City Directories and History: (Matanzas Plantation) Architecturally, Chicora Wood is an outstanding early 19th century plantation home. Mounted on the typical raised basement used throughout the Southern coastal area for increased ventilation, the two-story clapboard house has lines that are simple and of diminutive proportions. Slender Doric columns and delicate balustrade adorn the façade. A one-story porch extends around three sides. There is a later roof dormer with a Palladian window. Interior woodwork, obviously the product of skilled craftsman, reflects the simple architectural designs of the exterior. The plantation itself was begun sometime between 1732 and 1736, with the house built before 1819.
The house also has military, agricultural, industrial, political, social/humanitarian, educational and literary significance through its association with Robert F.W. Allston, member of the SC House of Representatives, a parish Senator, and Governor from 1856-58. Allston was considered to be the most notable planter on the Pee Dee River. Chicora Wood served as home plantation for Allston’s complex of rice plantations which produced 840,000 pounds of rice in 1850 and increased to 1,500,000 pounds by 1860. The slave labor force which produced the rice numbered 401 in 1850, increasing to 630 by 1860. The plantation complex includes a number of excellent outbuildings: original kitchen, smoke house, and a later carriage house, wash house and farm buildings. The rice mill complex, one of the most interesting remaining examples of its type, includes the mill and shipping house. Listed in the National Register April 11, 1973. [Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History]
Also see – The Pee Dee River Planters Historic District includes extant buildings, structures, and rice fields associated with twelve rice plantations located along the Pee Dee River (Hasty Point, Breakwater, Belle Rive, Exchange, Rosebank, Chicora Wood, Guendalos, Enfield, Birdfield, Arundel, Springfield, Dirleton) and five rice plantations located along the Waccamaw River (Turkey Hill, Oatland, Willbrook, Litchfield, and Waverly). These plantations were part of a large rice culture in the county which flourished from ca.1750 to ca.1910. The rice culture produced most of the rice grown in South Carolina during that period when the colony, and later, the state, was the leader in rice production in America.
This district includes four plantation houses (at Exchange, Rosebank, Chicora Wood, and Dirleton); two rice barns (at Hasty Point and Exchange); collections of plantation outbuildings (at Chicora Wood and Arundel); a rice mill and chimney (at Chicora Wood); and historic rice fields with canals, dikes, and trunks. The plantation houses are all frame houses with a central hall plan. Listed in the National Register October 3, 1988. [Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History]
“Allston, Col. Robert Francis Withers of “Chicora Wood” plantation, Pawley’s Island, and Charleston. Born Apr. 21, 1801 (S.C.) ;married Apr. 21, 1832, Adele Pettigrew (Petigru) (Nov. 10, 1810-Nov. 26, 1896) ; died Apr. 7, 1864. Education: U.S. Military Academy graduate, 1821. Church: Episcopalian (Warden, Prince Frederick’s, Pee Dee). Public Service: State Representative; State Senator; President, S.C. Senate; Colonel, S.C. Militia; Commissioner of Free Schools; Governor of S.C. Other: Trustee: All Saints’ Academy, S.C. College, General Theological Seminary (N.Y.) ; President, Winyah Indigo Society; President, S.C. Art Association; member, S.C. Historical Society; author and orator, eight publications. Slaves: 630 (Prince George, Winyah, Parish, Georgetown District).”
The Last Foray, C. Gaston Davidson, SC Press – 1971
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