Home > History of Wine > “[T]he Corner of Church and Tradd Streets”: The wine store of Louis Danjou 1806-1821

“[T]he Corner of Church and Tradd Streets”: The wine store of Louis Danjou 1806-1821


Advertisement for the corner of Church and Tradd Streets by Leduc & Danjou. May 26, 1808.

The firm of Leduc & Danjou announced the opening of their “wine store” in Charleston during the month of December 1806.[1]  With 15 years experience importing goods into Baltimore they felt they could offer “ample satisfaction” with their selections of wines, liquors, and groceries.  The initial offer of nine pipes of London Particular Madeira, from the 1800 vintage, must have been calculated to do just that.  The partners were also careful to note they had obtained a license of type No. 1 to sell “Spirituous Liquors and Wines”.

The firm of Leduc & Danjou was not the first to legally sell wine and spirits in Charleston just one of a handful to do so under reorganized laws.  The laws of South Carolina, dating back to the 17th century, were complex from adopted British statutes, years of legislation, and the recent independence of the country resulting in persistent confusion despite a few efforts at organization.

In one effort to finally provide clarification of the law, the Commissioners of High Roads and Bridges were empowered in 1801 to issue licenses to tavern keepers and retailers of spirituous liquors. [2]  The Commissioners were positions first enacted at the beginning of the 18th century and were repeatedly called upon to build and repair roads, bridges, and ferries in their parishes and cities.[3]  The 1801 enactment expanded oversight to include the licensing of liquor and wine outlets as well as to keepers of billiard tables.

The three story Louis Danjou house is at the top of the intersection in the center of the map. Crop from Bird’s eye view of the city of Charleston, South Carolina 1872. LOC. [12]

There were three types of licenses granted, licensed liquor stores of type No. 1, licensed taverns of type No. 2, and licensed retailers of type No. 3.[4] Leduc & Danjoy operated their wine store under liquor license type No. 1.  They first opened their wine store at 117 Queen St. from which they sold wine and spirits for half of a year before taking over the location occupied by Joseph Alexander at the corner of Church and Tradd Streets.[1]  Like Leduc & Danjou, Joseph Alexander operated with a liquor license.  In May 1806, Joseph Alexander received one of four liquor licenses, as compared to 48 licenses granted for retailers at the same time.  His liquor licenses was good for one year.  He did not renew it upon expiration thus left the corner of Church and Tradd Streets.  It is this corner that Leduc & Danjou moved to in June 1807.[5]

The southwest corner of Church and Tradd Streets, Charleston, SC, as it stands today.

The south-west corner of Church and Tradd Streets is known as Brewton’s Corner after Michael or Miles Brewton who owned the lot since before 1715.[6]  Various structures existed here with the lot eventually split into two pieces.  Around 1810 the lot was recombined into one piece and the existing three-story brick structure was built by Louis Danjou.  If the advertised location of the street address, No. 31 at the corner of Church and Tradd St., implies the new brick structure was complete, then the partners had settled into their new digs along with 60 pipes of old London Particular Madeira.[7]  However, I must point out that in July 1820, Louis Danjou relocated from the south-west corner to the north-east corner while unspecified repairs were undertaken through the end of December 1820. [8]  Perhaps this represents the period when the current brick structure was built.

Temporary residence at the northeast corner of Church and Tradd Streets, Charleston, SC, as it stands today.

Over the years London Particular Madeira was always on hand at the store including such vintages as 1800 and 1803.  There were also bottles of Malmsey, old Chateau Lafite, and even a Vin de Grave that was “a cooling drink in the summer”.

Advertisement for wines by the firm Leduc & Danjou. August 11, 1807.

During October 1812, Louis Danjou dissolved his partnership in Leduc & Danjou.[9]  Whether this was due to the difficulties in shipping during the War of 1812, between Great Britain and America, is unclear.  It is clear that he did not advertise the sale of goods until February 1814 when, under new partnership with Antoine Barbot, he formed Louis Danjou &  Co.  His resumed with an advertisement for goods headed “Grocery Store continued.”[10]  His listing, of course, includes old Madeira and Malmsey.

Louis Danjou went on to maintain the business, in one form or another, until his death in 1821.[11] [13] [14]  He continued to import Madeira direct from the island using two established houses the names of which he never disclosed.  This was typical of established merchants but not for the new.  In 1817, one merchant carried the wines of Leacock.  In 1819 and 1820, multiple merchants began carrying the wines of Leacock Co., Murdock, Yuille, Wardrop, & Co., Newton, Gordon, & Scott,  and Scott, Pringle & Co.  It is also during this period Sercial and Tinta Negra are also offered for the first time. The Madeira trade in Charleston had begun to change.


[1] Advertisement.  Date: Thursday, December 18, 1806 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XXV Issue: 7813 Page: 2

[2] Johnston, A.S. The Statutes at Large of South Carolina: Acts relating to roads, bridges and ferries, with an appendix, containing the militia acts prior to 1794. 1841. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=t7Q4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[3] Johnston, A. S. The Statutes at Large of South Carolina: Acts, 1787-1814. 1839. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=S7E4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PP11#v=onepage&q&f=false

[4] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, May 7, 1806 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IV Issue: 1027 Page: 4

[5]Advertisement. Date: Saturday, June 27, 1807 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: V Issue: 1378 Page: 2

[6] Do You Know Your Charleston? Brewton Corner. Date: Monday, July 28, 1941 Paper: Charleston News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 10

[7] Advertisement. Date: Monday, May 27, 1811 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IX Issue: 2591 Page: 3

[8] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, July 13, 1820 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XL Issue: 12961 Page: 3 and Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, December 20, 1820 Paper: Southern Patriot (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 3

[9] Advertisement. Date: Friday, October 30, 1812 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XXXI Issue: 10517 Page: 3

[10] Advertisement.  Date: Saturday, February 19, 1814 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XII Issue: 4418 Page: 1

 

[12] Drie, C. N. Bird’s eye view of the city of Charleston, South Carolina 1872. [N.P, 1872] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/75696567/. (Accessed June 29, 2017.)

[13] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, February 26, 1814 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XII Issue: 4424 Page: 1

[14] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, April 11, 1821 Paper: Southern Patriot (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 1

 

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