Otranto Plantation - Hanahan Berkeley County South Carolina SC

Otranto Plantation – Hanahan – Berkeley County

Otranto Plantation 2008 - Berkeley County, South Carolina
— Otranto Plantation © Brandon Coffey, 2008 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Goose Creek (a branch of the Cooper River), Hanahan, St. James Goose Creek Parish, Berkeley County

    Original plantation lands were located in the present-day Otranto Subdivision. The plantation house is located at 18 Basilica Avenue, Hanahan.

  • Origin of name – Named for Horace Walpole's novel The Castle of Otranto

  • Other names – Yeshoe, Yeowee, Goslington

  • Current status – The property has been developed into Otranto Subdivision.


  • 1678 – Earliest known date of existence

    Arthur and Edward Middleton received 1,780 acres in the vicinity of Goose Creek (2, p. 7).

    Their property was called Yeshoe (or Yeowee) which was Native American for Goose Creek. It is believed that it means 'Green Water' (5, p. 15).

  • 1680 – Arthur Middleton acquired Edward's share of the property and proceeded to live on the plantation (2, p. 7).

  • 1682 – A dwelling house was recorded on the property. It was probably built by Arthur Middleton after he acquired sole ownership of the plantation (1, p. 3).

  • 1685 – Arthur Middleton died and left the plantation to his wife Mary Middleton (2, p. 7).

  • 1696 – Arthur Middleton's widow died. The plantation passed to her recent husband, Ralph Izard (2, p. 7).

  • 1696 – Ralph Izard sold the plantation to Jacob Allen (9, p. 174).

  • ? – Jacob Allen passed the plantation to his son, Obadiah Allen (2, p. 7).

  • 1721 – Obadiah Allen sold the plantation to Benjamin Godin (2, p. 7).

  • 1748 – Benjamin Godin willed the property to his son, David Godin (2, p. 7).

  • 1755 – David Godin willed the plantation to his brother, Isaac Godin (2, p. 7).

  • 1758 – Isaac Godin sold plantation to John Moultrie. Moultrie lived on the property, probably in the house built by Arthur Middleton (2, p. 7).

  • 1771 – John Moultrie sold the plantation to Dr. Alexander Garden (2, p. 7).

    Dr. Garden practiced medicine in Charleston. He was the first person to introduce a vaccine for small pox to Charleston. Many planters consulted Dr. Garden in regards to the health of their families and slaves. Dr. Garden was also a noted botanist who corresponded regularly with Carolus Linnaeus. Linnaeus named the Gardenia flower after Dr. Garden (1, p. 5).

  • 1778 – Dr. Alexander Garden conveyed the plantation to trustees for his wife and son. The transaction mentions a house on the plantation, probably the same one lived in by John Moultrie and Arthur Middleton (1, p. 3).

    About this time the Revolutionary War was in full swing. Dr. Alexander Garden remained loyal to England. Perhaps he thought that if he put the plantation in trust for his wife and son it would not fall into the hands of the Patriots.

  • 1782 – Alexander Garden was loyal to the Patriot's cause unlike his father. In 1782 he was aide-de-camp for General Nathaniel Green. Before that he served in Lee's Legion (1, p. 3).

  • 1783 – Dr. Alexander Garden and his wife left South Carolina and moved back to England. His son, Alexander, remained on the plantation (3, p. 38).

    Dr. Alexander Garden lived the remainder of his life in England. He died on April 15, 1791 of tuberculosis.

  • 1785 – Alexander Garden sold a small piece of the property. In the deed the name Otranto is used to describe the plantation. This is the first time the name appeared in writing. The plantation was named such after the gothic novel The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (2, p. 7).

  • 1790s – It is believed that the current plantation house was built around this time by Alexander Garden. This time frame is based on the interior style of the house which was Federal, a style popular after the Revolutionary War. No exact date is known for the house (1, p. 3).

  • 1798 – Alexander Garden held onto Otranto up to this point when he sold it to Robert Reeve Gibbes (9, p. 176).

  • 1801 – The two tracts of Otranto were once again combined when John Stanyarne Brisbane purchased both (9, p. 176).

  • 1851 – Philip Porcher became owner of Otranto and changed the name to Goslington (9, p. 176).

  • 1872 – Porcher died and the property was sold to trustees that formed a hunting club this same year. The trustees brought back the name Otranto (9, p. 177).

  • 1897 – John Poppenheim shot and killed L.F. Brown and Stephen Mazyck at Otranto. Poppenheim claimed the men were trespassing while in a boat and also raised guns at him. (We assume Poppenheim was one of the trustees of the hunt club. If you have more information, please let us know here) Poppenheim was charged with murder and brought to trial. The jury deliberated for one hour, returning a verdict of not guilty (10).

    Poppenheim also owned nearby Red Bank Plantation at this time.

  • 1934 – A fire destroyed the interior of the house and badly damaged the exterior. The exterior was restored based on photographs, but the interior was completely redone 1, p. 2).

  • 1960s – Otranto Plantation was used as a hunting club (6, p. 16).

  • 1970s – The plantation lands were facing development into a subdivision. The Garden Club of Otranto placed a historical plaque near the plantation house commemorating the history of the plantation (7, bk. 3, vol. 22, p. 6).


  • Number of acres – 1,780 in 1678; 1,689 in 1758

  • Primary crop – Indigo

    When Otranto Plantation was being developed into a subdivision, three vat systems were found on the property. These vat systems were used in the processing of indigo. Two of the systems were badly deteriorated, but a the third one was saved. The Verona Chemical Company, a major dye manufacturing company, recognized the historical significance of the vats, purchased them, and relocated them to their plant site on Bushy Park Road (SC Secondary Road 503). The company is now Mobay Corporation, and the vats are still available to the public for viewing.

    For a complete description of the indigo making process, click here to read the National Register Nomination form.


  • Chronological list – Arthur Middleton (1678-1685); Edward Middleton (1678-1680); Mrs. Mary Middleton (1685-1696); Ralph Izard (1696); Jacob Allen (1696-?); Obadiah Allen (?-1721); Benjamin Godin (1721-1748); David Godin (1748-1755); Isaac Godin (1755-1758); John Moultrie (1758-1771); Dr. Alexander Garden (1771-1783); Alexander Garden (1783-1798); Robert Reeve Gibbes (1798-?); John Stanyarne Brisbane (1801-1804); Philip Porcher (1851-1872); Otranto Land Company


  • Number of slaves – ?


References & Resources

  1. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form for plantation house - PDF - submitted in 1977
    Photographs, architectural overview

  2. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form for plantation indigo vats - PDF - submitted in 1988
    Photographs, architectural overview

  3. 30-15 Plantation File, South Carolina Historical Society
    –  Baker Family Papers, 1683 - ca. 1935. Chronicles of Archdale Hall, by Emma Drayton-Grimke. File 1138.00.

  4. William P. Baldwin Jr., Plantations of the Low Country (Westbrook, ME: Legacy Publishing, 1994)

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

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

  7. 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

  8. Samuel Gaillard Stoney, Plantations of the Carolina Low Country (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1990)

  9. Michael J. Heitzler, Goose Creek: A Definitive History - Volume One: Planters, Politicians and Patriots (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2005)

  10. The Otranto Murder (Columbia SC: The State News, January 8, 1897) and Not Guilty (Columbia SC: The State News, June 12, 1897) - contributed by Mrs. Rhonwyn Padgett

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


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