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Today In Charleston History: January 4


First issue of the South Carolina Gazette, edited by Elizabeth Timothy was published. The masthead said “Printed by Peter Timothy.”


Masthead of the first edition of the South Carolina Gazette edited and published by Elizabeth Timothy.

In the first issue, at the bottom of the front page Elizabeth announced that she was now publishing the newspaper, under the name of her son, making her made her the first female editor and publisher of a newspaper in America and the first female franchisee in America.

Whereas the late Printer of this Gazette hath been deprived of his life by an unhappy accident. I take this Opportunity of informing the Public, that I shall contain the said paper as usual; and hope, by the Assistance of my Friends, to make it as entertaining and correct as may be reasonable expected. Wherefore I flatter myself, that all those Persons, who, by Subscription or otherwise, assisted my late Husband, on the prosecution of the Said Undertaking, will be kindly pleased to continue their Favours and good Offices to this poor afflicted Widow and six small children and another hourly expected.

Over the next seven years, Elizabeth Timothy increased the quality of the newspaper. She not only included local news, but news from Boston, Newport, and Philadelphia and European news from London, Paris, and Constantinople. Many times she dedicated at least a full page of her four-page newspaper to advertising.

Benjamin Franklin praised her, stating that she was a better business manager and accountant than her late husband had been. He remarked in his Autobiography that while her husband was “a man of learning and honest, but ignorant in matters of account,” Mrs. Timothy:

not only sent me as clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but continued to account with the greatest regularity and exactness every quarter afterwards, and managed the business with such success, that she not only brought up reputably a family of children, but, at the expiration of the term, was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and establish her son in it.

Elizabeth Timothy also took over her husband’s position as the official “public printer” for the colony of South Carolina. She printed acts, laws, and other proceedings for the Assembly of the colony of South Carolina. In addition to publishing the South-Carolina Gazette and government documents pretty much as her late husband did, she printed sermons and religious materials. She also published some 20 historical books and pamphlets between 1739 and 1745. She also was the postmaster for Charlestown, in charge of the postal deliveries of letters, packages, and newspapers.

1815 – Religion. Arrivals.  

Rev. John Bachman arrived in Charleston as minister of St. John’s Lutheran church, a position he held for the next fifty-six years.

Prior to his arrival, the church had been without a pastor for four years, and had depended on other protestant ministers to conduct services. The church totaled sixty-two members. Ailing from tuberculosis, Bachman had taken the position to live in the warmer climate for his health. For the first year in Charleston, Bachman lived in the house of Col. Jacob Sass and joined the German Friendly Society.   

As a child, Bachman had been fascinated in the birds and mammals in his rural home, and had considered studying science in college, until the ministry called him. As he journeyed deeper into the lush semi-tropical landscape of the low-country, his scientific mind was instantly engaged. Next to his religious ministry, the study of the low country’s natural history became Bachman’s lifelong obsession.

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