Archdale Hall Plantation - North Charleston Dorchester County South Carolina SC

Archdale Hall Plantation – North Charleston – Dorchester County

Archdale Hall Plantation House - Dorchester County, South Carolina SC
— Archdale Hall Plantation © Archdale Civic Association —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Ashley River, North Charleston, St George Parish, Dorchester County

    Original plantation lands were located off Dorchester Road (SC 642) in what is today Archdale Subdivision.

  • Origin of name – Possibly named after Sarah Archdale Baker, mother of the first Richard Baker to immigrate to the Carolinas from Barbados

  • Other names – Baker-Bohun House

  • Current status – The land has been developed into Archdale Subdivision. The ruins of the plantation house are owned by the Archdale Civic Association and can still be seen in the neighborhood.

Archdale Hall Plantation 1886 - Dorchester County, South Carolina
— Front of Archdale Hall Plantation, 1886 © Archdale Civic Association —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Timeline

    Note: There were several owners of Archdale Hall named Richard Baker. To distinguish who is who a I, II, III, etc. has been added after each name.

  • 1681 – Earliest known date of existence

    On October 5, Richard Baker (I) received his first land grant on the Ashley River. His land was between "the land of Thomas Butler to the Eastward and the land of Daniel Smethwick to the Westward" (11, p. 127).

    Richard Baker (I) immigrated to the Carolinas from Barbados sometime in 1680. He came with his wife, Elizabeth, and their five children: Edward, William, Richard, Jane, and Hannah (12, p. 20).

  • 1682 – In March, Richard Baker (I) was issued another grant consisting of 297 acres on the Ashley River (11, p. 127).

    It is believed that Richard Baker (I) built a house on the property shortly after the first grant of land. It was probably a small frame structure with a brick courtyard in front (12, p. 1 & 19).

  • 1683 – In April, Richard Baker (I) was issued two more land grants.

    The first grant was for 200 acres initially granted to Daniell Smethwick and "by him deserted." The second grant was also for 200 acres and was initailly granted to Robert Smethwick on January 26, 1678. He also deserted his land (11, p. 127).

  • 1694 – Richard Baker (I) was granted another 420 acres for settling in the Carolinas. The records do not state where the land was located (12, p. 20).

    The Lords Proprietors of Carolina promised every man a grant of land as an incentive for settling in the new area. Richard Baker (I) received his grant along with additional acreage for every person in his family that arrived with him. It is not known why it took so long for the Baker family to receive their grant.

  • 1696-1697 – Richard Baker (I) served one term in the Third Assembly as a representative from Berkeley and Craven Counties (12, p. 21).

  • 1698 – Richard Baker (I) died. In his will he left Archdale Hall to his eldest son, Edward. However, Edward must have died because William, another son, became the owner of Archdale Hall (14).

    Click here to read a copy of the will.

    William Baker made Archdale Hall his permanent residence. He and his wife, Susanna Rowsham Baker, raised their four children on the plantation. For whatever reason, Richard Baker (I) did not want William to marry Susanna. He entered a caveat against the marriage in 1692. However, this did not stop the couple from marrying (12, p. 21).

    (A caveat is a legal term for a formal notice filed with a court or officer to suspend a proceeding until filer is given a hearing.)

    William Baker continued to uphold the Baker family's social prominence. He served in the Fifth Assembly from 1700-1702, served as tax inquirer for Berkeley County in 1703, and was a member of the Ninth Assembly in 1707. He accumulated more land: 500 acres on Combahee Island in 1709 and 318 acres on the Ashley River in 1711 (12, p. 21).

  • 1710-1740 – Between these years William Baker built a brick home in the Georgian style to replace the house his father initially built (12, p. 1).

  • 1718 – William Baker died around this time. He did not leave a will, but the plantation was inherited by his eldest son, Richard Baker (II). At this time the plantation consisted of 968 acres (12, p. 21).

  • 1723 – Richard Baker (II) married Mary Bohun. They made Archdale Hall their home (12, p. 21).

