Rice to Ruin
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In the 1780s Jonathan Lucas, on a journey from his native England, shipwrecked near the Santee Delta of South Carolina, about forty miles north of Charleston. Lucas, the son of English mill owners and builders, found himself, fortuitously, near vast acres of swamp and marshland devoted to rice cultivation. When the labor-intensive milling process could not keep pace with high crop yields, Lucas was asked by planters to build a machine to speed the process. In 1787 he introduced the first highly successful water-pounding rice mill—creating the foundation of an international rice mill dynasty. In Rice to Ruin, Roy Williams III and Alexander Lucas Lofton recount the saga of the precipitous rise and ultimate fall of that empire.

Lucas's invention did for rice, South Carolina's first great agricultural staple, what Eli Whitney did for cotton with his cotton gin. With his sons Jonathan Lucas II and William Lucas, Lucas built rice mills throughout the lowcountry. Eventually the rice kingdom extended to India, Egypt, and Europe after the younger Jonathan Lucas moved to London to be at the center of the international rice trade.

Their lives were grand until the American Civil War and its aftermath. The end of slave labor changed the family's fortunes. The capital tied up in slaves evaporated; the plantations and town houses had to be sold off one by one; and the rice fields once described as "the gold mines of South Carolina" often failed or were no longer planted. Disease and debt took its toll on the Lucas clan, and, in the decades that followed, efforts to regain the lost fortune proved futile. In the end the once-glorious Carolina gold rice fields that had brought riches left the family in ruin.


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Date de parution 26 mars 2018
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EAN13 9781611178357
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RICE TO RUIN
RICE
TO
RUIN
THE JONATHAN LUCAS FAMILY IN SOUTH CAROLINA 1783-1929
Roy Williams III and Alexander Lucas Lofton

THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA PRESS
2018 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
www.sc.edu/uscpress
27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
can be found at http://catalog.loc.gov/
ISBN: 978-1-61117-834-0 (cloth)
ISBN: 978-1-61117-835-7 (ebook)
To the memory of Harriett Gadsden Lucas Lofton
CONTENTS
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
1 Shipwreck at Cape Romain
2 First Tidal Rice Mill
3 First Rice Toll Mill
4 Mill Builder, Troubleshooter
5 Jonathan Lucas II
6 William Lucas
7 Death of the Patriarch
8 Rice Planter Extraordinaire
9 William Lucas s Charleston Villa
10 Ann Lucas Pearce Venning
11 William Lucas s Expanding Empire
12 Jonathan Lucas II and His Family in England
13 The Children of Jonathan Lucas II
14 Jonathan Lucas III and J. J. Lucas
15 Thomas Bennett Lucas
16 William Lucas s Children
17 Secession-Before and After
18 Benjamin Simons Lucas s Sons-War and Aftermath
19 William Lucas s Progeny at War-Prelude
20 Alexander Lucas into Action
21 Comrades in Arms
22 Beginning of the End and the Fall
23 Attempts to Regain a Lost World
24 Engagement and Courtship of Alexander Lucas
25 Marriage, Rice, and Domestic Concerns
26 Robert Lucas in California
27 Death of Charles Lucas
28 The Frustrations of Robert Lucas
29 Settling a Depleted Estate
30 Pitfalls of the Lucas Genealogy
31 An Heiress Without Her Fortune
32 Robert s Hopes for Janie
33 Brothers Across the Continent
34 Defeat after Defeat
35 A Closing Circle
36 Contrasts within the Family
37 Death, Depression, Decline
38 Into the Abyss
39 Heir Disputes, Final Settlement
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Bibliography
Index
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to thank those who had a role in making the publication of this book possible: Harriett Lucas Lofton (daughter of Alexander Hume Lucas I and Elizabeth Doar Lucas) and her brother Alexander Hume Lucas II saved a large collection of Lucas documents and letters dating back to the post-Revolutionary era deposited at their Wedge Plantation home. These documents and letters were passed on to their children and became the basis for writing this book.
Special appreciation is due to relatives and friends of Alexander Lucas Lofton who gave their support. They include his widow, Sara Morrison Lofton; sisters Elizabeth Lofton and Amy Lofton Moore; daughter Marianne Lofton Allen and her husband, Clyde Allen; daughter Dr. Cathy Lofton Day; daughter-in-law Mrs. Deborah Lofton and her husband, A. L. (Sandy) Lofton Jr.; granddaughter Alexis Bednar; and cousins Thomas Smith Lucas and Beth Fogleman.
Special friends of the Lofton family who gave encouragement for this book include Mary Julia Royall, Agnes Leland Baldwin, Mary Wilcox Horlbeck, Adm. Arthur Manigault Wilcox, William R. Judd, Priestly C. Coker III, Selden B. Hill, Edith Mitchell, Anne Leland Bridges, and Phil and Bambi Werner.
Roy Williams III owes his wife, Bonnie A. Williams, especial thanks for her patience with a recalcitrant computer as she labored over several years to prepare this book for publication in addition to boosting his spirits. His nephew Mark Aaron Williams lent his expertise with computer problems, over and over again helping him solve seemingly intractable problems. Without his considerable help, the book would not have been brought to fruition. To Williams s sister, Mrs. Clark W. Waring, and brother, Dr. R. Michael Williams, he is very grateful for their unfailing support, as he is to Ruth Anne Jonathan Hood for her assistance with the photography.
Williams also offers his appreciation to the many librarians and archivists who assisted him in his search to elaborate, elucidate, and validate the materials in the Lucas Collection. D. Carol Jones, Janice L. Knight, Debbie Fenn, and Robert Salvo of the Charleston Library Society were especially helpful, and the entire staff in the South Carolina Room at the Main Charleston County Public Library were always supportive.
Thanks to Alexander Moore, acquisitions editor at the University of South Carolina Press, who realized the historical importance of the Lucas Family Collections and encouraged this work to be published.
ABBREVIATIONS
AHL
Alexander Humes Lucas, letter written 5-21-1883 in Lucas Family Collections
ALL I
Alexander Lucas Lofton, The Lucases of Haddrells Point (book 1)
ALL II
Alexander Lucas Lofton, The Lucases of Haddrells Point (book 2)
DD
David Doar, Sketch of the Agriculture Society of St. James Santee
DR
Debow s Review , April 1, 1846
EB
Edward Ball, Slaves in the Family
GR
George Rogers, History of Georgetown County
JL
Jonathan (John) Lucas, 1880s list of rice mills his grandfather built, South Carolina Historical Society
JSG
J. S. Glennie, The Particulars of and Sketches Taken during a Voyage to and Journey over the United States of America and Back, 1810-1811
N C
Charleston (S.C.) News and Courier Map of Charleston Harbor, markings by Jonathan (John) Lucas
PM
Petrona McIver, History of Mount Pleasant
SCHM
South Carolina Historical Magazine
SCLGT
Suzanne Cameron Linder and Marta Leslie Thacker, Historical Atlas of the Rice Plantations of Georgetown County and the Santee River
WDL
William D. Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum
1
SHIPWRECK AT CAPE ROMAIN

S hortly after the American Revolution, an Englishman in his early thirties, Jonathan Lucas, * was shipwrecked at Cape Romain near the Santee Delta of South Carolina. Nature s fury could not have brought together more auspiciously on those sandy shoals a problem and its solution, for the young Englishman was destined to transform the rice industry in America.
The shifting sands at Cape Romain are barrier islands, behind which lay acre after acre of cypress river swamps and marsh lands devoted to the cultivation of rice for sale on such a scale that Robert Mills (1781-1855), Charleston native and Washington Monument architect, called them gold mines of the state. After the Revolution the tidal method of rice culture supplanted the inland swamp method, but the extremely successful yields produced a processing bottleneck that Lucas, a millwright, observed as he made his way through the delta.
Lucas pondered the question of how to process the rice speedily as an agricultural predicament needing an industrial solution. The planters confronted a dilemma in which increasingly successful rice crops were hampered by counterproductive, nonmechanical preparation. This son of generations of successful mill owners and builders in western England watched how the grain was milled partly by hand, partly by animal power. The milling processes were tedious, destructive to the laborers, and exhausting to animal power. Lucas identified a problem in the separating of the husks from the grain: planters told him that a slave was lucky to pound out by hand, in wooden mortars with pestles, a bushel to a bushel and a half a day.
He viewed primitive rustic mills turned by animals, which revolved around pecker machines, so named because the pecker struck somewhat like a woodpecker pecking a tree. This was the simplest and probably the earliest type of rice mill used in South Carolina. The cog mill, in which upright pestles were driven by a horizontal cog wheel, was the second type. Lucas calculated that three to six barrels of rice per day was the maximum yield from these two types of animal-powered mills. *


FIG . 1. Cape Romain, St. James Santee Parish, South Carolina, where Jonathan Lucas was shipwrecked. Lucas Family Collections. Map adapted by Lynne Parker.


FIG . 2. Mortar and pestle. From Blakes Plantation, St. James Santee Parish. Photograph courtesy of the Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina.


FIG . 3. Cog mill drawings by William Robert Judd
In both these types of wooden mills, the rice was ground to separate the chaff from the grain. Hand-powered wind fans then blew the chaff away. Next the rice was beaten in the mills until sufficiently polished and cleaned from the flour. Afterward it sifted through different-sized wire sieves before being packed in barrels. Both the pecker and cog mills were operated by human, horse, or oxen power, with oxen preferred. No matter which system of power was utilized, milling was agonizingly slow, labor intensive, and anything but cost efficient. It was obvious that the rice planters were hampered from truly efficient crop preparation and marketing by an antiquated production process.


FIG . 4. Pecker mill drawings by William Robert Judd
John Bowman, an innovative but eccentric South Santee River rice planter, had come to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, to speculate in Florida land but instead settled on a Georgia plantation. He later moved to St. James Santee Parish, where he married Sabina Lynch Cattell, daughter of Thomas Lynch and Elizabeth Allston and the widow of William Cattell. Through this marriage Bowman came into possession of Peachtree Plantation and the Lynch lands on the South Santee, which his wife inherited when her brother, Thomas Lynch Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence, was lost at sea. Bowman underscored the plight of his fellow rice planters to Lucas and asked if he could build a machine to clean rice quicker. Lucas said he would attempt to do so.
Another account has Lucas meeting Bowman not at Bowman s South Santee plantation but in Charleston. According to that version, Bowman, while on King Street in downtown Charleston, noticed a windmill on the gable of a wooden store where Lucas lived. He discovered that Lucas had constructed the mill and needed work. Impressed with his obvious talents, he convinced Lucas to come to Santee.


FIG . 5. Wind-powered sawmill and windmill shaft. A hypothetical reconstruction of the wind-powered sawmill erected on Mill Island, near Cape Romain, in 1793 by Jonathan Lucas I. Drawn by William Robert Judd.
It would be a few years, however, before Lucas s mechanical genius brought this project to fruition. First he had to get established financially and make a home in Carolina for himself and his new wife, the former Ann Ashburn (1752-1838) of Whitehaven, Cumberland County, England. His first wife, Mary Cook, had died in 1783. The new couple had immigrated to America, leaving behind the five children from Lucas s first marriage-Jonathan II (born 1775); Jane (1777); Moses (1779); John (1781); and Joseph (1783).
Jonathan Lucas moved to Hog Island to build a windmill for Bowman. Hog Island was in Charleston Harbor near Mount Pleasant. Across from Hog Island, the public road ended at the junction of Shem Creek and Hog Island Channel, where the ferry made its crossings to Charleston. While the couple was living at Hog Island, their first child, Ann, was born on December 15, 1786. The windmill probably provided power for a sawmill. The mill s harbor side location maximized the effect of coastal breezes and winds. It was also an advantageous location for a sawmill, with nearby shipyards, the city, and the adjacent plantation country.


FIG . 6. Carleton Lodge, Cumberland, England, near Egremont. Ancient home of the Lucas family. Lucas Family Collections.
In spite of these advantages, Lucas did not stay long at Hog Island; John Bowman had not forgotten his quest to find an engineer who could solve the husking problems of rice milling. In 1787, at Bowman s Peachtree Plantation, Lucas, with his interest in mechanics, built the first completely successful water-powered rice-pounding machine that was fed by an impounded reserve of water. Bowman s Run was the name of the stream formed when the swamp was banked to create a reserve for the water to run Lucas s mill. The revolutionary mill operated from a pond or reserve impounded alongside the South Santee River. Since the lowcountry was too flat for waterfalls, Lucas s design was activated by undershot waterwheels.
Thus Lucas transformed the rice culture. He was the Eli Whitney of the rice culture, though he slightly preceded Whitney s similar transformation of the cotton culture. These two men played pivotal roles in ushering in the agricultural revolution in the United States. Their expertise would bind the South to two labor-intensive, lucrative crops heavily dependent on slave labor, a dependence that was shattered only by the Civil War.
Previously the rice planters predicament was similar to that faced by short-staple cotton planters, whose slaves could in a day s work separate by hand only a few pounds of fiber from seeds. In 1788 Carolinian John Hart had applied for a patent on a machine to gin cotton, and Georgian William Long-street had developed a steam-powered roller gin in 1792, but it was Whitney who drew on existing devices and expertise to develop an improved gin to remove the bottleneck in cotton production, just as Lucas had done for the rice culture with an improved pounding mill. *


FIG . 7. Fairfield Plantation, circa 1730), St. James Santee Parish. Lucas Family Collections.
Both Lucas and Whitney made revolutionary breakthroughs in relatively short periods of time. Lucas had been in South Carolina only a few years, and Whitney had arrived in Georgia at Mulberry Grove Plantation in 1792. Basically Whitney had broken the logjam in cotton ginning by adding three features to a roller gin, and Lucas, by the ingenious use of undershot waterwheels, achieved a similar triumph in the rice business.
For the next half century, Jonathan Lucas, his son and grandson of the same name, and his son William constructed his remarkable new rice mill along the rice coast of Georgia and South Carolina and in England, Holland, and other European sites. Lucas mills were also built in Egypt and India.
Lucas s achievement was timely. By 1787 the rice market had stabilized following the erratic price activity after the Revolution. Also, the traditional rice marketing associations among Charleston merchants, New England merchantshippers, and British trading houses had been restored. In addition there was an increase in rice mill construction prompted by the availability of capital in South Carolina and the new technological innovations incorporated in the Lucas rice mill design. Among Lucas s technological innovations was the construction of a rolling screen for sifting rice. He was zealous in defending his claim and brushed aside the aspirations of James Dillet, who had actually received a patent for the screen. In 1789 Dillet advertised that he had obtained a patent for a rolling sifter, and he warned planters of legal consequences for using Lucas s mill. They were to apply to his attorney, Theodore Gaillard at 53 Meeting Street in Charleston, for a license for which they had to pay a royalty or else incur a penalty of paying a threefold price. Lucas retorted with a published article telling rice planters to ignore Dillet s advertisement, since he, Lucas, had been the first to suggest the application of a rolling screen for sifting rice. Not only that, he had constructed a rolling screen years before Dillet received his patent. *
In a more mundane venture, Bowman also had Lucas build a brick wind-powered sawmill for him at Cape Romain. Family correspondence indicates that the Hog Island mill was taken down and reassembled on Mill Island. Bowman intended to raft logs down the Santee River to be sawed on Mill Island near Cape Romain.
Lucas soon needed additional machinists labor to capitalize on his enterprises. The aggressive Briton ran an ad in the Charleston City Gazette on February 5, 1790, in which he advertised for a few well-trained black apprentice carpenters and wheelwrights.
The wind-powered sawmill continued in operation for years. It was also used as a navigational landmark for coastal vessels until the first lighthouse was built at Cape Romain in 1827. Initially Lucas s windmill s construction had alarmed port authorities in Charleston, because it was perceived to be a navigation hazard.
It was while the sawmill was being built that the couple s first son, William, was born, on September 15, 1789, in a severe storm during hurricane season at Cape Romain. The difficulties of transportation and communication on these remote islands prompted Lucas to move his family to the construction sites where he was working.


