CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Defined as a large farm where most of the work was done by slaves, plantations in the Lowcountry date back centuries before the civil war. According to the South Carolina information highway, there are hundreds of plantations in Charleston County— most of which grew rice, indigo, or sea island cotton.
Ranger Hannah Marley with Hampton Plantation explains that, “Where the Santee River splits in two is perfect for growing rice. You have the fields, you have the water, and you have easy access for shipping out”. She says that the area near Hampton Planation (McClennaville) was responsible for growing the most rice in the state and South Carolina was the state producing the most rice in the country.
The state bought Hampton Plantation in 1971 and is dedicated to teaching others about its rich history. Five generations lived on the plantation before the last owner moved out in 1969.
The house saw visits from Generals, Presidents, and a South Carolina Poet Laureate—Tours of Hampton Plantation cover everything from before the Revolution to after the Civil War. To learn more, click here.
News 2 also took a trip to James Island to learn about McLeod Plantation. Charleston County Parks and Recreation bought the plantation in 2011, opened the doors to the public in 2015, and now they are sharing the story of those who were enslaved in the 19th century.
Shawn Halifax, a Cultural History Interpretation Coordinator explains that focusing on the enslaved rather than the Mcleod family allows people to see the plantation from a different point of view. He says, “Looking at this place from the perspective of those folks allows for voices to reemerge and gets us a clear understanding of what the place was like for the majority of people that were here”.
The plantation features a row of houses built by the enslaved for the enslaved. It’s called transition row and remained occupied after the civil war by free people until 1990. Halifax says, ““There were some tragic things that happened here but in the end this is a story of survival and perseverance and guest that come out here can use this as a place to reflect on some of that trauma and perseverance as well”.
To learn more about McLeod Plantation, click here.