Jasper County, South Carolina, Welcome!

Moving Finger of Jasper Co. - Places

Pineland and Chelsea, Spring Hill, Davant Plantation, Delta Plantation, Good Hope, Gregorie Neck, Mackay's Point, Okeetee Club, Red Bluff, Maurine, Sherwood, Turkey Hill, and Cypress Woods



Pineland, which went out of existence as a large hunting club some years ago, was called "mother" of the other clubs. Its establishment was begun in 1877 by H. B. Hollins and other New York visitors to the Lowcountry. They were assisted by the late John K. Garnett, railroad director.

The clubhouse, built of cypress shingles, is still standing in a picturesque grove of liveoaks. With the passing of the original members, the club lands were sold. Much of the timber acreage was purchased by the Taylor Colquitt Company, a timber and creosoting firm of Spartanburg, and Wilmington, N. C. Later, much of it was sold by them to various interests. However, the company retained the buildings, as well as the hunting rights to the lands.

J. Lee Murphy, manager and agent for the company, has lived at the Pineland site for several years. The late Marshall Field was a purchaser of some of the Pineland acreage, which his farm managers have used for planting of various crops.

Chelsea Plantation, the winter home of the Marshall Field family, has an interesting history. An ante-bellum residence belonging once to the Heyward, then to the Pritchard, families stood upon the site when it was purchased by a club of New York businessmen.

Later, the residence converted by them into a clubhouse burned. The late Mr. Field purchased the property and he and Mrs. Field built their lovely white-brick colonial residence on the site, overlooking Chechessee River. The beautiful white symmetry of Chelsea's gates beneath the green of oaks has attracted many amateur photographers. Magnificent camellias outline the grounds, and a full-time gardener has enhanced the natural beauty of the lawns.

Twelve horses are maintained for riding by the owners and their guests. The hunting dogs are cared for in North Carolina during the summers.

The interior of the plantation home is charming and comfortable. Upon the living room walls are sketches done by Mrs. Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, Charleston artist. Mrs. Field and her family spend part of every winter at Chelsea.

J. R. Armstrong is resident manager of the plantation, which comprises 15,000 acres. Under his direction, 400 acres have been planted with pine seedlings according to conservation practices, and 200 patches of bird-feeding growth. On the Chechessee lands, from 150 to 200 acres of corn are planted from year to year. On the Pineland acreage, Webb Mixon, assistant to the manager, usually plants from 300 to 400 acres of corn.


Between Ridgeland and Coosawhatchie is Spring Hill Plantation, lands purchased by the late Julian B. Clark in 1914. Shortly afterward, Mr. Clark erected his twostoried white frame dwelling of Southern colonial design at the end of a beautiful avenue of moss-streamered oaks.

On the site, remnants of an ancient brick foundation had marked the location of a pre-war home, which was owned by the Huguenin family. In fact, the property takes in the acreage of two old plantations known as "Retreat" and "Fairfield." They were part of 25,000 acres once owned by Abraham Huguenin and his wife, Anna Maria Gillison Huguenin, of Coosawhatchie. The property changed hands many times following the Confederate War, before being purchased by Mr. Clark.

The grounds are formal and old-fashioned, a classic privet hedge describing a circle in front of the low brick walls. Mr. and Mrs. Jocelyn Clark, of Burlington, Vermont, are the present owners of the 4000-acre plantation, where they have spent much time in former years. They come down now with their three daughters and little son, to spend part of the winter months. Very little hunting is done on the place; his Okeetee Club membership is used by Mr. Clark for this purpose, as it was by his father before him.

The planting of garden truck crops on Cope's Island, a 500-acre purchase in recent years, is carried on now by Mr. Clark and his superintendent, David Malphrus. The land formerly used for truck crops on the place has been planted in pine seedlings, for reforestation.

The Clarks call Spring Hill "home," since they hope at some future day to make it so, in reality


On Davant Plantation near Gillisonville is the beautiful Old South home built by the late Edwin M. Berolzheimer. It seems to belong just where it is, in a peculiar and fitting sense. And yet it was completed as it stands, shortly after the property was bought by the Berolzheimers in 1939.

The old pre-war house of the Davants was the nucleus around which the newcomers built, and it forms a considerable part of the residence. All the heart-pine timbers of the original foundation are there. The sixty-foot beam running the length of the house, the twin stairways at the back of the entrance hail, the original wide-boarded flooring, all were retained. Wings were added, graceful veranda columns, iron balcony railings, and back terrace.

The interior carries out the colonial theme, with the mellow sheen of fine old woods and period pieces. The second floor was completely remodeled and modernized, but the original mantels from the downstairs floor were retained in the bedrooms. Adorning the walls are paintings done by the mistress of the house, who has now shortened the surname to Berol.

The old outbuildings, kitchen, laundry, and smoke house were kept as they were, except for cleaning and repairing. They are used now as guest houses. The ancient Dutch oven of the kitchen is unaltered, and some of the original plantation chairs are still used in the rooms.

