Scottish merchants founded the South Carolina Golf Club on September 29, 1786. (175)



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Scottish merchants founded the South Carolina Golf Club on September 29, 1786. (175)
In 1791, after the new state constitution permitted the practice of religion without discrimination, St. Mary's Catholic Church and the Beth Elohim Congregation were incorporated. By the end of the century, Charleston contained the largest Jewish community in the nation. (179)
On June 13, 1795, a fire burned every house on Queen St., between Bay and Church Streets. (184)
A majority of Charleston's summer residents were Episcopalians. Summer residents were planters' families. Likewise, the majority of the merchants and professionals was Episcopalian. (194)
For the plantations in the area, Charleston was the social capital. Planting families generally stayed in town during the social season, extending from January to March. The season included balls, races, cultural events, and festivities of all kind. It was during this time that marriages took place. This same population would return to town in May, to stay until fall, avoiding the heat and "sickly season." (195-6)
In 1819, the New England Society of Charleston was organized among Northern mill owners who bought cotton in Charleston. (197)
The Carolina Academy of Fine Arts was organized in 1821 by Samuel Morse and local art patrons. (198)
It was not until after the Civil War that interracial marriage was forbidden in South Carolina. (199)
Charleston's brown elite included 500 free mulattoes within a free A-A population of 3000. Many of these free persons owned slaves themselves. This brown elite was created on the basis of status, color, and wealth. (200)
The "Sugar House," on the corner of Magazine and Mazyck streets, was an institution for slave correction. Payment of a fee by slave owners purchased whipping by the workhouse keeper. In addition to straight flogging, the Sugar House also possessed a treadmill on which slaves were required to walk, arms tied above their heads, while drivers flogged them with a cat o' nine tails. While city officials proclaimed the treadmill an improvement in racial control, Sarah Grimke described it as a method of torture. (203)
Between 1820 and 1850, successful white merchants, professionals, and planters sent their sons to Cristopher Coates' private boarding school. Their daughters were polished at one of the "female academies," the best being the French School for Young Ladies, or with private lessons in dancing and music. (215)
Elite sons went to the South Carolina College in Columbia for their higher education, while the College of Charleston stumbled along. (215)
By 1841, the St. Cecilia Society, having evolved into a social organization, was holding its balls in Hibernian Hall. Even at this time, St. Cecilia's was considered highly exclusive. (219)
The Citadel, the South Carolina Military Academy, was chartered by the state legislature in 1842. (219)
The grandness of the private parties held during Charleston's social season can be illustrated by a ball given by Mrs. Charles Alston in 1851. For 200 guests there were "18 dozen plates, 14 dozen knives, 28 dozen spoons, 6 dozen champagne glasses… 4 turkeys, 4 hams, 50 partridges, 12 pheasants, 22 ducks, 10 quarts of oysters, 4 pyramids of crystallized fruit and coconut, and 'immense quantities' of bonbons, cakes, creams, and jellies." (229-231)
In 1860, during the secession crisis, Charleston police began a systematic search of Charleston's free Black population. Of the 3,200 free blacks, 122 owned slaves. Those interrogated, who could not provide proof of their emancipation were reenslaved. Even the mulatto aristocracy, including the Ellisons, Johnsons, and Westons were hounded. (242)
The free black community sought to leave Charleston, and the trade class left, selling businesses and property at great loss. However, the aristocracy, fearing loss of careers, and other monetary situations, stayed in Charleston. (243)
Generally, Charleston trusted its free black community, even employing them as firefighters in 1862 while fearing slave arsonists. (255)
The early years of the war did little to stop the festive social season, and in many ways increased the number of parties. Officers were entertained at Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, and Fort Pemberton, and were received at weddings, dinner parties, and such in town. These officers were considered fine entertainment for the young women of the aristocracy and upper merchant class. Some of the slightly older ladies of the city were scandalized by the vulgarity of the wartime social scene. (257)
By 1862, the war had affected very little the availability of items such as champagne and fine party foods, and expensive clothing. This was the case for Charleston's elite. The less fortunate classes found it increasingly difficult to procure everyday items such as shoes, thanks to the blockade. (257)
When federal troops took James Island, June 2, 1862, Charleston panicked. Along with many inhabitants, the bells of St. Michael's Church were evacuated to Columbia. (258-9)
A Confederate deserter was executed by firing squad at Washington Race Course in May of 1863. (262)
The black Union soldier was a particular affront to Charleston natives. It was understood that no Negro prisoners were to be taken and the A-A regiments suffered particularly heavy casualties. (263)
Lieutenant Colonel Bennett occupied the city of Charleston in February of 1865, and quickly made a show of his 21st United States Colored Regiment, his other black troops, and local African-Americans, whom he engaged to put out the many fires burning in the city. The looting of unoccupied elite residences by white officers and black troops, although forbidden by Union commanders, lives into the 20th century in tales of the loss of family heirlooms. (270-1)
The A-A population remaining in Charleston welcomed the Union troops. A ceremony was performed in Marion Square, March 3, 1865, in which 13 black women, representing the original 13 colonies, presented Union commanders with a flag, flowers, and a gift for Mrs. Lincoln. (271-2)
That same month (March 29, 1865), the was a great emancipation celebration in Charleston. A parade, including band, the 21st U.S. Regiment, 4000 artisans and tradesmen, and almost 2000 school children, marched through the city center. (272)

