What is the meaning of Lowcountry? Merriam Webster defines it as “: a low-lying country or region especially: the part of a southern state extending from the seacoast inland to the fall line.” South Carolinians define it as a geographical location and cultural mindset. But for me… It is more than that!
It’s Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper, the four counties that make up the SC Lowcountry Tourism area. These four counties offer a myriad of unbelievable experiences for all.
On any given day in lowcountry you can:
Take a walk under the old oak trees covered in Spanish moss.
Feel the sand between your toes as you enjoy our gorgeous beaches.
Pedal your way around our lush naturescapes.
Soak up some history at one of our many museums, former plantations, or historical churches and structures.
Become one with nature as you spy an alligator, deer, or Great Blue Heron paddling down a lazy Lowcountry river.
Stroll along our beaches as you scavenge for shark teeth.
Immerse yourself in the hunt for the next big fish.
Step off the beaten path to find our numerous hidden gems.
Window shop our local boutiques and stores.
Spy an array of birds in our Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas
Meander along our waterfront parks.
Savor a bounty of renowned local cuisine fresh from the sea and our nearby farms.
Unwind and relax as you revel in a lowcountry sunset.
Welcome our lowcountry culture into your heart and mind as you are transported back in time.
Come along and we’ll explore this region, south of Charleston and north of Savannah, to find what makes the SC Lowcountry NATURALLY AMAZING!
Beaufort and its surrounding sea islands are home to the largest number of tabby structures in America. Early settlers in this coastal region built structures from materials that were readily available. Oyster shells were abundant along the shorelines. Wood was available in the forests. They were both put to good use.
Tabby is a type of early concrete that is made from mixing lime, sand, and oyster shells. The oyster shells were burned and mixed with sand and lime, then poured into forms to create walls and foundations that can still be seen in Beaufort today. Bricks were also formed from tabby and used for all manners of construction.
Beaufort’s sea wall was made from tabby. The exact date of the sea wall is undetermined. It was built to protect the low-lying area from high tides.
Fort Frederick was built by the British in 1730 to protect Beaufort’s Port Royal Sound. It was constructed of tabby. This is the oldest example of tabby in the country. The fort is preserved as the Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve and can be visited.
Tabby Manse, located on Bay Street is made from tabby walls that are two-feet thick. The Beaufort Arsenal is also made of tabby, but it is protected under layers of stucco. Originally built in 1795, the arsenal was rebuilt in 1852 and renovated in 1934. It is now the Beaufort Visitor Center and Museum.
St Helena’s Episcopal Church cemetery is surrounded by tabby walls. Many of the family plots are surrounded by smaller tabby enclosures. The church was constructed in 1842.
Many of the buildings along Bay Street were constructed using tabby. The foundation of the John Mark Verdier House is one example. Built in 1804, tabby construction can be seen on the first floor. The house is open as a museum. There’s an example of exposed tabby between two buildings in an alley on Bay Street that gives a close-up view of the materials that are combined to create the structure around 1760.
Beaufort County’s Old Sheldon Church Ruins show an example of tabby used as stucco to cover bricks. Built in 1751, the church was burned during the Revolutionary War, rebuilt, then dismantled after the Civil War.
Located on St. Helena Island, the Chapel of Ease is an excellent example of exposed tabby construction. Built in the mid 1700s, the tabby and brick is all that remains of a church that served the families of the island plantations. After the Civil War the church was used to educate freedmen. The church was destroyed by fire in 1886.
Edisto Island’s Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area is the home to the tabby ruins of Bleak Hall Plantation. Three Gothic Revival buildings are all that exist of the once sprawling plantation. A white, wooden ice house was constructed on a tabby foundation. A gardener’s shed and tabby barn also remain. Botany Bay WMA is open to the public.
Daufuskie Island’s Haig Point tabby ruins are among some of the best examples of tabby constructed slave quarters remaining in Beaufort County. Built around 1826, three of the best-preserved tabby walled, single slave dwellings are protected in the Haig Point development.
The Stoney-Baynard Plantation Ruins can be found in Sea Pines Plantation. Ruins of the tabby plantation house and the foundations of two slave cabins can be visited, along with the kitchen chimney. The house was built around 1840 and destroyed by fire in 1867.
All that remains of Fish Hall Plantation is three standing chimneys from slave cabins. This tabby is a little different. It contains clam shells in addition to oyster shells. Fish haul Plantation was built in 1762. The property was captured by Union forces during the Civil War and a portion was given to former c=slaves to develop the town of Mitchelville, the nation’s first freedmen’s village.
Sea Wall – Bay Street between Carteret and New Streets Ft. Frederick – 601 Old Fort Road, Beaufort Tabby Manse – Bay Street, Beaufort Beaufort Arsenal – 713 Craven Street, Beaufort St. Helena’s Episcopal Church 505 Church Street, Beaufort John Mark Verdier House – 801 Bay Street, Beaufort Alley Tabby – 715 Bay Street, Beaufort Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Old Sheldon Road, Yemassee St. Helena Chapel of Ease – 17 Lands End Road, St. Helena Island Bleak Hall Plantation Tabby Ruins – 1066 Botany Bay Rd, Botany Bay WMA, Edisto Island Haig Point – Daufuskie Island Stoney-Baynard Plantation Ruins – 87 Plantation Drive, Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island Fish Haul Plantation Ruins – 70 Baygall Road, Hilton Head Island
The history of indigo production in South Carolina goes all the way back to the birth of our nation and a very special lady named Eliza Lucas Pinckney. The wife of a prominent statesman, Pinckney oversaw the first successful cultivation of South Carolina indigo in 1744. By 1748, indigo was second only to rice as the colony’s commodity cash crop.
Daufuskie Island residents Leanne Coulter and Rhonda Davis run Daufuskie Blues, an indigo dying company that honors this South Carolina tradition. They create eye-catching designs and patterns on scarves, cloth, and other fabrics. The ladies of Daufuskie Blues like to take their show on the road and teach indigo dying workshops around the Lowcountry.
Prior to the late 1880s, the only way to obtain blue dye was with the indigo plant. Leanne and Rhonda take great pride in sharing the history and methodology behind the indigo dying process. Ridgeland’s Morris Center is one of the sites for these classes. The Blues ladies first discussed the history of indigo growing wild on Daufuskie. They also grow it for production. The plant’s leaves are broken down in a reduction vat to make it water soluble. Once the dye is prepared, folded, stitched, twisted or cinched fabric is placed inside the vat. The dye first turns the fabric green. Exposure to the air creates a rich blue hue.
After the final soak and rinse the fun really started. Fabric was released from its bindings and all the beautiful patterns were revealed. Each piece was a unique work of art.
Indigo dying classes can be found at Hilton Head’s Coastal Discovery Museum, Walterboro’s Colleton Museum and Ridgeland’s Morris Center. You can also head over to Daufuskie Island and visit with Leanne and Rhonda at their store. Workshops can also be scheduled by appointment on Daufuskie Island.
