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Cumberland Street

Photo: 79 Cumberland St. The Powder Magazine c.1713

Cumberland Street was probably named for William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the pro-Stuart Scots at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The street does not appear on the "lchnography" of 1739. Cumberland was originally one block long, from Meeting to Church. lt was widened in the early part of the 19th century, and extended to East Bay. ln the process, a slice was taken from Amen Street which ceased to exist. Amen Street began at East Bay and extended northwestwardly to Church Street. One tradition says it was so named because it was the last street on the north side of town; another that it was so-called because it was in hearing range of the "Amens" from nearby churches.
("Streets of Charleston."; Stockton, unpub. notes.)


8 Cumberland St.

-- Between 1789 and 1804, Theodore Gaillard Jr., a factor, built a range of four three story brick buildings that survives today as the two story structure known as 8 Cumberland St. The row, which became known as Faber's North Range after it was purchased in 1804 by John Christopher Faber, was reduced by one story after the earthquake of 1886. The site of the range was part of Wragg's Wharf, which extended from just south of the present Custom House southward almost to Vendue Range. Judith Wragg sold it in 1777 to Theodore Gaillard, Sr. He was a Tory during the Revolution and his property was confiscated by South Carolina authorities in 1782. Acquired in 1783 by John Vanderhorst, the wharf became known as Vanderhorst's Wharf (not to be confused with the other Vanderhorst's Wharf, below Tradd Street, which belonged to Arnoldus Vanderhorst). ln 1789, after John Vanderhorst's death, the wharf was purchased by Theodore Gaillard, Jr. , son of the Tory. By 1799, he had built the range which was later known as 8 Cumberland St. The portion of Cumberland Street east of East Bay Street was known as Gaillard Street until the 1970s.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Aug 8, 1983.; ________, unpub. M.S.)


79 Cumberland St.

IMAGE: TOP OF PAGE-- The Powder Magazine was authorized by the Commons House of Assembly in 1703 and completed by 1713. lt is the only surviving public building from the Lords Proprietors' period, which ended in 1719. lt is a low square building with a steep hip roof and gables on all sides. lt has thick walls and vaulting of brick, with the vaulted roof partly supported by a substantial brick pier. The roof is covered with pantiles. ln 1770, the building was condemned as being of no further use. However, it was needed during the Revolution and saw use. But when a shell burst within 3 feet of the building, the powder in it was moved else where. Paintings of George l and his queen were stored here during the Revolution, and Charles Fraser recalled seeing them in 1800. Later, the building was used as a warehouse. The building now is owned and used an assembly place by the South Carolina Society of Colonial Dames of America. lt is also a museum open to the public.
(Simons, Stories of Charleston Harbor . ; Fraser, Reminiscences , 29-30. ; "Ichonography", 1739.; "Ichonography", 1739. "Ichonography," 1788. ; Mazyck & Waddell, illus. 27.. ; Stoney, This is Charleston , 37. )


83 and 85 Cumberland St.

-- For some time there has been a dispute about the location of Judge Nicholas Trott's house. Dr. J.L.E.W. Shecut, in his essay on the topography of Charleston, published in 1819, stated :

Among the first brick houses built in the town, is that in Cumberland Street, now occupied by Mr. Thorne, immediately opposite to the Episcopal Methodist Church. lt was the residence of Chief Justice Trott. Next to this is the old brick Magazine which has been lately repaired;...

Historian Edward McCrady, in the first volume of his History of South Carolina , cites Shecut and adds:

The house and magazine still stand. The house unfortunately lost a story in the great fire of December, 1861. . . .it was gutted, and when rebuilt upon the old still substantial walls, the third story was left off . It is now the residence of Miss Whitney. lt is to be observed, however, as discrediting the antiquity of this house, that it does not appear on a map published by Parliament in 1739, but on the contrary its site is left as vacant on the map.

An examination of the records indicates that both Shecut and Mccrady were talking about the building at 85 Cumberland, of which only the first level is left of the 18th century building. The second story had been removed by 1912. By 1917, two new stories were added to the building, which was converted to the factory of the General Asbestos and Rubber Company. Later the building was used as an office building and by 1945 was in apartments. The thickness of the original brick is indicated by the recess of the present upper story walls at the point of juncture with the old walls. Trott's residence here is still unproven. As noted by McCrady, the "lchnography" of 1739 shows only the Powder Magazine. lt does not show present-day 83 and 85 Cumberland, nor does it show Cumberland Street. The map was published in June 1739, seven months before Trott's death. The house at 85 Cumberland does appear on the "lchnography" of 1788; the building at 83 Cumberland does not. Kitchens, stables and other out buildings are omitted from both the 1739 and the 1788 maps. The conclusion is that 83 Cumberland was probably an outbuilding to 85 Cumberland; the central chimney indicates it was probably a kitchen. The conclusion is that both are 18th century structures, but it seems unlikely that Trott lived in either. Another tradition states that, after his marriage to Col. William Rhett's widow, Sarah, in 1728, Judge Trott lived in the house at Rhettsbury (now 54 Hasell ).
(Shecut, Essays , 6-7. ; McCrady, 1:703-704.; Edgar & Bailey, 681-684. ; Heyward, Nicholas Trott , 66. ; "Ichonography", 1739; "Ichonography", 1788.)


Opposite 85 Cumberland St.

-- Site of the Blue Meeting House, the first Methodist church in the city. Built in 1787 the church was later named the Cumberland Church, taking it's name from the street.
(Legerton, Historic Churches, 42. )