Mexico, Peru, and Ophir
by Mr. F. M. Kirk  
 
     Only one male Porcher lives in Berkeley County today where an old slave is said to have declared them "a mighty nation." The sole survivor, in Berkeley, of the emigrant Dr. Isaac Porcher, who came to Carolina about the time of the Revocation of Nantes, is the son of Percival Ravenel Porcher who with his brother, Isaac de Cherigny Porcher, was the last of the pure-bred Huguenots. 
     The Porchers were remarkable for their ability to accumulate lands and to make fortunes from those holdings. Among the many plantations in Berkeley owned by members of the family were Mexico, Peru, Ophir, Sarazins, Cedar Spring and Walworth. The families, as were others of that time, were known by their plantations. There were, for example, the "Ophir Porchers," the "Walworth Porchers," etc. In addition to their plantations the Huguenot descendants had extensive holdings in other counties and in the City of Charleston.  
     It is of the first three of these plantations and Tiverton and Fair Springs that this is written. So successful were the agricultural pursuits on lands settled by the Porchers and so extensive their fortunes that Mexico, Peru, and Ophir were named for those places that signified great wealth. Each plantation lived up to its name. Peter Porcher, more popularly known as "Peter Porcher of Peru," grandson of the emigrant, was born July 8, 1726, owned and named the three plantations and resided at Peru. His sons settled the other places. Of the plantations mentioned only Mexico and Peru, in St. Stephen's Parish and Walworth, now in Orangeburg  County, survive the inundation of  Santee Cooper.   
     On Mexico, bordering the old Santee Canal near the beautifully built locks that are still visible, are the remains of embankments built to protect rich lands from the freshets of the Santee, said to be the finest engineering accomplishment in the southeast. The embankment was commenced in 1817 by Samuel Porcher, son of Peter of Peru. It was more than four miles in length, thirty-feet wide at the base, and nine feet in height. It partially enclosed more than thirteen hundred acres. Mexico was the home of Mazyck Porcher, son of Samuel, and was burned by General Hartwell during the Civil War. Mazyck Porcher known as the "last of the Carolina Bourbons", was immortalized by the late Yates Snowden in a poem entitled "A Carolina Bourbon." 
     Tiverton, on U. S. Highway 52 a few miles north of Monck's Corner, was formerly known as Tippycutlaw, an Indian name. The place was purchased in 1805 by Philip Porcher, who changed the name to Tiverton Lawn.   
     Fair Spring, now beneath the waters of Lake Moultrie, was cut off from Woodboo Plantation to furnish a homestead for Robert Mazyck. On it was found that valuable marsh known to agriculturists as "Green Sand."  The place before the inundation was called Fair Spring, because of a beautiful crystal spring. The Huguenots euphoniously called it "Belle Fontaine."
 
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