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54 Hasell Street
Col. William Rhett House

circa 1712-1720

This residence was constructed by Col. William Rhett (1666 -1722), a prominent Charleston merchant and colonial militia leader. In 1706 he led a small fleet of local ships that repulsed a combined French and Spanish invasion of the city. Rhett is perhaps best remembered for his capture of the pirate Stede Bonnet in 1718.

Considered one of the oldest houses in Charleston, this two story stuccoed brick residence was originally squarish in plan, a layout typical of early Charleston houses. An addition on the northwest side as well as the east and west piazzas, by which the house is now entered from Hasell Street, were added in the early 19th century.

When constructed, the house was located outside the city limits on a portion of land known as the Point Plantation. After Rhett acquired the property in 1707 he renamed the twenty eight acres surrounding the house "Rhettsbury," a name that was still in use when the area was later subdivided for his granddaughters, Susannah Hasell Quince and Mary Hasell Ancrum.

In 1807 the property was purchased by Christopher Fitzsimmons, a wealthy wharf owner. His grandson, Wade Hampton, III (1818 -1902), Confederate Lieutenant General, Governor of South Carolina (1876-1879), and United States Senator (1879-1891) was born in the house in 1818.

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