Middleburg Plantation - Huger Berkeley County South Carolina SC

Middleburg Plantation – Huger – Berkeley County

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

Basic Information

  • Location – Eastern branch of the Cooper River, Huger, St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish, Berkeley County

    Located off Cainhoy Road on Middleburg Lane

  • Origin of name – Named after the city of Middleburg, Zeeland, Netherlands where the builder, Benjamin Simons, spent a portion of his youth.

  • Other names – Pimlica Maptica, Indian name for the area (1)

  • Current status – The oldest wooden plantation house in the South Carolina, Middleburg Plantation is privately owned.
Upstair Hall at Middleburg Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Middleburg Plantation Upstairs Hall © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Timeline

  • 1693 – Earliest known date of existence (1)

    A 100-acre tract of land was marked for Benjamin Simons (1).

  • 1697 – House built by Benjamin Simons (1)

    The original house had two stories with two rooms on each floor. Sometime before 1717 an addition, with one room on each floor, was added to the house (1).

  • 1704 – Simons received a grant for 350 acres (3).

    Simons continued to increase the acreage of Middleburg and amassed 1,545 acres by 1717 (3).

  • 1717 – Benjamin Simons died leaving the plantation to his 4-year-old son Benjamin II (1).

  • 1772 – Benjamin Simons III inherited the plantation upon his father's death and increased the tract to 3,342 acres (1).

    Revolutionary War battles surrounded Middleburg, and British Colonel Banastre Tarleton targeted the house to be burned. It is unknown why the house was spared, but scars remain. Colonel Tarleton's saber left a lasting mark in a column by the front door (1).

  • 1785 – Benjamin Simons III sold some of the property to John Bryan. This piece became Camp Vere Plantation (3).

  • 1787 Benjamin Simons III had 10 children but only three daughters lived until his time of death. He divided the plantation among the girls (3):

    – Sarah Lydia Simons Lucas inherited 774 acres which included the house.

    – Catherine Simons Hort inherited 768 acres which became known as Simonsville and Horts. This land would later be purchased by William J. Ball who changed the name to Halidon Hill Plantation.

    – Mary Simons Maybank inherited 1,056 acres which became known as Smoky Hill.

  • 1799 – Sarah Lydia Simons married Jonathan Lucas, Jr. Jonathan built the first public toll rice mill at Middleburg (1).

  • ? – Sarah and Jonathan's children jointly inherited the plantation (1).

  • 1840 – Jonathan Lucas III purchased Middleburg at auction from his brothers and sisters (1).

  • ? – At his death, the plantation passed to his children (1).

  • 1858 – Thomas Bennett Lucas died leaving the management of the plantation solely to his brother Simons (1).

  • ? – Dr. Benjamin Huger leased the plantation (1).

  • ? – The Simons descendants used Middleburg as collateral for a loan from John Coming Ball (1).

  • 1872 – Ball foreclosed on the loan for lack of payment and took possession of Middleburg. He had previously acquired Halidon Hill Plantation and Smoky Hill and merged all three back into one. He married a Simons descendant and once again turned Middleburg into a profitable rice plantation (3).

  • 1927 – Ball passed away and with him died the cultivation of rice at Middleburg. Marie Guerin Ball Dingle inherited the property upon her father's death (1).

  • 1963 – Marie Dingle died leaving the plantation jointly to her four nephews – John, Charles, Coming, and James Gibbs (1).

  • 1976 – John Gibbs was owner of record (2, p. 1).

  • 1981 – Jane and Max Hill purchased the property from Gibbs and worked to restore as much of the property and buildings as possible.

  • 2007 – The property and house were for sale.

    Update: The auction did not receive a bid for the minimum reserve price so the plantation was not sold (13).

Side of House at Middleburg Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Middleburg Plantation Side of House © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Land

  • Number of acres – 100 in 1693; 450 in 1704; 1,545 in 1717; 1,659 in 1772; 2,599 in 1785; 744 in 1787; 2,599 in 1872; 326 in 2007

  • Primary crop – Timber, pine tar, turpentine, and cattle by Benjamin Simons I; rice by Benjamin Simons II

  • The garden is known as the oldest original garden in America; it was laid out in the early 1800s. In 1997, owners Max and Jane Hill were working to retain as many of the original plants as possible (4).

  • The land is slowly being returned to its pre-1926 appearance. All 326 acres of the plantation have been granted to the Lowcountry Open Land Trust.

Owners

  • Chronological list – Benjamin Simons (1693-1717); Benjamin Simons II (1717-1772); Benjamin Simons III (1772-1787); Sarah Lydia Simons and Jonathan Lucas (1787-?); Jonathan Lucas III (1840-?); Thomas Bennett Lucas and Simons Lucas; Simons Lucas (1858-?); John Coming Ball (1872-1927); Marie Guerin Ball Dingle (1927-1963); John, Charles, Coming and James Gibbs (1963-?); John Gibbs (1976); Jane and Max Hill (1981-?)

Slaves

  • Number of slaves – 87 in 1772; 89 in 1789 (5).

Slave Jail and Commissary at Middleburg Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Middleburg Plantation Commissary & Slave Jail © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Buildings

  • A complete structural restoration of the 2,500-square-foot house has been accomplished (1).

  • The original Carolina heart pine flooring is still in the house (6).

  • The kitchen was built around 1786. It had been restored but was subsequently destroyed. It is now being restored again (1).

  • Short-term stabilization of the surviving outbuildings is underway with hopes of long-term plans for restoration of remaining outbuildings and pond (1).

  • Other buildings found on the plantation are the commissary, carriage house, slave cabins, and rice mill. There is a two-cell jail located under the commissary.

  • There are remnants of a stable, servant's quarters, toll office, and threshing yard (5).

  • Brandon Coffey shares the legend of a woman who fell down the stairs in the middle of the night and died. Her ghost is said to be wandering the house.

References & Resources

  1. Ray Timmons, Brief History of Middleburg Plantation: Click here

  2. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1976
    Photographs, architectural overview

  3. Russell Cross, Middleburg Plantation and the Benjamin Simons Family: Click here

  4. Dave Munday, At the Crossroads Middleburg Owner Seeks to Save Garden (Post & Courier Newspaper: September 28, 1997)

  5. Real estate listing - source no longer available online

  6. Video of Bob Vila's tour

  7. Pictures of the interior of house - source no longer available online

  8. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

  9. 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

  10. Claude Henry Neuffer, editor, Names in South Carolina, Volume I through 30 (Columbia, SC: The State Printing Company)
     Order Names in South Carolina, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965
     Order Names in South Carolina, Index XIII-XVIII

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

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

  13. Information contributed by Brandon Coffey
Music Room at Middleburg Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Middleburg Plantation Music Room © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


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


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


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


Slave Jail Wall of Middleburg Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Middleburg Plantation Marks on Jail Wall © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


Gate of Middleburg Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Middleburg Plantation Gate © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


Avenue of Oaks at Middleburg Plantation - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Middleburg Plantation Avenue of Oaks © Brandon Coffey
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)





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