History of Wedgefield Plantation
Around 1700, the waterways and coastal plains of Georgetown County attracted rice planters who employed a unique system of irrigation based on the rise and fall of the tides.
Georgetown became a shipping center for lumber, naval stores, and the two principal plantation crops: rice and indigo. Wedgefield became a separate plantation in 1762, much the same size and location as it is today. A Black River rice planter, John Waties, sold part of his lands to Samuel Wragg, a planter, merchant, and political figure in pre-revolutionary South Carolina. Wragg owned large town houses in Georgetown and Charleston. He built a Manor House at Wedgefield to entertain business and political associates from the other colonies and abroad. During the War for Independence, Wragg, with business ties to England, eventually declared himself a Tory in favor of the King. Georgetown was a British stronghold for a time during the Revolutionary War. The exploits of the Revolutionary hero, General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox", fill the history of the area. On Friday, June 13, 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette landed on North Island near Georgetown to join the American forces. During the war, Georgetown houses and surrounding plantations, regardless of their owners' political alignments, were taken for British troops, the sick and wounded, and prisoners of war. Wedgefield was put to such use as well.
Wedgefield Plantation stayed in the Wragg family after the merchant's death in 1787. His son, Samuel, kept the plantation until 1840, an era with the Georgetown region produced almost half the nation's rice crops. Wedgefield passed through several hands and in 1888, was sold to descendants of an original colonial family, the Hazzards, who had roots in Beaufort, South Carolina and St. Simons Island, Georgia.
In 1838, a turf dispute between a prominent Hazzard and another aristocratic rice planter ended in the pistol slaying of Hazzard's foe. The jury did not convict. After the Civil War, three Hazzard brothers sailed their schooner to Georgetown and purchased Estherville, Beneventum and Keithfield rice plantations on Winyah Bay and the Black River. In 1888, they purchased Wedgefield as their sister's dowry in marriage to a prominent Charlestonian, William W. H. Holmes. Thanks to a declining rice market in South Carolina, the Hazzard family left Wedgefield in 1909. A Vanderbilt heir, Robert Goelet, of Newport, Rhode Island, bought Wedgefield Plantation and built the Georgian Regency Manor House. Goelet sold Wedgefield in 1946, and it was sold again in 1950 - this time to John P. Hazzard, III, who maintained it for 20 years.
In 1970, the land was purchased for development of a residential and country club-oriented sub-division. The Wedgefield Golf Course, designed by Porter Gibson, opened in 1972. Wedgefield Associates purchased the remaining lots and county club out of bankruptcy in 1975, and continued toward the completion of development. The present owners continue to develop as the Wedgefield Plantation housing sub-division and golf course both continue to grow and improve.
Read the Wedgefield Plantation ghost story.