The Davant family burial ground on the place is well cared for. Two stone slabs bear the inscriptions: "Sarah Isabella, Eldest Child of Richard J. and Eveiina J. Davant," with dates and a verse; and "To the Memory of Mrs. Martha E. Craft, Eldest Daughter of John and Sarah R. Cheney," with dates and verse. The dates of the two deaths are 1828 and 1829.

Mrs. Berol and her family come down to enjoy the hunting during winter months. Their hobbies are dogs and horses. They ride daily, much of their hunting being done on horseback.

Manager of the plantation is J. Albert Vaughan. The major crops planted are Coastal Bermuda hay, and a special variety of soy beans to obtain certified seed. A sizable acreage of corn is grown, and hundreds of gardens are planted for the wildlife.


Down in the panhandle of Jasper County, some seven miles below Hardeevilie, and past the little Levy station on the Seaboard railway, is a section almost forgotten for many years by people of the county. The old King's Highway from Charleston to Savannah traversed the locality, which produced many distinguished names for history's pages.

The rice plantations alongside New River bore euphonious names: Murray Hill, Lindon, Vernesover, Shadd, Clydesdale, Bellinger Hill, Cane Knoll, Oglethorpe, McDougall, Hardee, Upper Delta and Lower Delta. In the early 18oo's the owners were Screvens, Cheves', Lynahs, Izards, Rutledges, Hugers, and the Hardee family for whom the town of Hardeeville was named.

These plantation lands have known many proprietors since those days; some of them are owned now by Savannah business men. Mr. and Mrs. James S. Denham, of Wilmington, Delaware, bought others, including Hardee, Upper Delta and Lower Delta, in 1938. Mr. Denham, who was an official of the DuPont company, died a few years ago, and Mrs. Denham owns the property now. On Hardee is located the plantation house, which was built by H. Kierstade Hudson, of New York, in the 1920's.

A country home designed along Colonial lines, its redbrick dignity recedes unobtrusively beyond winding driveways through tall pines, sycamores, and moss-hung oaks. Camellias and broad-leaved evergreens grow in artful plantings along the drives, blending perfectly with the woodland setting.

In the house, the entrance passage runs cross-wise, extending to the wings. At the left is a lovely curving stairway, and in the center is the door to the spacious living room. Here, the walls are of paneled wood in a neutral color. Sheraton tables, leather chairs, and cushioned pieces form a harmonious integration. The floors throughout the house are laid of wide, dark oak boards.

Upstairs at back, in the center of the house is the master's bedroom, with an antique, four-poster, canopied bed. Other smaller and more informal bedrooms are in the left wing, and in the right wing are -dining room, kitchen, and service rooms. From a patio at the back of the house is a striking view of low, terraced formal gardens, planted with boxwood, camphor trees, camellias, and running ivy. Through wall gates one descends to a lower level, where tame ducks enjoy a lake.

Near the entrance gate on the grounds is the attractive home of the superintendent, Ervin C. Cooler. Then there are the huge combined stables and kennels, also of brick; and the servants' quarters, some 300 yards back of the main house. Large crops of corn are grown on the lands, and within the past year 6o,ooo pine seedlings have been planted. Mrs. Denham, her family and guests, come down to hunt deer, quail, and duck, in season.

Northwest of the grounds is the old brick-enclosed burial ground of the Hardee family. There is the name of "Henry Taylor Hardee," whose life spanned the years 183 1-1 896. His wife is "Jane L. Hardee." There are also the names of "Franklin Pearson Hardee," and his wife, "Catherine Elizabeth." Several broken stones can be seen.

Close by the cemetery runs a mile-long ridge of ancient breastwork, mute testimony to military efforts on behalf of a Southern Cause already hopelessly lost. Here, small Confederate forces opposed the Federals, whose gunboats steamed up Daufuskie and New Rivers, after the fall of Savannah. Throughout the entire locality are mounds of half-buried brick, marking sites where residences stood in the swath of that long-ago destruction.

Three miles to the southeast is the location where triple streams of the Back, Middle and Savannah rivers merge into one. A journey by jeep is made to the duck ponds, and from there a trip can be made by boat down the Savannah River to the Intracoastal Waterway.


Good Hope, hunting lodge owned by the heirs of Herbert L. Pratt, late Standard Oil executive of New York, is situated about five miles from Ridgeland. Its 1 9,000 acres take in the Honey Hill battle site, the ruins of White Hall, ancestral home of the Heywards on Euhaw Creek, and adjoin the resting place of Thomas Heyward, Jr.

The camp itself has an interesting history. In the 1890's, the original property was purchased from the Heyward heirs by Noah Wallace, a member of the old Pineland Club. He and his brother, William Wallace, found for the camp's first superintendent a young Dutchman, Alard Schelter Inger Oosterbaan, who had been in the nursery business in Connecticut.

Until his death in 1909, he supplied field-grown roses to northern nurseries. Many Jasper County residents remember the tangle of roses, weed-choked yet beautiful, which marked the site for many years, a memorial to the green-thumbed Dutchman. His daughter, Miss Dora Oosterbaan, has been a member of the Ridgeland High School faculty for a number of years. The Wallace's sold the property to Harry B. Hollins, of Long Island, who sold it to Mr. Pratt, in 1910. J. L. Brantley, a native of Mississippi, has been superintendent since 1930.

