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"D” is for Dorchester

“D” is for Dorchester. In 1697 Congregationalists from Massachusetts settled on the north bank of the Ashley River and founded Dorchester as a market village twenty miles northwest of Charleston. Although it remained small, the town played a significant role in the economy and society of the Upper Ashley. Local Anglicans completed the parish church of St. George’s Dorchester in 1720 The colony constructed a tabby fort and brick powder magazine during the French and Indian War.

During the Revolutionary War the town served as an outpost first for patriot forces and then for British troops. Dorchester was gradually abandoned following the war. Loss of population, an unhealthy location, and war-time destruction all contributed to the town’s demise. The church’s brick tower and the ruins of the tabby fort are all that remains of colonial Dorchester.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.