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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

United Order of Tents Building

Francis P. Seignious House

 

—73 Cannon Street —

 
United Order of Tents Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, February 14, 2015
1. United Order of Tents Building Marker
Inscription. This two and a half story house was built circa 1856 by Stephen S. Lloyd. Constructed in the form of a Charleston single house, the basement level is brick, laid in American bond. The upper stories are of wood with Greek Revival and Italianate decorative influences.

In 1856, Lloyd sold the newly constructed house to Francis P. Seignious (1817 -1883), a merchant, and it remained in his family until 1886. During the early twentieth century, the house and its now demolished two - story outbuilding housed various tenants, including an automobile repair yard.

The United Order of Tents of J. R. Giddings and Jollifee Union purchased the property on December 7, 1956 to serve as its Charleston district headquarters. Founded in 1867 in Norfolk, Virginia, the United Order of Tents is a national organization of Christian Black women started by two enslaved women, Annetta M. Lane and Harriet R. Taylor, with the support of two prominent abolitionists , John Joliffee and J.R. Giddings. The founding members saw the Order as a “tent of salvation” amidst the turmoil of Reconstruction and envisioned uplifting the African American community through mutual aid.

With the development of the national black woman’s club movement, the organization has since grown into a sisterhood of thousands across the United
United Order of Tents Building image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, February 14, 2015
2. United Order of Tents Building
The organization can no longer use their building. There is detailed information on the state of disrepair of the building in the thesis linked below.
States. In 1913 the first tent of the Charleston District emerged, Grace Tent #6 , and it was formally incorporated in 1919. Since then, the group has raised money for orphanages, cancer research, a home for the elderly and helps to finance the burial of their members and continues to make valuable contributions to the community.
 
Erected 2013 by Preservation Society of Charleston.
 
Location. 32° 47.394′ N, 79° 56.71′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is on Cannon Street just east of Smith Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charleston SC 29403, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cannon Street Y (within shouting distance of this marker); Calvary Episcopal Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Jonathan Jasper Wright (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Calvary Episcopal Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Cannon Street Hospital / McClennan Banks Memorial Hospital (approx. 0.3 miles away); Septima P. Clark Expressway (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Parsonage / Miss Izard's School (approx. 0.4 miles away); William Aiken House (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
 
Also see . . .  The United Order of Tents and 73 Cannon Street: A Study of Identity and Place. 2013 thesis by Mary Margaret Schley, Clemson University. “One hundred years ago, a group of African-American women assembled in Charleston, South Carolina under the name of the United Order of Tents of J.R. Giddings and Jollifee Union. The only organization of its kind, the United Order of Tents is a secret society comprised and operated solely by African-American women. The Order traces its roots back to the operations of the Underground Railroad in Norfolk, Virginia. The founder of the organization, Annetta M. Lane, assisted slaves during their escape from the South through their journey on the Railroad. After emancipation, Annetta Lane and United Order of Tents co-founder, Harriett Taylor, recognized a need for African-American women to join together for strength and security in the new free world. To this end, the United Order of Tents was created. The founding members viewed the Order as a ‘tent of salvation’ amidst the turmoil of Reconstruction and intended to uplift the African-American community through mutual-aid and personal betterment.” (Submitted on March 8, 2015.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsNotable Places
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 8, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 234 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 8, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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