Black History Month 2018 #8

Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site

Ken Pauli
February 19, 2018 - 4:00 am
Redcliffe Planation State Historic Site

SC African American Heritage Commission


We continue with our series for Black History Month. Our next location to visit in South Carolina is an historic plantation that was the antebellum answer to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – but not for everyone.

The Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site in Beach Island is just over 2 hours from the Upstate, not far from Aiken. A visit will show you the history of multiple generations of the Henley, Goodwin and Wigfall families between 1831 and 1875, who were enslaved at this plantation and others also owned by U.S. Congressman, Senator and the 60th governor of South Carolina, James Henry Hammond.  Hammond spent his life defending slavery and the southern plantation system. During his lifetime, he enslaved some 300 men, women and children. Between 20 and 50 of them lived at Redcliffe. The freed descendants of the five or six families of slaves continued to live on the property until the 1990s. 

In addition to daily tours of the mansion and two historic slave cabins, there are also special exhibits and interpretive programs. Plus, an iconic lane of magnolia trees planted in 1860, serving to highlight the plantation’s rich and varied history. Redcliffe was donated to South Carolina in 1973 by former Time editor John Shaw Billings, a descendant of Hammond.

Learn more about Redcliffe, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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