Daufuskie Blues is currently located in the historic Mary Field School, built in 1933, where Pat Conroy once taught. The island and his experiences teaching there inspired him to write his first book The Water is Wide, which was made into the motion picture Conrak. Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat or ferry. It is one mile south of Hilton Head. Daufuskie Blues is open Tuesdays – Saturdays, from 11 am – 4 pm.
Daufuskie Blues 203 Schoolhouse Road (843) 707-2664, (843)368-3717 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring Fido along for your next dog-friendly adventure to the South Carolina Lowcountry!
Dogs are considered family members and are treated as such in the Lowcountry. Accommodations, restaurants, tours, beaches, and charters can be found that welcome the addition of dogs to the party. Here’s a selection of activities in the South Carolina Lowcountry that are dog-friendly.
Parks and Outdoor Areas that are dog-friendly:
Hunting Island State Park allows dogs on a leash in the park. They are not allowed in cabin areas or inside the lighthouse complex. They are also not allowed on the northern tip of the island to protest critical shorebird habitat. Pets are allowed in most other outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Take advantage of the many walking trails located throughout the park.
Lake Warren State Parkallows dogs inmost outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. The trails at the park make excellent walking paths for dogs.
Edisto Beach State Parkallows dogs in most outdoor areas including the trails provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Pets are not allowed in the cabins or the cabin areas.
Colleton State Parkallows dogs in most outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Pets are not allowed in or around lodging facilities.
Dogs are permitted onHilton Head beachesbefore 10 am and after 5 pm Memorial Day through Labor Day. Dogs must be on a leash or under positive voice control at all other times.
Hilton Head Island’s Chaplin Community Park off-leash dog park is located off William Hilton Parkway between Burkes Beach Road and Singleton Beach Road. This is a great place to bring the dogs to play with others.
Hilton Head Sea Pines Forest Preserve and Audubon Newhall Preserve allow dogs on a leash.
Hilton Head Fishing charters and river cruises that allow dogs include Captain Mark’s Dolphin Cruise, Vagabond Cruise, Calibogue Cruises, Runaway Fishing Charters, and Over Yonder Charters. For websites and more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/charters/.
Hardeeville’sSgt Jasper Park has many walking trails that are perfect for short hikes with your dog. Ridgeland’s Blue Heron Nature Trail is also a good place for dog walking. Both parks are conveniently located just off I-95.
Hardeevillealso has an off-leash dog park located in the Richard Gray Sports Complex behind City Hall, 205 Main Street. The park is divided into areas for small and large dogs. There’s also a designated area for senior dogs as well. The park has shaded benches and doggie water fountains. The park is conveniently located just off I-95, making it a great place to let the pups run off energy.
Yemassee’s Frampton Plantation Visitors Center enjoys visiting with dogs. They are allowed inside and out! Plan a picnic on the grounds and take the dog for a walk through the woods. Come inside and visit with the friendly staff that love visits from leashed dogs. The center is located on I-95 at Exit 33.
Beaufort Bricks on Boundary Common Ground Coffeehouse and Market Café Hemingways Bistro Luther’s Rare & Well Done Panini’s on the Waterfront Plums After a downtown meal, be sure to go for a walk at the Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park.
St Helena Island Johnson Creek Tavern Marsh Tacky Market Café After a St. Helena meal, walk through the Chapel of Ease and Ft. Fremont.
HHI Skull Creek Boathouse Captain Woody’s Old Oyster Factory Crazy Crab Up the Creek Pub & Grill Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks Fishcamp on Broad Creek Go for a walk through Audubon Newhall Preserve or Sea Pines Forest Preserve.
Bluffton The Cottage Old Town Dispensary Katie O’Donalds Okatie Ale House Fat Patties Guiseppi’s Pizza Captain Buddy’s Charters Go for a walk through the many parks in the Old Town area of Bluffton, or Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve.
Walterboro Fat Jacks Sonic Drive-in After dinner, stroll through the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary.
Edisto Island Seacow Eatery Flowers Seafood Pressley’s at the Marina La Retta’s Pizzeria McConkey’s Jungle Shack After dinner, walk through Bay Creek Park or Edisto Beach State Park.
Ridgeland Alchile Mexican Grill Eats & Sweets Bakery Fiddlers Seafood PJ’s Coffee House Go for a walk through Blue Heron Nature Center’s trail after dinner.
Dog friendly accommodations are easy to find in the Lowcountry. Many rental homes, hotels and bed & breakfast locations are happy to accept your furry friends.
Certain rooms at the Anchorage 1770 are also dog friendly. Just let the staff know you plan to bring your furry friend, and you will be booked accordingly. The Beaufort Inn also allows dogs.
While visiting Lowcountry parks and wildlife management areas, dog owners are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal’s excrement. Please keep in mind, it is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife.
When going on outings with your dog be sure to bring food, trail treats, water and water bowl, plastic bags, leash, and collar. Make sure your current contact information is on your dog’s collar. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Limited mobility is not a problem in the SC Lowcountry.
The South Carolina Lowcountry is the perfect destination for people with limited mobility. The consistency of our flat ground makes reaching many attractions easily attainable. Come tour the natural beauty of our unspoiled landscape. Bask in the sunshine at one of our beaches, view the carefully preserved architecture and experience a fishing expedition. There’s something here for everyone!
For beautiful sunsets that are unmatched in beauty, head over to Port Royal’s Sands Boardwalk. Make sure to stop by the Cypress Wetlands Rookery on the way. Roll through the paved trail loop and look for egrets, herons, eagles and migratory birds.
Interested in fishing while in Beaufort? Head over to the Crystal Lake Park. The 25-acre park has a boardwalk that surrounds the lake and has docks that are perfect for catch and release fishing.
Looking for nighttime fun? Beaufort is one of the few cities where you can step back in time and go to a drive-in movie. The Highway 21 Drive-in has been updated with a digital format and concession stand snacks can be ordered online. They have two screens which show double features Thursday – Sunday nights. Grab your blankets and pillows and have fun the old-fashioned way!
Like to go camping on the beach? The Hunting IslandState Park Campground has an all-terrain wheelchair and Handicapped-equipped restrooms and mobi-mats that allow for smooth access to the beach. There’s also another wheelchair located near the lighthouse. Call 843-838-2011 for more information. Visit the nature center and the marsh boardwalk. Both are accessible by wheelchair. Tour the grounds of the lighthouse and see the footprint of the former facilities.
Beaufort’s Spanish Moss Trailis a 12-ft wide trail that follows the path to Parris Island that was used by the railroad to bring recruits to the marine training facility. No longer in use, the rails were removed, and a trail was constructed to lead visitors and locals along a path that winds through wooded areas and across the waterways of Beaufort County. Fishing can be done from several bridges along the way.
