JANUARY

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.

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

1807 -- The foreign slave trade ended per Federal law, at least legally if not actually in practice.

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

1863 -- One of the greatest scientists you've never heard of, Arthur T. Wayne, was born.

1910 -- A reporter for the News & Courier wrote: “Traveling men usually remember the places they visit by the kinds of hotels at which they stopped. In Charleston there is one hotel that the consensus of opinion has named ‘The Best.’ This is the Charleston Hotel … a part of [the city’s] traditions.”

January 3

1918 -- Mary A. Storfer, the new proprietress of the Timrod Inn (formerly the Commercial Club), 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 6

1703 -- Ruth Brewton, the daughter of Miles Brewton and future wife of S.C. Commissary Gen. William Pinckney and mother of Col. Charles Pinckney, was born.

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

1752 -- Archibald Broun, who would go on to be a Patriot hero of the American Revolution, was born at Brounsfield Plantation, north of Charles Town. His gravesite is included in Charleston Raconteurs' Day on the Cooper River Tour.

1760 -- Gov. Lyttleton and his soldiers marched down Broad Street, and 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.

1861 -- What some call the "real" first shot of the Civil War was fired from the Morris Island/Fort Johnson area at a United States merchant ship, 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 whom you believe. No one will ever know.

January 10

1901 -- The Naval Appropriations Act provided funding for the development of a new Naval Base just north of Charleston along the banks of the Cooper River. It would become the state's driving economic force of the20th century.

January 12

1723 -- Sir William Rhett, one of the colony's leading men and the captain who captured the notorious Stede Bonnet and other pirates, died. 

1760 -- A punishing smallpox epidemic breaks out in Charleston.

1773 -- Though claims vary, what may have been the first public museum in the colonies was established in The Charleston Museum.

January 15

1778 -- One of the most destructive fires in Charleston's history broke out after dark near the intersection of Queen and Union (now State) streets.

January 18

1735 -- Planter Charles Lowndes advertised his 1,000-acre Goose Creek plantation for sale in the South Carolina Gazette. (Source: Goose Creek, A Definitive History)

January 20

1649 -- 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.

1837 -- 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.

1994 -- 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.

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

1785 -- According to the journal of the House of Representatives, two petitions were presented, one of which called for the establishment of a school (which would later become the College of Charleston) at Charleston and the other at Winnsborough. The petitions were sent to committee for consideration. (Source: A History of the College of Charleston, p. 18.)

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."

January 29

1813 -- A man named Pierre Mathesau was hanged in front of the Old City Jail on Magazine Street. (Source: Abode of Misery, p. 15.)

January 30

1649 -- Charles I was beheaded as Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan Party assume rule over England.

1662 -- Newly restored to the British throne, Charles II had the body of Oliver Cromwell exhumed on the 12th anniversary of his father's execution and beheads the corpse.

1770 -- 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).

1838 -- Osceola died and was buried at Fort Moultrie.

1862 -- Henry Michael Lofton, of the 10th Regiment, took time off from the Civil War to marry Susan Ann Morrison at Second Presbyterian Church. (Source: Home in the Village, p. 76)

1866 -- The melted fragments of St. Michael's bells were shipped back to England to be recast after their destruction during the Civil War.

January 31

1861 -- In the wake of Seccession, S.C. Attorney General Issac W. Hayne, who was serving Gov. Francis W. Pickens as an envoy to Washington, wrote to U.S. President Buchanan warning him that the U.S. possession and occupation of Fort Sumter "if continued long enough, must lead to a collision." (Source: Confederate South Carolina, p. 19-20)

Charleston's history is inseparable from the story of enslaved Africans and their descendents. All of Charleston Raconteurs' interpretations include factual information and disucssions about the South's "peculiar institution."
We visit the site of one of Charleston's grandest early 20th century failures, the Commercial Club, on our Lost Charleston Tour.
American Patriot Archibald Broun is among those listed on Charleston Raconteurs' list of Favorite Dead People. We visit his gravesite and hear his tragic story on our Day on the Cooper River Tour.
The history of the Charleston Naval Base can be found in Lost Charleston.
We visit the Pirates Monument at the site where Stede Bonnet and his crew were hanged on our Charleston Overview Tour.
We visit the site of Shepheard's Tavern on our Charleston Overview Tour.
We hear the story of St. Michael's bells' many trips across the Atlantic Ocean on our Charleston Overview Tour.
We visit the former residence of international con man, author and FBI instructor Frank Abignal, seen here with Leo DiCaprio, Steven Speilberg, and Tom Hanks from the movie Catch Me if You Can, on our Charleston Overview Tour.
We visit the site of the Charleston Hotel on our Lost Charleston Tours.