A CHARLESTON TIMELINE BY DAYS

This page is always under construction with new information being added daily.

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January 1

1766 -- 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.

1787 -- Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence dies. 

1807 -- The foreign slave trade ended per Federal law.

1838 -- Osceola arrives as a prisoner at Fort Moultrie.

January 3

1918 -- 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."

January 8

1732 -- Thomas Whitmarsh, who had once worked for Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia, published the first edition of the South Carolina Gazette.

1741 -- Feeling 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. 

January 9

1760 -- 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. Several days after their return, the city's worst epidemic to date of smallpox broke out within the colony.

January 24

1735 -- 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 and cost 40 shillings for a ticket.

January 27

2003 -- 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."

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February 2

1861 -- The Illustrated London News ran an illustration of the lobby of the Charleston Hotel as part of its coverage of the impending Civil War. 

February 10

1794 -- Planter and Revolutionary War Patriot Aaron Loocock dies.

February 12

1736 -- The Dock Street Theatre presents its first performance, a comedy titled The Recruiting Officer.

February 15

1792 -- The first race at the new Washington Race Course (now Hampton Park) took place.

February 17

1864 -- 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.

1865 -- Gen. P.G.T, Beauregard calls 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 blaze across the peninsula, the city falls to Union troops.

February 18

1735 -- 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.

1865 -- As the last train transporting Confederate soldiers and supplies, a horrible explosion at the Northeastern Railroad Depot kills more than 250 desperate men, women and children scavenging whatever left-overs they could find.

February 24

1698 -- A fire broke out and spread so quickly thoughout town over the next 48 hours that more than 50 families were left homeless.

February 28

1758 -- 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' rents. The Assembly refused his request.

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March 1

1711 -- Because the congregation of St. Philips 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.

March 18

1758 -- 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."

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April 1

1960 -- 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.

1996 -- The Charleston Naval Base and Shipyard closes.

April 5

1740 -- Concerned about the ever-increasing ratio of enslaved blacks to whites, the Assembly imposed a prohibitively high import duty on African slaves.

April 12

1861 -- The first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. The Civil War had begun in Charleston Harbor.

April 15

1715 -- Good Friday. In response to the increase in settlers' enslaving Native Americans, the Yemasees, Creeks, Catawbas and Choctaw tribes together attacked a number of frontier settlements about 80 miles southwest of Charles Town. They slew about 100 people. One of them, trader Thomas Nairne, was roasted to death.

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May 1

1865 -- Thousands of emancipated slaves marched in a parade to the old Washington Race Course, which served as a Union POW camp during the Civil War. 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.

May 3

1898 -- Septima Poinsette Clark is born.

May 4

1738 -- The Gazette reported that several recently imported slaves had small pox and suggested that readers "take all imaginable care to prevent" its spread.

May 22

1721 -- Charlestonians welcomed South Carolina's first Royal Governor, Francis Nicholson, having won their efforts to become a colony of the Crown, rather than of the Lords Proprietors.

1735 -- 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. As a gentleman, he had been allowed to keep his firearm during his incarceration.

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June 1

1756 -- William Henry Lyttleton arrived in Charles Town aboard HMS Winchelsea to assume his new position as the colony's Royal Governor. In Chareleston! 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, and Henry Laurens expressed the feelings of many: "We are much in want of a new Governor. We mean a good one."

June 25

1784 --- The Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charleston, the oldest Jewish charitable society in the United States, is founded.

June 26

1738 -- 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.

1742 -- Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is born.

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July 2

1756 -- 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.

July 14

1863 -- 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," in Charleston Mercury, July 2013, p.16)

July 18

1863 -- 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.

July 30

1937 -- The Rev. Daniel Jenkins dies.

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August 13

1901 -- The city of Charleston sells the former Chicora Plantation, a few miles north of the city and along the Cooper River, to the U.S. Navy to create a base and shipyard.

August 15

1741 -- 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.

August 17

1695 -- John Archdale, a Quaker, was appointed Governor of the Carolina colony.

August 19

1764 -- Arthur Middleton marries Mary Izard, "a Lady who is one of the first of her sex for sense, politeness and every female accomplishment."

August 20

1694 -- In his will written on this date, Capt. John Coming leaves his entire estate to his widow, Affra Harleston Coming.

August 22

1863 -- 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 new battery recently built between James and Morris islands to hold the canon known as the Swamp Angel.

