- Location – Jackson, Aiken County
13 miles south of Augusta, Georgia
- Origin of name – In the 1500s, word spread that there were large deposits of silver in the area. So much so that the sunlight bounced off of the exposed minerals. It was found though not to be silver but an abnormal outcropping of mica high on a bluff over the Savannah River (2, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965, p. 80).
- Other names – Silvanus Bluf (4)
- Current status – A portion of the original plantation lands is part of the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary (5).
- Mid 1700s – Earliest known date of existence
George Galphin acquired the property and called it Silver Bluff. This area had been known by that name for 200 years (2, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965, p. 80).
- Mid 1700s – House built (2, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965, p. 80)
Galphin built a house at Silver Bluff which was the first brick house in the region (2, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965, p. 80).
- During the Revolutionary War, the brick house was used as a fort and was known as Fort Galphin (2, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965, p. 80).
- 1796 – Ephraim Ramsay and Charles Goodwin acquired the 3,000 acre plantation that sat on both sides of the Savannah River as a partnership (4).
- ? – House built
- 1818 – Charles Goodwin lost the plantation to a court ordered sale (it is unclear what happened to Ephraim Ramsay's share of the plantation's partnership with Goodwin). Barna McKinne acquired it at this time (3).
- 1822 – Christopher Fitzsimons purchased property on both sides of the Savannah River which included Silver Bluff Plantation (3).
- 1825 – Catherine Elizabeth Fitzsimmons inherited Silver Bluff Plantation from her father Christopher Fitzsimons when he died in this year. She was only 11 years old (3).
- 1831 – James Henry Hammond received Silver Bluff Plantation through his marriage to Catherine Elizabeth Fitzsimmons (1, p. 5).
- 1864 – James Hammond died leaving a large estate comprised mostly of land (1, p. 137).
- 1869 – To pay off estate debts, the plantations were to be sold. Hammond's son Harry, developed a plan that would keep most of the holdings in the hands of the family. All properties were sold by sealed bid with Silver Bluff being divided into three sections and purchased by brothers Harry and Paul Hammond and their mother Catherine Hammond (1, p. 137, 162).
- 1896 – Catherine died and left her portion of Silver Bluff to her daughter Elizabeth Hammond Eve (1, p. 162).
- ? – The Eves were not interest in farming and soon turned their Silver Bluff property over to Emily Cumming Hammond, the wife of Elizabeth's brother Harry. Harry continued farming Silver Bluff in the whole (1, p. 162).
- 1911 – Emily died and her 2,000 acre section of Silver Bluff was the only piece of the plantation that was still owned by a Hammond. This 2,000 acres was sold to her son Kit Hammond for $11,000 by her estate (1, p. 162).
- ? – Kit sold most of the Hammond land holdings including 1,500 acres of Silver Bluff. By 1916, this 500 acres and Redcliffe Plantation was the only pieces that remained in the Hammond Family (1, p. 162, 307).
- Number of acres – 7,500 in 1831; 8,005 in 1840; 2,000 in 1911; 500 in 1916 (1, p. 5, 7, 307)
- Primary crop – Cotton (1, p. 7)
- Number of slaves – 147 in 1831; 259 in 1864 (1, p. 5, 144)
- List of Surnames of Persons Enslaved at Hammond's Plantations - click, then scroll down
- The Silver Bluff Slave Cemetery, also known as Cohlvin (Colvin) Cemetery is the burial site of more than 250 individuals enslaved at Silver Bluff Plantation. Only a handful of markers exist although there over 200 graves in the cemetery. In an effort to preserve the cemetery, visitors are prohibited from touring the cemetery independently (5).
Learn more about Silver Bluff Slave Cemetery.
References & Resources
- Carol Bleser, The Hammonds of Redcliffe (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1997)
- Claude Henry Neuffer, editor, Names in South Carolina, Volume I through 30 (Columbia, SC: The State Printing Company)
Order Names in South Carolina, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965
Order Names in South Carolina, Index XIII-XVIII
- Sankofagen Wiki
- Founders Online - US National Archives and Records Administration
- Information contributed by photographer Larry Gleason.