Tombee Plantation St Helena Island Beaufort County
- Location Station Creek (a branch of the Beaufort River), St. Helena Island, St. Helena Parish, Beaufort County
21 Whooping Crane Lane
- Origin of name Named for founder "Tom B." Chaplin or his grandson, who had the same name (Story of Sea Island Cotton, p. 396)
- Other names Palmetto Point, T.B. Chaplin Place, Tom Chaplin Place
- Current status Privately owned
The plantation was listed for sale with asking price of $3,250,000.00 as of December 2011. Click here to view the real estate listing.
- 1790 Earliest known date of existence
- 1795 House built by Thomas Benjamin Chaplin (Story of Sea Island Cotton, p. 396). It is the oldest existing house on St. Helena Island.
- ? Saxby Chaplin inherited the plantation from his father, Thomas Benjamin Chaplin (Story of Sea Island Cotton, p. 396).
- 1828 Saxby's son, also named Thomas Benjamin Chaplin, inherited the plantation upon his father's death. Thomas was a young child so his uncle, Benjamin Chaplin, managed Tombee until he was of age (Story of Sea Island Cotton, p. 396).
- 1861 The Chaplins left Tombee with the advancement of Union troops (Story of Sea Island Cotton, p. 398).
- 1863 The federal government purchased the plantation as part of the Port Royal Experiment (Story of Sea Island Cotton, p. 398).
Tombee was divided into tracts during this time, with much of the land being owned by the descendants of freed slaves until 1971 (National Register, p. 3).
- 1890 Title to the house and 300 acres were returned to Thomas B. Chaplin a few months prior to his death (Story of Sea Island Cotton, p. 398).
- Circa 1937 A map of the area by Arthur Christenson shows Tom B. Chaplin as owner (National Register, p. 3).
[ ? We are uncertain which generation owned Tombee in 1937, but we assume it was the fourth-generation Thomas Benjamin Chaplin. ]
- 1971 James A. Williams was owner and restored the house (National Register, p. 1).
Jim Williams restored a number of historic homes but will be most remembered as the only person ever to be tried four times for the same crime in the state of Georgia. The book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil traced this period of Williams' life.
- 2010 The house was restored to its original floor plan.
- Number of acres 376 in 1828; 406 in 1850 (History of Beaufort County, p. 390); approximately 20 in 2011
- Primary crop Sea island cotton plus corn, potatoes, and peas (National Register, p. 3)
- Chronological list Thomas Benjamin Chaplin (1795-?), Saxby Chaplin (?-1828), Thomas Benjamin Chaplin, grandson (1828-1863), Federal Government (1863-1890), Thomas Benjamin Chaplin, grandson (1890), Thomas B. Chaplin, probably fourth generation (1937), James A. Williams (1971)
- Number of slaves 65 in 1790 (National Register, p. 3); 25 in 1850 (History of Beaufort County, p. 390)
- The main house has been restored at least twice. It is a two-story clapboard house on a tabby foundation (National Register, p. 2). There is also a guest cottage with two bedrooms and three baths.
- National Register of Historic Places
Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1995
Photographs, architectural overview
- 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society
- 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
- Catherine Campant Messner, South Carolina's Low Country: A Past Preserved (Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Company, 1988)
Order South Carolina's Low Country: A Past Preserved
- Richard Porcher and Sarah Fick, The Story of Sea Island Cotton (Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2005)
- John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (New York, NY: Vintage-division of Random House, 1999)