Mepkin Plantation - Moncks Corner Berkeley County South Carolina SC

Mepkin Plantation – Moncks Corner – Berkeley County

Mepkin Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Mepkin Plantation Formal Gardens © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Western branch of the Cooper River, Moncks Corner, St. James Goose Creek Parish, Berkeley County

    Located off SC Secondary Road 44 (Doctor Evans Road) at 1098 Mepkin Abbey Road

  • Origin of name – ?

  • Other names – Mepkin Abbey; the Cusabo Indians called it Makkean (10, p. 204).

  • Current status – Mepkin Abbey - owned and operated by the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists monks). Grounds are open to the public.

Mepkin Plantation Statue - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Statue at Mepkin Plantation © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Timeline

  • 1681 – Earliest known date of existence

    On March 5 Peter, Thomas, and James Colleton received a Proprietary Grant for 3,000 acres along the western branch of the Cooper River. These brothers were the sons of one of the original Lords Proprietors, Sir John Colleton.

    James Colleton survived his brothers and became sole owner of Mepkin. It then went to his son, Landgrave John Colleton, then to Landgrave Colleton's son, John Colleton, Esq. (4, p. 53).

    John Stuart managed the plantation for Colletons and called it Makkean as the Cusabo Indians did (10, p. 204).

  • 1762 – John Colleton, Esq. sold Mepkin to Henry Laurens. The sale included the original 3,000 acres of the Proprietary Grant (5, p. 83) for which Laurens paid 8,000 £ (10, p. 204).

    At the time of the purchase Henry Laurens was a merchant in Charleston. He imported and exported goods, including slaves. He was quite successful in his business. In 1776 he quit the merchant business to become a planter and statesman (4, p. 53).

    Mepkin became the main residence for Henry and his wife, Eliza Ball of Comingtee Plantation.

  • 1779 – Henry Laurens was captured at sea by a British ship and imprisoned in the Tower of London for almost two years. He was released in exchange for Lord Cornwallis (5, p. 83-84).

    Henry Laurens was a devoted patriot during the Revolutionary War.

  • 1784 – Henry Laurens returned to Mepkin. He lived in the overseer's cottage while he was building a house. The previous house had been burned by the British during the Revolutionary War (5, p. 84).

  • 1792 – On December 8, Henry Laurens died. In his will he stated that he wanted to be cremated and his ashes buried on the property (5, p. 82-83).

    Mepkin was left to his son, Henry Laurens (5, p. 85).

  • 1916 – J.W. Johnson, Esq. purchased Mepkin Plantation.

    During his ownership he acquired Clermont, Washington, and part of Strawberry plantations. When he left Mepkin to his daughter, Mrs. Nicholas G. Rutgers, the property consisted of close to 10,000 acres (5, p. 86).

    Either J.W. Johnson or the Mrs. Nicholas G. Rutgers built a house on the property. It is not known at this time what happened to the house built by Henry Laurens (5, p. 86).

  • 1936 – Henry R. and Clare Boothe Luce bought the plantation.

  • 1949 – The Luces donated a large part of the property to the Roman Catholic Church to be used by the Trappist Order's Gethsemani Abbey. Twenty-nine monks of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) came from Gethsemani, Kentucky to found the Abbey.

  • 2007 – The grounds of Mepkin Abbey are open to the public at certain hours. Tours of the monastery are available as well as self-guided tours of the gardens and cemeteries. None of the original plantation homes exists.

Mepkin Plantation Avenue of Oaks 2012 - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Avenue of Oaks at Mepkin Plantation © Gazie Nagle
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Land

  • Number of acres – 3,000 1681-1916; 10,000 in 1930s

  • Primary crop – Rice

  • The Laurens family is buried on the property.

Owners

  • Alphabetical list – Peter, Thomas, and James Colleton; Landgrave John Colleton; John Colleton, Esq.; J.W. Johnson; Henry Laurens; Henry Laurens (son); Henry R. and Clare Boothe Luce; Mrs. Nicholas G. Rutger

Slaves

  • Number of slaves – 24 under Laurens (10, p. 204)

Mepkin Plantation Stairs - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Mepkin Plantation © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Buildings

References & Resources

  1. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form for Cooper River Historic District - PDF - submitted in 2002 - Mepkin information on p. 31-32
    Photographs, architectural overview

  2. Mepkin Abbey: Click here

  3. Mepkin Plantation history: Click here

  4. J. Russell Cross, Historic Ramblin's through Berkeley (Columbia, SC: R.L. Bryan Company, 1985)
     Order Historic Ramblin's through Berkeley

  5. John Beaufain Irving, A Day on Cooper River (1842) (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2010)

  6. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

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

  8. Harriett Kershaw Leiding, Historic Houses of South Carolina (Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1921)

  9. SC Highway Historical Marker Guide - online database by the SC Department of Archives & History

  10. S. Max Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina

Contact Information

  • Mepkin Abbey
    1098 Mepkin Abbey Road
    Moncks Corner, SC 29461

    Telephone: 843-761-8509
    Website: Click here

Mepkin Plantation Walkway - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Walkway at Mepkin Plantation © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


Mepkin Plantation  Sign - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Sign about Mepkin Plantation © Gazie Nagle
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


Mepkin Plantation Pond - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Pond at Mepkin Plantation © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)





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