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2012 Colleton Plantation Tour showcases preservation ethic

The annual Plantation Tour put on by the Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society (CCHAPS) was held on October 21 under sunny skies and moderate temperatures. Several stops of interest were on the tour menu, but the heart of the batting order included three plantations where conservation and preservation were evident. Rice culture was in focus at Cockfield Plantation, the horses at Paul and Dalton showcased equestrian endeavors, and the quail hunting wagon at Cheehaw Combahee Plantation demonstrates their passion for upland hunting.

The 2012 Tour began with a Drop-In reception on Oct. 20 at the Old Academy Bed and Breakfast on Hampton Street. “We had several patrons stop by, including two couples from Charleston who came from Charleston to spend the weekend in Walterboro,” said CCHAPS President Dr. Sarah Miller. “We definitely want to use this tour and our future events to share with others about all the great things to do here in Colleton County.”

The 10:30 church service at the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease in Jacksonville got the tour off to a blessed start, and then the lunch hour brought ticket holders to Harrelson Plantation for a barbecue meal. A map of historical waypoints to visit included Col. Isaac Hayne’s tomb, Fishpond Bridge, the Wiggins Depot and Fields Point Landing. The hours for the Plantation Tour are strictly 12 until 4.

Cockfield Plantation in the White Hall area is right around 1000-acres and carries a history of rice culture. They have working impoundments which are controlled with three trunks that allow water in from Cuckolds Creek. An old ‘rice barn’ structure that once housed the rice milling equipment has been converted into the main house. The milling equipment has been lovingly moved to another location where it was labeled and on display for tour patrons.

Pushing south from Highway 17 down Wiggins Road, the bluff and front gates of Paul and Dalton Plantation welcomed tour guests. A vast equestrian facility with painted white fences, green pastures and a stable were on the main grounds leading to the parking area. A series of guest cottages joined the main house along the bank of the Combahee River. Impoundments managed for wildlife and the Combahee River itself offer a compelling vista.

The bird life in these areas is astounding and while receiving instructions from a CCHAPS docent, the call of a bald eagle was overheard. Looking skyward over the main house, built in 1929, we witnessed two bald eagles, three wood storks and several turkey vultures soaring in the thermal upwellings. I wonder if John Page, the gentleman who received the first land grant on this side of the ‘Cumbee Neck’ ever saw the same display of aerial mastery?

The 2049-acres at Paul and Dalton is comprised of several grants from the Lords Proprietors, which has since passed through a handful of owners. Even the tidal marsh can be traced back to such a grant! The present owners practice preservation and support local organizations by hosting fundraisers from time to time. Paul and Dalton is the home to Sage, the Marsh Tacky horse that won the 2012 annual Derby held on the beach at Hilton Head.

Cheehaw Combahee Plantation is nearly at the end of Wiggins Road, and is the neck of land where the Cheehaw River and Combahee River meet. Several large oaks are located throughout the main grounds and behind the main house. The view from the bluff at Cheehaw Combahee lends one the impression that if leaving by boat, it is only a short trip to reach the ocean and set sail for other ports.

Next to the horse stables where the quail hunting wagon was displayed for tour patrons, docent Genia Floyd and her two granddaughters shared stories of how this area used to be a Mill Town associated with timber and railroads. In more recent history, Colletonian and renowned artist Carew Rice used to reside at the Brick House tract at Cheehaw Combahee.

Upcoming events for the CCHAPS include the December 9 Hanging of the Greens at Little Library Park. Then on January 5th the members only 12th night Ball at the Bedon-Lucas House gets underway, followed by the annual business meeting on January 10. To join the Colleton County Historical and preservation Society, visit the Internet at www.CCHAPS.com.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (386 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com