A dynamic speaker. A terrific topic. A huge audience (we had to set up more chairs twice!), How often to you get to learn a lot about history while you’re also laughing?
That’s the combination Michael Heitzler brought to his Tuesday, November 15 presentation “The Goose Creek Men: Founding Fathers of the Deep South”.
Heitzler, a local historian and former Mayor of Goose Creek walked the crowd through the foundations of what we today call Southern Culture. He says it was conceived in England, born in Barbados and other Caribbean islands and came to fruition in Carolina!
According to Heitzler, it all stemmed from the concept of primogeniture…the notion that all property and authority go to the first born son. The concept, brought to England by William the Conqueror, resulted in subsequent sons being forced to seek their fortunes elsewhere…be it the Caribbean, Carolina, India or other eventual outposts of the British Empire.
The collection of second and third sons who settled in Goose Creek were, at best, a fractious lot but they also were called the “spear of the British Empire” in North America, leading the push into what is now Georgia and North Carolina.
Another interesting fact….when James I invaded Ireland, he had Irish Catholics sent to the Caribbean as slaves. Why…first to make room in Ireland for Protestant Englishmen but also because the Irish were cheaper than importing African slaves.
One more fun fact among many…Ever wonder about the crescent moon on the South Carolina state flag? It dates back to a middle eastern heraldic symbol Richard the Lion Hearted (himself a second son!) brought back with him from the crusades. It was adopted by South Carolinians like William Moultrie and Francis Marion and, eventually, onto the state flag.
If you missed Michael Heitzler’s presentation, a video of it is now available on YouTube CLICK HERE.
Heitzler is the author of several books and even more articles on local history. To see more CLICK HERE.
He’s also active on Facebook CLICK HERE.