By the time Burlingham Rudd was sentenced to transportation in 1728, all of the colonies except Pennsylvania were royal colonies (Georgia had not yet been established) and the British had been using this form of deportation for over 100 years. It served a dual purpose. On one hand it helped to rid the population of petty thieves, vagrants, orphans and other undesirables. On the other hand, the practice provided the much needed labor for the plantations of the British Empire, first in the West Indies and later in America.
From it’s founding, the Virginia colony was the destination for most of those banished and many of those who received a reprieve from capital punishment by the Privy Council. But after the English Civil War, Cromwell found a new use for transportation and disposed of several thousand defeated Royalists by sending them to New England, Virginia and the West Indies. Eventually, the use of royal pardons for capital crimes on the condition of transportation became an annual custom. But as the crime rate increased, the hanging rate increased and juries grew hesitant of passing sentences for theft that would automatically invoke the death penalty because it was grounded in the law. So they began to underestimate the value of stolen property which made the use of transportation a popular alternative. Then in 1715 there was an unsuccessful attempt in Scotland by Jacobites to return the House of Stuart to the throne with James III&VIII, ”The Old Pretender”. He was the son of James 2nd of England and 7th of Scotland (James II&VII), who was the brother of Charles 2nd. In 1701, the British Parliament passed the Acts of Settlement which ensured a Protestant succession to the throne. Six years later, in 1707, both the English and the Scottish Parliaments passed the twin Acts of Union which created the joint kingdom of Great Britain. It reinforced the exclusion of Catholic monarchs from the throne. So in 1714, when Queen Anne died, the Jacobites tried to prevent the House of Hanover from succession. Their failed coup filled the gaols of London and the problem of overpopulation pushed the British Parliament to create the 1718 Transportation Act. Up until this time, there had been no real organization in the use of transportation, so this legislation institutionalized the practice and was administratively a success because it allowed the Justices in London and in each county to contract with the merchant or his ship’s captain to arrange transportation of the convicted. It also added to the list of crimes that were subject to transportation, such as, horse theft. In 1720, expansion of the legislation authorized payments by the state to the ship’s captain who was contracted to take the convicts to America and gave them the revenue from the sale of their indenture once they arrived at their destination. In essence, they created a profit incentive to rid themselves of the problem and it worked very effectively.
Historical Norwich, gives us a peek at the conditions inside the jail.
In 1729 a debtor who had a bed to himself paid the gaoler 2 shillings (10p) a week, if he shared the bed with another person, they each paid Is. 6d. (7 1/2 p), while if three people shared they only paid 6d. (2 1/2 p) each. Unless food was brought in, prisoners had to exist on a small amount of bread and water.We know Burlingham had family in Holt and Scarning. I’d like to believe that someone brought him something to eat and paid for him to have a bed to sleep in. Given his apparent social status, this was likely a sobering experience. But it had only just begun.
The Assize Circuit Court conducted proceedings twice a year. The Norfolk Circuit included Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The court records for Burlingham’s examination are contained in the session that ended on August 12, 1728. He might have been held in the gaol at Norwich until he was transported. There is no indication in his court records that he was sentenced to transportation, however, we know he was because his sentencing is included in “The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage ~ 1614-1775”, by Peter Wilson Coldham.
According to the key provided in his book, this translates as: Burlingham Rudd was found guilty of stealing a horse from Poringland Parish during the summer session of the Norfolk Circuit Court in 1728 and was Sentenced to Transportation, which was the normal penalty for this crime.
Mr. Coldham states, he extracted this information from the Public Records Office in London and he included all the details that were provided. Since the court records from his examination in Norfolk do not include the sentencing that Mr. Coldham found in London, there seems to have been some administrative process that provided that information to the London court. Also, other information that is not included in the extract from the Public Records Office would have provided us with the date of his departure, the name of the ship and captain that transported him and the date and location of his entry into the American colonies. Evidently that information is not in the record in London either. However, the timeline on Burlingham indicates he arrived at Charles Towne Harbor in the Colony of South Carolina because the parish register for Prince Frederick’s Parish Chapel in Georgetown, South Carolina records that on October 27, 1745 he baptized three children; Martha born on March 1, 1738/9, Burlingham Jr. born on October 13, 1741 and Walter born on March 20, 1743.
