"If you are walking in Charleston, you are walking on someone's grave."--Sue Bennett, Charleston tour guide

Monday, February 25, 2019

Nothing But the Truth with Ruth- Charleston History Expert Visits Class

Miller is the author of several books about Charleston churchyards
"Consultant for All Things Charleston and the Lowcountry" is prominently stated on the website of author, historian, educator and tour guide Ruth Miller.

She knows her stuff and my students and I were the happy recipients of her hour-long presentation on how the Holy City became so holy.

Charleston's rich religious heritage was the theme of Miller's Feb. 18 talk. In my "Beyond the Grave" class that features visits to several old church graveyards and cemeteries, she has proven a valuable expert source.

Miller has been coming to my class for, I think, three years now.  Every visit I am always learning new things.  This talk she said a key reason for the College of Charleston's founding in 1770 was because young men from prominent and wealthy area families could no longer go to England to be educated.  Why? Because the Revolutionary War was breaking out and it just was no longer a good (or safe) idea to try to go to school there.

I have long been a student of Charleston and College of Charleston history and had never heard that before.  Makes sense!

In a previous post after a Ruth Miller talk I wrote about the influence of Anthony Ashley Cooper who in the late 1690s was appointed by Britain's King Charles II as one of eight lord proprietors in charge of colonial America. Ashley Cooper was put in charge of the vast Carolinas colony. The religious freedom and tolerance he offered settlers, given partly as a marketing tool, would be very successful in inspiring Europeans to move to America.  Land grants were offered ranging from 100 acres to 12,000 acres.

See this post I wrote about Charleston's religious influences, as told by Miller to a previous class.

I knew from Miller previously that Ashley Cooper never set foot in the Carolinas, that all of his marketing was done from afar.  A new bit I learned on this night was that later in his life Ashley Cooper was the victim of a change in England's political climate.

"He had to flee England and died in poverty," Miller said.

But his legacy in the Charleston area would be set when two rivers were named in his honor.  And as Charlestonians like to say, the Ashley and Cooper rivers converge to form the Atlantic Ocean.

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