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Today In Charleston History: December 15


Robert Johnson arrived and took office as the Royal Governor of South Carolina.  Also on board his ship were the six Cherokee chiefs who had negotiated the treaty with the king.

Gov. Johnson's Return.

Gov. Johnson’s return with Cherokee Indian chiefs.

Johnson had also served as the last Proprietary governor of South Carolina from 1717–1719. The most important event of his first administration was the suppression of the pirates who were preying upon the commerce of South Carolina and neighboring colonies. Fitting out an expedition, he personally commanded a victorious engagement with them off the bar of Charleston, and carried on the campaign until they were exterminated and their leader. Stede Bonnet was captured.

During his second term, Governor Johnson aided General Oglethorpe and the first settlers of Georgia by giving them food and escort, and during his term the settlement of Purrysburgh, by the Swiss under Colonel Peter Purry, was made. The Commons House of Assembly erected a monument to his memory in St. Philip’s church, Charles Town.

1860, Pickens Becomes Governor.

Francis Pickens

Francis Pickens became South Carolina governor, replacing William Henry Gist. Robert Barnwell Rhett was third on the first ballot. By the fifth ballot, Rhett was off the ballot altogether. It was a fatal blow to his political aspirations to lead a Southern Confederacy.

 Pickens, the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, managed to win over the Charleston radicals by pledging a “secession now” platform.

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