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
| 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."