William Ioor's play, Independence, 1805

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William Ioor, c. 1780-1830, a descendant of Dutch settlers who immigrated to South Carolina in 1714, published his play Independence in 1805, which was one of the first plays written by a native South Carolinian.  The play, first performed in Charleston Theatre on March 20, 1805, follows a small farmer named Charles Woodville through his struggles to keep his farm in spite of offers and strategies by the owner of a large country estate, Lord Fanfare.  Although the play is based on an English novel and set in England, it is clearly written for an American audience based on its exploration of the popular Jeffersonian ideal of the independent farmer as the best and most useful citizen.  The passage shown here is the first attempt by Lord Fanfare to buy Woodville’s farm and demonstrates the importance of owning your own land, a requirement for voting in the early Republic.

For more information see Charles S. Watson, “Jeffersonian Republicanism in William Ioor’s Independence, the First Play of South Carolina,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 69, no 3 (1968), 194-203.


Ioor, William.  Independence.  Charleston: G.M. Bounetheau, 1805.  Books Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Revolution and South Carolina’s role in the development of the new American nation.

Indicator 3-3.1 Analyze the causes of the American Revolution--including Britian's passage of the Tea Act, the Intolerable Act, the rebellion of the colonists, and the Declaration of Independence--and South Carolina's role in these events.

Indicator 3-3.2 Summarize the key conflicts and key leaders of the American Revolution in South Carolina and their effects on the state, including the occupation of Charleston by the British; the partisan warefare of Thomas Sumter, Andrew Pickens, and Francis Marion; and the battles of Cowpens and Kings Mountain.

Indicator 3-3.3 Summarize the effects of the American Revolution on South Caolina, including the establishment of a new nation and a new state government and capital.

Indicator 3-3.4 Outline the current structure of state government, including the branches of government; the names of the representative bodies; and the role that cities, towns, and counties play in this system.

Standard USHC-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the westward movement and the resulting regional conflicts that took place in America in the nineteenth century.

Indicator USHC-3.1 Explain the impact and challenges of westward movement, including the major land acquisitions, people’s motivations for moving west, railroad construction, the displacement of Native Americans, and the its impact on the developing American character. (H, G, E)


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