Standing architectural ruins associated with the plantation include portions of the main house, a chimney footing for what may be an overseer’s house, and a slave house associated with slaves working in … “It’s so spirits can take the waters back to West Africa.”. Incorporated as a town in 1983, Hilton Head Island is home to more than 40,000 residents who live year-round in our renowned environmentally planned resort and residential communities. Strict rules remain when it comes to construction projects. 1862 - Hilton Head's population swelled to over 40,000, including Union troops, civilian store-keepers, missionaries, prisoners of war, and slaves seeking refuge from their owners. We passed a small cemetery, which Irv points out is atypical, as it’s situated inland. Plan and Navigate your getaway on Hilton Head Island with our Island Compass app. We took care of each other,” Irv told us. Elliott, with the help of his neighbor, Will Seabrook, pioneered a new type of fertilizer for the cotton, resulting in record crops and wide acclaim for the Sea Island cotton. After the Civil War, more than 1,200 freed slaves remained. During the Revolution, the British frequently raided Hilton Head Island and hostilities continued for weeks after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. Hilton Head’s social and cultural history dates back to the early 1700s, and from the beginning, the Gullah people were central to the story. Top Rated Hilton Head Island Hotels & Resorts, How To Plan a Family Vacation That Pleases Everyone, Find Luxury Accommodations in Hilton Head Island, How to Plan a Family Vacation That Pleases Everyone, How To Inject Lowcountry Style Into Your Home, Five Fun Facts About Hilton Head Island Wildlife. Next day, what would it be covered with? “We’d drive right on the beach. Armed with vision, energy, modern air conditioning and investment dollars, he created a master plan for a resort community. Ants! Gradually a plan was formulated for the education, welfare, and employment of the blacks, combining both government and missionary efforts. It was the first self-governing town of formerly enslaved African Americans. “We’d catch enough fish to feed those families who didn’t have a boat. There used to be just one paved thoroughfare on the entire island. And it is a story about the survival of a people against seemingly insurmountable odds. You could suck that for two days! The blacks on Hilton Head Island were the very first former slaves to earn wages and actually get paid for their labor. Perfect for independent travelers, you create a sightseeing itinerary that suits your personal interests. My mom had suggested we take the Gullah Heritage Tour, a two-hour bus ride around Hilton Head Island, South Carolina that highlights a vibrant African-American community. In the Chaplin neighborhood, Irv told us about beach pavilions. Enjoy easy days relaxing in the sun, sand and surf on some of the best beaches in the country. And there are strict tree laws. At the time the picture was made, Hilton Head's population had grown to over forty thousand individuals and included Union troops, civilian storekeepers, missionaries, prisoners of war, and slaves seeking refuge from their owners. The Hilton Head story is about war and peace and slavery and freedom. November 11: “Slavery – the Cornerstone of the Plantation Society and the Confederacy,” at the Coastal Discovery Museum, at 3 p.m. John Monkaitis will present a lecture on the role that slavery played as the cornerstone of the Planter Society in the Lowcountry. The Gullahs of Hilton Head Island were descended from African slaves and are a key part of the history of the Civil War and Restoration. Search for activities, restaurants, and attractions, get travel deals, view trip ideas, and create your own personalized itinerary. Gullah of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. During the war, the British burned plantations on the Island and captured slaves to sell in the West Indies. 1969. Commissioned by a group of Barbados planters to find new land on which to plant sugar and indigo, Hilton soon claimed the Island in the name of the British Crown. The structure looks like an art project, as if there are shells stuck all over it. It is the oldest structure still standing on the island, and more Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in this coastal cemetery than anywhere else on the coast other than Charleston. Request a free copy of the Hilton Head Island Vacation Planner and learn about all the attractions, activities, unique history and places to stay on Hilton Head Island. Maps - Hack, "Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, before 1861" Bibliography - Peeples, An Index to Hilton Head Island Names