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Tuesday, 25 June 2019 14:37

26 South Battery

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This week we visit 26 South Battery, built by one of the sons of Colonel John Ashe whom we met last week when we reviewed his house at 32 South Battery. While Colonel Ashe’s eldest son inherited 32 South Battery, one of his younger sons John Algernon Sydney Ashe inherited the lot at 26 South Battery, one of the largest in the area, and approximately $10,000 to build his
residence.

Ashe engaged one of Charleston’s premier architects, Edward C. Jones, to design and construct his home in 1853. The house is built in the “Italianate” style of architecture, reminiscent of Italian villas and popular in Charleston between 1850 and 1885. The house is L-shaped with two stories; the rounded windows repeat the design of the arches in the arcaded double piazzas. This is a romantic style of architecture with soft curves as opposed to earlier formal styles.

Charleston in 1853 enjoyed the height of wealth and culture in the South. Only eight years later, the country would be embroiled in a Civil War, resulting in the devastation of the South. Ashe was a wealthy planter when he built this townhouse; the rear portion was large enough for several dependencies and housing for his approximately 30 enslaved people in town, many more
than the average of perhaps 10-12 enslaved at an urban property.

Ashe was also active in politics, serving in the South Carolina Legislature from 1826-1835. He is also referred to as “duelist”, but acting more as an advisor on dueling, which certainly seems a bit safer than being shot at. I have always been amazed that dueling was considered to be an honorable means of settling an argument in South Carolina until 1880 when it was finally banned by law.

Ashe died in 1868 having never married. Leaving no children, his visual legacy is the grandest bachelor pad in downtown Charleston!

Next week we will continue to explore Charleston history through her places and people.

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!”

More in this category: « 32 South Battery 28 South Battery »

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