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Monday, 20 November 2017 14:59

106 Tradd Street - The John Stuart House

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106 Tradd is a single house -- but one with a difference. Yes, it's still one room wide, but it is one of the few early residences built with a side hall. As you can see, the front door is not a false door leading to a piazza. This front door opens into the side hall. The typical single house built before 1800 had its main doorway on the side, usually in the center.

The house at 106 Tradd Street was built around 1772 by Colonel John Stuart. Stuart, originally from Scotland, became an important man in Charles Town before the American Revolution; in 1762, he was appointed the King's superintendent of Indian affairs in the English colonies. Stuart was primarily a bridge between the British colonies and the Indians of those settled areas. As tensions rose between the thirteen colonies and England, Stuart remained loyal to the King and left the area. When the Revolutionary War broke out, the patriots confiscated Tory property, which included Stuart's house at 106 Tradd. Stuart died in Florida in 1779, and his former property on Tradd Street was sold in 1782, after the war ended.

Supposedly, 106 Tradd is the house where the famous South Carolina "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion was staying in 1780 right before the British invaded Charleston. According to the story, the host officer at 106 Tradd had locked the doors and kept drinking toasts to the patriots. Marion didn't drink and finally escaped by jumping out of a window. However, his ankle was broken. Because he was sent back to his plantation to recuperate, Marion missed being captured by the British when they took Charleston several weeks later. Being familiar with the backwoods, swampy terrain and the men in that area, Marion was able to lead a surprising and effective campaign of guerrilla warfare against the British until the end of the war.

It is quite possible that Marion and his men made the difference between loss and victory for the patriot cause in the South. In any event, my father, Marion Hampton Whaley, would certainly say so, especially since he was named after Francis Marion and Wade Hampton.

In my opinion, many of these historic structures in Charleston are noted, and rightly so, for their fine architecture and excellent renovations, but the people and the stories associated with them, past and present, make history come alive.

Next week, we'll delve into more history as we continue our Tradd Street journey.

Amelia Whaley

Amelia ("Mimi") Whaley

Mimi was born in Charleston and grew up on nearby Edisto Island, one of several sea islands settled by planters due to their close proximity to Charleston. In addition to the Whaleys, Seabrooks, Mikells and Baynards, Mimi is also a direct descendant of Paul Grimball, the recipient of an English land grant of over 1,000 acres on Edisto in 1683; he and his family were the first documented white settlers on Edisto. In Charleston and the Lowcountry, it’s common to hear, "Everyone around here is related; it's just whether or not you claim each other…"

Mimi enjoys sharing the history of Charleston and the Lowcountry. A licensed tour guide, she leads historic Charleston walking tours Wednesdays through Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., leaving from Washington Park in the heart of the old city. Reservations are required for these Charleston walking tours which last approximately 2 hours and end in the vicinity of the Charleston Market. Private tours are also available.

Mimi is also an award-winning Charleston artist working in watercolor, oil, acrylic and mixed media. “I’m so fortunate to live in this area and share this special city through touring, writing, talking and painting – all the things I love to do!”