Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, SC

Daniel Horry purchased 600 acres near today’s McClellanville, SC from his brother-in-law in 1744. The plantation house had been established in 1735. Daniel Huger Horry inherited the land, house and slaves from his father in 1762. In 1768 Daniel married Harriott Pinckney the daughter of Charles Pinckney and Eliza Lucas a couple of years after his first wife died.

By 1767 Daniel had established Hampton Island located across the Wambaw creek from the house, as the center of his rice field operation. “An estimated 160 men and women worked 325 acres – each person producing about 3,000 pounds of rice per year”. These enslaved people worked under grueling conditions without pay building dams, ditches and drains. They plowed, planted and harvested rice in flooded fields risking heat exposure and disease such as malaria carried by mosquitoes. Carolina Gold rice enriched South Carolina planters beyond measure. “South Carolina was unquestionably the leading North American rice producer for almost two centuries, from the late 1600s until the 1880s”. After the civil war, the labor-intensive rice cultivation became unprofitable. It declined dramatically until it completely ceased by early 1900s.

Harriott Pinckney managed Hampton plantation for over 45 years. Generations of Horry and Rutledge descendants lived in the house, the last one being Archibald Rutledge, South Carolina’s Poet Laureate 1934 to 1973. In 1970, Hampton plantation was added to the National registry of historic place. The state of South Carolina purchased 274 acres from the Rutledge family in 1971.

We visited the state park in mid-January 2022. We took an educational ranger-led tour of the house and explored the grounds. I would recommend visiting in winter or fall when mosquito activity is low. Visit the park’s web site for tour hours.

References SC State Park Page, South Carolina Encyclopedia, South Carolina Plantations

Address 1950 Rutledge Rd, McClellaneville, SC 29458

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