Col. Charles Pinckney, died.

1768
Oct. 1 -- In preparation for the upcoming Assembly elections, Charles Town's mechanics nominated candidates who opposed the Quartering Act, Stamp Act, and Sugar Act. Led by Patriot Christopher Gadsden, they met at the Liberty Tree "where many loyal, patriotic and constitutional toasts were drank." The company then marched on to Dillon's Tavern to continue the celebration.

1769
July 22 -- The colonial Assembly appointed a Committee of Thirty-Nine, which included an equal number of merchants, planters and artisans, for the first time granting the laboring classes a significant voice in the colony's government. (Source: Walter J. Fraser Jr. in Charleston, Charleston!, p.125)

Dec. 8 -- The S.C. General Assembly voted to send 1,500 pounds Sterling to John Wilkes, a member of England's Parliament who had been arrested and imprisoned for criticizing the King. As Patriotic tensions here grew, they felt a kinship with Wilkes's cause. Unfortunately, the King's counselors saw the gift as a slap in the face to their Sovereign, which did nothing to mellow the rebellous tensions that were brewing. (Source: Walter J. Fraser Jr. in Charleston, Charleston!, p.126)

 

1770
Jan. 30 -- Lt. Gov. William Bull recommended to the General Assembly the establishment of a provincial college, which became what we know today as the College of Charleston (and my Alma Mater).

Sept. 15 -- Ruth Brewton, daughter of Miles Brewton, wife of S.C. Commissary William Pinckney, and mother of Col. Charles Pickney, died.

Dec. 13 -- Charlestonians voted to end a local boycott against the importation of British goods (with the exceptions of tea and luxury items) as a result of the repeal of the Townshend Act. (Source: Walt Fraser in Charleston, Charleston! p. 127)

1773
Jan. 12 -- Though authoritative accounts vary, what may indeed have been the first public museum in America was established, The Charleston Museum.

Nov. 19 -- The so-called "Club Forty-Five" met at the Liberty Tree to agitate for independence from English rule.

Dec. 2 -- The English ship London dropped anchor in Charles Town harbor with 257 chests of tea aboard, which posed a conundrum for local leaders. If the colonists allowed the cargo to be delivered with its three-pence-per-pound duty collected as authorized by Parliament, it would a confirmation that the colony was answerable to England's governing body. Christopher Gadsden was incensed (as he was about a great many things). He and friends posted handbills all over town calling for a meeting the next day at the Old Exchange Building to discuss what should be done. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 136)

1774
Oct. 22 -- Henry Middleton was elected President of the first Continental Congress.

1775
April 14 -- News reached Charles Town that Parliament was sending additional troops to enforce British policies (and taxation) in the colonies. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 141)

April 26 -- In response to the news that British troops were being dispatched to the colonies, the Secret Committee of Five, created by the Provisional Congress and led by Charlestonian William Henry Drayton, seized arms and powder that were being stored in local magazines and hid them in private houses throughout the city. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 141)

June 8 -- Two Charlestonians who remained loyal to the Crown, a small-time merchant named Laughlin Martin and another man named James Dealy, were tarred and feathered by locals calling for revolution, based on an accusation that they had cheered rumours that enslaved Blacks, Catholics, and Native Americans were to receive arms from British forces to help quell the rebellion. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 143)

June 16 -- A slave named Jemmy told Revolutionary authorities that he had been approached by his brother-in-law Thomas Jeremiah to "take a few guns" to a runaway slave named Dewar. The weapons, he said, were "to be placed in Negroes hands to fight against the inhabitants of this Province" in support of the British. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 145)

August 11 -- The slave Thomas Jeremiah went on trial under the Negro Act of 1740 for helping to arm other enslaved Blacks in support of the British cause. Found guilty, he was sentenced "to be hanged, and then burned to ashes." (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 145)

August 12 -- A local mob seized a British soldier "for some insolent speech he had made," tarred and feathered him, and "putting him in a cart paraded through the Town ... using him very cruelly all the time." The growing crowd then began roaming the streets, stopping at the houses of suspected Crown sympathizers and using the soldier to demonstrate the fate of those who continued to support the Crown. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 145)

August 17 -- Jemmy, the slave who testified against his brother-in-law Thomas Jeremiah, recanted his testimony that Jeremiah had been involved in transporting British arms to this enslaved colleagues. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 146)

August 18 -- Despite his brother-in-law's recanted tesimony that he was distributing British arms to enslaved Negros, Thomas Jeremiah was hanged anyway, then burnt to ashes as his sentence decreed. He maintained his innocence to the end. Gov. William Campbell believed in his innocence, as did the Royal Attorney General, saying Jeremiah was the victim of local hysteria. (Source: Charleston, Charleston! by Walt Fraser, p. 146)

 

1776
June 3 -- S. Smith published "A View of Charles-Town, the Capital of South Carolina, from an Original Picture Painted at Charlestown in the Year 1774," painted by Thomas Leitch and engraved by Samuel Smith.

We visit the site of Henry Laurens' town house, where an angry mob sought the destested tax stamps in 1765, on our Lost Charleston tour. (Image: Library of Congress)
On our Day on the Cooper River tour, we visit the gravesite of Elizabeth Thomas Broun to hear stories of the frontiersmen and women who made this area one of the wealthiest regions in the colonies in pre-Revolutionary America. (Image: Charleston Raconteurs)
The Gov. William Bull House, c. 1720, one of the oldest extant residences in Charleston, is featured on our Charleston Overview Tour. (Image: Wikimedia). Tours of the College of Charleston are also available upon request.
"A View of Charles-Town, the Capital of South Carolina," painted in 1774 by Thomas Leitch.
We visit the town house of Patriot leader Henry Laurens on our Lost Charleston tour, and his plantation, Mepkin, on our Day on the Cooper River tour.
We share the tragic story of Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd as we pass his former boarding house on our Charleston Overview Tour.