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Today In Charleston History: October 18

1765 – American Revolution -The Stamp Act

The Planter’s Adventure arrived in Charlestown, carrying the hated British stamps, in preparation of the Act taking effect in November. Lt. Gov. Bull first placed the stamped paper in the warship Speedwell but feared it might be attacked while docked. He secretly transferred the stamps to Ft. Johnson for nine days.

 A forty-foot high gallows was erected at Broad and Church Streets in front of Dillon’s Tavern with three effigies: that of a stamp distributor hung between a Devil on one side and a boot on the other. On the front of the gallows was a sign which read – “LIBERTY and no STAMP ACT.” On the back of the gallows was another sign which read:

Whoever shall dare attempt to pull down these effigies had better been born with a mill stone about his neck, and cast into the sea.

 Two thousand people paraded the streets looking for the stamps. The home of the stamp officer, George Saxby (53 Tradd Street), was searched and ransacked. Many in the crowd were part of Christopher Gadsden’s artillery company – labor-class artisans.The mob marched to the “New Barracks” (present-day location of the College of Charleston) and burned an effigy of Saxby and buried a coffin labeled ÁMERICAN LIBERTY.”

1794 – Charleston Orphan House Opens

The Charleston Orphan House opened to 115 children at 160 Boundary Street (present-day Calhoun Street) on the outskirts of the city. Designed by Thomas Bennett the center structure was 40×40 feet, with two wings 65 by 30 feet each. Brickwork was done by Anthony Toomer. It cost $11,000 to construct and was the first public orphanage house in America.

orphan house postcard

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