Good ol’ Chuck Town. First called Charles Town, because Kings back then always had to have everything named after themselves like everyone didn’t already know the incestual idiot taxing them into an even earlier grave. This particular Charles, out of the long line of Charleses that came out of England, was King Charles II. Because the first edition Charles ended up being executed after a whole lot of wars and random angry mobs that ended up being known as the English Revolution (once again being inventively named because back then everyone had extensive imaginations). This happened way way wayyyyyy back in a time that probably predates yearly showers during the years of 1640 to 1660.
Unsurprisingly the English Revolution was provoked by the first edition Charles. Due to this odd thought that most monarchs/emperors/chiefs/cult leaders believe, that they are somehow the descendants of gods (which god, they couldn’t tell you – but a long, long, long time ago, a random ass pagan god descended from Mt. Olympus and had a wild alcohol fueled night that lead to their xxxxxxxx – ancestor being born). Apparently first edition Charles (in this I AM GOD mindset) attempted to go to the Scotts and say, “yo my bros. whatever this thing is that your dedicating your spiritual souls to is TOTALLY wrong. Let me show you heathens the light.”
Obviously the Scotts, in their kilted kilts and sheep stomach bag pipes, responded as true civilized beings do, and gathered up their testosterone and guns and raised an army.
First edition Charles, noticing from his sugared cinnamon buns that no red heads were kissing the helm of his real fox fur cape, went to Parliament to demand that one thing that makes the world go round – mulla. For war against the haggis.
So Parliament gets into their head, maybe we can get a little tit for tat, and was like ‘Chuck, my main man, we’d totally love to do this, if maybe we can get some of these reforms done in return – you dig my dude?’ There was no digging to be done, and eventually this bad ass dude named Oliver Cromwell ( a puritan and the Oliver that stars as the inspiration for Oliver Twist (lol – don’t quote me on that it’s totally not true (or is it?))) ended up offing with first edition Charles’ head and essentially becoming a virtual dictator of England.
Fun facts about Puritans – they have no fun. It’s more closely associated to when humans were hunting nomads and there was no drinking, gambling, dancing, or wenching. This probably saw a huge rise in pirating, as those jolly sailor bolds did everything that not so jolly England was no longer known for.
Somehow, somewhere, Charles Jr received the title of king. Scotland, all jacked up on an overload of jitters from not, you know, fighting England over first edition Charles’ religious push, ends up acknowledging this, along with Ireland (who probably couldn’t care less about what was happening as they were too busy drinking Guiness and wondering why their potatoes were starting to die), and not so jolly England, even though Oliver Twist was running the show. So in obvious hardship, Charles Jr spends eight years in Paris, bitching about his lot in life while sipping fine wine and wondering what to do with his time in exile.
Apparently this time was well spent in establishments called maisons des baigneurs. Otherwise known at the time as whore houses. So Charles wasn’t too worried about his country or, you know, getting revenge for dear ol’ dead dad. In fact, he had such a great time being an unproductive member of society, that he doesn’t travel back to England to reclaim his throne until Oliver kicks the can.
Once nature does all the hard work for him, Charles Jr makes his way back to his tea and crumpets, and orders all the Cromwellians, Oliver’s familia, to be round up and executed. At this point, Englanders were probably super excited for everything Oliver banned to come back. Especially the wenching.
Fun fact about Charles Jr – as a completely sane, well rounded individual with no sadistic tendencies – he exhumed Oliver’s body twelve years to the day first edition Charles had been executed, and had this lovely, rotting, boney, maggoty corpse hanged, decapitated, torso buried beneath the gallows, and the separated head stuck on a pike in front of Westminster Hall. Because, you know, the fact that the man had been dead for twelve years wasn’t enough of an insult.
Thus begins the reign of the ‘eat, drink, and be merry.’ Which can be found on your Christmas cards, next to an artistic rendition of Charles Jr as Santa Clause, for he quickly became known as The Merry Monarch.
