Submitted by FHMaster on Sun, 04/04/2021 - 09:55


Special thanks to Denise Sullivan, a history buff from Dataw Island, for compiling the information on this page.

Basic Information

  • Location – Colleton River, four miles north of Bluffton, St. Helena Parish, Beaufort County
  • Origin of name – Thought to be a combination of the names Bellinger and Telfair, a married couple who owned the plantation (1)
  • Other names – It was called Barnwell Plantation under the ownership of William Wigg Barnwell (2, p. 12).
  • Current status – Residential community


  • 1718 – Earliest known date of existence

    Sir John Colleton was granted 12,000 acres which he called Devil's Elbow Barony (2, p. 12).

  • 1777 – Sir John Colleton died. The large land holding had remained together up until his death. (2, p. 12).
  • ? – The Colleton family sold 6,000 acres of the barony (2, p. 68).
  • 1811 – William Telfair married Betsey Bellinger and it is believed they combined their names to form Belfair when they made the plantation their home (1).
  • ? – William Wigg Barnwell was an owner in the nineteenth century (2, p. 12).
  • 1920s – William Mosely Swain owned Belfair. He planted the oaks which still stand along the avenue today, and he built a magnificent tabby home which has since crumbled. Swain purchased approximately 2,000 acres which included Belfair Plantation, Glover Plantation, and the H.A.M. Smith place (2, p. 11).
  • 1994 – Belfair Plantation, LLC purchased the property and developed it into a private golfing community (1).


  • Number of acres – 2,000 in the 1930s when Swain was the owner (2, p. 11).
  • Primary crop – ?


  • Chronological list – Sir John Colleton (1718-1777), William Telfair and Betsey Bellinger (1811-?), William Wigg Barnwell, William Mosely Swain, Belfair Plantation, LLC (1994-present)


  • Number of slaves – ?


  • The tabby Swain used for construction of his four-story house consisted of local oyster shells and a small amount of concrete. Unfortunately, the mixture contained too much saline which lead to the disintegration of the tabby (2, p. 9).

References & Resources

  1. Belfair History at a GlanceClick here

  2. Robert B. Cuthbert and Stephen G. Hoffius, editors, Northern Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin (Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press, 2009)

Contact Information

  • Belfair
    200 Belfair Oaks Blvd
    Bluffton, SC 29910

    Telephone: 843-757-0701
    Website: Click here


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