- 38BU1166; 38BU96, 833, 1290 (Shell middens)
Also see Skull Creek Plantation 38BU834 (main house area); 38BU62 (tabby structure), Squire Pope Road 38BU90,96 (slave row)
Built by Thomas Henry Barksdale, c. 1815, the two story clapboard house on a tabby foundation was approached by a double avenue of magnolia trees. Barksdale died childless in 1832, leaving his widow, Martha Sarah (Stoney) Barksdale, as the sole heiress. Several of his relatives instituted court action against the widow and won cash settlements which necessitated the sale of Barksdale's 2,600 acre Skull Creek Plantation. William Seabrook bought 1,600 acres and William Pope, Jr. known as Squire Pope, bought the remaining 1,000 acres along Skull Creek, including the Barksdale’s Skull Creek Plantation house. Squire Pope renamed the plantation Cotton Hope and made it his home.
South Carolina Institute of A & A original listing
Squire Pope's daughter, Mrs. Alsop Park Woodward, regained ownership of the plantation in 1874. In the nine years following the Civil War, the Reverend Thomas Howard conducted the first black school on Hilton Head in the best front parlor of Cotton Hope house. (This fact is disputed by Holmgren (p.99) stating "Apparently one Negro school had been already opened on the island in January by Mr. Barnard K. Lee, who came in advance of the sponsored group.")
Stephen Weld, aide to General Wright, went on a foraging mission and "At Pope's Cotton Hope Plantation, which he thought the nicest on the island, it was the same story,” plundered by the negroes and the soldiers, leaving "only a piece of a clock as a memento".
Holmgren, Virginia C., Hilton Head, A Sea Island Chronicle, p. 95
"Cotton Hope, sometimes called Skull Creek Plantation, also belonged to the Honorable William Pope and boasted a fine house whose tabby wall foundations still stand not far from the road to Seabrook Landing." (This was in 1959)
"Lawyers acting for John E. Woodward, Eliza's son and heir, redeemed Cotton Hope in 1887. (John was William's grandson) The heirs sold Cotton Hope in small plots to Negroes and in larger plots to Roy Rainey. ..and eventually went to Thorne and Loomis."
Holmgren, p. 131
(Source materials listed in survey)
38BU96 represents an outlying slave settlement associated with the Skull Creek Plantation during the late colonial period and the Cotton Hope Plantation during the antebellum period. 38BU833 is a shell midden of unknown association eroding from the creek bank on or north of parcel 4. It is heavily disturbed by construction as well as erosion. Significant portions of the site contain buried intact shell middens both along the bank and further inland. The site is recommended for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Both sites are about 1 1/2 miles north of US 278 in Hilton Head Plantation. 38BU1290 is along Skull Creek in the western portion of parcel 9. The area is heavily disturbed by previous grubbing activities. Artifacts are sparse and the area is not deemed eligible for the National Register.
Adams, Chicora Foundation Research Contribution 74, Archaeological Survey of Parcels 4 and 9, Hilton Head Plantation, Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina
The tabby foundation noted by Holmgren is now known to have been an out building not the main house. The standing tabby structure is of probable industrial or storage use. It is in good condition and of high integrity. Its architectural features are unique on the island and very rare in the region. This is recommended for the National Register at the level of state significance. The estate of William Pope made a claim for a 'plantation’ of 201 slaves and crops, buildings, furniture, animals, wagons, boats, etc. of about $30,000. Cotton Hope's main house furnishings were valued at $1,000 and the library contents at $2,000. In 1877 Cotton Hope is listed as having 1250 acres - 400 cultivated, 150 cleared but not cultivated and 700 of woodlands. The site of the 19th century slave row is of undeveloped, large domestic scatter. Being one of the better preserved slave sites it is recommended for the National Register of Historic Places.
Chicora Research Series 13, Archaeological Testing of Six Sites on Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina, p. 29, 70
An 1862 plat shows in detail the layout of the plantation. From about 1861 to 1874 the property was leased, both to overseers and eventually to tenants, for cotton farming. Shortly after the property was redeemed by Pope heirs, the plantation was subdivided and sold to freedmen. A portion of Cotton Hope was maintained intact and eventually became part of Hilton Head Plantation. The remainder of the land is still divided into small parcels owned by primarily the island's Black residents.
The tabby ruins of a building connected to Cotton Hope Plantation can be seen to the right of Squire Pope Road just before Gum Tree Road.
Islander Magazine, January1972
When island planter Thomas Henry Barksdale died childless in 1832, leaving his widow, Martha Sarah Stoney Barksdale of the Otterburn Plantation family, as sole heiress, several of his relatives brought court action against the widow and won handsome cash settlements which necessitated the sale of Barksdale’s 2600 acre Skull Creek Plantation. Squire Pope bought 1000 acres lying north of Fairfield Plantation along Skull Creek, including the handsome Skull Creek Plantation house with its double avenue of Magnolia Grandiflora marching down to the creek landing. Squire Pope not only renamed it Cotton Hope Plantation but made it his island seat, his son, William John Pope and his family being then installed at Coggins Point. Skull Creek Plantation house was built by Thomas Henry Barksdale shortly after August 1813 when the British landed in force and burned most of the island’s residences. It stood two stories above a tabby foundation basement floor, the ruins of which are extant.
Peeples, Robert E.H., An Index to Hilton Head Island Names (Before the Contemporary Development), p. 9