Built in 1772, “Charleston’s Revolutionary War House” was the town-home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., Revolutionary patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Located in the original walled portion of the city, the house features magnificent Charleston-made furniture and a formal 18th century garden.
Though known as the Heyward-Washington House today, the building at 87 Church Street has been home to many families. In 1794 the house was sold to Judge John Grimké, father of future abolitionists and women’s rights activists Sarah and Angelina Grimké. According to local tradition, the Grimké sisters learned to hate the injustices of slavery as children watching the treatment of the enslaved people in their home.
Thirteen years her senior, Sarah was Angelina’s godmother and the two remained close throughout their entire lives, living together for most of that time. In 1819 Sarah accompanied her sick father to Philadelphia for medical treatment and was impressed by the care rendered to him by the Society of Friends, or Quakers. Briefly returning to Charleston after his death, she settled permanently in Philadelphia in 1821 and converted to Quakerism. Angelina joined her in Philadelphia by 1829 and also became a Quaker.
The Grimké sisters were sought out by the abolitionist movement when a letter written by Angelina was published in The Liberator without her knowledge. In May 1837 they joined leading women abolitionists from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia at the first Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, held to expand women’s anti-slavery actions to other states.
Both Sarah and Angelina wrote pamphlets directed to their southern contemporaries. Copies of Angelina’s Appeal to the Christian Women of the South were publicly burned by the Charleston postmaster, prompting a warning to Mrs. Grimké that her daughters should not return to Charleston under threat of arrest.
After Angelina married, the sisters retired from public life but did continue to support anti-slavery and suffrage organizations. They also provided assistance to a number of Grimké family enslaved, including three men who were the sons of their brother, Henry, and an enslaved woman.
Monday-Saturday: 10 am -5:00 pm (last tour at 4:30 pm)
Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00 pm (last tour at 4:30 pm)
Admission for to your choice of The Charleston Museum, the Heyward-Washington House or the Joseph Manigault House – Adults: $12 for 1 location, $18 for 2 locations, $25 for all 3 locations; Youth (13-17): $12 for 1 location; Children (3-12): $5 for 1 location; Children under 3: Free