Kensington Plantation - Eastover Richland County South Carolina SC

Kensington Plantation – Eastover – Richland County

Kensington Plantation - Richland County, South Carolina
— Kensington Plantation © Pete Lawrence, 2015 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Wateree River, Eastover, Richland County

    Located eight miles east of Eastover on US 601, half a mile past the entrance to International Paper at 4101 McCords Ferry Road

  • Origin of name – Named for Martha Rutledge Kinloch Singleton's childhood home.

  • Other names – Headquarters was original name until changed to Kensington in 1844.

  • Current status – Owned by International Paper, who disolved its partnership with the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation in 2015. As of March 2016, International Paper had not disclosed their plans for Kensington but was in the process of replacing the mansion's roof.

Kensington Plantation Side - Richland County, South Carolina
— Side of Kensington Plantation © Pete Lawrence, 2015 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


  • 1787 – Earliest known date of existence

    Matthew Singleton was the first owner of the plantation originally known as Headquarters. He died in 1787 and his son John inherited the property (1, p. 2).

    At the death of John Singleton the plantation was passed on to Colonel Richard Singleton, his son. During Colonel Singleton's life he acquired six additional plantations located on both sides of the Wateree River.

    Matthew Richard Singleton was the heir of Colonel Singleton (1, p. 2).

  • 1844 – Matthew Richard Singleton married Martha Rutledge Kinloch. They changed the name of the plantation to Kensington to reflect the name of the bride's childhood home near Georgetown (9, bk. 2, vol. 13, p. 22).

  • 1851 – Matthew Richard Singleton began construction of a plantation house. It was not completed until 1855. By this time Matthew had died and his wife and children continued to live on the plantation (9, bk. 2, vol. 13, p. 23).

    The house consisted of twenty-nine rooms with a total of 12,000 square feet.

  • 1870-1880 – Matthew Richard Singleton's sons, Richard and Cleland Singleton, divided the plantation lands in half.

    Cleland Singleton built a house on the southern half. It was a one story structure with three rooms built high off the ground. It was used by the overseer of the plantation from 1925-1941. It has since burned down (2, p. 2).

    Richard Singleton's heir, Matthew Richard Singleton, constructed a small house on the northern portion of the plantation (4, p. 2).

    When his son died, Richard Singleton decided to sell his half of the plantation. Robert Hamer purchased the property in 1910, however, before he could live there he died. His family moved in and proceeded to farm the land (1, p. 2-3).

  • 1925 – Cleland Singleton died and the Hamers purchased his lands. The original plantation lands were once again back together.

    The Hamers added indoor plumbing and electricity to Kensington Mansion along with other improvements (1, p. 3).

  • 1941 – The Hamers sold the entire plantation to the United States Government as an agricultural cooperative for displaced farmers. Nothing came of this project and the plantation was sold to the Lanhams (1, p. 3).

    When the Lanhams bought the property they built their own residence at the junction of the oval drive and the avenue to the highway. It was a small brick house that resembled a suburban ranch style house. The iron railing surrounding the porch was taken from the interior balcony of the Kensington mansion. In 1983 the house was slated to be demolished (3, p. 2).

    The Kensington Mansion was no longer in use as a residence. Instead, it became a storage area for farm equipment, fertilizer, and feed for animals (1, p. 3).

  • 1981 – The plantation was purchased by Union Camp Corporation, later known as International Paper.

    International Paper partnered with the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation to restore the house and open the house for tours.

  • 2014 – The roof of Kensington Mansion had been in need of repair for sometime, sustained more damage during a February ice storm and was closed to public tours (11).

  • 2015 – In February, International Paper delivered notice to the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation that they were dissolving their partnership with the organization. The foundation has up to 12 months to remove the house's period furnishings that they gathered to furnish the mansion with. International Paper did not announce what their future plans for Kensington are but did state in April that they were going to repair the roof and interior plaster damage (11).

  • 2015 – In November, International Paper announced work had begun to replace the roofs of the summer kitchen and mansion with solid copper (5).

  • 2016 – In February, the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation announced their Photographic and Archival Collections will be transferred to the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina and the 19th and early 20th Century Decorative Arts will be transferred to the City of Seneca (12).

Kensington Plantation 1982 - Richland County, South Carolina
— Kensington Plantation 1982 • Library of Congress —
(Prints & Photographs Division HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1--2)


  • Number of acres – ?

  • Primary crop – Cotton and indigo


  • Alphabetical list – Hamer; Lanham; Cleland and Richard Singleton; John Singleton; Matthew R. Singleton; Matthew Richard Singleton; Colonel Richard Singleton; Union Camp Corporation/International Paper; United States Government

Kensington Plantation Mansion - Richland County, South Carolina
— Kensington Plantation Mansion © Pete Lawrence, 2015 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


  • Number of slaves – Matthew R. Singleton owned around 190 slaves in 1850 (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.


Kensington Plantation - Richland County, South Carolina
— Kensington Plantation © Parker Renaud, 2013 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

References & Resources

  1. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey, Main House (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)

  2. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Cleland Singleton Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)

  3. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Lanham Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1D)

  4. Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey Matthew Singleton Residence (HABS SC,40-EAST.V,1C)

  5. International Paper's Kensington Mansion FaceBook page: Click here

  6. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1970
    Photographs, architectural overview

  7. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

  8. Robert Gignilliant Kenan, History of the Gignilliat Family of Switzerland and South Carolina (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1977)

  9. 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

  10. 1850 Federal Census Slave Schedules for South Carolina - scroll down for Richland County - source no longer available online

  11. Joey Holleman and Dawn Hinshaw, Kensington Mansion's Future in Doubt, as Corporate Owner Cuts Ties with Historic Group (Columbia, SC: The State Newspaper, March 12, 2015) - source no longer available online

  12. Scarborough-Hamer Foundation: Click here

Contact Information

  • International Paper
    Kensington Mansion
    4101 McCords Ferry Road (Highway 601)
    Eastover, SC 29044

    Website: Click here

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