17 July 2008

The settlers move in

Ok, this is the site of Camden, the oldest inland European settlement in South Carolina. In 1730, King George II of England ordered 11 townships to be established on the rivers of SC. The first attempt was done by James St Julien in 1732 who established the town of Fredericksburg near present day Camden. this site was in the swamps of the Wateree river and the town soon failed. Around 1750, Samuel Wyly led a group of Quakers to the area, most of whom left before the Revolution. Joseph Kershaw arrived in 1758 and built a store on a spot he named Pine Tree Hill. In 1768 the name was changed to honor Lord Camden, who supported the rights of the Colonies. By now the town was the most prosperous inland trade center in SC, with a well laid town plan. The town's central location led to its being prominant in the Revolution and Civil War. When the British decided to invade the Southen Colonies in 1779, Camden became the third major city to be taken, after Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC. On Jne 1, 1780, Lord Cornwallis took the town without resistance, establishing it as the principle supply post for Southern operations. It was fortified with a stockade and series of redoubts on the town perimeter. It was not until April 1781 that the British finally left the town again, soon followed by the complete evacuation of the Southern theater. The site was saved and made public in 1970 by the Historic Camden Foundation, and is now an affiliated site of the National Park Service. The above photo is the Kershaw house on the edge of the old town site.
These three canon were left by the British when they evacuated Camden. Only the spiked one in the center is actually British, though. The other two are French manufactured.
This is the Cunningham house, now the headquarters for the Historic Camden site. It was actually built about 1835 as a wedding present to Mrs. Joseph Cunningham. It was donated to the site in 1971 by Nicholas Gaffos and moved to its present location.
This is the McCaa house, builr around 1800 and used by John McCaa, a localphysician, as his office. Its design is transitional between Georgian and Federal styles, quite unusual for this area, leading historians to believe it may have been used as a tavern by McCaa's father. It was donated by Mr and Mrs Edward Beard and moved to the site in 1991.
This is a replica of a building known as a "dog trot" because of the open air passageway.
This is the Drakeford house, orginally built in 1812 north of town by Richard Drakefore, a man of some means who was known as a great patriot and soldier. In 1970 it was donated by Mr and Mrs E.H. Drakeford and moved to the site.
This is the Bradley house, a typical example of local log cabins. It was built on land granted to John Bradley, though the builder is not known. It was donated by the Catawba Timber Company.
An original British Brown Bess musket found near Camden
A model depicting how the town of Camden would have looked during the British occupaton. Note how the central part of the town os surrounded by a pallisade, and a series of redoubts for defense. The Kershaw house is outside the defenses on the left.
This is the Craven house, the oldest original house on the lot, built in 1789 for John Craven. Little is known of him and it is not even known whether the building was a house or office. It was brought to the site in 1970.
Inside the Craven house, showing the original interior woodwork.
Earthen remains and reconstructed brick foundation of the town powder magazine, built in 1777 by Joseph Kershaw.
Reproduction of the southeast redoubt, rebuilt based on Nathaniel Greene's map of the town.
Looking down on the town site form the porch of the Kershaw house. The house is reconstructed based on old documents, and on the original foundation. When the British occupied Camden, Cornwallis took up residence in Kerhsaw's house, and banished him to Bermuda as a dangerous person. Kershaw returned after the war, and died on December 28, 1791. The house changed ownership several times and was even an orphanage at one point. During the Civil War, it was burned to the ground, though it is unkown which side did the deed.
Interior of the Kershaw house, based on period mansions in Charleston. Some of the furniture was donated by the Kershaw family. Below can be seen a paintin of Andrew jackson, belived to be the earliest painting of him.

Reconstructed portion of the town pallisade

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