Dr. Nic Butler will offer three lectures this month:

The Grand Skedddle: Refuge Conditions in Civil War South Carolina will be held at the John’s Island Regional Library on Tuesday, January 10th at 10:15 a.m. The movement of Federal troops through our state during the years 1861-1865 displaced thousands of people and disrupted traditional food production and distribution networks. As the war raged on, many people struggled to find the basic necessities of life.  Join us for a discussion of the civilian conditions related to South Carolina’s largest refugee crisis.

Charlestonian John Laurens is Alexander’s bosom buddy in the hit musical Hamilton, but there’s more to the story than audiences realize. Hamilton and John Laurens: A Closer Look explores their wartime friendship and Laurens’ remarkable activities during the American Revolution. This talk will take place at the Main Library Auditorium on Thursday, January 12th at 6 p.m.

Dr. Butler’s last talk this month will be The Language of Libations in Early Charleston. Before clean water became available a century ago, Charlestonians of all ages drank a wide variety of alcoholic beverages every day. This light-hearted overview of the essential vocabulary related to the consumption of beer, wines, spirits, and cordials in early Charleston is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st at 6 p.m., also at the Main Library Auditorium.

Also, don’t forget to tune in to WYLA 97.5 FM to hear Dr. Butler’s half hour local history radio program. You can also view the live stream at YouTube.com on Saturday and Sundays at 11 a.m.

For complete details about Dr. Butler’s upcoming program schedule, visit his blog at CharlestonTimeMachine.org.

Charleston Time Machine November 2016 Events FlyerDr. Nic Butler, CCPL’s Historian, will offer three lectures this November around town:

The Forgotten Pleasure Gardens of Early Charleston will be held at the Hurd/St. Andrew Regional Library on Monday November 14th at 6 p.m. The lecture examines the role that early gardens and horticulture played in the social life of Charleston.

Sergeant William Jasper: An Enigmatic Hero will take place at the unveiling of the Ft. Moultrie U.S. quarter on Thursday, November 17th at the Fort Moultrie Visitor’s Center.

The 250th Anniversary of Charleston’s First Orchestra offers a look at the history of the St. Cecilia Society, which began as a subscription concert organization. Dr. Butler will draw from his book on the Society, Votaries of Apollo, for this lecture which will be held at the Main Library on Tuesday, November 29th.

For complete details about each program this month, visit Dr. Butler’s blog, CharlestonTimeMachine.org.

The Brothers Bequest by Dr. Robert Alston JonesJoin Dr. Robert Alston Jones for a discussion of his book The Brothers Bequest: Germans in Charleston, South Carolina which presents a vivid picture of the lives of 19th-century German immigrants who established “new” lives in “old” Charleston. Dr. Jones is a native Charlestonian and Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase following the discussion, and a portion of the proceeds go toward the Friends of the Library.

When: Monday, November 7, 2016, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Where: Mt. Pleasant Regional Library, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road


When: Monday, November 7, 2016, 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Main Library, 68 Calhoun Street

Andra Watkins

Andra Watkins

You’ve heard of the hit musical Hamilton. But how many characters actually spent time in Charleston or touched our city in some way? New York Times bestselling author Andra Watkins takes her audience on a romp through history.

Where did George Washington have a drink? Did Aaron Burr visit a favorite haunt? Was Theodosia unnaturally close to her father as some claimed?

See historical layers more colorfully, and get your very own copy of Andra’s newest book, Hard to Die. It weaves an afterlife story for Theodosia Burr Alston, ill-fated daughter of Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton’s killer. Part of the proceeds from book sales during the event will benefit the Friends of the Library.

When: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Main Library Auditorium, 68 Calhoun Street

Maritime Archaeology Program – has been cancelled.

Originally scheduled for Wednesday, October 29, 6:00 PM

Hurricane Hugo

The term “hurricane” is a West Indian word meaning “big wind”. Between 1900 and 2004, fifteen hurricanes have hit South Carolina. Hurricane Hugo made landfall Friday, September 21st, 1989.

Hurricane Hugo was a Cape Verde storm in the North Atlantic Ocean that intensified dramatically. By mid-September it was already classified a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. As it turned toward the northwest, the eye wall scraped the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico. There was substantial damage in the US Virgin Islands. St. Croix was leveled.

The storm was then downgraded to a Category 2. By Wednesday, it was apparent that Hugo was heading for the South Carolina coast. The hurricane intensified rapidly on Thursday.


Hurricane Hugo made landfall northeast of Charleston near midnight on Friday, September 21st. When it hit South Carolina, it was a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds in excess of 135 mph. The storm surge was estimated at over 20 feet at Bull’s Bay.


Hugo then moved inland at nearly 30 mph. Hurricane force winds were reported as far inland as York County. Tree and power lines damaged by hurricane force wind gusts were reported as far inland as Charlotte. As the storm lost power, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania felt the remnants of Hugo.


Eighty-two death are associated with Hurricane Hugo, twenty-seven in South Carolina. Damage to the U.S. was estimated at over $7 billion. Thousands of acres were destroyed in the Sumter National and the Francis Marion forests. The Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, and McClellanville communities were heavily damaged.




a-clean up

Since Hugo, the coastal population of South Carolina has increased by nearly 150,000 citizens (2006 figure).

Storm surges are the leading potential killer in tropical cyclones along the coast. Inland flooding from the rain is the most underrated killer with the most observed casualties.

Hurricane Hugo: Storm of the Century / Macchio, William

The South Carolina Encyclopedia / Walter Edgar (ed.)




Charleston’s maritime history started early, and we are very lucky to have so many maps of the Charleston Harbor. With its settlement in 1670, maps were critical for the safe maneuverings of the various vessels. With almost three and a half centuries of maritime development, the harbor has been used as a trading port, the center of blockade running and a highway to ports all over the Atlantic.

Early on, the English and the French drew numerous maps of our southeastern coastline. Interestingly enough, very few maps were drawn by mapmakers who actually stepped foot here in the New World. They were often copied from maps that had been drawn by explorers and were usually written in a different language than English.

Starting with the newly discovered 1686 “Map of Charles Towne” by John Boyd and the 1671 “Plat of Charles Town” the harbor has changed many times over the centuries. The five channels that merge to form the harbor and the old fortresses that line its banks, like Castle Pinckney, Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, and batteries Wagner and Marshall, make for interesting details on the numerous maps that have been drawn over time.