Jehossee Plantation - Jehossee Island Charleston County South Carolina SC

Jehossee Plantation – Jehossee Island – Charleston County

Jehossee Plantation Oaks 2010 - Charleston County, South Carolina
— Jehossee Plantation Oaks © Dean Herndon, 2010 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – South Edisto River, Jehossee Island, St. John's Colleton Parish, ACE Basin, Charleston County

    Original property was bounded on the west by the South Edisto River, on the north and east by the Dawho River, and on the south by the Intracoastal Waterway

  • Origin of name – ?

  • Other names – Jehosea (1, p. 288)

  • Current status – Part of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge


  • 1685 – Earliest known date of existence (1, p. 286)

    Thomas Cheverall (Sacheverall) received a 320 acre warrant on the island, but records suggest the family never lived there (1, p. 286).

  • 1742 – A royal grant was issued for 3,500 acres. This would be for the most of 4,500 acre island, to Thomas and Elizabeth Jenys as trustees for nephews Paul II and George Jenys (1, p. 286) (6, p. 52).

  • 1752 – Paul Jenys II passed away. His half-brother George had died young and Paul had no surviving children. Paul Jenys II left his lands called "Jehossa" divided between his cousin Walter Izard and Henry and Mary Henrietta Middleton (1, p. 288) (6, p. 52).

  • 1764 – The Middleton's sold their share of Jehossee to William Maxwell (6, p. 52).

  • 1767 – Walter Izard's son John Izard had previously obtained ownership of the island, probably upon his father's death in 1759. John and his wife Isabella sold their Jehossee Island property to William Maxwell thus, giving Maxwell full ownership of the 3,500 acres that was originally issued in the royal grant (1, p. 288) (6, pp. 52-53).

  • 1776 – William Maxwell sold 3,500 acres called Jehossee to Dr. Charles Drayton. Dr. Charles Drayton also owned famed Drayton Hall which he had inherited from his father (1, p. 288).

  • 1820 – Charles Drayton passed away. He had previously given a portion of the island to his son Dr. Charles Drayton II. Drayton's will designated more of the island to be given to Dr. Drayton II with the balance of the island to be sold for the benefit of daughters Henrietta Drayton, Charlotte Drayton Manigault and Maria Drayton Gibbes (1, p. 288).

  • 1823 – Thomas Milliken purchased Jehossee from Dr. Charles Drayton II. The sale was in two transactions, the first for 2,070 acres and the second for 1,180 (1, p. 289) (6, p. 55).

  • 1833 – William Aiken II, who served as governor of South Carolina 1844-1846, purchased 3,250 acres, or approximately 75% of Jehossee Island, from Thomas Milliken. This portion was on the western side of the island. Aiken made extensive improvements the plantation and was very successful planting rice (1, p. 289) (3, p. 56).

  • ? – House built

    There was a modest cottage type house at Jehossee Plantation in the 1850s (1, p. 293).

  • 1850-1860 – Aiken had a larger house built at the plantation (1, p. 293).

  • 1859 – Aiken purchased neighboring property, referred in the transactions as Lots 1-3, Cedar Island, and Wilderness Plantation, on Jehossee Island until he owned the whole island in 1860 (1, pp. 293-294) (6, p. 63).

  • 1887 – William Aiken died and Jehossee passed to his widow, Hariett Lowndes Aiken (6, p. 85).

  • 1892 – Hariett Lowndes Aiken kept the planting operations at the plantation going until she died in this year. Jehossee passed the the Aiken's daughter, Henrietta Aiken Rhett who too continued farming activities on the island using both wage and contract labor (6, p. 85).

  • 1890s – The house Aiken built was lost in a fire (1, pp. 293-294).

  • 1918 – Henrietta Aiken Rhett died leaving the plantation to her children, Edmund Rhett, William Aiken Rhett, Hariett R. Maybank, A. Burnett Rhett, and I'On L. Rhett. It is believed around this time is when the plantation stopped being a working farm (6, p. 86).

  • 1950s – Jehossee Plantation remained owned by descendants of Governor Aiken, the Aiken-Rhett-Maybank family. John F. Maybank bought out the other family members in the mid-1950s (1, p. 294) (6, p. 5).

  • 1956 – John F. Maybank's sons, David Maybank, John F. Maybank II, and Thomas H. Maybank inherited the island when their father passed way shortly after acquiring the whole island. The Maybank brothers restored dikes, the bridge and the cottage, now referred to as the overseer's house, which was last standing structure. The Maybanks used the island as a private hunting preserve (1, p. 294) (4) (6, p. 88).

  • 1993 – The Maybanks sold most of the island to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and is now part of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. The brothers did retain a portion of the island which was still owned by the Maybanks in 2014 (1, p. 295) (5).


  • Number of acres – 320 in 1685; 3,500 in 1742; 3,500 in 1776; 3,250 in 1823; 3,300 in 1883; 2,000 in 1850; 4,500 in 1860; 3,300 in 2014 (1) (3) (4) (6)

  • Primary crop – Rice, sweet potatoes, corn, indigo and some cotton (1, p. 289) (5)


  • Number of slaves – 40 in 1820 (1, p. 288)

    In 1820, an inventory of the estate of Dr. Charles Drayton was taken. Five of the 40 slaves named were: Quamina, Auba, Dembo, Binhah, and Tuba (1, p. 289) (6, p. 53).

  • Number of slaves – 171 in 1830 (6, p. 65)

  • Number of slaves – 555 in 1840 (6, p. 65)

  • Number of slaves – About 700 in 1840s-1850s by Aiken which made him one of the nation's largest slave owner (1, p. 290) (5)

    All slave dwellings were kept in good shape and had a fireplace, a small garden and poultry house under Aiken's ownership. The slaves were supplied with quality clothing and food. They were allowed to sell for cash livestock and garden crops they raised at their cabins. There was also two general hospitals, an obstetric hospital, and chapel on the plantation (1, pp. 290-291).

  • Number of slaves – 505 in 1865 (6, p. 80)

References & Resources

  1. 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

  2. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society
    –  Online Catalog

  3. James M. Clifton, Jehossee Island: The Antebellum South's Largest Rice Plantation

  4. LOLT Staff Outing to Jehossee Island (May 28, 2014)

  5. Information contributed by Laura Myers from:
    Thomas L. Scott, 9 of the Biggest Slave Owners in American History (Atlanta, GA: Atlanta Black Star, November 23, 2014

  6. Chicora Foundation, Archaeological and Historical Investigations of Jehossee Island, Charleston County, South Carolina - PDF - 2002

Contact Information

  • ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
    8675 Willtown Road / PO Box 848
    Hollywood, SC 29449

    Website: Click here

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