Posts Tagged ‘Charleston’

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

March 11, 2011

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.

In Search of History and She-crab Soup, Part 5

March 9, 2011

The Joseph Ball House

On the way to the Battery, we passed by the Joseph Ball House.  I’m interested in this family because I’m reading “Slaves in the Family”, by Edward Ball, a descendant of the Ball family.  The Ball family’s plantations were among the oldest and longest standing in the American South. 

I held the camera aloft over the top of the wall, and this is what we get.

We finished our walk to the Battery and came out at White Point Gardens.  Charleston is busy year-round, and the horse- and mule-drawn tourist carriages are everywhere.

We walked along the Battery, crossing in front of Sugar’s cousin Margaret’s house, and turned up King Street.  Here are a few of the interesting things that we saw.

A single house

 

The Societe Francais

 

THE SOCIETE FRANCAISE

WAS ORGANIZED JUNE 17, 1816 BY MEN WHO

CAME FROM FRANCE TO AID AMERICA

IN THE REVOLUTION AND BE REFUGEES FROM THE

FRENCH REVOLUTION AND UPRISINGS IN SANTO

DOMINGO.  THE SOCIETE WAS FOUNDED IN

THE “LONG ROOM” OF THE CHEVALIER PIERRE

DE FAVOLLES, SOLDIER OF FRANCE, AND

FRIEND AND COMPANION OF THE MARQUIS DE

LAFAYETTE, IN A BUILDING WHICH STOOD ON

THIS SITE DESIGNED TO “GIVE SUCCOR

TO THOSE IN MISFORTUNE”.  THE SOCIETE HAS

FUNCTIONED IN THIS CAPACITY EVER SINCE.

APPROVED BY

THE HISTORICAL COMMISSION OF CHARLESTON, S.C.

1955

 

More of the same

And across the street…

LEWIS TIMOTHY

PRINT SHOP

In 1734, Benjamin Franklin sent his new partner,

Lewis Timothy, to Charleston to publish

The South Carolina Gazette.  Two other associates

Dr. Franklin sent to Charleston had died in succession.

In the fall of 1736 and spring of 1737, John Wesley,

the founder of world Methodism, then a young

Anglican clergyman serving at Savannah, visited

Timothy very near this site to complete publication

of A Collection of Psalms and Hymns, the first hymnal

of the Methodist movement.

 

Lewis Timothy died in 1738, but his widow Elizabeth,

followed by their son Peter, then his widow Ann

Donavan Timothy, and then their son Benjamin Franklin

Timothy, maintained the Timothy Print Shop

in various locations until 1802.

 

In addition to The South Carolina Gazette, the shop

printed essays, sermons, almanacs, treatises on topics

of interest and government documents, including

The Laws of the Province of South Carolina

in 1736.  The Timothy Print Shop was the appointed

printer of government documents until the General

Assembly moved to Columbia.

A manhole cover

You’ve seen the next building in a past blog…

The John Lining House

It’s the Lining House.  The afternoon sun lit up the front of the house so well, I couldn’t resist taking another photo, in spite of the fact that we should be crossing the street like the light indicates.

Further along King Street, we stopped in a French cafe for a bit of a rest and a cold drink.  Sugar asked for sweet tea and it came in an imported bottle to be poured over a glass of ice.  I asked for Coke, received the sweetest fountain drink ever, and politely declined refills.  It might actually have been a Pepsi, but it’s hard to tell sometimes with fountain drinks.

Anyway, we finally made our way full circle back to the parking garage on Queen Street behind the Mills House, and we drove over to see the Rhett House, which at one time was far, far outside the city, although, honestly, we could have walked there, but it was on the way out of town.

