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Northampton Plantation

Location: Berkeley Co., SC
Constructed: 1716

History: Northampton, located some two miles west of Black Oak Church now the locks of the old canal, is now the property of A. M. Barnes and Clarence Dillon, of New York city. It was purchased a few years ago from the late Percival Ravenel Porcher, a descendant of the original St. Julien owners. Peter, the eldest son of the emigrant Pierre de St. Julien de Malacare, willed the place to his sister, Elizabeth, wife of General William Moultrie. Apparently, therefore, the tract was secured by the emigrant St. Julien or by his son, Peter, around 1700. The house, a square building with half story of massive brick walls, was built about 1716 by, it is thought, Benjamin, grandson of the emigrant. Benjamin, dying without issue, Northampton reverted to his father, and then to Elizabeth.

The Revolution ruined many planters of St. John's. With the removal of the bounty from indigo, the planters had no staple crop. Cautiously, at first they turned to cotton as a money crop. It was General Moultrie who first in South Carolina attempted cotton on a large scale on his plantation at Northampton. As early as 1748 a shipment of cotton had been exported from Charleston. The cultivation of the crop grew slowly, however, and it was not until towards the close of the century that it became a financial success. In 1788 Kinsey Burden raised the first crop of long cotton in South Carolina on his lands in St. Paul's Parish. Five years later, in 1793, General Moultrie made the first experiment on a large scale by planting one hundred and fifty acres of Northampton to long cotton. Probably because of his inexperience in the cultivation of the crop, the experiment was a complete financial failure. From that time, however, the movement spread rapidly. Five years later, in upper St. John's, Captain Peter Gaillard, of The Rocks, and Captain James Sinkler, of Belvidere, were averaging better than two hundred pounds per acre for which they received seventy-five cents per pound.

General Moultrie's son, who inherited the place, died at an early age, unmarried. At his death Northampton was sold. Subsequently, it has changed hands a number of times. Henry W. Ravenel, the botanist, son of Dr. Henry W. Ravenel of Pooshee, purchased the place from Theodore S. DuBose and lived there until he moved to the upper part of the state. It was later bought by Henry Le Noble Stevens, a nephew of Dr. Ravenel of Pooshee.

Northampton house burned in 1842. The upper story was destroyed, but the fortress like walls of the half-story were undamaged and the house was soon restored with no serious loss. The house is now in beautiful repair. Surrounded by its numerous outbuildings, all snow-white, and its yard, planted to Italian rye grass during the winter, it presents an ante bellum look. Northampton and the several adjoining plantations comprise the hunting preserve of the present owners.

Associated Surnames: Moultrie, Ravenel, St. Julien

Associated Plantations: Pooshee Plantation (Berkeley Co., SC)

Associated Free White Names

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Description of Associated Architecture