Indentured servants and indentured convicts were not treated the same. Usually an indentured servant had a contract that had been negotiated prior to their transportation to the colonies. They were allowed to appeal to a provincial court if their contract was breached or if they suffered abuse by their master. In most cases, they received freedom dues, a parcel of land and clothing once their contract was completed. Indentured convicts were the property of the ship’s captain. The contract was between him and the purchaser of the indenture. England had washed her hands of them once they were put on the ship. They had no rights of appeal to a court for abuse. If they ran away and were caught, they were punished and the length of their sentence was extended. Their liberties were restricted. They could not marry; all of the income generated by their labor was turned over to their master; they received no freedom dues and no property when their term of sentence was completed. And if they returned to Britain before their sentence was done, they were subject to hanging.
The term of sentencing for transportees at the time was either seven or fourteen years, or life depending on the classification of their crime. Most received seven years, some received fourteen years and a few were sentenced for life. Burlingham appears to have received a seven year indenture that began some time after the Assize Circuit Court pronounced his sentence in the later half of 1728. He would have completed his indenture by late 1735 or early 1736. His first documented child was born a little more than two years later indicating he had married about one year before or at least by mid-1737.
It’s my guess that the reason Mr. Coldham did not find information in the record which would give us the details of Burlingham’s transportation and destination is because he was not transported by a convict ship contracted out of London, but rather, it was a ship that was contracted by the Justice of the Peace for Norfolk, as the 1718 Transportation Act allowed each county to do. Of the two harbors in Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, the later was the deep water port that accommodated ships large enough to sail across the Atlantic Ocean; the former was mostly a fishing port.
Those of us who have ancestors from colonial South Carolina recognize many of the family names that are found in the history of the colony. The original charter was for the colony of Carolana and was granted in 1629 by Charles 1st of England to Sir Robert Heath, but the name Carolana originates from the founding of the French colony of Charlesfort near present-day Parris Island in 1562 by Jean Ribaut for his king, Charles 9th of France. The colony was intended as an asylum for Huguenots from France, who were Protestants, but they abandoned the fort, some perished and others returned to France. Then in 1564 Rene de Laudonniere of France established Fort Caroline near the mouth of the St. Johns River at present-day Jacksonville, Florida. In 1565 Ribaut sailed to reinforce Fort Caroline and caused such alarm for the Spanish, who were colonizing at St. Augustine, that Catholic Spain dispatched Pedro Menendez de Aviles to drive out the Protestant French. Ribaut followed Menendez back to St. Augustine but his fleet of ships was wrecked in a hurricane. He and most of his men were captured and executed. Menendez took his men and marched overland to Fort Caroline and massacred most of the colonists. The threat of the Spanish in Florida to South Carolinians with episodes of invasion and fighting would last throughout the colonial period.
Remember that after the English Civil War, many of the Royalists were exiled by Cromwell, but some of them escaped into self-imposed exile to the West Indies where many of them had sugar plantations. One of those Royalists was John Colleton who established himself as a planter in Barbados. Of the eight noblemen who Charles 2nd rewarded with the charter for Carolina, Colleton was the visionary behind it.
Sir John Colleton, 1608-1666 – A Royalist who served as a colonel under John Berkeley, Baron Berkeley of Stratton. He rose in rank during the English Civil Wars and spent a small fortune in the service of Charles 1st. His property was seized by Parliament. He retired to Barbados where he became a successful planter and became embroiled in a series of political intrigues between Royalists and Parliamentarians. After the Restoration of 1660, he returned to England to claim his reward and was knighted by Charles 2nd. He was a member of the Council for Foreign Plantations and the Royal African Company which introduced African slavery into British possessions. As one of the most enterprising of the Barbadian planters, he was the driving force behind the Carolina charter and actively interested in the successful development of the colony. He had excellent connections in London; several relatives were London merchants, his close friend was Lord Berkeley and his distant cousin was George Monck, Duke of Albemarle. He was the first Proprietor to die.
William, Lord Craven, also the Earl of Craven, 1608-1697 – A Royalist during the English Civil Wars who provided substantial financial support for both Charles 1st and Charles 2nd. He had a distinguished military career in Germany, was a patron of the arts and letters and an early member of the Royal Society for Scientific Research. He outlived all the other Proprietors and died a bachelor, at the age of almost 90.
