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In a partnership with Historic Beaufort Foundation, the College of William and Mary, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Nemours Wildlife Foundation was pleased to host a group of students and their professors from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. The young people are enrolled in a five-week field course which introduces students to the methods used in the investigation and recording of buildings of historic significance. Their professors are affiliated not only with the College of William and Mary but also serve Colonial Williamsburg as architectural historians.

The first few weeks of the field program are spent in on-site examination of structures in the Historic Area of Williamsburg and visits to buildings in the surrounding Tidewater region. The fourth week is devoted to assisting Historic Beaufort Foundation in recording town houses and plantation sites in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Nemours Plantation in the ACE Basin is rich in historically significant structures. One is an antebellum residence called Clay Hall, built in the early 1800’s by William Henry Heyward and burned by Sherman’s troops in 1865. The grand old house, eventually rebuilt about 1930 on a foundation of old bricks from the ruins of a rice barn, is now in poor condition and uninhabitable.

The students were particularly interested in the remains of two slave houses (above) built in the mid-1800’s. Only the two houses remain of at least eight originally on the property. They were constructed of brick on tabby foundations and were duplex style, housing two families with a common wall and fireplace between.

We are hopeful that the investigation begun as part of this collaboration will lead to further study and enlightenment regarding the historic aspects of Nemours Plantation, and may ultimately lead to additional partnerships to enable us to preserve and possibly restore some of these unique structures. In addition to the huge diversity of wildlife and habitat on
Nemours Plantation, we are excited to begin to explore the rich culturally significant history of this Lowcountry treasure!