Mr. Pratt died in 1945. His sons and daughters established the plantation as a practical working corporation, in order to maintain it. The principles of conserving timber growth on the place have always been practiced by Mr. Brantley, who has been a director of the Forest Farmers Association of the state.

During the past years, more than 4,000,000 pine seedlings have been planted. A timber sale is held every year, the thinned-out small trees going to pulpwood interests, and the larger ones being marketed to the Taylor-Colquitt Company for utility poles. Lands are leased regularly for corn-growing purposes, and there are several types of plantings for the wildlife every year. Four duck ponds were completed some fifteen years ago. They were made by means of dams across the marshes of the salt creeks, and by planting the sites with wild celery, pond weed and widgeon grass.

The lodge is made up of five buildings, log cabin construction painted white, and connected by brick walkways. The main living cabin is marked by practical and colorful charm. The enormous pine-paneled living room has gun racks placed conveniently, and a six-foot fireplace. In the right wing is the recreation room, with low bookshelves and a corner for card games. In this room and in the bedrooms, the furniture is of solid, Early-American construction, with natural finish. An unusual piece in a dressing room is an ancient dough box with removable cover, made in I 8oo.

In the adjoining cabin is a paneled dining room; also bedrooms, a kitchen, pantry and servants' quarters. There is a guest cabin, a cabin for the manager of hunting dogs, and the superintendent's home. The latter is designed for permanent occupation, and Mr. and Mrs. Brantley have made the interior handsome and livable, with decor and furnishings in antique design.

The late Mr. Pratt's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren come down in groups and keep the cabins occupied from Thanksgiving until March. Quail, duck, doves and turkeys are hunted, about 24 dogs and 20 horses being used by the family and guests during the season.

In 1960, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Pratt ownership, Mr. and Mrs. Frederic R. Pratt published a lovely little booklet for members of the family. It contains a map of the Good Hope lands, clever and amusing verses, the listing of a week's typical menus; and the Pratt family tree, from Herbert Lee Pratt and Mrs. Florence Gibb Pratt to the tiniest great-grandchild.


Owned by J. S. Janney, Gregorie Neck Plantation is one of the most beautiful in the Lowcountry. It comprises 3400 acres, and was purchased by Mr. Janney in 1952.

The plantation house, of white-painted brick in Southern colonial style, is in a setting of liveoak trees which are many hundreds of years old. The estate overlooks Tullifinny River, and the view from the rear patio of the house is indescribably lovely and peaceful.

This tract of land was known in the long ago as Graeme's Neck. It was originally a grant to Samuel Prioleau in 1736, and was said to have belonged once to Andre DeVeaux, a Tory. For many years it was owned by the Gregories, when the planting of rice was the livelihood of the era. Members of the Garbade family also were owners, in this century.

The place was bought by the late Bayard Dominick of New York, in the 1920's. Mr. and Mrs. Dominick planned, built and lived in the present house until the 1940's, when Mrs. Dominick sold to the Honeywells.

From them, Mr. Janney purchased Gregorie Neck. For all its loveliness, the place has a practical aspect: it has been a working plantation for some time. Large herds of beef and dairy cattle are grazed on the pasturage lands, 100 dairy cows being milked daily for sale of the product commercially. Paul Freeman is superintendent of the agricultural operations, which include the planting of summer and winter grasses for feed.

Mr. and Mrs. Janney come down as often as possible for riding, hunting, and other recreation, in season. Mr. J anney is vice-president of the Proctor and Gamble Company, and resides in Cincinnati.


Some 35 years ago, George D. Widener, Philadelphia sportsman, purchased five old plantations in Jasper County near Pocotaligo, lands which formerly had been used solely for the production of cotton. Owned for a long time by the Mackay, Jenkins and Riley families, they were Mackey's Point, Jenkins, Rocky Point, Lockwood and Bull Bluff.

The plantation's white frame dwelling, modified Colonial style, rests sedately behind venerable, gnarled oaks. Camellias of incredible size brush second-story windows. Evergreen shrubbery and vine-covered brick walls touch up the picture.

Living room and dining room are at either side of the wide entrance hail. Both downstairs and upstairs, there are bedrooms. On the lower floor, the hail opens at back onto a brick terrace, sheltered with an awning and enclosed by an iron railing. And standing there, one perceives with clarity why Mr. and Mrs. Widener call this "The front" and use it accordingly, instead of the formal, architectural front presented to an arriving visitor.

In the distance across the marsh, the point is visible where three tidal rivers mingle their winding streams, and in this marshy boundlessness is born the vast Broad River. The circular sweep of lawn extends to the low bluff fronting the tidal reach, and bordering the approaching walks are landscaped plantings of camellias in all varieties and azaleas of every hue.

