Philadelphia Alley Duel Of 1804
When strolling through the streets of Charleston’s Historic district, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve stepped backward in time. And there is no place where that is more true than in Philadelphia Alley.
Philadelphia Alley is a secluded, one-block stretch nestled between Church Street and State Street. Originally named “Cow Alley” (probably because it was occupied mainly by livestock), Francis Kinloch widened it a bit in 1766, and renamed it “Kinloch Court,” as it ran through his property, adjoining Cumberland and Queen Streets. Then in 1811, Charleston native and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, William Johnson renamed it “Philadelphia Alley” in honor of the aid received by the city of Philadelphia in the wake of a fire in 1810.
Locals, though, refer to it as Dueler’s Alley.
The Hamilton-Burr Duel of 1804 (Mund)
The practice of dueling dates back to medieval times. Most of us have likely heard the story of the famous 1804 duel in which Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, was mortally wounded by then-U.S. Vice President, Aaron Burr. We may even regard dueling as a “fight to the death.” But dueling wasn’t really about killing—killing was incidental. It was about chivalry and honor. A man willing to participate in a duel was seen as one who was willing to die for his honor. In fact, not participating in a duel after having been publicly insulted would have taken a serious toll on a man’s reputation.
March 15th, 2017
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