April 10 – Daufuskie Island, SC

Bob made arrangements for a boat at his Palmetto Bluffs preserve

Our Boat to Daufuskie Island, Palmetto Bliuffs, Blufton, SC - 2104-04-10for the one hour trip around numerous islets

Underway from Palmetto Bluffs - a Underway from Palmetto Bluffs - d Underway from Palmetto Bluffs - eto Daufuskie Island, nestled between Savannah and Hilton Head.  This island was inhabited by numerous native tribes until the early 1700’s when they were driven off their land by explorers, traders and settlers.  While under British rule, plantations were developed, growing indigo and later Sea Island cotton.  Slaves tilled the fields while the plantation owners and their families spent most of the year elsewhere.  The slaves’ isolation provided the setting for the retention of many of their African culture.

The plantation owners and slaves fled the island at the start of the Civil War, which was then occupied by Union troops.  After the war, freed slaves (Gullah people) returned to the island, purchasing small plots of land or working for landowners.  By the turn of the 20th century, farming had given way to logging and oyster harvesting and canning as a way of life for the predominately Gullah-populate island.

Daufuskie oysters were sold world-wide …

Daufuskie Oyster Canuntil the pollution in the Savannah River closed the oyster beds in the 1950’s, after which the island’s economy declined and the Gullah people again began to leave the island, this time for better employment opportunities.  By the 1980’s, the island’s population had fallen from around 2,000 to less than 60. 

Today, although the entire island is on the National Registry of Historic Places, there are three major resorts which are only now beginning to recover from the economic collapse of 2007-08.

We landed on the island at

Daufuskie Island - Freeport Marina, Cooper Landing, SC - 2014-04-10where we rented our land yacht (with a top speed on no more than 15-20 MPH) for the day

2014-04-10 - Debbie, Mary Jane and Dick, Marshside Mamas Cafe, Daufuskie Island, SCOur tour down both mostly gravel and a few paved roads

Daufuskie Island - Carvin Road, SC - 2014-04-10 Daufuskie Island - Haig Point Road (a), SC - 2014-04-10took us throughout nearly the entire island and by one historic building after another.

Mt. Carmel Baptist Church – originally a whites-only church before integration

Daufuskie Island - Mt Carmel Baptist Church, SC - 2014-04-10Jane Hamilton School – operated until 1950

Daufuskie Island - Jane Hamilton School, SC - 2014-04-10Island Midwife’s Carriage – from 1932 until 1969,

Daufuskie Island - Midwife's Carriage at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, SC - 2014-04-10Sara Grant ushered 130 babies in to the world

Sarah Grant - Daufuskie MidwifeMelrose Inn Resort – one of the three resorts on the island which fell into disrepair and is now being rehabilitated for a summer 2014 reopening

Daufuskie Island - Melrose Inn, SC - 2014-04-10Melrose Inn Resort “Cottages” which

Daufuskie Island - Cottages, Melrose Inn Resort, SC - 2014-04-10looked out at a picturesque shoreline

Daufuskie Island - Melrose Inn Beach (a), SC - 2014-04-10where Debbie and Mary Jane enjoyed the weather and view,

2014-04-10 - Mary Jane and Debbie, Melrose Inn Beach, Daufuskie Island, SCwhere we saw several jellyfish which had washed up on the sand

Jellyfish (Beached) (a), Melrose Inn Beach, Daufuskie Island, SC - 2104-04-10 Jellyfish (Beached) (b), Melrose Inn Beach, Daufuskie Island, SC - 2104-04-10and where there was a small lake surrounding a small island which were scores of nesting snowy egrets,

Snowy Ergrets Nesting (a), Melrose Inn Resort, Daufuskie Island, SC - 2014-04-10

anhingas,

Wood Stork in Flight (a), Melrose Inn Resort, Daufuskie Island, SC - 2014-04-10cormorants

Comorant with Fish in Its Mouth, Daufuskie Island, SC - 2014-04-10and wood storks

Wood Stork in a Tree, Melrose Inn Resort, Daufuskie Island, SC - 2014-04-10Abandoned House – the subject of a photo which hangs in Bob and Mary Jane’s bed room

Daufuskie Island - Abandoned House, Haig Point Road, SC - 2014-04-10Oyster Union Society Hall – a benevolent and burial society, in which events were held, often enhanced with local moonshine and homemade wine

Daufuskie Island - Oyster Union Society Hall, SC - 2014-04-10Hinson White House – a 1916 house, built by Gullah craftsmen, is representative of Daufuskie Island Gullah architecture

Daufuskie Island - Hinson White House (a), Cooper Landing, SC - 2014-04-10The Council Tree – after Sunday services, men would gather under a tree such as this stately live oak and talk at length about non-church topics; families, oystering; animals and other island issues