FIG . 8. Mill Island. A scattered brick ruin and a partial curved brick wall are all that remain of the circular base upon which the mill structure could be manually rotated 360 degrees, allowing its sails to be aligned directly into the wind. Lucas Family Collections. Map adapted by Lynne Parker.
As Lucas built his sawmill at Cape Romain, Thomas Bennett and Daniel Cannon, listed as carpenters in the 1790 Charleston city directory living at 22 Queen and 74 Church Street, respectively, were building one in Charleston. Three days before Lucas published his request for mill apprentices, Cannon and Bennett reported in the City Gazette that their sawmill was open for business. Wind-powered sawmills were growing in number.
This wind sawmill of Thomas Bennett marked the beginning of the Bennett family s rise to wealth and power in Charleston. The careers of Lucas and Bennett followed similar paths, and in succeeding generations the families intermarried.
Jonathan Lucas II came to America a few years after the birth of his brother William and assisted his father in building rice mills. Working under the talented elder Lucas was a challenge, and the younger Lucas must have experienced frustration. In his letter on December 12, 1795, to his father at Haddrells Point concerning a Pinckney plantation, Jonathan II exhibited the confident authority he had mastered buttressed by his expertise:
The wheel is all done, but in a way that I am not acquainted with. They are all face wheels and work in a droll manner. But he has come to the speed very well; it comes very nigh the same as ours. The lantern * I have given directions to make the same as ours and I will lay them out and the cogs of wheel that drives it. The other wheel was made long ago. They want a pair of millstones for it, and are depending on you to choose them for the intended mill.
I am very sorry you are displeased with my misconduct in regard to framing the wrong way. Perhaps you misrecollect the diameter of the water wheel for the shaft comes level with the plate and the plate next to the wall is but 7 inches thick and it would cut off if the studs had remained as before. The wheel is 13 feet and the buckets 12 inches wide; the flash board, 3/4 inch thick. And the raceway is 6 feet 9 inches to the top of the plate. It is 2 feet above the head that the old mill ever had and if they bring down the water that they speak of, we must raise it 3 feet or more at least. But we can very well do that when we see it done. I made his raceway 11 feet 6 inches wide to have a wide wheel.
His father s expertise as a mill builder was transforming rice production from a slow, labor-intensive, primitive, inefficient process, which captured the attention of lowcountry rice planters. Lucas s rice milling revolution ushered in a golden era of rice culture during which planters garnered magnificent fortunes.
* J. J. Lucas to Jonathan (John) Lucas, May 25, 1882. Jonathan Lucas Sen., your grandfather, was a native of Beckermit Parish, Cumberland, England. He and his family are from Carleton about miles from Egremont in above Parish.
Evans, Letters from Robert Mills, 120.
* Gregorie, Jonathan Lucas (1754-1821), 486.
* Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit , 278, 312-14.
* Bacot, Culture of Rice in State.
Doar, Sketch of the Agricultural Society of St. James Santee , 15.
For generations McClellanville residents such as Bobby Graham talked of removing the mill s metal shaft from Mill Island to McClellanville. In 1997 the process to recover the shaft and display it at the Village Museum in McClellanville was initiated by Mayor Rutledge B. Leland III and Richard S. Kanaski with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Lucia H. Jaycocks served as local coordinator. The sixteen-foot shaft was moved on a full-moon tide in 1999 by Horry and Michael Morrison of H. R. Morrison and Sons with the cooperation of George Garris of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. The conservation process was spearheaded by Brad Rodgers, John Leader, Martha Zierden, Deborah Osterberg, Robert Morgan, Olga Caballero, and Ralph Bailey Jr. in their areas of expertise. Selden Bud Hill, director of the Village Museum, secured a hub from a Jonathan Lucas Mill at Wambaw Plantation through Alexander Lucas Lofton to complement the shaft display. Lyle Engesser, a heavy-equipment operator, placed the shaft and hub on the museum site in 2000. Letter from Rutledge B. Leland III to Richard S. Kanaski, June 22, 1998; Hill, unpublished interview with Roy Williams III, September 10, 2003.
* Lantern or lantern wheel: a kind of pinion or wheel having cylindrical trundles instead of teeth.
2
FIRST TIDAL RICE MILL

S tarting even before the decade of the 1790s, Jonathan Lucas s career and fortunes were extraordinary. His clients were a who s who of the rice-planting aristocracy in South Carolina, and they and their minions sought his favor and advice. Simultaneously he was establishing a great antebellum dynasty that eventually stretched to India and Egypt.
Closer to home from Mill Island, Lucas was directing t e building of a mill powered by a reserve at the five-thousand-acre Washo Plantation near the mouth of the Santee Delta. It was managed by Frances Middleton, widow of John Middleton. The late Middleton had been the son of William Middleton of Crowfield Plantation, St. James Parish, Goose Creek, and Crowfield Hall, Suffolk, England. He was educated in England but came to America at the outbreak of the Revolution. He joined Lee s Legion, commanded by Light-Horse Harry Lee, father of Robert E. Lee.
Shortly after the war, Middleton married Frances Motte, daughter of Jacob Motte Jr. (1729-1780) and the legendary Revolutionary War heroine Rebecca Brewton Motte (1737-1815). On June 7, 1784, he purchased Washo, but he died five months later, on November 14, 1784. His infant son, John, was born the year of his father s death. Frances Motte Middleton later married her brother-in-law and neighbor, Thomas Pinckney, in 1796.
At about the same time, Lucas was building mills in Prince George Winyah Parish: one for Revolutionary War hero Gen. Peter Horry (1747-1815) along a reserve on the south edge of Winyah Bay at his Dover Plantation and another for William Alston (1756-1839) * on his reserve pond at Fairfield Plantation along the Waccamaw River. George Washington, on his 1791 southern tour, visited Alston s rice plantation. Later, after he had seen Lucas s rice mill, Washington had a conversation with Gov. Charles Pinckney in which he confessed that he had no idea that such perfection of cultivation existed in America. *
During this period Lucas s mechanical innovations created the first tidal rice mill, at Andrew Johnston s (1748-1795) Millbrook Plantation on the North Santee, a few miles from Peachtree. While Lucas s first water-powered rice mill at Peachtree set off a revolution in rice culture, it had a significant drawback. It and its generation of water mills were dependent on water captured in reserves that were at the mercy of inadequate rainfall. Gravity drove the movement of water, but if there were no water, the mills were useless.
Lucas s tidal mill for Johnston made the vagaries of rainfall irrelevant, since the tidal mill operated on the unlimited water power provided by the tidal action of the lowcountry s rivers, creeks, and bays. Planters may not have been able to depend on the rain, but the ebb and flow of the tides was as certain as the waxing and waning of the moon.
Lucas brilliantly adapted the tidal method of rice cultivation to his milling operations. Before the Revolution rice had been grown primarily by the reserve system, where a creek or a swamp had been dammed to create a reserve to irrigate and cultivate the crop. Uncertain rainfall or drought threatened the rice crop, however. After the Revolution rice was gradually grown by the more efficient tidal method, negating the effect of insufficient water. The tides pushed fresh water inland at high tide, and the fresh water rode atop the salt water. Thus twice a day the tides worked for the planters.
By building a dike alongside a river, such as the Santee, and installing swing gates that opened to the movement of the tidal flow and then closed as the flow reversed, Lucas tapped into unlimited water power for his mills. When the tidal flow reversed on the Santee at Millbrook, the water would be released from the tidal reservoir through a gate to the waterwheel. Approximately twenty-two feet in diameter and thirteen feet wide, the wheel was turned by the flowing water. It turned one way when the tide flowed in and the opposite way as the tide receded and the water was being released through a control gate. The mill s action was regulated by a system of gears: a differentiated gear, for example, permitted the use of both ebb and flow tides to drive machinery.
On June 19, 1792, T. Butler wrote to Jonathan Lucas to discuss construction of a rice-pounding machine for his plantation Sheldon in Prince William Parish. Butler was aware of the demands on Lucas s time and the people anxious to garner his services. He wrote Lucas that whatever the time of his arrival, he would be willing to see him. Word of Lucas s mill construction and his whereabouts spread quickly among the planter elite; Butler wrote, I have been informed that your business will call you shortly to this part of the country. He even wrote to Jonathan Lucas that, if rather than by land, should it suit you to take a jaunt by water, Benjamin Villepontoux Esquire in Charleston can enlighten you when Capt. Salters makes trips. *
About two and a half months later, on September 5, 1792, the merchant-planter Plowden Weston (1739-1827) expressed appreciation over Lucas s supplying hydrology advice for placement of rice trunks and wrote, It certainly is the best mode of securing a field against the salt I have heard of and [I] shall follow it. Weston also informed Lucas that the machine wheels had arrived safe at his plantation and were well secured.
Weston was not only an important client of Lucas; he was also a wealthy lowcountry rice planter who became a trusted confidante. He had established a successful and influential career. By 1768 he was in partnership with Charles Atkins and maintained stores in Charleston and at the Stono River. Later he developed the firm of Weston and Maz ck with Isaac Maz ck and was co-owner of two trading vessels.
Prior to the American Revolution, Weston received grants for 1,400 acres in the back country. In addition he acquired 85 acres on the Wando River in Christ Church Parish and 250 acres on Waccamaw Neck in Georgetown District. Through marriage and purchases, he secured other tracts on the Wando. Other Weston properties included Long Bay and Sea Shore plantations, a lot in Hampstead near Charleston, a home on Queen Street and lot on Meeting Street in the city, and a lot in Georgetown. He had 223 slaves in Christ Church Parish, 233 slaves in All Saints Parish, and a staff of 38 slaves at his Charleston home.
John Hume, of Hopsewee on the North Santee, had wrestled with the idea of building a windmill or a water mill and had been thwarted in his attempts to secure land for the latter. He asked Lucas s opinion of putting the water mill on the river and working with three and a half to four feet of water in preference to the windmill, but he had not heard from him. Lucas s health must have given Hume concern from a practical business standpoint: iron castings had just arrived from Liverpool, and Hume admitted he did not know what to do with them. The shaft, which weighed two tons, was accompanied by a one-ton piece and other smaller pieces. I will just land them on the wharf and wait for your information, whether I must send them up or you will build a water machine for me and take the castings off my hands. *


FIG . 9. Winnowing house on Hopsewee Plantation. From David Doar, Rice and Rice Planting in the South Carolina Low Country (1936). Courtesy of the Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina.
This steady flow of letters to Lucas only partially reflected how busy he was. Other planters tracked him down when he was in Charleston, and several bemoaned they had narrowly missed seeing this man who was constantly on the move. A letter dated September 15, 1792, from Anthony Simons, discussed six pigeons Lucas had ordered to communicate with the mainland.
Colonel Horry was in great want of his wind fan, which he requested be shipped either shipped to Charleston or to his plantation at Santee, where he would send a cart from Dover to pick it up. On September 24, 1792, another wind fan customer, Edward Lynah, requested that Lucas send a wind fan down to Charleston at the first opportunity, even though he would not be able to pay him before January, as cash runs low with planters at this time of year. *
In the meantime Weston accumulated materials for the mill construction. He had just put three pieces of iron-a hoop, a gudgeon (a socket for a rudder pintle), and a boss (the enlarged part of a shaft)-onboard a vessel going to his plantation. He had also included a spindle. Weston did not seem upset by the delays and confusion since he wanted Lucas to build his mill. He was, however, troubled by the possibility of Marshall s unwillingness to leave the Charleston area. He told Lucas, you may depend, I will do all I can to prevail on him to go, for your sake, but if he will not go, I must then depend altogether on you. A disappointment would be ruinous to me, for I have only my small machine standing; having taken down my old ginning machine that goes with horses.
Among the local gentry who stood in line to hire Lucas was George Washington s cousin, Gen. William Washington (1752-1810) of Revolutionary War fame, who had come from Virginia in 1779 and, in 1782, married Jane Riley Elliott, a South Carolina rice heiress. The couple lived at Sandy Hill, one of his wife s family properties about five miles northwest of present-day Ravenel. According to Henry A. M. Smith, a lowcountry historian who later owned Sandy Hill, the plantation house stood in a cluster of magnificent live oaks at the end of an imposing avenue that opened onto a lawn graced by an ornamental pond. **
Washington was a successful rice planter who produced two barrels of rice per acre and sold his crop for three times the prewar price. He bypassed Charleston merchants and avoided middleman profits by shipping his rice directly to England. To increase his profits further, he sought to build a rice mill. On November 4, 1792, he wrote to Lucas to set up a meeting at his plantation.


FIG . 10. A 1786 plat showing lands of Gen. William Washington at Sandy Hill Plantation on the Stono River and Rantowles Creek. Courtesy of RMC Office, Charleston, South Carolina. Map adapted by Lynne Parker.
Also in Prince George Winyah Parish, a young South Carolinian, Cleland Kinloch (1760-1823), returned from England in 1784 not only to reclaim but also to expand his patrimony at Weehaw Plantation on the Black River. * During a visit to Holland, Kinloch had observed how the Dutch harnessed the tides to flood and drain diked fields. It was knowledge he utilized for his rice fields with flood gates and rice trunks to grow rice in a much more efficient way than the widely used inland swamp method. Kinloch was one of the first rice planters to adopt Gideon Dupont s system of flooding river rice fields by tidal movement, making use of trunks and flood gates similar to those he had seen in Holland. Kinloch did not have Lucas build his rice mill but received advice and guidance from him as to how to build a tidal rice-pounding mill similar to Andrew Johnston s.


