— Coffin Point Plantation © Brandon Coffey —
- Location St. Helena Sound, St. Helena Island, St. Helena Parish, Beaufort County
Plantation is located about 4 miles east of Frogmore. Take US 21 to Coffin Point Road, turn left, and the house overlooks St. Helena Sound.
- Origin of name Name of original owner
- Other names The Point
- Current status Privately owned with much of the land subdivided and sold over the years
The half-mile avenue of oaks is held separately by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust (National Register)
- 1800 Earliest known date of existence
- Circa 1801 House built by Boston-native Ebenezer Coffin. Ebenezer married Mary Matthews, daughter of Benjamin Matthews, in 1793. Mary's father gave them 1120 acres and 63 slaves (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 45).
- 1818 Ebenezer died leaving his substantial estate to be held equally by his and Mary's six children. Son Thomas Aston Coffin became manager of the estate on behalf of the siblings (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 45).
- 1861 The Coffins were among the sea island plantation families who fled in advance of Union troops, abandoning all their Beaufort County holdings (National Register, p. 3).
- 1862 Cotton planting at Coffin Point Plantation became part of the Port Royal Experiment, a program of the United States government designed to train and educate the newly released slaves on the sea islands. Within a short period of time, this plan was terminated (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 45).
- ? Edward Philbrick, who had been a superintendent with the Port Royal Experiment, with the financial backing of a group of northern men, purchased eleven properties from the government including Coffin Point (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 46).
- 1865 Edward Philbrick's attempt to continue farming cotton was not successful and he sold the land. Portions were sold to northern purchasers with some being sold to local African Americans (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 46).
- 1891 US Senator James Donald Cameron purchased 298 acres of Coffin Point and later purchased an additional 634 acres. He and his wife would winter at Coffin Point arriving in their yacht (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 47).
- 1892 Cameron had a caretaker's house built on the property (National Register, Caretaker's House, p. 3)
- 1918 Senator Cameron died but Coffin Point remained in the Cameron family for many years though rarely occupied (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 47).
- 1952 The Cameron Family Trust sold all 932 acres to Beaufort County Sheriff James E. McTeer. Cotton was no longer being cultivated on the land. Sheriff McTeer constructed three spring feed lakes to support cattle, pigs, and chickens (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 47).
- 1959 Hurricane Gracie caused much damage to the area including the house. The McTeers moved into the caretaker's house while repairs were made to the main house (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 47).
- 1963 McTeer retired as the sheriff and started a new career in real estate. He divided the property into residential lots (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 47).
- 1969 Authors George and Priscilla McMillan purchased the tract of land that included the original house (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 48).
- Number of acres 1120 acres in 1801; 298 acres in 1891; 932 acres in 1952, 16.7 acres in 1975
- Primary crop Sea island cotton
- Alphabetical list Senator James Donald and Elizabeth Cameron (1891-1918), Cameron Family Trust (1918-1952), Ebenezer Coffin (?-1818), Six Children of Ebenezer Coffin (1818-1861), Ellis, Green, George and Priscilla McMillan (1969-?), Sheriff James E. McTeer (1952-1969), Edward Philbrick (?-1865), Pope, Rhodes, Thomas, Whitnell, US Government (1862-?)
- Number of slaves 63 in 1801; 260 in 1862 (Northern Money, Southern Land, p. 45).
- House sits on high ground overlooking St. Helena Sound. The caretakers house remains adjacent to the Coffin Point Plantation property (National Register, p. 2).
- National Register of Historic Places
Coffin Point Plantation Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1975
Photographs, architectural overview
- 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society
- William P. Baldwin Jr., Plantations of the Low County: South Carolina 1697-1865 (Westbrook, ME: Legacy Publishing, 1994)
Order Plantations of the Low County: South Carolina 1697-1865
- News & Courier Newspaper (predecessor to the Charleston Post & Courier) February 26, 1933 issue reprint of Free South April 4, 1863 listing of St. Helena Island plantation sales prior to the Civil War
- Ann Pamela Cunningham file 30-04, South Carolina Historical Society
– Biographical and genealogical research on Ann P. Cunningham
- Lawrence S. Rowland, Alexander Moore, and George C. Rodgers, Jr. The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina: Volume 1, 1514-1861 (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1996)
Order The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina: Volume 1, 1514-1861
- Carolina W. Todd and Sidney Wait, South Carolina: A Day at a Time (Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Company, 2008)
- Robert B. Cuthbert and Stephen G. Hoffius, editors, Northern Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin (Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press, 2009)
More about Beaufort County
- Learn more about historic Beaufort County, including the lovely town of Beaufort SC as well as Hilton Head. We have helpful guides to Beaufort SC history and Beaufort SC libraries and museums – plus Beaufort SC restaurants, Beaufort SC bed & breakfasts, Beaufort SC hotels, and Beaufort SC real estate.