Charleston

Trip Start Oct 04, 2007
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Trip End Feb 03, 2008


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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our first port of call today was the Boone Hall Plantation. 
We were disappointed to discover that the house had been built in the 1930s - way too young to be considered a real Plantation house, even if it is on land that is still deemed to be a working plantation.  We suspect that more income is derived from tourism than from farming with restoration of the dependencies being "work in progress".  But it did have an example of a Slave Street. Apparently there were originally 27 slave cabins in 3 rows along the drive to the original house, which was where the new house now is.  These cabins were built in plain view of the main drive for visitors to see the manifestation of the owner's wealth - so many valuable slaves showed great wealth.  These cabins were for the skilled slaves, those who worked in the house or who were builders, etc.  Field slaves (considered less skilled) lived in housing near the fields, their place of work.  We learned that there were two methods for employing slaves: task or gang.  Slaves on rice plantations were given task work.  This meant that they were given a set of tasks to complete each day and, when they were finished their time was their own.  They could even work elsewhere and earn some money.  Some slaves managed to buy their freedom this way.  Whereas slaves on cotton plantations where the work was constant and required less skill, were set to work at sunup and stopped usually at sundown, or when the overseer deemed they'd done enough.  
At this place we listened to a talk about Gullah (the language the blacks developed to communicate among themselves) and even heard an example of it.   







  In the afternoon we went to Middleton Place, another Plantation.  There were originally three houses but two were totally destroyed by the Union forces.  After The War or the War of Northern Aggression (as the locals sometimes call the Civil War) the owner restored the least destroyed home and lived in that.  Middleton Place had especially beautiful gardens which were designed along the lines of those at Versailles.  There were people demonstrating old crafts in the dependencies.  The carpenter was especially interesting - he was originally from England and looked as though he had practiced his craft all his life. 

We made it back in time for a late afternoon tea but skipped dinner for a very early night in our high, extremely comfortable king-sized bed.
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