Jan. 20 -- King Charles I of England went on trial, accused by Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan forces who emerged victorious from this mid-17th century civil war of high treason. His subsequent conviction and execution was one of the key factors in what eventually would become the first permanent English settlement of Charles Town some 30 years later.
Nov. 23 -- Lord Proprietor Anthony Ashley Cooper was tried, and found guilty, of treason in Britain.
Aug. 20 -- In his will written on this date, Capt. John Coming leaves his entire estate to his widow, Affra Harleston Coming.
Aug. 17 -- John Archdale, a Quaker, was appointed Governor of the Carolina colony.
Feb. 24 -- A fire broke out and spread quickly thoughout the town over the next two days, leaving more than 50 families homeless.
Dec. 10 -- Affra Harleston Coming deeds 17 acres of land south of George Street to St. Philips Church. It is known as the Glebe Lands, or lands belonging to the church.
Dec. 28 -- Affra Harleston Coming divides the remainder of her estate between her nephew, John Harleston, and her husband's half-nephew, Elias Ball.
Nov. 24 -- Land between the Combahee and Savannah rivers was set aside for the Native American Yemassee tribe.
Mar. 1 -- Because the congregation of St. Philip's Anglican Church was outgrowing its building at the corner of Broad and Meeting streets, the colonial Assembly passed an "Act for Erecting a New Brick Church" on the east side of Church Street, just above Queen Street.
Apr. 15 -- In response to growing slave trade of Native Americans with the West Indies, the Yemasees, Creeks, Catawbas and Choctaw tribes aligned to attack a number of frontier settlements about 80 miles southwest of Charles Town on Good Friday. They slew about 100 people. One of them, trader Thomas Nairne, was roasted to death.
Oct. 28 -- Chief Justice Nicholas Trott convened the Court of the Vice Admiralty in a private residence to try the case of the pirates who had recently been captured along with Stede Bonnet.
Nov. 5 -- Gov. Robert Johnson took four ships to attack pirates off the coast and a dramatic battle ensured.
Nov. 8 -- Twenty-nine of Stede Bonnet's crew were hanged at what is now White Point Gardens.
Nov. 10 -- Stede Bonnet was stood trial for piracy with Judge Nicholas Trott presiding.
Nov. 19 -- The trial began for 19 pirates captured by Gov. Robert Johnson before Judge Nicholas Trott.
Nov. 24 -- Judge Nicholas Trott sentenced the 19 pirates captured by Gov. Robert Johnson to death by hanging.
Dec. 10 -- Stede Bonnet was hanged for piracy at White Point Gardens.
Nov. 17 -- In what some call America's First Revolution, Carolina's colonial Assembly met in Charles Town and disavowed further allegiance to the Lords Prioprietors in favor of becoming a Royal Colony. The Assembly declared itself "the government until His Majesty's pleasure be known."
Dec. 21 -- The Assembly proclaimed Gen. James Moore Jr., who had led a successful attack on the Tuscarora tribe during the Yemassee War, as provisional governor until they received further directives from the Crown.
May 22 -- Having successfully pulling off America's "First Revolution" to make Charles Town a royal rather than proprietary colony, Charlestonians welcomed their first Royal Governor, Francis Nicholson, who arrived on this day.
Jan. 12 -- Sir William Rhett, one of the colony's leading men and the captain who captured the notorious Stede Bonnet and other pirates, died. We visit the pirates nomument on our Lost Charleston (Route 2) tour.
Nov. 21 -- William Moultrie, future S.C. Governor, General and Patriot hero of the American Revolution, is born.
Nov. 22 -- The day after William Moutrie's birth, Edward Rutledge, also a future S.C. Governor and the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence, is born.
Dec. 15 -- Robert Johnson arrives as Charles Town's first Royal Governor.
Jan. 8 -- Thomas Whitmarsh, who had once worked for Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia, published the first edition of the South Carolina Gazette.
