General William Moultrie
By: Illustrious McDonald "Don" Burbidge, 33°
From a sketch by the late Dr. James Moultrie, Sr., with annotations by A. S. Salley, Jr., we learn that Dr. John Moultrie, the Emigrant and the progenitor of the Moultrie family of South Carolina, was born at Culross, Shire of Fife, Scotland. He was a physician of eminence and a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He came to Charles Town, S. C., anterior to 1729 in which year his name appears among the signatures of the original founders of the St. Andrew’s Club, now called St. Andrew’s Society. He was born 1702, died in 1771, his first wife’s name was Lucretia Cooper. He and his wife gave birth to the following children: John (Royal Lieut. Governor of East Florida), William (Major General in American Revolution), James (Chief Justice East Florida), Thomas (Captain in American Revolution).
The most distinguished member of the Moultrie family is Major General William Moultrie, some of whose descendants are found in the Brailsford family of South Carolina. The life and achievements of General Moultrie are too well known to be listed. As a memorial to this famous South Carolinian a tablet was erected in the vestibule of St. Philip’s Church located on Church Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina which is the town he and his men so bravely defended during the Revolutionary war.
General Moultrie is also credited with designing and making the South Carolina State flag as we know it today. In his, "Memoirs of the American Revolution," General Moultrie writes "A little time after we were in possession of Fort Johnson (15th September, 1775) it was thought necessary to have a flag for the purpose of signals (as there was no national or State flag at the time). I was desired by the Council of Safety to have one made; upon which, as the State Troops were clothed in blue, and the fort was garrisoned by the First and Second Regiments, who wore a silver crescent on the front of their caps, I had a large blue flag made with a crescent on the dexter corner, to be in uniform with the troops. This was the first American flag, which was displayed in South Carolina. On its being first hoisted, it gave some uneasiness to our timid friends, who were looking forward to a reconciliation; they said it had the appearance of a declaration of war; and Capt. Thornborough, in the Tamar sloop of war, lying in Rebellion Road, would look upon it as an insult and a flag of defiance, and he would certainly attack the fort; but he knew his own force, and knew the weight of our metal; he therefore kept his station and contented himself with spying on us."
1749 – William Moultrie marries Elizabeth Demaris de St. Julian
1774 – Elected to the 1st Continental Congress, but was unable
June 28 - Commands Fort Sullivan at the during the First Battle of Charleston.
May 11-12 – General Moultrie help organized Charleston’s defenses when General Prevost threatened the city.
May 17 – General Moultrie places his magazine of gun powder in the
"Exchange Building" located on Broad Street for safe keeping from the British
armies. After the Revolutionary war ended General Moultrie went back to the
Exchange Building and found his gun powder still in the place he left it for
October 15 - Promoted to Major General.
Elected First President of the Society of the Cincinnati for the State of South Carolina along with 113 other officers of the Revolutionary war.
Retires from public office.
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