"Following where my camera leads me!"

"Following where my camera leads me!"

Friday, May 31, 2019

Walking the Plantation

I spent  my birthday last week trampling all over one of our area's old plantations. This is one of my very favorite things to do

Let's go in, shall we?
The small lakes on each side of me are the "Butterfly Lakes", named because they are the shape of butterfly wings.

Built in 1705 on the banks of the south flowing Ashley River, this plantation has been home to and under the care of the Middleton family for over 300 years now. When Henry Middleton married Mary Williams in 1741, he received ownership, as Mary's dowry was the three story tall home and over 2,000 acres which they would name Middleton Place. 
(below) Henry Middleton, born 1717 on a plantation near Charleston called "The Oaks":

Additions were built onto the family home around 1755, two 2-story free standing "flankers", one on each side.

Henry and Mary had seven children, I believe.
Arthur, Henrietta, Hester, Sarah, and Susannah.  I only found five while researching. Another source said they had eleven or twelve children and seven lived to adulthood. Maybe some were stillborn or died young, not sure.
Children I found pictures for.....
Mary passed away in 1761, she was only forty  years old. A year after that, Henry re-married, to Maria Henrietta Bull. Henry eventually owned over twenty plantations and close to 900 slaves.

Quiet, sun dappled roads take us on an adventure

One can almost hear the carriages approaching....are those horse hooves I hear?........

This is how people came and went in those long ago days----this was the "road" to go places, and also where people landed who came to visit the Middleton family. The original home had a big ballroom up on the second floor, and I'm sure this wealthy and distinguished family hosted many a ball there. I can imagine the ladies in their long swooshy skirts swirling about the shiny dance floor. How hot it must've been on summer and Fall evenings! Maybe a string quartet played lively music and maybe the ladies fluttered pretty fans to attempt to cool down.

Most of the house was burned to the ground by the Union troops towards the end of the Civil War. The south wing and some of the walls of the north wing survived. The main house and the north wing crashed down in the big earthquake of 1886.

the Middleton men included:
Henry--who married Mary, was the Second president of the First Continental Congress
Arthur, Henry's son. Was a signer of the Declaration of Independence
Henry (second Henry)--Governor of South Carolina
and his son--Williams who was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession several years before the Civil War broke out.

Look at the size of this tree!

Us Southern ladies....we love our big hats! LOL

yes, because they are big and PRETTY....but they also serve an important purpose.....not only do they protect us from the SUN.....but from the pesky little VARMITS known as mosquitoes and NO-SEE-UMS.

Elegant swans enjoy a day on the sparkling Reflection Pool

Searching for the "Wood Nymph" statue
Yes! I think I see it, over there!
of course, Tansy had to jump into the picture! LOL

The white marble statue is one of the few that were owned by the family that made it through the Civil War. I think they said this one was found buried on the property.
this Middleton turtle is enjoying a sunny day and nice cold water!

I think this is the "Middleton Oak".  It's about 40 feet around, and over 85 feet tall.

The azaleas and camellias were done blooming during our visit. The trees and bushes are pruned into lovely green walls and some of the camellia allees  have grown into arches which form tunnels you can walk through.
(below)---my postcards show what it looks like when the azaleas are in bloom
Does the scene below look familiar to anyone?--they said this was where scenes from the movie "The Patriot" were filmed. The second photo at the top of this post shows me standing right at the top of these terraces, looking over the water.

I read that thousands of azaleas were planted here in the 1920s and 1930s.
In 1786 a French botanist named Andre Michaux brought the first Camellias to the Middleton family, the very first to be planted in America. I think one or two of those ORIGINAL ones are still living here! To me that is so amazing.

There are many pretty gardens to discover here. Middleton is America's oldest landscaped gardens. There are secret gardens, a sunken garden, rolling terraces ,butterfly lakes, rose gardens, etc.
Here is the Sundial Garden:

The original gardens were laid out in a very precise geometric manner, heavily influenced by fancy and formal English and French gardens.

Carriages in the stable yard area:

Carolina Gold rice, sown, cultivated, and harvested in the Fall by slaves, brought great wealth to the Middleton family. (Because of the climate and being close to the river, the rice thrived here.)They also grew cotton and indigo and harvested sugar cane to make cane syrup.
this is Arthur
He is a Resident Cat and came over and insisted I pet him

Slaves spun wool and cotton  into yarn.

The Middleton slaves also took care of all the animals, including water buffalo, sheep, goats, horses and hogs.  They built the big rice field trunks which raised and lowered the gates to flood the rice fields.  Enslaved blacksmiths made hoops, hinges, nails,  farm equipment, tools, wagon tires, plows, hoes, rice hooks, etc. Slaves made soap, fabric to make clothing, and candles. Slaves were the cooks, the laundresses, and the maids.

hello, Mr. Gator!

Next we discovered this little secret garden with with beautiful statues called "the Four Seasons". 
I'm looking at her....she's looking at me.............LOL!

Is she Summer? We thought so, because of the flowers.

love the detail on the marble!!

Isn't she beautiful?

This one is Winter, right? see how she is shivering
There was NO SHIVERING going on for us this day, it was a hot and humid day.  We try to keep hiking and walking much as we can during the heat of the summer months. We carry water and I freeze damp face wipes in the freezer, and then put them into a zipper bag with ice cubes and carry it with us. When I get sweaty...it feels WONDERFUL to pull those out for my face, wrists,  and neck!  It's not too bad yet but we did hit 100 this weekend.

This is the Mill Pond bridge:
About ten years before the Civil War, a creek that flowed into the Ashley River was dammed up to make the pond. Water flowing in from the tide's daily changes and ebb and flow powered the mill's underwater turbine.
The old spring house. Milk and other dairy items were plunged into the ice cold water deep under the spring house, keeping things nice and cold. Can you imagine having to go down to the spring house to get your cream and butter? We are very used to our modern conveniences such as freezers, refrigerators and washing machines.
the upper floor served as a chapel for slaves until the Civil War

and who do we have here? Hello there, Mr. Peacock!
pretty boy, handsome boy, pretty boy, handsome boy........

His vibrantly colored feathers trail behind him
pretty pretty pretty.......I just kept sweet talking him...........until he poofed up those magnificent feathers for me! LOL

Big strong horses being led to the night pasture. The costumed artisans here really add to the atmosphere of life so many years ago

Lovely white lilies in bloom, enjoying the shade!
Family tomb and burial area:

I enjoyed learning about the plantation's history. What amazing stories this place could tell. It has survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the big earthquake of 1886.
The rubble remained for many years after the War and during Reconstruction. Around 1916, a Middleton family descendant John Pringle Smith and his wife Heningham started to restore things and to re-build the beautiful gardens. Ancient bricks salvaged from the original main house were used to construct  the barn and stables we saw here. In the 1970s, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hurricane Hugo took out over 300 big beautiful trees back in 1989.
so much to learn from history........