Jehossee Island’s history in South Carolina
preservation-admin , March 15, 2021
Enter: Jehossee Island — an uninhabited, unoccupied + undisturbed former rice plantation located on the Edisto River. The area has potential to contribute to the modern understanding of pre-Civil War rice cultivation in the Lowcountry.
The Preservation Society of Charleston is currently working with others to document Jehossee Island and secure funding for the stabilization + preservation of at-risk structures on the land.
History behind the land
- One of the most productive rice plantations in the south with one of the largest enslaved populations
- Prominent planter families owned 4,000+ acres in the 18th and 19th centuries
- Owned by the Drayton family between 1776-1824
- Gov. William Aiken Jr. began ownership in 1830
- Relied on major canals, fields, berms, dikes, rice trunks + a brick chimney
- Relied on the labor of 700-1,200 enslaved people between the 1830s-1860s
- Site included 84 wood-frame houses, a church, a hospital, a store + more
What still stands today
- Ruin of the chimney used for rice cultivation
- 1830s overseer’s house
- Portions of brick foundations of former buildings
- Most of the landscape remains unaltered
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now owns Jehossee Island, and there is potential for the study of resources above + below ground on the land. Learn more about the history and ways to help sustain and protect the historic island here.