Camellias are interspersed with individual azaleas for interest, with spireas and massed azaleas for accent, and with other camellias by the literal hundreds for sheer, prodigal loveliness. English ivy adds its touch to formal walks and borders and, as if to make it perfect, there is a fountain. A green carpet of rye is spread upon several acres of the surrounding grounds. Truly, Mackey's Point is unexcelled in the realm of pure beauty.

Mr. Widener has had only two plantation managers: the late W. H. Marvin, and now David P. Farrior. Corn and oats are planted from year to year, and always many acres of strip plantings for wildlife feeding. Quail, doves and other wild fowl are hunted by the Wideners and their friends during the season.


The largest hunting preserve in the county is Okeetee Club, comprising some 50,000 acres. The late John K. Garnett had a hand in organizing this club, too, and the original clubhouse was erected in 1894. The late J. B. Bostick was general manager for many years. This old building of cypress shingle construction was a landmark. Its plainness belonged in a singular way to the entire community, for Okeetee was always considered a hunting club, without frills. A profound sorrow was felt by all local citizens when it was destroyed by fire in 1959. Somehow, a bit of the past went with it. The clubhouse was rebuilt, a handsome, 22,000-squarefoot structure of Charleston gray brick. The two-storied central section is flanked by one-storied wings.

The central part contains a large entrance hail, huge living and dining rooms, a bar retreat; gun and boot rooms, and a locker room for the members. In addition, there are the servants' dining rooms, the kitchen, pantry and lunch basket room. Upstairs are the bedrooms and baths; the housekeeper's apartment, and the servant & living quarters. The wings contain four guest rooms each with baths.

Okeetee is an old institution with a conservative membership. It has always been a corporation, in which shares are held by each member. Upon death of a member, other members may buy his shares; and each new member must be approved by the board of directors. The present members are:

John B. Clark, president; Robert Winthrop, vicepresident and treasurer; Alphonso P. Villa, F. F. von Stade, Edmund P. Rogers, Stewart S. Janney, Jr., Duncan S. Ellsworth, W. Aliston Flagg, James C. Brady, Dewitt L. Sage, B. P. Bouverie, Jocelyn Clark, Gordon Douglas, Gary Black and S. B. Webb.

N. B. Bass has been superintendent of the club for a number of years. He is assisted by his son, Robert L. Bass. In the agricultural operations, the club leases 6oo to 700 acres of land each year to various persons for growing corn and soy beans. Also, some 300 acres are devoted to grain-strip planting for the birds. The entire ~ place contains I z,ooo acres of reforested lands.


In 1937, Elbridge C. Gale gave up an insurance business in Massachusetts to purchase Red Bluff Plantation on New River. This move entailed a procedure of settling down, more or less, on the Carolina coast. Mr. Gale has made the transition permanent. A Whitehead family had planted rice upon these lands overlooking New River's bluff in pre-War days. Other families mentioned as owners of the lands were Wilsons, Corners, and Glovers. Old breastworks built as Confederate fortifications can be seen today extending from the river to a distance of three miles inland. Events proved these defenses almost impregnable. The Savannah Daily Morning News of March, 1862, reported that some "7000 Federals had landed . . . at Red Bluff." A Carolina regiment was said to be proceeding to meet them. Doubtless this was one of the many deterring skirmishes along the coastal rivers.

Mr. Gale found the place "a wilderness." Clearing the acreage, building his home, a beautiful ranch-type structure, and erecting residences for his employees were necessities. These activities occupied the original months.

Paramount in the early years were agricultural operations of growing hogs, cattle, and turkeys. At one time, 6000 turkeys per year were raised, dressed and marketed from the place. Nearly all of Mr. Gale's employees have been with him since the beginning. W. D. Widener is the farm manager.

The farming operations are centered now upon poultry raising and the attendant marketing of eggs. Six thousand cages of laying hens are suspended in lengthy rows, in five large poultry houses. These hens must produce or go to market, for accurate production records are kept. Under the direction of Mrs. Widener, the eggs are gathered, washed, and graded according to weight, the output totaling 4000 eggs per day. They are marketed on regular daily routes. A cooling room is provided for the daily gathering of eggs during the heat of summers, from these White Leghorns.

The wide and lovely expanse of this plantation strikes the visitor. One almost forgets that there are only some 2000 acres of high and arable ground in the 10,000-acre tract. The major portion of it is brackish marshland area, worthless for production and unfit even for duck ponds.

The owner has placed the good land under direction of soil conservation officials, and several hundred thousand pine seedlings have been planted during the last several years as features of the program. A large amount of pulpwood has been harvested from the forest lands in the past ten years.

Mr. and Mrs. Gale both love the place. Mrs. Gale, who came to this country as a Russian émigré twenty years ago, was a representative of the Elizabeth Arden firm for a number of years. The Gales maintain a summer home in Gloucester, Massachusetts. They have one son.

MAUREEN PLANTATION, near Hardeeville, is owned by Mrs. Nancy Spaulding Liggett. The superintendent is John Hubbard.

SHERWOOD PLANTATION, also near Hardeeville, is the property of J. Marshall Booker, of New York. The superintendent is H. S. Guerry. These firms are owners of large acreages in the county:

Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation, 40,178 acres ; Continental Can Company, 19,868 acres ; and West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, 14,301 acres.


