In Search of History and She-crab Soup, Part 6

The William Rhett House

 

This house, built ca. 1712,

is believed to be one

of the oldest houses in

Charleston.  It was built

for William Rhett (1666-

1723), a merchant, sea

captain, militia officer,

and speaker of the Commons

House of Assembly famous

for capturing the pirate

Steed Bonnet.  In 1807

Christopher Fitzsimons

(d. 1825), a merchant and

planter, bought the house,

renovating and enlarging

it and adding its piazzas.

 

 

Where's the front door?

 

Over the wall on the left side of the house

 

The hitching posts and the step for climbing into the carriage.

 

The right front corner of the house

 

Custom ironwork

 

This residence was constructed by

Col. William Rhett (1666-1722), a prominent Charleston merchant

and colonial militia leader.  In 1706 he led a small fleet

of local ships that repulsed a combined French and

Spanish invasion of the city.  Rhett is perhaps best remembered for

his capture of the pirate Stede Bonnet in 1718.

Considered one of the oldest houses in Charleston, this two story

stuccoed brick residence was originally squarish in plan, a layout

typical of early Charleston houses.  An addition on the northwest

side as well as the east and west piazzas, by which the house is now

entered from Hasell Street, were added in the early 19th century.

When constructed, the house was located outside the city limits

on a portion of land known as the Point Plantation.  After Rhett

acquired the property in 1707 he renamed the twenty eight acres

surrounding the house “Rhettsbury”, a name that was still in use

when the area was later subdivided for his granddaughters,

Susannah Hasell Quince and Mary Hasell Ancrum.

In 1807 the property was purchased by Christopher Fitzsimmons,

a wealthy wharf owner.  His grandson, Wade Hampton, III

(1818-1902), Confederate Lieutenant General, Governor

of South Carolina (1876-1879), and United States Senator

(1879-1891) was born in the house in 1818.

placed by

THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF CHARLESTON

2001

*****

And that’s our day trip in search of history and she-crab soup.  Whew!  History is hard work.

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