Old Town Bluffton is located along the shores of the May River. Stroll along the paths of the Oyster Factory Park or Wright Family Park. Oyster shell-paved sidewalks lead right to the door of theGarvin-Garvey House for a tour of Bluffton’s restored freedmen cottage. If Spending a Day in Old Town Bluffton be sure to visit the Church of the Cross, and stroll through the grounds of the Heyward House Museum.
The Bluffton Shell Art Trail is another fun outdoor activity that is accessible. Download the map and set out to discover all 21 shells that are placed throughout the historic district.
Hilton Head is home to the Coastal Discovery Museum. This facility also has nature trails and a butterfly pavilion. The museum also conducts tours on site and around the island.
If getting out on the water is on the agenda, spend an afternoonSailing the Coastal Waters. Tours range from dolphin searching to dinner cruises.
The town of Hilton Head offers matting for regular wheelchairs near beach accesses at Alder Lane, Coligny Beach Park, Driessen Beach Park, Fish Haul Beach Park, Folly Field Beach Park, and Islanders Beach Park. The town does not offer modified wheelchairs. Call 843-341-4600 for more information.
Daufuskie Island is an adventure that is not to be missed. The island is situated between Savannah and Hilton Head. It is only accessible by boat. Ferry services are available. Rent a golf cart and explore the Robert Kennedy Trail and learn the History of this Gullah Paradise where Pat Conroy used to teach in a two-room schoolhouse. Explore the island to your heart’s content with so much to see. Experience the secluded beaches, Daufuskie Island Rum Company, Bloody Point Lighthouse, Historic Gullah Homes, Mary Field School, The Iron Fish Studio, historic churches, Silver Dew Winery, and so much more.
Hampton County is home to the Lake Warren State Park. Enjoy fishing in the lake for largemouth bass, brim, redbreast, and other freshwater fish. There are docks to fish from shore or you can rent a boat and troll the 200-acre lake.
Hardeeville is home to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. This vast natural wonder has a driving tour through former rice fields that are teaming with an abundance of waterfowl. Look for alligators and migratory birds as you make the slow drive through the refuge.
Sgt. Jasper Park is another great place to view nature in Hardeeville. Several of the trails are designed for people with mobility impairment. You can also fish at the park.
Ridgeland’s Blue Heron Nature Trail winds around a pond and its surrounding wetlands. It’s conveniently located just off the interstate. It’s a great place to get out of the car and take in fresh air and relaxation.
Another Jasper County gem that’s located on I-95 is the Frampton Plantation House Visitors Center and Museum. It has sidewalks, a picnic area and ramp for guests with disabilities. Come inside and see the 153 year-old house that was saved from demolition by the Lowcountry Tourism Commission.
The newly opened Walterboro Wildlife Center features native wildlife of the state’s largest city park, the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary. Come to the center to view the interpretive exhibit hall showcasing plant and animal life. ClickHERE to see the newest addition to the collection. After a visit to the center, drive over to tour the sanctuary and experience nature firsthand.
Edisto Island is steeped in history and natural beauty. Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area is a beautiful spot to tour from your car. The entrance to the former plantation property is lined with an iconic alley of live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. Upon check-in, guests receive a driving tour map that includes information on the history of the property.
The Henry Hutchinson House is another Edisto Island treasure. The house was built by a freedman during Reconstruction. It is the oldest house of its kind on the island. It has recently been restored and the exterior is on display to celebrate this important time in American history.
Edisto Beach has rolled out the carpet for beach goers with disabilities – literally! New mats have been installed for visitors with mobility impairment. Beach wheelchairs are also available at the fire station. Simply call 843-869-2505, ext. 217 to make a reservation.
Part 2 – The Haunting of Bluffton, Hilton Head and Daufuskie
Lowcountry Ghost Stories Part 1 discussed the spooky stories of Beaufort and the Sea Islands. This installment will focus on southern Beaufort County, particularly Bluffton, Hilton Head and Daufuskie.
Bluffton also has its share of spooky stories. Much of the town was burned in 1863 during the Civil War, including the Bluffton summer home of Squire William Pope of Coggins Point Plantation. This wealthy Hilton Head family spent the summers on the bluff of the May River across from Cross Episcopal Church.
Following the war, Mrs. Pope and her daughter returned to Bluffton in a state of destitution. They came back to find their home burned, but the carriage house and a smaller outbuilding had survived. They spent the remainder of their days in this structure. It has been said that on a full moon, candles can be seen burning inside the abandoned summer home. The Town of Bluffton is currently working to restore this house.
Old Town Bluffton’s Sarah Riley Hooks House is another dwelling that has a haunted past. Sarah was a retired public health nurse and daughter of a prominent Blufftonian. Her son Tony became a famous musician as the lead guitarist for Sly and the Family Stone and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
Tony answered knocks on the door one early morning in 1988, He was shot in the chest with a shotgun. Rumor has it, he was killed in a lover’s quarrel. The shooter was caught and arrested in Savannah, but the motive and gun were never discovered. The accused was a Hilton Head real estate agent and trumpet player. He was charged but found innocent by reason of insanity at his trail. The community was in a state of shock over this senseless murder. More than 600 mourners packed the auditorium of the school named after his grandfather for the 32-year-old musician’s funeral. The house has been neglected and is inhabitable, looking very much like a haunted house. In fact, locals report when the tide is high, and the moon is full – you can hear the sounds of Tony playing his guitar from the house ruins. Feeling brave, head over to Old Town Bluffton’s Bridge Street on the next full moon and listen carefully for the faint sounds of Tony’s guitar riffs.
The ghost of William Baynard can be seen and heard at Zion Cemetery on Hilton Head Island. Baynard was a successful planter from Edisto Island. During a lively card game, he won the 1,000-acre Braddock’s Point Plantation in a hand of poker in 1845. He took up residence on the island and lived a prosperous life. He and his wife Catherine enjoyed plantation life. It was not common for plantation owners and their families to live on Hilton Head due to diseases like malaria and yellow fever. Baynard and his wife were an exception to that rule. They enjoyed living and entertaining at their Hilton Head plantation. Unfortunately, Catherine began having health issues and died. She was buried in the Zion Cemetery. Baynard was heartbroken and inconsolable after her death. In his guilt-ridden state, he visited her grave every day until his death 15 years later. Why did he commission such an elaborate mausoleum? Many believed he intended to bury his most cherished possessions in the tomb to carry into the afterlife. Union soldiers heard of the possible treasure during the Civil War. They broke into the tomb and emptied it of all contents. The ghost of Mr. Baynard can be seen on dark and stormy nights as he comes to visit his wife’s grave. Perhaps he’s looking for his stolen treasure as well. The graveyard where Baynard roams is located on William Hilton Parkway near the intersection of Mathews Drive. The Baynard Mausoleum is believed to be the oldest surviving intact structure on Hilton Head.
The ghost of William Baynard can also be seen roaming the grounds of his former plantation. Perhaps he is looking for the spirit of his beloved wife here also. The ruins of their once-lavish home are located within the confines of Sea Pines Plantation. For a small fee, visitors can pass through the gates of Sea Pines and visit the site. The spookiest time to visit the ruins is at dusk. A small hike through a haunting forest will lead you to the skeletal remains of the once prosperous plantation house. This plantation and the surrounding trails have been labeled as the most haunted spots on the island. Visit if you dare! Baynard Plantation is located at 88 Plantation Drive.
