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Today In Charleston History: March 5

1773 – Commerce

Using slave labor, Christopher Gadsden finally completed his 840-foot long wharf at the north end of town on the Cooper River (at the foot of present-day Calhoun Street). It was described as “one of the most extensive of the kind ever undertaken in America.”

Gadsden Wharf on the Cooper River

Gadsden Wharf on the Cooper River

In the late 1760s, Gadsden began the construction of a large wharf on today’s Concord Street between Calhoun and Laurens Street. In January 1767 Gadsden advertised in the South Carolina Gazette for, “Pine logs 16 to18 feet long and from 10 to 12 inches thick.” Work progressed so that in nine months Gadsden announced that he had framed the wharf and had space for two ships that could be loaded and unloaded simultaneously. Gadsden also announced that planters could store their rice at his wharf for a week without charge provided that he was the factor selling the rice. Over the next seven years Gadsden continued expanding the wharf.

 In March 7, 1774 the South Carolina Gazette reported that the,
“Stupendous work was nearly completed and was believe to be the most extensive of its kind ever undertaken by any one man in America.”
In May Gadsden wrote his friend Samuel Adams describing his
“seven years of hard labor to build the wharf, extending 840 feet that included warehouses that could hold 10,000 barrels of rice.”
1778 – American Revolution

The new Constitution of South Carolina was given a third reading and approved. It deprived the President of the state of his veto. It also stated that only Protestants could be legislators or governor. The Anglican Church, was disestablished, but retained all its property.

President John Rutledge resigned his office because he felt this document surrendered all hope of reunion with Britain. Arthur Middleton was elected to succeed Rutledge but he declined. Rawlins Lowndes was then elected and served until Rutledge replaced him in January 1779. Christopher Gadsden was chosen as Vice-President. 

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