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Pawleys Island was settled in the early 1700s by families
of rice planters who owned plantations on the nearby rivers.
They escaped to the beach during summer months, begin-
ning May, for health concerns and didn't return to the main-
land until the first frost in November. Although they didn't
know about malaria in the 1700s, they did know enough to
get away.
Today, along the streets of Pawleys Island, 12 historic
homes remain that date back to the 1700s and mid 1800s.
Historical markers depict location of these homes.
The Ward House/Liberty Lodge is one of the oldest in
Pawleys that stands on land once owned by rice planter
Joshua J. Ward (1800-1853) who was lt. governor of South
Carolina 1850-1852. The house has hand-hewn sills and
joists and mortise and tenon joints.
LaBruce/Lemon House was built on 10 acres in 1858
and was owned by a successful rice planter in All Saints
Parish. Local tradition states the property has two small
dwellings that were slave cabins.
All Saints Academy House was built in 1838-1848 by
All Saints Academy for the summer residence of headmas-
ter Robert F.W. Allston, governor of South Carolina in
1856-58. It was damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but
was restored.
Another landmark home is the Nesbit/Norburn House
built in 1842 and owned by Robert Nesbit (1799-1848) a
native of Scotland and a rice planter who owned Caledonia
And let's not forget the culture of those who planted
the rice and were caretakers of Low Country planta-
tions...the Gullah.
The Gullah are African Americans who live in the
Low Country region of South Carolina and Georgia which
include the coastal plains and the Sea Islands. The Gullah
people are also called Geechee, especially in Georgia.
Gullah storytelling, food ways, music, folk beliefs,
crafts, farming and fishing traditions all exhibit strong
influences from African culture. Tourists can visit the
Gullah Museum off the North Causeway on Waverly Road
and Petigru. It's a must see.
Sightseeing is plentiful all along the mainland of
Pawleys, so don't forget to take the camera and allow plen-
ty of time and days for your adventure.
For starters, lets begin the trek southward on U.S.
Highway 17 toward Georgetown. Just past Hobcaw Barony
on the right side of the highway are two historical markers
of significance. It was at these spots where the Marquis de
Lafayette spent his first night in America, June 14, 1777, at
the home of Benjamin Huger. Lafayette's quest was to
"conquer or perish" in the name of liberty, fighting for the
American cause. And George Washington, on his southern
tour, traveled over by Kings Road on April 27, 1791.
General Washington stayed at the home of Capt. William
Alston on the Clifton Plantation. Clifton was originally a
part of Hobcaw Barony.
Now, turn around and drive back north, traveling a
small distance to Hobcaw. Founded in 1718 on 12,000
acres, today Hobcaw consists of 17,500 acres and is owned
by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation. The land is preserved
for conservation and wildlife research. Prior to its current
structure, Hobcaw consisted of 13 plantations. Stop in at
the welcome center and schedule a tour. You'll be fascinat-
ed. And you just might see a few wild turkey and deer
crossing your path along with a wild pig or two.
Other points of interest are Brookgreen Gardens,
Huntington Beach State Park and Sandy Island, just north
off Highway 17 in the Litchfield community of Pawleys.
Brookgreen was founded in 1931 by Archer and Anna
Hyatt Huntington. The land of 9,000 acres is a National
Historic Landmark and features one of the most spectacu-
lar sculpture gardens in the country.
There are three major events in May and June so mark
your calendars now. Festivities begin with Treasures of the
Tidelands through May 13, Pawleys Pavilion Reunion on
May 12 and Tail Walker Challenge June 7-9. So bring your
sneakers, dance to the Shag and fish till dark.
Following dinner at Austin's, Franks or the Fish
House, end your evening with a quiet stroll on the beach. It
is at this personal moment when you reflect on the day,
absorb nature's wonderful offering, allowing the moon
light to penetrate your soul that makes you feel
alive...South Carolina ALIVE!
Y'all come back!
Dwight E. McKenzie is a 39-year newspaper veteran, most recently
serving as president and publisher of Georgetown Communications, Inc.
and The Times.