Hopsewee, S.C. 2019

          My wife (Becky) and I, took a vacation to South Carolina in October of 2019.  We were near Myrtle Beach when we decided to visit the Hopsewee Plantation.  We figured that visiting a Plantation would give us a better feel of the original environment of South Carolina.  Myrtle Beach is very modern and commercialized.

Area map near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

      Hopsewee Plantation, c. 1740, is a National Historic Landmark and Birthplace and Home of Thomas Lynch. Jr., one of four signers of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina.  It is located about 21 km south of Georgetown on U.S. Highway 17, in the vicinity of North Santee on the North Santee River.    

Hopsewee Plantation, South Carolina 2019

       Built of black cypress, cut from the Santee Delta swamps, the house sits on a foundation of handmade bricks covered with scored stucco to resemble stone.

Becky standing on the front porch steps of the main house of the Hopsewee Plantation 2019; (looking north).

     The house is made of black cypress and rests on a brick foundation which forms a cellar. The house is forty feet wide and fifty feet deep.

Looking west, at the eastern side of the main house of the Hopsewee Plantation 2019.

     Each floor has four rooms with a central hall. The piazzas were added in 1845 and replace an earlier verandah.

Looking south; at the back entrance of the main house of the Hopsewee Plantation 2019

     Pictured above, the house has undergone few changes over the centuries and looks very much as it did during when the Lynch families called it home.

Main entrance hallway of the main house of the Hopsewee Plantation.  Portraits of the original Lynch family founders.
Portrait painting of Elizabeth (Allston) Lynch found in the Hopsewee (main house) Plantation
Front room of the main house at the Hopsewee Plantation, 2019
The main-stairway of the main house at the Hopsewee Plantation 2019

     The house is also known as the Thomas Lynch, Jr., Birthplace or Hopsewee-on-the-Santee, built in 1735 near Georgetown, South Carolina.    Before he departed for his ill-fated voyage Thomas Lynch made a will, which stipulated that heirs of his female relatives must change their surname to Lynch in order to inherit the family estate, a rice plantation. He was taken ill at the end of 1779 and he sailed, with his wife, Beverly Allston Lynch, for St. Eustatius in the West Indies. Their ship disappeared at sea in a storm and was never found.

Looking south from the front window of the main house of the Hopsewee Plantation 2019. (Note: The main source of transport in the late 1700s was the river. So the front of the house faced the North Santee River.)

     From the beginning, rice was the major crop grown at Hopsewee.  “Carolina Gold”, as rice grown in South Carolina came to be called, was known world-wide for its quality.

Hopsewee Plantation grounds

     The plantations of Georgetown county by the time of the Civel War were the largest producers of rice in the country.

One of two slave dwellings still standing at the Hopsewee Plantation, (these were probably for the house slaves).

     The growth of rice depended on the skills of enslaved Africans.  Hopsewee alone produced 560,000 pounds on 240 acres in 1850.

One of two slave dwellings still standing at the Hopsewee Plantation, (these were probably for the house slaves).

     When rice planters discovered that many of these slaves brought the knowledge of rice cultivation with them, they later sought them out.

Inside of a slave dwelling.  Two families lived there. One on each side of the fireplace. 

     Pictured above, the main house did not originally have a kitchen.  The cooking took place in the slave dwellings.  This is why the slave dwellings seen above and below had massive fireplaces.

Inside of a slave dwelling. Two families lived there. One on each side of the fireplace.  (I have filtered it for artistic reasons) 

     Pictured above, dedicated to historic preservation and accuracy, Hopsewee Plantation  features two slave cabins that have been restored to their original condition. The disparity between the luxury home and the spartan conditions of the slave cabins shows the inherent inequalities of the institution of slavery.  It provided Becky and I, with a firsthand reminder of how African-Americans endured generations of forced servitude, yet somehow found ways to create and preserve their own culture under difficult conditions.

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