FIG . 11. A Tidal-powered rice mill showing how it received its power. Drawings by William Robert Judd.
Shortly after completion of Johnston s innovative tidal mill at Millbrook, Lucas, whom the antebellum rice planter Robert Allston later described as the indefatigable and ingenious mechanic, built a more sophisticated mill furnished with rolling screens, elevators, and packers so that paddy rice could be brought in and milled and polished rice could emerge in sacks and barrels with little or no contact with human hands. This mill was built on the eastern branch of the Cooper River for Henry Laurens.
In these operations and others, the rough rice, that is rice that had been winnowed or had the chaff removed, was carried by a set of elevating buckets from the lower to the upper story of the mill. This rice was dumped into an elevated bin where it was fed onto a rolling screen, which separated out sand, gravel, and other particles from the grain and poured it into a hopper.
From the hopper the rice passed to the millstones, which further separated the grain from the chaff. Afterward the chaff was blown away by a wind fan as the rice moved from the millstones into a bin placed above the mortars. The bin fed the rice through funnels into the mortars where the grains were beaten or polished.
Above each mortar, of which there were often six but sometimes as many as eleven, was suspended a pestle weighting approximately 230 pounds, which struck the rice thirty-two to forty-four times per minute. After the beating the rice moved from the mortars into more elevating buckets, which carried it into more screens, where the flour and broken rice were separated.
The whole rice then passed through a funnel where any remaining flour was removed by the friction of the brush. Then the rice fell into a wind fan that winnowed it clean and dropped it into a bin. From the bin it passed through funnels into barrels to be sealed, labeled, and readied for loading aboard a ship. Mills such as this could be run by three people and could produce an average of one hundred barrels of rice a week, each barrel weighing six hundred pounds. *
Later in the 1830s, Fanny Kemble (1809-93), the famous British actress married to a Georgia rice planter, was amazed that the Lucas mills not only were completely automated but also could be operated by such a small labor force. She was also astounded that the rice mill labor force, the operators and supervisors, were slaves at her husband s plantation.
In addition these tidal rice mills invented by Lucas, unlike the ones driven by animal power, could work day and night. It was a significant accomplishment. Lucas s expertise elevated him to the top of his profession. He was in a class in which he had little competition. Another letter from Plowden Weston, dated January 24, 1793, illustrated the special place Lucas occupied among those who desired his mill building services:
I had the mortification to find that a few days after you left Mr. Marshall, he came to Santee to take a new sketch of Major Pinckney s machine, a proof to me he does not clearly understand what he is about, from whence I am afraid I shall suffer in the construction of the mill. It would have been better for me to have paid you any sum to have had yourself, son, or Mr. Elmore to have done this job for me. Do pray sir; make another visit as soon as you can to put things to rights, for without your assistance I shall be badly off.
Not only had Lucas built a rice mill for Frances Middleton at Washo Plantation on the Santee River, but he also was to build two mills for Mary Middleton at Hobonny Plantation on the Combahee River. Apparently she was impressed not only with Lucas s reputation but also with his price, which she had learned from William Horry. At about the same time, on January 1, 1793, Horry paid Lucas two hundred pounds for erecting a rice mill fed by a reserve at Cedar Creek on Wambaw Plantation. *


FIG . 12. Millrace waterwheel hub at Wambaw Plantation, based on ruins recovered in 1995 from Wambaw Mill, now at Village Museum in McClellanville, South Carolina. Drawings by William Robert Judd.


FIG . 13. Original note for bill to William Horry for the estate of Daniel Horry for erecting the rice mill at Wambaw. Courtesy of the South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, South Carolina.


FIG . 14. An inside view of a water rice machine, drawn by John Drayton, from the rice mill of Dr. Philip Tidyman of North Santee, as illustrated in Drayton s A View of South Carolina (1802). Courtesy of the Charleston Library Society, Charleston, South Carolina.
Mary Middleton wrote Lucas that she wanted her two rice mills finished for the approaching crop but needed directions to send to England for the millstones. Lucas must have felt as if he were being pulled from one river to another as one planter after another wrote to seek his advice, ask his opinion, correct the mistakes of others, offer him contracts, and, above all, implore him to visit their plantations.
The correspondent whose name appeared more than any other was Plowden Weston, the Waccamaw River planter. The growing friendship between the two men is evident as the letters flew back and forth. It may have been a friendship prompted by a fear of financial failure if Weston s mill venture floundered. It was also a friendship he made clear he would not exploit at the expense of financial considerations owed to Lucas:
If you will go and set off early tomorrow, I think we may be back on Thursday night. I am uneasy for fear I may have a bad mill for want of your presence occasionally to give the necessary instructions. For I am persuaded Mr. Marshall is not equal to the task. I was the first person to engage you in building a mill and I really think I am able and willing to make you adequate satisfaction for anything you have, or ever may do for me.
If you can go, I shall be glad; if you cannot, let me know when you will go, for I really have the horrors about this mill-If it is not a good one it will be a constant plague to me.-I have lost a deal of time already by Mr. Marshall s mistakes-We are backwards in our business; and if our best hands are taken off, we shall make nothing last year. *
* William Alston was called King Billy. He owned four plantations, several seashore tracts, 26,590 acres (according to the 1786 tax returns), and just under eight hundred slaves. Alston originally spelled his surname Allston but dropped an l to avoid confusion with his cousin William Allston and his uncle William Allston.
* Lipscomb, South Carolina in 1791 , 11.
Dethloff, History of the American Rice Industry , 33-34.
* Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 16. Villepontoux was a factor at 5 East Bay in Charleston; Hagy, People and Professions of Charleston , 21. Capt. Francis Salters was a prominent sailing master and cotton planter in Beaufort; Rowland, Moore, and Rogers, History of Beaufort County , 1:400.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 19.
Weston had bought Laurel Hill, on the Waccamaw River, in 1775 from Gabriel Marion. Francis Marion Weston (1783-1854), one of Weston s sons by his second wife, inherited Laurel Hill.
Edgar, Bailey, et al., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives , 3:758-59.
* There was a long wait, or more likely, the Lucases built more than one rice mill for the Hume family at their various plantations. There is preserved in William Lucas s business records an entry dated January 19, 1821, for building a Rice Mill for Mr. Hume for 2142 pounds and 85 shillings. Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 310; letter of Alexander Hume Lucas, May 21, 1883, Lucas Family Collections.
Simons, a Charleston factor, owned a plantation in St. James Santee Parish and property on the Pacolet River. He represented St. James Santee in both the South Carolina House and Senate. He served as tax inquirer and collector for St. James Santee (1778) and commissioner to cut a canal between the Cooper and Santee Rivers (1775). Simons died sometime before August 15, 1795, when an inventory was taken of his Charleston estate. At his death he owned twenty-one slaves. Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 26.
* Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 30. Lynah, a physician and planter, lived in Charleston on Meeting Street but owned land in Colleton District. An 1824 tax return showed he owned 3,005 acres and forty-five slaves in St. Bartholomew s Parish.
Marshal worked in mill construction but Weston felt Marshal [first name unknown] was out of his element and needed Lucas s supervision. See Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 47.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 35, 36.
Washington was born in Stafford County, Virginia. In 1780 he had engaged in combat with Col. Banastre Tarleton and his forces at Rantowles Bridge near Sandy Hill Plantation.
** Smith s description found in Lipscomb, South Carolina in 1791 , 45.
Ibid., 47.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 39.
* Cleland Kinloch had been sent to England for his education and, at age twelve, entered Eton. He spent school holidays with his Kinloch cousins in Scotland, where the American branch of the family originated. Upon completion of formal schooling, Kinloch traveled to Holland to study commerce. Linder and Thacker, Rice Plantations of Georgetown County , 426; Rogers, History of Georgetown County , 160, 161.
Gregorie, Cleland Kinloch, 414.
* Drayton, View of South Carolina , 123, 124.
Dethloff, History of the American Rice Industry , 32.
* This was for the estate of Daniel Horry, who had died in 1785.
Mary Middleton, letter to Jonathan Lucas at Mr. Bowman s, Santee, February 1, 1793. Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 50.
* Weston, letter to Jonathan Lucas at Miss Lynches Marsh Plantation, February 20, 1793. Ibid., 54. Marsh Plantation was on the North Santee and belonged to Esther Lynch (1746-1825), sister to Thomas Lynch Jr. and sister-in-law to John Bowman. Esther Lynch had inherited Marsh Plantation after her brother and his wife were lost at sea in 1779.
3
FIRST RICE TOLL MILL

J onathan Lucas s correspondence indicated that during 1791-93 he was building mills on fifteen lowcountry plantations from the Waccamaw to the Combahee Rivers. His ceaseless pace of activity, with its constant travel and crisscrossing letters, combined with his series of innovative technological breakthroughs to reap a fortune for the new arrival in less than a decade.
By 1793 Lucas and Plowden Weston had become close friends bound by trust and mutual respect. Still headquartered at Cape Romain, where he was building a wind-powered sawmill for John Bowman, he forwarded instructions to Weston at Haddrells Point (part of present-day Mount Pleasant) to bid at auction on Jonathan Scott s 471-acre estate. The land is yours, I got it for 500 pounds sterling, he boasted to Lucas in early spring of 1793. * It had been a triumph. A Mr. Hort had bid for a friend up to four hundred pounds, which made Weston uneasy at first for fear he might have bid it very high for his friend.
Jonathan Scott s estate in Christ Church Parish included ruins of an old sawmill and a long frontage on Shem Creek. The tract if laid out today would include most of 1950s Mount Pleasant.
The estate boundaries would extend from Shem Creek in the northwest to McCants Drive in the southeast and from Simmons Street in the southwest to Myrick Road in the northeast where Whitesides School was originally located. The land belonging to the estate of John Scott, son of Jonathan Scott, surveyed by Joseph Purcell on September 27, 1784, did not include the village and common of Greenwich, which contained one hundred acres.
Greenwich had been the first of the small settlements to become a village and had been established by Jonathan Scott on his home plot of one hundred acres between Jacob Motte s plantation and the Hilliardsville section. Scott was an Englishman, and as Petrona Royall McIver notes in her history of Mount Pleasant, the village was typically English. He divided fifty acres on the waterfront into town lots with streets named for his sovereigns and his prime minister-King, Queen, and Pitt. The remaining fifty acres of woodland he gave for the common use in obtaining firewood and grazing cattle. This area is now bounded by Morrison, Pitt, McCants and Simmons Streets.


FIG . 15. View of Shem Creek area, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. From postcard collection of Alexander Lucas Lofton.


FIG . 16. View of Shem Creek, including the site of Greenwich Mill, Mill Pond, and Lucas family cemetery. Lucas Family Collections. Map adapted by Lynne Parker.
In 1793 the tract of land to the southeast of Scott s is shown as belonging to William Hort. * This property later became the village of Hilliardsville and included the grove of live oaks (now Alhambra Park) known as Hort s Grove. To the northwest of the village of Greenwich were the lands belonging to the estate of Jacob Motte, which later became the village of Mount Pleasant. The Jacob Motte/Hibben House at 111 Hibben Street was originally the dwelling house on Jacob Motte s plantation.
After the purchase of Haddrells, Lucas built a new water-powered rice and sawmill of his design in 1795 in the vicinity of the old Greenwich Mill ruins that stood on Shem Creek. This became a combination rice mill and sawmill operated by tidal power, with a large holding pond along the eastern edge of Shem Creek. It was the first toll mill of its kind in the Charleston area. He also constructed a foundry to make parts for new mills and docks for vessels to transport the harvest and supplies of the plantations. This location gave easy accessibility to Charleston Harbor and permitted convenient importation from Philadelphia and England of machinery that could not be built at Haddrells. This was an ideal location for Lucas s flourishing business of designing and building rice mills.
By this time Lucas had finished building John Bowman s mill at Cape Romain and had decided to consolidate his operations at Shem Creek. His seventeen-year-old son, Jonathan Lucas Jr. (hereafter referred to as Jonathan Lucas II), had come from England to help with the business. The growing family-which included Lucas; his second wife, Ann Ashburn; their children, Ann, William, and Eliza Lydia; and Jonathan II-soon had a permanent home on a high knoll overlooking the mill pond at Greenwich Mills.


FIG . 17. Plat of Tibwin Plantation, St. James Santee Parish, of the rice mill and mill pond. Courtesy of RMC Office, Charleston, South Carolina.
In 1793 Lucas was not only busy setting up his business and home place on Shem Creek, but he was also still engaged in numerous mill-building activities. One of his prospective clients was the wealthy planter Joseph Manigault (1763-1843), who had inherited more than 22,000 acres. * Among his holdings was the 13,840-acre Awendaw Barony, which spanned Awendaw Creek in Christ Church and St. James Santee Parishes. The barony included 2,278 acres of fertile swampland. This may have been the property where Manigault proposed to build a rice mill. Whether or not a mill was built at Awendaw Barony is unknown. Later, after 1810, Lucas built a rice mill for Manigault after he acquired Dusty Hill Plantation on the North Santee River from William Grogen. He renamed the plantation White Oak.


FIG . 18. Plat of the town of Mount Pleasant, Christ Church Parish, Charleston District. Incorporated by an act of the legislature in 1837. Mount Pleasant comprised the villages of Greenwich and Mount Pleasant. Courtesy of RMC Office, Charleston, South Carolina. Map adapted by Lynne Parker.
During this period Lucas also built a rice mill at Tibwin Plantation on the coast in St. James Santee Parish. The date of this mill has not been pinpointed, so it could have been built for either Jonah Collins, who died in 1789, or William Matthews, who bought the property from the Collins estate. * The mill was purchased by Henry Ford in 1935 for his museum in Dearborn, Michigan. * A description of the mill appeared on February 1, 1931, in the Charleston News and Courier . The wheels were handmade, and so were the mortar and pestle, which were crafted out of solid oak. The mill pond covered from seventy-five to one hundred acres at high tide.
The acquisition of property that began with the buying of Haddrells Point in the spring of 1793 continued in the summer with the purchase of five nearby lots in Greenwich Village. T. Bowles at 82 East Bay Street in Charleston wrote to Lucas on August 25, 1793: In consequence of your application to Mr. Winstanley respecting some lots which Mrs. Scott has near Haddrells Point-Mrs. Scott has requested me to inform you that she wishes to part with them, the numbers of the lots are 12, 22, 21, 20, and 19-and also two large squares-the price is 20 each. The negotiations were not concluded for almost ten years, and Lucas did not receive title to the properties until June 3, 1803. Under the terms he purchased in Greenwich Village the five lots and the two squares previously mentioned for 100 pounds sterling.
Each of the lots was one hundred feet in width and four hundred feet deep. The size of the two squares were, in one case, four hundred feet by four hundred feet, and in the other, three hundred feet by four hundred feet, according to a plat of the town of Mount Pleasant in 1835. One of the squares was bounded to the southeast by Queen Street. The other square was bounded to the southwest by Pitt Street.
* Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 58.
Ibid.
* William Hort (1750-1826), a native of Barbados, was one of the founders of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, librarian of the Charleston Library Society, and a member of the General Assembly from Christ Church Parish. Hort married Alice Gibbes. Edgar, Bailey, et al., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives , 3:348, 349.
This mill was destroyed in 1865 by Confederate forces to prevent the supplies inside it and the other nearby buildings from falling into Union hands. The home built by Jonathan Lucas was also destroyed. The foundations of Greenwich Mill, built in 1795, are located at the bottom of Vincent Creek, near its confluence with Shem Creek.
A toll mill charged a toll or fee, usually in kind, for the rice milled. Milling toll charges at the Haddrells Point Mill averaged 6 percent of net proceeds for milling, occasionally 7 percent, and in rare instances, 9 percent. Lucas also charged planters 25 cents per barrel for freight charges and 87.5 cents for the barrels, according to the William Lucas Account Book 1820 with Keating Simons Sons, Charleston, So. Ca . A common error is that the first toll mill built by the Lucas family was either at Middleburg or in Charleston.
In a letter dated March 7, 1793, from Bowman to Dear Lucas, he wrote: In case of any accident to me, accept this memorandum, that no Limitation Act is to operate in bar of payment of what is due to you, by the agreement between us made several years ago. Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 74.
* Manigault, the son of Peter Manigault and Elizabeth Wragg, was raised by his grandparents at Silk Hope Plantation on the eastern branch of the Cooper River.
* Collins, a well-to-do planter and one of the leaders of the parish, had been one of the commissioners appointed to build St. James Santee Parish Church in 1768. Matthews owned considerable properties in Charleston and Berkeley Districts, including a handsome house on Charlotte Street in Charleston and one of the two tracts that make up present-day McClellanville. Mathis Ferry Road in Mount Pleasant is a corruption of his family name.
* Museum officials did not know the whereabouts of the mill machinery when contacted in 2006.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 80.
Ibid., 101.
4
MILL BUILDER, TROUBLESHOOTER

J onathan Lucas began his career in South Carolina as a builder of mills. He started building windmills for sawing lumber and cleaning rice; and as his milling operations expanded, so did his expertise and that of his son Jonathan Lucas II as troubleshooters. In less than four years after Jonathan II had arrived in this country, he had earned the trust of lowcountry planters, who sought his help when they could not contact his father. The acceptance of the son as his father s surrogate is evident in Lewis Morris s November 18, 1796, letter to the senior Lucas:
As Mr. Gay has promised to build me a sawmill, I will endeavor to have everything ready early in January for him. My overseer informs me that one side of the water wheel of my machine has sunk near two inches-as this may affect the machinery I would rush you to inform me what is to be done. Perhaps it may be convenient for your son to call and spend an hour at the place on the way to Mr. Blake s.
I shall expect to hear from your son respecting the person who was in Mr. Andrew Johnston s employ, a good manager, capable to keep my machine in order, would be a great acquisition to me. *
The previous year, Elias Ball III had engaged Jonathan Lucas to build a rice mill at Limerick. Soon Ball had completely switched from the inland swamp method of rice growing to the far superior method of tidal cultivation.


