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Charleston Time Machine

Nic Butler, CCPL

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Charleston Time Machine
Charleston Time Machine

Charleston Time Machine

Nic Butler, CCPL

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About Us

Dr. Nic Butler, historian at the Charleston County Public Library, explores the less familiar corners of local history with stories designed to educate, entertain, and inspire audiences to reflect on the enduring presence of the past in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

Latest Episodes

Episode 135: The Historical Landscape of the New Baxter-Patrick James Island Library

Charleston’s newest library is nestled in a quiet setting that belies the depth and drama of its long history. From Native-American stomping grounds to fertile plantation, from bloody battlefield, to civil rights success, today we’ll surf through the pages of the past to follow a rich narrative that forms an important part our community’s shared history.

41 MIN6 d ago
Comments
Episode 135: The Historical Landscape of the New Baxter-Patrick James Island Library

Episode 134: A Veteran’s Story: Caring for the Family of Sergeant William Jasper

Veterans Day is a holiday created in the twentieth century, but its roots date back to the dawn of the United States. Today we’ll use the story of one veteran’s family—the wife and children of the famous Sergeant William Jasper—to trace the evolution of local, state, and national efforts to assist the survivors our nation’s brave defenders.

27 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 134: A Veteran’s Story: Caring for the Family of Sergeant William Jasper

Episode 133: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 2

Thomas J. Mackey did not shoot the sheriff, but he shot at him during a meeting of Charleston’s City Council in October 1869. The community condemned the morphine-fueled assault, but justice was not served. In the turbulent world of Reconstruction-era politics, it was easier to sweep a violent assault under the proverbial rug than to disrupt the status quo.

36 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Episode 133: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 2

Episode 132: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 1

Debate within Charleston’s City Council is sometimes harsh, but never as acrimonious as the night in 1869 when arguing aldermen drew pistols to settle a dispute. We’ll begin this real-life tale of drugs, liquor, bullets, and rage by profiling the elected gunmen, uncovering the roots of their disagreement, and following the scene of mayhem at City Hall.

26 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Episode 132: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 1

Episode 131: Hampstead Village: The Historic Heart of Charleston’s East Side

Hampstead Village is a downtown neighborhood better known today as the heart of Charleston’s “East Side.” Created in 1769, it has endured a series of ups and downs that transformed it into Charleston’s most diverse and densely populated neighborhood. To better understand its challenges and potential, let’s review Hampstead’s history and its long struggle for dignity and survival.

32 MINOCT 18
Comments
Episode 131: Hampstead Village: The Historic Heart of Charleston’s East Side

Episode 130: From Intendant to Mayor: The Evolution of Charleston’s Executive Office

The mayor of Charleston is a prestigious officer who commands respect throughout our community, but that hasn’t always been the case. Nearly two centuries ago, the city’s executive evolved from a nearly powerless, part-time, unsalaried intendant, to a powerful, full-time, salaried mayor. Today we’ll compare and contrast those titles and trace the gradual accretion of powers that define 21st-century Charleston’s most visible citizen.

27 MINOCT 11
Comments
Episode 130: From Intendant to Mayor: The Evolution of Charleston’s Executive Office

Episode 129: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 3

Sentenced to hang in 1747, Elizabeth McQueen cried out for mercy from the Charleston jail. Her personal grief and Indian customs had been misrepresented as willful murder. Reviewing the facts of her case, the governor and his advisors were drawn into the chasm between patriarchal law and the realities of a woman’s life on the colonial frontier.

39 MINOCT 4
Comments
Episode 129: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 3

Episode 128: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 2

Accused of having murdered her newborn child, Elizabeth McQueen was arrested and transported to Charleston to stand trial in 1747. Contemporary documents allow us to reconstruct many of the experiences she endured, from incarceration within the prison under the care of a hot-tempered marshal, to the colony’s makeshift courtroom in a tavern where a brief trial condemned her to an ignominious death.

35 MINSEP 27
Comments
Episode 128: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 2

Episode 127: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 1

When an unmarried young woman of Native American ancestry lost a newborn child in 1747, her white neighbors on the South Carolina frontier interpreted her grief as a mask for clandestine guilt and summoned the law. Today we’ll begin to reconstruct the story of Elizabeth McQueen’s journey from “innocence and sobriety” to arrest, humiliation, and incarceration in colonial Charleston.

25 MINSEP 19
Comments
Episode 127: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 1

Episode 126: The Auction Sales of Enslaved Residents in Colonial Era Charleston

Charleston was once the most active marketplace for enslaved people in North America. While incoming Africans were sold from the vessels that brought them, enslaved people already living in the Lowcountry during the colonial era were commonly sold at at a long-forgotten, open-air auction site within the heart of Charleston known as “the usual place.”

