Rose Hill Plantation - Bluffton Beaufort County South Carolina SC

Rose Hill Plantation – Bluffton – Beaufort County

Rose Hill Plantation - House - Beaufort County, South Carolina
— Rose Hill Plantation © William Kirk, 2009 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Much of the information on this page was contributed by Robert and Robin White.

Basic Information

  • Location – Colleton River, Bluffton, St. Luke's Parish, Beaufort County

    Located on Rose Hill Way off US 278

  • Origin of name – Two theories have surfaced over the years regarding the name Rose Hill. One is that the plantation was named after a little girl (Rose) in the 1830s. More recent information suggests the name comes from John Rose, the plantation's owner in the late 1700s to early 1800s (7).

  • Other names – Kirk's Folly, John Kirk House, Rose Hill Mansion

  • Current status – Privately owned, available for special occasions, and open for tours by reservation


  • 1718 – Earliest known date of existence

    Granted to Sir John Colleton. It was once a part of Devil's Elbow Barony.

  • 1790 – The plantation became under the ownership of John Rose (7).

  • 1799 – Upon Rose's death, the plantation was inherited by his step son, James Kirk (7).

  • 1830s – The plantation was given to Dr. John and Caroline Kirk as a wedding present from Caroline's father James Kirk.

  • 1858 – House built (completed in 1860) by Dr. John and Caroline Kirk (7).

  • 1946 – John and Betsy Gould Sturgeon purchased the house and completed it in a highly sophisticated manner.

  • 1981 – Rose Hill Plantation Development Company, a David and John Welton pursuit, purchased the land for development of a planned residential community (8).

    Mrs. Welton spent nine months working with a rehabilitation team which repaired and completed an extensive rehabilitation of the house (8).

  • 1982 – The house was opened to the public for tours (8).

  • 1987 – A fire severely damaged the house and it would sit empty for nearly a decade (1, part 2).

  • 1996 – Rose Hill Plantation House was purchased by the Middleton-White Foundation and is currently being restored as a private home.

  • 2009 – Rose Hill Plantation House has been lovingly restored by Rusty and Robin White of the Middleton-White Foundation.


  • Number of acres – 12.5 in 1996 (1, part 2)

  • Primary crop – Sea island cotton


  • Chronological list – Sir John Colleton (1718-?); John Rose (1790-1799); James Kirk (1799-1830s); Dr. John and Caroline Kirk (1830s-?); Pinckney; John and Betsy Gould Sturgeon (1946-?); Rose Hill Plantation Development Company/Welton (1980-?); Robert L. and Robin White (1996-present)


  • Number of slaves – 154 (7).


  • The house is of Gothic Revival design. Although a 1987 fire severely damaged the home, much of the original characteristics and materials have been salvaged and restored. Click here to see photos of the house and grounds.

References & Resources

  1. Brief History of Rose Hill Plantation: 1 | 2

  2. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1983
    Photographs, architectural overview

  3. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

  4. 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

  5. Lawrence S. Rowland, Alexander Moore, and George C. Rogers, 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

  6. Carolina W. Todd and Sidney Wait, South Carolina: A Day at a Time (Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Company, 2008)

  7. Information contributed by Robin White

  8. Information contributed by Iva Welton

Contact Information

  • Rose Hill Mansion
    199 Rose Hill Way
    Bluffton, SC 29910

    Website: Click here

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Flower photographs by Virginia Saunders, Columbia, SC. Please click flower for more info.


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