When Jeremiah Milbank, railroad director and investment official of New York, purchased i 9,000 acres of Jasper County's sand hills, swamp, and pine flatwoods from sawmill interests in I 939~ his intention was to acquire a timber investment and a good hunting preserve. But his venture mushroomed into a colossal experiment.

Mr. Milbank called his new hunting preserve "Turkey Hill Plantation," after one of the old plantations included in his purchase. Another, known as "Log Hall," once bore the singular name of "Ocean," possibly borrowed from the landing bearing that name on the Coosawhatchie River, several miles away. The spot now is known as Dawson Landing.

Ocean Plantation was a property of Thomas Drayton, in the late 1700's. An English writer described it thus:

"To form an idea of Ocean Plantation, let the reader picture to his imagination an avenue of several miles, leading from the Savannah (and Charleston) road through a continued forest to a wooden house, encompassed by rice-grounds, corn and cotton-fields. On the right, a kitchen and other offices: on the left a stable and coach-house; a little further a row of negro huts, a barn and yard: the view of the eye bounded by lofty woods of pine, oak and hickory."

Ocean, now Log Hall, was for many years owned by the Hutson and Colcock families, before being acquired by the sawmill interests.

Mr. and Mrs. Milbank have gained the love and esteem of their Lowcountry neighbors during their residence here. The philanthropy they have exhibited to their adopted county is merely a continuation of their extensive fields of service. The organization to which Mrs. Mubank's chief interest has been devoted is known as the Ladies Christian Union. The Union provides six comfortable homes for some 450 young business women of New York. This warm, happy environment for newcorners to the city is available at nominal cost to the girls. The homes, with housemothers in attendance, are equipped and furnished by members of the Union, which has observed its centennial of service. Mrs. Milbank is president of the Union's board of trustees.

Mr. Milbank founded the Institute for the Crippled and Disabled in New York, many years ago. His wife's hobby of fashioning artful pine cone novelties is of assistance to the Institute, financially. Her clever novelties find a ready sale in exclusive gift shops, and the proceeds go to the Institute.

Inside their plantation home, there is the feeling of a French country house. Willis Irwin, of Augusta, was the architect, but the Milbanks and their son carried out their own ideas in its design. The paneled walls of entrance hail and living room are of native pine in a smooth, muted finish. Unusual wainscoting adds a decorative touch, and hooked rugs throughout the house carry out the provincial theme. Paintings done by their son and daughters adorn the walls.

Very early, Mr. Milbank showed an interest in problems of the local farmers. Through Clemson College he provided a building at Ridgeland to provide seed, milling and marketing services for growers. More about the Jasper County Farmers' Service will be told elsewhere.

By this time, the owner had begun to consider the agricultural possibilities of Turkey Hill. The outcome of consultation was his decision to launch a separate farming enterprise known as "Cypress Woods Corporation."

J. P. Graham was manager of the enterprise until his death, when J. H. Mayer took over.

Soil conservationists prepared a land-use and development plan for the entire place. This stupendous program of building, land clearance and drainage took three years to complete. A main canal was excavated by construction companies) and thirteen miles of lateral canals were dug, to drain the water from 5ooo acres of flatwoods land unfit for use. Close to 100 Jasper County workers were employed during the three years of building and development.

Tractors prepared the virgin soil for production of grain and feed crops. Turkey-raising and dressing were carried on as major works for several years; then Mr. Milbank's managers undertook the growing of grapes on sub-marginal land, and other experimentation. Following Mr. Mayer, C. B. Fans managed the plantation for several years.

Today, the entire plantation consists of 28,000 acres, of which 23,000 are in production. General manager of the plantation and of Cypress Woods Corporation is Robert T. Thompson. Office manager and bookkeeper is R. R. O'Brien.

The overall working operations are carried on upon separated tracts, Log Hall and Bailey's Mill. The wide green of pasture acreage points up the main business of cattle raising. Currently, there are 2804 meat animals grazing on the lands, for commercial sales of beef. Mr. Thompson said their plan for this year is to raise I 400 cattle as certified breeding animals. There are 58 bulls for the herd, in these varieties: Hereford, Angus, Shorthorn, Santa Gertrudis, Charbray, and a few Brahman.

The cattle are pastured upon 1800 acres of Coastal Bermuda grass. They are wintered on hay and silage from the same fields, and carried through the summers on hybrid millet. Ear corn is used for finishing the animals to a weight between 800 and 1050 pounds, when they go to the slaughterers. Some 2450 acres of millet, corn and clover are grown for implementing the program. Carol Stanley and Eugene Breland are in charge of the farming and cattle operations.

Bishop Brothers, consultant foresters of Marion, render their technical assistance to the woodlands department of the corporation. Under their direction the timber is cruised and marked, and the thinned-out trees are sold for poles and lumber. However, the growing rate is far greater than the selling rate, since the intention is to maintain the natural stands. As a safeguard, Cypress Woods owns a mobile fire-protection unit with two-way

The corporation's machine-repair shop has been in charge of L. C. Atkins for a number of years.

