Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stoney-Baynard Plantation


Ghosts of its former owners are said to haunt the tabby ruins of the Stoney-Baynard Plantation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Parts of the plantation house and slave quarters stand in the deep shade amidst huge oaks draped with hanging moss that add to the eerie atmosphere, even in the light of day.

The house was built by Captain Jack Stoney in the 1790s. He and his wife arrived in South Carolina from Ireland in 1774 in Stoney's own merchant ship, the "Saucy Jack." He participated in the American Revolutionary War as a privateer, acquired a sizable fortune in the process, and purchased the 1,000-acre Braddock Point plantation in 1776.

With the help of slave laborers, Stoney began construction on the plantation overlooking Calibogue (pronounced cal-ah-bogie) Sound in 1793.


Captain Stoney was killed in a hunting accident on the island in 1821. His son inherited the plantation and then, legend has it, lost it in a poker game to William Baynard in 1840. It's a good story but more likely he bought it from a Charleston bank. Baynard and his wife raised four children there.


The 1850 South Carolina Agriculture Census shows that the plantation produced 36 bales of cotton (a bale of long staple cotton weighed between 300 and 400 pounds), 1,000 bushels of corn, 500 bushels of peas, 1,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, and 350 pounds of butter.

Crops and animals were valued at $12,000, a lot of money in 1850 dollars.

This tabby foundation is what is left of the foundation of slave quarters. Called "double pen quarters," it housed two families of domestic slaves, who worked in the plantation house and kitchen, in 336 square feet.

The family owned 129 slaves but less than 20 would have been "house slaves". The slave quarters were over-crowded, hot and damp.



Union forces invaded Hilton Head Island in 1861 and the Baynards fled. The residence was raided and served as Union headquarters during the Civil War before being burned. The tabby foundations of the slave quarters became foundations for the platforms of the soldiers' tents.


Over the years, visitors claim to have seen the ghost of William Baynard and even his entire funeral procession wandering the site after dark. I won't be hanging around to find out. The mosquitoes were bad enough in the middle of the day!


  1. Cynthia very interesting post. I have seen a lot of film about the South part of US were slaves had to work very hard

  2. An interesting insight into life on the plantation. Those mosquitoes must be a real pain.

  3. Very informative account, Cynthia.
    For such a young country but far older (settlement wise by Europeans) than Australia,
    "The South" brings ups some very interesting stories.
    I find it still hard to fathom out whey Union troops were there in 1861 and so close to
    major Southern cities of importance - Charleston, Savannah and even Atlanta!
    More so for the full duration of the Civil war!! Is there some historical book on this
    subject???? I do love my historical facts.

    Bloody mosquitoes!!! I was told when I visited Charleston, SC that from these paddy fields
    mosquitoes rake havoc!
    PS: Again another un-August day, cloudless, windless, warm and sunny.
    Pity I have another useless afternoon at that bloody
    hospital for tests - they better give answers this time - 18 months is a long time to "fiddle"
    and totally annoy me. No results from their examinations this time and I am pulling the bloody
    plug on them.

  4. It's hard to imagine the conditions at that time. I wouldn't survive very long.

  5. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  6. That is such an interesting history in the southern states. A sad history too. It is a shame that so many of those beautiful plantation mansions were burned and destroyed.

  7. Such a shame that the buildings could not have been restored, but also understand why that would be difficult. Certainly difficult times, whilst I would love to visit I am not so keen on the mosquitoes.

  8. Another very interesting story. Interesting contrast of life those times. Sad of course but it's history.

    I actually like hearing/reading ghost stories but I never wish to see one or even get to the place where it is said to be seen.

  9. I liked to read the story about the plantation and the wandering ghost of the owner. Who knows on a dark night you can see strange things perhaps....

  10. What a beautiful home it was. Very interesting facts and story...
    Thanks for taking the time/researching, visiting to share with us..

  11. I've always wanted to go here. Thanks for showing me.

    Thanks for coming by to visit.

  12. Interesting! Some ghosts are friendly...but I would avoid the skeeters:)

  13. Thank you for the informative link on the Union Army position and reason to retain these coastal ports
    in the South.

    1. My God - it flew up before I was finished????
      Maybe the "spirit of Abe Lincoln" had something to do with this????
      I read the whole lot VERY CAREFULLY.

  14. Imagine having to live in those confined slave quarters. Life was tough.