Jan. 24 -- A troupe of traveling actors, in league with local musicians, staged the colony's first theatrical season in the "long room" of Shepheard's Tavern, located on the northeast corner of Broad and Church streets. The season opener was The Orphan, or the Unhappy Marriage. Tickets cost 40 shillings each.
Feb. 18 -- The first documented opera to be performed in America, Flora, or Hob in the Well, opened in the "long room" of Shepheard's Tavern on the northeast corner of Broad and Church street.
May 22 -- Charles Lowndes, being heavily in debt, fatally shot himself in jail, where he was being held for his failure to financially support his estranged wife. Considered to be a gentleman, he had been allowed to keep his firearm during his incarceration.
Feb. 12 -- The Dock Street Theatre presents its first performance, a comedy titled The Recruiting Officer.
Nov. 19 -- Charles Theodore Pachelbel arrives in Chalreston.
Dec. 3 -- An indentured white servant, Samuel Dyssli, wrote home to his family saying "I am over here, thank God, hale and hearty, and doing at present quite nicely. I am working with an English master. He gives me every week ... 50 shillings, and ... plentiful ... food and drink."
May 4 -- The South Carolina Gazette reported that several recently imported slaves had small pox and suggested that readers "take all imaginable care to prevent" its spread.
June 26 -- As the terrible smallpox epidemic of 1738 subsided, acting Royal Governor William Bull proclaimed June 26 as "a day of publick Fasting and Humiliation" to remember the many deaths in Charles Town.
Sept. 9 -- The bloodiest slave revolt in colonial America began near what is today the Stono River Bridge on Highway 17, about 20 miles south of Charleston.
Apr. 5 -- Concerned about the ever-increasing ratio of enslaved blacks to whites, the Assembly imposed a prohibitively high import duty on African slaves.
Nov. 18 -- One of Charleston's most destructive fires began around 2 p.m. "in a Sadler's House" at the corner of Broad and Church streets, destroying not only private residences, but the heart of the city's commercial warehouse district.
Jan. 8 -- Believing that the Great Conflagration of 1740 was a sign of God's displeasure of Charles Town's sinful society, Anglican evangelist George Whitfield wrote in an article that ran in the Gazette saying that even the colony's clergy were robbers who did not follow in "the Footsteps of our True Sheperd." He was soon thereafter arrested and upon his release, returned to England.
Aug. 15 -- As reported later in the Gazette, an enslaved man named Boatswain was brutally excuted after being named as a co-conspirator in a arsonist's plot. The disturbing article shows evidence of the increasing fear whites had as the enslaved black majority of the colony grew larger.
June 26 -- Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is born.
Oct. 25 -- According to author Walter J. Fraser Jr. in Charleston! Charleston!, a visitor to Charles Town noted: "matters between the whites and the blacks here are such that one fears to be seen outside the house."
Dec. 18 -- Upon his arrival in Charles Town aboard the Tartar, Royal Gov. James Glen described the colony as being "... in Ashes, Defenseless, Declining."
Nov. 18 -- Shepheard's Tavern reopens following its destruction in the Fire of 1740.
Jan. 9 -- Archibald Broun, who would go on to be a Patriot hero of the American Revolution, was born at Brounsfield Plantation, north of Charles Town.
Feb. 15 -- The first race at the new Washington Race Course (now Hampton Park) took place.
Sept. 14 -- The first breezes of what would become the Great Hurricane of 1752 began to pick up late in the afternoon.
Sept. 15 -- One of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the East Coast came ashore, blowing a large ship anchored in Charleston Harbor up Vanderhorst Creek (today's Water Street), striking the meeting house of a group of Baptists who had recently split from the city's main congregation, and finally coming to rest near Meeting Street.
June 1 -- William Henry Lyttleton arrived in Charles Town aboard HMS Winchelsea to assume his new position as the colony's Royal Governor. In Charleston! Charleston!, author Walter J. Fraser Jr. describes him as "a short, slim, thirty-one-year-old man, well connected with England's aristocracy by birth and marriage." A great crowd turned out to greet him; Henry Laurens expressed the feelings of many: "We are much in want of a new Governor. We mean a good one."