    Richard Baker (II) maintained the Baker family status that had been created by his grandfather and father. He served St George Parish as Commissioner of the High Roads in 1721, Bridge Commissioner in 1722, Road Commissioner in 1736, and Tax Inquirer and Collector in 1736. He was also a captain in the local militia from 1736 to 1752 (12, p. 21).

  • 1734 – Elizabeth Baker, wife of Richard Baker (I) died at the age of 104. According to the South Carolina Gazette:

    "On Tuesday the 13th Instant died near Ashley River in the 104th Year of her Age, Mrs. Elizabeth Baker, her maiden name was Elizabeth Wilson, she was born in Wiltshire, in a town called Shraton the 18 of August 1630, she lived in England 27 years, in Barbados 23 years, and in Carolina 54 years. She had 12 Children, 2 of them being alive yet, 25 Grand Children, and 43 Great Grand Children, and the same Day she died, one of her Great Grand-Daughters, the Spouse of Coll. Palmer, was delivered of a Child (South Carolina Gazette, August 10-17, 1734).

  • 1736 – Mary Bohun Baker died. Two years later, Richard Baker (II) married Mary Cater Quarterman on July 25. After she died he married Sarah Fowler (2).

  • 1742 – Richard Baker (II) owned Lot 8 in the town of Dorchester. His lot was situated along the Ashley River with a wharf running into the river from the south end of the lot. There were three buildings on his lot: a house, kitchen, and warehouse. The warehouse could hold 1,000 barrels of rice. It is assumed that Richard Baker (II) allowed people to store their rice in his warehouse for a fee. Since he had his own schooner he probably charged people to ship their rice to Charleston as well. Richard Baker (II) was a wealthy planter who probably made even more money storing and shipping other people's rice (5).

    Today, the site of the town is known as Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site and is owned by the South Carolina State Park Service. It is open to the public.

  • 1752 – Richard Baker (II) died on July 16, the result of a duel with Joseph Butler. It is not known why they were dueling.

    In his will he left Archdale Hall to his son, Richard Bohun Baker (III). He also left him Jack Savanna (300 acres) and Cow Savanna (200 acres) plantations. It is not known what happened to his lot in the town of Dorchester.

    Richard Baker (II) also owned Baldrick Plantation on the Cooper River in St James Goose Creek Parish which he divided between his grandson, George Logan, and his daughters. The plantation consisted of 540 acres (15).

    Click here to read excerpts of the will.

    In December 1752, Richard Baker's (II) widow, Sarah, decided to sell all the chattel belonging to the estate. She even bought some of the items (12, p. 22).

  • 1756 – At the age of 20, Richard Bohun Baker (III) married Elizabeth Elliott of Accabee Plantation. They had five children: William, Richard Bohun, Elizabeth Elliott, Mary Bohun, and Charlotte Bohun (12, p. 22).

    Richard and Elizabeth had their wedding portraits done by the well-known American artist Jeremiah Theus. Elizabeth wore a white satin dress and Richard wore a tobacco colored satin coat, an embroidered white satin vest, and fine lace at the neck and sleeves of his shirt (7, p. 27).

    Jeremiah Theus also did a painting of Richard Bohun Baker's brother-in-law, Colonel Barnard Elliot.

  • 1760s – Richard Bohun Baker (III) continued to uphold the family status. He was appointed Tax Inquirer and Collector in 1760, commissioned as a Justice of the Peace for Berkeley County, and elected to terms in the Commons House of Assembly. He was also elected to serve in the Twenty-fifth Royal Assembly from 1762-1765 (12, p. 22).

    Richard Bohun Baker (III) corresponded with Dr. Alexander Garden regarding plants for his gardens. Dr. Garden was a noted physician and botanist in Charleston. He owned Otranto Plantation.

  • 1766 – Elizabeth Elliot Baker did some redecorating of the house. She wrote to her sister, "The Parlour Chimney is finish'd all to Painting the Hearths, you will please not forget to bring up the red Lead I sent for for that purpose." The tiles for the dining room were purchased about the same time (12, p. 30).

  • 1771 – Elizabeth Elliot Baker died at the age of 31. Her sister, Amerinthea Elliott, helped to raise and take care of the Baker's five children (7, p. 39).