Visitors to Daufuskie Island are greeted with the beautiful sight of the Haig Point Lighthouse. This two-story simple Victorian was designed to house the lighthouse and its keeper. It is here that we meet the ghost of Maggie…or do we?
The story is told that Patrick Comer and his wife Bridget were the first light keepers, coming to the island in 1873. Eventually they were blessed with a daughter they called Maggie. They lived a happy idyllic life on the island, until 1886. Tragedy struck when a Charleston area 7.0 magnitude earthquake nearly destroyed the light station. The quake and subsequent aftershocks caused severe flooding on the island which lead to an explosion in the mosquito population. Maggie soon became ill and died of malaria. Patrick morns the loss so severely that he takes to his bed and dies five years later. Rumor has it that on moonlit nights visitors to the lighthouse catch the faint scent of honeysuckle, and one of the porch rocking chairs will mysteriously begin to rock on its own.
According to Carolyn Males of locallifesc.com, https://www.locallifesc.com/the-ghost-that-wasnt/ Maggie actually had an older sister Mary Ellen that wed in 1879 and moved to Savannah, where she had five children with her husband, Captain Walter John Thompson. Mary Ellen would later die in 1895, and by 1899, Maggie married the same Captain Thompson and raise her sister’s three surviving children. She died in 1930 at the age of 65 and is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery. Perhaps the ghost of Maggie returns to rock on her favorite porch in the form of her younger self, to remember her happiest memories. Who knows???
Did you notice the two ghostly figures that found their way into the pictures for this post? If not, look again! They have been added for your Halloween pleasure! Stay tuned for the third installment of the Lowcountry Ghost stories. Up next, Colleton County!
Daufuskie Island has a very rich Gullah history. “Gullah” refers to descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. After emancipation and the Civil War, the Gullah of Daufuskie Island were able to live an isolated life creating a unique culture with deep African retentions. They have distinct arts, crafts, food, music and language. According to the GullahGeecheeCorridor.org “The Gullah language is the only distinctly, African creole language in the United States and it has influenced traditional Southern vocabulary and speech patterns.”
After the Civil War plantation owners abandoned Daufuskie Island. Former slaves that returned to the island bought parcels of land and built cottages. They worked in farming, logging and oyster canning. By the mid-1900s, these industries dried up and work had to be sought off the island. Many of their homes fell into disrepair. Through a grant from Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Daufuskie Island Endangered Places Program”, many of these homes and other structures have been restored. A tour on the island is like walking back in time.
To experience the Gullah history of Daufuskie Island, follow the Robert Kennedy Trail. The trail maps out 20 historic landmarks that depict the Daufuskie Gullah way of life that has been present for so many generations. Download the map or pick up a copy at the Billie Burn Museum, then set out and see history come to life.
The first stop is the Billie Burns Museum. Housed in the former Mt. Carmel Baptist Church No. 2, the museum contains artifacts illustrating periods of island history. This is the second church built on the site by the Cooper River residents. The first was destroyed by hurricane. The current structure was built in the 1940s. The church was abandoned when island population declined. It was restored in 2001 and repurposed as the island’s museum.
The Jane Hamilton School Gullah Learning Center is just next door. Cooper River children attended school at the first Mt. Carmel Baptist Church No. 1 until the hurricane destroyed it in 1940. The one-room Jane Hamilton School was built and used for ten years. When the students outgrew the school, they were transported to the southern end of the island to attend the two-room Mary Fields School. The building was restored in 2008 and now holds the Gullah Learning Center and community library.
2. Tabby ruins can be seen at the second stop of the tour. Oyster shells were ground, mixed with sand and water and used to construct the foundations of Haig Point Plantation. This very durable building material predated concrete and can be found throughout the Lowcountry.
3. The Cooper River Cemetery is a very important stop when learning about Daufuskie history. Gullah tradition places cemeteries near moving water so souls could travel home to Africa. Situated beside the Cooper River, the cemetery has grave markers dating back to 1917, but the hallowed grounds have been in use for burials since plantation days.
4. Haig Point is a developed community today. Access is for owners and guests only. The Haig Point lighthouse can be seen from Calibogue Sound at the northern tip of the island. This lighthouse was built in 1873 and remained operational until 1924.
5. Melrose was once a large self-sustaining plantation. After Union occupation of the island, the Gullah people either worked for the landowners or bought land of their own. They lived in former slave cabins or built cottages on their own land. Several examples of these cottages a have been restored and still stand strong today.
6. From the late 1800s to the 1950s, the primary economy of the island was oyster harvesting and shucking. The Oyster Union Society Hall was established in this 1893 building. The union society was a benevolent and burial society that held meetings and social events. Members joined by way of an initiation ceremony. Pollution from the Savannah River ruined the oyster beds and the oyster industry on Daufuskie came to a close. The society dissolved after the oyster beds were closed. The building still stands as a reminder of a bygone way of life.
7. The next stop on the tour is the Hinson White House. This 1926 house represents Daufuskie Island Gullah architecture. Large screened porches provide cooling shade in the hot summer months. The house was restored by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation in 2015. While the residence is private, it is listed on Airbnb for short-term rentals.
8. The Mary Field Cemetery is the largest Gullah cemetery on the island. The earliest wooden tombstones have disintegrated from age. The earliest date visible in the cemetery is 1926. The cemetery is still in use today.
9. Sarah Grant bought her home in 1910 for $15 and had it moved to its present location for an additional $25. She was a midwife, Sunday school president and PTA president. She was married to the island undertaker. When he died in 1962, she stepped in and took his place, making her the one who saw islanders come into the world and go out! This is a private residence, but is available for short-term rentals on Airbnb.
10. A Beaufort County public dock is located at the end of Haig Point Road. This is the former location of the Maggioni & Company Oyster Cannery. This facility opened in 1883, employing many of the islanders. The cannery closed in 1903, but the locals continued to harvest and shuck oysters, transporting them to nearby canneries. This continued until the 1959 pollution of the Savannah River closed the oyster beds.
11. White School House was built in 1913 for the white children of the island. It closed in 1962. The structure has since been used as fire department headquarters, island library and thrift store. It is now home of the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation’s archives.
12. Many islanders found themselves under live oaks after Sunday church service. Not wanting to discuss everyday problems on church grounds, men would move off church grounds and gather under the shade of a nearby live oak. Rumor has it, there was also a sister tree for the ladies.
13. First Union African Baptist Church was built in 1881 near the 1881 church that was previously destroyed by fire. This church has stood the test of time, serving the island since it was built. The church was restored in the 1990s. A replica of a traditional praise house is located behind the church.