Monck, Duke of Albemarle, 1608-1670 – He was a professional soldier and skilled politician who had served with distinction in the Parliamentary army and under the Commonwealth, Cromwell’s regime. But after Cromwell died, Monck understood that it was to be Charles 2nd back to the throne … or chaos. He was instrumental in reconciling the army to the growing sympathy for the restoration of the Stuart monarchy and for his service he received the title of Duke of Albemarle, was appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Privy Councilor, Master of the Horse, and Commander of all military forces, as well as, granted estates and a pension.
Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftsbury, 1621-1683 – During the early years of the English Civil Wars he supported the Crown until 1644. He then joined the Parliamentarians and became a member of the Commonwealth council of state and supporter of Oliver Cromwell until 1654. He turned against the Protectorate because of his distrust of autocratic rule and later supported George Monck in the Restoration of Charles 2nd as a means of national peace. He became a member of the Privy Council and knighted as Baron Ashley in 1661. The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina were the work of his friend and secretary, the philosopher John Locke, which produced the greatest measure of political and religious freedom in British North America. He was a part owner of a sugar plantation in Barbados and a shareholder in the Hudson Bay Company. During the reign of Charles 2nd, he became growingly concerned about the absolute rule of the monarchy and the possibility of Protestantism becoming extinct in England if Charles’ brother, James 2nd, should succeed the throne which caused him to fall out of favor with the throne and was exiled to Holland where he died.
Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, 1609-1674 – A one time supporter of the rights of Parliament against Charles 1st, he later joined forces with him when the Parliament Party, which was mostly made up of Puritans who attacked the established Church of England. He became one of Charles’ most distinguished and wise councilors and followed Charles 2nd into exile. In 1658 he was appointed Chancellor to Charles 2nd while in exile and following the Restoration he was made Baron Hyde of Hindon, Viscount Cornbury, Earl of Clarendon and Chancellor of Oxford University. In 1667 his political enemies at court succeeded in undermining him and he was driven from office into exile. He was the father of Anne Hyde who married the Duke of York who became James 2nd, a future king. He died in 1674.
John, first Baron Berkeley of Stratton, 1602-1678 – He was a Royalist and English army officer who was a fanatical follower of the Stuarts. Trusted by Charles 1st, he provided safe haven for the Queen who was expecting a child during the English Civil Wars. As a skillful politician, he was president of the Council for Foreign Plantations and made many of the decisions affecting the British colonies in America and elsewhere. He served as one of the Lords’ Proprietors of New Jersey in 1664 and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1670-1672.
William Berkeley, 1606-1677 – The youngest brother of Lord John Berkeley, was an uncompromising Royalist who was appointed colonial governor of Virginia in 1641, arriving in 1642 he made Virginia a haven for supporters of Charles 1st by driving out the Puritans. He was deposed by a Puritan force from England in 1652 and retired to his plantation in Virginia until the Restoration in 1660 when he once again was appointed governor of the colony. In 1676 he put down Bacon’s Rebellion with such brutal force that he was recalled to England where he died the following year.
Sir George Carteret, 1615-1680 – Born of French ancestry, he held the Channel Island of Jersey as the last stronghold for Charles 1st against Oliver Cromwell’s army. He died before he received the patent of nobility from the monarch. He was a distinguished naval officer, but not a business man, and had little education. For a while he and Lord Berkeley were the Lords’ Proprietors of New Jersey, which he named for his home island.
In “South Carolina – a History”, Walter B. Edgar provides us with a very good description of the relationships between these eight Lords' Proprietors on pages 38-39.
One Englishman who was familiar with Barbados was John Colleton, a royalist exile. When the Puritans triumphed in England, he and other monarchists had escaped to the island. There he established himself as a planter and witnessed first hand the fortunes made from sugar. He also witnessed the colony’s relative economic decline as sugar spread to the other English islands and the cost of production increased. In addition, he was aware of the steady exodus of the white colonists as the slave population increased. Where some might have seen problems and been discouraged, Colleton evidently saw opportunities.The charter granted the eight noblemen the rights to make war and peace, create towns and ports, grant “titles of honor”, raise and maintain an army, collect taxes and custom duties, impose the death sentence and issue pardons. Income could come from fees for the establishment of towns and fairs, taxes and custom duties. Control over all veins, mines and quarries, trade with native Indians and fishing rights, including whales, sturgeons and all other royal fishes, a list of commodities that could be exported duty-free from England for seven years … and hundreds of thousands of acres of land. Since most of the proprietors were experienced in colonial matters, they felt that not only would the colony pay for itself, but it would also make them a very handsome profit.
