Brewton Plantation - Yemassee Beaufort County South Carolina SC

Brewton Plantation – Yemassee – Beaufort County

Brewton Plantation Avenue of Oaks 2011 - Beaufort County, South Carolina
— Brewton Plantation's Avenue of Oaks © Gazie Nagle, 2011 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Combahee River watershed, Yemassee, Prince William Parish, ACE Basin, Beaufort County

    Follow US 17 South to Old Sheldon Church Road then turn right onto Brewton Plantation Road

  • Origin of name – Named the Brewton family ownership

  • Other names – ?

  • Current status – Privately owned


  • Early 1700s – Earliest known date of existence (2, p. 95)

    The property was originally owned by Landgrave Edmund Bellinger and John Bull (2, p. 95).

  • 1732 – A survey of this year shows John Bull owned the bulk of the property (2, p. 95).

  • 1767 – John Bull died leaving the property to second wife Mary Branford Bull (2, p. 95).

  • 1771 – Mary Branford Bull passed away and left the plantation jointly to granddaughters Mary Izard Brewton and Elizabeth Izard Blake. The plantation contained 1,406 acres that was divided between the two sisters. Mary received 703 acres and Elizabeth the balance. Mary's husband Miles Brewton managed the plantation for the sisters (2, pp. 95-96).

  • 1775 – The Brewton family was lost at sea while sailing from Charleston to Philadelphia. According to Mary Izard Brewton's will, she owned her sister's part of Brewton Plantation at her time of death and left it all in trust for her children. Since Mary's children died the same time she did, the will declared half of the plantation be returned to her sister Elizabeth Izard Blake and the other to cousin Mary Bull Butler (2, pp. 96).

  • 1790 – Mary Bull Butler passed away while in New York. Her share of Brewton Plantation was put in trust for her five children. Mary's widower, Pierce Butler had part of his children's estate sold and used the proceeds for his own benefit to the displeasure of Mary's family (4, pp. 53-55).

  • 1792 – Elizabeth Izard Blake passed away. Her original will was altered by nine codicils she added, most within two years of her death. Her final wishes left "Izard number one" (her portion of what was now called Brewton Plantation) to her cousin Mary Bull Butler's five minor children with strict instructions that it be for the children's benefit and not their father's, Pierce Butler. This angered Butler and started a legal battle (4, pp. 55-56) (5).

  • 1797 – It is unclear how Pierce Butler obtained the full 1,400 acre Brewton Plantation but a plat of neighboring land notes him as owner in this year (2, p. 97).

  • Early 1800s – It is thought Isaac McPherson owned the plantation sometime before his death in 1803. His son, James Elliott McPherson then became owner and made Brewton his home until his death in 1834. He also owned Vernesover Plantation and Mount Pleasant Plantation (2, p. 97).

  • 1834 – Elizabeth Skirving McPherson received Brewton Plantation in a life estate upon the death of her husband James Elliott McPherson. McPherson's estate though was riddled with debt (2, p. 99).

  • 1859 – Unable to escape debt, the court ordered much of the McPherson estate, including Brewton, be sold to settle the debts (2, p. 99).

  • 1860 – Dr. Isaac McPherson Gregorie, grandson of James Elliot McPherson, purchased Brewton Plantation (2, p. 99).

  • 1893 – Dr. Gregorie's daughter, Harriet, married John B. Gregorie. They built a a house at Brewton and made the plantation their home. There had previously been a house on the same site as this one was constructed (2, p. 99) (8, p. III-27).

  • 1899 – The Gregorie family sold Brewton Planation (8, p. III-27).

  • 1930 – After a succession of owners, John R. Todd purchased Brewton from the Brewton Hunting and Fishing Club and remodeled and expanded the frame construction house, thought to have been the third one built on the plantation (2, p. 99) (7, pp. 121, 124).

  • 1945 – John R. Todd died (7, p. 124).

  • 1971 – "Smokin'" Joe Frazier, a heavyweight-boxing champion, purchased Brewton Plantation, sight unseen, for his mother Dolly. Instead of having a sign at the entrance of the plantation, Frazier hung a pair of boxing gloves. Frazier had grown up in Beaufort, SC. The plantation was in poor shape when Frazier purchased it. Frazier worked diligently on the plantation and tripled his investment upon selling it 14 years later (2, p. 99) (3) (7, p. 124).

  • 1985 – Paul and Diane Terni purchased Brewton from Fraizer and restored the house and other buildings (2, p. 99) (6) (7, p. 124).

  • 2013 – Diane Duebold Terni died at Brewton Plantation. She was preceded in death by her husband who died in 1997 (6).


  • Number of acres – 1,406 in 1771; 1,291 in 1930; 363 in 1971 (2, pp. 95-96) (3) (7, p. 121)

  • Primary crop – Rice, indigo and corn (2, p. 95)

  • There is a cemetery at Brewton Plantation that contains the graves of both Izard and McPherson family members (2, pp. 95-99).

  • John R. Todd added the avenue of live oaks in 1932 (2, p. 99).


References & Resources

  1. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

  2. Suzanne Cameron Linder, Historical Atlas of the Rice Plantations of the ACE River Basin - 1860 (Columbia, SC: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1995)
     Order Historical Atlas of the Rice Plantations of the ACE River Basin - 1860

  3. Information contributed by photographer and historian Brandon Coffey from:
    Richard Goldstein, Joe Frazier, Ex-Heavyweight Champ, Dies at 67 (New York, NY: The New York Times, November 7, 2011)

  4. Malcolm Bell Jr., Major Butler's Legacy: Five Generations of a Slaveholding Family (Athens, GA: Brown Thrasher Books / University of Georgia Press, 2004)

  5. Information contributed by Albert N Balzano from: 1795 Partition of Plantation; Lady's Island, Pee Dee, Negros, Slaves, Charleston Houses and Lot

  6. Obituary of Diane Diebold Terni

  7. Robert B. Cuthbert and Stephen G. Hoffius, editors, Northern Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin (Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press, 2009)

  8. Beaufort County Above Ground, Historic Resources Survey, Beaufort County South Carolina, 1998 - PDF

  9. Enslaved Ancestors on 4 Plantations of James McPherson, Beaufort, SC, 1834 - click, then scroll down for listing of Slaves at Brewton Plantation, Yemassee, Beaufort, SC, 1834

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