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Today In Charleston History: March 20


Judge Nicholas Trott convicted a woman (not named) of witchcraft. Reverend Dr. Francis Le Jau wrote:

A notorious Maelfactor evidently guilty of Witchcraft & who had kill’d several persons by the Devils help was lately return’d by the Grand Jury. The last Sedition begun while the Judge was examining Evidence relating to the accused Witch that is still in our prisons … that she has many powerful friends here.

Judge Trott also convicted Sarah Dickenson of murder and sentenced her to “be drawn upon a Hurdle, to the place of Execution and there shall be burned to Death.”

1719 – Bloodless Revolution

The Lords of Admiralty in London consented to send “a frigate as soon as possible.” South Carolina Governor Johnson had written a letter illustrating the Proprietors’ inability to defend their territory and subsequently, their charter.

The man-of-war Flambourg, under Captain Hildesly, arrived on duty in the harbor, while the Phoenix under Captain Pierce patrolled the coast for freebooters. Better late than never, the citizens felt.


The Charleston & Hamburg Rail Road completed one mile of track in the Charleston Neck. Chief engineer Horatio Allen tested the track with a small two-axle wagon with a single mast supporting a sail – 5×9 feet in size – a “sail wagon.”  Thirteen passengers and three tons of freight were propelled at fifteen miles per hour along the rail.


A “sail wagon” from England, 1922, similar in concept to the larger one used in Charleston.

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