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Today In Charleston History: May 30


General Sir Francis Nicholson became the 1st Royal Governor of South Carolina. He had served as governors of Maryland, Virginia and Nova Scotia. He helped found the College of William and Mary and was a passionate supporter of the Anglican Church, making many of the Dissenters nervous. He was also instrumental in positive negotiations with the Cherokee nation but duplicitous in his dealing with the Creek nation. In a treaty he promised the English settlements would not extend west of the Savannah River.  

Nicholson was notorious for his temper. He was “subject to fits of passion.” In one story, an Indian said of Nicholson, “The general is drunk.” When informed that Nicholson did not partake of strong drink, the Indian replied, “I do not mean that he is drunk with rum, he was born drunk.”

nicholson profile

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion
John Prioleau House, 68 Meeting Street, Charleston

John Prioleau House, 68 Meeting Street, Charleston

John Prioleau returned home from a business trip and was told about his slave Peter’s incident on the Charleston wharf with William Paul eight days previously. Alarmed that slaves were openly discussing the Haitian Revolution, Prioleau wrote a note and ordered Peter to deliver it immediately to Indendent (mayor) James Hamilton. Prioleau then marched to John Paul’s grocery story and ordered all the male slaves working at the store arrested and taken to the Guard-House.

Hamilton wrote his own note and sent it to the governor of South Carolina, Thomas Bennett, Jr. who lived a few doors down.

James Hamilton

James Hamilton

Political parties organized for the City Council elections in September. Leading the Union Party was Daniel Huger and James Petigru. Leading the Nullification Party was Robert Hayne and James Hamilton, Petigru’s former business partner, and former Charleston mayor.

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