before 1861 Additional Information: 38BU871. Beaufort County, which includes the island of Hilton Head, was founded in 1711. His efforts were aided by the construction of a bridge to the mainland the same year. Back in the day, the pavilions would have changing rooms, showers and a dance floor, all under one roof. Negro Universities Press, New York (reprint of 1862 edition). Keep in mind that this was all near the beginning of the Civil War. When I first came to the island as a kid, I learned that McDonald’s had to build a brick restaurant to fit in with the Hilton Head aesthetic, and that they weren’t allowed to put up their trademark golden arches. Eleven months after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the shots fired on Fort Sumter reverberated on Hilton Head Island. On November 7, 1861, the Island became the scene of the largest amphibious landing by U.S forces until D-Day, as more than 12,000 Union soldiers landed on the Island. Hilton is publishing this statement in compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015. Location – Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County In Sea Pines Plantation, a present-day real estate development, 84 Baynard Park Road at Plantation Drive. Its original inhabitants were known for fishing and shrimping. Most noteworthy, the Gullah Celebration is scheduled throughout Hilton Head and Bluffton each February for Black History Month. We stopped at Driessen Beach Park and headed down the boardwalk to take photos by the water. Venue: Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. These descendents of West African slaves take their name from the Gola or Gula tribe from Liberia and Sierra Leone. Consequently, Hilton Head Island lapsed into obscurity, remaining isolated for over 80 years. In 1663, English sea captain William Hilton landed on Hilton Head Island and, thus, the seeds of the first successful plantations were sown. Yet much of the Island remains as it was when sighted from William Hilton’s ship more than 350 years ago. That's not the case any longer, he added. “On Hilton Head, we believe in setbacks and buffers. “In fact, the reports of the success of Mitchelville were so glowing, that the famous Underground Railroad freedom fighter, Harriet Tubman, was sent to Hilton Head to see this bustling town, so she could share the story of Mitchelville’s self-governed success with future freedmen towns.”. Hilton Head Island in the Civil War by Robert Carse | $20. They settled on the 100 Sea Islands in the Hilton Head area. In 1862, Mitchelville was established near current Beach City Road and was the nation's first Freedmen's village, self-governing … Former slaves from Hilton Head and the surrounding plantations made their way to the encampment where many found employment. “Many people realized they could move anywhere else,” Irv said. Other structures were salvaged for building materials. After the war, the Island made a healthy recovery. I had a hard time imagining even one person having room to lie down to sleep in a space of that size — especially if there was a stove or table or any other piece of furniture, never mind if an extended family lived together. But once the bridge that connected the island to mainland was built in 1956, there was an influx of people to the island. In the Gullah communities that developed on Hilton Head, everything was shared, and everyone knew each other. We’d take that candy to the water pump, wash off those ants and start sucking on it again!”. We take deep dives into our subjects, infusing our articles with an always informative, sometimes irreverent, sometimes funny approach. Remnants of mysterious shell rings, measuring up to 240 feet across and nine feet high, can still be found on the Island. Today, they own less than 1,000, Irv informed us. One plantation was named Spanish Wells for the freshwater wells dug by the first European invaders. Mitchelville on Hilton Head was the first self-governing community of freed slaves in the US, established during the Union Army occupation of the Sea Islands. Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm. It didn’t take Union troops long to gain control of the island, according to Irv. Tickets cost $32 for adults; $15 for kids 12 and under. In the late 1940’s, the Island experienced a sort of re-birth when a group of timbermen recognized great potential in the Island’s tall, straight pines. “You could buy all-day jawbreakers there. The Island fell into the hands of Federal troops, forcing Island families to evacuate their plantation homes. Hilton Head Tours for Annual Events Important annual events welcome the public to enjoy a showcase of the culture. Mr. Campbell was an excellent tour guide and took the time to connect with our group personally. The Port Royal Experiment involved paying freed slaves for the first time — right near the start of the Civil War. When the Union Army occupied South Carolina’s Sea Islands, including Hilton Head, on November 7, 1861, it freed about 10,000 slaves. “They used to bring in Motown singers, from 1957 to ’70,” Irv reminisced. However, Hilton Head Island did not gain worldwide recognition until 1790 when another planter, William Elliott, successfully raised the first crop of long-staple Sea Island cotton. Slaves - 100 slaves per Federal census of 1800. Although the main crop was cotton, indigo, sugar cane, rice, and other crops also were cultivated. Many Gullah families purchased acreages, and for nearly a century, they farmed their land. Between Skull Creek and Jarvis Creek He confiscated some land on Confederate General Thomas Fenwick Drayton’s Fish Haul Plantation, laid put streets and lots, and provided lumber for the former slaves to build their homes in a town that would be called Mitchelville. In 1956, Charles Fraser, son of one of the families that owned most of the Island, realized that Hilton Head Island had more to offer than just timber. Over the centuries, Hilton Head Island’s natural beauty, spectacular seascapes, exceptional ecology and South Carolina historical sites have beckoned generations of explorers—with Native Americans, English, Spanish, French colonists, pirates, African-Americans and soldiers all leaving their footprints on the sands of South Carolina’s Treasured Coast. Irv drove us past the ruins of part of a plantation owner’s home — that of William Pope, known as “Squire” because he had so many properties. Harriet Tubman, famous for her involvement with the Underground Railroad, had to see what the Mitchelville hype was all about, “These industrious new citizens built homes on neatly arranged streets, elected their own officials, developed laws, built an economy and implemented mandatory education for their children,” Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park reports. When the Union Army occupied South Carolina’s Sea Islands, including Hilton Head, on November 7, 1861, it freed about 10,000 slaves. Mitchelville lasted from 1862 to 1877, when it finally dissolved. If you’re spending some time on Hilton Head, there’s much more to do than play golf and go to the beach. It's the law on Hilton Head that nothing can be built to the curb. Incorporated as a town in 1983, Hilton Head Island is now home to several environmentally planned resort and residential communities, supporting more than 40,000 full-time residents. There were four Gullah general stores that sold gas, along with a vast assortment of other goods. Although the Island is home to many world-class golf courses and resorts, much of the landscape remains as it was when sighted from William Hilton’s ship more than 300 years ago. It was the first freedman’s community after the American Civil War. Due to the land’s low elevation and hot summers, the wealthy landowners spent little time on the Island, opting to locate their beautiful townhouses in less tropical environments on the mainland. The Gullah/Geechee people are descendants of enslaved Africans from various ethnic groups of west and central Africa. And now is the time for you to leave your own footprints in the sand…on Hilton Head Island. During the American Civil War, Union troops wanted to stop trade in the Confederacy, which led to an attack at Port Royal Sound, off of Hilton Head Island. “We called it the Tar Road,” Irv said. THE BIRTH OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND. Within two days of the Union victory on Hilton Head, Sea Island blacks began descending on the outpost. many of them with no other clothing than gunny-sacks. Gotta be setbacks and buffers.”. Hilton Head Island is America’s favorite island®, offering 12 miles of pristine beaches and everything you need for the ultimate retreat. You’ll see stacks of bricks propping up the buildings. Hilton Head Island Publishing Company, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. the famous Underground Railroad freedom fighter, Harriet Tubman. In 1861, nearly all of Hilton Head Island was covered by plantations worked by slaves, according to maps from The Heritage Library and Beaufort County historians. Their Gullah culture and language survive today as a living legacy of their strength and perseverance. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information. “People come to the island and complain they can’t find anything!” Irv said. The word is synonymous with Gullah. During this period, the Island maintained a small population of mostly the descendants of former slaves. Then Irv regaled us with a tale from his childhood. When William Hilton landed in the Lowcountry in 1663, he was greeted by Spanish-speaking Indians from the Yemassee tribe, who had migrated north from Florida 100 years prior. John Barnwell became Hilton Head Island’s first English settler in 1717 after receiving a grant of 1,000 acres in what is now Hilton Head Plantation. Storytelling, crafts and music accompany an impressive art exhibit and culinary events. The Gullah Heritage Tour was a part of our Alternative Spring Break Program while visiting Hilton Head. “They didn’t have any opposition,” he said. 1959. And indeed, there are: Buildings of this era were made of tabby, which consists of lime, sand and oyster shells. It decided upon the novel idea of an “experiment”: Try paying wages to these contrabands (the awful word used to describe slaves freed by Union forces as well as for those who had escaped). Basic Information. Rice cultivation needed freshwater ponds, but these bred hordes of mosquitoes, which in turn carried malaria and yellow fever. The first of the Hilton Head family resorts—Sea Pines Plantation—became the prototype of the modern resort community, now copied around the world. I couldn’t get over how small that really is. Consider hopping on the bus for an insightful tour of the island’s fascinating Gullah heritage. Hilton Head Island’s natural beauty, spectacular seascapes, exceptional ecology and South Carolina historical sites now beckon a new generation of explorers. Top Rated Tennis Facilities. Describes Hilton Head Island’s involvement in the Civil War: its invasion by the Union Army, and the bustling life during the War, with Union encampments and Mitchelville, the first town established for newly-freed slaves. While the entire area was named Bayley’s Barony, Hilton Head Island was referred to as Trench’s Island, in honor of Alexander Trench, the Bayley’s property agent and collector of land-lease fees. A Mitchelville family poses with a Union soldier. Today, you can view these artifacts of Hilton Head Island history at Sea Pines Forest Preserve and on the north end of the Island, off Squire Pope Road in Green Shell Park. Welcome to Gullah Heritage Hilton Head Island, S.C. An Authentic Culture of the Sea Islands. The chapel was completed in 1788 and the Baynard Mausoleum was built in 1846. We liked him right from the get-go. After assuming command in September of 1862, General Ormsby Mitchel was upset at the living conditions of the former slaves. Irv’s involved in a project to restore Mitchelville. Click here for more information. Not so long ago, Gullahs owned much of the land on the 26,880-acre isle. ——— ©2020 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.) Visit The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.) at www.islandpacket.com. Sure, we cover the basics — where to go, what to see. The government gave former slaves the material to build small houses and a plot of land to farm on in Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island. When Union forces took Hilton Head on November 7, 1861, in the Battle of Port Royal, more than 1,000 Hilton Head Islanders became some of the first freed slaves of the Civil War. Northern businessmen, called carpetbaggers for the soft-sided bags they traveled with, bought the entire island and sold it off. “This used to be our downtown,” Irv said. The Federal government seized the property. In 1698, the Lord Proprietors granted several islands and some of the Lowcountry’s mainland to John Bayley. Finally, the main house ruins are the only tabby mansion built on Hilton Head Island. Origin of name – Legend says Honey Horn got its name from the … The neighborhood once known as Gardner was home to the Aiken family, the “medicine makers,” according to Irv. –Wally, Tagged: south carolina, gullah, usa, africa, hilton head. . After the war, as the freed slaves on the island attempted to grow Sea Island cotton, the boll weevil proved to be even more devastating. Origin of name – Named for Captain David Cutler Braddock, commander of the colonial half-galley Beaufort in 1742.. Other names – Braddock Cove, Calibogue Point, Stoney-Baynard Hall Missionaries, teachers, doctors and ministers came from New York and Pennsylvania to educate and help shape the African-American community. Event Details. In less than five hours, the Union fleet captured both Fort Beauregard on St. Philips Island and Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island. The Civil War changed the lives of both planters and slaves on Hilton Head Island. After the Civil War ended, Union soldiers auctioned off the island, according to Irv. In what is now called Fish Haul Creek Park on the “heel” of the island, the community of Mitchelville was created. Thing is, only the whites were affected; because