FIG . 19. Wyatt s windmill. Drawing depicted by Charles Caleb Cotton (1775-1848) in 1799. Courtesy of South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, South Carolina.
Lucas was the key to unlocking the backlog of production and opening the door to greater riches than ever for Ball. Like other planters, he knew that by hiring Lucas, he could cash in on what was becoming a golden era of rice production. The mill at Limerick freed Ball s slaves from the inefficient process of cleaning tons of rice by hand, and in just a few years Ball s increased profits enabled him to buy two more plantations on the western branch of the Cooper River totaling seven hundred acres. *
Henry Laurens, son of the Revolutionary War leader, was a factor for many well-known clients; he appears to have served as a middleman in several of Lucas s projects. For example, in a February 26, 1798, letter, Laurens acknowledged from Mepkin that he had received from Lucas an order on Mr. Peter Wyatt in my favor for thirty two pounds, one shilling and nine pence. This was probably in connection with Lucas s building of a brick windmill in Charleston for Wyatt at the western end of Beaufain Street in what is now Harleston Village. The windmill was sixty feet high with a large circular base.
In the Charleston Courier for December 15, 1825, a notice appeared, offering for private sale that large Brick Wind Mill, situate on Harleston s Green, adapted for the sawing of lumber. This may well have been the brick windmill also painted by Charles Fraser in his Charleston Sketchbook 1796-1806 . Thomas Bennett Sr. had a wind-powered sawmill nearby in the village of Cannonsborough just north of Harleston Village, but it was built of wood. Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, in the 1959 edition of the Charleston Sketchbook , wrote that windmills and watermills with vast undershot wheels, driven by tidal power, were common along the Ashley River. * Jonathan Lucas (1814-87), an engineer and builder who lived in Orangeburg the latter part of his life and who referred to himself as John Lucas to avoid confusion, wrote to family members that he had pulled down Wyatt s Mill, the site of which he indicated on an enclosed map.


FIG . 20. Wyatt s windmill map. Wyatt s Wind Mill of brick, built by Jonathan Lucas Sr. It was 60 feet high, pulled it down, it had a base, round or circular. There was one at Bennett s [Mill] of wood. The above was written by Jonathan (John) Lucas (1814-87), grandson of Jonathan Lucas I. Lucas Family Collections. Map adapted by Lynne Parker.
Another of Laurens s letters, date April 10, 1798, illustrates his middleman function. Writing again from Mepkin, Laurens talks of three rice mills built by Lucas in different parts of the lowcountry: I acknowledge to have received from Mr. Jonathan Lucas, orders on the following Gentlemen for amount of accounts due by them to him, viz: An order on General Washington for one hundred and twenty nine pounds, two shillings; an order on Thomas Corbett, Jr. for two hundred and thirty nine pounds, seventeen shillings; and an order on William Hort for two hundred and eight pounds. Thomas Corbett Jr. s account included thirty-eight pieces of live oak for wheels; screws and plates made at Haddrells for building his tide mill, castings included; one spindle and kind; one large, square 150-pound bar; and the hiring of a blacksmith at the plantation. William Hort s account included charges for constructing his mill, castings included; the hiring of a blacksmith; screws and plates made at Haddrells; one mill spindle and kind; eight flat bars of iron; a large square bar; and 1.5 tons of coal. **
Lucas s acclaimed reputation as a builder of rice mills was attested to even in local papers. Generally advertisements for rice mill sales did not mention the builder, but the November 6, 1799, edition of the Georgetown (S.C.) Gazette showed that Lucas had coattails.
FOR SALE
2 Mills for Grinding Rice With Elevators, Sifting Screens,
Etc; complete: One of them was
Built by Mr. Lucas; the other by Messrs. Young M Leran
Also, TWO EXCELLENT
Pecker Machines
That pound upwards of six barrels of
Rice a day, each, Apply to Edward
Thomas, Esq. or Patrick Donnelly. *
Relations between John Bowman and Jonathan Lucas deteriorated after a bond signed on June 19, 1802, by Bowman obligated him to pay Lucas three thousand pounds. Eventually the Lucas family, represented by their attorney, Edward Croft, ended up in court trying to collect what they claimed Bowman owed. Bowman had not paid his debt by 1806, and on June 14 of that year South Carolina sheriffs were commanded without delay to attach the body of John Bowman, Esq. and compel him to appear before the Court of Common Pleas to answer John Lucas for his debt. Jonathan Lucas the Elder had by this time assigned the bond to his son Jonathan Lucas the Younger. He, in turn, had given the bond over to his brother John Lucas.
The wily Bowman could not be found, however. One of the sheriff s deputies left a copy of the judgment at the usual and most notorious place of the defendant s residence. When the case finally reached court in April 1807, Bowman, through his attorney J. J. Pringle, claimed the bond that John Lucas stated was Bowman s obligation actually was not. ** Bowman died three months later, on July 2, 1807, before the matter could be resolved, and was buried at St. Michael s Church in Charleston.
Bowman s death raises the question of how the case was finally settled. Does it explain how the Lucas family came into possession of Mill Island at Cape Romain? Or is the more likely explanation the one furnished by Jonathan (John) Lucas, the son of John Lucas from Orangeburg, on March 23, 1883: Shutes Folly came into possession of Grandfather from John Bowman; it was part of the tract of Hog Island, it being on the opposite side of Hog Island Channel. On this Island (Hog Island) Grandfather built the first windmill, which was taken down and moved to Cape Romain. I think the agreement between J. Bowman and Grandfather was that after a certain time the whole land and mill should become Grandfather s. The same was the agreement for Cape Romain mill tract. * John Lucas s father died in 1824, two years after the 1822 hurricane tore through the Santee Delta at Cape Romain. The U.S. government in 1827 built a sixty-five-foot-tall lighthouse at Cape Romain opposite Jonathan Lucas s windmill. The windmill and lighthouse were similarly proportioned.
In addition to slave acquisitions, Jonathan Lucas also continued to acquire land. In April 1812 Paul Trapier (1772-1824) conveyed to Lucas a piece of land called the Mill Pond in St. Philip s Parish containing 179 acres of marsh and 16 acres of high land. The parcel was part of a tract called Belvidere, which belonged to Thomas Shubrick s estate and was sold for 2,555 guineas. Thirty acres on which the Belvidere mansion house stood was conveyed to Mary Shubrick, Thomas s widow.
Lucas, as part of the sale, agreed to pay for improvements to the property made since the time it was offered for sale. The value of the improvements was to be estimated by two persons, one chosen by Lucas and the other by Trapier s trustee. If the two representatives differed in their estimates, Trapier retained the right to choose a third person to determine between them.
* Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 88. Morris (1753-1824) was the son of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey. Morris came to South Carolina with Gen. Nathaniel Greene s forces during the Revolution and afterward settled in Charleston.
Elias Ball III (1752-1819), the rice baron known by his slaves as Old Mas Lias, was the owner of Limerick Plantation, a 4,564-acre tract, as well as of Strawberry Plantation and Coming T. Plantation, all on the Cooper River, for a total of 8,528 acres and 246 slaves. Next to his uncle Henry Laurens, he was the largest slave holder in St. John s Parish.
Limerick Mill Receipt, Jonathan Lucas to Elias Ball, February 10, 1795, and Jonathan Lucas II, receipt for repairing and furnishing material for a mill at Limerick, January 23 and 28, 1801. Ball Family Papers: 1606-1896, SCL; Ball, Slaves in the Family , 259, 260.
* One plantation was called Pimlico, named after a neighborhood in London, and the other Keclico, named after a native language.
Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum , 2.
Smith, Introduction to A Charleston Sketchbook: 1796-1806 , by Charles Fraser. 24.
* Ibid.
He was the son of John Lucas (1781-1824), who was a younger brother to Jonathan Lucas II, and the grandson of Jonathan Lucas I. See Fig. 20 Wyatt s Wind Mill Map.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 93.
Corbett (1770-1850) was the son of Thomas Corbett Sr. (1743-1814) of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England, who had come to Charleston and established himself as a prosperous businessman. The son, like the father, married into the Harleston rice-planting family. Corbett Jr. married Elizabeth, the daughter of John Harleston and Elizabeth Faucherand. In the division of her father s property, Elizabeth Corbett received Farmfield Plantation on the eastern branch of the Cooper River. Edgar, Bailey, et al., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives , 3:154; Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 91, 94.
** Ibid, 94.
* Dr. Edward Thomas may have had the Lucas mill built for his Northampton Plantation in St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish or for the plantation on the Sampit River that he bought in 1793 from Thomas Hasell. Thomas also called this new plantation, located in Prince George Winyah Parish, Northampton. The purchase of Northampton meant that the plantation practically stayed in the family; Edward Thomas s stepmother was Ann Hasell, sister to Thomas Hasell. Linder and Thacker, Rice Plantations of Georgetown County , 536-38.
See John Lucas, assignee of Jonathan Lucas (the Younger) vs. John Bowman , Charleston District Court of Common Pleas, Judgment Roll, 1807, no. 55A, South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
The 1806 Charleston City Directory lists Edward Croft, attorney at law, as living at 44 Meeting Street.
John Lucas, assignee of Jonathan Lucas (the Younger) vs. John Bowman .
** John Lucas, assignee of Jonathan Lucas (the Younger) vs. John Bowman . The 1806 Charleston city directory lists John J. Pringle, attorney general, as living at 93 Tradd Street.
* Jonathan (John) Lucas, letter to Alexander Hume Lucas, 23 March 1883, Lucas Family Collections.
After Paul Trapier married Sarah Alicia Shubrick, Thomas Shubrick s daughter, in 1802, he agreed to act as security for several debts of his father-in-law. By 1812 he found himself in financial ruin because of Shubrick s indebtedness. This probably explains why he sold most of Belvidere to Lucas.
In 1835, after Mary Shubrick s death, the mansion house tract was conveyed to Maria Henrietta Pinckney (b. 1774) and Harriott Pinckney (1776-1866), two of the daughters of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. The Pinckney sisters also owned nearby Belmont Plantation, which they had inherited after the death of their father. Smith, Charleston and Charleston Neck, 25, 35.
Belvidere was a celebrated estate, approached through a double avenue of live oaks, which toward the end of the proprietorial era became the site of the Governor s House, an official residence of English governors of the province.
5
JONATHAN LUCAS II

J onathan Lucas II, who had emerged as a trusted confidant of his father s planter clients and as a growing influence in the family business, scored another triumph, at age twenty-four, with his betrothal to the heiress Sarah Lydia Simons of Middleburg Plantation. They were married July 18, 1799, at the Simons summer seashore retreat, the Grove Plantation, at Seewee, in Christ Church Parish by the Reverend P. Manigault Parker of St. John s Parish. * Sarah was the daughter of Benjamin Simons III and Catherine Chicken and had inherited Middleburg. Middleburg Plantation had been built in 1699 by Benjamin Simons I and today is the oldest standing wooden structure in South Carolina. The young couple s first town residence was a place called Orange Grove on Rutledge Avenue in Charleston, where the first three of their fourteen children were born.
In 1800 at Middleburg the newly married entrepreneur, at age twenty-five, built a rice mill of black cypress and brick. It was one of the first toll mills for rice in South Carolina. According to Robert F. W. Allston, the first brushing screen used was put into that mill in 1803. * The toll mill exacted a toll or fee, usually in kind, for the rice milled. Its ruins are on the banks of the Cooper River, a few hundred yards behind the main house. Like his father, Lucas was a mechanical genius, who not only built rice mills to widespread acclaim but also continued to make improvements and innovations.


FIG . 21. Middleburg Plantation, east branch of Cooper River, Parish of St. Thomas and St. Denis. The dwelling, built in 1697, is the oldest wooden house in South Carolina. Its architecture reflects European, lowcountry, and Caribbean influences. Courtesy of Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina.
In March 1808, at about the same time he was completing his capacious Charleston mansion, Lucas applied for a patent on one of his improvements of his father s machine for cleaning rice. His request, in his own words, was forwarded to a Colonel Hayes in Washington along with improvement drawings signed by Lucas and witnessed by Thomas Naylor and S. Murley. The patent was approved on July 13, 1808, and signed by Thomas Jefferson, President; James Madison, Secretary of State; and A. Rodney, Attorney General of the United States.
The 1808 patent dealt with the hulling and cleaning of rice, and on November 6, 1819, Lucas received a patent for hulling rice and polishing. Previously, in 1817 he and John Norton first applied steam power to rice milling in the mill on Lucas (now Barre) Street at the front of Mill (now Sabin) Street. The Lucas family had their competitors, but the seminal work had been done years before by Lucas s father. Later patents, important as they were, were refinements on the basic process. They included:
Winnowing Screen Pendulum, Lewis Dupr , South Carolina, April 1808;
Hulling and Pounding Husks, Jacob Read, South Carolina, June 9, 1809;
Hulling Rice by Steam, John L. Norton, South Carolina, December 16, 1823;
Hulling Rice, John Ravenel, South Carolina, May 17, 1828;
Hulling Rice, Asa Nourse, South Carolina, July 8, 1828;
Hulling Rice, Asa Nourse, South Carolina, April 3, 1829;
Hulling Rice and Separating Grain, Peter Broughton, South Carolina, August 5, 1831. *
In what was to become a family tradition of landscape gardening, Lucas designed a guitar-shaped garden, created an ornamental pond, and planted an avenue of thirty-two oaks at Middleburg. The impressive oak avenue that today graces the entrance is the one he planted, although a Flemish-style stable Lucas added to the plantation grounds was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
On December 8, 1803, Lucas paid 5,900 guineas to Martha Cannon, executor of her father s will, for property on the outskirts of Charleston in Cannonsborough. This transaction included 83.5 acres, of which 3.5 acres were high land and the rest marsh. The high land was located at what today is the northwest corner of Calhoun and Lucas Streets. Lucas soon began building an Adam-style mansion, known today as the Jonathan Lucas House or the Kinloch Home for Nurses at 286 Calhoun Street.
One of the outstanding features of the mansion is the elaborate main entrance with its elliptical fanlight and profuse Adamesque decorations, which include carved woodwork and ornate plaster cornices. The main entrance is reached by a double flight of stone steps leading to a piazza that has an impressive view of the neighborhood. When the dwelling was built, the piazza overlooked a mill pond to the south and one to the west, giving a commanding view. The building, which sits on a raised basement, has three full floors and a curved staircase. When the house was built, and before its exterior walls were stuccoed, it was known as the brick house. In 1859-60 the top floor was rebuilt to its present appearance.


