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William Douglas Property Management offers HOA Management and Association Management services in Johns Island, SC

Johns Island, S.C. – Early History through the American Civil War

Johns Island is an Island located by the Atlantic Ocean in Charleston County, South Carolina. Johns Island is the largest island in South Carolina, and the fourth largest on the east coast of the United States. Johns Island has an area of 84 square miles with a population in excess of 21,500. The islands of Wadmalaw, Seabrook, Kiawah, Edisto, Folly, and James all border Johns Island. The Stono River and Kiawah River surround Johns Island and separate it from those bordering islands.

As evidenced by different archeological sites, various Native American tribes have inhabited the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers in excess of 10,000 years. The Native Americans who lived on what would become known as Johns Island are believed to have been bands of hunter-gatherers. The Kiawah Indians are believed to have been one of these early tribes living on Johns Island. Hunter-gatherers survived by hunting, fishing, and foraging rather than by cultivating crops or raising animals. They typically habituated within temporary shelters constructed of animal hides. Archaeological discoveries and Native American folklore bolstered by linguistic research reveal that the early Native American peoples of the southern United States initially traveled from the  Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. 

The Stono and the Bohicket people were the first recorded Native American inhabitants of Johns Island by Europeans. In 1609, Spanish explorers encountered the Stono people. The English explorer Robert Sanford recorded in 1666 a tribe of Native Americans inhabiting an area by Bohicket Creek, this was presumably the Bohicket people. The Native Americans inhabiting Johns Island by the time of  European exploration, had transitioned from strictly wandering hunter-gatherers to a more agrarian-based society who subsidized their dietary regimen with fishing and hunting. 

The Stono people originally had a good relationship with the early colonists of the Charleston area. Purportedly, significant problems arose when the Stono Indians began hunting and killing the colonists’ domesticated livestock. The Stono people, with no knowledge of the domestication of the colonists’ animals, led to the deaths of a number of Stono Indians.    

As result of these Stono Indian deaths by the colonists, there was an uprising of the Stono and the Kussoe Indians against the area colonist in 1674. Eventually, both the Stono and Kussoe Indians were vanquished. Many of the Indians captured during the uprising were sold into slavery in the West Indies. In 1684, the Stono Indians and other tribes in the Charleston area gave up their lands to the Lord’s Proprietors. The surviving Stono Indians, by 1695, were resettled to Stono Island, which is now known as Seabrook Island. 

The Stono Indians and Bohicket Indians no longer exist as established and recognized tribes. The Stono Indians were last officially noted in South Carolina legislation by the South Carolina General Assembly 1707 Act for Regulating the Indian Trade. An additional 1707 act by the South Carolina General Assembly establishing lookout points down the South Carolina coast states the “Bohicott Indians” were to provide a lookout on Jones Island is the last documented reference of the Bohicket Indians. 

European Colonization 

The name for Johns Island originated from the earlier English colonial arrivals from Barbados. The earlier settlers named Johns Island after Saint John Parish in Barbados. These earlier settlers arrived on Johns Island in the 1670s. There were sporadic English settlements along the shores of Johns Island during this time frame. As settlers continued to arrive in the Charleston area, around 1700 there were a number of plantations producing indigo along the Stono River side of Johns Island. These plantations relied on African slaves for labor in harvesting their crops.      

The Stono Rebellion or Cato’s Rebellion was an African American slave uprising that began on Johns Island on September 9, 1739. The rebellion was led by an African American slave known as Jemmy and also known as Cato. Jemmy initially led around 20 other enslaved African Americans in this revolt to escape to Florida. Florida at this time was under the control of Spain, and fugitive slaves from the British colonies were granted freedom upon arrival. 

The rebellion grew to around 60 African American slaves. The rebelling slaves killed around 40 white colonist before they were tracked down and killed by the South Carolina Militia. The slaves that were not killed were sold to slave markets in the West Indies. The South Carolina General Assembly enacted the Negro Act of 1740 in response to the rebellion. The Act restricted the freedoms of slaves to a greater extent than before, however, the Act placed a moratorium on importing new slaves into the South Carolina colony.

The American Revolution (1776–1785)

In May of 1779 during the American Revolution, a force of British troops landed on Johns Island under the command of British General Augustine Prevost. General Prevost’s forces initially occupied the island, but left a small garrison force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland. A second British force landed on neighboring Seabrook Island on February 11, 1780, commanded by General Sir Henry Clinton. General Clinton’s overall objective from Seabrook Island was to traverse his forces over Johns Island and then James Island to lay siege to Charleston. Clinton’s forces traversed the Stono River and established a temporary bivouac at Fenwick Hall. Advancing onto James Island, Clinton’s forces, proceeded up the west bank of the Ashley River to Old Town Landing. From this point his forces traversed south to Charleston where General Clinton lay siege to the city. Charleston capitulated to the British forces on May 12, 1780. British forces occupied Charleston until December 1782.

The American Civil War (1861–1865)

Johns Island was the site for The Battle of Bloody Bridge, which is also known as Burden’s Causeway which began on July 2, 1864. A Union force of around 8,000 under the command of Brigadier General John P. Hatch landed in the Legareville section of Johns Island. Hatch’s objective was to cross Johns Island and cross the Stono River and assault Confederate forces on James Island.  On July 6, Confederate forces of around 2,000 opened fire on Hatch’s forces at Burden’s Causeway. The three-day battle ended on July 10, when it was discovered that Hatch’s forces had slipped away during the night.