With the Restoration in 1660, Colleton returned to London to seek reward for his support of the royalist cause. Through the intervention of an old friend, John Berkeley, Baron Berkeley of Stratton and member of the Privy Council, Colleton received a knighthood and an appointment to the Council for Foreign Plantations. Membership on the council brought him in contact with Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia; Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper (later the Earl of Shaftsbury), Chancellor of the Exchequer; Sir George Carteret, vice chamberlain of the household and treasure of the navy; Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, who was the King’s first minister. In addition to these new and powerful acquaintances, Colleton’s cousin was General Monck, Duke of Albemarle.
It is probable that Colleton turned first to his cousin and his old friend, Lord Berkeley, for assistance for his scheme for a colony between Virginia and Spanish Florida. Four other fellow members of the Council for Foreign Plantations (Berkeley, Ashley Cooper, Carteret, Hyde) and William Craven, the Earl of Craven, were soon party to the plan. It was a powerful group, and everyone had a claim on Charles 2nd. Their request was successful, and on the 24 March 1663 the King granted a charter for the colony of Carolina that made the eight petitioners the “true and absolute lords and proprietors” of the province. While the proprietors were interested in promoting the expansion of the empire, it is also quite evident they were interested in making money. The charter certainly gave them every opportunity to do so.
The Virginia colony had been in existence for about sixty years when the Carolina charter was granted and settlements had migrated across the designated border into the upper area of what would become North Carolina. Since Sir William Berkeley had been returned as governor of the Virginia colony by Charles 2nd and was now a member of the group of eight, the original plan was based on the idea that colonists could be enticed into the northern portion of the Carolina colony from Virginia and the New England colonies. A group of New Englanders had explored around the Cape Fear area in 1662 but had left and returned to New England after six months. In 1663 a group called the Barbadian Adventurers commissioned William Hilton to explore the Carolina coast but the Adventurers and the proprietors could not reach an agreement. In 1665 the proprietors attempted to encourage settlement by issuing a document called “Concessions and Agreements”. Sir John Yeamans was one of the Adventurers and had been involved in the drafting of the “Concessions” part of the document which allowed for self-government, freedom of religion and generous land grants. A company of Barbadians led by John Vassall had established Charles Town on the Cape Fear River and Yeamans and another rival group had joined the settlement which grew to about 800 in population. Another settler was Robert Sandford who had been a planter in Surinam and Barbados. In June of 1666, he undertook exploration of the coast south of the northern colony and reported back to the Lords’ Proprietors in glowing terms that the area was better than anything in the West Indies. However, the Barbadians were not impressed and by summer of 1667 they had abandoned the Cape Fear colony citing hostile Indians and lack of support from the proprietors as the reasons.
But it was likely that events back in England were the reasons for the lack of attention by the proprietors. Monck, Duke of Albemarle, was Admiral of the Royal Navy and England was involved in a second naval war with Holland. He was responsible for keeping order in London after the plague and Great Fire. His health failed, he withdrew from public life and died in 1669. Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, had finally accumulated enough enemies in government that he was held responsible for failure to win the war, was impeached by the House of Commons and went into exile. Sir John Colleton died in 1666 and his heir, Sir Peter Colleton, was in Barbados. Sir William Berkeley was in Virginia being governor again. So the plans to develop the Carolina colony had been put on the back burner until 1668 when Lord Ashley instigated a plan to secure a grant for the Bahamas and other unnamed and unclaimed Caribbean islands which involved six of the original eight proprietors. Ashley was invested in the slave trade, held part ownership in plantations in Barbados and was invested in several overseas trading companies so he believed that the Bahamas and Carolina would be mutually supportive and profitable. It was through his persistence that Carolina became a reality. He convinced the others that they would have to make significant investment in order to make Carolina a success, and they agreed the plan would require experienced settlers like those in Barbados, but they also wanted emigrants from the mother country to be among the first settlers.