And that is yet to come…

In Search of History and She-crab Soup, Part 4

March 7, 2011

The Huguenot Church in Charleston, SC

We headed one block east to Church Street.  Strolling along after leaving the Circular Church found us at the Huguenot Church.  (I warned you that we were looking at churches.  If you don’t want to look at photos of churches or read about churches, then just. move. along.  Nothing to see here.)  One of Sugar’s millioneth great-grandfathers was Pierre Robert (Roh-Bear) who was a pastor here.  A few years ago we were able to go inside and view the church and the memorials to the important folks who had influence in this church’s community.  Today we find…

…we are locked out.  It probably wouldn’t help our case to try to get in if we threw ourselves prostrate on the sidewalk, wailing and weeping to get in.  Not sayin’ that we actually did that, although desperate times call for desperate measures.  We did the next best thing – we took more pictures through the iron fencing and over the wall.

The

French Protestant Church

HUGUENOT

ORGANIZED ABOUT 1681

FIRST CHURCH BUILT 1687

THIS BUILDING

THE THIRD ON THIS SITE

WAS ERECTED IN 1845

The crape myrtles are as yet barren which allows us to see easily into the graveyard and to admire the construction of the houses next to the church.

Further along Church Street we found this historic plaque…

The Dubose Heyward House

You can read more about Dubose Heyward here.  Exactly one year after his birth, Charleston suffered an earthquake.  Here’s an example of earthquake bolts which help to stabilize the buildings in case of, that’s right, an earthquake.

The plaque is on the lower right. The button-looking thing between the two buildings is the end of an earthquake bolt.

You can read more about earthquake bolts here.

Further up the wall you'll see another earthquake bolt.

Then we headed over to First Baptist Church.  Sugar was looking for someone dead, and at this point I can’t remember who it was.  But anyway here are the pictures.

Here we go.  Through the window…

An early pastor.

 

Shadows make a not-so-good photo.

We headed all the way down to the Battery.  I can’t believe that I walked that far.  Without crying and everything. 

More to come…

In Search of History and She-Crab Soup, Part 3

March 3, 2011

After leaving the well in the building, we looked for the Circular Church.  The guide book was wrong, as we were to find out. Surely trusty guide Sugar wasn’t reading it wrong.  Heh.  Anyway.  We headed south, not knowing until later that we should have headed north.  It hardly matters.

Here's Chalmers Street with its lovely cobblestones. I say "Ch-yall-mers" and Sugar says "Chal-mers". I suppose we know who's right.

 

The sidewalk, the brick edging, and more cobblestones on ChAL-mers.

 

We stopped in this nice park on Chalmers to re-read the guide book and figure out why we couldn't find the Circular Church. Actually, Sugar did the figuring and I snapped some pics. History is hard work.

 

Sugar decided that we needed to head in a different direction, so we went back to see our Gullah basket lady, who told us to go another block north to find the Circular Church.

On our way, we went by the Mills House again. This search has us going in circles.

 

Oh, here we are. The Circular Church.

 

This shot looks like it has all kinds of crazy angles. I'm actually standing in front of the main door looking up at the building. Perspective confounds yet another photo.

 

There were graves and markers on all sides of the church. Along the way to the back of the church, I saw this interesting sign.

 

We're in the back of the Circular Church, looking eastward to another church. The next street over is Church Street. The steeple is the back of that church, St. Philip's Episcopal Church. Pretty composition. The sky was another shade of amazing blue.

 

This is the back of the Circular Church, looking quite circularish.

 

Look closely, and you can see Sugar walking among the tall gravestones. That, my friends, is a magnificent live oak. Left click on this photo (or any of the photos for that matter) once, then again, to enlarge it for better viewing.

 

Turns out, Sugar was looking for an ancestral relation named Josiah Smith.  We didn’t find him, but we DID find his wife Mary.

Here Rests in Peace

The mortal part of

MARY, late Wife of JOSIAH SMITH

One of the Deacons of this Church

Who after happily exemplifying the

Conjugal and Maternal virtues

for upwards of 37 Years

Was suddenly arrested by the hand of Death

to the no small grief of her numerous

Relations and Friends

On the 3rd July 1795 in the

55 Year of her Age.

Descended of Pious Parents

She early imbibed the true principles of Religion.

Became attach’d to the pursuits of Godliness & Virtue.

And for many Years past was a worth & respected

Member of this Society.

