Colonial Era

First European Settlers
Mount Pleasant’s first European settlers arrived on July 6, 1680, under the leadership of Captain Florentia O’Sullivan. He came to Carolina a decade earlier as one of the first English settlers in the colony. O’Sullivan was granted 2,340 acres of land that included not only the island that bears his name, but also the land that was to become the village of Mount Pleasant. On the earliest known map of this area, it was called “Old Woman’s Point” and “North Point.” In 1696, 51 new settlers called Congregationalists arrived. Each family was allotted several hundred acres on land situated between the Wando River, Awendaw Creek, and the Atlantic Ocean. One decade later, this area was named Christ Church Parish.  View 1696 Mortiers Map.

Christ Church Parish

The South Carolina Commons House of Assembly passed the Act of 1704 and the Church Act of 1706 that created 10 administrative parishes in Colonial Carolina. For insight into the political atmosphere in that moment read "A Narrative...of An Assembly...January The 2d, 1705/6. Christ Church Parish was one of the 10 parishes created by the legislature. 


Spanish and French Attacks

In the month of August, 1706, the Province of Carolina withstood several attacks by the Spanish and French. At a place called “Abcaw,” the Carolinians defeated French invaders. Abcaw, located between Shem Creek and the Wando River, became Hobcaw Plantation and later, Shipyard Plantation. It took that name because a prosperous shipbuilding business arose from the plantation’s abundance of good timber and deepwater access. Lands adjacent to Hobcaw Point were owned by various families through time. Many of these families operated ferryboat businesses. View 1704 Crisp Map.

Christ Church Parish Center

In 1708, a small wooden structure that served as the Parish administrative center and place of worship was built at today's intersection of Long Point Road and U.S. Highway 17 North. This structure was accidentally destroyed by a fire in 1725 and replaced within two years. In 1782, retreating British troops burned the church, however, residents rebuilt it six years later. Near the end of the Civil War, the church interior was burned but the walls remained structurally sound. The brick Vestry House was built in 1751, burned, restored in 1939 and then, refurbished after Hurricane Hugo. It has served as an office, guardhouse, classroom, and meeting place. The 26-acre church property also has a cemetery with graves dating back to the mid-1700s, and an 1862 Confederate earthwork built by neighboring plantation slaves that zigzags across the property.

Hibben's Ferry

By 1721, there were 400 colonists (107 families) and 637 enslaved people living in Christ Church Parish. Plantation owners were focused on farming and stock husbandry. Most large plantations and settlements were situated along the Wando and Cooper rivers. These riverine locations made transportation of people, resources, and products more expedient. Plantations were largely self-sufficient, connected by a small network of roads, and planters viewed Charleston as their metropolitan base. In 1770, Andrew Hibben bought land on the south side of Shem Creek from Jacob Motte. Hibben obtained a ferry charter and opened Hibben’s Ferry - the first ferryboat service to connect Haddrell’s Point, the area between Shem Creek and the cove at the end of Pitt Street, to Charleston. Later, Haddrell’s Point was called the village of Mount Pleasant, but people often used the old name. Georgetown Road, the area’s major roadway, ran to the Ferry House and functioned as part of the main travel-mail route to the North.

Local Economy
At different times during the colonial era, the local economy was based on shipbuilding, naval stores production, indigo, cotton and some rice agriculture, and raising cattle. Early on, planters fenced in agricultural land and emulated the American Indian model of maize and bean agriculture.They allowed cattle and hogs to roam in savannahs and marshes around their plantations. With time, multicultural agricultural practices emerged that sustained the local population while also producing surplus for the Atlantic economy (1). In addition, brick making supplemented agricultural output and was a significant Lowcountry industry from 1740 to 1860.

(1). S. Max Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial Carolina, see Bibliographic Summary.

Early Site History - Oyster Point
King Charles II granted
Carolina to the Lords Proprietors
Christ Historic church historic image.jpg
Christ Church Still Stands
King's Highway
(Image: Christ Church)
Indigo Plant Extract
(Image: Wikipedia)