Johns Island, also spelled John's Island, is an island in Charleston County, South Carolina, United States, and is the largest island in the state of South Carolina. Johns Island is bordered by the Wadmalaw, Seabrook, Kiawah, Edisto, Folly, and James islands; the Stono and Kiawah rivers separate Johns Island from its border islands. It is the fourth largest island on the US east coast, surpassed only by Long Island, Mount Desert Island, and Martha's Vineyard. Johns Island is 84 square miles (220 km2) in area, with a population of 14,000 people.
Johns Island was originally inhabited by nomadic tribes of Native Americans such as the Kiawah, who survived by hunting. By the time Europeans arrived in the area, these tribes were already settled and farming off the land. The Native America tribes in this area included the Stono and the Bohicket. Initially, the Stono and European settlers had good relations. However, after the Stono killed some of the European’s livestock, the whites murdered several Indians in retaliation. Johns Island had scattered settlements that were situated near the water by the 1670s. Maps dated from 1695 and 1711 show plantations established on the banks of the Stono River. During the colonial period, the main crop that was produced was indigo, prized for its rich blue dye. The plantations that grew crops, including indigo, relied on slave labor.
The Stono Rebellion, which occurred on Johns Island in 1739, began as an attempt by a group of slaves to escape to Spanish Florida, where they were promised freedom.Beginning in the early morning hours of September 9, 1739, a group of about twenty slaves met near the Stono River, lead by a slave named Jemmy. The group then proceeded to the Stono Bridge and raided Hutchinson's Store. They took food, ammunition, and supplies. The group of slaves then killed the two shopkeepers, leaving their heads on the front steps of the store. The slaves then crossed the Stono River and gathered more followers as they began to walk to Spanish Florida. The runaways met with Lieutenant Governor William Bull and four of his comrades also traveling on the road. Seeing the situation at hand, Lieutenant Governor Bull and his companies rallied other plantation owners to help put down the opposition. The plantation owners attacked and put down the resistance and executed all who could not prove that they were forced to join the march.