Hopewell Plantation: Pre-1785 & Beyond

Hopewell Plantation Home

Among Clemson’s historical treasures, Hopewell Plantation sits atop a hill that once overlooked the Seneca River — now Hartwell Lake — the property features the surviving 19th century home of S.C. Governor Andrew Pickens, Jr. 

Life at Hopewell Plantation began before 1776, before then Captain Andrew Pickens led his militia to victory against the Cherokee and the Loyalists at the Battle of Esseneca on the early hours of August 1, 1776.  The Cherokee’s closest village was the Lower Town of Essenca, which may have meant “Blue Water” to the Cherokee.

The first log cabin structure was built on the land named “Hopewell” by General Andrew Pickens around 1785; this original structure was where the Pickens family lived when the Hopewell Treaties were signed between the United States of America and the Cherokee (November 28, 1785), the Choctaw (January 3, 1786), and the Chickasaw (January 10, 1786) respectively.  The Creeks chose not to attend any of the talks at Hopewell.

The Treaty Oak that stood witness to these three Hopewell Treaties survived into the early 20th century, before being lost to a storm.

Treaty Oak
Treaty Oak Still Standing
Treaty Oak Fallen
Treaty Oak Fallen After Storm

After General Pickens, his wife Rebecca Calhoun and younger children left Hopewell Plantation for the Red House in Tamassee, Andrew Pickens, Jr. assumes control of the property by 1809.  This log cabin structure was later home to two South Carolina governors and a U.S. congressman. In the 1930s, Clemson University took over managing Hopewell, converting it to a self-sufficient farm as part of a federal economic-relief program.

Hopewell Plantation is representative of a rural house type, which was common in the 19th century in the South Carolina backcountry. Its historical significance rests on the Pickens family. The decades of negotiations General Andrew Pickens made with the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Chickamaugas were monumental in peaceful treaties and cohabitation with Native-Americans following the Revolution. Most notably, the Treaty of Hopewell with the Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws still today provides civil liberties to First Peoples.

The 2017 Front Porch Restoration Project was made possible through our donors’ matching donations and the NSDAR’s Special Projects Grant through the sponsorship of the Andrew Pickens Chapter, NSDAR.

cherry farm porchhistoric marker

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