About Charleston Time Machine

The Charleston Time Machine is an imaginary time-travel device created by historian Dr. Nic Butler. It uses stories and facts from the rich, deep, colorful history of Charleston, South Carolina, as a means to educate, inspire, amuse, and even amaze the minds of our community. By exploring the stories of our shared past, we can better understand our present world and plan more effectively for the future.

The Charleston Time Machine is piloted by Nic Butler, Ph.D., an interdisciplinary historian with an infectious enthusiasm for Charleston’s colorful past. A native of Greenville County, South Carolina, Dr. Butler attended the University of South Carolina before completing a Ph.D. in musicology at Indiana University. He has worked as archivist of the South Carolina Historical Society, as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston, and as an historical consultant for the City of Charleston. 

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Recent Trips in Charleston's History

  • The Roots of Spain’s Claim to South Carolina, 1513–1670

    From Spanish perspective, the colony of La Florida once encompassed all of the land from the Florida Keys to the southern edge of the Chesapeake Bay. The creation of the Carolina colony in the 1660s usurped the northern half of that broad landscape, however, and sparked a fierce rivalry that shaped the first century of South Carolina’s early history.

  • Murder and Manhunt in 1820: Albro’s Flight from Slavery, Part 3

    Captured after a manhunt, the African prisoner Albro was committed to jail in Charleston with a former friend and an infamous pair of White criminals. A brief and biased trial judged him guilty of murder and sentenced him to hang. After a brief reprieve, the condemned man made a gallows confession before a crowd assembled at a well-known crossroads.

  • Murder and Manhunt in 1820: Albro’s Flight from Slavery, Part 2

    Following Albro’s fatal encounter with a White man on Dewees Island, the African fled through the waters of Copahee Sound and across several mainland plantations. Meanwhile, the victim’s father traveled to Charleston to summon help and initiate a manhunt. As militiamen pursued the fugitive’s trail, Albro was betrayed by an enslaved man who stopped him in his tracks.

  • Murder and Manhunt in 1820: Albro’s Flight from Slavery, Part 1

    Albro was an African man who resisted a life of forced slavery on the Isle of Palms by repeatedly fled into the wilderness. His efforts to gain permanent freedom clashed with state law in early 1820, when Albro resisted capture on Dewees Island, killed one of his assailants, and dove into the frigid water to escape a pursuing mob.

  • Escaping Slavery: Resistance on the Run

    Between the 1670s and 1865, thousands of enslaved South Carolinians rejected their condition and fled to gain freedom elsewhere. Some runaways succeeded, while others faced brutal punishments, and most returned to a life of servitude. Surviving details of their adventures are sparse, but a voluminous body of newspaper advertisements provides intriguing snapshots of thousands of stories of courageous resistance.

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Don't know how to get a podcast? Let us help! 

Think of a podcast as a radio show that you can get on the internet and listen to, pause, restart, and skip through anytime you want. You have a couple options: You can listen to a podcast through a website like CCPL's, which is called streaming; or you can download the podcast, which means it is saved to your phone, tablet, or computer so you can listen to it anytime -- even without an internet connection. 

To stream the Charleston Time Machine: Visit the Time Machine page and either choose an episode from the player above or choose which story you want to know more about. In each story we embed a player of that episode so you can listen as you read. 

To download: Use an app and it will be delivered each week to your phone, tablet, or computer. You'll get a fresh Time Machine podcast every Friday afternoon! We offer downloads through services you may have heard of before: Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and Tune In. Just click on the icon above of the service you want to use and click the subscribe button. It's that easy! 

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