FIG . 22. Jonathan Lucas II house (ca. 1809), 286 Calhoun Street. Photograph by Charles N. Bayless. Courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey.
The size of the lot was 396 feet on Calhoun Street by 227.5 feet in depth. * It eventually included a spacious garden containing camellias, long hedged all es, scented vines, and flowering shrubs planted beneath live oaks, trellises, and a fountain. Of the various descriptions of Lucas s celebrated Charleston garden, one of the best was written by James R. Cothran in his Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South:
Another city garden, known as the Lucas Garden, was located at the western end of Calhoun Street. This elaborate garden contained long alleys hedged with laurestinus ( Viburnum tinus ), which ran through the main garden to the rear of the property. The centerpiece of the Lucas garden featured a large oval bed that contained a magnificent camellia, which each spring produced a profusion of single-flowered, crimson blossoms. One account of the garden tells of as many as eighty camellias planted throughout the garden, the choicest being housed in a structure known as the Japonica House ; a structure similar to a greenhouse that was twenty or thirty feet long and about twenty feet wide. The garden consisted of a series of brick-edged beds planted with roses and flowering shrubs.
One of the earliest mentions of the Lucas garden was in the January 1839 issue of the Southern Agriculturist , which published reports on the last anniversary meeting of the Horticultural Society of Charleston:
The large and fine garden of Col. Lucas is well kept-his hedges and shrubbery give evidence of the incessant care and watchfulness with which they are attended. The number and variety of the camellia successfully cultivated by this gentleman, so far exceeds that of any other in this city or its vicinity, that your committee feels no hesitation in awarding him the premium for the greatest number and variety of the Camellia Japonica. For although a [silver] medal was presented to him the last year for the same object, yet are his annual additions such as fully to entitle him to it on the present occasion.
Col. Lucas has the merit of first having introduced into this state the Reticulata-this is generally supposed not to be a variety merely, but a new order of the class of that beautiful shrub, the Camellia. But as Mr. Michael had the finest bloom, they advise that the latter should receive the medal [silver medal for Reticulata bloom]. Your committee recommends that Col. Lucas receive the [silver] medal for the finest specimen and greatest variety of Hyacinths.
One of the most attractive and extraordinary productions of this garden, is a Camellia tree growing in the open ground (the single red)-it is without doubt the very largest in the United States-your committee are not informed of any other that bears a comparison to it. *
The most detailed account of this garden, which enables the reader to visualize its layout, was written by Alice G. B. Lockwood, editor and compiler of the definitive Gardens of Colony and State for the Garden Club of America in 1931, who rhapsodized that the exquisite Lady Hume camellia was especially prized among the forty varieties in the garden and that the elderly owners could pick two hundred blossoms from one tree with no noticeable loss.


FIG . 23. Plat of Jonathan Lucas II house, Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina. Adapted by Lynne Parker.
It is obvious from the information in the city directory that Lucas had rebuilt the lumber mill for operation by steam power. Actually, in 1817 he and John Norton first applied steam power to rice milling in the mill which gave the street its name.
Lucas and his family were at the center of Charleston s cosmopolitan society, with its brilliant social season; handsome buildings, such as St. Paul s Radcliffeborough, in which the Lucases worshiped; and elegant mansions typical of the rice and cotton grandees. A pall hovered over the entire scene, however, that Lucas would certainly have recognized. White Charlestonians feared that such extraordinary wealth, involuntarily produced for so few by so many, could be swept away in an instant by a slave insurrection. *
On May 22, 1822, two slaves met on a wharf in Charleston, and one told the other that Charleston slaves were planning to seize their freedom by force and that some white people would die as a result. As word of the revolt spread among slaves, it also reached the authorities, who at first were skeptical. A trusted slave spy, dispatched into the ranks of the alleged plotters, confirmed the alarming story of a massive rebellion to take place two days later, on June 16, 1822. Militia units mobilized, mounted patrols conducted weapon searches, suspects were seized, and guards were posted around the city. On June 16 approximately 2,500 armed men patrolled Charleston.
Denmark Vesey, said to be the ringleader, was a free black man who had won a lottery and bought his freedom years earlier. * He was arrested June 22 after a three-day search of the city. Others were questioned, and recriminations flew. Although Vesey proclaimed his innocence, on July 2 he and four other black men were hanged along the once-fortified lines north of Boundary (Calhoun) Street. Most of the thirty-five black men who were eventually executed for planning the revolt died without confessing. None of the men hanged in the Vesey plot belonged to the Lucas family, although at least three who were questioned belonged to Jonathan Lucas II: Bram Lucas, John Lucas, and Richard Lucas were all discharged by the court as not guilty.
Bram Lucas, about eighteen years old and whose identity was protected in exchange for testimony as a believed nonparticipant, testified as follows: I know Batteau, he belongs to Mr. Thomas Bennett-Sunday before last, he met me and stopped me, and told me something very grievous-he asked if I would go as one of the army-I told him I could not as I was so bound to my father that I could not go out without his leave-nothing more then took place, as I immediately left him-I have not seen him since.
Richard Lucas, whose identity was also protected, was a brother to Bram. He also testified:
I know Batteau, belonging to Mr. Bennett-he said once to me that he wanted me to agree to join them with as many blacks as I could get to kill the whites. This was last Sunday week in the evening after church-I said I could not attempt such a thing-he tried to persuade me to join, but I refused-he said he could raise armies directly-that he was one at the head-that they would put one force at the bridge and another in the town, he expected some aid from the country-the last time I saw Bram was last Saturday night when he was taken up by the patrol-Batteau said the rising would be on Sunday night.
On Saturday evening as I was going home, I saw Batteau near the Rev. Mr. Bachman s near Cannon Bridge talking with a woman; * he called to me and took me to one side, and began the conversation, speaking low so that no one could hear him-he said that if I could raise men enough twixt Saturday and Sunday to meet him to kill the white people, he said they could get arms enough-he is called Batteau and Botteau. My brother Bram and myself afterwards spoke together on the matter and he said Batteau had spoken to him too.
Lucas lived in his fashionable mansion not more than a dozen years when business took him to England and the center of the international rice trade. His outstanding success in Carolina had actually dimmed his prospects in Charleston but had lit the stage for greater triumphs in Britain. The numerous improvements of father and son in the rice milling business found a more hospitable acceptance in industrial England, where innovations were more readily embraced. Typical of the numerous improvements of Jonathan II was this one mentioned in the Charleston (S.C.) Courier of February 21, 1818: Important Improvements -The superb new STEAM RICE MILL , lately erected by Jonathan Lucas, jun. Esq. and embracing many valuable improvements, has been put into operation within a few weeks past-and we understand that one day this week, Seventy-three barrels of Rice from the Rough, were completely cleaned, barreled and coopered, in the short space of 22 hours. There was, however, no rapid conversion from water to steam in South Carolina. Robert F. W. Allston, in his seminal work on rice culture, listed only four or five steam-operated rice mills as late as 1846.
Carolina rice-mill owners were prospering and saw little reason to adopt the Lucas improvements. Conservative by nature, the agrarian planter class of the tidewater aristocracy was content with the status quo. These feelings plus the invitation of the British government to come to England prompted Lucas to move to London with his large and growing family.
The planters preferred to keep the rice-pounding mills of the elder Lucas rather than invest in the son s new machine for removing the husks from rice without pounding by pestles, which he had patented in 1808. The new machine was eagerly received in England, and Lucas received a British patent for his invention. *
Lucas had outgrown Charleston. There was an inviting, appreciative new world to be conquered across the Atlantic and even greater riches to be made in London.
* Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum , 18, 30. When the Grove was listed for sale in 1821, it was described as the former summer residence of Benjamin Simons, consisting of 346 acres of land, nearly 50 of which was rice land, about 100 in old field, and the rest pineland, the clearing of which would more than pay for it, and then be prime cotton land. A considerable creek ran through the tract, which, it was recommended, would make an excellent mill seat for a small saw or grist mill. The house was described as a two-story wooden house with four rooms to a floor on a high brick foundation with piazzas on two sides. The property was situated about two miles from Wappetaw Church on Seewee Bay with a beautiful water prospect. Charleston (S.C.) Courier , April 5, 1821.
When Simons died, he left three daughters, among whom Middleburg was divided. Sarah, the eldest, retained the part named Middleburg, which included the plantation house and its grounds. Middleburg Plantation was named for the Dutch city where fifteen-year-old Benjamin Simons escaped to from France following the execution of his Huguenot parents. After various partnerships the Lucas, Hort, and Maybank shares were reunited under the ownership of John Coming Ball of Hyde Park, husband of Anne H. Simons, when he bought Middleburg in 1872.
Jonathan III, September 25, 1800; Mary, November 3, 1802; Benjamin Simons, October 21, 1804. Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum , 30.
* Allston, Rice, 343.
Dethloff, History of the American Rice Industry , 35.
This patent is in possession of Thomas Smith Lucas of St. Simons Island, Georgia, a direct descendent of Jonathan Lucas II.
* Dethloff, History of the American Rice Industry , 36.
Baldwin and Baldwin, Plantations of the Low Country , 16.
David Cannon, a house carpenter and mechanic, had owned the tract since 1762, which included a lumber mill on the western side of Charleston. Cannon had been in partnership with Thomas Bennett Sr. (1754-1815). The mill known as Cannon s house mill was located on Bennett s tract of land. Register of Mesne Conveyance Office, Charleston County, Book 07, pp. 267-76; Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum , 18, 19; Stoney, This Is Charleston , 128.
* Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum , 19.
Cothran, Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South , 85.
* According to the Southern Agriculturist , measurements were made by the Charleston Horticultural Society and the results published in the Magazine of Horticulture in 1839. This champion Camellia japonica had apparently survived unscathed the killer freeze that occurred in Charleston in February 1835. These statistics were apparently the first record of garden measurements in the United States, according to H. Harold Hume, noted chronicler of camellia history, although numerous large examples of C. japonica had previously been reported from time to time. H. Harold Hume, Camellias in America , 270.
Incarnata, or Lady Hume s Blush, one of the oldest named varieties, was first imported to England in 1806 from China for Lady Amelia Hume of Wormleybury, Hertfordshire. It is known in the United States as an early variety from South Carolina. See Macoboy, Color Dictionary of Camellias , 36, 99; Hume, Camellias in America , 22, 270, 307; Gerbing, Camellias , 118, 119. The Horticultural Society of Charleston, in 1839, gave James Legar and a Mr. Gonzales awards for their camellia collections, but the society honored Jonathan Lucas III with a silver medal for the largest and best collection of camellias. The true recipient should have been Jonathan II, who had planted the original garden. Jonathan III, however, proved to be a loyal caretaker. According to family lore, his untimely death in 1848 was hastened by an outdoors walk in his bedroom slippers to inspect the camellia collection after a winter storm. Lockwood, Gardens of Colony and State , 22.
* In Charleston there were numerous refugees from slave revolts, such as members of the Lachicotte family, who fled Santo Domingo when Toussaint Louverture and his army of former slaves killed or captured twenty thousand French troops plus numerous French planters and their families. Closer to home but further back in time was the Stono Rebellion of 1739, the bloodiest slave revolt in colonial America.
* Vesey s favorite Bible verse was Joshua 4:21: And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and women, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
Pearson, Designs against Charleston , 303-4.
Quoted in ibid., 172. Batteau Bennett, Ned Bennett, and Rolla Bennett, slaves owned by Gov. Thomas Bennett, were executed with Vesey on July 2.
* The Reverend John Bachman, pastor of St. John s Lutheran Church, was a naturalist and a friend of John James Audubon. Two of his daughters married two of Audubon s sons. Cannon s Bridge joined the Cannonsborough neighborhood north of Boundary (Calhoun) Street on the Charleston neck to the Harleston neighborhood to the south. Cannonsborough, laced with creeks and ponds, was home to lumber and rice mills. Harleston Village was primarily residential.
Pearson, Designs against Charleston , 173.
While this would seem to contradict the characterization of the Lucases innovations as being widely embraced and successful, Charleston was becoming more conservative and starting to decline in the 1820s. England, on the other hand, was experiencing a renewed energy following the defeat of Napoleon. London was a great urban city while Charleston was a provincial backwater in comparison.
Allston, Rice, 346.
* Gregorie, Jonathan Lucas, (1775-1832) , 487.
6
WILLIAM LUCAS

T he mechanical abilities of Jonathan Lucas not only were passed to his oldest son but also were inherited by his youngest son, William. When William was barely twenty-two and his father fifty-eight, he emerged as a partner in the Lucas planting and engineering dynasty.
William had already proven his mettle working alongside his father and half-brother; on March 12, 1812, he entered into an agreement, witnessed by Thomas Naylor, for building rice mills with his father and Joseph McInnes: They agree that all mills erected by them as follows: Mr. Jonathan Lucas to receive one-fourth part of the profits and the residue between William Lucas and Joseph McInnes. * The first rice mill the partnership built was at Point Hope Plantation on the Wando River. About three years later, on November 10, 1815, the young Lucas had prospered enough to buy the eight-hundred-acre Point Hope in St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish for $12,200 from William Wheeler. The plantation fronted on the east and south on the Wando River and westward on Beresford s Creek. The modern traveler going westward on the Mark Clark Expressway (I-526 from Mount Pleasant over the Wando River) can see the point of land on which the plantation was situated.
During this period Lucas began the acquisition of slaves. On January 1, 1813, he bought a young boy named Yorick from Isaac Motte Dart for $414, which included $14 interest paid on July 1, 1813. On the last day of January, he paid Thomas D. Hall, whom the 1809 city directory listed as a planter and register of the U.S. District Court at 33 Broad Street, $1,970 for a negro man named Cuffee and his wife Scilla. On October 17, 1815, Lucas paid Alexander Bochet $500 for a certain Negro man slave named Mingo, by trade a carpenter, about twenty-two years of age. On February 2, 1816, he paid Timothy Ford $1,700 for four Negroes viz. Ben, Emma, and children Cato and Jane. * One week later William was paying Roger Heriot-who lived on King Street Road and was a member of the firm of Heriot, R B, factors, according to the city directory, at Chisolm s Upper Wharf-$3,100 for eight slaves named Pompey, Judy, Peter, Ben, Thomas, Henry, Anthony, and Sarah. Heriot was executor of the Daniel Maz ck estate.


FIG . 24. Bust of Jonathan Lucas II by H. B. Burlowe. Courtesy of the Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina.
On April 19, 1816, Lucas paid his father $300 for a slave named Maria. In an unusual arrangement, on the same date, Jonathan Lucas deeded his blacksmith Joe for $1 to William, under the special conditions previously alluded to. Slave labor was an absolute necessity for the younger Lucas s business operations.