August 23

1863 -- Union Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore began firing upon Charleston using the canon known as the Swamp Angel. It blew up on its 20th shot.

August 24

1863 -- The Swamp Angel explodes on its 20th shot of the evening.

August 29

1951 -- 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.

August 27

1782 -- In the waning days of the American Revolution, John Laurens was shot off his horse and mortally wounded. 

August 31

1886 -- The largest earthquake ever recorded on the East Coast, estimated to have been a 7.2 on today's Richter Scale, struck Charleston.

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September 9

1739 -- 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. 

September 11

1960 -- Hurricane Donna passes by the Carolina coastline, spawning a tornado that brought down three walls of the Bennett Rice Mill, c. 1844.

September 14

1752 -- The first breezes of what would become the Great Hurricane of 1752 began to pick up.

September 15

1752 -- 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.

September 21/22

1989 -- At midnight, the eye of Hurricane Hugo, a category 4 storm, passed over Cove Inlet between Mt. Pleasant and Sullivans Island.

September 27

1902 -- 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."

September 30

1838 -- James Matthews shares horrifying stories of being an enslaved person sent to the notorious "Sugar House" for punishment.

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October 1

1768 -- 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.

October 5

1780 -- Henry Laurens earns the unique place as the only American to ever be held prisoner in the Tower of London, following his arrest for high treason.

October 7

1935 -- 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.

October 9

1970 -- Having succumbed to termite damage and carefully demolished, the new Mills House Hotel, having been rebuilt as closely as possible to the original and using as much salvaged building materials as possible, reopened to the public.

October 13

1931 -- City Council created America's first historical zoning ordinance, protecting its 18th century core from demolitions and establishing the city Board of Architectural Review.

October 15

1866 -- Horse-drawn car service begins in Charleston.

October 17

1971 -- 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.

October 19

1997 -- David Byrne, Cracker and Cowboy Mouth were among the bands that played at 96 WAVEFEST.

October 22

1774 -- Henry Middleton is elected President of the first Continental Congress.

2006 -- Bowens Island restaurant burned to the ground.

October 25

1742 -- According to author Walter J. Fraser Jr. in Charleston! Charleston!, a visitor to Charles Town noted: "matters between thewhites and the blacks here are such that one fears to be seen outside the house."

October 28

1718 -- 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. 

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November 5

1718 -- Gov. Robert Johnson took four ships to attack pirates off the coast and a dramatic battle ensured. 

November 7

1860 -- 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.

November 8

1718 -- Twenty-nine of Stede Bonnet's crew were hanged at what is now White Point Gardens.

November 9

1860 -- 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.

November 10

1718 -- Stede Bonnet was stood trial for piracy with Judge Nicholas Trott presidiing.

November 18

1740 -- 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.

November 19

1718 -- The 19 pirates captured by Gov. Robert Johnson were tried before Judge Nicholas Trott.

November 21

1824 -- The first Reform Jewish congregation in the nation was founded in Charleston by 47 members of the Kahal Kadesh Beth Elohim Synagogue.

November 24

1718 -- Judge Nicholas Trott sentenced the 19 pirates captured by Gov. Robert Johnson to death by haning.

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December 3

1737 -- 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."

December 10

1698 -- 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.

1718 -- Stede Bonnet was hanged for piracy at White Point Gardens.

1719 -- 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."

1860 -- By unanimous consent at the Secession Convention at St. Andrews Hall on Broad Street, South Carolina became the first state to seceed from the Union.

December 11

1861 -- 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. 

December 15

1730 -- Robert Johnson arrives as Charles Town's first Royal Governor.

1987 -- Septima Poinsette Clark dies.

1860 -- Some 160 delegates attend a state convention in Columbia to decide whether or not to seceed from the Union. Because of a small pox outbreak, the convention is moved to Charleston.

December 17

1761 -- 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). 

1860 -- Some 160 state delegates gather in Columbia to determine the secession question. The session is interrupted, however by an outbreak of smallpox. The delegates reconvene three days later in Charleston.

December 18

1743 -- Royal Governor James Glen arrived in Charles Town aboard Tartar, afterward describing the colony as being "... in Ashes, Defenseless, Declining."

December 20

1860 -- 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.

December 21

1719 -- 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.

December 27

1860 -- In what some claim 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.

December 28

1698 -- Affra Harleston Coming divides her estate between her nephew, John Harleston, and her husband's half-nephew, Elias Ball.