Chronology of Hilton Head Island

A summary of memorable dates and events from 1520 to 1983 of the Common Era

1520 (Aug. 18) In the name of Lucas Vasquea de Ayllon, Goberner, Pedro de Quexes discovered "Punta de Santa Helena" (Hilton Head Island).
1562 Jean Ribault, representing Gaspard, Comte de Coligny, Admiral of France, leader of the Huguenot party, entered Port Royal Sound, which he then named.
1663 (March) King Charles II, King of England, granted Carolina to eight Lords Proprietors.
1663 (Sept. 28) Captain William Hilton, exploring the Carolina coast at the behest of planters of Barbados, reached the Island, giving his name to the headland, a mariners' landmark for safely entering Port Royal Sound from the Atlantic Ocean.
1666 Dr. Henry Woodward was put ashore here by Captain Robert Sandford as the first permanent English settler.
1670 Charles Town was settled.
1684 Yamassee Indians occupied Hilton Head Island at the invitation of Henry Erskine, Lord Cardross.
1696 Spanish fleet destroyed Cardross' settlement on Port Royal Island.
1698 Hilton Head Island, except for land fronting Port Royal Sound, was granted by the Lords Proprietors to Landgrave John Bayley of Ballinclough, County Tipperary, Ireland.
1715 (April) Yamassee Indians expelled by Governor Craven.
1717 (Dec. 10) Colonel John Barnwell was granted 1500 acres which would become Myrtle Bank and Fish Hall Plantations (Proprietary Land Grant).
1762 (May 7) Only Royal Land Grant: to Edmund Ellis and Samuel Green what would become Coggins Point Plantation.
1767 St. Luke's Parish created by South Carolina General Assembly.
1781 (Oct. 22) Revolutionary War Ambush: Private Charles Davant was killed by British Royal Militia Captain Phillip Martinangele of Daufuskie.
1781 (December) South Carolina Militiamen commanded by Captain John Leacraft, calling themselves "the Bloody Legion," killed Captain Martinangele and his brother Abraham on Daufuskie Island.
1783 Dr. George Mosse had Bayley holdings on Hilton Head Island surveyed; he divided 14,924 acres into 47 land lots for sale.
1788 Zion Chapel of Ease was built by Captain Jack Stoney and Isaac Fripp.
1790 William Elliott grew the first crop of long-stapled Sea Island cotton on Myrtle Bank Plantation.
1793 (Feb. 27) Captain James Stoney married Elizabeth Mosse.
1821 Captain John Stoney died in a hunting accident at Fish Hall; his son Captain James Stoney inherited 5400 acres of Hilton Head Island.
1826 Captain James Stoney of Otterburn Plantation died; his only son, Dr. George Mosse Stoney (1795-1854), inherited his entire estate except for the 1820-acre Callibogia Plantation (the Island's only rice plantation) which was inherited by his only daughter, Martha Sarah Stoney who married Thomas Henry Barksdale (1795-1842) of 2600-acre Scull Creek Plantation and (2) 1836 Rev. Joseph A. Lawton of St. Peter's Parish.
1860 (December) South Carolina seceded from the United States of America.
1861 (Nov. 7) Hilton Head Island was surrendered by Confederate forces following the Battle of Port Royal.
1861 (Nov. 22) Hilton Head Island was renamed Port Royal, South Carolina.
1861 (Nov. 22) Port Royal, SC was designated Headquarters, Department of the South, U.S. Army with General Thomas West Sherman as Commanding General.
1862 (September) General Ormsby McKnight Mitchel succeeded General Sherman in command of the Department of the South. Fort Mitchel on Skull Creek is named for General Mitchel. (The battlements of Fort Mitchel in Hilton Head Plantation next to the Old Fort Pub are open to the public and may be visited.)
1862 The first self-governed, freed-slave community, Mitchelville, was founded on Hilton Head Island.
1863 (Jan. 1) Emancipation Proclamation.
1863 (Jan. 1) U.S. Direct Tax Commission confiscated all Hilton Head Island land and began selling same, mostly to speculators.
1865 (May 15) Confederate President Jefferson Davis was brought to Hilton Head Island for transfer to Fortress Monroe in Virginia.
1872 Redemption Act enabled some planters to reclaim their lands.
1880 Will P. Clyde began buying Island plantations for a hunting preserve.
1931 Landon K. Thorne and Alfred L. Loomis bought two-thirds of the Island for a hunting preserve.
1950 The Hilton Head Company was organized.
1953 S.C. Highway Service ferry service to the Island began.
1956 James F. Byrnes Bridge was opened. Sea Pines Company was organized.
1961 (Oct. 1) Hilton Head Island Historical Society organized.
1964 (Dec. 24) First Service in St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Pope Avenue.
1969 (November) First Heritage Classic Golf Tournament was won by Arnold Palmer.
1983 (August) Town of Hilton Head Island was incorporated.

by the Rev. Dr. Robert E. H. Peeples

South Carolina Genealogy & History Library

The Heritage Library Foundation
852 William Hilton Parkway | 2nd FloorSuite A-2
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29928
p. 843.686.6560 | f. 843.686-6506