While at the Magnolia Plantation we took a tour of the row of former slave homes. These five white “duplexes” are the remaining original homes of the slaves who worked on the plantation. Our very informed tour guide told us much about the slave culture at this particular plantation right before the Civil War. The Drayton family (direct descendants of whom still own the plantation, 300 years after it was established) relied heavily on slave labor to run their plantation, as did so much of the South. These were built to house 10-12 people on each side, with a shared chimney and little else. The family culture among the slaves was incredibly strong and loyalty, even to the plantation owners, was a priority. Unlike the chain gangs used elsewhere, this plantation used a system where a head slave (mentioned in my previous post) would delegate tasks based on another slave’s particular talents and maybe even interests. This hierarchy involved more trust and responsibility and allowed the slaves to acquire more skills.
The homes were occupied, even after the slaves were freed, by servants and caretakers, some of whom are direct descendants of the slave who walked five days to find the master after the Union soldiers burned the plantation to the ground. They are being uniquely preserved, with one side being restored to one of five different time periods and the other merely preserved, so that visitors can see the originall, very old boards, bricks, etc. and then on the other side of the same building, see what it might have looked like when it was lived in. This was a restored side.
This is the 300-year-old grandpa Live Oak tree. It was GIANT! We learned that many Revolutionary War ships were made from these live oak trees—the massive branches were used for the ship’s “ribs”.
This is the slave school—I was surprised to learn that Mr. Drayton saw such value in education that he thought it was important that the slaves be taught to read and write, so he provided a school and tutors for them.
Our last stop before we left the plantation—the Swamp!! (She wasn’t actually worried, just acting .)
The musicians for our tour…
The green stuff surrounding their “island” is called duckweed (looks like algae) and it completely covers the foot or two of water throughout the swamp.
We saw this guy sunning himself, covered in green goo. There was only a flimsy wire mesh between us and the water he was in, but thankfully he was pretty far out there. No one around here seems worried about the gators, say they aren’t aggressive toward people, but when I heard they bite with 3000 pounds of force, can run 10 mph, and many points on the path there was nothing between us and the water, and almost no one else walking around the swamp, I did get a bit skittish.
Apparently she did too. (Not really…again, acting. )
Back at the campground, it was time to sort all the shells we had acquired at the beach in order to pick the ONE we could each bring with us. It took until dark, and even then it was tough to part with them.
We didn’t know what to do with all the shells. Throwing them away just seemed wrong. Leaving them there for the next campers didn’t seem quite right, and taking them with us just wasn’t an option. But—then we remembered that we had seen the front walk of the registration office at the campground was landscaped with seashells instead of rock. On our way out we checked at the office and they were happy to let us leave our shells with them to add to their landscaping. So if you are ever at the Oak Plantation Campground in Charleston, look for the seashells we brought there from Myrtle Beach!
Off to Georgia we are!