  • 1770s – With the onset of the Revolutionary War, Richard Bohun Baker (III) was not able to enlist because he had gout. His son (Richard Bohun Baker IV), however, enlisted and joined the company of his uncle, Colonel Barnard Elliot. The two fought at Fort Moultrie in 1776. Richard Bohun Baker (IV) was taken prisoner at one point and sent to Haddrell's Point. He was later paroled and returned to Archdale Hall (12, p. 33).

    On April 25, 1778 Richard Bohun Baker (IV) was commissioned a Captain in the Second South Carolina Regiment. He had his own Company of men and fought under the direction of Colonel Francis Marion (12, p. 33).

  • 1779, 1780, 1782 – Richard Bohun Baker (III) provided food from his plantation to American troops. Receipts show that he provided rice, pork, corn, and potatoes (12, p. 34).

  • 1782 – Archdale Hall was invaded by two British soldiers. They were looking for valuable objects and ended up stealing the family's silver plate.

    Joseph Johnson wrote about the incident in 1851. According to him:

    "It was then that a party of marauders consisting of some five or six persons went to the residence of Captain Baker ... When the strangers were reported, all the valuable things were removed to what they called 'the Well,' a hiding place under one of the closets in the dining room concealed by a trap door. Captain Baker being a prisoner on parole was not permitted to bear his sword and this was stowed away by his sisters ... The [marauders] insisted on searching the house ... They inquired for Captain Baker's sword and insisted on seeing it ... his sister conducted him to the hiding place that he might take it out ... One of the men had followed him unobserved, and just as Captain Baker lifted the trap door this fellow looked in and saw the treasure ... [The marauders] loaded themselves with the plunder and hurried off" (8, p. 398-399).

  • 1783 – Richard Bohun Baker (III) died. At the time of his death Archdale Hall consisted of about 2-3,000 acres. He even had his own sloop, the Tryall, which he used to transport goods to Charleston and return with supplies for the plantation (12, p. 34).

    In his will he left the plantation to his daughters and son, Richard. Richard Bohun Baker (IV) became sole owner as his sisters married and left the plantation (16).

    Click here to read a copy of the will.

  • 1784 – Richard Bohun Baker (IV) married Harriet Hyrne who was from Tipseeboo Plantation.

  • 1837 – Harriet Hyrne Baker died in February and Richard Bohun Baker (IV) died in November. At the time of his death he was the Vice-President of the Society of the Cincinnati of the State of South Carolina and the last surviving officer who fought at Fort Moultrie during the Revolutionary War (12, p. 36).

    Archdale Hall was inherited by Richard Bohun Baker (V). He never married and lived on the plantation with his sister, Mary Butler Baker, for a while (17).

    Click here to read a copy of the will.

  • 1840 – The 1840 Census listed one white male and 22 slaves as living at Archdale Hall (12, p. 39).

  • 1850 – The 1850 Census listed Richard Bohun Baker (V) as a 65 year old farmer whose real estate was valued at $5,000. He had 18 slaves living on the plantation.

    According to the Agricultural Census for the same year, Archdale Hall consisted of 50 acres improved land and 1,400 acres of unimproved land. The farm was appraised at $3,000, and the farming implements and machinery were valued at $100. The livestock on the plantation consisted of five horses, two asses and mules, nine milch cows, no working oxen, two other cattle, 32 sheep, and 16 swine. There were 500 bushels of Indian corn, 675 pounds of rice, 75 pounds of wool, 119 bushels of peas and beans, 120 bushels of sweet potatoes, 200 pounds of butter, and 7 tons of hay (12, p. 39).

  • 1861 – The first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter on April 12. Richard Bohun Baker (V) was too old to fight, but his nephews enlisted. He remained at Archdale Hall during the war with his sister, Mary, and one of his nephews (12, p. 39). In 1846, Mary had sold her plantation, Tipseeboo, to her brother.

    One of his nephews, Barnard Elliot Baker, kept up a correspondence when he could with those at Archdale Hall. His letters are stored at the South Carolina Historical Society. He was imprisoned by Northern troops and upon his release in 1864 he was taken to a hospital in Virginia where he died (12, p. 39-40).

