South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Denmark Vesey House, Charleston County (56 Bull St., Charleston)
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Right Oblique Left Oblique Left Elevation
Porch Detail
Rear Left

Many rebellions and rumors of rebellions occurred throughout the South during the slavery period. One of the most alarming insurrections was that planned in 1822 by a free-black man, Denmark Vesey. Vesey was a trusted member of the free-black population who could read and write. He had been a resident of Santo Domingo, the scene of an earlier rebellion. Vesey designed an insurrection plan of such precision and efficiency that mass hysteria was created throughout the Carolinas and the South. Vesey held meetings at his house to prepare for the insurrection, scheduled for July 14, 1822. On May 25, Peter, a slave of Colonel John C. Prioleau went to the fish market for a purchase and was informed of the impending crisis. Peter informed his master’s wife of the news; Colonel Prioleau informed the City Council. Vesey feared that the plot would be discovered and rescheduled the date of insurrection to June 16. Vesey had lost the element of surprise. The city went on alert and Governor Bennett ordered the militia to be prepared. Vesey was arrested June 21 and placed on trial the following day. Three of Vesey’s men were offered immunity from punishment if they confessed. Three hundred and thirteen alleged participants were arrested, 67 of those were convicted and 35 executed. Vesey was sentenced to death July 2, 1822. Vesey is believed to have established a carpentry business and residence at this Bull Street house ca. 1822. (Note: research since the time of nomination has shown that 56 Bull Street was not Vesey’s house. There is no concrete evidence to support that Vesey ever lived at this address, or that this house was even standing ca. 1820.) Listed in the National Register May 11, 1976; Designated a National Historic Landmark May 11, 1976.

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