Samuel Pepys sums this up in ‘there being so much … swearing, drinking, and whoring that I do not know what will be the end of it.’ Sexcapades became legendary, with Charles Jr probably being behind the rumors exaggerating the size of his dick. Even back then men named their little soldiers, and Charles Jr’s was modestly called “His Majesty’s Scepter.” Because riding a broom stick is what all woman one day achieve to do.
Long story short – Charles Jr. was a sexual freak and had a slew of mistresses. Some just as freaky, and some not so legal. Such math ended up with an estimated thirty five to one hundred and twelve bastard children with a round about more than fifty women.
We have now eventually made our way to the beginning of Chuck Town, after going through all this interesting history of men who in turn believed they are part god, so buttoned up not even the stick could be removed from their bum, and the sole father of modern day STD’s.
Chuck Town’s illustrious beginning started with Charles Jr. rewarding his longtime loyal supporters (eight lucky men) a land grant to the Carolina colony, which at the time, was everything south of Virginia to Florida, and everything west to the Pacific Ocean. So pretty much the entire bottom half of America. One man, named Anthony Ashley Cooper became the leader of the other seven men, an obviously great choice as Charles Jr. would frequently and affectionately nicknamed Cooper ‘the greatest whoremaster in England.’
An even more fun fact, my fellow Charlestonians, this lovely figure of piety has been immortalized in the Holy City by having the two rivers that board the peninsula THE ASHLEY AND COOPER RIVERS NAMED AFTER HIM!!!! And here I thought there was a less sex fueled interesting facts behind the naming of the Cooper river. Also, I’m not sure how I feel now about swimming in such waters.
Despite all these other fun facts, Cooper is credited as the driving force behind the founding of the Carolina colony. He is also responsible, with the assistance of this minor footnote of American history John Locke, for the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina – and thus, the ‘greatest whoremaster in England’ created one of the most liberal and revolutionary documents of his era.
Lets take this moment to let this sink in and marinate.
Truth, is always, without fail, stranger than fiction.
The documents before their time, the FC’s, argued for government for the good of the public and advocated the most liberal religious policy of any American colony. Which does an amazing job of explaining why there are over 300+ churches here in the Holy City. Come one, come all, come whatever the hell. Chuck Town’s original welcome sign, which had once been located on Fort Sumpter. True fact.
Also in a surprising twist of hypocrisy, Cooper decreed that in order to own land you must do the following:
– Acknowledge the existence of God
– The need for public and solemn worship
This apparently just boils down to anyone over the age of seventeen (because back then you became an adult at 11) had to be a member of some religious congregation. Now on my end, ‘some religious congregation’ could have technically included Scientology. Which, very notably, does not include acknowledging the existence of God, but that DOES fall under the definition of ‘some religious congregation.’ Also under this rule of some religious congregation, if there are seven people who agree in any ol’ spaghetti monster religion, they shall congregate a Church. Cooper included this side note in his FC’s to include Indians.
Some very loose interpretations of this seven or so makes a church, included those booze fueled individuals that gathered together in a tavern. Known as the Church of Beericus.
It was once LEGALLY possible in Charleston to drink your dysentery away and have it known as going to church. If this was still in effect today, America would be one of the holiest countries in the world, with myself being a devout follower of the rosso vino and fermented hops.
Memorize this date Charlestonians – April 1670. Where 147 either incredibly brave, or incredibly desperate individuals decided to board one of three ships and kiss their lives in England goodbye. The first settlers of this amazing city does us proud. They became known as the thee and thou rum addictors. Because like most common sense thinking people, they packed those three ships with four thousand gallons of beer and thirty gallons of brandy. Which in hindsight was very smart forward thinking since it took them SEVEN MONTHS to get from England to Chuck Town.
Interesting fact, the captain leader of these three ships was Captain West. Which I find highly ironic as they were sailing west. I would definitely want a dude with this name piloting my craft.
