Somerset Plantation - Lake Moultrie Berkeley County South Carolina SC

Somerset Plantation – Lake Moultrie – Berkeley County



Somerset Plantation 1939 - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Somerset Plantation 1939 © Library of Congress —
(Prints & Photographs Division HABS SC,8-PINOP.V,3-)

Basic Information

  • Location – Submerged under Lake Moultrie, St. John's Berkeley Parish, Berkeley County

    Plantation lands were originally located near present-day Pinopolis.

  • Origin of name – ?

  • Other names – William Cain Plantation House (8)

  • Current status – In 1939, work began on the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project. This project displaced many families and communities, and many historic homes were lost as the area was flooded. The area of Lake Moultrie that the grand plantation once stood is now known as Somerset Point (7).

Somerset Plantation Mantel 1939 - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Mantel of Somerset Plantation 1939 © Library of Congress —
(Prints & Photographs Division HABS SC,8-PINOP.V,3-)

Timeline

  • Circa 1696 – Earliest known date of existence (1)

    804 acres was granted to John Stewart (1).

  • 1698 – John Stewart conveyed the property to Reverend William Screven who is considered by many to be the first Baptist minister in South Carolina (1).

  • 1704 – Rev. Screven sold 1,104 acres, 804 that he had purchased from Stewart plus and additional acres he had acquired, to Rene Ravenel (1).

  • ? – Rene Ravenel either gave or willed the property to his son Paul Ravenel (1).

  • 1736 – Paul Ravenel conveyed 725 acres, called Somerset, to his brother Daniel Revenel. The property Paul retained was Somerton Plantation (1) (3, p. 132).

  • 1736 – Daniel Revenel's will left Somerset Plantation to his daughter Charlotte (3, p. 116).

  • Somerset Plantation had several owners of the years but did increase in size. Through marriage, the plantation became owned by the Mazyck family (1).

  • Prior 1827 – House built (8)

    The house was constructed by either the Mazyck family or Ravenel family (8).

  • 1827 – The plantation was purchased jointly Isaac M. Dwight and William Cain. Cain would become sole owner of the piece of the plantation the house would be constructed on (1).

  • 1854 – House remodeled by William Cain (1).

  • ? – Dr. Joseph P. Cain inherited the plantation (7).

  • 1939 – The plantation remained in the Cain family until the house was dismantled prior to the area being flooded (7).

Somerset Plantation Dining Room 1939 - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Somerset Plantation Dining Room 1939 © Library of Congress —
(Prints & Photographs Division HABS SC,8-PINOP.V,3-)

Land

  • Number of acres – 84 in 1696; 1,104 in 1704; 725 in 1736; 2,175 by the Cain family (1) (7)

  • Primary crop – Cotton (1)

Somerset Plantation Interior 1939 - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Interior of Somerset Plantation 1939 © Library of Congress —
(Prints & Photographs Division HABS SC,8-PINOP.V,3-)

Family Memories

  • Special thanks to Frank Cain who shared the final memories of his family's beloved Somerset Plantation via the South Carolina Picture Project Facebook Group:

    Yes, my late cousin Henry Ravenel Dwight stood along a higher point of our family seat plantation house in early 1942 as the then impounded mighty Santee River crept toward his feet on a late Winter afternoon. He was a Citadel engineering grad from the class of 1932 who was recently a local officer in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He would soon be in Europe with my late Uncle Frank Cain of Charleston & Cousin Charles Cain of Pinopolis serving in a U.S. uniform.

    He was saddened as the water overwhelmed our Somerset property from his vantage point on what is now Somerset Point on Lake Moultrie.

    Somerset Plantation alone totaled 2,175 acres. The Cains also held Somerton & Wampee Plantation until "The Flood". I have some of the 1800's bricks from the Somerset steps on my garden courtyard to balance our copper bird bath right now. A couple of the other salvaged Somerset bricks make dandy door stops in my house. We have all of the Somerset furniture divided up amongst the many Cain descendants...including me. Family keepsakes that ain't goin' nowhere but into a Cain descendant's domicile.

    A sad loss of a fine home along with many more of those inhabited by our Berkeley French Huguenot families before "The Flood".
    — Frank Cain, 2016

Somerset Plantation Mantel 1940 - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Floor Plan of Somerset Plantation 1940 © Library of Congress —
(Prints & Photographs Division HABS SC,8-PINOP.V,3-)

Slaves

  • Number of slaves – ?

References & Resources

  1. Somerset Plantation, Cain Family: Click here

  2. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

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

  4. 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

  5. Norman S. Walsh, Plantations, Pineland Villages, Pinopolis and Its People (Virginia Beach, VA: Donning Company Publishers, 2007)
     Order Plantations, Pineland Villages, Pinopolis and Its People

  6. Waterman Report of 1939

  7. Information contributed by descendant Frank Cain.

  8. Library of Congress





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