This article is excerpted and adpated from the Post & Courier's "Do You know Your Lowcountry" column, June 12, 2023.


The Wallace Creek, an offshoot of the Stono River, is where on Sept. 9, 1739, the largest slave insurrection in British North America began. About 20 free and enslaved Africans and African Americans raided a store along the creek’s banks on a Sunday morning while most Whites were at church. Killing the two shopkeepers, they armed themselves with guns and other weapons from the store and headed south toward Florida, where the Spanish had promised them freedom.

A collection of maps, including a map of South Carolina showing the settlements of the English, French and Indian nations from Charles Town to the Mississippi River. Library of Congress/Provided
Over the course of the day, the group’s numbers swelled to perhaps 60 (no one knows for sure). They covered about 15 miles, killing at least another 20 Whites, yet sparing others who were said to be kind to or hidden by their enslaved workers. The militia caught up with and killed at least 34 that afternoon. Most who escaped were later captured and executed.

We discuss the Stono Rebellion on our tours to Beaufort and Savannah.