- Location Ashley River, West Ashley, St George Parish, Dorchester County
Located on SC 61 northwest of Charleston
- Origin of name Named for Henry Middleton, an early owner
- Other names ?
- Current status Owned by the Middleton Place Foundation and open to the public
— Statue at Middleton Place Plantation, 2011 © Carroll D. Brown —
- 1675 Earliest known date of existence; warrant issued to Jacob Wayte (Waight)
- 1699 Richard Godfrey owned the property
- ? John Williams became owner
- 1705 House built by John Williams (7, p. 40)
- 1741 Henry Middleton acquired the plantation through his marriage to Mary Williams, John's daughter (the plantation was her dowry). He began cultivating a grand, European garden which is still thriving today (4).
Henry was an influential political figure, acting as both the Speaker of the Commons and the Commissioner for Indian Affairs. He was also a leader of the British opposition. He served in the First Continental Congress and was elected as its second President (4).
- 1755 The northern and southern wings of the house were added by Henry Middleton (4).
- 1763 After Henry's oldest son, Arthur, returned from attending school in England, he gave Middleton Place to Arthur (4).
Arthur shared his father's interest in politics. In 1776, he was elected to the Continental Congress, and he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence (4).
- 1787 Arthur died after being held as a prisoner during the Revolutionary War. The plantation passed to his son, Henry (4).
Henry followed family tradition regarding politics. He was governor of South Carolina, served in both houses of the South Carolina legislature, served in the US Congress, and served as America's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia (4).
- 1846 Henry died leaving the plantation to his son, Williams Middleton (4).
- 1860 Williams signed South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession, which led to the state's seceding from the Union (4).
- 1865 Union troops occupied the plantation. On February 22, the plantation was ransacked; the main house and northern wing were burned beyond repair.
- 1869-1870 Williams restored the southern wing of the house, which was less severely damaged.
- 1883 Williams died leaving the planation to his wife, Susan Pringle Smith Middleton (4).
- 1886 A massive earthquake struck the Charleston area, destroying what remained of the main house and northern wing. Miraculously, the southern wing survived (4).
- 1900 Susan died, leaving the plantation to Williams' and her daughter, Elizabeth "Lilly" (4).
- 1915 Lilly willed the plantation to her cousin, J.J. Pringle Smith, as both of his parents were Middleton descendants. J.J. and his wife made Middleton Place their winter home and diligently worked to restore the gardens to their early splendor (4).
- 1970 Charles H.P. Duell, J.J. Pringle Smith's grandson, owned Middleton Place (1, p. 1).
- 1974 The Middleton Place Foundation was founded by the heirs of J.J. Pringle Smith.
- 1975 Middleton Place became a living museum operated by the Middleton Place Foundation (4).
- 1999 The Britisher's ball scene for the movie The Patriot was shot at Middleton Place.
— Middleton Place Plantation Rice House in Spring, 2011 © Carroll D. Brown —
- Number of acres 110 acres in 2012
- Primary crop Rice
- Chronological list Jacob Wayte (1675-?); Richard Godfrey (1699); John Williams; Henry Middleton (1741-1763); Arthur Middleton (1763-1787); Henry Middleton, grandson (1787-1846); Williams Middleton (1846-1883); Susan Pringle Smith Middleton (1883-1900); Elizabeth "Lilly" Middleton (1900-1915); John Julius "J.J." Pringle Smith (1915-?); Charles H.P. Duell (1970); Middleton Place Foundation (1974-present)
— Spring at Middleton Place Plantation, 2011 © Carroll D. Brown —
- Number of slaves ?
- The south wing of the house remains which was original built to serve as gentlemen's guest quarters.
- The Spring House was built in 1740. It was a one-story brick building built into a hillside and used to store perishable goods. In 1850, a second story was added to the building and was used as a slave chapel. The structure still stands (5).
- In 1798, out-buildings of the plantation included a kitchen, wash-house, offices, and the Spring House (1, p. 2).
- The Rice Mill was built in 1851 by Williams Middleton to process the rice grown on the plantation. The structure remains today.
- Eliza's House is a circa-1870 two-family cabin that has been renovated. It is so named in memory of Eliza Leach, the last person to reside in the house (4).
Daughter Overnights with Dad who Works to Preserve Slave Dwellings - Joseph McGill, a program officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, documents his overnight stay in a slave cabin at Middleton Place Plantation in March 2011
- A two-story guest house was constructed in 1933. Today, the structure serves as the Middleton Place Restaurant (4).
- In 1970, the stable area was reconstructed for visitors to tour. These buildings include a horse barn, blacksmith's shop, sheds, garage, and servant quarters (1, p. 2).
— Middleton Place Plantation © Brandon Coffey —
References & Resources
- National Register of Historic Places
Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1970
Photographs, architectural overview
- Middleton Place pictures
- SC Highway Historical Marker Guide - online database by the SC Department of Archives & History
- History of Middleton Place Plantation: Click here
- Middleton Place Slave Chapel and Spring House: Click here
- 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society
- 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
- John Beaufain Irving, A Day on Cooper River (1842) (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2010)
- Samuel Gaillard Stoney, Plantations of the Carolina Low Country (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1990)
- Middleton Place
4300 Ashley River Road
Charleston, SC 29414
Website: Click here
More about Dorchester County
- Learn more about historic Dorchester County, including the lovely town of Summerville as well as nearby Charleston. We have helpful guides to Summerville history and Summerville libraries and museums – plus Summerville restaurants, Summerville bed & breakfasts, Summerville hotels, and Summerville real estate.