Palo Alto Plantation - McClellanville Charleston County South Carolina SC

Palo Alto Plantation – McClellanville – Charleston County

Basic Information

  • Location – South Santee River, McClellanville, St. James Santee Parish, Charleston,

    Original plantation lands were located off South Santee Road northwest of Wedge Plantation Road.

  • Origin of name – Dr. Alexander Edwards Gadsden probably named the place after Palo Alto, Mexico, where one of the first battles of the Mexican War was fought.

  • Other names – Pine Tree Hill

  • Current status – Plantation lands are part of Wedge Plantation, which is owned by the University of South Carolina.


  • 1784 – Earliest known date of existence

    Elizabeth Deas Middleton owned property on the South Santee River. Upon her death, the property was divided to form Wedge and Pine Tree Hill plantations (Linder & Thacker, p. 774).

  • 1801 – Joseph Farr and William Robertson purchased Pine Tree Hill and almost immediatley sold it to John Axson (Linder & Thacker, p. 774).

  • 1825 – John Axson was living on the plantation and planting rice (Bridges & Williams, p. 135).

  • 1840 – John Axson died and left one-third of his plantation to his wife, Mary Ann Gibbes Axson, and two-thirds to his two grandsons, Christopher Edwards Gadsden and John Axson Gadsden (Linder & Thacker, p. 775).

  • 1842 – Mary Ann Gibbes Axson married Dr. Alexander Edwards Gadsden.

  • 1851 – Dr. Alexander Edwards Gadsden bought his wife's share of the estate. He also purchased Christopher Edwards Gadsden's one-third share so that now he owned two-thirds of the estate of John Axson. He paid $18,000. It was at this time that the name Palo Alto showed up on the deed.

    The other one-third still belonged to John Axson Gadsden, and he named his property Gadsden's (Linder & Thacker, p. 775).

  • 1856 – John Axson Gadsden sold Gadsden's to Dr. Alexander Edwards Gadsden for $6,666. Palo Alto was now back to its original acreage (Linder & Thacker, p. 775).

  • ? – Dr. Alexander Edwards Gadsden died during the Civil War. The plantation remained in the Gadsden family.

  • ? – Christopher Edwards Gadsden lived there with his wife and children. Their daughters married into the Doar family of Wedge Plantation, and the Doars eventually came to own Palo Alto (Linder & Thacker, p. 775).

  • 1926 – The house burned from a chimney fire while under the ownership of Samuel Cordes Doar. He later built a small wooden house to replace it becaue the family still spent the winter on the plantation (Bridges & Williams, p. 312).

  • 1966 – Palo Alto became part of Wedge Plantation.


  • Number of acres – ?

  • Primary crop – ?


  • Alphabetical list – John Axson, Samuel Cordes Doar, Stephen Decatur Doar, William Douxsaint, Joseph Farr and William Robertson, Dr. Alexander Gadsden


  • Number of slaves – ?

  • January 29, 1854 – Dr. Alexander Gadsden had the following slaves confirmed by Bishop Davis: Agrippa, Quashy, Beck, Sam, Fraser, Milly, Nanny (Bridges & Williams, p. 437).


Web Resources

Print Resources

  • Initial references: 4, 40

  • Anne Baker Leland Bridges and Roy Williams III, St James Santee Plantation Parish History and Records, 1685-1925, (Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1997).

  • Suzanne Cameron Linder and Marta Leslie Thacker (with preliminary research by Agnes Leland Baldwin), Historical Atlas of the Rice Plantations of Georgetown County and the Santee River (Columbia: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 2001).

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