Charleston: Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon – Rebecca Motte Room

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Charleston: Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - Rebecca Motte Room

The Rebecca Motte Room on the first floor, or Exchange Floor, of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon is the formal meeting place for the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the National Society of the American Revolution. The room and chapter are named for Rebecca Brewton Motte, the Revolutionary War heroine who famously let Generals Francis and Light Horse Harry Lee set her plantation house on the Congaree aflame after the British appropriated it as a fort during the Revolutionary War.

The ladies of the Rebecca Motte Chapter, organized in 1895, have been meeting here since 1921. For their meetings, each lady would bring a chair from home, and the current collection, ranging in date from Late Georgian to Colonial Revival, continue in use today. The collection also include two pier mirrors, c. 1850, of Continental origin that once belong to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and purchased by the chapter in 2006.

The Exchange and Provost, located at 122 East Bay, was built in 1767 as a mercantile exchange and Custom House. The Georgian-style building, designed by William Rigby Naylor, was badly damaged by Union artillery fire during the Civil War, and again after the great earthquake of 1886, but repaired on both occasions.

In 1774, South Carolina elected delegates to the First Continental Congress in the Exchange’s Great Hall. Seized by the British, it was used as a military prison during the Revolutionary War, where Isaac Hayne, an American executed for treason by the British, spent his last night. In 1788, the State Legislature met here to ratify the new State Constitution. In 1791, President George Washington addressed the citizens of Charlestown from the building’s west elevation, and attended a ball and concert inside. In 1815, the Post Office moved into the Exchange Building. In 1873, the building became City Hall and was bought by the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1912.

Posted by wallyg on 2013-05-25 20:44:56

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