Kensington Plantation - Eastover Richland County South Carolina SC

Kensington Plantation – Eastover – Richland County

Kensington Plantation - Richland County, South Carolina
— Kensington Plantation © Parker Renaud, 2013 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Wateree River, Eastover, Richland County

    Located eight miles east of Eastover on US 601, half a mile past the entrance to International Paper at 4101 McCords Ferry Road

  • Origin of name – Named for Martha Rutledge Kinloch Singleton's childhood home.

  • Other names – Headquarters was original name until changed to Kensington in 1844.

  • Current status – Open to the public for tours

Kensington Plantation - Richland County, South Carolina
— Kensington Plantation © Ken Cole —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


  • 1787 – Earliest known date of existence

    Matthew Singleton was the first owner of the plantation originally known as Headquarters. He died in 1787 and his son John inherited the property (1, p. 2).

    At the death of John Singleton the plantation was passed on to Colonel Richard Singleton, his son. During Colonel Singleton's life he acquired six additional plantations located on both sides of the Wateree River.

    Matthew Richard Singleton was the heir of Colonel Singleton (1, p. 2).

  • 1844 – Matthew Richard Singleton married Martha Rutledge Kinloch. They changed the name of the plantation to Kensington to reflect the name of the bride's childhood home near Georgetown (9, bk. 2, vol. 13, p. 22).

  • 1851 – Matthew Richard Singleton began construction of a plantation house. It was not completed until 1855. By this time Matthew had died and his wife and children continued to live on the plantation (9, bk. 2, vol. 13, p. 23).

    The house consisted of twenty-nine rooms with a total of 12,000 square feet.

  • 1870-1880 – Matthew Richard Singleton's sons, Richard and Cleland Singleton, divided the plantation lands in half.

    Cleland Singleton built a house on the southern half. It was a one story structure with three rooms built high off the ground. It was used by the overseer of the plantation from 1925-1941. It has since burned down (2, p. 2).

    Richard Singleton's heir, Matthew Richard Singleton, constructed a small house on the northern portion of the plantation (4, p. 2).

    When his son died, Richard Singleton decided to sell his half of the plantation. Robert Hamer purchased the property in 1910, however, before he could live there he died. His family moved in and proceeded to farm the land (1, p. 2-3).

  • 1925 – Cleland Singleton died and the Hamers purchased his lands. The original plantation lands were once again back together.

    The Hamers added indoor plumbing and electricity to Kensington Mansion along with other improvements (1, p. 3).

  • 1941 – The Hamers sold the entire plantation to the United States Government as an agricultural cooperative for displaced farmers. Nothing came of this project and the plantation was sold to the Lanhams (1, p. 3).

    When the Lanhams bought the property they built their own residence at the junction of the oval drive and the avenue to the highway. It was a small brick house that resembled a suburban ranch style house. The iron railing surrounding the porch was taken from the interior balcony of the Kensington mansion. In 1983 the house was slated to be demolished (3, p. 2).

    The Kensington Mansion was no longer in use as a residence. Instead, it became a storage area for farm equipment, fertilizer, and feed for animals (1, p. 3).

  • 1981 – The plantation was purchased by Union Camp Corporation, later known as International Paper.

    International Paper and the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation have restored the house and it is now open for tours.


  • Number of acres – ?

  • Primary crop – Cotton and indigo


  • Alphabetical list – Hamer; Lanham; Cleland and Richard Singleton; John Singleton; Matthew R. Singleton; Matthew Richard Singleton; Colonel Richard Singleton; Union Camp Corporation/International Paper; United States Government


  • Number of slaves – Matthew R. Singleton owned around 190 slaves in 1850 (10)


References & Resources

  1. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey, Main House (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)

  2. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Cleland Singleton Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)

  3. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Lanham Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)

  4. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Matthew Singleton Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1C)

  5. Kensington Mansion website: Click here

  6. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1970
    Photographs, architectural overview

  7. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

  8. Robert Gignilliant Kenan, History of the Gignilliat Family of Switzerland and South Carolina (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1977)

  9. 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

  10. 1850 Federal Census Slave Schedules for South Carolina - scroll down for Richland County

Contact Information

  • Scarborough-Hamer Foundation
    Kensington Mansion
    PO Box 237
    Eastover, SC 29044

    Telephone: 803-353-0456
    Website: Click here

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Flower photographs by Virginia Saunders, Columbia, SC. Please click flower for more info.


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