South Carolina has a similar semitropical environment to Africa, and the Gullahs had sickle cell immunity, slaves didn’t get sick, Irv told us. Hilton Head Island Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries, Infographic: How to Enjoy a Shell-icious Raw Oyster, Everything You Need to Know About Hilton Head Island's Sea Turtles, Pet-Friendly Accommodations, Restaurants & Services, Make the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Promise. One Union soldier stationed on Hilton Head at the time recounted: negro slaves came flocking into our camp by the hundreds, escaping from their masters when they knew of the landing of "Linkum sojers," as they called us . French, Austa M., Slavery in South Carolina and the Ex-slaves; or, The Port Royal Mission. After the war, as the freed slaves on the island attempted to grow Sea Island cotton, the boll weevil proved to be even more devastating. An Authentic Culture of the Sea Islands Gullah is the West African based system of traditions, customs, beliefs, art forms and family life that have survived centuries of slavery and more than a … Today, historic Mitchelville is preserved as a tourist attraction, while the Gullah Geechee are squeezed onto ever-smaller tracts of land. Later, in 1989, the Cross Island Parkway was constructed, making Hilton Head even more accessible to the vacationers (many from Ohio, as it’s about the max you’d be able to drive in a day) that now flock here every summer. In 1860, fourteen prominent families and their slaves lived on Hilton Head and most spent their time off the island. Once the island fell to Union troops, hundreds of ex-slaves flocked to Hilton Head, which is still home to many of whom are descendants of freed slaves known as the Gullah (or Geechee) who have managed to hold on to much of their ethnic and cultural identity. Tip: We found a $2 off coupon in one of the free publications, Island Events. Location – Jarvis Creek (part of the Calibogue Sound), Hilton Head Island, St Helena Parish, Beaufort County Original plantation lands were located off US 278 in the vicinity of Honey Horn Plantation Road. Union troops quickly took over Hilton Head Island from the Confederacy during the Battle of Port Royal. This was because people kept chopped wood underneath so they’d always have some dry wood to cook with and keep them warm. In 1965, Ike and Tina Turner were here. Hilton Head Island Recognized As One of the “Best Bicycling Communities” in the United States! You’re too young to remember Sugar Daddy [caramel pops]. Gullah tends to be used more often to describe those living in South Carolina, and Geechee for those in Georgia. Consequently, Hilton Head Island lapsed into obscurity, remaining isolated for over 80 years. It means “living by the water,” according to Irv. Categories: Show on Calendar. Originally from Pinckney Island, he moved to Hilton Head and was listed as a resident of the town of Historic Mitchelville, the first self-governed town run by freed slaves where Matthew went on to marry Teena Middleton and through a lot of hard work was able to raise enough money to eventually buy 27 acres of Stoney/Squire Pope land for $225. “That’s when families started locking their doors” (which comes out sounding like doe), Irv told us. The Civil War and the subsequent abolition of slavery altered the prosperous and patrician lifestyle of the plantation owners forever. “They still live in rural communities in the coastal region and on the Sea Islands of those two states, and they still retain many elements of African language and culture.”. But travel is so much more than just ticking sites off your itinerary. Popularly called sea pines, the trees produced lumber for a variety of uses. Drayton's negro quarters, Hilton Head, S.C. Summary Photograph shows soldiers and slaves in front of the slave quarters on Drayton's plantation. In the 1920s to the ’50s, Gullahs would trade fruit, veggies and wild game on the Simmons family’s property in Spanish Wells. I remember that one well. My great-grandfather was a slave,” he said. “You could get anything at these stores, from penny candy to a piece of equipment for your horse harness,” he told us. “But Mr. William Aiken took his recipes with him when he died,” Irv said. This was a fantastic experience and provided excellent background history of Hilton Head. I thought that was the coolest thing — a town telling a huge company like Mickey D’s to follow their rules or shove it. “The Gullah people are the descendants of the slaves who worked on the rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia,” said historian Joseph Opala. Stunning Resorts. Squire Pope is the largest Gullah neighborhood on the island. 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