In ninety days, Ashley bought and supplied three ships, commissioned Captain Joseph West as commander of the fleet for the expedition, enticed about one hundred English men and women to immigrate to Carolina, and worked with his friend, John Locke, to draft the first version of the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina. By mid-August 1669, three ships, the Carolina, the Port Royal and the Albemarle under the command of Captain West set sail on the first leg of the journey. The first stop was in Ireland where Captain West hoped to take on more settlers but the opposite happened when several on board jumped ship. The fleet then set sail for Barbados. They arrived in October and remained on the island until February. While in Barbados, the Albemarle was wrecked in a tropical storm and was replaced by a Barbadian built sloop called The Three Brothers. On February 26, 1670 they set out for Carolina and while sailing through the eastern Caribbean they encountered a storm that ran the Port Royal aground in the Bahamas. The remaining two ships headed for Bermuda but another storm drove The Three Brothers into Virginia. Only the Carolina with most of the settlers on board made land fall on March 15, 1670 at Bull’s Bay, about thirty miles north of Charleston. The Three Brothers passengers later joined them.
Accounts vary as to the number and make-up of the first group of settlers, but they were mostly English and a few from Barbados with one family from Nevis. The majority were indentured servants who had indentured themselves out of England to the people of wealth who had joined the expedition. Here you will find a partial list of those who are recorded as being onboard the Carolina. Among the arrival party was ship’s master of the Carolina, Henry Brayne, who had previously explored the area, Colonel William Sayle who was the official governor for the expedition, Captain Florence O’Sullivan for whom Sullivan’s Island was named and Captain Joseph West who became the second governor of Carolina. Over the next few years about half of the whites and over half of the African slaves came from the islands. Some of the family names of the early settlers will be familiar to those of you who have ancestors in the Low Country of early South Carolina. They were not just of English descent; they were English-West Indian: Allston, Beadon, Beresford, Colleton, Daniel, Drayton, Fenwicke, Gibbes, Godfrey, Ladson, Logan, Middleton, Moore, Schenchingh and Yeamans from Barbados; Amory, Parris, Pinckney and Whaley from Jamaica; Lucas, Motte and Perry from Antiqua; Lowndes and Rawlins from Saint Christopher’s; LaMotte from Grenada; Woodward from Nevis.
These were the offspring of those planters who had made their fortunes in the West Indies. They had learned from their parents how to develop a prosperous colony, economically, socially and politically. They brought with them the Barbadian cultural model and looked at Carolina as their opportunity to make their fortunes. Among them were servants, merchants and the younger sons of planting families. Eighteen of the biggest planting families and thirty-three of the middle size planting families of the English West Indies sent representatives or families members to the colony of Carolina. These were not the “gentlemen” of Virginia and New England. Because the Barbadians, as all of the islanders came to be called, became the majority of the white population within two years of settlement, they defined the culture of the colony, the life-style of the settlement, and those who came from Old and New England learned quickly to assimilate into the culture or move on. The Barbadians brought their slaves with them and the slave code that had been developed on Barbados. It became the model for the Carolina slave laws. The Barbados model had been based years before on the Brazilian model which had been brought to the West Indies by the Spaniards when they established their sugar plantations.
In Carolina, Barbadian society combined old world elegance with the boisterousness of the frontier and many of the traditions they brought with them became hallmarks of Low Country culture. They dressed very ostentatiously and built huge plantation homes that were flamboyantly furnished. They used military titles like captain and colonel that did not necessarily indicate a military rank or a history of military service. Most of them were Anglicans, members of the Church of England, ex-patriot British Royalists. Their interest was in prosperity, their own. The prosperity of the proprietors was never their consideration. Many of them settled around the area of Goose Creek and developed large plantations; after all, their families had been in the plantation business for decades. They quickly dominated the seats of government and made many attempts to exclude non-Anglicans from elected positions in the Assembly and on Council. If they believed the designated colonial governor appointed by the Proprietors was not supportive of their agenda, then they took action to have him removed and often manipulated the legislative process to usurp his authority. They began to deal in the native Indian slave business, selling kidnapped Indians to New England and West Indies plantations. They also dealt in trade with pirates who raided ships along the Atlantic coastline and paid them in gold and silver coins. These things didn’t set well with the Lords’ Proprietors, living thousands of miles away, who were attempting repeatedly to get the colonists to accept the Fundamental Constitutions for Carolina. So the proprietors set about advertising the colony in London in glowing rhetorical language intended to entice those looking for health, wealth and freedom of religion, which did succeed in encouraging immigration and boosting the population during the 1680’s.
