Antebellum Era

Jonathan Lucas Shipwrecks

In the early 1780s, Jonathan Lucas sailed from England. During his travels, Lucas shipwrecked along the Carolina coast. Settling here, he invented a mechanical rice mill process to separate the husk and bran layers from the rice kernel. This new water-powered mechanical process was far more efficient than the laborious task of hand-threshing rice.

Revolutionized the Industry


This area had long been a profitable center for rice cultivation, yet Lucas' mechanical mills increased productivity and revolutionized the industry. Charleston became the center of the rice-milling business. In 1793, Lucas purchased 471 acres, on Haddrell's Point, which included the old Greenwich Mill on Shem Creek. This property strategically sits at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor. Lucas built a home, overlooking the mill pond, from which he operated his mill design and construction business. He re-fit the old Greenwich Mill to house a sawmill and rice mill that drew power from the creek tides. At the end of the Civil War, the buildings were burned down by confederate troops as the enemy approached Charleston. Today, traces of the mill foundation and holding pond are visible at low tide. In 1835, Lucas’ son, William, purchased and platted 180 acres between the Greenwich Mill and the Ferry Tract to create the village of Lucasville. Lucasville Plat, 1850s

Image courtesy of Mary Julia C. Royall, Mount Pleasant: The Victorian Village (Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing Inc.)

First Village


Jonathon Scott was the first to develop a village in Christ Church Parish. Scott owned 100 acres adjacent to Jacob Motte’s Mount Pleasant Plantation from which he laid out the village of Greenwich in 1766. He platted 50 acres of English style town lots on the waterfront and the remaining 50 acres served as a common area. Scott named the waterfront roadway Bay Street, and the other roads were named after English royalty and the prime minister: King, Queen, and Pitt streets.

Villages of Mount Pleasant and Greenwich

The village of Mount Pleasant was laid out by James Hibben, son of Andrew Hibben. James Hibben was a prominent businessman, who served as a state senator from 1800 to 1815. He owned the waterfront property on the opposite side of Motte’s estate. In 1803, Hibben purchased Motte’s Mount Pleasant Plantation and hired John Diamond to survey the parcel. Diamond platted 35 lots and five streets: Beach, Bennett, Whilden, Boundary, and Venning. Hibben died on Jan. 4, 1835, and is buried beside his wife in Cook’s Old Field Cemetery on Rifle Range Road. Hibben's Ferry Plat (1828)

From Villages to Town

Three years later on Dec. 20, 1837, the village of Greenwich merged with the village of Mount Pleasant and was incorporated by an act of the S. C. General Assembly. In 1858, the town’s borders were extended to include Hilliardsville, the adjacent village to the southeast laid out by Charles Jugnot and Oliver Hilliard in 1847. Hilliardsville included a picnic ground with a stand of live oaks called Hort’s Grove, now known as Alhambra Park. In the mid-1800s Mount Pleasant was still a summer resort for Charleston residents and a commercial and residential hub for outlying plantation families.

Town of Mount Pleasant Acts of Incorporation (1883)
1838 Plat of The Town of Mount Pleasant (SCHS)
Shem_Creek_Rice_Mill_Area.jpg
Shem Creek mill area
(Arcadia: Victorian Village)