Skip to comments.Historic plantation rarely seen by public
Posted on 11/24/2003 9:44:38 AM PST by yonif
It's been a decade since McLeod Plantation on James Island was acquired by the Historic Charleston Foundation, but in the intervening years, the grounds have rarely been seen by the public.
The plantation, dating to 1678 and whose 19th Century plantation house was used as a hospital during the Civil War, is empty except for a caretaker who lives in the house.
The property includes a row of old slave houses. The bell that once called the slaves to work still hangs in a tree.
The Historic Charleston Foundation acquired a third of the property when William Ellis McLeod died in 1990 and bought the rest three years later. Since then, a local garden club has opened the house several times for tours.
Several dozen people gathered Sunday to honor McLeod and real estate agent Fred Wichmann, who organized the event, said he and his wife Joyce want to the plantation opened for regular tours.
But the foundation doesn't have money to work on the house and develop a museum to attract visitors, said Kitty Robinson, the foundation's executive director.
The foundation has discussed having Charleston County buy the property. But that plan was abandoned when the courts ruled a recent half-cent sales tax increase was invalid.
The foundation also has talked about selling to the county Park and Recreation Commission and a local group called the Sea Island Historical Society.
"It's a treasure," said Robinson, who said the foundation has money to maintain the house until a buyer is found. "As long as we own it, we are going to take care of it."
The plantation was established in 1678 and the present buildings date to 1858. About that time, 74 slaves lived on the property, cultivating about 1,200 acres of cotton.
The plantation house was used as a hospital for both Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War, which is probably why the structure was not burned during the war.
The last cotton crop was planted in 1918, when the boll weevil forced the owners to switch to other crops.
Over the years, McLeod sold off parts of the plantation where he lived until he died in 1990 at age 104. His will stipulated the remaining land never be subdivided and be preserved for the public.
McLeod was honored Sunday as a philanthropist who helped build St. James Episcopal Church, donated land for Martin Luther Lutheran Church and established scholarships at the College of Charleston.
Unless of course, Wal-Mart decides they want it at which case the state will be happy to confiscate it for them. Because we all know that a million Wal-Mart shoppers a year will generate more than enough jobs and taxable revenue to offset any dying man's wishes to preserve a dark period in our nation's history.
Afterall, think about it, why should a dead man expect to get what he wants when the federal and state government have already proven that they have no problem screwing citizens who are still alive?
The Dill sisters had deeded their property on James Island to the Charleston Museum several years ago. On their property is Fort Pringle, a Confederate earthwork in excellent condition. One of the stipulations of the deed being signed over to the museum was that none of the land would ever be sold. Well, the museum decided a few years ago that since the two sisters had died, that they didn't have to live up to that part of the bargain. I can't remember exactly who the land was sold to, but some of it was sold for commercial purposes.
Yes, that is the place. I've been told by a native of James Island, that where the club house for the golf course sits (Charleston Country Club) is where there was an old battery, called Battery Means. It is there that approximately 7 members of the 55th and two men from the 33rd U.S.C.T. were buried. They had been killed in July of '64, but their bodies were not recovered until the following spring. According to diaries of that time, a ceremony was held and they were buried inside the old fort. I don't know how long the country club has been there, but I'm wondering if anything was ever discovered during the construction phase. If anything was ever found, it was never reported.
You're Mom sounds alot like me. I live in Central New York and if it isn't raining, it's snowing. There's not much in between here.
I believe you're thinking of Sol Legere Island. I think I just read something about a proposal for either a housing development or apartments there. I believe Grimball's Causeway/River's Causeway is near there. On July 2nd, 1864, the 55th and 33rd U.S.C.T. crossed from Folly Island to Long Island and then made their way to Tiger Island where they met up with the 103rd New York. They were supposed to attack Fort Lamar, but heavy firing from the fort prevented them from making any headway. The 55th and 33rd lost several men during this skirmish, and these are the bones that were supposedly buried in Battery Means/Charleston Country Club.
Are you familiar with the area?
Boone Plantation is pretty interesting to visit. Slave cabins still standing and most of the plantation has been kept in period form. We attended a huge private party there where they served about 100 of us a scrumptious meal. During the meal, three black minstrels dressed in civil war era costumes sang Negro spirituals. It was really enjoyable. It was like going back into a time warp.
Check out ND, SD, Montana, WY.....you can buy ranches out there for really cheap. Compared to LA, SF, and NY anything is cheap : )
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