A group of Dissenters arrived in 1680. The Lords’ Proprietors had hoped that by encouraging Dissenters to immigrate to the colony they would help to neuter the growing control and influence in the Council and Assembly by the Anglicans. Dissenters were a diverse group of Protestant denominations who were non-conformists. They refused to accept the doctrines of the Church of England. This brought Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers and Congregationalists to the colony from England, Scotland, Ireland and other European counties. In April of 1680 forty-five French Huguenots arrived aboard the sailing vessel Richmond. Over the next decade an estimated 1500 Huguenots fleeing France migrated to South Carolina when Louis 14th of France revoked the Edict of Nantes. They mostly settled in Craven County in an area along the Santee River which became known as the French Santee. Among those family names were; Bonneau, Cordes, DeSaussures, Deveaux, DuBose, Fort, Gaillard, Gendron, Guerard, Horry, Huger, Laurens, Legare, Manigualt, Marion, Peyre, Porcher, Prioleau, Ravenal, Simmons, and Timothy. In 1695 a group of Puritans from Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay relocated and founded the town of Dorchester. But after two decades of trying to adjust to the Barbadian culture, they decided to relocate and the entire congregation moved to Medway (Midway), Georgia.
The Barbadians seemed to have had the attitude that they were there first, their plantations were the basis for the economy, and they would make the rules. They had been relentless in their drive for control of the government and the Protestant Dissenters had been just as relentless in pushing back the Anglican Barbadians. At one point the Barbadians conspired with the colonial governor to call for the Assembly to meet before the scheduled meeting and before the Dissenters could organize. They then passed legislation allowing only members of the Church of England to be elected to the Assembly. Next they passed legislation which made the Church of England the established church of the colony and imposed a tax on the colonists to provide financial support only for their Church. Then they told the French Huguenot minister that any marriages he performed were not legal. This pushed the line and the legislation was overturned. During the chaos that was created, Queen Anne authorized the Catholics the right to vote in 1702. Up until this time, Catholics had been forbidden in the colony and if there were any, they kept their religion to themselves. The first Anglican Church was St. Phillips built in 1683. The French Huguenot Church was built in 1686 and the Baptist Church with William Screven as minister was built in 1690. The Quakers arrived about 1682 and met in private homes. The White Meeting House of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists also was built between 1680 and 1690. As you can see the colony was quite diverse religiously, and that was an important selling point for the Proprietors because religious tolerance was one the magnets that drew people from Europe.
By the dawn of the 18th century there were four major cities in colonial America; Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston. The port at Charleston was emerging as a shipping capital and was filled with merchant ships during the peak shipping season from December to March. It was strategically located to harbor English ships during those times when England was at war with one or more of the other European powers who shared the continent and the West Indies. During these times the city was flooded with marines and sailors … and drunks, prostitutes, gamblers, trappers, beggars and others from the lower classes of society. Charleston had endured reoccurring epidemics of yellow fever, small pox and malaria, floods, droughts, hurricanes, fires and an earthquake in 1698, invasions and attacks by the Spanish from St. Augustine, marauding Indians and plundering pirates with still more to come.
In August of 1712 a yellow fever epidemic with a small pox epidemic fell on the colony until about February the following year. It is said to have been the worst in history and an estimated 1200 people died.
Then in the summer of 1713 a hurricane raged for twelve hours. It flooded the city carrying away houses and businesses and about seventy people drowned.
Two years later, in 1715, one of the bloodiest and most costly Indian wars in colonial history, the Yamassee War, took place in the colony. Governor Craven heard rumors of unrest among the Yamassee Indians who did business with about 100 English traders and had complained to him about being cheated, as well as, the continued kidnapping of Indians that they then sold as slaves in the West Indies and New England. Attempts by the Governor to control the English traders had failed and he sent Captain Nairn to inquire about the rumors. On April 15th, Captain Nairn met with the tribe and several of the English traders who lived among them. After several hours of discussing resolutions to the problems, the Indians appeared reconciled, prepared a supper for their guests and all went to sleep. Early the next morning the English were surprised by an attack in which the Indians murdered Captain Nairn, John Wright and Thomas Ruffly. Mr. Cockran and his wife were held captive and later murdered. Mr. Burroughs escaped with a bullet wound to his face and swam a river to warn the plantations at Port Royal that the Indians were on the war-path. It’s estimated about 90 of the English traders were killed.