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William Douglas Property Management offers HOA Management and Association Management services in Johns Island, SC

Johns Island, S.C. – Early History through the American Civil War

Johns Island is an Island located by the Atlantic Ocean in Charleston County, South Carolina. Johns Island is the largest island in South Carolina, and the fourth largest on the east coast of the United States. Johns Island has an area of 84 square miles with a population in excess of 21,500. The islands of Wadmalaw, Seabrook, Kiawah, Edisto, Folly, and James all border Johns Island. The Stono River and Kiawah River surround Johns Island and separate it from those bordering islands.

As evidenced by different archeological sites, various Native American tribes have inhabited the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers in excess of 10,000 years. The Native Americans who lived on what would become known as Johns Island are believed to have been bands of hunter-gatherers. The Kiawah Indians are believed to have been one of these early tribes living on Johns Island. Hunter-gatherers survived by hunting, fishing, and foraging rather than by cultivating crops or raising animals. They typically habituated within temporary shelters constructed of animal hides. Archaeological discoveries and Native American folklore bolstered by linguistic research reveal that the early Native American peoples of the southern United States initially traveled from the  Mississippi and Ohio river valleys.

The Stono and the Bohicket people were the first recorded Native American inhabitants of Johns Island by Europeans. In 1609, Spanish explorers encountered the Stono people. The English explorer Robert Sanford recorded in 1666 a tribe of Native Americans inhabiting an area by Bohicket Creek, this was presumably the Bohicket people. The Native Americans inhabiting Johns Island by the time of  European exploration, had transitioned from strictly wandering hunter-gatherers to a more agrarian-based society who subsidized their dietary regimen with fishing and hunting.

The Stono people originally had a good relationship with the early colonists of the Charleston area. Purportedly, significant problems arose when the Stono Indians began hunting and killing the colonists’ domesticated livestock. The Stono people, with no knowledge of the domestication of the colonists’ animals, led to the deaths of a number of Stono Indians.    

As result of these Stono Indian deaths by the colonists, there was an uprising of the Stono and the Kussoe Indians against the area colonist in 1674. Eventually, both the Stono and Kussoe Indians were vanquished. Many of the Indians captured during the uprising were sold into slavery in the West Indies. In 1684, the Stono Indians and other tribes in the Charleston area gave up their lands to the Lord’s Proprietors. The surviving Stono Indians, by 1695, were resettled to Stono Island, which is now known as Seabrook Island.

The Stono Indians and Bohicket Indians no longer exist as established and recognized tribes. The Stono Indians were last officially noted in South Carolina legislation by the South Carolina General Assembly 1707 Act for Regulating the Indian Trade. An additional 1707 act by the South Carolina General Assembly establishing lookout points down the South Carolina coast states the “Bohicott Indians” were to provide a lookout on Jones Island is the last documented reference of the Bohicket Indians.

European Colonization

The name for Johns Island originated from the earlier English colonial arrivals from Barbados. The earlier settlers named Johns Island after Saint John Parish in Barbados. These earlier settlers arrived on Johns Island in the 1670s. There were sporadic English settlements along the shores of Johns Island during this time frame. As settlers continued to arrive in the Charleston area, around 1700 there were a number of plantations producing indigo along the Stono River side of Johns Island. These plantations relied on African slaves for labor in harvesting their crops.      

The Stono Rebellion or Cato’s Rebellion was an African American slave uprising that began on Johns Island on September 9, 1739. The rebellion was led by an African American slave known as Jemmy and also known as Cato. Jemmy initially led around 20 other enslaved African Americans in this revolt to escape to Florida. Florida at this time was under the control of Spain, and fugitive slaves from the British colonies were granted freedom upon arrival.

The rebellion grew to around 60 African American slaves. The rebelling slaves killed around 40 white colonist before they were tracked down and killed by the South Carolina Militia. The slaves that were not killed were sold to slave markets in the West Indies. The South Carolina General Assembly enacted the Negro Act of 1740 in response to the rebellion. The Act restricted the freedoms of slaves to a greater extent than before, however, the Act placed a moratorium on importing new slaves into the South Carolina colony.

The American Revolution (1776–1785)

In May of 1779 during the American Revolution, a force of British troops landed on Johns Island under the command of British General Augustine Prevost. General Prevost’s forces initially occupied the island, but left a small garrison force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland. A second British force landed on neighboring Seabrook Island on February 11, 1780, commanded by General Sir Henry Clinton. General Clinton’s overall objective from Seabrook Island was to traverse his forces over Johns Island and then James Island to lay siege to Charleston. Clinton’s forces traversed the Stono River and established a temporary bivouac at Fenwick Hall. Advancing onto James Island, Clinton’s forces, proceeded up the west bank of the Ashley River to Old Town Landing. From this point his forces traversed south to Charleston where General Clinton lay siege to the city. Charleston capitulated to the British forces on May 12, 1780. British forces occupied Charleston until December 1782.

The American Civil War (1861–1865)

Johns Island was the site for The Battle of Bloody Bridge, which is also known as Burden’s Causeway which began on July 2, 1864. A Union force of around 8,000 under the command of Brigadier General John P. Hatch landed in the Legareville section of Johns Island. Hatch’s objective was to cross Johns Island and cross the Stono River and assault Confederate forces on James Island.  On July 6, Confederate forces of around 2,000 opened fire on Hatch’s forces at Burden’s Causeway. The three-day battle ended on July 10, when it was discovered that Hatch’s forces had slipped away during the night.

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