If sincerity of Heart, gentleness of Manners, compassion

to the afflicted, and a

Readiness to communicate to the Poor & distressed, are

Happy features of a Real Christian, her surviving Friends

are much consoled in the thought of her being truly such.

Quick was her Flight, She clos’d her Eyes,

And short the Road, And saw her God.

 

More history yet to come…

In Search of History and She-Crab Soup, Part 2

February 26, 2011

We're back!

 

She-crab soup before. Yes, that is a beer.

She-crab soup after stirring. One lonely biscuit awaits its fate in the basket.

 

We liked Poogan’s the first time we went.  This time, not so much.  Our waiter appeared to be recovering from a hangover, or something, that impeded his ability to be an exceptional waiter.  Sugar got exactly what he ordered the last time, a cup of she-crab soup and a fried green tomato BLT.  It arrived with fries.  We hardly eat fries, especially since I read that fries live in your gut for ninety days after eating them.  Ick.  The waiter didn’t give him a choice of fries or grits, and we assumed that grits came with the sandwich because that’s what we got last time, and we’re old and nearsighted, and can’t remember if the waitress offered us a choice last time, and we can hardly read the fine print on a menu, so there you have it.  Fries.  Being Southern, we don’t complain or ask for a re-do, we just mutter under our breath and suck it up and go on.  The waiter asked if I wanted a refill on my coffee, and I agreed that it would be a good thing, and TEN minutes later, people, ten minutes he returns with the refill.  But. no. more. creamer.  What’s up with that?  I hate when the cup of coffee is mixed just to your delight with creamer and sweetener, and then when the bit left in the bottom of the cup is spoiledspoiledspoiled with black coffee added to the top.  And no hope of any more creamer coming, because after all, we are Southern and don’t like to ask for more than we have been allotted.  Andandand the basket of biscuits had two, count ’em, only two biscuits.  What was poor Sugar going to eat?  Did we get really lucky the first time that our waitress brought us a heaping basket of biscuit love?  And Mr. Waiter didn’t tidy up the table during the meal when he brought our food, like picking up the forlorn empty creamer containers.  Creamer, Waiterman, Creamer!  I used both of them!  Bring more when you bring more coffee!  It just stands to reason.  All of this is really no problem, but when Waiterman took the black notebook holding the bill and Sugar’s debit card to ring up the sale, and then returned the black notebook MINUS the debit card, that was a moment of annoyance and sheer panic.  Sugar went up to him and asked him for the debit card, the waiterman said “I gave it to you” and then looked in his pockets to confirm that it was not there.  In his pockets, people, like maybe this has occurred more than once to him.  They found the debit card lying on the floor in the next room, so waiter man had dropped the card and not even known it.  Panic situation averted by Sugar realizing the card was missing.

Whew.  Anyway, during brunch we noticed that the restaurant faced the side of the Mills House, a Charleston hotel that was once run by, yup, a Lawton.  (The old curmudgeon will clarify that in the comments.  Just see if he doesn’t.)

So after brunch, we set out about the city.

Across the street from the Mills House was a historical society type place.  The building was set way back from the street, because, it turns out the building was once a gas station, and the pumps would have been where the wide brick walkway made a gallery for a Gullah woman with a sweetgrass basket display.

The center of the basket is started with pine needles, then sweetgrass is added as the weaving medium.

 

She wouldn’t let me take her photo, even though I asked politely, and she was wearing a wonderful broad-brimmed straw hat that would have featured her nicely on my famous blog.

The sign in the window proclaimed a sale, so I encouraged Sugar to go inside and look.  History!  On sale!  There might be books! 

They did have books and other wonderful things, like tins of benne wafers (look it up) and jewelry and stationery and knick-knacks.  While Sugar was buying a book (told you there’d be books), I saw an unusual display by the check-out station.

This display featured the house pictured here.

 

It's a well! With a glass cover! Inside a building!

Photomural:  The Center’s Block, ca. 1910.

