Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Berkeley County’s Sons of the American Revolution

Berkeley County’s Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Organizational Meeting will be held at the Santee Cooper Auditorium in Moncks Corner on Friday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m. This is a call for descendants of American Revolutionary War patriots in Berkeley County. We are starting a new SAR local chapter in Berkeley County, so come and listen to our State Society’s VP give us information about starting this new chapter. For more information, contact Keith Gourdin at 843-509-3408 or email at or Edd Richburg at 843-763-7613 or email him at Please join us for this most important meeting!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Battlefield Berkeley County: New study will uncover county’s role in independence

  • Sunday, July 26, 2015
Lindsay Street/Independent Gary LeCroy and Doug Bostick with South Carolina Battleground Trust are working toward making Berkeley County's Revolutionary War battles more well-known.


Pop quiz, and no Googling: Who is Henry Laurens?
Let’s make it multiple choice. Was he:
A) the second president of the Continental Congress
B) the only American to be held in the Tower of London
C) the owner of Mepkin Plantation
D) one of the biggest slave traders in the Colonies, who, later told, pushed for America to be founded on freedom for all, including slaves
The answer is all of the above. Laurens is just one of the many influential Americans during the time of the Revolutionary War that called Berkeley County home. While many Berkeley County residents can name Francis Marion — the famous Swamp Fox that dogged the Redcoats, and made its pop culture debut in Disney’s 1959-1960 TV series — names like Laurens might elude most.
How about another question: Where are the Biggin Church Ruins? Here’s a hint: you might have driven past it recently.
The answer is near the corner of Highway 402 and Carswell Lane, near the boat landing for the Tail Race Canal.
Biggin Church was built in the 1700s. Its intricate brickwork made it a showcase church in the area during its time. In its pews, men bearing recognizable names — such as William Moultrie — sat through services.
The British came to South Carolina expecting a strong loyalist base — men like Alexander Garden of Goose Creek and Sir John Colleton of Fair Lawn were loyalists — and Berkeley County offered a gateway to the Upstate. British fortifications at Fair Lawn Barony and at Biggins Church began.
But the uprising never came to meet the Redcoats and, as they pulled foot from Biggins Church, which had held their armory, the British torched the site. It was the first of two fires that tried to claim the church, which now stands in ruins just a few hundred feet from where summertime boating memories are made.
How did you score on the quiz? Don’t feel bad if you got neither question right. You have plenty of company in Berkeley County, according to South Carolina Battleground Trust Executive Director Doug Bostick.
“Ninety-nine out of a hundred people don’t know Biggin Church,” he said.
If you got them right, well, no one likes a show-off.
Bostick and his nonprofit are working toward getting the other 99 people into scoring A’s when it comes to Berkeley County’s American Revolutionary War history. It’s a hefty history that’s at odds with its relatively quiet presence, often hidden through the trees.
“These are the kinds of stories that come out of Berkeley County. That’s why we’re anxious to start telling them,” Bostick said citing Biggins Church Ruins and Laurens.
According to a July 21 announcement, a series of grant awards through the National Park Service included a $72,500 grant to South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust. The grant will fund the first step in a project called Berkeley County: The Path to Liberty, which will research and make prominent 14 pivotal Revolutionary War battles and a Yamassee War battle.
The Yamassee battle was in 1715 at the Chapel of Ease site near Goose Creek.
The Revolutionary War battles include: Battle of Moncks Corner (April 14, 1780), Battle of Lenud’s Ferry (May 6, 1780), Battle of Lewisfield Plantation (1781), Battle of Wadboo/Moncks Corner (Jan. 24, 1781), Attack on Kitfield Plantation (Jan. 31, 1781), Battle of Biggin Bridge (July 16, 1781), Battle of Quinby Bridge (July 17, 1781), Retreat from Eutaw Springs (Sept. 10, 1781), Battle of Fair Lawn Barony (Nov. 17, 1781), Battle of Cainhoy (Dec. 30, 1781), Battle of Videau’s Bridge (Jan. 3, 1782), Battle of Strawberry Ferry (Feb. 19, 1782), Battle of Wambaw Bridge (Feb. 24, 1782), and Battle of Wadboo Barony (Aug. 29, 1782).
The project will create a master database of battlefields and associated sites in Berkeley County. That database will then be used for heritage tourism and protecting the sites, according to Bostick.
“This study is really the first step,” Bostick said. “Berkeley County is not capturing its fair share of heritage tourism … This county has so many enormous stories to tell, but right now there is no one to tell it.”
Bostick continued: “We think Berkeley County will rapidly development an impressive heritage tourism base.”
Later, the Trust plans to launch a smartphone application that will guide folks around to the sites and offer interpretation. While building and staffing an interpretive center is expensive, Bostick said the app will allow the Trust to bring history to life relatively cheaply, and attract more heritage tourists.
Bostick said the research work begins in August. The Trust will hold public meetings during the research phase, which Bostick said would continue until July 2016.
Berkeley County: The Path to Liberty will include identification of all historic battlefield sites in Berkeley County, integration of other databases like the National Register sites, and coordination with the S.C. Department of Archives & History to nominate qualifying sites for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The study will use LiDAR surveys and military terrain analysis to study and map the battlefields.

