From the list of Founders and Pew Renters 1817-1874 by Elias B. Bull, these people were prominent enough in their day to have their stories passed down to us.
James M. Eason 1819-1887
Machinist, Foundry owner, and City Council member
Rented Pew #26 1854-1874
The foundry of Eason & Dotterer built the first steam locomotive in SC. Their firm assembled the “Best Friend of Charleston” and put it on the road. They manufactured “The Native” in 1834 and six more locomotives for the SCRR.
When James and Thomas Eason took over the firm, J.M. Eason Bros., they decided against making any more locomotives. They, instead, accepted the order to make a 200hp steam engine for Chisolm’s Rice Mill. In 1856, James took up the challenge of dredging Charleston Harbor. It had not been done before.
“General Moultrie” was the first hydraulic steam dredger. Eason ordered the ship built in NY to the specifications of it inventor, Nathaniel H. Lebby. On delivery, Eason quickly installed the dredging machinery and began dredging the harbor near Sullivan’s Island. He continued, successfully, until city funds ended. Dredging was halted until after the Civil War.
The foundry changed its production focus during the war to weapons. They began rifling smoothbore cannon for the State of South Carolina. The Charleston Mercury wrote on July 20, 1861 “…it has been demonstrated that the Eason gun will throw solid shot or shell, with accuracy, further than any other cannon now in our possession.”
The Honorable Thomas Lee, from a Discourse on the Life and Character of The Honorable Thomas Lee, Late Judge in the District Court of the United States by Samuel Gilman, D.D.
Thomas Lee, 1769-1839, was the son of William Lee, a prominent Colonial watchmaker. His mother was Ann Theus, daughter of the noted Colonial artist and portrait painter, Jeremiah Theus.
"In 1817, Judge Lee was elected President of the State Bank in this city, an office which he faithfully and satisfactorily filled for the last twenty-two years of his life."
"It may be known to many, that in the year 1817, this Church had been long united with another in the city, so as to form with it one legal corporation and one ecclesiastical body, even to the regular interchange of pulpits every Sabbath by the two acting pastors. Few persons acquainted with religious history, would antecedently predict that a connection like this could be indefinately permanent. It must have been foreseen, that in the lapse of time, the harmony of the association, however complete at first, would at length be disturbed by personal partialities and prepossessions in favor of different Pastors, or by differences in theological opinions. Accordingly, with the year just mentioned, the period had arrived for both these causes of disturbance to operate with uncontrollable power. The two Churches were rent into an irreconcilable division, one party embracing the ancient Calvanistic creed of the Corporation, and the other adopting those pronciples of Scriptural interpretation denominated Unitarian.
The breach was still further widened by the fact , that one of the officiating ministers for the time being, Mr. Forster, was an ernest advocate of the last mentioned system and had ina short time acquired a large number of adherents, being otherwise particularly acceptable as a preacher and a man. It thus became a desirable object of the Calvanistic party, to exchange him for a clergyman of a different description, and secure, if possible, the continued adherence of both Churches to their ancient creed.
At this crisis, Judge Lee was found among the friends and followers of Mr. Forster, who proposed to the other party the terms of an amicable separation, and the future appropriation of each Church ediface, to the use of the denominations respectively."
more to follow
submitted by Paul Garbarini September 2010