14. Mary Field School was the biggest school on the island. This two-room facility was built in the early 1930s to educate the black children of the island. Leftover wood from construction was used to build student desks. Pat Conroy briefly taught school here. He was the first white and the first male to teach in the school. He used his experiences on the island as the backdrop for his book The Water is Wide, which was made into the motion picture Conrack. Miss Francis Jones was the first teacher when the school opened in 1933. Her house is next on the tour. The school was integrated in 1962 and continued to educate island children until 1997. Currently it houses the School House Coffee Shop and Daufuskie Blues Indigo Textile Studio.
15. The most iconic house on Daufuskie is the Francis Jones Home. This Gullah home was built in the late 1860s. Additions were made over the years. Francis Jones was a much-loved teacher of the African American children of the island from 1930 – 1969. At times she was the only teacher, working with as many as 96 children in two daily sessions. The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation restored the house in 2014. It is available for short term rentals through Daufuskie Island Accommodations.
16. The Moses Fickling Cottage sits beneath an ancient live oak tree, which is covered in resurrection fern and dripping with Spanish moss. It is reported that this tree is so old it greeted the Spanish when they first came to the island in the 1500s. This classic Gullah cottage was built around 1925 for Mr. Fickling and his wife Grace. He was the island undertaker and a deacon at the First Union African Baptist Church. The old carriage that he used as a hearse has been restored and is on display outside the Billie Burn Museum. This beautifully preserved home is a private residence.
17. The Mary Dunn Cemetery is not too far away on Prospect Road. This is the only historic cemetery for white residents of Daufuskie Island. It dates to the 1700s. The cemetery borders the Mongin Creek and was donated by Mary Dunn. It is privately owned and still in use today.
18. Bloody Point is at the southern tip of the island. It got the name during 1715 when three different bloody skirmishes with the Yemassee Indians caused the water to run red. Bloody Point is the southernmost inhabited point of South Carolina.
19. The Bloody Point Cemetery is located near the beach. This Gullah cemetery was placed along the Mongin Creek and used for slave burials during the plantation era.
20. The Bloody Point Lighthouse and Silver Dew Winery are the last stops on the tour. This is not a typical lighthouse. In fact, it is similar to the lighthouse keeper’s cottage on Tybee Island. A large second-story dormer houses the light that guided ships into the Savannah River channel from 1883-1922. This well-preserved historic structure contains a collection of artifacts and documents telling the story of Daufuskie. There is also an interpretive garden on the grounds that includes cotton, rice and indigo.
Just out back of the lighthouse sits the Silver Dew Winery. This building was built as a “wick house” to store oil, wicks and other items needed to run the lighthouse. In the mid-1900s it was converted into a winery. Wine was made from grapes, scuppernongs, pears, elderberries, and other fruit grown on the island. Pat Conroy mentions the Silver Dew Winery in his 1972 book The Water is Wide.
If visiting Daufuskie Island is in your future, there’s only one way to get there – by boat. It’s just thirty minutes from Hilton Head Island, and an hour from Savannah. The Daufuskie Island Ferry https://www.daufuskieislandferry.com/directions/ has departures throughout the day. Reservations are a must. Once on the island, a golf cart or bike rental is a must for getting around. The island is five miles long and two miles wide. The ferry office can assist you. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Daufuskie Island has seen its share of inhabitants over the years and their influence can be seen across the island. This destination is only accessible by boat, so time moves a little slower here. Sandy dirt roads reveal an island that is rich in history and nature with one of the most beautiful beaches in the Lowcountry.
Native Americans lived on Daufuskie ten-thousand years ago, leaving many artifacts that tell their story. Indians remained on Daufuskie until the 1800s. Spaniards came to Daufuskie in the 1500’s, bringing the technique of tabby construction. Oyster shells were in abundance along the coast and could be combined with sand to create an early form of concrete. They also brought the marsh tacky horse to the island.
During the 1600s, land grants were issued to wealthy English families. Plantations were established, producing indigo and long-staple sea island cotton. By the Civil War, there were seven working plantations on the island, working many slaves. Union forces captured Daufuskie in 1861. Plantation owners and slaves abandoned the island during occupation. After the war newly freedmen returned to the island working and living off the land and sea in isolation. Their strong Gullah culture is still evident across the island today.
Cotton farming was a major source of income until the early 1900s when cotton fields were destroyed by the boll weevil. The logging industry and the Maggioni Oyster Canning Factory provided jobs for the Gullah people after the cotton decline. As logging ended and oyster beds were closed due to pollution, the island’s population declined. (The caning factory moved to St. Helena Island, and is still in operation today.) Daufuskie’s population dropped from 2,000 to just 60.
Even Pat Conroy has ties to Daufuskie Island. He taught at the island’s two-room schoolhouse in 1969. He went on to write The Water is Wide, based on his experiences on the island. The book was made into a famous motion picture Conrack.
Around this same time developers came to the island, building the communities of Haig Point, Melrose and Bloody Point, creating jobs and allowing islanders to come home. Even though parts of the island have been developed, the historic district has retained its natural beauty. Gullah architecture has been preserved or restored. In fact, the entire island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Daufuskie’s first marina was built in 1984. Haig Point and Melrose developments soon followed. Much of the island has been able to maintain its natural splendor and Gullah influence. Visitors to the island can experience travelling dirt roads by golf cart or bike, as cars are forbidden to spoil this natural paradise.
While visiting the island, have a meal at one of the unique local restaurants. Old Daufuskie Crab Company entices visitors as they enter at Freeport Marina. If you prefer beach views with your lunch, head over to the Melrose Beach Club. Lucy Bell’s Café is located in the heart of the historic district. There’s even a coffee shop located in the historic Mary Fields School House.
Haig Point Club has become a premier destination for members with its 29 golf holes, tennis and fitness facilities, swimming, and beach recreation.
The Club boasts less than 300 homes situated on 1,050 acres making plenty of room for members to enjoy an active and outdoor low country lifestyle. By working with local contractors and builders Haig Point has been able to preserve the beauty of Daufuskie Island as well as many of the historical aspects for future generations.
Haig Point offers a more intimate lifestyle with all the amenities you expect…and more unique features few private communities can offer; empty beaches, a fabulous top-ranked Rees Jones-designed golf course, an equestrian center, and a safe, healthy and secure family environment. Whether you croquet at the Strachan Mansion, fly fish, cast for shrimp or crab, take a sunset cruise or enjoy an event at the Club, Haig Point offers a rich and fulfilling lifestyle. It’s not opulent, stuffy or fabricated, but welcoming and undeniably authentic.
One of the many charms of Daufuskie Island’s Haig Point is that it is accessible only by boat. You arrive here from Hilton Head Island, SC by a scenic ferry ride from the private Haig Point embarkation center (18 round trips run each day) or a 24-hour water-taxi service from Harbour Town. The personal touch points of concierge services, like grocery and package delivery from the mainland, make island living second to none. Haig Point is a car-free island paradise that is blessed with natural beauty and void of noise pollution. When you live at Haig Point, you can be as active or laid back as you choose. But know that the social scene is lively and has a magical way of engaging the entire family.
