Sunday, March 16, 2014

3/15/14 Brays Island history, golf and equestrian

Brays Island SC

     Brays Island's first European resident, William Bray, married an Indian woman and set up shop on the island as a fur and slave trader in 1704.  In 1711 the Tuscarora Indian War began in North Carolina, and the colonists enlisted local native American Indian tribes to help with the fight.  In this process the South Carolina tribes had learned to cooperate and had been exposed enough to the colonies to observe their weaknesses.  Along with this, several issues had developed that had the Indians upset. Deer pelts were in high demand but this area's deer population had been severely hunted down.  Also, it was getting harder for them to capture Indians from other tribes to satisfy the colonist's slave trade.  Further, the European traders had manipulated the Indians deep into "debt" - a concept that was probably foreign to the Indians.  On April 14th, 1715 William Bray and five other men met with the Indians promising to address their grievances.  During the night, the Indians decided that their promises were not good enough, and killed most of the party.  William Bray was one of the ones killed.

Carving on Brays Island

     Over the next 150 years, several different owners worked this land as a rice plantation and farm land.  The property was wiped out by Sherman's bands in 1865, and several subsequent owners struggled through hurricanes, an earthquake and disease until the property was purchased in 1937 by Francis Davis of Chicago.

     Davis rebuilt the plantation house and established the land as a hunting camp.  The land was sold in 1963 to Sumner and Virginia Pingree of Boston, who also owned a working plantation in Cuba.  

     By the 1980's the income from farming had fallen to the point that it couldn't support the plantation, and Pingree decided to develop the land.  With the inspiration of an architect named Robert Marvin, they developed the plan that evolved into Brays Island of today - a community where the land owners share well over 90% of the land as common grounds.

          The island has an architectural review board, and you have to work a bit to see the homes.  They all fit into the landscape and are typically tucked away in groves of the majestic live oaks or the towering pine trees.

     Over the last few days we had a glimpse of the hunt club and the fishing club, but two other sports have world class facilities here - equestrian and golf.  Fenced pastures, tack rooms, shelters, jumps and over sixty miles of trails and sand roads give the horse lover everything they need to get the maximum pleasure out of their horses.

     There is also an 18 hole golf course, and some holes have a house nestled into the woods alongside them and some do not.  

     Along with the dining facilities at the old plantation house and the hunt club, there is an ample dining facility attached to the golf club.

Mark Cooke

     And to wrap up Brays, a couple of live oaks growing over the horse pasture fences.  I don't know if horses rubbing on them when they were young influenced their growth, but it is eye catching.  It looks as though the second one had to be trimmed for the roadway.

     That concludes Brays Island - and wraps up the Yemassee SC area.  Several other interesting sites lie about Yemassee - of note in this area is the Frank Lloyd Wright home called Auldbrass, which is only open to visitors once a year.  It is said that the house and all of the other barns and out buildings on the property were built without using a single right angle - that might be neat to see.  


     Also, Cherokee Plantation lies here, which is another well preserved plantation used as a golf and hunting grounds, along with several other of the old rice plantations that have been preserved.  We could easily spend another month in this area, but the road beckons.

Have a great Sunday !!

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