Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Planning, Development, and Preservation

Committee Member

Carter L. Hudgins, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Richard G. Gilmore, III

Committee Member

Sarah Stroud Clarke

Committee Member

Frances Ford


The history of Drayton Hall and the Drayton family is well documented through journals and letters which narrate family businesses, travels across South Carolina and beyond, and intimate family events such as marriages and births. In contrast, the history of the African American community at Drayton Hall is less well documented. For over 200 years, this community resided on a small portion of land at Drayton Hall, first as slaves, as freed laborers following Emancipation, and as tenants into the twentieth century. Their impacts were far-reaching. This thesis traces the growth and decline of the enslaved and African American communities and their impacts to Drayton Hall’s landscape. Archival research and cartographic analysis have indicated the major shift in settlement organization from a compact arrangement imposed by plantation owners to a postbellum dispersed pattern that allowed for privacy and independence. The rise of newly freed African Americans intersected by the introduction of a rapidly growing industry - phosphate mining - proved to be a key influence behind the transition from antebellum to postbellum settlement patterns. This thesis expands the interpretation of Drayton Hall’s landscape through the lens of the enslaved and African American communities.



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