Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Look on the Past

A Jail for the Dead

Side of the Charleston District Jail
Throughout this semester our class has visited multiple graveyards, even some in the dark, but the spookiest thing we did was go on a ghost tour. As our final class session we visited the Old City Jail, originally called the Charleston District Jail. Our tour guide, Sean Pike from Bulldog Tours, went into great depth on the history of the jail, the places inside and the ghosts that still haunt the jail today.

Constructed in 1795, the jail was built to replace the provost dungeon that was located on East Bay Street. It took about seven years to build the Charleston District Jail, opening in 1802. For the first one-hundred years of being open the jail had very similar ways of punishment as the dungeon did. Around 1939 the jail was closes down, due to "unfit living conditions." The jail had no plumbing, no running water, no electricity or even window panes.

Back of the jail. What you saw from
the jail yard.
During the time that the jail was opened, it was very overcrowded. It was originally built to accommodate 150 prisoners, but exceeded that amount and held around 500 prisoners. During the Civil war however, the jail yard was also used to hold prisoners. As stated by Sean Pike, "during the time of the Civil War there was an additional 700 people in the jail yard."

Located behind the jail was the jail yard, where back then had a gallows pole. A gallows pole was a twenty foot pole with pulley system that was used to execute prisoners by hanging. It looked similar to what we draw for when we play hangman. In 1911 hanging by execution was outlawed due to many malfunctions with the system. Even though many people were executed at the jail, it was not the main causes of death. The biggest killer was disease not torture or execution. "Diseases killed around 14,000 people, that's a lot of people for a tiny place like this" Mr. Pike stated.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Epicest Epitaphs of Charleston

Over the past few weeks of our class we have visited multiple graveyards and cemeteries. Some of which include Magnolia Cemetery, Bethel UMC Graveyard and the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul Graveyard.

When visiting these graveyards and looking at the tombstones, you could see all these different epitaphs. An epitaph is a short, but can be long, text honoring a deceased person that is inscribed on his or her tombstone, plaque or other grave marker. An epitaph can be anything from a biblical versus, a song quote or just a plain old saying.

Here are ten of the "Epic Epitaphs" that I saw through out the semester.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Notable American Dentist

A painting of
Josiah Flagg Jr.
When I first heard Ruth Miller talk about the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street I remember hearing about the first American dentist being buried there. Ever since this moment I knew I was going to select him as my "Old Charlestonian."

Located at the Circular Church Cemetery along side the pathway near a tree, Josiah Flagg Jr.'s headstone stands. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763, being one of nine children he is definitely the most recognized. Using Find My Grave, Massachusetts Historical Society's online collections, and Billion Graves I was able to locate and learn about Josiah Flagg Jr. in great depths.

Josiah Flagg Jr. was, and still is, recognized as the first American to make dentistry his life's work. Before being acknowledged as a dentist, it was discovered that Josiah Flagg Jr. was assisting his father in Rhode Island in the department of the commissary of military stores.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Death and Dying 101

Dr. George E. Dickinson is one of our own. He has taught at the College of Charleston since the the 1970s. He teaches multiple classes,two of them being a class on child life and death for seniors and his main class death and dying. This past Monday we got to listen and learn from Dr. Dickinson about "The American Way of Death."

How Dr. Dickinson Got Into Such a Topic
Dr. George E. Dickinson 
In 1969 George Dickinson got a PhD in Sociology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Before he went on to get a PhD he went to graduate school. While in graduate school he was assigned a research project on the end-of-life, this caught his interest.
When going on to get a PhD he surveyed about 1300 medical schools on if they taught any courses on death and dying. It turned out that only seven off them taught classes related to death and dying, but "today, medical schools teach around 46 hours on death and dying. This was such a shock to him because you would think medical schools, who teach doctors, the people who you call when you are dying would teach such a subject.

What Else Does Dr. Dickinson Do?
Not only does Dr. Dickinson teach but he also does research. Over the past 5 years he has been working on a few different different projects. Two of them being assisted suicide and euthanizing animals. The project that he went in to great depths about was his research on euthanizing animals. He asked multiple vetinarians the same question, "when you euthanize an animal do you notice any specific behaviors in other animals?" The response was yes.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Roses, Angels, and Lambs Oh My..

Have you ever looked at grave stone and wondered what all the symbols meant? Last Monday we visited Bethel United Methodist Church Graveyard located on the corner of Calhoun and Pitt Street.
Bethel UMC has been on the corner of Pitt and Calhoun since 1797.
The first church building, a simple wooden structure, served both white and black members until 1852 when it got pushed westward on Calhoun street to afford the building of a new and larger sanctuary. The old building was donated to the blacks in 1876. The Old Bethel located at 222 Calhoun Street still stands as the oldest Methodist Church building.

When our class got to the graveyard it was our assignment to look around and find different symbols and describe what each one meant. In order to find what each symbol represented I used a few websites and books which included:,, Stories Told in Stone by Gaylord Cooper and In the Arms of the Angel by Patrick Harwood. When visiting the graveyard of Bethel United Methodist Church many different symbols caught my attention, some of them include:

Symbol(s):Drapery, Bouquet
What They Mean:
       Drapery: Mourning and sorrow
       Bouquet: Grief
Type of Grave Marker: Die on Socket
Who is buried here?: Rose Mary Muckenfuss
Birth: Oct. 9, 1836
Death: Nov. 2, 1881

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Step Back In Time

Have you ever wondered where you came from and who your ancestors were? The ancestor that I chose to research was my great great grand father, Benjamin Morgan. I chose to learn about him because within the past couple of years, my father has inherited a great deal of land that belonged to Ben Morgan.

Through talking to my father and grandmother, doing research on,, and looking at newspaper clippings given to me by my father, I was able to gather some information on him and learn about the history of my ancestor. He was born on October 3, 1861 in California. During his youth he moved to Ash Canyon in Arizona and later settled down in Bisbee Arizona.
Newspaper clipping on
Ben Morgan's findings and his
search for the lode

Ben Morgan moved to Bisbee County when it was first established, being one of the first settlers there, to follow his career. He also had the first marriage and ceremony in Bisbee. He married a women named Jessie Duncan, a Navaho Indian. The ceremony was held by her father, William Duncan, in a tent house at the Copper Camp. They had the fourth born child in Bisbee, named Charles Morgan.

According to two newspaper clippings, one from my father and another from, Ben "prospected and followed placer mining in the Huachuca mountains" and "had multiple placer claims at the Yaquis cabins." He was a miner for about 35 years.
During his career he found a three ounce gold nugget that was sold for $57.50 in 1915, which is now worth about 3,600 dollars. He decided that the nugget came from a lode with great-value; for the remainder of his life he searched for this lode. Unfortunately, after he found the nugget there was an earthquake that made it harder to discover the lode. According to Ben, when asked where the lode came from he said "it came from the Conquistador's lode" which was a large amount of gold hidden by Conquistadors in the mountains that Ben was mining. Sadly, he died before discovering anymore.