  • 1865 – Richard Bohun Baker (V) died. His nephew, Dr. Richard Bohun Baker (VI), inherited Archdale Hall.

    Dr. Richard Bohun Baker (VI) was a widower with no children. He lived at Archdale Hall alone with only a handful of ex-slaves who stayed on the plantation as laborers (12, p. 41).

  • 1886 – On August 31, the great Charleston Earthquake occurred. Emma Drayton-Grimke, a descendant, recalled in her Chronicles of Archdale Hall:

    "Dr. Richard Baker was alone, and ill in bed at Archdale, when the great Earthquake took place in South Carolina. Late in the night the entire south wall and three corners of the Hall fell out. Dr. Baker was able between the shocks to get out of his bedroom upstairs and on to the lawn, where he sat the remainder of that night alone under the first great live-oak in the avenue, facing the shaking house. ... There was a strong odor of sulphur in the air and an oppressive breathless heat. Richard, sitting there alone in the dim light, heard strange sounds and saw the shadows of those long departed pass before him round their old home now falling to its ruin" (7, p. 66).

    Before repairs could be made the roof caved in due to rain. The house was left to fall down on it's own. Dr. Richard Bohun Baker (VI) built a small house nearby. The house does not remain, but the ruins of the plantation house can still be seen today.

    Photos of the earthquake damage in the Charleston area.

  • 1889 – Dr. Richard Bohun Baker (VI) leased 720 acres of Archdale Hall to John A. Hertz and John F. Warren for phosphate mining. Many plantation owners turned to mining in hopes of recouping some of their loss from the Civil War and the changing economy (12, p. 42).

  • 1901 – Dr. Richard Bohun Baker (VI) died.

  • 1903 – Archdale Hall, which consisted of 770 acres, was sold to Emma Drayton-Grimke for $4,100. Emma Drayton-Grimke was a great niece of Richard Bohun Baker (V). The property was sold because of a suit brought against Mary B. Sachtleban, administratrix of Dr. Richard Bohun Baker's (VI) estate, by Henry Baker et al. (12, p. 43).

  • 1914 – Emma Drayton-Grimke sold some land situated along Dorchester Road to the Charleston and Summerville Interurban Company for $5,000. They built tracks for an electric tram or trolley road (12, p. 43).

  • 1944 – Emma Drayton-Grimke sold Archdale Hall (770 acres) to Glen Drayton Grimke for $10 (12, p. 43).

  • 1962 – Glen Drayton Grimke sold Archdale Hall to Williams Furniture Company for $550,000 (12, p. 43).

  • 1996 – Archdale Civic Association received the two-acre house site from C&S Bank.

Archdale Hall Plantation - Old Plantation House Foundation 2005 - Dorchester County, South Carolina
— Old Plantation House Foundation, 2005 © Archdale Civic Association —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Land

  • Number of acres – 968 in 1718 and 1985; 2-3,000 in 1783; 720 in 1889; 770 in 1903

  • Primary crops – Indigo, rice

  • Emma Drayton-Grimke recorded her memories of the grounds at Archdale Hall. Archdale Hall was located off old Dorchester Road, through pine woods, and then down an avenue of double live oaks. A gated entrance lead visitors onto the lawn in front of the house. To the left of the avenue was the family burial grounds. Archaeological testing has been unable to locate the exact site, but Emma Drayton-Grimke said one could see the site from the house (7, p. 11).

    At the back of the house were formal gardens planted by the Bakers over the years. Old azaleas can still be seen growing in the brush around the ruins of the house. There was a bronze sun dial in the garden as well as a fish pond called Indigo Dam. At the edge of the gardens was another double avenue of live oaks that lead to the water. This avenue has completely disappeared due to development (7, p. 11).

Owners

  • Alphabetical list – Richard Baker (I); Richard Baker (II); Richard Bohun Baker (III); Richard Bohun Baker (IV); Richard Bohun Baker (V); Dr. Richard Bohun Baker (VI); William Baker; Emma Grimke-Drayton; Glen Drayton-Grimke; Everett A. Knight

Slaves

  • Number of slaves – 35 in 1698; 82 in 1752; 23 in 1790; 22 in 1840; 18 in 1850

    The Bakers kept records of the births and deaths of their slaves. Some of the records have been transcribed and can be viewed by clicking here.

