Pearls of Great Price

Charlotte Hutson Wrenn:

A reader recently wrote to me asking about early native Americans in the South, and another friend found this pearl of a post while researching Edisto Island’s unique hog wrangler, Scott Danzler. It is worth re-posting I think.

Originally posted on Charleston Through an Artist's eye:

“But the pearls were accidents, and the finding of one was luck, a little pat on the back by God or the gods both.”
– John Steinbeck, The Pearl

Vermeer 1665 Yesterday I wrote of swine, er, ‘fine swine’, those heirloom hogs that are being served up in fine restaurants in town and carved into art by our local “rock star butchers” who are relearning the lost art of making charcuterie. It seems only fitting to follow up with a piece about Pearls. Having grown up in the very religious South it is hard for me even to say the word, “Swine”, without hearing that Bible verse about throwing pearls, “Do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Ironically, I was just this week standing in the middle of a herd of Edisto Island Swine (Yorkshire White variety)…

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Posted in Arts & Culture, Native American, South Carolina History, spirituality, travel

Dr. Henry Woodward, South Carolina colonist, English Explorer

Dear Readers! Today is January 18, 2015 and this is an older unfinished post about the very cool explorer Henry Woodward, credited with bringing rice into the South Carolina colony for one thing, so I think for now I am just going to post it. So, as one wise person told me, “take what you like and leave the rest”. I will finish researching this and repost it soon!
Cheers and Happy New Year!

“The man that most students of South Carolina Indians would most like to interview would probably be Dr. Henry Woodward, and Englishman who lived in the area beginning as early as 1666. He was left by the Robert Sandford Expedition that year in exchange for an Indian called “Shadoo” as a sort of early cultural exchange program. He was not left against his will, but remained voluntarily. He returned to England in 1682 and was something of a celebrity.” – from Chapman J. Milling, Red Carolinians, p 55

Pg 104 Narratives of Early Carolina – Salley – pg 104
Woodward remains one of the most enigmatic English explorers of the period, intimately tied to the history of the Carolana settlement and its challenge to Spanish Florida. He was among the original English settlers and it was his first priority to learn about the country and its natives, including their languages. He entered the unexplored interior, traveling beyond the Chattahoochee River. In the 1660s, he appears to have been the first Englishman to trod the soil of what is today the central Florida Panhandle. Upon his return to the Atlantic coast, he encountered the Spaniards at their old settlement of Santa Elena, near what soon became the 1670 demarcation line between Spanish Florida and English Carolana. There, apparently, he was captured and carried to San Agustin. The governor of that city, Don Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega, was surprised to receive a letter from Woodward in Latin, requesting baptism into the Catholic Church. Governor de la Guerra treated him more as a guest than as a prisoner. The learned doctor lived with the parish priest, Father Francisco de Sotolongo, a graduate of the University of Mexico, during the period of catechism. While in residence, Woodward noted a great deal about the Spanish status in Florida. Some historians believe that he might have allowed himself to be captured in order to spy out the Spaniard’s strength. After the sack of 1668, Woodward sailed from San Agustin with Searle’s buccaneers.

I leaveing an English man in their roome for the mutuall learning their language, and to that purpose one of my Company Mr. Henry Woodward, a Chirurgeon, had before I settout assured mee his resoluc +¯on to stay with the Indians if Ishould thinke convenient,1 wherefore I resolved to stay till 
the morning to see if the Indians would remaine constant in
this Intenc +¯on, according to which I purposed to treate fur­
ther with them on the morrowe, therefore I went a shoare
to their Towne, tooke Woodward and the Indian with mee
and in presence of all the Inhabitants of the place and of
the fellows relac +¯ons asked if they approved of his goeing along
with mee. They all with one voyce consented. After some
pause I called the Cassique and another old man (his second
in authority) and their wives, and in sight and heareing of
the whole Towne delivered Woodward into their charge, tell­
ing them that when I retorned I would require him att their
hands. They received him with such high testimonyes of
Joy and thankfullnes as hughely confirmed to mee their great
desire of our friendshipp and society. The Cassique placed 
Woodward by him uppon the Throne, and after lead him forth
and shewed him a large feild of Maiz which hee told him
should bee his, then hee brought him the Sister of the Indian
that I had with mee telling him that shee should tend him and
dresse his victualls and be careful of him that soe her Brother
might be the better used amongst us. I stayed a while being
wounderous civilly treated after their manner, and giveing
 Woodward formall possession of the whole Country to hold as
Tennant att Will of the right Honoble the Lords Proprietors, I
retorned aboard and imediately weighed and fell downe.