So these raucous 147 individuals and the others that eventually followed across the pond, developed a drinking addiction that ten years later had the council that formed in the city to pass an act for ‘the suppression of Idle, Drunken and Swearing persons.” This was formed because those in power eventually figured out that people weren’t forming actual religious churches, but were worshipping piously at the Church of Beericus. Thus was the first, but most certainly not the last, time politicians tried controlling people’s lives.
Man, history is fricken amazing.
In a long standing nod to human history, many of the colonists were indentured servants. And in the early days of pre American history there was no sexism because this included both women AND MEN. Like most things that involve living, these indentured servants signed a contract (because where the ever hell would we be without the endless piles of paperwork) with a landowner that was known as Master, or as we call them nowadays our bosses, who were the generous souls that paid for this poor smucks passage to the Americas. Unlike today where you waste the best years of your life behind a desk for 60 years, these contracts were at most three to five years. These lucky bastards also got 50 acres of land after the contract and were freed. Why can’t I be an indentured servant? Like this is completely unfair.
However, to some, this was an unacceptably long time to be under the thumb of ‘The Man’, and so, in another long standing pillar of human tradition, most female servants discovered the simple math of: sleeping with Master = reduced contract time. However, these ladies didn’t think things through and as such, after their contracts were up (and after probably enduring horrific old man sex) they discovered that the path of least resistance to a solid income stream was, you guessed it, MORE PROSTITUTION!!!!! Yay for early feminists and not so safe sex with scurvy sailors.
Seriously, how does prostitution weigh higher than five years of dusting and fifty acres of land?
If you want to ‘go back in time’ as it were, and see the old red light district of Chuck Town, go no further than the corner of Anson and Hasell Street. Which back in the day was an early rum house called the Bowling Green House. Even better, this illustrious sex corner is now probably the current site of St. Johannes Lutheran Church. Because, you know, the best way to erase sordid pasts is to plop a church on top of it in the NAME OF GOD.
This was an indiscriminate house where sailors and Indians could be found ‘tyed by the Lipps to a pewter engine.’ I’m assuming this pewter engine was the following: beer, rum, punch, brandy, and Madeira wine (no idea – will need to look up this wine for later). Such spirits could be consumed for as much as 16 pounds at one Bout. Now, I’m not sure what a bout is – maybe it’s however much 16 pounds gets you, or it could be you paid 16 pounds during the beginning of the night and were free to abuse your liver in whichever fashion you wished throughout the night until they kicked you out.
I’m a bit confused at the 16 pounds price though. Unless it was a different amount in the 1600’s – because I paid 7 pounds for beer when I visited London, and that was about 350 years later.
In continuing to uphold the Holy City name, in the next three decades (so until 1700) many public officials were removed from office for scandalous behavior. This mainly included public drunkenness (because how else was one to show their public solemn worship of His Holy Berricus), and sleeping with the wenches. Unsurprisingly since the only things to do in Chuck Town at this time was to 1) drink and 2) have drunk sex, the clergy offered little help in keeping order in the town.
One noted clergy individual, the great Reverend Atkin Williamson, the founder of the Atkins Diet, was dismissed in 1681 for baptizing a bear while drunk. (We will need to get back to this dude in a later podcast because he sounds like a riot). Also, there are bears in the Low Country? Why didn’t I know about this? Like there wasn’t enough wildlife to worry about, now it’s mosquitos, crocodiles, and bears oh my!
Due to the only two things available for fun in the city, the public officials (whomever was left to take office since all the others had been removed) complained about the immoral atmosphere infecting the city. DESPITE the fact that LITERALLY EVERYONE had to be a member of a congregation per Cooper’s FC’s.
So the second generation of Charleston residents (because you know, life expectancy back then was 22 years) in the spring of May 1703 saw legislation passed that attempted to prevent ‘mens cohabitating with women with whom they were not married and against Strumptes.’ (because the words wenches and prostitutes were banned and they needed to find a more Protestant word to replace women of ill repute). This legislation was followed by the ‘Act against Bastardy.’ Which essentially is the same thing, they just wanted to cover all their bases twice.