FIG . 25. William Lucas s bill to Henry Laurens, 1818. Lucas Family Collections.
On April 25, 1816, the Lucas-McInnes partnership received 700 from Paul Trapier for a mill built at Windsor Plantation on the Black River and, on August 24, 1816, 500 for building Blake s Mill. * Indicative of a rapid financial ascent experienced by all three Lucases, on May 23, 1816, William purchased Haddrells Point Plantation, with its 471 acres, and Greenwich Mills from his father for 2,000 sterling. He was twenty-six years old.
The money to fuel this rapid succession of slave purchases and property acquisitions came from the thriving business of mill building and rice mill/sawmill operations. While not as impressive as mill building and rice planting, the rice-milling profits also helped to undergird the family s financial fortunes. The day-to-day procurement of raw materials for milling rice underscored the magnitude of that enterprise. The following is an impressive example of the delivery of rice barrel staves:
1818 April 19th: Delivered at Mepkin Mill to the Patroon of Mr. Pearce s
sloop Maid of the Mill by Mr. Davis 2020 rice barrel staves-$20.20
April 30th: Delivered by Mr. Farrel to the same at the Blessing
Mill, 4500 rice Barrel staves $45.00
6520 @ $10/M $65.20
Received the above in full discount 14 July 1820-Henry Laurens.
The record of Lucas s mill-building activities sounds like a repeat of his father s a generation earlier except that the letters are no longer confined to mill building but show an acceptance of him as a fellow member of the rice-planting fraternity and a member of a planter-industrialist family. Even the admonitions to him, for example in a letter of July 1, 1819, from Charles Baring Jr., echo those offered earlier to his father:
I wrote to you about five weeks ago in hopes my letter would reach you at Combahee, but from my last letter from James I find it would be to[o] late as you had paid your visit. The object of my stopping you there was you might make up your mind to erecting a threshing machine . Any expense that you may incur will be defrayed . If you determine on it let James know so that he may get ready anything you want, and you may calculate my being down very early in the fall to aid your operation . You will not stay in the country to the certain destruction of your health .
What sort of seasons have you for the rice crops? How do they look on Santee compared with those on Combahee? James writes that he was sending help to Pon Pon [Edisto]-indeed that he had sent twenty hands and was going himself to see how work went. How do they go on with the mill pond? You should advise Mr. Grover to do all he can this summer as I think we must move some of the hands before another year and, therefore, the banks should be made hurricane proof .
Since I wrote to you I have rec d an answer to my letter to Mr. Naylor. It is indefinite as to when the money is paid provided your father does not want it, and interest will be paid until the debt is discharged. I am waiting til I hear of the sale of some of my rice; the first cargo is arrived and sent on to Hamburg. I fear it will prove a bad business. The next, as it was shipped lower, will do well. If your father should wish to draw the amount out of Mr. Naylor s hands pray let me know as I would hasten my remittances to him. I can draw it any time but I would rather wait until the acct. sales are closed. *
Another letter, August 9, 1819, to Lucas indicated that Baring had received a reply. It was obvious that their business relationship had developed into a warm friendship:
It has given me great pleasure to receive your letter of the 24th July as it has relieved me from many apprehensions with regard to you as I am not without some dread that you would be paying too many visits to the canal. I have letters still later from James which affirm the good accounts you gave and also speaking highly of Pon-Pon where, however, the whooping cough was beginning its attacks. This season of the year, however, is very favorable for it.
Since I wrote to you, I have heard from Mr. Naylor and there will be no difficulty with regard to the money to be paid to him, as your father did not want it immediately. In fact, it is now become an affair between Naylor and us, and I will remit the money to him as soon as I learn the fate of my rice shipments.
I am glad you have made up your mind to get the threshing mill under way. If you want a hand or two from James he will send them. You know how much it is an object for me to forward it particularly as we go to England next spring. I shall go down to the South as early as possible if Mrs. Baring s health is good enough. She has not of late been so well and this will make it more necessary for us to visit England as nothing can be so beneficial as her native air which will restore her to perfect health.
I am very glad to hear your good father is better but I don t hear him talk of visiting the North; however, if his health is good that is the great point.
I am glad to hear the mill dam is likely to be made safe and strong, as I think we may move some of the hands next winter and employ them to much greater advantage. However, on this subject we can talk when we meet. I only wish for you to think of it in the meantime. *
Interspersed with William s many mill-building activities were his continued acquisitions of slaves to furnish labor for his growing milling and rice-planting operations. On February 23, 1820, he paid Charles Baring Jr. 3,600 pounds sterling for fifty-four slaves. On February 28, 1820, Lucas paid Henry Middleton (1793-1887), attorney for Daniel Blake (1803-93), $4,285.70 for ten slaves. * Also on that date, Lucas paid Middleton, as executor of the estate of Mary Middleton, 100 for one negro fellow named Daniel. Not only did Lucas buy slaves through Middleton, but his firm also built a mill for him as well as for James Hasell Ancrum, James Gregorie (1777-1852), Jacob Read, and Pierce Butler. On August 10, 1820, Joseph McInnes noted: Received of Mr. William Lucas his note dated 28 Feb. last for seven hundred 22 dollars, 21 cents, which is in full for my proportion of building Henry Middleton s mill, and for all accounts between the concern of Jonathan Lucas Sr., Son, and McInnes and himself, accepting the outstanding debts owing to said concern by James H. Ancrum, James Gregorie, Jacob Read s estate, and Pierce Butler, yet to be collected and my share of what may be recovered accounted for.
Although his business activities occupied much of his life, Lucas took time for personal affairs. His half-brother Jonathan Lucas II had achieved a stellar marriage with Sarah Lydia Simons, and twenty years later William achieved a similar coup with his marriage in 1819 to Charlotte Hume (1796-1872), daughter of John Hume (1761-1841) and Mary Maz ck of Hopsewee Plantation. * Her father was the largest landowner on the North Santee River and as early as 1790 owned 210 slaves. John Hume also had a large house in Charleston on the south side of Wentworth Street between Smith Street and Rutledge Avenue. In 1819 Lucas also acquired a lot in Charleston at the southeast corner of Wentworth and Ashley Avenue. Located on the western edge of Charleston, not far from where his half-brother had recently completed his Adam-style house and where the family had lumber and other milling interests, this lot was also close to his father-in-law s townhouse.


FIG . 26. William and Charlotte Hume Lucas. Lucas Family Collections.
Shortly after Lucas s marriage, Thomas Pearce sent to him an undated letter in care of Hume in Charleston. Pearce informed William that Cuffy would deliver forty-four studs, eight collar beams, five interstices, and ten joists, and that when the flat returned more would be sent.
Lucas s mill-building activities involved transactions not only with his factor in Charleston but also with his factor in England, Thomas Naylor. Naylor s September 11, 1820, letter from Ollerton, near Knutsford, gives an inside look at the transactions involved in this transatlantic component of the Lucas mill-building activities.
The three cast iron wheels [are] now being shipped on board the Margaret Ann . I have enclosed you an account of the cost and charges incurred upon them amounting together to sixty-four pounds, 9 shillings, 11 pence. The original of which [was] furnished by Galloway Bowman Co. would be forwarded to you by O. Pell Co. with whom it was left for the purpose of clearing out the castings at the Custom House-my charges on them are 2.18 which is as moderate as can be made, but if you should prefer it, you may strike it out altogether. In the present case as you do not make any profit on the castings, I think, I may, with propriety, make my charge of 2.18 for the sum of 2.2 charged as a part of the expense incurred by me on going to Liverpool to get a vessel to take them which was the means of their being immediately shipped. The bill of ninety one pounds 3 pence I have received and the balance of it due to you after deducting the invoices is 26.10.4 which I will place to your credit. I have by this opportunity forwarded to your brother Jonathan my account against him amounting to 3124.14.7 and have desired him to remit me as soon as possible sixteen hundred twenty four pounds, fourteen shillings seven pence and to give you a bond for the remaining part of fifteen hundred pounds which you are to hold only as a security for me, as he is to be at the expense of remitting it when he pays it at his own risk and expense. I was anxious to have sent your brother s account long ago but would not until I had shipped the copper boilers and paid for them. They are very expensive but in the end will be a saving to him. Mr. Bowman says he advised them to be sent out when the engine was made but your brother John opposed it. When they are worn out I am told they will be worth nearly half their cost as old copper.
P.S. Mr. Murley, I am certain, must have money in his hand belonging to me for mill stones. * I have paid for them more than 300 three years ago, and I have not received one cent from him; it is true I owe him about 90 pounds. My good friend, William, do let me entreat you to take into your hands what mill stones are remaining unsold, the quality shipped to him were in the whole 28 pair, so that by looking what are on the wharf you will know what are sold.
I have told Mr. Murley in a letter now written that half of the mill stones as belonging to your father which is a truth for they were shipped on his account and mine, so that you have the right to claim them, 16 pair were consigned to you. *
On the local scene Lucas continued to build rice mills. He received five hundred pounds on January 16, 1827, as a partial payment from Thomas Lowndes (1766-1843) for building a rice mill at Santee.
Lucas continued to rely on slave labor. On January 27, 1824, Thomas Pinckney, executor of the estate of Rebecca Motte, received $2,625 from Lucas for the purchase of nine slaves. On October 11, 1826, Lucas paid John Walker of Charleston $550 for a man named George. Later in 1826, on November 1, he paid Sedgwick Lewis Simons, executor for Ann Lesesne, $600 for one Negro fellow named John. ** Two years later, on January 11, 1828, he paid Daniel Ravenel, executor of his father s estate, $6,184 for nineteen slaves. The next month, on February 21, Lucas paid $2,800 to Sarah R. Hort, William H. Gibbes, John E. Bonneau, and Elias B. Hort, executors of the estate of William Hort, for ten slaves.


FIG . 27. Hampton Plantation (ca. 1740), Wambaw Creek, St. James Santee Parish. Ancestral home of the Horry, Pinckney, and Rutledge families and now part of a state park. Lucas Family Collections.
Lucas was no more immune from the loss of slave property than any other planter. On March 26, 1828, the Charleston (S.C.) Mercury billed him five dollars for advertising for a family of runaway slaves. Lucas obviously considered this particular slave family valuable; rewards were generally smaller, in the neighborhood of ten dollars.
ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD
Ranaway [ sic ] in February 1827, the following NEGROES , viz: NED his wife BELLA and her three children BECK , about 14, ABEL , 12 and ROBERT , 3 years old. They were bought from the Estate of Arnoldus Vanderhorst in Christ Church Parish, absconded a few days after and have been living near the Plantation ever since. NED is frequently in town. The above reward will be paid for their safe delivery to the Master of the Work House or to the Subscriber on South Santee. *
On May 13, 1828, Lucas satisfied an unusual request when he paid Harriott Pinckney Horry (1748-1830) of Hampton Plantation on the South Santee four hundred dollars for Diana and her son George. Frederick Rutledge (1800-1884), Horry s grandson, who helped manage Hampton, wrote to Lucas on May 9 that Diana has permission to choose a master. The price for herself child is four hundred dollars, one half to be paid cash, and the other half in twelve months from the day on which they are sold.
The slave purchases made in the 1820s resulted in Lucas being listed in the 1850 census as the owner of seventy-one slaves on his plantation in the Georgetown District and thirteen in the Charleston city taxpayers list for 1859. The 1850 census listed him with a crop of 540,000 pounds of rice, a yield the acquisition of slaves had made possible. * The figure did not include numerous slaves on Lucas s other properties in Christ Church Parish and St. James Santee Parish. His plantation house, the Wedge, and nearby rice fields were included in St. James Santee Parish, but the outlying rice fields of the Wedge, on the Santee Delta, were considered part of Georgetown District.
* Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 119.
Lucas Family Collections. Dart was a Charleston attorney and factor who lived in the plantation style villa at 54 Montagu Street. Dart built the Charleston single house between 1806 and 1809 after he had bought the land in one of Charleston s earliest suburbs from the estate of John Harleston.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 129.
Ibid., 128.
* Ibid., 130. Timothy Ford, from Morristown, New Jersey, had come to Charleston after graduating from Princeton and gone into practice with Chancellor Henry W. deSaussure establishing Ford deSaussure, Counselors at Law.
Ibid., 131.
Ibid., 132.
Ibid., 133, 134.
* Ibid., 143. Windsor Plantation was named after Windsor Castle. Windsor means winding shore, an appropriate name for this plantation on the winding banks of the Black River. Lachicotte, Georgetown Rice Plantations , 72.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 139, 140.
Ibid., 152. A patroon was usually an able slave in charge of a plantation boat. In the Mediterranean a patroon was a coxswain or master of a galley in the coastal trade.
* Ibid., 157, 158. Charles Baring Jr. (1774-1865) of Exeter was the grandson of a German immigrant to England. Two of his sons had left Exeter for London, where they founded the Baring Brothers banking firm, with which Charles Baring was associated. Charles Baring Jr. came to the United States as an emissary for his cousin Lord Ashburton. Baring s mission was to arrange a marriage for Ashburton with Susan Cole Heyward (1764-1846), widow of South Carolina rice planter James Heyward. Although Heyward was ten years his senior, Baring decided to marry her himself. His association with the famous Baring Brothers bank was no match for his new wife s beauty, mystery, and talent, for he was known as the husband of Susan Cole Heyward.
* Ibid., 162.
The slaves were Jenny, Sancho, John, Sally, Will, Joe, Dye, Patsey, Sam, James, Carolina, Sampson, Anthony, Minda, Eve, Cyrus, Charlotte, Judy, Rose, Hannah, Caesar, Alfred, Cupid, Gabriel, Cuffy, Silla, Phoebe, Mary, Daphine, Emma, Virgil, Sam, Jack, Sancha Mingo, Nelson, Andrew, Tom, Rose, Lucy, Daphine, Sissy, Jenny, Lydia, Pisarro, Laura, Jupiter, Billy Philip, Phillis, Will, Rachel, Joe, Adam, Eve, and Tom. Ibid., 163.
* Middleton s grandfather was Henry Middleton, president of the Continental Congress, and his uncle Arthur Middleton was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel Blake, born in England, was the son of Daniel Blake and Anna Louisa Middleton. His ownership of 527 slaves made him one of the largest slave owners in South Carolina. His younger brother Arthur Middleton Blake (ca. 1812-81) purchased several plantations in 1843 in St. James Santee Parish from the estate of a cousin, John Middleton. Later known as Blake s Reserve, it consisted of Washo, the Cape, Ormond Hall, and Little Murphy Island. Davidson, Last Foray , 178, 179; Linder and Thacker, Rice Plantations of Georgetown County and the Santee River , 763, 767. The slaves were Jane, Abraham, Mary, Jenny, Nancy, Charlotte, Daphne, Beck, Bobby, and Diana. Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 164.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 165.
Ancrum was married to Jane Washington, daughter of William Washington. Earlier Jonathan Lucas had built a rice mill for Jane s father, and the Lucas partnership had built a mill for Ancrum in either Colleton District or St. Peter s Parish. Gregorie, merchant and planter, was born in Edinburgh. He married Ann Gibbes Ladson in 1801 and was listed in 1816 as a planter at 13 Friend Street (Legar ) in Charleston. Gregorie read seven languages and served as editor of the Southern Agriculturist. He had a 1,312-acre estate, Wando Plantation, in Christ Church Parish, not far from the Lucas family holdings, where rice was one of the mainstays; Wayne and Dickinson, Starvegut Hall Plantation , 65-72; Surles, Anne King Gregorie , 6-9, 11. Read (also spelled Reed and Reid), was a U.S. senator and one of the infamous federal midnight judges appointed by outgoing president John Adams. He inherited 200 acres at Hobcaw Plantation in Christ Church Parish and also owned a house on East Bay in Charleston as well as other properties in South Carolina, Georgia, and Newport, Rhode Island. Butler was an absentee plantation owner in Philadelphia who spent little time on his Georgia rice plantations on Cumberland Island. He married Fanny Kemble (1809-93), the British actress and author.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 180.
* They eventually had ten children. Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum , 386.
Edgar, Bailey, et al., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives , 3:357, 358.
If he had intended to build a house for his bride there, he had a change of mind, since the lot remained vacant for approximately thirty years and then passed to his son-in-law John Hume Simons (1823-91), who married William s daughter Mary Hume Lucas (1828-90). John Simons shortly afterward built the commodious dwelling known today as 76 Ashley Avenue. The bride and groom were first cousins and grandchildren of John Hume of Hopsewee.
* Samuel Murley and Thomas Naylor had been in business as part of the firm of Lockey, Murley, and Naylor at 106 East Bay Street in Charleston. A native of Cheshire, England, Murley died on December 20, 1826, at age sixty-one. That he was held in high esteem by the Lucas family is evidenced by the fact that he is buried at the Lucas Cemetery in Mount Pleasant. He had advertised the millstones for sale in the City Gazette of March 11, 1819: Rice Millstones. Of a superior quality, selected at the Quarry by Mr. Lucas [Jonathan Lucas II on one of his trips before he moved to England permanently in 1823] of the following dimensions, 3 2, 4, 5, 6, and 6 2 feet diameter, for sale, on reasonable terms by Samuel Murley.
* Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 192-93.
Ibid., 344. Lowndes owned numerous plantations, including Joefield in St. Bartholomew s Parish, Oakland on the Combahee, and Willow Hall in St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish. By 1832 he had acquired a major portion of Cat Island on the North Santee, which he called Chat Isle. His family belonged to St. Paul s Church, which Lucas and his family also attended. At St. Paul s there is a monumental tablet dedicated to Lowndes and his wife, Sarah Bond I on (1777-1840), of Springfield Plantation in St. James Santee Parish.
Motte (1737-1815) was Pinckney s mother-in-law. After the death of Pinckney s wife, Motte s daughter Elizabeth, he married her other daughter, Frances, herself the widow of John Middleton. Bridges and Williams, St. James Santee , 56-57; Bill of Sale, South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Lucas, A Lucas Memorandum , 245-46. This may have been the John Walker listed in the 1829 Charleston city directory on the north side of George Street.
** Ann Lesesne (1762-1826) was the daughter of Daniel Lesesne (1718-82) and Mary Simons (1739-91); Simons, Thomas Grange Simons III, 16. Simons (1788-1834) was the son of Keating Simons I (1753-1834) and his first wife, Sarah Lewis (1758-91); ibid., 34; Bill of Sale, South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Bill of Sale, South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 247, 249. Sarah Rutledge Hort was a resident of Christ Church Parish where William Lucas s Greenwich Mill was located; Gregorie, Christ Church , 73. Gibbes is listed in the 1825 city directory as master in equity at the corner of Meeting and Queen Streets. The same directory lists Bonneau as living at 13 Church Street, Charleston. When William Hort acquired land at Haddrells Point, which later became known as Hilliardsville, the methodical businessman marked the boundaries with massive brick posts. One brick marker near the northeast corner of Bay and McCant s Drive was known as Hort s Pillar; Gregorie, Christ Church , 69; McIver, History of Mount Pleasant , 29.
* Charleston (SC) Mercury , March 26, 1828.
Lucas Family Collections.
* Rogers, History of Georgetown County , 296, 526.
7
DEATH OF THE PATRIARCH