Jack Morris takes care of the Turkey Hill recreation section. There are 150 plantings of patches for wildlife food, and three duck ponds are maintained. There is a fifty-acre lake stocked with fish ; and a lake of five acres completed in recent months. Mr. Morris also looks after the dogs and the horses.


"The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things,

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings."

Perusing old letters which were penned years before the Confederate War leaves one with many conflicting impressions.

Despite glamorizing novels, the era was not altogether a composite picture of magnolias, moonlight, wealth and splendor. It had its seamy side, for many. "Maiden ladies," or women who were left widowed and alone, often became pitiable objects, polite mendicants existing on the largesse of more fortunate relatives and friends.

A letter in possession of a Ridgeland resident, written by one of those long-ago, genteel unfortunates, speaks for itself. At first, the reader feels amused at so much outright begging, and then remembers that, to the lone lady, living near the government seat of Gillisonville where wealthy planters resided, utter destitution must have been a deadly serious matter. The letter, written to a friend in Robertville in April, 1853, runs as follows:

"As I have no way of going up to see you, I will write you a few lines to inquire first how you all are--then to ask you if anyone is living in Mr. S. M--'s old Pineland house where Mrs. B-- lived, and if it is likely that I could get it?

"I have been living in Dr. G--'s house since last May, but he sent me word to pay rent and I am not able to do it--nor do I know of any place I can get free of rent-- All the houses that I might have got have been taken by some one else--and I have been thinking last night that I might get the one Mrs. B-- lived in--Do write me word if I can.

"I am troubled with an eruption particularly on my neck and head--I do not know what to do for it. I felt something better of it last January when I was drinking sassafras tea, but I cannot get any more of it--I would be very much obliged if you would let your house boys get me a peck, or what they can, and send it to Mr. Moore's store in Gillisonville by some one passing.

"1 would be obliged to you too for a mess of sweet potatoes and a cabbage head--I have had no garden and had to buy everything--except a little vegetables that were sent me last summer--Some field peas were promised me the other day, but I did not get them.

"Mr. M-- promised to send me some small oranges to preserve, if he does, and you wish some of them, I will send you some by Mr. McK-- I tried last fall to get some, and Ogeechee limes, but I could not--Some watermelons were sent me and I preserved the rind. It was lucky I did, as I had no butter and had to use them for supper in the place of it--Remember me to all--(signed) truly yrs.,

S. C. B.-- "If you gathered more broom straw than you will use, please give me some. I am so worried with this stiff bought broom."

Among other old papers, the writer found a yellowed "receipt" for making soap.

Immediately, across the years, arose a picture of wide eyed children in our mother's back yard, watching old "Aunt Amy" who was stirring a boiling mass in a huge iron pot. "Aunt Amy" knew all about "slavery time," having grown to young womanhood in servitude, and she regaled us children with many vivid tales of those days.

"Aunt Amy" had two things down to a fine art. Soap making was one. Her lye-soap never failed to reach the proper consistency. Her other claim to fame consisted of feather-light, perfect rolls.

To all seekers, she readily enumerated the ingredients and methods for her soap and her rolls. Although written down meticulously at her direction, these components never seemed to produce the desired results for anybody except her. Once, a curious little girl pinned her down with questions.

The old Negro mammy giggled. "Chile, de soap got to make when de moon is right. I tell um everything ecept how to espect de moon, an' I don' tell dat. So dey soap don' make. An' de roll, when dey write urn down, I always leave out sump'm. So dey roll don' taste like mine."

After all this time, here is the soap "receipt" the old Negro must have used. Some day, perhaps, the "slavery time" receipt for her rolls will turn up. Soap and cold soap are differentiated. Directions for the first are: "Three pounds of grease should be put into a pailful of lye. The great difficulty in making soap originates in the want of judgment about the strength of the lye. One rule may be safely trusted, if your lye will bear up an egg or a potato so that you can see a piece of the surface as big as ninepence it is just strong enough. If it sinks below the top of the lye it is too weak and will never make soap; if it is buoyed up half way the lye is too strong; and that is just as bad. A bit of quick-lime thrown in while the lye and grease are boiling together is of service. When the soap becomes thick and ropy carry it down cellar in pails and empty it into a barrel."

Directions for making cold soap are more explicit. "Cold soap is less trouble because it does not need to boil, the sun does the work of fire. The lye must be prepared and tried in the usual way. The grease must be tried out and strained from the scraps. Two pounds of grease (instead of three) must be used to a pailful; unless the weather is very sultry, the lye should be hot when put to the grease. It should stand in the sun, and be stirred every day.

"If it does not begin to look like soap in the course of five or six days, add a little hot lye to it; if this does not help it, see if it be grease that it wants. Perhaps you will think cold soap wasteful because the grease must be strained, but if the scraps are boiled thoroughly in strong lye the grease will all float up on the surface and nothing be lost. Finis."

The only thing left to discover about soap-making is the understanding between "Aunt Amy" and the moon!