Despite one of their own baptizing a bear, the clergy were ‘swimming against a tide of sin.’ Ignoring those within their circle doing unsaintly things, they agreed in the pompous manner those who always think they’re right do, and concluded the behavior of the citizens was ‘ungodly.’
To replace the bear christener, in 1708 a ship set sail from England carrying Reverend Gideon Johnston.
Apparently England had a great relationship with Portugal (but Spain could suck the big one), because the ship, as was customary, stopped to resupply off the coast at the island of Madeira. Resupply? Are you kidding me? How long could it possibly take to sail from London to Portugal that you needed to resupply? Anywho – Johnston went ashore and sampled a new drink – A GOLDEN COLORED SPIRIT NAMED AFTER THE ISLAND – I’ve figured out where Madeira wine came from guys. This elixir is aged TWNETY YEARS in casks and then bottled FOR ANOTHER THIRTY TO SEVENTY FIVE YEARS!!!! What the ever loving hell? How were people in Chuck Town drinking this shit in taverns? Man no wonder it cost 16 pounds to drink.
Like most people who miss important engagements due to drinking, the Reverend enjoyed the drink SO MUCH …. He missed his ship departing for Carolina. As one does when they realize they still need to get to point B, he arranged another departure and persuaded the captain that they needed to load his boat up with this amazing golden drink of the gods. As history would have it, the reverend also didn’t make it to Charleston on his second boat, because he was found marooned on an island off the coast with no food or water – because the crew figured out that this drink WAS THE SHIT.
And thus – Madeira soon became the it drink of the elites.
I am going to need to look this up and order it because currently, there is a brand of Madeira on the market called ‘Charleston.’
Back to our good reverend who hasn’t had the best luck arriving to the New World.
Eventually arriving, he quickly realized that it would have been better to remain on that uninhabited island. His many problems included dealing with Reverend Edward Marston of St. Philip’s Church who, like most people, was angry at being replaced with an individual who couldn’t even be relied upon to arrive on time. However, like most people who bitch the loudest, Marston was forced to flee town after being arrested for a public fistfight, fraud, and indebtedness. I’m not sure how he could have insulted anyone to anger since his imagination had him calling Johnston an ‘Irish bandit.’
So the very first years of Chuck Town’s founding involved drinking, sex, and trying to establish a religious order where anyone could apparently declare anything as their religion.
We now get to introduce a new individual who introduced the Salem Witch Trials before Salem was a twinkle in Massachusetts eye.
Judge Nicholas Trott.
Who had a cooler relative, his paternal grandfather, Perient Trott, the director of the Somers (LOL I grew up in Somers NY) Island Company. This company, fun fact, formed to colonize Bermuda. His Uncle, also known as Nicolas Trott, was a governor of Bermuda and let the island be used as a safe haven for pirates. It’s like our very own Tortuga!
But back to stick in the mud Judge Trott. Trott’s family connections helped him obtain the posts of secretary to the Somers Island Company and Attorney General of Bermuda in 1693. In 1699, he arrived in Charleston to become attorney general and naval officer. Trott apparently couldn’t abide by anyone not doing things his way and as such he ended up publicly critizing Governor Joseph Blake, leading to an arrest and being excluded from office. But Because government has always been corrupt in 1702 he was restored to his former positions AND granted a promotion of CHIEF JUSTICE. He was apparently such an amazing kiss ass, that when he visited England in 1714 he was granted several extraordinary legal powers by the Proprietors (no idea who those oldies are) – and thus returned to Chuck Town with the Imperial March playing in the background AS THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE COLONY.