Sons of American Revolution Chapter starting in Berkeley County

  • Thursday, April 30, 2015
The call is out for descendants of American Revolutionary War patriots in Berkeley County.

Contact Keith Gourdin at 843-509-3408, or email him at; or contact Edd Richburg at 843-763-7613, or email him at

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fort Morris

Our next series coming to the Swamp Fox Brigade will start to explore GA in the revolution. This will include the interesting story about Col. John Macintosh and  Fort Morris. Also we will looking at the activities of Elijah Clark and other leading partisan leaders.

Monday, July 9, 2012

‘Value added’ Colonial Dorchester in Summerville’s annexation sights

BY BO PETERSEN             
Posted: Monday, July 9, 2012 12:31 a.m. 
UPDATED: Monday, July 9, 2012 1:07 a.m.

SUMMERVILLE — The town might be about to annex the nearly three-century-old Colonial Dorchester.
Mayor Bill Collins is working with S.C. Parks and Recreation officials to bring the state historic site into the town — a move aimed at enhancing the tourism value of both.
But it’s the value added to this deal that makes it so intriguing: It could restore Summerville’s annexing presence across the Ashley River on the development-ripe Ashley River Road.
A little-realized aspect of the 325-acre Colonial Dorchester property is that most of it lies across the Ashley River from the currently developed park off Dorchester Road.
That not-yet-opened part of the park runs all the way to the Ashley River Road, across the road from Watson Hill.
Eight years ago, a massive development proposed on more than 7,000 timberland acres at Watson Hill touched off a battle to preserve the rural plantation environs along Ashley River Road.
In a last-ditch effort to stop North Charleston from annexing Watson Hill to foster the development, Summerville annexed an intervening property, one that North Charleston also annexed. The property would give the prevailing municipality a boundary line to block off, or get to, Watson Hill.
The annexation also would have given Summerville its first toehold across the river. The town and city sued each other and North Charleston came away with the disputed property.
‘Lost town’
Colonial Dorchester might be the most significant, overlooked bit of history in the legacy of the Lowcountry. Along with Childsbury in Berkeley County and Willtown in Charleston County, the site is one of the 1600s “lost towns,” the beginning of inland settlement of the people who became the Lowcountry.
It’s the only one of the three that still holds structures from a town much bigger than many people realize: The grid of its streets and houses stretches from the Ashley River bank to today’s Dorchester Road nearly a half-mile away.
The remains of the brick bell tower and the walls of the riverbank tabby fort go back to the early 1700s.
‘Ghost structure’
Annexing the historic site would open up opportunities and money for both it and the town’s efforts to attract more tourists Collins said.
The collaboration could bring in everything from more volunteers and labor to accommodations-tax revenue to improve the site. Colonial Dorchester has been poised for years to showcase itself, but was not funded to the level of other, higher-profile state sites.
Immediate goals include improving trails, opening more excavations and erecting “ghost structure” frames of each building being excavated.
“It’s one of the best archaeological spots we have in the state. Annexation has a lot of upside potential. Summerville residents have embraced the site and supported it. This gives more pride and sense of ownership,” said Duane Parrish, Parks, Recreation and Tourism director.
“It will help promote the potential of all that is out here, help people understand how significant this site is,” said Ashley Chapman, the site manager.
The trails of Colonial Dorchester make a natural destination for the town’s Sawmill Branch biking/hiking trail nearby, Collins said.
The town also gets the unusual prestige of having a historic and archaeological trove in its limits, the remains of the village that led to the town’s founding.
The St. George Church bell tower is one of the oldest standing structures in the Lowcountry.
‘A real asset’
Collins frankly concedes that bringing in Colonial Dorchester also is to the town’s long-term advantage because it would extend the boundary line to the potential growth area of southern Dorchester County, a source of revenue.
“We don’t have a lot of undeveloped land in the town (now),” he said. “I think that’s something that would be of interest. I think it will take some time,” he said.
“I’m all for it for both reasons,” said Town Councilman Walter Bailey, who campaigned partly on the town seeking to annex more land.
“It’s a real asset. It’s probably the most historic structure in the state.”
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or on Twitter at @bopete.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dorchester under the Crescent

Patriot Forces are occupying the fort at Dorchester for the first Dorchester under the Crescent on September 8th-9th. This will be a 2nd South Carolina event with drilling, demonstrating camp life, and other aspects of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. More information to come for the event in the next few weeks. For information about the 2nd SC please visit thier website.

The 2nd SC have a long history at the fort at Dorchester starting in 1775 when two companies under the command of Francis Marion "The Swamp Fox" were sent there to get the defenses in order against possible Tory attacks. During the time with Marion as commander of the fort  he put the fortifications and military barracks in better order and trained local militia.