“a breathtaking avenue of oaks”
Features a stunning avenue of oak trees.
The History of Dixie Plantation:
1600s - First settlers
1700s - Plantation is built.
1939 – The original plantation house burned.
1947 – John Henry Dick made Dixie Plantation his permanent home.
1995 – John Henry Dick left the house and property to the College of Charleston Foundation.
2012 – College of Charleston announced plans to make the plantation more accessible to students, staff and the public. Plans include a nature trail, heirloom garden, renovating the studio of John Henry Dick and the addition of classrooms and meeting space.
Situated on a bluff along the Stono River overlooking that part known as “Church Flats”, this magnificent tract of land today consists of 862 acres. Nearly continuously occupied, Dixie Plantation is historically and archaeologically meaningful, and holds tremendous potential for better understanding a diverse range of topics in South Carolina Lowcountry history.
This site’s location on the Stono River drew early colonists and later planters in the seventeenth century who brought enslaved Africans and African Americans. But for thousands of years before that it was inhabited by various groups of American Indians. By the late 1600’s much of this area was claimed by King Charles II and controlled from afar by the Lords Proprietors. Part of this property was granted to William Peters in the 1680s but, by 1701, Landgrave Edmund Bellinger had acquired most of the land currently encompassing the property today. It was from this land that Landgrave Bellinger donated 39 acres in 1706 to St. Paul's Parish for their church and cemetery. The church was constructed in 1707, along with a nearby parsonage house.
Tensions between Carolina colonists and various American Indian groups, particularly the Yamasees, came to a head during the Yamasee War (1715-1717). A confederation comprised of different groups of American Indians attacked colonial settlements for reasons ranging from land encroachment, retaliation for trader abuses and debt, to resistance to European enslavement of American Indians. During the Yamasee Indian War the St. Paul’s parsonage house was burned, however, little damage was done to the church. After the war, services resumed and continued until the 1750s.
The most recent home to stand at the head of the avenue of oaks was constructed in the Colonial Revival style by George Williams in 1918. The house and property were later purchased in 1935 by Italian boxer Vincent Fiermonte and his wife Madeleine. Madeleine Talmadge Force was first married to John Jacob Astor, IV. While pregnant with John Jacob Astor VI, she and her husband were passengers on the Titanic’s fateful voyage. Mr. Astor drowned but his wife was one of the few survivors. After his death, she married William K. Dick, a prominent banker and industrialist, and they had two sons, William Force Dick and John Henry Dick. The Fiermontes extensively remodeled their home and after their divorce, Madeleine received the property. In 1938 as she was traveling to the property, the house was destroyed by a fire.
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