The impressive architectural display of Hampton’s mansion was financed with profits created by the intensive cultivation of rice, the lowcountry’s basis of wealth.
(Charleston County). This eighteenth-century house in northern Charleston County was the centerpiece of a large rice plantation and home to members of the Horry, Pinckney, and Rutledge families. Though a construction date has not been conclusively determined, the Horry family, early Huguenot settlers of the Santee Delta area, may have built the house between 1730 and 1759. When first constructed, Hampton was a relatively simple timber-framed farmhouse, but before the end of the eighteenth century it had grown into an impressive Georgian-style mansion. Possibly around 1761 Colonel Daniel Horry undertook an extensive building campaign that included the addition of two large wings, several upstairs rooms, and a ballroom. Sometime prior to 1791 Horry’s wife, Harriott Pinckney, supervised the construction of a massive Adamesque portico, one of the earliest of its type in American domestic architecture. By 1804 a traveler to the region described it as a “seat of wealth, splendor, and aristocracy” in the tradition of “cultivated English taste.” Hampton Plantation was home to two notable South Carolinians: the pioneering indigo planter Eliza Lucas Pinckney and the poet laureate Archibald Rutledge.
The impressive architectural display of Hampton’s mansion was financed with profits created by the intensive cultivation of rice, the lowcountry’s basis of wealth. However, the plantation was not just a residence for socially prominent families. It was also a community made up of hundreds of enslaved African Americans, which included field workers and domestic slaves as well as artisans such as blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carpenters, and masons.
Hampton Plantation was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. Since 1971 the South Carolina State Park Service has managed the site as a historic house museum. In addition to the house, the plantation also includes a surviving kitchen building, archaeological sites, remnants of rice fields, and extensive twentieth-century gardens.
Smith, Shelley Elizabeth. “The Plantations of Colonial South Carolina: Transmission and Transformation in Provincial Culture.” Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1999.
South Carolina. Division of State Parks. A Master Plan for Hampton Plantation State Park. Columbia: South Carolina Division of State Parks, 1979.
Stoney, Samuel G. Plantations of the South Carolina Low Country. 5th ed. Charleston, S.C.: Carolina Art Association, 1964.