Colleton County – Part 1
"We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage." - Teddy Roosevelt
The drive from Charleston to Walterboro is a peaceful, green drive once you escape the hustle and bustle of the West Ashley area, which now is home to some of the most fantastically awful traffic in the Charleston area. Three cheers for growth. But if you can exercise some patience for the Highway 17 South congestion and make your way to the Charleston Highway (SC-64) towards Walterboro, it’s well worth the drive. Heading down 17 South, crossing over the Edisto River, and taking a right onto SC-64 West is like taking a step back in time in a way. It's an established, preserved route lined by oaks and pines, creeks, hunt clubs, and the occasional low country swamp. It's a reminder that there is quiet and a simpler life beyond the traffic and pace of the city.
There’s a lot of history preserved in Colleton County, and I took the opportunity on one of my visits to our Walterboro office to take a few detours and check out a few of the historical sites with my dad riding shotgun and providing directional support. Although I have traveled to Walterboro several time in the past, I had never taken time to slow down and understand its history - but it seemed as good a time as any to learn about the communities in Colleton County that our agency supports!
Our first stop was the burial site of Colonel Isaac Hayne on what was once Hayne Hall Plantation in Jacksonborough, formerly St. Paul's parish. Thankfully it was on an early morning in late April when we made the stop so it wasn't blazing hot just yet, but you could feel the humidity trying to creep in, making its best attempt to push us into those famed hot and humid summers a little early this year. Just the thought of it always makes me wonder how anyone ever survived working the plantations in the heat and humidity of the South in those long summer months...
Isaac Hayne was born in South Carolina in 1745 and became a wealthy rice planter, owning plantations in both Beaufort and Colleton counties. In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, the British captured Hayne. He was eventually released on parole to Hayne Hall, however in 1781 the British demanded all parolees return to Charleston to take an oath to the 'Crown'. Isaac Hayne took the oath, but remained a patriot to his country and refused to fight with the British. He was commissioned as a Colonel for the American militia, and while leading a successful mission was captured and imprisoned at the provost dungeon in the Charleston Exchange Building, which still stands today in downtown Charleston. On August 4, 1781, after marching down Broad Street through the protests of his execution to White Point, Isaac Hayne was hanged for treason. For those ghost story lovers out there, many say that you can still hear his footsteps in the dungeon where he was incarcerated as well as his footsteps marching down Broad Street where a woman who was thought to be either his sister or sister-in-law had cried out to him to return, to which he replied (as the story goes), "I will if I can."
Colonel Isaac Hayne instantly became a martyr of the Revolutionary War. His execution ignited a patriotism within South Carolina’s army and they eventually pushed the British out within the year. Hayne was returned to his home at Hayne Hall Plantation where he is buried along with several other family members; his grave marker is inscribed with the following:
“In life a soldier of his Country; In death a martyr to her sacred cause; His memory an undying inspiration to his fellow countrymen; His monument the freedom of his Native Land.”
A lot of history in this quiet little spot off SC-64 West…
Stay tuned for more of my visit to some of the beautiful spots in Colleton County.
- Sarah Lowndes
All photos: © Lowndes Photography