Montpelier Plantation (38BU1789) Antebellum Life at Palmetto Bluff
Part of the Archaeology of Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina project
Archaeological data recovery investigations at 38BU1789 encountered the remnants of the colonial and antebellum settlement of Montpelier Plantation. Excavations in the preservation area exposed the remnants of the planter’s house and a nearby outbuilding. Excavations to the west of the preservation area recovered a sample of artifacts associated with a postbellum occupation, possibly a tenant or squatter, but encountered no definite evidence of a former building. In total, we excavated 621.65 m2 of the surface of the site, including 184.15 m2 within the preservation area, as per the treatment plan approved by the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer. Archival research and the results of the excavations also demonstrated that a presumed “allee” thought to extend across the southern edge of 38BU1789 is the former property line between Montpelier and Octagon Plantations.
George Lord Anson likely built the Montpelier Plantation planter’s house between 1733 and 1757, although he apparently never lived in the house. Between 1757 and 1845, with the exception of a brief period circa 1810, the owner was in residence at Montpelier. Owners include Josiah Pendarvis, John Screven (husband of Elizabeth Pendarvis), George Hipp, Elizabeth Mendenhall (absentee owner), and William Baynard. Ephraim Baynard, William’s son, inherited Montpelier in 1845 but maintained his residence on Edisto Island. The house burned during the Civil War precluding further occupation.
Artifacts recovered from the planter’s house and the associated outbuilding correlate most closely with the William Baynard occupation. Baynard acquired very expensive ceramics for use at his plantation residence, creating an appearance of high economic standing when compared to his neighbors. The Montpelier planter’s house likely was the oldest and one of the largest on the May River Neck, which may have prompted Baynard to invest in high quality housewares. We discovered little concerning other components of the plantation settlement other than a poorly preserved outbuilding north of the planter’s house. This likely was a slave residence although it may have served as a kitchen.
The Montpelier Plantation cemetery, containing the burials of John and Elizabeth Screven and four of their children, as well as George Hipp, lies in the southern portion of the site. This cemetery will be preserved as a green space within the residential subdivision that will cover the remainder of 38BU1789. Large trees along the former southern boundary of Montpelier also will be preserved.
Cite this Record
Montpelier Plantation (38BU1789) Antebellum Life at Palmetto Bluff. Eric C. Poplin, Pat Hendrix, Connie Huddleston, Alana Lynch, Charles Philips Jr., Catharine Runyan. Brockington and Associates, Inc. 2004 ( tDAR id: 391092) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8MW2J1K
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
Agricultural Field or Field Feature • Agricultural or Herding • Archaeological Feature • Artifact Scatter • Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex • Domestic Structures • Pit • Post Hole / Post Mold
min long: -80.929; min lat: 32.079 ; max long: -80.762; max lat: 32.249 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Principal Investigator(s): Eric C. Poplin
Landowner(s): Palmetto Bluff, LLC
Sponsor(s): Palmetto Bluff, LLC
Submitted To(s): South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
Brockington and Associates, Inc., report number(s): 1873
General Note: Curation facility: South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
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