Posted by: Nic Butler, Ph.D. | 9 August 2013

Apprentices in Early Charleston

It’s back-to-school time for thousands of young Charlestonians, and I’m sure more than a few are wishing they didn’t have to go back to sitting in a desk in a classroom. In many modern schools we have “vocational” training as an alternative, but the roots of this “hands-on” education go back many centuries. In early Charleston, long before the advent of modern schools, many young men and women (both slave and free) studied trades by serving a long apprenticeship with an adult “master.” How long did such an apprenticeship last, and what vocational skills could a student acquire? Join CCPL’s public historian, Dr. Nic Butler, for a fun exploration of this topic using information about real children from Charleston’s past.

“The Young Apprentice’s Practical Education in Early Charleston”

Time: Wednesday, August 14th at 6:00 p.m., 2nd Floor Classroom, Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun St., 29401

For more information, please contact Dr. Butler at butlern[at] or 843–805–6968.



  1. My great grandfather went this route. He started learning carpentry, went on to work as a door and sah maker, continued with a different employer as a foreman, and finished by opening his own firm (Wetherhorn and Fisher) in 1873.

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