July 2 -- News reached Charles Town that England had declared war on France. Royal Gov. Lyttelton received the Assembly's support in raising funds for the war effort by raising taxes on run, bread and flour. Wealthy legislators, however, stopped short of further taxing real and chattel property.
Nov. 23 -- Dr. Robert Broun dies and is buried in the St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease churchyard.
Nov. 28 -- The American Navy was established, an entity that would play a huge role in Charleston's -- indeed, in South Carolina's -- 20th century history as well as the 18th.
Feb. 28 -- Lt. Col. Henry Bouquet, who author Walter J. Fraser Jr. (Charleston! Charleston!) called a "brash thirty-eight-year-old British soldier-of-fortune" demanded that the colonial Assembly pay for his officers' housing needs. The Assembly refused his request. Soldiers' housing would become one of colonists' complaints as the country moved toward revolution.
March 18 -- The 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."
Jan. 9 -- Gov. Lyttleton and his soldiers marched (somewhat) victoriously down Broad Street and at noon 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.
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).
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."
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 destested tax stamps issued through the Stamp Act stormed a number of notable residences in downtown Charleston, including that of Henry Laurens, who said that under the guise of "Patriotism ... committed at length Burglary & Robbery." (Fraser Jr., West J. in Charleston! Charleston!, p. 109)
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.
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.
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.
Oct. 22 -- Henry Middleton was elected President of the first Continental Congress.
Nov. 18 -- Lt. Col. William Washington is transferred to Charleston.
Aug. 17 -- Capt. Archibald Broun, a Revolutionary hero of Brounsfield Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, married Mary Deas, the daughter of his wealthy neighbors, John and Elizabeth Allen Deas of Thoroughgood Plantation.
Oct. 5 -- Henry Laurens earns the unique distinction of becoming the only American to ever be held prisoner in the Tower of London, following his arrest for high treason.
Aug. 27 -- In the waning days of the American Revolution, John Laurens was shot off his horse and mortally wounded.
June 25 -- The Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charleston, the oldest Jewish charitable society in the United States, is founded.
Jan. 1 -- Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence dies.
Feb. 10 -- Planter and Revolutionary War Patriot Aaron Loocock dies from a wound sustained during the Siege of Savannah 20 years before.
Dec. 11 -- After suffering for 18 years from an accidental bayonette wound he received at the Siege of Savannah, Patriot Capt. Archibald Broun (aka Brown) died at Blessing Plantation. During distinguished career, he negotiated with the French for miltary supplies and equipment, and became one of the five wealthiest land owners in St. Thomas Parish (near today's Goose Creek area).
Nov. 23 -- Theodosia Burr, daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr and a future First Lady of South Carolina, arrived in Charleston.
Jan. 1 -- The foreign slave trade ended per Federal law (at least officially, if not in absolute practice) .
Nov. 21 -- The first Reform Jewish congregation in the nation was founded in Charleston by 47 members of the Kahal Kadesh Beth Elohim Synagogue.
Jan. 20 -- Sarah and Angelina Grimke begin the first of a six-week lecture series about slavery in New York Baptist churches. Though fiction, a great book about the Grimke sisters is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.
Jan. 1 -- Osceola arrives as a prisoner at Fort Moultrie.
Sept. 30 -- James Matthews shares horrific stories of being an enslaved person sent to the notorious "Sugar House" for punishment.
Oct. 6 -- Susan M. Breaker dies and is buried at the Bethlehem Baptist Church, where she had been an active member for 40 years.
Sept. 28 -- L.E.A. Shier was born to Aaron and Mary Shier in Goose Creek.
Sept. 10 -- L.E.A. Shier, sometimes known as the Trillium Angel, died aged four years, 11 months and 13 days, a victim of the "bilious fever" epidemic that was going around after an unusally hot, humid summer.