The early well in front of you once supplied water to the late eighteenth-century house in the center of the photomural above.  The house was torn down with two others in 1928 to make way for a gas station.  When the station closed, Historic Charleston Foundation acquired the property from Exxon Corporation.  To the surprise of our general contractor, the well was uncovered during the construction of the room you are standing in.

Always intrigued by the history in our own back yeard, we’ve left the well open as a record of the site’s earlier identity.

And more history awaits us….

In Search of History & She-Crab Soup, Part 1

February 22, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011, found spring in the Lowcountry.

Sugar and I went on a day trip back to Charleston to view several churches.  He’d done more research on what he wanted to see, and I was along for the ride.  It’s rarely a bad day in Charleston, as long as you are prepared to walk *A LOT* and to complain about the Yankee tourists (my apologies to my Yankee cousins who could teach good manners to tourists).

It’s about a 75 miles drive to Chucktown from my little town, and most of it is scenic and untouched.  We stopped to gas up Ole Yeller, and as usual, prepared to pay at the pump.

Where's the card reader?

It took us a minute to realize that we would have to go inside to pay.  There was plenty of local color inside the store.  Some tourists were inside, in a bit of culture shock.  This was not just a gas station.  There were supplies for hunting, fishing, and cooking, along with local products like honey and bait.  Plumbing and electrical supplies were hanging on the wall.  Several fishermen were chatting with the clerks while they waited for their hot dog breakfast to be served up.  Sugar overheard one of the clerks say that she didn’t like fishermen.  She went on to say she didn’t like fishermen, because they were out fishing and she was stuck at work.  Good point.

The prerequisite firework stand is across the parking lot. Fireworks can be sold year-round in SC. The best customers are the tourists traveling through.

 

The fishermen had their trusty dog along.  He guards the fishing poles in the back of this truck while he waits for them to get their hot dog and Mountain Dew breakfast.

After gassing up, we headed for Charleston, history, and she-crab soup.  But that will have to wait…

Pass the Biscuit

February 6, 2011

Or should that say “I’ll pass on the biscuit”?

Last week we had a little cold snap.  When I dug my gloves out of the pocket of my overcoat, I found this in one glove.

Which led to this…

Mr. Packett enjoyed his biscuit mightily.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Part 3, Or, Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You

February 1, 2011

St. Andrews Episcopal Church

We found our way to the St. Andrews Episcopal Church.  No clue what I’m talking about?  Here’s the link to the Magnolia Gardens and the mention of Reverend Drayton.

If you don't feel like clicking on the link, here's the photo of the historical marker.

Historical marker for the Rev. John G. Drayton

 

The first of many photos taken through the windows of the church. Strangely, no one has ever stopped me.

 

That's my flash on the opposite window, not a ghost.

 

I did not steal one of these bricks stored with the A/C unit. But I wanted to.

 

The back of the church, taken from the side, if that makes sense.

 

A side entrance, taken from the side.

 

The marker by the side door

 

And we're back to the front. There's an inscription over the door. I can't read it from here, but Sugar has a book (of course) that says what it is. I'll get right on that.

Anybody want a biscuit?

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, 1/15/2011 (Part 2)

January 25, 2011

 From this spot 150 years ago, this picture was taken of the Rev. John Drayton and one of his daughters.  While those who care for it come and go, over its 300 years of wars and hurricanes, the ever changing garden of Magnolia Plantation seems never really to change. 