Artisans and tradesmen included firemen, sailors, and 50 butchers, schoolteachers. At the end of the procession were two floats. The first bore an auction block with an "auctioneer" selling two black women and their children. The second float held a coffin and signs celebrating the death of slavery. (Rosen 150)


The boom of the black population, mostly ex-slaves coming in from surrounding plantations, and the increased visability of this population in public celebrations, as well as black soldiers in the streets, served to greatly upset white Charlestonians. (272)
Another example of the increased visibility of the free black population is the desegregation of the Battery as a place of exercise and social interaction. (275)
The free brown elite continued to maintain their antebellum habits of deference to the white aristocracy and rejection of the common free, now including the newly freed. (274)
During a smallpox epidemic in 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau was kept busy insuring care for the new black refugees in the city, particularly susceptible to the outbreaks of disease. (274)
Just before the advent of A-A political forces in the state legislature, the all-white leadership enacted a Black Code. (276) [link to document, Crossing Danger Water]
The bells of St. Michael's survived a 1865 fire in Columbia, where they were sent for safe-keeping. They were sent to England for recasting, and finally replaced in St. Michael's in 1866. (282)
By 1867, Charleston's elite was again enjoying the city's ample social life: balls, teas, debutante parties, weddings, and holiday events. 1868 was the occasion of a great St. Patrick's Day celebration at Hibernian Hall. The Jockey Club returned to racing at Washington Race Course. Segregated baseball leagues were created in 1867. (284)
A-A Charlestonians reveled in Emancipation and Independence Day festivities. (284)
In 1867, the U.S. Congress granted the vote to black males. (284)
1867 saw the appointment of a new group of city alderman, including six white and seven black me. The A-A contingent were of the antebellum free brown elite. (286)
The socially prominent brown elite, never more than 2% of Charleston's A-A population, such as the Noisettes, McKinlays, and Holloways, began the congregation of St. Mark's Protestant Episcopal Church, the building for which was begun in 1875. (297)
Social organization of white Charlestonians was based on class (money) and family. The elite's clubs included the St. Cecilia Society, the Charleston Club, the Huguenot Society, and the Carolina Yacht Club. White citizens below the aristocracy could choose from among the Emerald Social Club, the Annex Club, and the Harmony Social Club. In addition to church organizations, A-A's had fraternal orders such as the Masons, and social clubs such as the Mystic. (312)
Charleston's prominent white elite included the families of: DeSaussure, Grimball, Heyward, Huger, Laurens, Manigault, Pringle, Ravenal, Rutledge, and Vanderhorst. (312)


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