Sept. 11 -- L.E.A. Shier, 4, was buried at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Goose Creek.
Nov. 7 -- News of Abraham Lincoln's election reaches Charleston, fueling the call of secessionists who give impassioned speeches at S.C. Institute Hall on Meeting Street.
Nov. 9 -- Two days after news of Abraham Lincoln's election as president, pro-secessionists stage a rally at the S.C. Institute Hall, next to the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street.
Dec. 20 -- South Carolina delegates vote unanimously for seccession at St. Andrew's Hall on Broad Street. The document was drawn up and signed later that evening before a cheering crowd at S.C. Institute Hall on Meeting Street.
Dec. 27 -- In what some say to have been the "real" start of the Civil War, the Charleston militia ousted a small group of civilian laborers and two Union officers from Castle Pinckney, making it the first Federal military installation to seized by the Confederates.
Dec. 30 -- Ten days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the state militia seized the United States Arsenal in Charleston.
Jan. 9 -- The "real" first shot of the Civil War (IMHO) was fired from the Morris Island/Fort Johnson area at a United States merchant ship named Star of the West that was bound for Fort Sumter, either to simply bring food and medical supplies to the Federal troops stationed there, or to also bring arms and reinforcements, depending on who you believe. No one will ever know.
Feb. 2 -- The Illustrated London News ran an illustration of the lobby of the Charleston Hotel as part of its coverage of the impending Civil War.
April 12 -- The first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. The Civil War had begun in Charleston Harbor.
Dec. 11 -- The largest, most destructive fire in the history of Charleston began near Hasell and East Bay streets, swept west to Meeting Street, down to Broad Street, and all the way over to the Ashley River side of the peninsula, burning more than 540 acres, 575 homes, many businesses and five churches, including the Pinckney Mansion, S.C. Institute Hall, Circular Congregational Church, St. Andrew's Hall, and the Cathedral of St. John and St. Finbar. Property damage was estimated to be between $5 million and $8 million.
July 14 -- The Mercury opined: "The battes at Gettysburg, like all that have succeeded the first Manassas, eaves the Yahhkeke army undestroyed and nothing decided. Always there is some fatality, miscalculation or inadvetenance, which chouses us out of a complete victory." (Source: Seabrook Wilkinson in "The Way It Was 150 Years Ago: A disappointing lunch," Charleston Mercury, July 2013, p.16)
July 18 -- 650 members of the all-black (except for Col. Robert Gould Shaw) 54th Massachusetts Regiment attacked Battery Wagner on Morris Island in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
Aug. 22 -- Some time around 10:45 p.m., Union Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore sent a note to Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard demanding Charleston's immediate surrender or else at midnight he would commence firing from a floating battery recently built between James and Morris islands to hold the 12-ton canon known as the Swamp Angel.
Aug. 23 -- Union Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore began firing upon Charleston using the canon known as the Swamp Angel.
Aug. 24 -- On its third night of firing, the Swamp Angel exploded on its 20th shot.
Feb. 17 -- The HL Hunley became the first submarine to successfully sink its target, the Housatonic. Though successfully completing their mission, the sub with its crew, never returned to shore and remained on the bottom of the ocean for the next 136 years.
Feb. 17 -- Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard called for all Confederate troops to evacuate the city, loading any useful things aboard the last train out of town and destroying anything left that the enemy could use. As fires blazed across the peninsula, the city fell to Union troops.
Feb. 18 -- As the last train transporting Confederate soldiers and supplies pulled away, a horrible explosion at the Northeastern Railroad Depot killed more than 250 desperate men, women and children scavenging for whatever food and supplies they could find.
May 1 -- Thousands of emancipated slaves marched in a parade to the old Washington Race Course, which had served as a Union POW camp during the Civil War. There they exhumed mass graves and reburied the Union dead with respect and ceremony, then celebrated their newfound freedom with speeches and a picnic. Some credit this celebration as the nation's first Memorial Day.
Oct. 15 -- Horse-drawn car service begins in Charleston.
