1787 – Marriage
Dr. David Ramsay married Martha Laurens.
Ramsay had been married twice, and tragically lost both wives within a year of being married. Martha was the beloved daughter of Henry Laurens, former President of Continental Congress, and the first American imprisoned in the Tower of London (he was arrested by the British while acting as an agent for Congress raising funds for the Revolution in Europe.) Ramsay met Martha while he was researching his History of the Revolution of South Carolina.
1861 – Secession
P.G.T. Beauregard was removed as Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. It was the shortest tenure of any superintendent – five days. His orders were revoked when his native Louisiana seceded from the Union. Beauregard protested to the War Department that they had cast “improper reflection upon [his] reputation or position in the Corps of Engineers” by forcing him out as a Southern officer before any hostilities began.
Within a month he resigned his commission and became the first Brigadier General of the Confederate Army. He served in Charleston and ordered the firsts shots of the War be fired at Fort Sumter.
1866 – Civil War
The melted fragments of St. Michael’s bells were shipped to England by Fraser, Trenholm and Company.
The bells for St. Michael’s were cast in 1764, by Lester & Pack in London. When the British evacuated Charleston in 1782 as part of their plunder, the eight bells of St. Michael’s were taken back to England. Shortly afterward, a merchant in London secured the bells and returned them to a grateful Charleston.
In 1864, when Sherman made his march through the South Carolina, Charleston expected to be in his path, so the bells were sent to Columbia for safe-keeping. Sherman by passed Charleston and burned Columbia, the state capital. The shed in which the bells were stored was burned and the bells were reduced into molten slag. The metal was salvaged and the bells were sent to London to be recast by Lester & Pack – today in history.The bells were returned in 1868 and resumed their place in the church.
In 1989, the bells were damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. They once again were shipped to London for repair. They can be heard chiming in Charleston today on an hourly basis.
I think that “merchant in London” who saved the bells of St. Michael’s was Charles Kuhn Prioleau (1827-1887), the Liverpool partner of Fraser Trenholm. I had written: ” In 1866, he represented Charleston’s St. Michael’s Church in Liverpool by having the 8 old church bells re-cast and shipped from Liverpool to Charleston. They had been sent to Columbia to avoid the shelling of Charleston, but had been melted by the heat from the burning of Columbia. The bells arrived in Charleston in Feb 1867, were hung in the steeple and are used to this day.”