An Indian that came with mee from Edistowe with In­
tenc +¯on to goe no further then Port Royall seeing this kindnes
and mutuall obligation betweene us and the people of this
place, that his Nac +¯on or tribe might bee within the League,
voluntarily offered himselfe to stay with mee alsoe, and
 would not bee denyed, and thinking that soe hee should be the
more acceptable hee caused himselfe to be shoaren on the
Crowne, after the manner of the Port Royall Indians, a fashion 
which I guesse they have taken from the Spanish Fryers.
Here is a story about Henry Woodward and Capt. John Thurber

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Posted in Arts & Culture, Charleston South Carolina, Native American, South Carolina History, travel

Hoppin’ John: Eat poor on New Year’s Day, eat rich the rest of the year!

Thank you to The History of Hoppin John:

BlackEyedPeas©2014 C.HutsonWrenn

BlackEyedPeas©2014 C.HutsonWrenn

Hoppin’ John is found in most states of the South, but it is mainly associated with the Carolinas. Gullah or Low Country cuisine reflects the cooking of the Carolinas, especially the Sea islands (a cluster of islands stretching along the coats of south Carolina and northern Georgia). Black-eyed peas, also called cow peas, are thought to have been introduced to America by African slaves who worked the rice plantations. Hoppin’ John is a rich bean dish made of black-eyed peas simmered with spicy sausages, ham hocks, or fat pork, and rice.

There are many variations to traditional Hoppin’ John. Some cook the black-eyed peas and rice in one pot, while others insist on simmering them separately. Some also like to add the collard greens in the pot. The favorite way to eat a Hoppin’ John meal is with collard greens and corn bread. Each item on the plate has symbolic meaning for the New Year. Black-eyed Peas represent “coins,” collard greens represent money or “green backs”, corn bread represents “gold,” and if tomatoes are added to Hoppin’ John it symbolizes “health”.

The first written recipe for Hoppin John appeared in The Carolina Housewife in 1847. Most food historians generally agree that Hoppin John is an American dish with African/French/Caribbean roots. There are many tales or legends that explain how Hoppin’ John got its name:

It was the custom for children to gather in the dining room as the dish was brought forth and hop around the table before sitting down to eat.

A man named John came “a-hoppin” when his wife took the dish from the stove.

An obscure South Carolina custom was inviting a guest to eat by saying, “Hop in, John”

The dish goes back at least as far as 1841, when, according to tradition, it was hawked in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina by a crippled black man who was know as Hoppin’ John.

Southern Stories about Hoppin’ John:

This African-American dish is traditionally a high point of New Year’s Day, when a shiny dime is often buried among the black-eyed peas before serving.

Whoever gets the coin in his or her portion is assured good luck throughout the year. For maximum good luck in the new year, the first thing that should be eaten on New year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, many southern families toast each other with Champagne and a bowl of Hoppin’ John. If it is served with collard greens you might, or might not, get rich during the coming year.

If you eat leftover Hoppin’ John the day after New Year’s Day, then the name changes to Skippin’ Jenny since one is demonstrating their determination of frugality. Eating a bowl of Skippin’ Jenny is believed to even better your chances for a prosperous New Year! – Source: Beyond Black-Eyed Pease: New Year’s good-luck foods, by Mick Bann, Dec. 26,2008, Austin Chonicle.

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Posted in art, Charleston South Carolina, creativity, Food, Gullah, South Carolina History

Day 12. Light and Love. Thank you for the Twelve Days of Christmas! $99.

This is the last painting of this year’s twelve days of Christmas project, and is a thank you to so many of you. Today is the eve of the darkest day of the year. The light begins to return now, so this painting is about that tonight. And also the grand State Park on Edisto Island, looking north. Merry Christmas my friends. May light open every new path for you during the coming year. Love, Charlotte

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Posted in art

Day 11 Twelve Days of Christmas, a painting a day $99. no shipping no tax

The Beach 7"x 5" oil on panel ©2014 C Hutson Wrenn

The Beach 7″x 5″ oil on panel ©2014 C Hutson Wrenn

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Posted in art, beauty

Day 10. Twelve Days of Christmas, a painting a day $99. no shipping no tax

Russell Creek 7"x 5" oil on panel ©2014 C Hutson Wrenn

Russell Creek 7″x 5″ oil on panel ©2014 C Hutson Wrenn

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Posted in art, Arts & Culture, beauty, Charleston South Carolina

Day 9. Twelve Days of Christmas, a painting a day $99. free shipping no tax

Store Creek 7"x 5" oil on panel ©C Hutson Wrenn

Store Creek 7″x 5″ oil on panel ©C Hutson Wrenn

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Posted in art, Arts & Culture, beauty, Charleston South Carolina, Green

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.


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