ON THIS BENCH, PRIOR TO, DURING AND AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, THE REV. JOHN GRIMKE DRAYTON, THE MAJOR EXPANDER OF MAGNOLIA PLANTATION’S ORIGINAL 17TH CENTURY GARDEN, USED TO SIT IN MEDITATION COMPOSING HIS WEEKLY SERMONS FOR DELIVERY AT ANCIENT ST ANDREWS CHURCH, WHICH CAN STILL BE VISITED AND ENJOYED AFTER 250 YEARS, JUST THREE MILES FROM HERE ON THE ROADSIDE TOWARDS CHARLESTON.  HE CONFIDED TO HIS GRANDAUGHTER, MARIE, THAT AT THIS SPOT HE FELT HIMSELF CLOSER TO GOD THAN AT ANY OTHER SPOT IN THE WORLD.  HERE ALSO, HE SPENT AGONIZING HOURS BEFORE WRITING TO HIS FAVORITE DAUGHTER, ELLA, ADVISING HER THAT HE COULD NOT IN GOOD CONSCIENCE ATTEND HER MARRIAGE TO THE SON OF HIS OLD FRIEND, C. G. MEMMINGER, TREASURER OF THE CONFEDERACY, IN THAT YOUNG MEMMINGER EXPRESSED DOUBTS AS TO SOME OF THE BASIC PRECEPTS OF CHRISTIANITY, ANYTHING LESS THAN COMPLETE FAITH BEING INCONCEIVABLE TO HIM.

Another view of the river from the pathway

 

 

Beyond what is now Magnolia Plantation’s waterfowl refuge, for a century prior to the Civil War, marsh areas such as this provided plantations’ greatest source of wealth via rice culture.  Tidal areas were diked, drained by flood gates and planted.  As rice grew, the field was gradually flooded from reservoirs to provide support for the stalks against storms and to drown weeds.  As the rice matured, the field was drained for harvest.

While lucrative, and the subject of much present day romanticizing, for those whose labor produced the crop, the long days of mud, smoldering heat, swarming insects and numerous snakes made rice growing, in reality, something less than romantic.  The owners’ problems lay largely in periodic hurricanes, and annual migrations of bob-o-links (called “rice birds”) which arrived in clouds to consume the golden harvest.  Though shot and eaten by the thousands, these birds consumed one-third of every crop.

The end of slavery, competition from mechanized upland culture, and finally a series of severe hurricanes in the late 1800s, which destroyed most dikes, ended that era.  Recent efforts have been made toward revival, but the “rice birds” and labor problems again prevailed.  Today, the scant plantings of rice in this area, as here at Magnolia, are not for harvest, but for the benefit of wildlife.

Another flower of spring growing next to the swamp

 

One of many scenic bridges

 

The viewing tower was closed. It was in bad repair and was unsafe to use.

 

Another scenic bridge. What is it about a bridge that calls to you and beckons you to cross over?

 

What's wrong with this picture?

 

It's bamboo! Many varieties grow in the SC and GA coastal area. It can be very invasive, but the sound of the wind in the bamboo is indescribable, sort of like the rustle of a woman's silk dress.

 

A bridge built around a tree growing in a swampy area.

Same tree and bridge, other side

 

Ah, that's better. Tree, bridge, and bamboo in the afternoon sun.

 

This is probably the most photographed bridge that you'll see in reference to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

 

The view from the bridge

 

Why did I take this picture upside-down??

 

Gotcha!

 

A small maze of boxwoods

 

A sycamore that Sugar admired.

 

Y'all are gonna love this. A man is buried in the tree. Honest.

 

See the black spot on the tree? That's an exposed area of the coffin. I don't know if he was cremated or not. Working on it.

 

The glare was really severe that afternoon, and I couldn't actually see the screen on the camera, so I just shot at will. Ready, fire, aim.

This concludes the walking portion of our tour. We stopped for refreshments, and on the way out, we saw this sign.

Give fools their gold, and knaves their power;

Let fortune’s bubbles rise and fall;

Who sows a field, or trains a flower,

Or plants a tree, is more than all.

-Whittier (John Greenleaf)

Beautiful nandina, but this photo doesn't do it justice.

 

More nandina, more better.

 

Historical marker for the Rev. John G. Drayton

Rector of nearby St. Andrews Episcopal Church and owner of Magnolia Plantation before, during, and after the Civil War, he redesigned the plantation’s famous garden, then America’s oldest formal garden, from its original French style of Louis XIV to its present style of English informality, which has brought it international fame.  Reduced from great wealth to extreme poverty by the Civil War, he sacrificed property to erect the existing home upon the surviving first floor of the house burned by Gen. Sherman’s Union troops.

