Rutledge Hill Press (1983). 186pp. including index. 6.25 x 9.25 inches. Hardcover. ISBN-10: 1-558538-59-3.
One of America's sately homes, Hampton Plantation in the Carolina low country, is an enduring symbol of the nation's past, with a viable future in store for it.
Built by a Huguenot emigré during colonial times and inhabited continuously until 1971 by members of the Middleton/Pinckney/Rutledge family, its halls echoed the voices of signers of the Declaration of Independence, of Washington and Lafayette, of belles of the Old South and doomed Confederate officers, of slaves and their loyal descendants, and of its final owner, Archibald Rutledge, first poet laureate of South Carolina.
While the glory of the great house on the Santee remains hidden today from the casual visitor, its glory will soon emanate throughout the land as restoration is completed and it becomes the focal point of a state park, open to the public.
This biography of a house is also the story of our country, the South inparticular, and of the people who made it great. Beginning with the arrival of Noah Serré in 1680 at the village of Charles Town and the building of Hampton about 1730, the action centers around six generations of owners whose lives and times are vividly brought to life through extracts from original letters and other documents that are rare, primary source material. There are amusing accounts of travel on colonial roads; worried concerns for a Tory sympathizer; reminiscences of lavish Christmas festivities; and the poignant reminder of post-Reconstruction poverty as the mistress of the manor must brood chickens to feed her family.
Yet through it all Hampton remains proud and gracious, a legend that cannot die. Like Keats' Grecian urn, it is a thing of beauty, a joy forever, older than the nation but as fresh as the dew-laden roses the ghost of its last owner still offers to his beloved Home by the River.
Mary Bray Wheeler resides in Nashville, Tennesse where she is associate editor of Reference Books for Thomas Nelson Publishers. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, she attended Mercer University, has served on Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly committees of the Presbyterian church, was founding editor of The Middle Tennessee Press, and worked for many years as a free-lance copy editor, proofreader, and indexer. Mary has a dughter, Marilisa, and two sons, Jimmy and Shannon Bray.
Genon Hickerson Neblett resides in Nashville, Tennessee, where she works as a free-lance editorial assistant in the Reference Books department of Thomas Nelson Publishers. A native of Charksville, Tennessee, she has held leadership positions in Christian Community Action at the local church and Presbytery levels of the Presbyterian Church, and holds membership in the Ladies' Hermitage Association and the South Carolina Historical Society. Genon and her husband, Ray, have a son, Wayne, who lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife, Darlene, and their two children, Julie and Jeffrey.
Mary and Genon are acive members of Glencliff Presbyterian Church, the Tennessee Historical society, and they are Associates of Middleton Place Foundation. As honorary trustees of the General John H. Forney Hisorical Society, they were the recipients of that organization's 1982 Distinguised Service Awards for their biography Chosen Exile, The Life and Times of Septima Sexta Middleton Rutledge, American Cultural Pioneer. The co-authors have delighted audiences with enthusiastic accounts of their original research while writing Chosen Exile and their experiences with their latest publication, Hidden Glory, promise to be of even greater interest.
Cover photo: photograph of Hamptom Plantation, ourtesy South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism: State Parks Division.
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