Belvidere Plantation - Lake Marion Orangeburg County South Carolina SC

Belvidere Plantation – Lake Marion – Orangeburg County

Basic Information

  • Location – Submerged under Lake Marion, St. John's Berkeley Parish, Orangeburg County

    Original plantation lands were located near present-day Eutaw Springs, between the Santee River and Eutaw Creek.

    Belvidere was originally in Berkeley County, but in 1908 the county lines were redrawn and the plantation became part of Orangeburg County.

  • Origin of name – ?

  • Other names – ?

  • Current status – In 1939, work began on the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project. This project displaced many families and communities, and many historic homes were lost as the area was flooded.


  • 1770 – Earliest known date of existence (1) (10)

    James Sinkler received a grant for this property (1) (10).

  • 1790 – James Sinkler decided to plant cotton at Belvidere because freshets along the Santee River in St. Stephen's Parish were ruining his crops at his plantation called Old Santee. He had an overseer live at Belvidere while he maintained a residence at Old Santee (1) (5, p. 23).

  • 1795-1803 – There are two conflicting sources as to when the house at Belvidere was constructed.

    – Thomas Waterman stated that the house was constructed in 1795. He based this on an architectural analysis of the house in 1939 (1).

    – Anne Sinkler Fishburne stated that the house was built in 1803 by Margaret Cantey Sinkler. Mrs. Fishburne lived at Belvidere at some point as it was her family home (5, p. 23) (10).

  • 1800 – James Sinkler died. His widow, Margaret Cantey Sinkler, brought her Cantey family to live at Belvidere (5, p. 23) (10).

  • ? – William Sinkler, James Sinkler's son, must have inherited the plantation or bought it (5, p. 23).

    William Sinkler and James B. Richardson, who served as Governor of South Carolina 1802-1804, were very close friends. Richardson was married to Sinkler's half-sister. Both men were prominent planters in the area. Records indicate the size of the Sinkler's Belvidere Plantation did decrease from 1795 to 1854. Richardson's 1826 will documents he owned Belvedere (slight difference in spelling) Plantation consisting of 200 acres. Richardson's will also describes other property that he had acquired from the Sinklers, but doesn't specifically note how he came to own Belvedere Plantation. It is assumed, that it may have once been part of the larger Belvidere Plantation of the Sinklers (9).

  • 1854 – William Sinkler's son, Charles Sinkler, was owner of Belvidere Plantation plantation by this year. His wife, Emily Wharton Sinkler, and their five children made Belvidere their home moving there in 1848 (5, p. 23) (8) (10).

    Emily Wharton Sinkler wrote many letters to her father in Philadelphia about her life on a southern plantation. Her letters have been published in a book titled An Antebellum Plantation Household by Anne Sinkler Whaley LeClerq.

  • 1883 – Charles St. George Sinkler (son of Charles and Emily Sinkler) took over the management of Belvidere. He continued to plant cotton but his crops became infested with cotton caterpillars (7, p. 287) (10).

    Charles St. George Sinkler married Anne Wickham Porcher on December 6 (4, p. 235).

  • 1934 – Charles St. George Sinkler passed away and Belvidere passed to his daughters Anne Wickham Sinkler Fishburne and Caroline Sidney Sinkler Lockwood (1).

  • 1936 – The Santee Jockey Club, founded in 1791, was revitalized and renamed the St. John's Jockey Club. A race track was built at Belvidere and the first race was held that November (5, p. 94-95) (10).

  • 1941 – The house at Belvidere was emptied and dismantled, and the family left the property for the last time. The flood waters from the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project covered all of the fields, slave quarters, race track, gardens, and lawns. The water came up to the base of the dismantled house and remnants of the brick foundation could still be seen in 1949 (5, p. 2).


  • Number of acres – 2,562 in 1795; 1,234 in 1854

  • Primary crop – Santee long cotton (hybrid between Upland cotton and Sea Island cotton) and short staple cotton (1) (7, p. 111)


  • Number of slaves – 195 in mid-1800s (10)

    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.


  • Plantation House – The house was two stories with a full brick basement and brick foundation. A piazza ran across the front with slender columns, and a large wing on one side was balanced with an open, brick-paved sun piazza on the other side (5, p. 6).

  • House plan - rough sketch, 1940

  • Front door - photograph

References & Resources

  1. Waterman Report of 1939 - transcription - includes history of region, architectural analyses of homes
    – Belvidere Plantation: Sinkler Family: Click here
    – Belvidere Plantation House photograph, drawing: Click here

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

  3. 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

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

  5. Anne Sinkler Fishburne, Belvidere: A Plantation Memory (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1949).
     Order Belvidere: A Plantation Memory

  6. Anne Sinkler Whaley LeClerq, An Antebellum Plantation Household (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2006).

  7. Richard Porcher and Sarah Fick, The Story of Sea Island Cotton (Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2005)

  8. Sinkler Family Papers, 1705-1984 - USC's South Caroliniana Library

  9. Information contributed by Lanny Cotton from: Will of James. B. Richardson, 1826

  10. Douglas W. Bostick, Sunken Plantations: The Santee Cooper Project (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2008)

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