On the northern side of the colony, the Catawbas and the Creeks advanced on the plantation of Mr. John Herne at Goose Creek under the ruse they were in need of provisions, and killed him. When the news reached Captain Thomas Barker of Goose Creek, he gathered men and rode to confront the Indians. He was ambushed and murdered by an Indian whom he trusted. The Indians advance towards Goose Creek laying in waste everything in their path. The whole parish was deserted as the colonials fled to Charleston, except two fortified plantations. After hours of attacking the fortifications, the Indians proposed peace and entered the forts where they murdered the inhabitants. Then they advanced father towards Charleston. Several months later, Governor Craven, Captain MacKay and the colonial militias succeeded in pushing back the Indians, but not until they had to resort to arming African slaves to assist the men in fighting. The sight of armed slaves was very unnerving to the white colonists. About 400 of the Carolinians were killed during the war. Security had been shaken and armed convicts were preferable to armed slaves. In May and August 1718 ships from Britain brought indentured convicts to Charleston.
The Yamassee were defeated so severely that they fled to the protection of the Spanish in St. Augustine. The Catawba became staunch friends of the colonists, and the Cherokee resumed peaceful relations with them. Many of the other tribes moved farther from the borders of South Carolina into west Florida and south Alabama.
Edward Teach, otherwise known as Blackbeard, with four ships and 400 men plundered merchant ships in Charleston Harbor and kidnapped some of the passengers who he held for ransom ... demanding a chest of medicines. He promised to send the heads of Samuel Wragg, at the time a merchant and member of Council, and his four year old son if his demands were not met. Blackbeard and his men paraded through the streets of Charleston while the governor contemplated his response. He eventually complied with 400 pounds of medicines to which Blackbeard responded by stripping his captives almost naked and sending them ashore, leaving Charleston inhabitants humiliated and angry. The colonists appealed to England for help, but none was to come. Then in August the black flag of the pirates again appeared on the horizon of Charleston Harbor seizing and plundering merchant ships waiting to dock and unload. This time the merchants enlisted William Rhett who organized a posse of about 300 volunteers to pursue the pirates. They captured the notorious pirate, Stede Bonnet, and his sailing master, David Herriot, along with thirty-nine pirates on the Cape Fear River and retuned them to Charleston for trial.
All of these events, disease, Indians, pirates and natural disasters came one upon the other and were having a detrimental effect on the economy. There was a growing concern among the colonials that they had been left to fend for themselves and resentment for the Lords’ Proprietors was growing among the people who increasingly felt that men who lived thousands of miles away had no right to tell them what they could and could not do if they were not financially responsible for their security and colony’s infrastructure. In early 1719, the Assembly met and passed new import duties to help defray some of the cost of the Indian war and rebuild the town. They presented to the Proprietors a list of requests that they felt would help improve the economic situation. The response from the Proprietors was ... no to the new import duties ... no to the issuance of land grants to new settlers ... no to the expansion of currency ... no to the idea of a new settlement on the lands confiscated from the Yamassee after the war. The Proprietors wanted that land for themselves. They went even further, in June that year the Proprietors order the colonial governor, Robert Johnson, to reorganize the Council, dissolve the Assembly and hold new elections. Then in November that same year came the rumors that the Spanish Armada was planning an invasion of Charleston. The influential citizens beseeched England to send troops to protect the colony and warned if England did not come to their aid, they would seek independence. In early December that year the Assembly met and voted to make themselves the government “until the King’s wishes were known”. The appointed governor, Robert Johnson, refused to accept the Assembly’s decision, but they would not back down, so they elected their own provisional governor, General James Moore, Jr. who was a popular son of an unpopular former governor and who had also led successful raids into Florida against the Spanish and the Indians. The Assembly set December 21st, which was a muster day for the militia, as the date of inauguration for the new government. During the muster, Governor Johnson ordered the militia to disperse the crowd attending the ceremony but Colonel Parris ordered the militia to point their muskets at Governor Johnson and “bid him stand off”. Later Johnson’s attempt to regain control failed and he returned to England. The 1719 “Charles Town Revolution” was effectively the beginning of the end of proprietary control over the colony. South Carolina was now a royal colony and all that was left to do was finalize the buyout price.
