Skull Creek Plantation

Fast Facts:

General Information - Location – along Skull Creek

Owners -

  • The farmlands along Skull Creek were divided into as many as ten or twelve plantations during the eighteenth century owned by the Conyers, Ladson, Talbird, Fyler, Currell, Wallis, Greene, Waight, Eden, Elliott, Stoney and other families.
  • Thomas Henry Barksdale gathered all the lands from Elliott’s Myrtle Bank to Stoney’s Fairfield into one 2600-acre tract, which he called Skull Creek Plantation.
  • When Island planter Thomas Henry Barksdale died childless in August 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 Scull Creek Plantation.
  • At his death the western 1000 acres was sold to Squire Pope who called it Cotton Hope; the eastern 1600 acres were bought by William Seabrook, Esq., planter of Edisto Island.

See also Seabrook Plantation

Land - 2600 acres

Buildings - Scull Creek Plantation House was built by Thomas Henry Barksdale shortly after August 1813.  It stood two stories above a tabby foundation base floor, the ruins of which are extant, near Gum Tree and Squire Pope Roads.

See also Seabrook Plantation.

Maps -  Hack, "Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, before 1861"

Bibliography -

 Peeples, An Index to Hilton Head Island Names

Additional Information:

38BU96, 38BU833, 38BU1290

Also see Cotton Hope and Seabrook Plantations

The 1989 work at 38BU96, the outlying slave settlement at Skull Creek Plantation in 1989 revealed the changing role of the site - originally a domestic slave settlement it had become the focus of cottage or other specialized activity.

Trinkley, Chicora Research Series 28, Archaeological Testing at the Stoney/Baynard Plantation, Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina, p.17
(Source material noted 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 leading from the creek bank.  The site 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.   These two sites are about 1 1/2 miles north of US 278 in Hilton Head Plantation.

38BU1290 is along Skull Creek.  The area is heavily damaged by previous grubbing activities.  Artifacts are sparse and the area is not recommended for the National Register

Martha Stoney married Thomas Henry Barksdale, born 1795, who was only thirty-six when he died in August 1832.   His estate was administered by Martha's uncle, Col. Alexander Lawton.  It included Skull Creek Plantation with 1820 acres and 156 slaves.  There were no Barksdale children so Thomas Henry's relatives contested Martha being sole inheritor. Three of them won handsome cash settlements which necessitated the auctioning off of Skull Creek Plantation with its residence, furnishings and slaves.  The plantation contained lands later known as Cotton Hope and Seabrook Plantations.   Some of these Seabrook lands were formally owned by the Ladson, Talbird, Fyler, Currel, Conyers and Wallis families.

Peeples, Tales of Ante Bellum Hilton Head Island Families, p. 9

It is likely that Barksdale relied on indigo as the cash crop.

Adams, p.

Alexander J. Lawton was administrator for Thomas Henry Barksdale's estate in 1832.   He employed Peter Boughton to 'take charge' of the plantation in 1835.   In 1839 he paid $20 to "George Edwards for hire of his servant one month to guard Skull Creek Plantation".

Chicora Research Series 13, Archaeological Testing of Six Sites on Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina, p. 33

"It appears, however, that Pope's dream of wealth from cotton monoculture was just that...an unfulfilled hope.  Pope was relatively unsuccessful at agriculture, although his inventory indicates that he was a wealthy, if not successful, Hilton Head planter." 

Chicora Research Contribution 73, Archaeological Survey of Parcel 9, Hilton Head Plantation, Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina, p. 6



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