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.
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.
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.
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.
Each floor has four rooms with a central hall. The piazzas were added in 1845 and replace an earlier verandah.
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.
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.
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.
The plantations of Georgetown county by the time of the Civel War were the largest producers of rice in the country.
The growth of rice depended on the skills of enslaved Africans. Hopsewee alone produced 560,000 pounds on 240 acres in 1850.
When rice planters discovered that many of these slaves brought the knowledge of rice cultivation with them, they later sought them out.
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.
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.