Haig Point has 29 championship holes to challenge any level golfer. Prefer horses? Our equestrian center is outfitted to meet the needs of your horses, and lessons are offered to those looking to become riders. As for tennis enthusiast, we have six Har-Tru® tennis courts with USTA’s “Outstanding” rating. The opportunities for outdoor adventure are endless!
Words and photos cannot fully describe the attraction of the Haig Point community. It’s a connection you get from the moment you arrive. Something each of our members experienced first-hand. They were drawn to Daufuskie Island for its character and ultimately chose Haig Point for the magical bond. But is it for you? There’s only one way to know.
The natural beauty of Daufuskie Island shines through each and every property in Haig Point. Our beaches showcase the glistening water of the Atlantic Ocean with a backdrop of South Carolina at its finest. We specially develop each plot of land to enhance its natural beauty and work with local companies who understand how to complement what Mother Nature has given us.
Although there are a few cars on Daufuskie, golf carts are the main mode of transportation. Which is not only better for the earth, but also better for your soul. The lack of transportation noise only enhances the peaceful stillness around the island.
If the outdoors is where enjoy spending most of your time, Haig Point offers fishing (deep sea and along the banks), crabbing, water sports, bike rentals, Bocce ball, and kids’ camp. The lifestyle here on Haig Point on Daufuskie Island is truly what you make it. There are exceptional classes and lessons to mold a unique variety of activities which you enjoy participating.
The Haig Point lifestyle is simply incomparable. There are less than 300 homes on 1,050 acres. Within the 1,050 acres of our private island community, there are three clubs, 29 holes of golf, tennis, fitness, swimming, and beach recreation. Haig Point Club is more than just a place to live, it’s a community of people who grow and truly share life together. Our community buildings allow you to build lasting relationships with other residents through a wide variety of activities. We invite you to visit and get to know more about our members.
Take a trip across the Lowcountry to visit these historically significant spots.
Today’s Green Book of South Carolina pays homage to the original Green Book by highlighting African American heritage sites across the state. The original Green Book was published in 1936. It played a critical role in protecting African American travelers by providing information on safe travel and welcoming establishments across the United States. This guide was instrumental in helping black motorists navigate the dangers of racial segregation. It included gas stations, restaurants and lodging that were safe for African American travelers.
Calvin Ramsey has revived the Green Book as a guide to historically significant sites. The South Carolina Lowcountry counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper are very fortunate to have 36 sites memorialized in the Green Book of South Carolina. The following sites were shared from https://greenbookofsc.com/.
BEAUFORT “Freedom Along the Combahee”: Combahee Ferry Raid Hwy 17 at Combahee River, Beaufort County A Union force consisting of nearly 300 members of the 3rd Rhode Island Artillery and the 2nd S.C. Volunteer Infantry, an African American unit, raided several plantations along the Confederate-held Combahee River on June 1-2, 1863. Col. James Montgomery led the expedition. The famed Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman also participated. More than 700 enslaved men, women, and children were freed. Some of the freedmen enlisted in the U.S. Army.
Berean Presbyterian Church / J.I. Washington Branch Library 602 Carteret St. Beaufort Samuel J. Bampfield, an influential African American political figure during Reconstruction, was the founder of Berean Presbyterian Church. He served as postmaster, clerk of the Beaufort County court, and a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. The congregation purchased this lot in 1892 and built a Gothic Revival style church. Solomon P. Hood, a future U.S. Minister to Liberia, was appointed as its first pastor. The Beaufort Township Library purchased the building in 1931 and used it as a segregated library for African Americans. After the desegregation of the Township Library, the segregated branch closed. Later, the Neighborhood Youth Corps used the building as its headquarters. USC-Beaufort purchased the site in 1993 for use as an art studio.
Camp Saxton Ribaut Rd. on the US Naval Hospital Grounds, Port Royal The Camp Saxton Site is nationally significant as an intact portion of the camp occupied from early November 1862 to late January 1863 by the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, the first black regiment mustered into regular service in the United States Army during the Civil War, and as the site of the elaborate ceremonies held here on New Year’s Day 1863 which formally announced and celebrated the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in areas then “in rebellion” against the United States. This area is preserved as part of Reconstruction Era National Historical Park. However, it is located on the campus of the Beaufort Naval Hospital, an active duty military installation. As a result, this area is not currently open to public access.
Detreville House 701 Green St. Beaufort Rev. James Graham built this house c. 1785. It became known as “the Mission” during Reconstruction, when Mrs. Rachel C. Mather of Boston occupied the house. She and other Baptist missionaries built Mather School in Beaufort to educate African Americans. The house is included in the Beaufort Historic District.
First African Baptist Church, Beaufort 601 New St. Beaufort This church, founded in 1865, grew out of an antebellum praise house for black members of the Baptist Church of Beaufort. During the Civil War, after the Federal occupation of the town, it hosted a school for Freedmen. Rev. Arthur Waddell (1821-1895), organized the church with two fellow black ministers in 1867. Robert Smalls (1839-1915), Civil War hero, state legislator, and U.S. Congressman, was its most prominent member.
Grand Army of the Republic Hall 706 Newcastle St. Beaufort Although Beaufort’s black military companies remained active after the Civil War, statewide the “Negro militia” rapidly declined during the 19th century. By 1903, the only units left were two companies in Beaufort. Many black Union veterans lived in the community, and after the war they formed the David Hunter Post #9 of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for veterans of the Union Army. Built in 1896, this meeting hall for the post is believed to be the only surviving building in South Carolina associated with the Grand Army of the Republic. It is included in the Beaufort Historic District.
Mather Museum and Interpretive Center 921 Ribaut Road, building #1, Beaufort This interpretive center chronicles the history of Mather School in Beaufort, a boarding school for freed African American females. The institution was founded in 1868 by Boston schoolteacher Rachel Crane Mather, and is one of many post-Civil War developments that sought to educate recently emancipated African Americans. It first served elementary school-age girls. In 1910, high school grades were added, and in the 1950s, it became a junior college. Today, the museum is housed in the historic school’s former library, and the campus is the site of the Technical College of the Lowcountry. Moor Hall (pictured below,) one of the campus’ original historic buildings, housed classrooms, served as an administration building, a science laboratory, a library and a bookstore. The school of cosmetology training was housed in the basement.
Tabernacle Baptist Church 907 Craven St. Beaufort The Tabernacle, a meeting house and lecture room, was built by Beaufort Baptist Church in the 1840s. In 1863, Tabernacle Baptist Church was organized by Solomon Peck of Boston with most of the 500 African American members of the congregation coming from Beaufort Baptist Church. The new congregation acquired this building for their worship services. The church was rebuilt after it was damaged by the hurricane of 1893. A bust of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls is on the church grounds. Tabernacle Baptist Church is included in the Beaufort Historic District.