Daufuskie Island - Council Tree, SC - 2014-04-10First Union African Baptist Church – built in 1884 it has stood as the center of worship

Daufuskie Island - First Union African Baptist Church, SC - 2014-04-10Praise House Behind the First Union African Baptist Church – where parishioners came to sit on backless half-log benches …

Daufuskie Island - First Union African Baptist Church Praise House, SC - 2014-04-10Daufuskie Island - First Union African Baptist Church Praise House (Interior), SC - 2014-04-10after a period of silence, one person, typically a woman, began to “hum” a well- known tune that had its origin in Africa would become the basis of a spiritual that expressed their primitive religious faith; with others joining in and the music escalated, hands clapped and feet began to stop

Mary Fields School – built in 1933 for the island’s black children.  The first teachers were also black and slates and pencils were their teaching tools.  Author Pat Conroy, the first white and first male teacher at the school.  He became famous for his book “The Water is Wide” about his teaching experience on Daufuskie Island.  The school finally closed in 1995.

Daufuskie Island - Mary Fields School, SC - 2014-04-10Mary Fields Cemetery – is the largest Gullah cemetery on the island. There are grave markers dating from 1926 to the present. Earlier wooden markers have disintegrated from all the Gullah cemeteries and the only indications of those graves are low areas where wooden caskets have collapsed and some stones have been broken.

Daufuskie Island - Mary Field Cemetery (b), SC - 2014-04-10 Daufuskie Island - Mary Field Cemetery (c), SC - 2014-04-10 Daufuskie Island - Mary Field Cemetery (e), SC - 2014-04-10Graves were usually dug by friends of the family. Following the funeral service, mourners would walk behind the carriage bearing the casket, singing all the way to the cemetery.

Moses Ficklin Cottage and Historic Live Oak – this 500-year old oak tree (which may have greeted the early Spanish explorers) shades a restored Gullah home of a deacon of the First Union Africa Baptist Church and the Gullah undertaker who married the local midwife

Daufuskie Island - Moses Ficklin Cottage and Historic Oak Tree, SC - 2014-04-10Mary Dunn Cemetery – with gravestones dating to 1790 is the only historic cemetery on the island for white people, originally those related to Mary Dunn, although in later years permission was given of white people who were not relatives were buried there

Daufuskie Island - Mary Dunn Cemetery (a), SC - 2014-04-10some of their identities lost to history

Daufuskie Island - Mary Dunn Cemetery (b), SC - 2014-04-10

while the cemetery has become graced by gorgeous azaleas

Azalea - Daufuskie Island - Mary Dunn Cemetery (a), SC - 2014-04-10 Azalea - Daufuskie Island - Mary Dunn Cemetery (b), SC - 2014-04-10  Silver Dew Winery – constructed to store oil for the lamp in the Island’s lighthouse, it was converted to a winery in the mid-1900s’ but finally closed in 1856

Daufuskie Island - Silver Dew Winery, SC - 2014-04-10

Our last stop in the island was Bloody Point, the southernmost inhabited point in South Carolina named for the first of three skirmishes between the Yemassee Indians and settlers on April 15, 1715 … when it was said there was blood in the water from the dead and injured.  In the 1770s the area became a shipbuilding area.

Another pristine beach

Another pristine beach

where we spotted a rare fox squirrel

where we spotted a rare fox squirrel

Eagle’s Nest Inn, Bar and Restaurant

Eagle’s Nest Inn, Bar and Restaurant

Where we took advantage of Happy Hour drinks and hors d’ourves

Where we took advantage of Happy Hour drinks and hors d’ourves

After a 45 minute drive back to Freeport Marina where we’d left our boat … where we saw a beautiful 50’-plus ketch.

DSC_0222With river level at high tide we were able to take a different route back to Palmetto Bluffs though otherwise shallows surrounded by fields of sea grasses.

 DSC_0228 DSC_0240As we were tying up at the dock, the “Grace”, the Palmetto Bluffs private tour boat, passed by.

The Grace, Palmetto Bluffs, Bllufton, SC - 2014-04-10Built by a wealthy NYC businessman to sail up and down the Hudson River, she is one of the last remaining examples of gas-powered yachts built prior to World War I … and there are only two other 100-year old motor yachts like her still in existence.  Joseph Cousins, the original owner, held frequent parties aboard the Grace, entertaining notable of the era from the arts and society.  One of his frequent guests was Edna Ferber and is said to be the inspiration for her novel “Show Boat”, later made into a Broadway musical.

Our last stop for the day … and one I’d been looking forward to … was at the Inn at Palmetto Bluffs for the fixings …

S'mores - The Fixingsfor S’Mores!

2014-04-10 - Dick Making Samores, Palmetto Bluffs, Blufton, SC - 2014-04-10 2014-04-10 - Dick's Samores, Palmetto Bluffs, Blufton, SC - 2014-04-10 

 

 

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