History of Braddock’s Point Plantation
According to the Sea Pines Resort, in 1776, Captain John Stoney (1757-1821) bought the 1000 acres known as Braddock’s Point Plantation on Hilton Head. It was passed to is son, Captain James Stoney (1772-1827) who inherited the property, left it at his death to Dr. George Mosse Stoney, who passed it to his son “Saucy Jack” in 1838. A gambler, “Saucy Jack”, supposedly lost the house and land in a poker game. The winner was William Eddings Baynard. It’s also possible that Saucy Jack simply went bankrupt and Baynard got the property. “Baynard was a highly successful planter of the world-famous Sea Island Cotton which he grew at Braddock’s Point as well as his other holdings. He and his wife Catherine raised four children here at the “big house” and it was here that he died in 1849 at the early age of 49.” The Baynard descendants left the property when the Union forces invaded Hilton Head Island in 1861. During the Civil War, the house was used by Union troops and supposedly was burned by a Confederate raiding party. Although the family later regained the land, they did not return to Braddock’s Point. The house eventually decayed into the ruins of the present.
The Stoney-Baynard home was constructed with tabby, a building material popular in the Low Country of South Carolina. Tabby was produced with lime, sand, and oyster shells, and made cement for foundations.
William Baynard was well known for his Sea Island cotton, which was a new cotton hybrid that was extremely popular. Of course, the success of the cotton was actually dependent upon the slave labor of the plantation. About a mile from the big house was “slave row” where poorly made and small slave cabins provided shelter to the plantation’s numerous slaves. Directly near the main house’s ruins, however, it the probable location of the slave cabin where the house slaves lived:
A slave kitchen and large tabby stone nearby also exist, the stone was probably shifted around during the Union occupation of the plantation, and used as a block for Union tents, according to archaeological digs.
The site was beautiful to explore. Today the surrounding land is overgrown with forest, and there are many trails to hike through. A sense of history was very much alive throughout. There is something quite evocative in ruins, and a loss of preservation. However, there has been recent interest in preserving the ruins and interpreting the site as both a story of the owners of the plantation, the slaves which worked upon it.
I found myseld musing on how the Civil War literally and figuratively destroyed the site: both the physical structure of the plantation, and the system of slavery on which the plantation was built.