Wesley Methodist Church, Beaufort 701 West St. Beaufort This church, established in 1833, was the first Methodist church in Beaufort and was founded as a mission to slaves and free blacks here and on the neighboring sea islands. The congregation had both black and white members but many more black members in the antebellum era. This church, first built in the “meeting house” form common to the Methodist church, was dedicated in 1849. In 1861, after the Federal occupation of Beaufort and the sea islands, this church hosted a school for Freedmen. Its first black minister was appointed in 1873 during Reconstruction.
BEAUFORT SEA ISLANDS Coffin Point Plantation Seaside Rd. St. Helena Island Coffin Point Plantation, a prosperous sea island cotton plantation, became a hub of activity when St. Helena Island was captured by Union troops in 1861. With the Union occupation of the island, the Coffin family fled, and 260 slaves were left behind. The United States government developed a plan to train and educate the newly released slaves to prove their effectiveness as free laborers. This effort became known as the Port Royal Experiment.
Dr. York Bailey House US Hwy. 21 St. Helena Island This house was built c. 1915 for Dr. York Bailey, St. Helena Island’s first African American doctor and its only physician for more than 50 years. Bailey ordered the parts for the house from a mail-order catalog and they were shipped to Beaufort, then brought across to the island by boat. The house is a good example of the vernacular American Foursquare house form. Bailey, born on St. Helena in 1881, graduated from Penn School and Hampton Institute and studied medicine at Howard University. He returned to the island in 1906 to practice medicine.
Eddings Point Praise House On Eddings Point Drive, .1 miles north of junction with Secondary Road 74 St. Helena Island The small wood frame building, c. 1900, is a rare example of a praise house. Praise houses were first established on plantations as places to meet and worship. Since there were few formal church buildings on St. Helena Island, most islanders could only walk or ride to the main church on Sunday mornings. For other meetings or services, they used praise houses, holding services on Sunday night and some weeknights. There were as many as 25 praise houses on St. Helena Island as recently as 1932, but only four remain today.
Emanuel Alston House Sec. Rd. 161, .25 mi. N of jct. with US 21 Frogmore/St Helena Island This house is an intact and significant example of a one-story hipped roof house, an early 20th century vernacular architectural form common to St. Helena Island. It was built c. 1915 by Tecumseh Alston, a carpenter, for his brother Emanuel. Emanuel “Mannie” Alston, born 1900, lived here until his death in 1985. He served for many years as an elder at Ebenezer Baptist Church and took a prominent part in the services there.
Knights of Wise Men Lodge Hall 14 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. St. Helena Island The Knights of Wise Men was organized in 1870 to provide financial and farming assistance to the families of its members. The Knights purchased this property at the rear of “The Green” in 1889 for $8.00 and built a two-story wood frame building, which burned in 1940. The current concrete building was constructed shortly thereafter by local masons. It is similar in fashion to the earlier building. At its height in the 1920s, the Knights of Wise Men had some 350 members. The lodge is still used during times of celebration.
Mary Jenkins Community Praise House 355 Eddings Point Rd. St. Helena Island Mary Jenkins Community Praise House is one of only four praise houses remaining on St. Helena Island. The small wood frame building, which was built c. 1900, represents a vernacular architectural form that has survived since the plantation era. Paris Capers, born in 1863, was one of the early elders. As a place of religious worship as well as community meetings, this praise house is an important reminder of St. Helena Island’s African American heritage.
Penn Center Historic District / Reconstruction Era National Monument 16 Penn Center Cir. E. St. Helena Island Penn School was founded in 1862 by northern missionaries and abolitionists who came to South Carolina after the capture of the Sea Islands by Union troops. The site and its collection of historic buildings were venues for education, the preservation and interpretation of sea island culture, and a strategy meeting for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. before his March on Washington in 1963. In January 2017, Penn Center and other historic sites in Beaufort County were declared the nation’s first Reconstruction Era National Monument by President Barack Obama. In 2019, the monument was officially recognized as a National Park.
Robert Simmons House On unpaved road .5 mile south of US HWY. 21 St. Helena Island This house was built c. 1910 by Robert Simmons, an African American farmer. The house is a rare surviving example of a double pen house, a vernacular architectural form once common on St. Helena Island. Double pen houses had two rooms side-by-side, each usually measuring approximately 16×16 feet. The house has been enlarged, but the original core is still distinguishable.
BLUFFTON Campbell AME Church 23 Boundary Street Bluffton White Methodists built Campbell Chapel AME Church in 1853. Nine African American freedmen, who were likely once enslaved by members of the white congregation, purchased the 19th-century Greek Revival structure in 1874. Members of the new African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church congregation immediately altered the building and expanded the site as the church thrived. They likely installed the cast-iron bell that is currently visible in the cupola. The church retains historic fabric that is both original and reflective of the change in ownership. Campbell Chapel AME continues to provide a space where congregants can educate youth, worship freely, and participate in outreach ministries. This historic church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 2019.
HILTON HEAD Cherry Hill School 210 Dillon Rd. Hilton Head Island This one-room frame school, built ca. 1937, was the first separate school building constructed for African American students on Hilton Head Island. It replaced an earlier Cherry Hill School, which had held its classes in the parsonage of St. James Baptist Church. After the black community on the island raised funds to buy this tract, Beaufort County agreed to build this school. This was an elementary school with one teacher, with an average of about 30 students. It served grades 1-5 when it opened in 1937, adding grade 6 the next school year.
First African Baptist Church, Hilton Head Island 70 Beach City Rd. Hilton Head Island This church, founded in 1862, was originally the church in the town of Mitchelville, a Freedmen’s village established on Hilton Head by the United States Army. Rev. Abraham Murchinson, its first minister, was a former slave and the church had about 120 members when it was organized in August 1862. The church moved to the Chaplin community after the Civil War and was renamed Goodwill Baptist Church. It moved to this site by 1898 and was renamed Cross Roads Baptist Church before retaking its original name. The present church was built in 1966.
Former Home of William Simmons: Gullah Museum of Hilton Head 187 Gumtree Rd. Hilton Head Island This house, built in 1930, is typical in materials and methods of construction of those built on the sea islands from the end of the Civil War to the mid-20th century. It was built on land bought by William Simmons (c. 1835-1922), who was born a slave and served in the 21st U.S. Colored Infantry during the Civil War. His granddaughter Georgianna Jones Bryan built this house in 1930 for her brother. It illustrates everyday life and the persistence of Gullah culture in an African American farm community. It was renovated in 2010-11 as the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island.
Fort Howell 160 Beach City Rd. Hilton Head Island This Civil War fort, named for Gen. Joshua Blackwood Howell (1806-1864,) was built by the U.S. Army’s 32nd Colored Infantry and the 144th N.Y. Infantry to defend Hilton Head and the nearby freedmen’s village of Mitchelville from potential Confederate raids or expeditions. That village, just east of the fort, had been established by Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchel in the fall of 1862 and was named for him after his death. The fort was an enclosed pentagonal earthwork with a 23-foot high parapet and emplacements for up to 27 guns. Though Fort Howell never saw action, it is significant for its design and its structural integrity.
