We spotted the building from the Santee River the previous day. While it wasn’t a clear enough view for a photograph it was obviously an old plantation. Having a cell in your pocket (OK, Ellen’s pocket) is an amazing tool when out here.
Below was taken from the river bank, next day after we found it. Plantation homes always faced the river, roads were few.
The original name here was Hopsewee-on-the-Santee, a rice plantation. Built in 1735, I can’t even imagine how. Even now this is ‘out there’.
This was the home ofThomas Lynch, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and served as a Lowcountry rice plantation. He was lost at sea not long after the declaration’s signing while traveling to Barbados.
Like many Santee plantations, it was abandoned during the Civil War. After the war, rice was never planted again, but the Lucas family continued to occupy Hopsewee. In September 1949, Col. and Mrs. Wilkinson bought the house and family still occupied it.
This is another plantation out here built from Black Cypress trees. Almost indestructible.
This gave me a completely different perspective viewing an old plantation and the rice fields.
We photograph many old plantations, however we see them from a modern perspective. By that I mean I drive or walk there. They were built when the rivers and creeks provided access, there were no roads to many of them.
Below is the first view of the Hampton Plantation as we came in through the creek. The same view and trip as the 1700’s.
Below is the Hampton Creek, the plants along side are rice. The creek was surrounded by rice fields. Rice when harvested went back the way we came on small barges.
The rice growing now is not the original ‘Carolina Gold’ harvested here. It has been taken over by the first crops, wild rice. Knowing wild rice grew here was one of the reasons we became the British Empires rice farmers.
Rice growing in the old fields.
Another thing I learned was how common the Bobolink once was. And how they were the plantations biggest enemy. The bird migrates to South America each fall, with stops in the South Carolina fields. Plantations had people out in the fields all fall chasing the birds as the landed. A large flock could clean an entire crop if left alone.
I sat in a rocker here the other day to eat what we had packed for lunch. An OK lunch, but the company was excellent.
This porch, as it is today, has seen our first president George Washington, several signers of the Declaration of Independence, famous authors, and our Poet Laureate Archibald Rutledge.
Not bad, but I bet they didn’t have a ‘ham and cheese hero’ for lunch.
The Hampton Plantation was built in 1735.
Wood never lasts very long marshes and wet weather. Except Cypress wood. It doesn’t burn well, insects dislike it, and the strength is like steel. We looked at all the original structure inside and even the original indigo dye used for paint is still intact.
Hampton Plantation along Hampton Creek, South Carolina.
One of the few hillsides around here is behind the Middleton Plantation grounds. We walked the ridgeline heading over to the Ashley River a week ago. Having a short lens and backup camera I grabbed several wide photographs.
The first image is of the original Plantation Chapel.
The grounds still have one of the largest formal gardens in the US, first created in 1741. The Civil War destroyed much of the Plantation with the gardens falling into disrepair until restored in 1901 by the one of the original families.
Above, the foreground ponds are part of the gardens, however the pond water in the far background was actually the start of the rice fields.
I usually only walk this trail once a year to shoot the spring flowers. The views are nice so I may try a visit up there mid winter, might be nice.
I was hooked after the first old house we visited here, even before leaving New England.
The older buildings in Charleston have many of the same architects we know from the monuments and government buildings in Washington DC. There was wealth here before the US Civil War. Tiffany & Co. even had an office and designers in Charleston.
From 1800 until around 1862 the only thing left to spend money on was a person’s home. Make it grander than your neighbors. And they did.
All the photographs here are from a single home, Nathaniel Russell a merchant and trader (of enslaved people).
This is one of many buildings in town listed with National Historic Registry.
FYI, it’s not so easy now doing indoor shoots like these. Masks fog up everything.