U sing Haddrells Point Plantation as his base of operations, William Lucas continued building rice mills on the tidal rivers and bays of the Carolina lowcountry from the Savannah to the Waccamaw Rivers. Log rafts were floated downriver to Greenwich Mills on Shem Creek for sawing into lumber. Rice arrived on flats, schooners, and other sailing vessels for pounding and milling for market.
To facilitate his business expansion, which required the transport of rice, lumber, barrel staves, bricks, iron castings, millstones, cypress shingles, and other building materials, Lucas needed additional vessels. Beginning in the 1690s, it was not unusual for industrious planters to own schooners or sloops; Daniel Horry, for example, owned the schooner Active , and Benjamin Perdrieau, Henry Laurens, and John Coming Ball jointly owned the schooner Wambaw . *
Lucas followed in the tradition. In 1820 he purchased 596 feet of live oak timber from Chris Fitzsimons, a factor on Fitzsimons Wharf, who lived at 37 Hasell Street in Charleston. He also hired George Shokes, a young shipwright, to build a large topsail schooner to be named Charlotte after his bride, Charlotte Hume. His property on the eastern bank of Shem Creek allowed Lucas an excellent staging area for the vessel s construction. A building way or ramp would be laid out on an incline at right angles to the river or creek so when the vessel was completed, its weight, when launched, would carry it down into the water. Many of the smaller vessels were built on private property rather than in large shipyards such as Eason, Marsh, or Pritchard s.
James Eason owned Eason s Shipyard, which operated from 1815 until 1865 in Wraggsborough and later on Exchange Street in Charleston. James Marsh owned Marsh s Shipyard, which operated from early 1800s to 1865 on Market Street in Charleston. Paul Pritchard owned Pritchard s Shipyard, which operated from 1818 until 1825 on Daniel s Island on the Wando River as well as at Gadsden s Wharf in Charleston. There had also been an earlier Pritchard s Shipyard on Pinckney Street in Charleston run by William Pritchard and also William Pritchard s Shipyard at Hobcaw in Mount Pleasant. *
Not long after the marriage of William and Charlotte and the christening of the schooner Charlotte , Jonathan Lucas, patriarch of the family, died on April 1, 1821, in his sixty-seventh year. The senior Lucas was buried in St. Paul s Churchyard, Charleston (present-day Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul). The Charleston (S.C.) Courier of April 2 stated that the friends and acquaintances of the late Jonathan Lucas, Sr. and those of his sons Jonathan and William are invited to attend the funeral of the former from the residence of Jonathan Lucas II, Cannonsborough, this afternoon at 4 o clock without further invitation.
Ann Ashburn Lucas, Jonathan s second wife, outlived her husband by seventeen years, dying on July 29, 1838, at age eighty-six. She was buried at the Lucas Family Cemetery at Haddrells Point, Greenwich Mill. The family plot is just off Vincent Drive, not far from Coleman Boulevard.
Shortly after his father s death, on May 5, 1821, William had a new will drawn in which he made provisions that his mother be permitted to live at his plantation Haddrells Point for the rest of her life and that she be paid a yearly annuity of five hundred dollars. He appointed Charlotte and his friends Sedgwick Lewis Simons and Dr. Alexander Hume as executors of his will.
As executor of his father s estate, Lucas had to deal with family members living not only in South Carolina but also in England. The link between these two worlds was the valued adviser both to Lucas and previously to his father, Thomas W. Naylor. Naylor became the scapegoat for family rivalries, and in a letter dated July 21, 1822, from London, he implied he was being excoriated.
Naylor was in a referee capacity, and not everyone was pleased. He informed Lucas that he had received a very rude and uncivil letter from his sister Eliza Lucas Venning (1799-1833), the wife of Samuel Venning (1799-1840), abusing me without cause in the most scurrilous manner. Naylor was accused of violating the father s will by attempting to persuade Lucas s sisters to make an equal division of the estate among both families, and also was accused of having more of the family property in his possession than he could account for. Naylor blamed Samuel Venning for the accusations, which he derided as so gross and scandalous that he would have not address them. Always tactful, he wrote to Lucas that even though the letter bore Eliza s signature he was very confident she has been no ways concerned. In another jab at her husband, he observed that the writer of the letter was void of both sense and judgment. *
In other business that related to Lucas s sister Ann, who had married Thomas Pearce (1755-1825) in 1810, Naylor advised him that under the terms of the will, she could not receive her portion of the estate until the death of her husband. In the meantime she would receive interest on her portion, which would be invested for her. Since it would bring not more than 4.5 percent in returns if invested in England, Naylor suggested that the money, 2,500, be invested in U.S. government bonds, which would bring a return of 7 percent. Naylor s letter, which was forwarded by another family retainer, Jonathan Watson of Liverpool, advised Lucas to go before a notary and make a declaration that the legacy left to him in the will had been paid before his father s death and that he had no further claim against the estate.
Interspersed with Naylor s dealing with the will were the responsibilities of the family s transatlantic business. Shipments between Liverpool and Charleston were haphazard at times, and there were production problems with the foundry in Manchester. Naylor took great care that blame did not fall upon him. In an apologetic letter from Liverpool dated October 17, 1822, Naylor attempted to extricate himself:
I write these few lines to say that for some unaccountable cause, Bowman Co. have not yet sent here the castings, nor do I know when to expect them. About a month ago, your brother said he was that day going to Manchester he would urge them to forward them immediately, but upon calling upon Mess Leech Co. who were instructed to ship them, I find they are not arrived from Manchester. As soon as I get home I will go there, learn the reason of the delay when they design to forward them. This at present is all I can say, and that you may not attribute the delay to my neglect is the reason I must avail myself of this opportunity of giving you a line.
The eldest daughter of Jonathan Lucas, Jane Beatty, born in 1777, wrote to her brother William from 32 Vauxhall Road in Liverpool on December 8, 1822, to thank him for her bequest. She was that time a widow, and it is obvious in her flowery thanks that she needed the money as soon as possible but also could not help but wonder why there was not more:
You will, I hope, pardon me, if I solicit you to inform me, how you have ordered the money ( 300) to be left me. I would not be solicitous, had I not so large a family to bring up, and it is my sole desire as far as lay in my power, to bring them up a little respectable, that they may have a chance to form a respectable connection, and I was thinking of your goodness (which has already been evidenced to me) could let me have it at this present time, it would do me an essential service as I should be able to put my boys in a respectable way to get their livelihood but I shall be only guided by your counsel if you will be so kind to trouble yourself. *
William s schooner, the Charlotte , was badly damaged in 1822 by a gale that smashed into the Santee Delta after coming ashore on September 27. George Shokes was again hired to put a new bottom on the Charlotte as well as to make repairs to a recent acquisition, the Hyflier , for a total of $330.50. The work took eighty days and included putting in two stanchions, one piece of plank-sheer, and one anchor stock and repairing and painting the Hyflier .
The Charlotte was a workhorse for the Lucas enterprises and was, therefore, the object of constant maintenance and upkeep even in the best weather. The ship s records show that it plied the South Carolina coast. Lucas paid a share in having an entrance buoy placed at the mouth of the South Santee River in 1831, as well as pilotage fees in the ports of Georgetown, Charleston, and others that his vessels entered.
The Hyflier was a vessel with a checkered history. John Lucas of Orangeburg on May 7, 1880, wrote to his cousin Alexander Hume Lucas at the Wedge: Your brother [Robert] knew the boat Hyflier to be his father s, but how, knew not. George Lucas says the owner, Capt. Clark, used it for a ferry boat between Charleston and Sullivan s Island and that in 1822 he was drowned and the boat was sold. Your father purchased it for $200. It rowed 13 oars, in length 44-1/3 ft. stem to stern. Your brother Robert says it was loaned to the Confederate government and never returned.
Later, on March 7, 1883, John Lucas again wrote to his cousin Alexander: What has become of the large carvel boat called the Hyflier kept formerly at Greenwich Mills? Do you know of the history of it? I have heard that one of the presidents of the U.S. visited Charleston Monroe , I think, and that he partook of the hospitality of your father, visiting the rice mills-and that your father s boat took him there and back in almost regal style resembling a Venetian gala day. I remember this boat since 1826; saw it then in the boathouse.
* Bridges and Williams, St. James Santee , 48, 49.
This was probably the George Shokes listed in the 1819 Charleston city directory as a ship carpenter living at 11 Amen Street (which is now part of Cumberland Street) in the shadow of St. Philip s Protestant Episcopal Church. If so he was the son of John Shoakes (despite the slight discrepancy in spelling) of St. James Santee Parish.
* Coker, Charleston s Maritime Heritage , 299.
Ann Lucas was born on September 19, 1752, in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England, according to her grave marker.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 197, 198.
Lucas had his legacy paid to him by his father before his father s death. Primogeniture would have dictated a larger share for William.
* Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , 212-14.
Ibid.
* Ibid., 224.
Ibid., 178.
Lofton, Lucases of Haddrells Point , book 2, n.p. Capt. Joseph W. Clark was listed in the city directory as a mariner at 9 Orange Street.
Jonathan (John) Lucas, letter to Alexander Hume Lucas, 7 March 1883. Lucas Family Collections.
8
RICE PLANTER EXTRAORDINAIRE