Every community has its legends, every county its traditional anecdotes. Some humorous, some sad, they come drifting down the years to later generations. They may be likened to bizarre, colorful threads, vividly encroaching on the tapestry of actual happenings.

Jasper County has its share of such stories. They are for absorption and adoption, but not by those rigid souls who would split hairs of demarcation between truth, part truth, and sheer imagination.

Already, the story has been told of the knitted socks that saved a house at Gillisonville. Many present residents of the county can recall playing as children among the deserted rooms of this old house, the home of General Moore.

Tragic is the account of a quarrel that culminated in a shooting at Coosawhatchie, in 1826. David Huguenin Beck was a young lawyer of promise, who had been involved in a difficulty with Colonel B. E. Aliston. A relative writes of the incident:

"... they met again at Coosawhatchie, one going down, the other coming up the street, each with the left arm to the other, when opposite Beck exclaimed, 'Turn you damned scoundrel and defend yourself' (I should in justice to B. say A. had spit at him saying 'All the waters of the Savannah can't wash that out') both wheeled, leveled their pistols, Beck's snapped, Allston's fired, hitting Beck in the forehead with three buckshot, he staggered forward, and fell, the brains oozing from the wounds. Allston advanced a few paces, looked upon the wreck he had done, and exclaiming 'I would give worlds to recall that shot,' turned upon his heels and drove from the town. That night, the poor old mother came, and as she looked upon the prostrate, but still writhing form of her best beloved and handsome son, held down in his agony by four of his friends, exclaimed, 'Col. Allston, I forgive you, may God do the same.' " Young Beck's grave is in the Huguenin cemetery, the tombstone showing his age as 21.

There is the pathetic legend centering around a child's grave in an old weed-grown cemetery of the Robert family and their relatives, near Robertville. Youngest in his family, the child is said to have died after a brief illness. This final blow to the father, ruined financially by the Confederate War, caused the old man to become mentally unbalanced.

Because the little fellow had been extremely fond of cake, each year on his birthday anniversary, the grieving, deranged parent would trudge to the cemetery with a plate of cake and a glass of milk, placing them on the little mound. This pitiful custom ceased only when death claimed the father, too.

In a book of memoirs by Mrs. N. B. DeSaussure is a story concerning a Bostick relative of hers. The young boy, not yet 16, was anxious to join his brothers in the Confederate army, but was held back for a while by his mother's tearful pleas.

Finally, the urge to enter combat became so strong that he ran away from home and enlisted. Summoning a loyal family servant, the mother entrusted her headstrong son to the care of this faithful black. "Follow him everywhere," she commanded. "If he falls in battle, it shall be your duty to bring him back to me."

In North Carolina, the young soldier was wounded, dying later in a hospital. The slave placed the body in a rude coffin which he had made, and shouldering the box, began the long journey homeward on foot. Two weeks later, he laid the tragic burden down at the feet of his mistress.

Many stories have been told and written of Mrs. Elizabeth Savage Heyward, second wife of Judge Thomas Heyward, Jr., the signer.

It is said that she was a great beauty and belle in her youth, but after the death of her husband she became something of a recluse in their enormous "tabby" mansion, White Hall, on Euhaw Creek. As time passed, she became more and more eccentric, content to live there utterly alone, except for her servants, and sometimes a neighborhood child who came to browse in her famous library.

In the quaint Schoolcraft volume published about the middle of the nineteenth century, an amusing anecdote is written about the visit of an Episcopal rector to Mrs. Heyward. It seems that this particular divine, being a native of New England and unused to blacks, was unable to overcome his fear and distrust of all Negro slaves. His aversion was known among the plantation owners of St. Luke's Parish, and discussed with tolerant, private mirth.

After partaking of the evening meal with his hostess, the clergyman was conducted through enormous, empty rooms to the one he was to occupy for the night. The ghostly, creaking vastness of the house proved too much for the nervous New Englander. When a manservant came later to the room on a routine, nightly errand, the panicky guest paid the slave to bring in a cot and sleep on it, in close proximity to the pastoral bed.

In spite of former antipathy, no doubt black company was preferable, in a pinch, to none at all!  The story spread around and was enjoyed heartily, according to Mrs. Schoolcraft.

An interesting tale is told in connection with a skirmish at the Huguenin plantation on Bees Creek, during the Federal invasion.

By an ironic twist of fate, the Yankee officer who happened to be in charge that day was a Colonel Abram Huguenin. As the flames were consuming the house, the officer learned that it was the home of a distant cousin when he discovered the Huguenin coat-of-arms.

Drawing the line at burning out relatives, he at once ordered his men to extinguish the fires, but it was too late. However, by working frantically, they managed to save some of the silver, portraits, and furniture. These the Northern officer took away with him for safekeeping and, at the close of hostilities, returned the poignantly salvaged possessions intact to their owners.

Here is one for the detective story writers, and the plot is presented to them gratis. No names can be mentioned, for obvious reasons.