I take issue with the comment that the house was burned by General Sherman’s troops.  Sherman headed from Savannah to Columbia which takes a northerly path.  From Savannah to Charleston takes a coastal easterly path, and Sherman was expected to go to Charleston, which he did not.  Just sayin’. 

And where’s the St. Andrews Episcopal Church?  I sense a side trip on the way home…

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, 1/15/2011

January 23, 2011

The entrance sign for Magnolia Plantation. In this shot, I have pulled off the main road into the entrance road, and took the photo out the window of the car, looking back. Who says you should never look back?

 

The entrance gate. If you will left-click on the photo, then left-click again, you can read the plaque. I'd transcribe it for you, but I've got about 100 photos to upload. Art takes time. Heh.

 

Okay, here I actually stepped out of the car and took a photo of the approach road into the plantation. A lane bordered by trees or bushes is called an allee (ah-lay - it's French - think of our modern-day alley).

 

More of the same. Better sky in this photo, the first beautiful blue sky in a bit.

 

On the approach road to the main house and gardens, I saw this shed off to the left. I stopped to photograph it, Sugar wondered why photograph it, I said I liked the tree and the fence and the rustic look, and then! Look what the shed is all about.

 

A donkey! But not Donkey Ho-tie! They're everywhere!

 

Showing the donkey love to Sugar.

 

The donkey's friends, Ponylicious, Pony Island, PonyUp, and MyLittlePony (not really - I made those names up).

 

MyLittlePony has blue eyes.

 

Now I want a pony.

 

Sorry about that. I got distracted by the ponies. So we drove further and saw... Birds! There's birds. RIGHT HERE! What the heck are they?

 

Holy cow. Are we ever going to get to the gardens?

 We finally made our way to the parking area, then to the ticket window, and we started our self-guided tour.

Here's the schoolhouse for the plantation children. The next two photos will explain what the schoolhouse is all about.

 

This photo was made the first of an experiment of two photos. The next photo was made with a close-up, or macro, setting to see if the photo will be more legible. Sometimes there's not enough light available for the camera to focus on a macro setting.

 

Left-click once to enlarge, then left-click again to enlarge once more. You can do this on any photo.

 

The right side of the schoolhouse. This building looks to be about the right size for a cottage for me.

 

The swamp by the schoolhouse

 

We're on the bridge crossing the swamp.

 

We're on the swamp bridge looking over the railing. There are floral planter-type boxes attached to the sides of the bridge, and there's the same floaty stuff on the water, just like last July 4 when we went into the swamp by boat at the Webb Wildlife Center in Garnett.

 

More swamp from the first of many bridges. The figure on the right bank of the swamp is some sort of statuary.

 

By following the brick-lined pathways, we suddenly arrive at the river.

 

Here's the riverboat "Miss Julianna", a big shout-out to niece Julianna. This shot was taken from the stern. You can see that the steering mechanism is partially missing. The boat rests under this protective canopy.

 

A centrally located fireplace

 

Bales of cotton

 

This little footbridge crosses over a sluice where the swamp on the left flows into the.... (go to the next picture)

 

river on the right. I'm standing on the bridge here looking over the railing.

 

This placard is too difficult to read,, what with all the shade and shadows, so I've transcribed it below.

 

MAGNOLIA PLANTATION WAS ALREADY TWO CENTURIES OLD WHEN ITS OWNER, REV. JOHN DRAYTON, IMPOVERISHED BY THE CIVIL WAR, WAS FORCED TO OPEN IT TO THE PUBLIC TO DEFRAY UPKEEP COSTS IN THE 1870’S.  THUS, IN ADDITION TO BEING AMERICA’S OLDEST GARDEN, IT IS ALSO CREDITED AS BEING AMERICA’S OLDEST MAN-MADE ATTRACTION IN CONTINUOUS OPERATION.