Mitchelville Site Beach City Rd. Hilton Head Island After Hilton Head’s fall to Union forces in 1861, this town was planned for the area’s former slaves and named for General Ormsby M. Mitchel. It was developed into neatly arranged streets and Ľ-acre lots. The town had elected officials, a church, laws, taxes and a school for children, and was home to about 1,500 residents in 1865. The village continued relatively intact until the 1870s and was abandoned by 1890.
Queen Chapel AME Church 114 Beach City Rd. Hilton Head The AME denomination experienced rapid growth after the Civil War and Queen Chapel was among the early churches founded. In 1865, Charleston born AME Bishop D.A. Payne returned to S.C. and brought a group of missionaries to Hilton Head Island. They met with Rev. James Lynch, who had come to S.C. in 1863 to perform missionary work among the freedmen of Mitchelville.
St. James Baptist Church 209 Dillon Rd. Hilton Head Island This church, founded in 1886 by former members of First African Baptist Church, is one of the oldest surviving institutions remaining from the town of Mitchelville, a Freedmen’s village established here by the United States Army in 1862. The present brick sanctuary, covered in stucco, is the third to serve this congregation. It was built in 1972 and renovated in 2005.
Daufuskie Island Historic District 18 Simmons Rd. Daufuskie Island – Accessible only by ferry. The cotton trade spurred the growth of the slave population on Daufuskie Island from 1805-1842, and ruins of slave houses and archaeological sites remain from this period. The island was largely abandoned during the Civil War, but many former slaves returned during Reconstruction, reoccupying slave houses and building churches, schools, and meeting places. In the early 20th century, the population swelled to almost 1000, with oysters, logging, and trucking providing jobs. By the 1940s and 1950s, outside competition had caused many to leave the island and search for jobs elsewhere, leaving the population in 1980 at fewer than 75 people.
EDISTO ISLAND Edisto Island Baptist Church 1813 SC Highway 174 Edisto Island The original core of Edisto Island Baptist Church was built in 1818 to serve the island’s white planters. Enslaved African Americans attended the church with their owners, and the original slave gallery still lines both sides of the sanctuary. After Edisto Island was occupied by Union troops during the Civil War, most of the white plantation families left the island. In 1865 the trustees of the church turned it over to the black members. Edisto Island Baptist Church has operated as an African American church since that time.
Hutchinson House 7666 Point of Pines Rd. Edisto Island Built by Henry Hutchinson around the time of his marriage to Rosa Swinton in 1885, the Hutchinson House is the oldest intact house identified with the African American community on Edisto Island after the Civil War. Hutchinson was born enslaved in 1860, and according to local tradition, he built and operated the first cotton gin owned by an African American on the island from about 1900-1920. Hutchinson lived here until his death in 1940.
29 Seaside School 1097 SC Hwy. 174 Edisto Island This Seaside School, which was built c. 1931 as its second building, is reported to be the oldest African American school remaining on Edisto Island. From 1931 until the construction of a consolidated school in 1954, black residents of Edisto Island received their primary education in this building, a one-story, two-room rectangular frame. In 1930, the Edisto Island school district had planned to merge Seaside with Central African American school, but the community, affected by the Great Depression, could not raise enough money for the lot and school supplies. This smaller structure was built instead.
WALTERBORO Episcopal Church of the Atonement 207 Chaplin St. Walterboro This African American congregation was formed in 1892 as a mission of St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, a white congregation. The rector of St. Jude’s supplied services for the Church of the Atonement. This distinctive Gothic Revival church was built in 1896. The wood frame building features a steep gable roof. A tower on the front, which contains the Gothic-arched entrance, is decorated with fish-scale shingles and topped with an open belfry. The Church of the Atonement is included in the Walterboro Historic District.
St. James the Greater Catholic Mission 3087 Ritter Rd. Walterboro vicinity St. James the Greater Catholic Mission is an extremely rare example of a rural, southern, black Roman Catholic parish in continuous existence from its antebellum origins to today. The site includes a sanctuary, a school, and a cemetery. The sanctuary, built around 1935 in the late Gothic Revival style and entirely clad in wooden shingles, is on the same site as two previous churches built in 1833 and 1894. The schoolhouse, constructed in 1901, is rare example of a turn-of-the-twentieth-century I-house built specifically as a school for African Americans. It provided private education for local students, regardless of religious affiliation, until 1960.
St. Peter’s AME Church 302 Fishburne St. Walterboro St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in 1867 under the leadership of Rev. James Nesbitt. This building, a Gothic Revival wood frame structure, was constructed around 1870. It features Gothic windows and a tower with an open belfry. It is part of the Walterboro Historic District.
Training the Tuskegee Airmen Tuskegee Airmen Dr. Walterboro Airport During World War II, the first African Americans in the U.S. Army Air Corps graduated from the Tuskegee Army Flying School in Alabama. From May 1944 to October 1945, some of them took further combat training here, at Walterboro Army Airfield. Several of the earliest “Tuskegee Airmen,” who had already won fame in missions in Europe and North Africa, were assigned as combat flight instructors. Trainees here flew the P-39, P-47, and P-40 fighter planes and the B-25 bomber. Officers’ quarters and enlisted men’s barracks stood just east and just west of this spot, respectively.
HAMPTON Hampton Colored School Holly St., between Lightsey St. & Hoover St. Hampton This two-room school was built under the leadership of Ervin Johnson, a local African American carpenter in 1929. It served students in grades one through eight. At first funds were so scarce it was only open from October to March. Eventually however, donations from the black community allowed it to operate for a full school year. Later, high school courses were offered. This remained the only black school in town until the Hampton Colored High School was built in 1947. Then it was converted into the lunchroom for the high school. Marker erected by Hampton County Historical Society, 1989.
Huspah Baptist Church and School 729 Magnolia St. W. Hampton Organized c. 1873, the congregation first met in the homes of church members before erecting a permanent sanctuary. It also began operating a school for African American students around 1890. The first school burned in 1895 (arson was suspected, but never proven). It re-opened the following year. Elizabeth Evelyn Wright and Jessie Dorsey were the first teachers at the new school. Wright would go on to found Voorhees College in 1897. The school at Huspah remained in service until the County built a new school for African American students in 1927. Marker sponsored by Huspah Baptist Church, 2015.
TILLMAN St. Matthew Baptist Church 1454 Tillman Rd. Tillman This church was founded in 1870 with Rev. Plenty Pinckney as its first minister and worshipped in a “bush tent” nearby until a log church was built a few years later. A new frame church was built on this site in the 1890s during the pastorate of Rev. C.L. Lawton. The present sanctuary was built in 1960 during the tenure of Rev. R.M. Youmans, who served here for more than 35 years. Marker erected by the Congregation, 2002.
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The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Region of South Carolina includes the four, southern-most counties in the state, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton, which are bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.