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Today In Charleston History: July 9

Martha Laurens Ramsay

Martha Laurens Ramsay

Dr. David Ramsay returned to Charlestown from New York (serving a term in Congress) and took over the treatment of the ailing Henry Laurens. It was during this time he first met Martha Laurens whom he soon married. 

1781-American Revolution.  

The Charlestown patriots exiled in St. Augustine received word of the prisoner exchange negotiated between Cornwallis and Gen. Greene.


The murder of Stephen Saint Johns by his slave, Titus, sent shockwaves through the white community. Titus was executed in Charleston for that murder.


The Evening Post reported:

First of the Vehicles In Charleston Appeared Today

“Yonder she comes,” “Gee whiz,” “Gol darn” and similar expressions of surprise and admiration on King Street this morning arrested the attention of pedestrians who turned to see a vast crowd of small boys chasing excitedly after a vehicle, the like of which had never been seen in Charleston before this day, July 9, 1900, A.D.


1900 Locomobile

It was a horseless carriage and the rubber tires of its four wheels did not amount to one-tenth of that displayed in the necks of Charlestonians who craned themselves to catch a sight of the vehicle. It was evidently a red letter occasion for Charleston – the horseless carriage and a big convention all on one day. Surely this was a great glory.

The horseless carriage in Charleston is not an automobile, but a Locomobile, the difference being that the former uses electricity for motive power while the latter is propelled by gasoline.

The Locomobile at present in the city is the property of Colgate & Co. of New York, used to advertise Octagon soap. And it surely fulfilled its mission in Charleston today. Everyone has seen it, the men exclaiming “Oh,” and the ladies “Ah” as they viewed it with great delight. It is a neatly constructed vehicle, after the style of a one-seated trap… The “loco” will probably be in the city for two or three weeks.

Lt. James Reese Europe

Lt. James Reese Europe

After the murder of their director, James Reese Europe, the Hellfighter’s Band was reorganized under the leadership of Gene Mikell. Mikell, a native of Charleston and former director of the Jenkins Orphanage Band, had served as the assistant director of the Hellfighters Band during World War I across Europe. James Europe had been murdered in a backstage argument in Boston by Hellfighter’s drummer, Herbert Wright, also a former member of the Jenkins Orphanage Band.

As “a tribute to the late leader of this band” the Hellfighters played a successful concert at the Manhattan Casino and served as the headliner at one last Carnegie Hall concert.

Listen to the music of the Hellfighters Band:

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