DECEMBER

December 1

1901 -- The South Carolina Inter-state and West Indian Exposition opened on what had formerly been the grounds of the Washington Race Course (afterwards Hampton Park) amid great fanfare.

1958 -- I was born in Florence, S.C.

December 2

1773 -- The English ship London dropped anchor in Charles Town Harbor with 257 chests of tea. As the tension of the impending revolution filled the air, it was clear that if the colonists allowed the cargo to be delivered with its three-pence-per-pound duty collected as authorized by Parliament, it would be an admission that the colony was answerable to the governing body of England so far away. Christopher Gadsden was incensed. He and his 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 Walter Fraser, p. 136)

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."

1766 -- S.C. Commissary General William Pinckney, husband of Ruth Brewton, father of Col. Charles Pinckney, and grandfather of Charles Pinckney, an architect of the U.S. Constitution, died.

December 8

1769 -- 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: Charleston, Charleston!, p. 126.)

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.

December 11

1723 -- The Rev. Thomas Morritt, who had been sent from England by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, wrote to his superior that he had recently proposed erecting a colllege before the colony's Assembly. (Source: A History of the College of Charleston, p. 2)

1797 -- 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 his 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). 

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 13

1770 -- Charlestonians enacted 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: Walter Charleston. Charleston!, p. 127.)

1897 -- The first documented, local large-scale party featuring roasted oysters was sponsored by the Grand Lodge of Ancient Masons on Remley’s Point.

  

December 15

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

1987 -- Septima Poinsette Clark died. 

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). 

1765 -- 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!, p. 113).

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 the Tarter, 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 26

1950 -- Maria Louisa Porcher Wayne died.

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. ***  Robert Gourdin, a prominent Charleston merchant, wrote a letter to his old friend Major Robert Anderson, who had evacuated his Federal troops from Sullivan's Island to Fort Sumter the previous day, expressing his profound sorrow over the major's decision to evacuate and protesting that the garrison had been in no danger at Fort Moultrie. (Source: Confederate South Carolina, p. 18-19)

December 28

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

1748 -- The Charles Town Library Society began raising money for the establishment of an academy, an educational initiative that eventually resulted in the College of Charleston. (Source: A History of the College of Charleston, p. 5)

December 29

1778 -- The city of Savannah falls to British Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, who set his sights on marching to Charles Town.

1899 -- The South Carolina Jockey Club disbanded and donated its property, the former Washington Race Course, to the South Carolina Library Society.

December 30

1860 -- Ten days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the state militia seized the United States Arsenal in Charleston.

December 31

1851Jenny Lofton was born in Christ Church Parish.

We visit the site of Stede Bonnet's hanging on our downtown tours.
We visit the grave of Patriot hero Archibald Broun on our Day on the Cooper River Tour.
Our Lost Charleston tours cover many of the sites that were destroyed or damaged during the Great Confligration of 1861.
We discuss the legacy of Septima Poinsette Clark on our Sea Island Tour.
We discuss the events leading up to Seccession as we visit the site of the S.C. Institute Hall (above) and St. Andrews Haall (below) on our Lost Charleston and Charleston Overview tours. (Images: Library of  Congress)
The story of the Lofton family, which is included on our French Santee Tour, reminds us that epidemics are nothing new to Charleston.
We visit Affra and John Comings' Comingtee Plantation, including the ruins of its hsitoric rice mill, on our Day on the Cooper River Tour.
One of Charleston's great love stories, that of Arthur T. and Maria Louisa P. Wayne is discussed on our French Santee Tour.
Hampton Park has an incredibly rich history, including that of the South Carolina and West Indian Exposion (its Cotton Palace and Sunken Gardens are shown in this image). We visit it on our Lost Charleston Tour. (Image: Library of Congress)
We stop by to visit the memorial of Col. Charles Pinckney on our Day in the French Santee Tour.