    According to Emma Drayton-Grimke the slaves had their own burial site on the plantation. It was located "in a beautiful grove of Live Oaks" (7, p. 11).

    Richard Baker (I) owned at least 35 slaves at the time of his death in 1698 (12, p. 21).

    Richard Baker (II) owned 82 slaves according to his inventory done in 1752 (12, p. 22).

    Richard Bohun Baker (III) apparently provided medical care for his slaves. There are receipts for services rendered from Dr. David Oliphant. One of the receipts was for "dressing an old ulcer on your Negroe boys ancles daily from this date and extracting Splinters at Sundry times." Archaeological evidence suggests that a building measuring 20 x 30 feet was built in the 1750s probably to be used as a hospital. This was common on plantations, and the buildings were generally located within 500 feet of the big house so the owner could keep an eye on things (12, p. 32).

    Richard Bohun Baker (III) also kept receipts concerning his runaway slaves. One receipt is for a slave named Simon. It is dated February 26, 1770 and shows Richard Bohun Baker (III) paying 20 pounds for the return of "his fellow Simon." Another receipt dated September 7, 1771 details payment to John Brown, Warden of the Workhouse, for two days confinement of Simon and "Twice Correcting." In 1757, another slave named Bram was picked up by the Warden and incarcerated in the Workhouse for two days (12, p. 33).

    Richard Bohun Baker (IV) was recorded in the 1790 Census as owning 23 slaves (12, p. 34).

    Richard Bohun Baker (IV) kept records of blankets he issued to his slaves. In 1799 he issued blankets to 24 adults and 12 children, and in 1804 34 slaves were issued blankets, four of which received two. In 1835, he received money for hiring out his slaves to the South Carolina Railroad - a fairly common practice (12, p. 36).

    Richard Bohun Baker (V) owned 22 slaves according to the 1840 Census. Only eight were engaged in agriculture. In December 1840 Richard Bohun Baker (V) placed an ad in the newspaper for the capture of a runaway slave named Jimmy. He offered a $10 reward (12, p. 39).

    According to the 1850 Census, Richard Bohun Baker (V) owned 18 slaves (11 females, 7 males), two of which were mulattoes (13).

Archdale Hall Plantation - Plantation Ruins 2005 - Dorchester County, South Carolina
— Azaleas Blooming in Old Archdale Hall Gadens, 2005 © —
— Archdale Civic Association —

(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Buildings

  • Plantation House – There have been two plantation houses at Archdale Hall. The first was believed to have been a small frame structure probably built of wood. There was a brick courtyard in front of the house. Traces of the courtyard were visible even after the house was replaced (7, p. 11).

    The second house was built between 1710 and 1740 by William Baker. The house was made of brick and built in the Georgian style (12, p. 1).

    Emma Drayton-Grimke recorded her memories of the exterior and interior of the house. The exterior walls of the house were three feet thick at the base and tapered to 10 inches at the top. The house was two stories with an attic and raised basement. The raised basement was considered an English style where half of the basement was in the ground and the other half was above ground. Hampton Plantation was also built on a raised basement. The brickwork was done in the Flemish bond style with ornamentation cut into the brickwork (7, p. 12).

    On the front of the house was a flight of brick stairs that lead to a landing. Over the main entrance was a terra cotta Cherub's face with extended wings above a shield. Also on the front of the house were four pilasters (7, p. 12).

    At the back of the house was an open piazza flagged with red tiles. A flight of brick steps lead from the back of the house into the formal garden (7, p. 11).

    The interior of the house consisted of eight rooms, four on each floor. On the first floor were the Hall, Dining room, Olive room, and Drawing room. Upstairs were bedrooms and a large attic.

