“One of many fine homes constructed by the Thomson family including Midway.”
City Directories and History: Belleville was the home of Colonel William Thomson (1727-1796) noted hero in the Revolution who earned the sobriquet “Old Danger.” In 1755 William Thomson married Eugenia Russell, daughter of Major Charles Russell, acquiring also four hundred acres of land on Buckhead Creek. This was the real beginning of Belleville Plantation,4 which was first an outstanding producer of indigo until its heyday ended with the American Revolution. During this war Belleville was seized by the British and fortified, but the grand old house and its lands survived these hazards to become one of the first great cotton plantations in South Carolina. Colonel Thomson began planting cotton here for market in 1794, two years before Captain Peter Gaillard’s noted planting at the Rocks Plantation on the Santee.
After the death of Colonel William Thomson in 1796, his widow Eugenia Russell Thomson lived on at Belleville with her son John Paul, who was to carry on as master of the family estate. In 1801 he married Caroline Eliza Theus of Charleston and Dawchee Plantation in St. John’s Parish, who at the age of fifteen became the mistress of Belleville. John Paul died in 1809 and in 1812 his young widow Caroline married an exiled Frenchman with the exquisitely beautiful name of Jean Rose Marie Desire Raoul de Champmanoir. In France he had studied medicine under the King’s physician and during this time had become an intimate friend of Due D’Enghien, son of the Due de Bourbon. Young Raoul de Champmanoir wrote the memoirs of his friend the Duke after his assassination. This angered Napoleon who imprisoned him and later exiled him from France.5 Jean Raoul de Champmanoir after his removal to Belleville anglicized his name to John Louis 0 Raoul. At Belleville from 1812 to 1827 Dr. John Louis Raoul and his wife Caroline maintained a splendid plantation house where good society and social amenities made it a charming residence. After the passing of first John Louis in 1827 and Caroline in 1839, Belleville returned again to the Thomson family when Caroline Theus Thomson Raoul, carrying out the wishes of her first husband, bequeathed Belleville to his nephew, William Sabb Thomson.
Several interesting place names are found on Belleville. The most widely known in the early history of the region is Buckhead Creek. A little corner of land near Buckhead had a strangely strong echo. This resulted in its being called Hush Mouth since visitors to the place were always asked to yell “Hush Mouth.” Another place name here is The Rock, a large formation of stone near the Congaree River.
Cave Hall Plantation was the home of Colonel Moses Thomson, the first of the family to settle in Amelia Township, taking up lands there in 1745. The plantation was located near the Santee River on what is now the road from Lone Star to Elloree. The unusual name is derived from the fact that there was a large cave just behind the house.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
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