Aug. 31 -- The largest earthquake ever recorded on the East Coast, estimated to have been a 7.2 on today's Richter Scale, struck Charleston.
Dec. 13 -- The first local large-scale party featuring roasted oysters was sponsored by the Grand Lodge of Ancient Masons on Remley’s Point.
May 3 -- Septima Poinsette Clark is born.
Dec. 29 -- The South Carolina Jockey Club disbands and donates its property, the former Washington Race Course, to the South Carolina Library Society.
Jan. 10 -- The Naval Appropriations Act provided funding for a new Navy Base just north of Charleston along the banks of the Cooper River.
Aug. 13 -- The city of Charleston sold the former Chicora Plantation, a few miles north of the city along the Cooper River, to the U.S. Navy to create a base and shipyard.
Sept. 27 -- The Evening Post, in its coverage of the opening of the new Commercial Club, noted that the building's fourth floor was enclosed in glass that could be opened, "making a delightful resort to spend the evenings during the summer months."
Jan. 3 -- Mary A. Storfer, the new proprietress of the Timrod Inn (formerly the Commercial Club, afterwards known as the Timrod Hotel), announced in the News and Courier: "Many people have told us that the Timrod Inn fills a distinct place in the community, and indications are that our rooms will be in demand from the beginning. We shall open Monday morning and guests will be given desirable accommodations without delay."
Nov. 24 -- The cornerstone for a new bank was laid at the historic former site of Shepheard's Tavern at the northeast corner of Broad and Church streets.
Oct. 13 -- City Council created America's first historical zoning ordinance, protecting its 18th century core from demolitions and establishing the city Board of Architectural Review.
Oct. 7 -- Porgy & Bess, an opera by George Gershwin based on the novel Porgy by DuBose Heyward, opened on Broadway. Telling the story of the lives of African-American tennets on "Catfish Row," the play ran for 124 performances. The plot prominently features the lifes of members of Charleston's famed Mosquito Fleet.
Nov. 23 -- Life magazine, created by Henry R. Luce, was first published. A visit to the Luce family cemetery at Mepkin Abby is included in our Day on the Cooper River tour.
July 30 -- The Rev. Daniel Jenkins dies.
Aug. 29 -- Seventy-three orphans leave the Charleston Orphanage for the last time before it is torn down to make room for a new Sears Department Store.
Apr. 1 -- Twenty-four black students from Burke High School staged a Civil Rights sit-in at the Kresse Department Store lunch counter on King Street, changing the city's dialogue about the issues facing racial equality in America.
Sept. 11 -- Hurricane Donna passes by the Carolina coastline, spawning a tornado that brought down three walls of the Bennett Rice Mill, c. 1844.
Oct. 9 -- Having succumbed to termite damage and carefully demolished, the new Mills House Hotel, having been rebuilt as closely as possible to the original (yet adding two additional floors) and using as much salvaged building materials as possible, reopened to the public.
Oct. 17 -- Popular aviator Bevo Howard struck a tree as he pulled out of a stunt at a charity airshow in Greenville, N.C., and was killed in the resulting crash.
Dec. 15 -- Septima Poinsette Clark dies.
Sept. 21/22 -- At midnight, the eye of Hurricane Hugo, a category 4 storm, passed over Cove Inlet between Mt. Pleasant and Sullivans Island.
Jan. 20 -- Shannon Faulkner became the first woman to attend classes at The Citadel. She joined the cadet corps in August 1995, but dropped out about a week later, citing isolation and stress from the legal proceedings and her reception at the college.
Apr. 1 -- The Charleston Naval Base and Shipyard closes.
Oct. 19 -- David Byrne, Cracker and Cowboy Mouth were among the bands that played at 96 WAVEFEST.
Jan. 27 -- Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Frank Abagnale and Tom Hanks attend a press conference in London before the UK premier of "Catch Me if You Can."
Oct. 22 -- Bowens Island restaurant burned to the ground.