    The first room one entered from the front door was the Hall. It had a massive fireplace decorated with pink and black Dutch tiles. The Hall was where the wedding portraits of Richard Bohun Baker (III) and Elizabeth Elliot Baker were hung. Along with their portraits were those of Richard Baker (II) and his wife, Mary Bohun Baker, Elizabeth Elliot Baker's father (Barnard Elliot), and four or five portraits of the children of Richard Bohun Baker (III) and Elizabeth Elliot Baker (7, p. 13-14).

    The Dining room was to the left of the Hall. The fireplace in this room was also decorated with Dutch tiles, however, these were blue and white and depicted Biblical scenes. There was a secret compartment called 'the Well' in the Dining room where the Baker family hid their valuables during the Revolutionary War (7, p. 13).

    The other two rooms on the first floor were the Drawing room and the Olive room. Emma Drayton-Grimke remembers the Olive room as where guns, fishing tackle, hunting boots, and cloaks were kept (7, p. 13).

    The raised basement included the kitchen and a room used as a dairy (7, p. 14).

    The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 damaged the house. The south wall was destroyed which is where the Hall and Dining room were located. Before repairs could be made heavy rains caused the roof to collapse thus damaging the house even further. Dr. Richard Bohun Baker (VI) did not have the resources to repair the house so he left it to fall down and he built a small house nearby. The small house no longer exists (4).

    The ruins of the house were covered and forgotten for awhile. When the property was sold for development the ruins were uncovered. They have suffered from vandalism, erosion, and weathering (12, p. 5).

  • Hospital – Archaeologist have discovered a site where a building measuring 20 x 30 feet once stood. It is believed that the building was a hospital for the slaves. This was a common practice on plantations. Richard Bohun Baker (III) kept several receipts for the medical care of his slaves (12, p. 32).

References & Resources

  1. Slave Records - records kept by members of the Baker family. Include births, deaths, and issue of blankets.

  2. Families in Lowcountry South Carolina - information on the Baker and Bohun families

  3. Brief History of Archdale Hall - Archdale Civic Association

  4. "Legend Says Ghosts Arose On Dreadful Night Of Quake" - newspaper article about Archdale Hall by Isabella G. Leland, published in 1960 by the News and Courier

  5. Colonial Dorchester WebQuest - scroll down to Lot 8 at the bottom of the page

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

  7. Baker Family Papers, 1683 - ca. 1935. Chronicles of Archdale Hall, by Emma Drayton-Grimke. Located at the South Carolina Historical Society in File 1138.00.

  8. Joseph Johnson, Traditions and Reminiscences of the American Revolution in the South, (Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, 1972).

  9. Bo Petersen, Grassroots Effort Preserves Archdale Ruins, The Post and Courier (November 16, 2002, p. 3B).

  10. Bo Petersen, "Group Aims to Protect Historic Site by Clearing Brush, The Post and Courier (March 4, 2000, p. 1B).

  11. The Historical Writings of Henry A.M. Smith: articles from the South Carolina historical (and genealogical) magazine, vol. 3 Rivers and regions of early South Carolina (Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, 1988) p. 127-131.

  12. Martha Zierden, Jeanne Calhoun, and Debi Hacker-Norton, Archdale Hall: Investigations of a Lowcountry Plantation (Charleston, SC: Charleston Museum, 1985)
     Order Archdale Hall: Investigations of a Lowcountry Plantation

  13. 1850 South Carolina Census. SC Census 1850 #3, 863. Slave Schedule - Chesterfield, Colleton, & Darlington (on microfilm at the Charleston County Public Library).

  14. 1698 Will of Richard Baker (I). Record of Wills, Charleston County, Volume 1, p. 15 (on microfilm at the Charleston County Public Library).

  15. 1752 Will of Richard Baker (II). Record of Wills, Charleston County, Volume 7, p. 35 (on microfilm at the Charleston County Public Library).

  16. 1783 Will of Richard Bohun Baker (III). Record of Wills, Charleston County, Volume 20, p. 231 (on microfilm at the Charleston County Public Library).

  17. 1837 Will of Richard Bohun Baker (IV). Record of Wills, Charleston County, Volume 41, p. 694 (on microfilm at the Charleston County Public Library).

Contact Information

  • Archdale Civic Association
    PO Box 41543
    Charleston, SC 29423-1543

    Website: Click here

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