In February 1724 another convict ship was sent to Charleston; and Jacobites who had been imprisoned after the 1715 Uprising were deported as prisoners-of-war to South Carolina. Among them were thirteen members of the McGillivray Clan. Later, after the Battle of Culloden that brutally ended the Uprising in 1745, more Jacobites were deported to South Carolina which brought the families of Abercromby, Allen, Buchanan, Bullock, Deas, Kinloch, Logan, Michie and Pringle to the colony.
From “Charleston! Charleston!: The History of a Southern City”, by Walter B. Edgar:
The year 1726 had been the worst winter ever experienced in the colony. The small farmers were going bankrupt and organized an anti-tax committee to prevent the collection of debts and called for expansion of the currency. By June 1727 an armed mob of 300 took to the streets. The Assemble and Council could not agree on a tax bill and taxes went uncollected, the judicial system collapsed and the colony was on the brink of chaos. The next summer, 1728, was very hot and drought conditions caused ponds to dry up and livestock to perish, crops wilted in the fields, yellow fever returned with a vengeance and many people, black and white, died. Back country farmers who were fearful of contracting the disease would not bring their fresh produce to town so people went hungry and commerce ceased. Then in August a hurricane damaged the city and 23 ships in the harbor. The conditions in the colony were at a crisis level and served as the impetus for completing the buyout of the proprietors by the Crown and at that time a plan was approved to increase the white population in the colony and a moderate expansion of currency was endorsed. Robert Johnson was appointed as the first royal governor.
As long as the age of sail lasted, Charleston was on the main Atlantic highway which circumnavigated the Bermuda High. Vessels leaving England or leaving any European port for North America, generally sailed southwestwardly to the Azores, to catch the trade winds then with full sail made for the West Indies, Barbados standing out front like a doorman to welcome all to the New World. Next they made their way through the West Indies to the Gulf Stream. From the Florida Keys to Cape Hatteras they hugged the American coast before veering off to England and northern Europe. It was a great circle and Charleston was on its western edge.
The colony was almost sixty years old. The population was about 30,000 and 20,000 of them were African slaves. The white population consisted of merchants and artisans, plantation owners, and small farmers. They were surrounded by Indians and forests. To the south, down the coast, were the Spaniards. After the buyout of the charter by the Crown, the colony experienced an economic boom because the Crown agreed to lift the export restrictions on Carolina rice and that opened up foreign markets. This created a scramble for land and more slaves. The rich became richer and a second class of wealthy families began to emerge. The power struggle between the Anglicans and the Dissenters had ebbed to some extent. The plantation families and the merchant families began to integrate with arranged marriages and a plutocracy began to emerge.
Many of the new immigrants were poor and had come to the colony with hopes of prosperity, but the increase in the number of slaves limited their employment opportunities. By mid-1730 many white people were begging door to door and dependent on the benevolent societies that had been established by the various ethnic-religious groups.
Then on Sept 9, 1739, one of the Carolinian’s worse fears came to pass. The Stono Rebellion, the bloodiest slave rebellion in American history began at Stono River Bridge, twenty miles south of Charleston. By this time, the population in the colony was about 15,000 whites and 30,000 slaves. A group of slaves murdered about thirty whites, looted a store, burned houses and set out for Spanish Florida. They were intercepted at Jacksonbrough Ferry by a posse of planters, who shot fourteen of them, questioned the other captives and shot them. About thirty escaped into woods. About forty were seized and killed. The next year a group of slaves at Goose Creek planned to take the city. About sixty-seven were tried and punished or killed. As a result the importation of slaves was shut down for a period of time.
On Nov 18, 1740 the great fire of Charleston raged for four hours and destroyed 300 houses, many businesses, wharfs and warehouses storing export and import goods, as well as, the security fortification along the Cooper River causing many of the weapons to become useless. This caused commerce to cease and brought about an economic depression.
When war broke out between Spain and England in 1739, the fear of a Spanish invasion from Florida became very intense in the colony. This brought British troops to the colony with barracks at Charleston and British warships to Charleston Harbor. In 1744 France joined with other European powers and declared war on England. It became known as the Great War for Empire as the continental powers fought for control of North America. This brought French prisoners of war from Canada into the colony until the war ended.
Now, 284 years later, I offer my apology to the ancestors of Mary White for Burlingham Rudd stealing her iron grey gelding horse from Poringland Common, but ... I confess ... I’m awfully glad he did!