Home » Charleston Firsts » Today In Charleston History: June 17 … Charleston First.

Today In Charleston History: June 17 … Charleston First.


The boiler of the Best Friend exploded while picking up lumber cars at the “forks in the road”, where Dorchester and State Roads merged, near the Eight Mile House. Engineer Nicholas Darrell wrote:

When I ran the Best Friend, I had a Negro fireman to fire, clean and grease the engine. This Negro, annoyed at the noise occasioned by the blowing off the steam, fastened the valve-lever down and sat upon it which caused the explosion, badly injuring him.

This nameless Negro fireman was killed by his injuries, and was the first fatality on an America railroad. This explosion ended all train service on the C&HRR for a month.

Best Friend of Charleston

Best Friend of Charleston

1862-Civil War    

Mr. Frederick Paturzo finished removing seven of St. Michael’s bells, as well as the bells of St. Philip’s and First Scots. The eighth bell in St. Michael’s remained to be as the Municipal Alarm and became known as “Great Michael.” The bells of St. Philip’s and First Scots were donated to the Confederate cause. The bells of St. Michael’s were ultimately taken to Columbia for safe keeping.

2015 – Emanuel A.M.E. Massacre

At approximately 8 p.m. Dylan Roof entered Emanual A.M.E. Church on Calhoun Street in Charleston, S.C. and was invited to participate in a Bible study with a small group of thirteen people, being conducted by the pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney. When the group began to pray, Roof, pulled out a Glock 41 .45 caliber pistol, and began shooting. 

At 9.05 p.m. the Charleston Police Department began receiving 911 calls of a shooting at the church.  The dead included six women and three men,  Eight died at the scene; the ninth, Daniel Simmons, died at MUSC Medical Center. They were all killed by multiple gunshots fired at close range.

  • Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system.
  • Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member.
  • Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church’s sexton
  • Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator.
  • Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church’s pastor and a South Carolina state senator.
  • Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; grandnephew of Susie Jackson.
  • Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw.
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School; mother of MLB prospect Chris Singleton.
  • Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher.

The victims were later collectively known as “The Charleston Nine”.

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