The Benjamin Simons
| In the account of Orange
Quarter, mention was made of the grants of land in the vicinity to
Benjamin Simons, the immigrant ancestor of that family. These
included 100 acres in 1697 and 350 acres in 1?04 which are considered to
be part of Middleburg Plantation. A map prepared in 1913 by
Judge H. A. M. Smith and. published in Volume 18 of The South
Carolina Historical Mugctzine shows the lands along the Eastern Branch
of the Cooper River, Middleburg is shown on the River; next to Pompion
Hill Church. East of it are Longwood Plantation (the 17th. Century-Ponkin
Hill Plantation), and a small part of Quenby; on the south are the Club
House tract, "The Camp" of Daniel Lesesne, and the Samuel Simons tract
which was originally granted to de la Motte; on the west are Camp Vere
and a back end of The Blessing.
| Judge Srnith calls Middleburg
"the starting place of the Simons family," and states that the above mentioned
1697 warrant for land is the first recorded reference to Benjamin Simons,
who is not mentioned in any of the Huguenot lists. The name of the Plantation
is said to have come from "Middleburg," an ancient provincial capital of
Holland. Mr. John Gibbs of Charleston, whose interest in Pompion Hill Church
and connection with Middleburg reminds me that the first Benjamin Simons,
like so many of the Huguenots in London, had nothing and, as a child, was
taken into their family by Josias DuPre and his wife, Martha, with their
"three sons and two daughters."
| Benjamin Simons was married
in 1692 to Mary Esther DuPre daughter of his benefactors.
| According to the Simons family
records as copied by A. S. Salley, fourteen children were born to this
first Benjamin Simons and when he died on August 18, 1717, he left to his
youngest son, Benjamin, 1,545 acres which made up Middleburg at that time.
Judge Smith states that. this included the 100 acres originally granted
to Nicholas de Longuemare in 1693/4,220 acres of a grant to John Aunant
in 1703, 305 acres granted Simons in 1704 and 875 acres of a grant to him
| He recieved a number of grants
in this section and accumlated a large estate.
| The second Benjamin Simons was
married twice, and of his fifteen children thirteen were living at the
time of his death in 1772. The acreage of Middleburg had increased
to 1659 acres and it became the property of Benjamin the third, who had
married Catherine Chicken. He added to Middleburg until it contained
3,342 acres of which he sold the Camp Vere tract to John Bryan in 1785.
| When Benjamin the third died
in 1789; the 2,599 acres then remaining in the place went to his three
daughters. Lydia, Mrs. Jonathan Lucas, received 774 acres including the
house and most of the waterfront. Catherine, the wife of William Hort,
received 768 acres of pineland and the remainder of the waterfront. This
was referred to as Simons Ville but took the popular name of "Horts." Mary,
Mrs. David Maybank, received 1,056 acres of pineland and inland rice land,
which was known as "Smoky Hill."
| "Horts" and "Smoky HiII" were
owned for a time by John Bryan and were conyeyed in 1843 to W illiam J.
Ball, and the Lucas part was added tothe others when John Coming Ball acquired
all three parts of the 2,599 acres that had been owned by the third Benjamin
| The nearest possible dating
of the construction of the Middleburg house is found in the Bible record
of the birth of the children. As copied by Mr. A. S. Salley, the record
states that .the fourth child was born in December, 1697 in the house of
"Maptica" but that "the fifth child is a girl born on Tuesday, 2lst. of
April, 1699, at 6 o'clock in the evening in the house at Middleburg Plantation:"
| The house is credited
with being the oldest surviving wooden dwelling house in South Carolina.
The house is very simple with hipped roof and clapboarded walls and the
original part followed the single line of three rooms. Projecting into
the original rooms are the heavy corner posts and girts reminiscent of
the century in which it was constructed. The porches and exterior rooms
are considered l8th. century additions. This early example of the "single
house" used local materials and took advantage of any breeze by placement
of doors and windows.
| A large Crepe Myrtle and the
"Allee" of large Japonica trees have received national notice. In May,
1970, Secretary of the Interior, Walter J. Hickel announced that Middleburg
was among nine buildings in South Carolina eligible for designation as
national historic landmarks, which fact had been recognized by Harold Ikes
in the 1930's.
| Until recent years Middleburg continued
in the possession of descendants of the builder. During the long ownership
of Mrs. Edward von Siebold Dingle, the Dingles made their home at Middleburg
and Mr. Dingle achieved fame there as a painter of our Berkeley County
Information and Article from
"Historic Ramblin's Through
written by and used with permission
Mr. J. Russell Cross