Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - Field Trip

The other week, our family took the afternoon to go to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.  L10 has been reading and completing a unit study on "Treasure Island" and we are studying the Revolutionary War in history, so it seemed quite fitting!!!

Due to the time of our arrival, we started down in the Dungeon for the tour.  It began with the start of Charleston... being built between the Cooper River and Ashley River in order for trade to occur.

The tour guide then went on to discuss Blackbeard and Stede Bonnett... two pirates that joined forces against Charleston.  Bennett was later captured along with a number of his men, kept in the dungeon, and later executed, as were his men.  Their bodies were left in the open for a time, so that any other pirates might be deterred from raiding Charleston, and it worked!  Blackbeard was later caught and executed up in North Carolina.

The Dungeon was later used at the beginning of the Revolutionary War... much like Boston, the Charlestonians refused to buy the English Tea.  Unlike the Bostonians, however, they did not dump the tea, but rather the tax collector, or collector of customs, suggested putting it in the dungeon and waiting to see if it sold.  The Charlestonians banned drinking it for two years!  Then, it was sold for funds for the patriot's cause, which infuriated Britain!

At one point during the Revolutionary War, knowing the British were coming, the Charlestonians moved all the gunpowder to the Dungeon and built a wall around it.  Even while the British occupied the premises, they did not realize the gunpowder was there due to the wall being built by the same bricklayers that had built the original building... it was 100% concealed and the Brits stayed clueless!

Perhaps the most famous prisoner kept in the dungeon, however, was Isaac Hayne.  This widowed father of 7 was a prisoner due to "treason" and was executed a mere couple months before the end of the Revolutionary War!  It is said he was not allowed a fair trial or hearing, but rather was used as an example :(  Women were also prisoners... especially ones that were considered helpful to the Patriots.

Once the tour was done, we finished looking at the items down in the dungeon, which focused on the pirates.

Next we headed to the first floor.  There you will find an old post office set up, which was housed in the Old Exchange.  The children were fascinated with the old type of post office boxes and stamps.

We then went into the "NSDAR Room" which houses a lot of old artifacts from that time period.

Hopefully you are able to read the above plaque... it tells of true Southern Hospitality... a trait that I have come to love about the south, but is dying much like the founding beliefs of that time period! Rebecca Motte was forced to leave her home in the "city" due to possession by the British.  She and her daughters went to their plantation home.  They were then again forced to leave, due to the British possessing that home as well.  The Patriots met with Rebecca and devised a plan to burn Rebecca's plantation in order to force the Brits into surrendering.  She agreed!  The plan worked, the Brits surrendered and then they ALL worked together to save the house.  Rebecca, being the Southern Lady that she was, then served BOTH sides' officers (American and British) dinner!

We then headed to the second floor.  We started in the far room - in the Isaac Hayne room.  The man himself spent his final hours prior to execution in this room.  

We then went into the main room, though there wasn't much in there as far as artifacts.  There was, however, a lady in there that showed the children some older toys and let them give them a try.  There was a Jacob's Ladder, Cup and Ball, and yo-yo.

Overall, the field trip was a great learning experience.  I think the children were a little tired of reading everything, but they thoroughly enjoyed the tour in the dungeon and trying out the games :)

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