Kensington Plantation Eastover Richland County
- 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 Owned by International Paper who disolved its partnership with the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation in 2015. As of March 2015, International Paper had not disclosed their plans for Kensington.
- 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 partnered with the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation to restore the house and open the house for tours.
- 2014 The roof of Kensington Mansion had been in need of repair for sometime, sustained more damage during a February ice storm and was closed to public tours (11).
- 2015 In February, International Paper delivered notice to the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation that they were dissolving their partnership with the organization. The foundation has up to 12 months to remove the house's period furnishings that they gathered to furnish the mansion with. International Paper did not announce what their future plans for Kensington are but did state in April that they were going to repair the roof and interior plaster damage (11).
- 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)
- Kensington Mansion pictures: Click here
- Plantation Store pictures: Click here
- Summer Kitchen pictures: Click here
- Matthew Singleton Residence pictures: Click here
References & Resources
- Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey, Main House (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)
- Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Cleland Singleton Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)
- Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Lanham Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)
- Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Matthew Singleton Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1C)
- Kensington Mansion website: Click here
- National Register of Historic Places
Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1970
Photographs, architectural overview
- 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society
- Robert Gignilliant Kenan, History of the Gignilliat Family of Switzerland and South Carolina (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1977)
- 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
- 1850 Federal Census Slave Schedules for South Carolina - scroll down for Richland County
- Joey Holleman and Dawn Hinshaw, Kensington Mansion's Future in Doubt, as Corporate Owner Cuts Ties with Historic Group (Columbia, SC: The State Newspaper, March 12, 2015)
- Scarborough-Hamer Foundation
4101 McCords Ferry Road (Highway 601)
Eastover, SC 29044
Website: Click here