History & Interpretation
HISTORY AND INTERPRETATION
Programs and Guided Tours
: Several prominent families of Colonial and Antebellum South Carolina lived at Hampton Plantation, including Rutledges, Horrys and Pinckneys. Today, the mansion stands as a testament to the wealth and power of these families as well as the craftsmanship of the builders. Tours include a study of the architecture and evolution of the house, as seen in the open walls and unfurnished rooms, as well as personal insight into the people that called Hampton home.
Hampton Plantation is also a DiscoverCarolina Site, which provides curriculum-based social studies programs for South Carolina school children.
African American History
: The structures at Hampton Plantation are architectural monuments to the labor of enslaved Africans and the social prominence of the Horry, Pinckney and Rutledge families. The cultivation of rice during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries created the economic prosperity of Hampton Plantation and the Santee Delta. The impressive architectural display of the Hampton mansion was financed with the profits created by intensive rice production and the labor of enslaved African-Americans. No other commercial crop grown in South Carolina during this era would match the success and wealth of rice. Products from nearby forests – lumber, tar, pitch and turpentine – were the earliest profitable commodities exported by Lowcountry settlers. Indigo, processed to obtain a blue dye, became an important cash crop in the mid-1700s when the British government subsidized its production. But it was the system of rice cultivation, however, that transformed nearly the entire South Carolina Coast, bringing immense wealth to planters, permanently altering the landscape, and nurturing the region’s unique Gullah culture.
Though rice was introduced to South Carolina in the late 1600s, the decades just before the Civil War witnessed the high point of rice cultivation in the state. Hampton Plantation produced 250,000 pounds of rice in 1850 alone. Rice cultivation involved entire communities of African-Americans, as men, women, and children all played a role in production. This work, especially the construction and maintenance of rice fields, was often exhausting and may have impaired the health of slave laborers. Despite the often oppressive nature of the system, however, enslaved families were able to create communities with a rich cultural heritage.
Revolutionary War History
: This 18th-century plantation home served as a place of refuge for women and children during the war, and the rice fields surrounding the property hid Francis Marion from when British troops arrived at Hampton Plantation in search of him.
: Several prominent families of Colonial and Antebellum South Carolina lived at Hampton Plantation, including Rutledges, Horrys and Pinckneys. Today, the mansion stands as a testament to the wealth and power of these families as well as the craftsmanship of the builders.
National Historic Landmark
: National Historic Landmark
When & How PRT Acquired
: In 1971, 274 acres were purchased from the Rutledge family.
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