Sunrise over the "Holy City" 30 X 40"
This oil painting is derived from a morning summer view of the Peninsula of Charleston at sunrise looking east with Mt. Pleasant and Sullivan's Island in the background. Over to he far right is Fort Sumter and Fort Johnson. The early morning sun has just climbed above the low clouds and fog to shine brightly with surrounding orange , reflecting off the Ashley River Inlet and harbor. This scene was taken from the James Island Connector , a wonderful site to get a clear view of the entire harbor area. One must pull over on the incoming traffic side and brave the speeding motorists buzzing by to reach their early morning destinations . The drivers and passengers , as they pass by, have determined and preoccupied looks on their faces and appear totally unaware of this beautiful scene. Perhaps these views are so common to them that this magnificent sunrise and cloud formation is just another day, very much like so many that they are exposed to over the years.
One must wonder how our earliest colonists felt when in a boat or ship out here with such a remarkable harbor, surrounded by sea islands and protected by the ravages of the great Atlantic.
The earliest settlement, as most locals know, was west of the Ashley River at the first "Albermarle Point" up a small creek, hidden from view by old oaks and local shrubs. This site was initially chosen as to protect the early settlement from curious French and Spanish exploring vessels that would peek into inlets up and down the southern seaboard , looking for English "footholds" that were sure to pop up. If found, the invaders would attack, murder, rape, and enslave all that were found and torch the settlement.
Within 10 years of successful colonization here, the Lords Proprietors began to look more closely at this harbor's potential assets and came to the conclusion that "Oyster Point" (the peninsula) was and excellent site as a port, especially the high east side with its deeper waters. The Peninsula, however, was owned by Captain John Coming and his new bride Affra. Both were from Devonshire and were cousins from "the Old Country". Captain Coming was "First Mate" on the first voyage that brought the colonists to the colony in 1670.
Therefore, the Lords Proprietors had negotiate with the Comings to make Charles Towne the main site of the new colony. "White Point" was the very tip of the peninsula that boasted a grand oyster bank, bleached white by the sun.
After Captain Coming's death in 1694, Affra still owned a large chunk of the peninsula but donated it as "Glebe Lands" centered about Glebe Street where the bishop's house is located ,on the east side. The lands also included the lands for the future College of Charleston, built a century later. Affra died in 1698 and the estate was divded between Captain Coming's nephew, Elias Ball, and Affra's nephew, John Harleston.
White Point and the College are both hard to distinguish in this painting but are there nevertheless.
Outside of Coming Street and Harleston Village, little remains in the city to remind one of who the original colonial owners were. Obviously, the native American tribes were the original owners of all one can see in this painting.