D uring the 1820s William Lucas expanded his interests from his home base at Haddrells Point in Christ Church Parish northward to the South Santee River to enter the vortex of rice production and power. Rice planting proved more profitable to Lucas than the building of rice mills, and his capital and energies gradually shifted entirely to rice cultivation.
Although Lucas in the 1820s began investing in the more lucrative business of planting rice, he still kept a foot planted in the business at Haddrells Point, where his sister Ann and her husband, Capt. Thomas Pearce, operated Greenwich Mills for him. On October 9, 1823, Thomas W. Naylor reported from Ollerton, Knutsford, and Cheshire, England, on mill business and the arrival of Jonathan Lucas II s family in England and his purchase of a house near London:
You will receive four pair of 6 feet mill stones if they can get them on board a vessel leaving for Charleston without the least delay. They have been laying in Liverpool some time waiting for a vessel and it was only yesterday I was apprised of the present conveyance. One pair is for Mr. Heyward according to your instructions, another pair for your brother Jonathan for which his son John must pay you, and the two remaining pairs I beg you to dispose when an opportunity offers. This may not perhaps be wanted for some time, but as the trouble and expense of shipping two pair would be nearly as much as the whole, I was induced to send them, and on arrival in Charleston by placing the two pair on some convenient part of the wharf. Sometimes but little wharfage has been charged, but in this respect I beg you to act as you find most convenient to yourself. The first cost of them is fifty-two pounds ( 52) but the expense of shipping I shall not be acquainted of until I receive the account from Watson.
Your brother s family you may be surprised to hear I have not yet seen except Mr. Mrs. Cordes Catherine and one or two of the children. I wrote to Liverpool desiring I might be made acquainted with their arrival and in reply was told they were leaving Liverpool that morning on their way to London and being aware of a town they must pass through about 20 miles distance from here I repaired thither and saw them for not more than three minutes, when the coach drove away, but I go purposely to see them sometime this month. Your brother has bought a house a few miles out of London where they reside. My sister saw them when they were in London and Mrs. Lucas told her when they first arrived their appearance and dress together, attracted a crowd of people about them. I believe I have before acquainted you that I received from Mr. Ewbank [frequently misspelled as Eubank ] on acc t of the rice 173.14.07. *
John Watson in England forwarded a bill dated October 2, 1823, for eight millstones shipped to Charleston for 1.11.02.
By the 1820s rice mills were being built in Charleston, and plantation owners began shipping their rice there to be milled. The era of individual plantations building their own rice mills had peaked, but Lucas was ahead of the curve. He already owned the eight-hundred-acre Point Hope Plantation on the Wando River in St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish, but a rice empire had to include many fiefdoms. An original part of Lucas s fiefdom was the lucrative base at Greenwich. After the death of Pearce, Samuel Venning took over the management of Greenwich Mills and, on August 2, 1834, married Lucas s widowed sister Ann.
The golden era of rice in South Carolina was the decade of the 1850s, and by that time Lucas s holdings had expanded to include several properties along the lower reaches of the Santee Delta. On Murphy Island at the mouth of the Santee, where he switched from planting cotton to rice, he had 4,236 acres (630 in rice); at Indian Hill and Blackwood, both on the delta itself, 216 acres (200 in rice) and 250 acres (222 in rice), respectively; and at Wambaw on Wambaw Creek, 3,100 acres (195 in rice). Lucas further acquired the Grove, a-919 acre plantation on Seewee Bay, and, in 1860, Wythywood (Witherwood) Plantation, both approximately midway between Haddrells Point and the Santee River plantations. Wythywood was created in 1853 when four contiguous plantations, Willow Hall, Rice Hope, Cypress Hedge, and Wythywood, were united under the ownership of George Alfred Trenholm, later a blockade runner and secretary of the treasury of the Confederacy. This tract of land, located in and around Awendaw Creek, was basically in Christ Church Parish but overlapped into St. James Santee Parish and the parish of St. Thomas and St. Denis. That same year, in December, Trenholm bought an approximately 180-acre tract on Shem Creek between the Lucas Mill and the Ferry tract from Lucas, who had laid out the area as the village of Lucasville. * This property had been conveyed to him for eight hundred dollars on October 13, 1835, by James Hibben Jr., executor of the estate of James Hibben. Lucasville today is on both sides of the approaches to Shem Creek Bridge as one leaves the Old Village.
In 1860 Lucas, whose townhouse on Rutledge Avenue in Charleston was directly across from Trenholm s (the present-day site of the school Ashley Hall), bought Wythywood Plantation from his Charleston neighbor. As in Trenholm s situation, Wythywood was an investment property for Lucas, an extension of agricultural holdings, not a place of residence.
In a continuing series of parallel acquisitions, Trenholm, like Lucas, acquired land in Edgefield District, although his acquisitions were about twenty years later than Lucas s. In August 1863 Trenholm bought the parcel of land known as the Darby tract from Milledge Luke Bonham (1813-90) for twenty-five thousand dollars. The centerpiece of the property was a Greek Revival plantation house with a curved staircase with a landing where musicians could play for balls and entertainment.
The Trenholms, like the Lucas family, sought refuge in Edgefield District at various times during the Civil War. Trenholm s wife s uncle, Francis S. Holmes, was also at Darby. He was a professor at the College of Charleston and in charge of the early collections of the Charleston Museum. The museum collections were packed and shipped to Darby with Holmes, who stored them for safekeeping in a gar onni re on the grounds of the plantation. While at Darby, Holmes lectured at the Edgefield Courthouse, where, it is said, he enhanced the cultural climate of Edgefield.
Jehossee Island, the antebellum South s largest rice plantation near the mouth of the Edisto River, which belonged to William Aiken, South Carolina governor and U.S. congressman, produced 1.5 million pounds of rice in 1859. He was second, however, to Lucas at the opposite or northern end of the county, who produced 1.575 million pounds.
The shift in Lucas s operations had been gradual. One of the ventures that sparked his interest in the Santee area, although it was a temporary diversion, was the Winyaw and Wando Canal Company, which had the goal of joining the waters of Winyah Bay with the Wando River, which flowed into Charleston Harbor. The project was launched in opposition to the Santee Canal, which linked the Santee River to the Cooper, which also flows into the harbor. The Santee Canal had been backed by private capital and had not been a financial success. The prospect that it might succeed, however, threatened Georgetown as a port: the backcountry served by the Santee River system might look to Charleston rather than Georgetown as the seaport to export its cotton, timber, and naval stores.
The South Carolina legislature on December 19, 1816, passed an act to incorporate the Winyaw and Wando Canal Company. Lucas s soon-to-be father-in-law, John Hume, who owned much of the land on the Santee between Hopsewee and the ocean, was one of the principal backers of the project, along with Thomas Pinckney Jr., of Fairfield Plantation on the South Santee. Other backers included men with interests along the route such as David R. Williams, Joel R. Poinsett, Wade Hampton, Hugh Rose, Frank Weston, John Gordon, and Charles Fitzsimons. *
It was a bold, ambitious project. The waters of the Congaree, the Broad, and the Saluda were already connected by the Santee, and the backers of the Winyaw and Wando Canal boasted that their canal would bring boats from those rivers to the Big Pee Dee, the Little Pee Dee, Black Creek, Lynch s Creek, the Black River, and Sampit. To get state support, they claimed that safe steam navigation between Cheraw, Camden, Columbia, and Charleston could never happen until a large, navigable canal was dug from Winyah Bay to the Wando River.
A Mr. Hume, presumably John Hume, was to superintend work on the canal from Winyah Bay to Kinloch s Creek. Pinckney was to supervise the Kinloch Creek area. Hume was also to cut a canal from the North to the South Santee to avoid the circuitous route by Four-Mile Creek and Six-Mile Creek.
On March 9, 1819, Lucas received $300 as advance payment for the hiring of black manpower and buildings for the Santee and Winyaw Canal project. By November 20 he had received an additional $300 for wages for hands working on the Winyaw Canal from Thomas Smith. On April 20, 1820, Lucas was paid $150 for slaves hired to him for the canal and the use of black housing at North Santee by Smith. From Hume, Lucas received $1,000 on June 15 and then on January 25, 1821, $1,150 for work done on the Winyaw and Wando Canal project.
Lucas not only was involved in renting out slaves to work on the canal and in housing canal workers, but he also became one of the financial backers of the project. On May 8, 1820, Joel R. Poinsett received from him $1,000, the installment called for by the Winyaw and Wando Canal Company. On January 2 of the following year, he paid Poinsett $250, the latest installment. *
Such an auspicious beginning was thwarted, however, by another technological development, the railroad, which doomed the canal enterprises. The Winyaw and Wando Canal Company venture, while not successful, did help to change the focus of Lucas s business ventures northward to the South Santee.
The beginnings of the plantation house known as the Wedge can be traced to a decision by Lucas s father-in-law, John Hume, as he approached his sixth decade, to make provisions for his three daughters. On January 8, 1823 in a tripartite indenture executed in Charleston between Hume, Lucas and wife Charlotte, and John Ball, trustee for Charlotte, Hume decided to settle on his daughters one of his plantations at Santee or the proceeds of the sale thereof and the Negroes thereon. To expedite the settlement, Lucas paid his father-in-law $23,420 for two-thirds of the plantation, which Hume intended to divide equally between his other two daughters, Ann, who was married to Sedgwick Lewis Simons (1788-1834), and Catherine, who was married to Thomas Grange Simons (1789-1863).
The 250-acre plantation was located on Atchison s Island between the North and South Santee Rivers on the Santee Delta. This parcel became known as the rice plantation Blackwood. The plantation bounded on the east the lands of Thomas Pinckney Jr., on the west to other property of Hume s, and to the north and south to the North and South Santee Rivers.
Hume in 1802 had purchased 171 acres on Atchison s Island and 47 acres on the mainland from William Hasell Gibbes, master in equity of Charleston District. Under the terms of the tripartite settlement, Charlotte Lucas had received one undivided third part of and in all that other plantation on the south side of the South Santee River in the Parish of Saint James Santee containing forty seven acres thirty seven hundredth parts of an acre. The property s northern boundary was the South Santee River, its southern boundary the lands of John Shoolbred, and its western boundary Pine Hill Plantation (later Palo Alto Plantation) belonging to the estate of Mrs. E. Middleton. This approximately forty-seven-acre, triangle-shaped piece of property became the land on which the Lucases shortly built their plantation house, the Wedge.


FIG . 28. The Wedge Plantation house (ca. 1826), South Santee River. The top photo was taken about 1923. Lucas Family Collections. The bottom photo (c. 1940), courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey.
Charlotte also received under the tripartite settlement one third of another plantation in St. James Santee Parish containing 418 acres, bounding northeasterly on lands of Solomon Legar , southeasterly on vacant lands, southwesterly on lands of Ellick (Elias) Horry, and northwesterly on Wambaw Creek. And she received thirty-nine slaves from her father: Hercules, his, wife, Diane, and their children, Jean, Robbey, Sylvia, and Sary; Caesar and his wife, Cottoe; Cyrus, his wife, Leby, and their children, Billy, Lucy, Martha, and Mary; Quacco and his wife, Priss; Sam, his wife, Patty, and their children, Moll, Betsey, Apollo, and Marlborough; London, his wife, Kate, and their children, Peggy and Quacco; Alleck, wife, Charlotte, and their children, Isaac and Bella; York, his wife, Sary, and their children, Apollo and Sally; Scipio, his wife, Susannah, and their children, Kate, Chance, and Luke.
David Doar of St. James Santee Parish wrote that, all along the road from Charleston to Georgetown, houses were built for accommodation of passengers and for furnishing relay of horses. He recalled there was one at ten miles, one at fifteen, one at twenty-one, and one at thirty-two. The Mills Atlas of 1825 shows a house at the sixteen-mile point. Doar also wrote that along the road between each house large wells had been dug beside the road for watering the horses. As the Wedge was being built, Lucas frequently used these accommodations as he traveled back and forth. *
Hume, through kinship and money, had helped to move the orbit of his son-in-law s world from Haddrells Point to South Santee. The Wedge soon became the hub of a wheel of operations that spun out across a circle of operations in the Santee area. The plantation takes its name from its shape: on the River Road there is barely room for the gates at the entrance to the property, which fans out to a broad expanse of Santee rice lands.
Lucas built his imposing two-and-a-half-story, clapboard-siding house above an English basement. In typical English understatement, he subordinated the new Greek Revival style to the vernacular of the Carolina lowcountry. The one-story portico with its columns of wood proportioned like those of a Doric temple were subdued to the general scheme of a plantation house. The original columns were four fluted, single Doric columns. The columns rotted in the late 1800s and were replaced by paired square columns, which were easier to obtain. These were changed back by a later owner to the original style in the late 1920s.
Lucas s plantation house presents a pleasing composition, being symmetrical in design and using one-story polygonal wings in counterpoint to the basic cube of the main block. The house is capped with a gable roof and three slender dormer windows with six-over-six sashes, cypress shingles, and two chimneys that rise from the rear of the main roof. The portico is reached by a set of stone horseshoe-shaped stairs graced by iron railings above a semicircular, keystone-arched entranceway to the English basement.
Above the portico is a balustraded balcony with four decorative urns. On the second story, a transom fanlight crowns a French door, which leads out to the balcony. The individual balusters are unturned, though the main supports are fashioned as small columns. The first-story main entrance also has a transom with a fanlight motif. The cornice of the portico projects beyond the unembellished frieze and the dentiled architrave.
The sides or east and west elevations of the house are four bays wide. The gable ends have boxed cornices, semicircular louvers, and three nine-over-nine sash windows on the east, west, north, and south elevations. Slender brick chimneys rise above the one-story polygonal flankers.
The interior of the Wedge is as understated as its exterior. A central hall bisects the house, just as at Hampton, Fairfield, Hopsewee and other Santee River plantations, to provide symmetry and cross ventilation. The basic floor plan, replicated on all floors, has four rooms with a central hall.
The English basement is dominated by a long hall with an arch centered at the head of the stairs. Two large, segmental arched hearths with niches are in the left and right front basement rooms. Behind them are two smaller rooms. The entire area has brick floors.
The Wedge s main floor is divided into left and right drawing rooms bisected by a central hall leading to a rear entrance. The drawing rooms are entered through wide folding doors and decorated with reeded crown moldings, a plain frieze and picture molding, marble mantels, six pane doors and niches on the northern wall. Wainscot with cavetto molding lines the rooms and the central hall. The stairway at the back of the hall utilizes unturned balusters, engaged handrails, trapezoidal wainscot panels, and Vitruvian stringers. *
Paired block-and-turned newels are used on the second-floor landing. The second story hallways feature an arch and the same crown molding and wainscot found on the floor below. The house throughout is an elegant and refined example of the Greek Revival style. The overall motif is one of classical restraint.
The construction date for the Wedge s house is given as circa 1826. No information has surfaced pinpointing the actual date building began or was completed. Surviving family records document the purchase of various building materials starting in the mid-1820s and continuing until March 1830.
There is an entry in the family records dated December 7, 1822, to the estate of John V. Frances, a Free Person of Color, for 20 pairs 12 light sashes, 11 by 9 for $31.50, and another entry for September 20, 1823, for 7 pairs 18 light sashes for $15.75 and 9 pairs 12 light sashes for $13.28. One cannot help but wonder if this is the beginning of accumulation of window sashes for the Wedge, whose fenestration includes six-over-sixes for the dormers and nine-over-nine for the remaining windows with the exception of the English basement, which has six-over-six windows. *
The next entry in the family ledgers, on January 2, 1824, deals with $690.75 spent for the construction of outbuildings, which included building kitchen, stable, coach house, poultry house, privy house with fence and gate to the same. Although the work was not designated as being done at the Wedge, since Lucas did not purchase his townhouse on Rutledge Avenue in Charleston until 1832, it seems likely that these outbuildings were part of the Wedge s plantation complex.
The year 1828 was a busy one for work at the Wedge. Before the year was out, on December 10, 1828, a special room was built for the house for $55.00. On February 21, 1829, domestic arrangements included furnishing 6 posts, digging putting down the same for the clothes line in the yard for $1.50. A door frame for the piazza was made and installed for $12.50 on March 1 the same year, along with a six-panel door for $7.00. Apparently work on the Wedge was winding down, since the final embellishments were soon added.
Not all the purchases were for building materials. Twelve Kennedy s Carolina peach trees (no date given) were purchased for $4.50, and December 2, 1824, Lucas paid Joseph Simmons, a grocer, who kept a store at the south corner of Broad and East Bay Streets in Charleston, $6.25 for a bundle of peach trees. Lucas bought thirty sheep at $2.00 each on November 3, 1824, and on July 5, 1825, he paid Samuel Cromwell, a bricklayer who lived at 7 Back Street, Charleston, $15.00 for 5 days work of 3 hands to build a garden fence. He bought a black cow and her calf for $18.00 on May 26, 1828, from John W. Wiggins.
The final bill in surviving family records, dated March 2, 1832, is from William H. Holmes, a factor on Gadsden s Wharf who lived at 113 Boundary (now Calhoun Street), and included six marble chimney pieces at $25.00 each for $150.00; two marble hearths measuring 15 feet, 4 inches at $1.00 per foot for $15.31.25; one double flight of stone steps and landing measuring 217 feet at 37.5 cents per foot for $77.62.5.
The six marble chimney pieces, which were in the house during its occupancy by the Lucas family, were removed by a later owner who was erroneously told by his architectural consultant that the mantels were not original to the house. The marble hearths and double flight of stone steps still grace the plantation house. *
Commensurate with the building of the Wedge was the gradual acquisition of furniture to grace its twenty rooms. Lucas and Charlotte shortly after their marriage began gathering the furniture and furnishings for the plantation house they would build. Their first son, William Noble Lucas, was born on August 16, 1820, and Lucas paid Richard Smith (1809-57), a cabinetmaker at 28 Broad Street in Charleston, twenty-two dollars for a Mahogany Crib with turned Banisters on September 22, 1822. They accumulated a storehouse of treasures that still survives, for the most part, long after the death of the last family member to live permanently at the Wedge.
After 1810 the South recognized New York as the American center of fashion, and a New York cabinetmaking firm, Deming and Bulkley of 65 Beckman Street in Manhattan, opened a Charleston branch at 119 King Street, one door south of Beaufain. Their first advertisement appeared in the Charleston papers in November 1820. This New York firm featured Grecian designs, filling a void in Charleston cabinetmaking.

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