Their greatest achievement at this time (him and his brother in law William Rhett) was the hunt and arrest of the Gentleman Pirate, Stede Bonnet. TBH a gentleman pirate sounds like the oxymoron Jumbo Shrimp. I am going to have to look into this illustrious individual Stede Bonnet, because Pirates!
Back to Trott – like most holier than thou kiss asses, by 1719 he was thoroughly detested by this Charles Town contemporaries.
In an unsurprising abuse of his power, as a Justice he managed to enforce the following:
– For stealing: public whipping, burning of the hand, cropping of an ear, and depending how big the theft, death
– For murder: always dealt with by an ‘eye for an eye’ meaning MORE DEATH
o Hanging was the preferred method of execution, but that’s way too nice of a way to go. So let’s introduce BURNING AT THE STAKE instead.
Do you remember when the fair would come to town and everyone would go and have fun, enjoy the rides, the sights, the food? Well journey back a few years and carnivals in the 1700’s were executions! And reminiscent to when the ball drops in Times Square, drinks and cheers were raised when the body dropped through the trap door. What better event to bring your children to in order to keep them in line? Little Tommy better behave or he’ll get a short drop and a sudden stop. Nowadays we would call this child abuse and endangerment.
Trott presided over every important case held in Chuck Town for about twenty years. Which also included the trial of a witch! The most sensational murder of the fricken century! (This is actually a lie – surprisingly)
A woman (because as history will have you believe, everything a woman’s fault) had been arrested and charged with (gasp) witchcraft. According to incredibly reliable witnesses who were in no way drunk (because obvs the clergy resolved the drinking and whoring problem by this point) informed officials that several persons ‘had become ill and two died’ due to the witch’s charms. AKA some titties were flashed, and simultaneous aneurysms commenced. Because OF COURSE this had to be the work of a witch, and not their booze swimming livers giving up the ghost or their poor hearts erupting from titty shock.
In the true spirit of the speed of government, she was imprisoned for FIFTEEN months before being brought to trial before (you guessed it) JUDGE TROTT. As a consummate suck up, Trott has TWENTY manuscript pages to ‘prove’ to the grand jury that witches and spirits exist. My question in all of this is where in the ever loving God’s green earth did this colonial man find twenty pages to write about witches? Wasn’t that shit expensive? I mean – where did paper even come from back then?
As most holier than thou individuals he opens his case with bible quotes. Most notable being the one liner from Exodus 22:18: ‘thou shall not suffer a witch to live.’ He probably LOVED that one. Straight, quick, minimal words, to the point.
And thus, since there wasn’t anything like actual innocent until proven guilty back then – she burned.
Surprisingly for me to find out, apparently having a witch burn wasn’t the most sensational trial to happen to Trott.
No – that title falls to Sarah Dickenson, Edward Beale, and Joshua Brenan. Sarah and Edward were not so happily married and were enjoying an adulterous affair together to ease the tedium of their lives. In a twist Edward’s wife dies suddenly. Not content with just this Edward also attempts to ruin his lover’s (Sarah) husband by making false accusations and eventually trying to poison him. This was unsuccessful (how I’m not sure because how can you mess up a poisoning?). So Sarah and Edward end up hiring Joshua to poison Mr. Dickenson instead. Which two times ends up being the charm. All three were found guilty. Because back then, whether you liked it or not, the end verdict was always GUILTY! Like the witch before her, Sarah was burned at the stake while the two men were given a more gentlemanly death by hanging. There was apparently sexism in executions back then as well. Because killing people isn’t enough we need to make it genderized.
And thus were the early years of our beloved Chuck Town. An English colony named after the Merry Monarch who fathered over a hundred bastards, its two main rivers named after its most influential founder, ‘the greatest whoremaster in England’, where citizens used a loophole in a law to attend divine service in a tavern with six friends, one drunk minister who baptized a bear, and another who was late due to his love of wine. And, of course, witches and adultery!
Welcome to Charleston!
(Most of this info came from Wicked Charleston: The Dark Side of the Holy City – By: Mark R. Jones)