Thursday Doors

Welcome to Hampton Plantation, McClellanville, SC, established in 1735, and sitting along the shore of the Wambaw Creek. It was built for Noe Serre, a Huguenot (member of the Reformed Church of France), with proceeds of the rice crop and the labor of the craftsmen and women enslaved there.

The original home was six rooms, but when purchased by the Horry family in 1757, it was enlarged to its current size including a two-story ballroom. After the Horry family, the Pickney and Rutledge families resided at Hampton Plantation. Archibald Rutledge was also South Carolina’s first poet laureate.

The original plantation was part of three plantations just under 6,000 acres with two crops being farmed – rice and indigo. Farming and upkeep required 350 slaves in the fields, house, and in other roles such as seamstress, blacksmith, and carpenters. This number decreased to the point of 130 at the time of the American Civil War. The one remaining building that the slaves used was this summer kitchen.

Today it is owned and maintained as a museum by the State of South Carolina. In 1970, it was designated a registered National Historic Landmark.

Sitting in front of the manor house is a very large, handsome oak tree dripping with moss and resurrection ferns that has an interesting historical link.

In 1791, George Washington visited Hampton Plantation. Upon his arrival, he was consulted by the Horrys about whether the tree should come down to provide a better view. President Washington did not agree, and it was decided to leave the tree standing. Today it is referred to as the Washington Oak.

Here is a sampling of the beautiful Camellias in bloom all around the property.

When I visit historical sites like this, I must admit ambivalent feelings. I am always grateful that we have preserved these beautiful buildings and landscapes as they tell our Country’s history. I am also humbled by the fact that they were established, built, and maintained by the hard labor of skilled men and women who had no choice in the matter.

Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, February 15, 2018.

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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34 Responses to Thursday Doors

  1. quilt32 says:

    Thank you for sharing this visit. I agree on the matter of building with slave labor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Beautiful photos, Judy and an interesting, albeit troubling history. However, I think it’s important to tell these stories and to let these places stand as a reminder. As long as we share the complete story, I think it has some benefits.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Laurie Graves says:

    I understand your ambivalence. What a horrible thing to “own” another person. This willingness to exploit people is one of the worst aspects of human nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Murphy's Law says:

    Impressive building, simple but elegant. The Washington Oak is a beauty. And those camellias!

    How sad that when we learn the history behind most of these places, it always involves slaves who were forced to work long, hard hours, with little compensation, in order for the ‘master’ to see his dream come true. I don’t know how they survived that kind of life. Shame on us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting last comment, Judy. I’d feel the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s surprising to see a plain front door on such a grand house. Amazing history but sad that anyone had to be enslaved to ensure the upkeep of the property and business.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. These things are always so complex – I study buildings like this and am never sure how to feel about them. They’re such beautiful buildings though and it is always important to learn about their histories

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so thankful I don’t live in a time where I’d “need” a two-story ballroom. SO not my thing. 🙂 I think we need to keep history alive, warts and all, because it’s the narrative of where we came from for better or worse. Each country has these sorts of things, but revisionist history, whether getting rid of this type of building or deifying people who were just people or whatever else, does no service to anyone. I’m going to stop before I write a post or a rant here. 🙂 But I enjoyed the visit.


    Liked by 3 people

  9. Joyce says:

    You’ve shown buildings before that were beautiful, yet tainted by the human expense with which they were erected, so I read this with the same amount of distaste that you expressed. But history is something to learn from, and these preservations are concrete examples of an era we must never repeat. “Hands on” learning is the most effective form of education.
    To stand in front of a tree that George Washington viewed and commented on (and saved the life of!) must have been quite an experience! He clearly learned his lesson from the aftermath of the cherry tree incident!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right that these are historical examples of so many things that we do not want to lose them so we can continue to learn from them. To think of the craftsmanship exhibited in these buildings and how they stand the test of time considering the tools they had to work with is truly amazing. It was fun to stand by that tree and know who had stood there before. With your appreciation for art, you would truly love looking at these huge old oaks dripping with moss and resurrection ferns. No matter how many photos I take I can never get one that truly shows the beauty of it all.


  10. I wouldn’t like to maintain the outside paint job! Thank goodness, they have to pay people to do that these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jesh stg says:

    Maybe since I was born in Indonesia where it was normal to have (slaves with time became servants, who did go to their own homes in the evening, but still there was a definite class difference and they were payed to little to speak off) “servants” I was in my teens interested in the plantation era. Thank God, there was Washington!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Norm 2.0 says:

    Wonderful post Judy. The history is important to preserve even, or perhaps especially, when it’s not pretty. Reminders of the mistakes of the past hopefully keep us all from repeating those mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. germac4 says:

    Completely agree with you Judy, but it is important for future generations to be aware the history of our countries … The good & bad. When we saw all the magficent buildings & ruins in Italy last year I was reminded of all the slaves who built them & the dreadful lives they must have lived.
    On a brighter note, so glad President Washington decide to keep that lovely oak tree.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Vicky says:

    I really enjoyed your post, the history and the horror of those times from a humanitarian pov…along with the slave labour, normal for the time, but hard to get my head around,but the two-storey ballroom says a lot, an awful lot, like, who has the need for such an extravagance and why… I’m glad those times are now no longer acceptable, it may not be good nowadays, but I don’t think it’s s bad as then….Thanks for sharing, such an interesting post…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    Yes, I feel that ambivalence also.
    Interesting tidbit about the Washington oak. Not a common sentiment of those times of cutting every tree in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ogee says:

    The sad history of their origins aside, isn’t it wonderful that you have a whole new winter selection of doors (and their stories) to share with us?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I agree with your thoughts on the origins of places like this. I do, however, think it is important to understand our history, even the ugly parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oddment says:

    So much beauty and so much cruelty. The comments above seem to grapple with this reality, and I join with them in their sentiments of history as teacher. The story of the Washington Oak is wonderful — long may it stand! Beautiful photos, Judy!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’ve always loved the look of Southern architecture and their beautiful plantation homes. What they represent in American history however is … let’s just say, disturbing.

    Like Janet at Sustainabilitea, I too am at risk of going on a rant. Perhaps it is inappropriate for me to have an opinion as an outsider, but my view is that the Civil War did not unify the country at all. The divisions based on race and colour are deep and wide, and inordinate power is still held by those with money. I’m afraid that little has in fact been learned 😕

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Annie says:

    Interesting! And, gee, that George Washington sure got around, didn’t he? He ‘slept here’ in Exeter NH, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. joey says:

    Stunning historical glory, right there. Nice share!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. pommepal says:

    A beautiful home and I’m pleased they preserved the old oak. I guess one of the reasons they do not build such intricate buildings is that labour costs are so high now

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Looks like you’ve been having a great trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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