Bonneau Ferry Plantation - Berkeley County South Carolina SC

Bonneau Ferry Plantation – Cordesville – Berkeley County

Basic Information

  • Location – Eastern branch of the Cooper River, Cordesville, Berkeley County

    Off SC Highway 402

  • Origin of name – Named for the ferry and plantation's founding family, Bonneau (1, XII: 33-34) (2, p. 91)

  • Other names – Prioli

  • Current status – Now part of the 10,700-acre Bonneau Tract that the state of South Carolina and The Conservation Fund acquired from MeadWestvaco in 2004. The SC Department of Natural Resources does have the property open for public use. Access is available on days without hunts.


  • 1712 – Earliest known date of existence (1, XII: 33-34)

    Anthony Bonneau's ferry landing was established here, along the banks of the Cooper River, by a legislative act. The ferry soon became a private enterprise and remained so unti 1798 (1, XII: 33-34).

  • ? – House built

  • 1742 – Anthony Bonneau died willing the 3,020 acre plantation, on which he resided, to sons Samuel and Benjamin Bonneau. It seems that Samuel and his wife Mary became sole owners at some point (2, p. 91-92) (3, p. 133) (4, p. 26).

  • Circa 1798 – The plantation, along with the ferry, was acquired by Floride Bonneau Calhoun. Floride was the daughter of Samuel Bonneau, who had died in 1788, and was married to John Ewing Calhoun. The State Legislature once again declared the ferry to be public. Floride Calhoun ran the ferry until her death in 1838 (1, XII: 33-34) (2, p. 92) (3, p. 133).

  • 1810 – The Calhouns' daughter, also called Floride, married cousin John C. Calhoun at Bonneau Ferry Plantation. John C. Calhoun served as Vice President of the United States and as a very influential US Senator from South Carolina (2, p. 92).

  • 1838 – Dr. Thomas G. Prioleau purchased the ferry and plantation after the death of Floride Calhoun. He called the plantation Prioli. Dr. Prioleau ran the ferry until shortly after the Civil War (1, XII: 33-34) (2, p. 92) (3, p. 133) (4, p. 26).

  • Early 1900s – Hugh S. and Mary Harris Robertson purchased the plantation. The Robertsons built a colonial style house and changed the name back to Bonneau Ferry Plantation (2, p. 92) (3, p. 134) (4, p. 26).

  • ? – The Nimitz family became owners (4, p. 26).

  • 1960s – The Westvaco Corporation purchased the plantation from the Nimitz family (4, p. 26).

  • 2004 – The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources acquired a 10,700-acre tract from MeadWestvaco (5).


  • Number of acres – 3,020 in 1742 (2, p. 91)

    The graves of Samuel and Mary Bonneau remain and are marked by two table stones. There is also the grave, marked by a headstone, of Isaac, a slave who died in 1857 (4, p. 26).

  • Primary crop – Rice (4, p. 26)


  • Number of slaves – ?

    We are actively seeking information on the slaves who lived and worked at this plantation. If you find a resource that might help, please fill out this form. Thank you.

References & Resources

  1. 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

  2. J. Russell Cross, Historic Ramblin's through Berkeley (Columbia, SC: R.L. Bryan Company, 1985)
     Order Historic Ramblin's through Berkeley

  3. John Beaufain Irving, A Day on Cooper River (1842) (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2010)

  4. National Register of Historic Places
    Cooper River Historic District, Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 2002
    Photographs, architectural overview

  5. Information contributed by Barry Gooch.

Contact Information

  • Bonneau Ferry Wildlife Management Area
    South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
    305 Black Oak Road
    Bonneau, SC 29431

    Website: Click here

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


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