Some time in the 1880's, a Charleston-trained printer from this section went to New York and opened a printing shop. During the visit of an adult son from "The Hill," the man was found murdered and his little shop was ransacked. Sought by New York police, the son disappeared completely. Never again did he return to his native county or state.

Years later, after the turn of the century, news trickled back to relatives here that the fugitive was living in a western city. His nephew, familiar with the story, decided to make the trip out there and see for himself.

"It was my uncle, all right," he reported later. "I knew him from his pictures and by the resemblance to the rest of the family. But he denied absolutely all relationship, although he treated me with extreme cordiality and seemed to enjoy my visit."

Anyway, a legend is a tale of doubtful certainty. That's what the dictionary says.



"The next with dirges due in sad array

Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne-- Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay

Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

There is a fascination about old cemeteries. Sometimes, one may walk among the stones and note the fragrance of a blooming shrub that permeates the air. Sometimes, every tree seems waiting for a lone bird's cry in the sudden hush. Again, one peers through tangled growth to read a verse and sunbeams sharply fall across the ancient script, as if to aid. These places are not lonely. They typify a more expressive time, a time when persons verbalized poetic impulses; wrote out in rhyme their sentiment, admonition, affection, grief; and at times, resentment. As with far-off waves of music, part can be perceived and part imagined.

There is the Bostick cemetery, near Brighton and Robertville. In a woodland setting and beautifully kept, its solitary white dignity makes a profound impression on the visitor. In it, only Bosticks and their relatives were supposed to be accorded a spot. Two outsiders, from Connecticut, rest in this cemetery but a slight and careful apology is made upon the tomb of each for this sufferance.

"Mrs. Hannah Hunt" who died in 1832 was "for more than 30 years a resident of Charleston, S. C., where the loss of her society will long be sensibly felt by a numerous and respectable circle both Relatives and Friends. She died in communion with the Presbyterian church but her liberal and benevolent feeling embraced in the bonds of Christian hope and charity the Pious of every

The other outsider, a Doctor Samuel Perry, was greatly beloved, according to the inscription, an implied reason for his placement there amid Bosticks, Maners, Martins and their kin.

At the original "Bull Hill" site of St. Luke's Church, the oldest burial ground has disappeared, as such. One lone forest-moldy marker can be found, a memorial to a young woman, "Mary Bull, daughter to James and Margaret Cameron of the Island of Antigua in the West Indies," who died in 1793 at the age of 28. The loving tribute reads:

From Pains, from Sorrow, and from Care set free,

Rest here secure in thine Integrity.

Tho all thy Life in Virtuous Deeds was spent

Yet from Affliction thou was not exempt.

But here a safe Asylum thou shalt find

From all that could disturb thy anxious Mind.

Thy loving Husband in silent Sorrow mourn

And all thy Friends in grief weep o'er thy Tomb.

Then rest my Love, while I in vain deplore

Thy sudden Fate, and grieve thou art no more.

Oh ! May thy gentle Spirit wing its Way

To blissful Regions of unfading Day.

In the brush-choked cemetery beside the river at Coosawhatchie, one finds the ultimate in pathos upon a little stone: "Dennis Hankins, 2 years old, died 1829, moving to Florida." This try was made at proper verse:

"Twas from the Waggon he did fly

To dwell with Jesus Christ on High."

Almost, one hears the crunch of wagon wheels, as the grief-stricken parents stop to lay this casualty of their journey in the soil of a strange churchyard. Nearby, a complete sermon is legible upon the tombstone of Thomas Ferguson. He was "born in Petersborough, N. H., but lived the last 27 years of his life in this state." So runs his epitaph : "May he sleep peacefully within this inclosure by the side of his elder brother, shaded by the branches of this spreading oak until that great and terrible day shall arrive when we must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded according to our Merits." Could therein be a hint that Mr. Ferguson's conduct had not quite merited emulation? One is forced to wonder a little. There is no trace, now, of the brother's grave. Probably it was long since crowded out by the "spreading oak," which gradually usurped the space.

In the Strobhar cemetery at Arm Oak, almost every tomb contains a verse suitable to the age of the deceased. Above a little child is found:

Ever sin could blight or sorrow fade

Death came with friendly care,

The opening bud to Heaven conveyed

And bade it blossom there.

A young matron is thus memorialized:

From earth to heaven she takes her flight

On faith's wide wings she mounts afar

And through the morning's purest light

She shines an everlasting star.

A middle-aged wife who died in 1822 is personified in poetic lines by a husband whose meaning is clear, though his rhyme and meter didn't quite make the grade:

O! mourn not friends. Approve the glorious change;

No heavenly pleasure could I here enjoy;

Happy transition, which on earth's wide range

All mortals wish for and which never cloys.

Oh ! husband dear, disturb not my repose

With mournful sighs or melancholy plaints:

But hopeful live, divested of all woes,

To join thy wife in the abode of saints.

Please Email any errors.

Moving Finger of Jasper
THE VISIT fiction
SCGenWeb - Jasper County, South Carolina

Copyright ©2001, GRACE Fox PERRY, her heirs and assigns, all rights reserved.  Used with permission by SCGenWeb, Jasper County web site.