PICTURED HERE, LANDING AT THIS VERY SPOT A CENTURY AGO, IS ONE OF THE PADDLE WHEEL STEAMERS WHICH MADE DAILY TOURIST RUNS FROM CHARLESTON TO MAGNOLIA EACH SPRING.  BY THE EBB AND FLOW OF THE SWIFT TIDE, THE STEAMERS WERE ABLE TO MAKE THE PICTURESQUE 13 MILE RUN IN ABOUT AN HOUR, WHILE THE TRIP BY CARRIAGE OVER BADLY-MAINTAINED DIRT ROADS TOOK ALMOST THREE HOURS.  OTHER VISITORS REACHED MAGNOLIA VIA THE SOUTH CAROLINA RAILROAD, WHICH DELIVERED PASSENGERS ACROSS THE RIVER TO A POINT FROM WHICH THEY WERE FERRIED TO THE MAGNOLIA DOCK.

IT WAS ALSO FROM HERE, UTILIZING THE PLANTATION DOCKS, THAT GENERAL CORNWALLIS’ BRITISH TROOPS CROSSED THE ASHLEY RIVER BY NIGHT IN APRIL OF 1779 TO BESEIGE FROM THE NORTH AND CAPTURE THE PENINSULAR CITY OF CHARLESTON.

Sugar spotted a nuthatch on the trunk of this live oak. Left-click to enlarge the photo for better viewing.

 

Is it spring already? This flower says it is.

 

This sign tells of the British Attack.

 From this riverbank began the final assault on Charleston, as recorded below in the diary by Hessian, Capt. Johann Ewald, recently published at Yale University, beginning March 23, 1780.

“About eight o’clock I received orders to try to get to Drayton’s house.  Towards noon we reached the gardens of Drayton’s plantation (today’s Magnolia) – in the afternoon General Leslie arrived and took up quarters.”

“The 28th.  The entire army assembled at Drayton’s plantation.”

“The 29th.  Before daybreak, the army set out to Drayton’s landing place, where armed ships and flatboats were lying along the right bank to transport troops to the left – at daybreak the troops boarded (a large force of infantry and artillery under Lord Cornwallis).  At about 8 o’clock, the light infantry climbed the left bank at Ben Fuller’s plantation, opposite Drayton’s house.  Some distance away several groups of horsemen and a number of riflemen appeared, who honored us with a few rifle shots, without any damage.”

(Continued on other side)

The opposite side of the historical marker

 British intent to cross here had been obvious.  It was no surprise.  From the landing bluff, a few small cannons could have destroyed the flatboats, or rifle companies could have decimated the assailants on arrival, or even hours later, Charleston’s 7,000 fresh troops could have marched and dislodged the smaller force.  Yet nothing was done!

What happened is history.  The British drew a fatal siege from across Charleston’s Peninsula; their fleet entered the supposedly secure harbor undamaged, preventing water escape, and Charleston surrendered its thousands of troops so needed by Gen. Washington.

This default and defeat caused many patriots to despair; and local leaders toasted His Majesty.  Cornwallis was freed to move north to crush Washington’s weary troops between his and the main British force.  That this DID NOT occur was due only to a storybook reversal of Cornwallis’ Charleston experience:  He inadvertently allowed himself to be cornered on the Yorktown Peninsula and a French fleet arrived unexpectedly to complete the blockade, leaving him no alternative to surrender.

These flags point away from the river toward the house.

 

The house

 

Further along the path, we came to the sign for the boat landing. We didn't take the boat tour today, but we walked down to the landing because we saw all these water birds.

 

Somebody please tell us what these birds are.

 

Here's a huge willow oak. Sugar, a normal-sized guy, lends a hand (heh) to show a rough estimate of the size of this tree. Y'all are looking at your hand now, aren't you?

 

More of Sugar's behind, I mean, hand.

 

The path led to the river where there was a mausoleum. The above photo isn't clear, and I couldn't get a good transcription, but you know what this is about.

 

Each of the four sides of the mausoleum has carved inscriptions and artwork.

 

The view from the mausoleum site. And here's where I take a break from blogging. There's still over 40 pictures left to upload. Why do I do this? Why, for the fame and money, of course.