Historic Markers Across South Carolina

United Order of Tents Building

Marker ID:  
Location: 73 Cannon St, Charleston, SC
County: Charleston
Coordinates: N 32° 47.394    W 079° 56.71
  32.7899    -79.94516666
Style: Mounted **


73 Cannon Street
United Order of Tents Building
Francis P. Seignious House

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 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.

2013 by Preservation Society of Charleston.