28 MINSEP 13
Comments
Episode 126: The Auction Sales of Enslaved Residents in Colonial Era Charleston

Latest Episodes

Episode 135: The Historical Landscape of the New Baxter-Patrick James Island Library

Charleston’s newest library is nestled in a quiet setting that belies the depth and drama of its long history. From Native-American stomping grounds to fertile plantation, from bloody battlefield, to civil rights success, today we’ll surf through the pages of the past to follow a rich narrative that forms an important part our community’s shared history.

41 MIN6 d ago
Comments
Episode 135: The Historical Landscape of the New Baxter-Patrick James Island Library

Episode 134: A Veteran’s Story: Caring for the Family of Sergeant William Jasper

Veterans Day is a holiday created in the twentieth century, but its roots date back to the dawn of the United States. Today we’ll use the story of one veteran’s family—the wife and children of the famous Sergeant William Jasper—to trace the evolution of local, state, and national efforts to assist the survivors our nation’s brave defenders.

27 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 134: A Veteran’s Story: Caring for the Family of Sergeant William Jasper

Episode 133: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 2

Thomas J. Mackey did not shoot the sheriff, but he shot at him during a meeting of Charleston’s City Council in October 1869. The community condemned the morphine-fueled assault, but justice was not served. In the turbulent world of Reconstruction-era politics, it was easier to sweep a violent assault under the proverbial rug than to disrupt the status quo.

36 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Episode 133: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 2

Episode 132: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 1

Debate within Charleston’s City Council is sometimes harsh, but never as acrimonious as the night in 1869 when arguing aldermen drew pistols to settle a dispute. We’ll begin this real-life tale of drugs, liquor, bullets, and rage by profiling the elected gunmen, uncovering the roots of their disagreement, and following the scene of mayhem at City Hall.

26 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Episode 132: Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston’s City Hall, Part 1

Episode 131: Hampstead Village: The Historic Heart of Charleston’s East Side

Hampstead Village is a downtown neighborhood better known today as the heart of Charleston’s “East Side.” Created in 1769, it has endured a series of ups and downs that transformed it into Charleston’s most diverse and densely populated neighborhood. To better understand its challenges and potential, let’s review Hampstead’s history and its long struggle for dignity and survival.

32 MINOCT 18
Comments
Episode 131: Hampstead Village: The Historic Heart of Charleston’s East Side

Episode 130: From Intendant to Mayor: The Evolution of Charleston’s Executive Office

The mayor of Charleston is a prestigious officer who commands respect throughout our community, but that hasn’t always been the case. Nearly two centuries ago, the city’s executive evolved from a nearly powerless, part-time, unsalaried intendant, to a powerful, full-time, salaried mayor. Today we’ll compare and contrast those titles and trace the gradual accretion of powers that define 21st-century Charleston’s most visible citizen.

27 MINOCT 11
Comments
Episode 130: From Intendant to Mayor: The Evolution of Charleston’s Executive Office

Episode 129: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 3

Sentenced to hang in 1747, Elizabeth McQueen cried out for mercy from the Charleston jail. Her personal grief and Indian customs had been misrepresented as willful murder. Reviewing the facts of her case, the governor and his advisors were drawn into the chasm between patriarchal law and the realities of a woman’s life on the colonial frontier.

39 MINOCT 4
Comments
Episode 129: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 3

Episode 128: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 2

Accused of having murdered her newborn child, Elizabeth McQueen was arrested and transported to Charleston to stand trial in 1747. Contemporary documents allow us to reconstruct many of the experiences she endured, from incarceration within the prison under the care of a hot-tempered marshal, to the colony’s makeshift courtroom in a tavern where a brief trial condemned her to an ignominious death.

35 MINSEP 27
Comments
Episode 128: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 2

Episode 127: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 1

When an unmarried young woman of Native American ancestry lost a newborn child in 1747, her white neighbors on the South Carolina frontier interpreted her grief as a mask for clandestine guilt and summoned the law. Today we’ll begin to reconstruct the story of Elizabeth McQueen’s journey from “innocence and sobriety” to arrest, humiliation, and incarceration in colonial Charleston.

25 MINSEP 19
Comments
Episode 127: Grief, Crime, and Mercy in Colonial Charleston: The Story of Elizabeth McQueen, Part 1

Episode 126: The Auction Sales of Enslaved Residents in Colonial Era Charleston

Charleston was once the most active marketplace for enslaved people in North America. While incoming Africans were sold from the vessels that brought them, enslaved people already living in the Lowcountry during the colonial era were commonly sold at at a long-forgotten, open-air auction site within the heart of Charleston known as “the usual place.”

28 MINSEP 13
Comments
Episode 126: The Auction Sales of Enslaved Residents in Colonial Era Charleston
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