Charles Towne and South Carolina
The original Carolina Colony was the short-lived settlement of Roanoke Island in 1586. We remember it, in part, because the first American-born citizen, Virginia Dare, represented the English hope for the New World. While there were expeditions to this area prior to this time, this was the first group with the intent to remain here. During the two-year absence of their leader, the colonists either abandoned or were driven from their settlement, and were never heard from again.
While not officially sanctioned by the King, Carolina was nearly colonized by settlers from New England, seeking longer growing seasons and better pastures for cattle. They transported animals to roam free on land near the Cape Fear River, but "official" Carolina colonists from Barbados settled in the same area, ending the experiment. Neither Cape Fear group succeeded!
MAP CAPTION: The top-most circle is the Jamestown Virginia colony, 1607. The small circle near Cape Hatteras is the Roanoke, or "Lost Colony" of 1587. The next-lower circle is the area of the Cape Fear River, where elements of the Plymouth Colony, and Carolina settlers each tried to place a colony. The circle at the bottom is the Carolina colony that became Charleston, S.C.
Once approved by the King, in 1660, several of the Proprietors (who lived on the island of Barbados) drove the settlement of Carolina. In October 1665, Sir John Yeamans and a group of colonists established a colony in the area now know as Cape Fear. It was located slightly upriver from present-day Wilmington, N.C., and on a branch or creek on the western side of the Cape fear River. As many as 800 colonists may have been drawn to Charles Town, as it was known.
Yeamans, however, spent only a short time there before returning to his home in Barbados. With little support from England, this second Carolina colony began to disband, many dispersing over land to Virginia, as reported by a leader, Vassall, in his letter from Nansemond, in Virginia, dated 1667. They also dispersed by sea, some to Boston and New England, and others simply went back to their Caribbean homes.
In August 1669, Captain Joseph West and 100 others set sail from Downs, England for the colonization of Carolina. They came in three ships, the Albemarle, the Carolina, and the Port Royal. They reached Barbados by October, where they stopped for several weeks. A storm on November 2nd sank the Albemarle at Barbados.
Sir John Yeamans, a Barbadian, a former Carolina colonist, and a powerful friend of the Proprietors, held a blank warrant for the Governorship of the Carolina Colony. He leased another ship, the Three Brothers, to join the colonist's journey. In Late November, The Carolina, the Port Royal, and the leased Three Brothers, left Barbados for the coast of America, but were caught in storms again near the island of Nevis and were separated from each other. The Port Royal was wrecked in the Bahamas by the storms. Both the Carolina and the Three Brothers were battered, but eventually made port in Bermuda. Somehow, some of those aboard the Port Royal were able to find passage to the island of Bermuda and rejoin their fellow colonists.
In January 1670, in Bermuda, Yeamans changed his mind, and decided to return to Barbados. (Remember that he abandoned the earlier colony, soon after arriving at the Cape Fear river.) He fills in the name of William Sayles, the 80-year old former Governor of Bermuda, and leaves the expedition. In late February, Sayles, aboard the Carolina, leads the Three Brothers toward the coast of America. Storms again strike the ships, blowing the Three Brothers northward, to the Virginia Colony. By March 15th, the Carolina is welcomed in Bulls Bay, near present-day Port Royal, by the local inhabitants. Over a two-week period, they explored the area, and Sayles became concerned on the proximity of existing Spanish Colonies in nearby Florida. On the advice of the local inhabitants, he looked to settle in the next protected inlet, north of Port Royal.
In early April 1670, the Carolina sailed into ( # 1) the confluence of what we now call the Cooper and Ashley rivers, and selected a site ( # 2)on high ground, on the west shore of the Ashley, to be their settlement. The colonists named the settlement Albermarle Point, but the Proprietors, from their homes in Barbados, re-named the town Charles Town, in honor of the King. It will retain that name until the end of the Revolutionary War, when it is incorporated as Charleston.
In late May, the remaining colonists aboard the Three Brothers arrived from the Virginia Colony and in early 1671, additional colonists from Barbados began to arrive. By summer, more than 100 have arrived and spread northward into a nearby area, know as Goose Creek. This physical separation mirrored a cultural separation, between the English and Barbadian colonists that comes to define the conflicts within the colony.
In late 1679, the Lord Proprietors order the Charles Town settlement to move to a planned community on the nearby peninsula ( # 3) known as Oyster Point. By this time there are 1200 residents of the colony, including 200 black servants, who immigrated with the families of their Barbadian masters.
The two additional numbered areas are specific to BOONE family history. ( # 4) is an area now known as James Island, but known as Boone Island in 1696. ( # 5) is where Boone Hall plantation was built about 1711. It survives today.
Charleston, as it came to be known, was the capitol and core settlement of the Carolina colony. The religious freedoms written into its charter made it the choice of many settlers, and the climate and natural resources made it a powerful producer of agricultural products and marine stores.
Other growth in the land chartered as Carolina was drive by the expansion of Virginian colonist southward, not by the actions or intent of the King, or of the Council in Charleston. Consequently, the two groups evolved separate political beliefs, and by 1710, divided the original colony into North Carolina, with authority centered in Bath, and South Carolina, with authority centered in Charleston.
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