Wampee Plantation House: Berkeley County: Pinopolis, SC
Wampee Plantation House sits along the shores of Lake Moultrie in Pinopolis, South Carolina. The Wampee Indians once walked the grounds, and it is from this American Indian tribe that the house gets its name. Today, Wampee Plantation House is owned and operated by Santee Cooper, a water and electric utility company. Santee Cooper renovated the house for use as lodging for visiting dignitaries and for business meetings. The house and grounds of Wampee Plantation are considered by many to be one of the most haunted places in Berkeley County.
The History of Wampee
The name Wampee came from the area’s Native American Indian Tribe. The name was originally derived from the Indian name given to a type of water hyacinth or pickerelweed, which has a blue flower and can be found growing in low marshy areas like those surrounding Wampee. A number of Native American burial mounds have been located on the Wampee property and archaeological excavations of these sites have produced artifacts supportive of an early American Indian culture inhabiting the grounds. In one of the mounds the remains of an Indian woman, sitting in a crouching position, were unearthed. Among the numerous artifacts excavated are charred bones. According to archaeological theory, charred bones indicate the Native American practice of cremating those warriors who died in battle. It has long been theorized that Native Americans in the region opposed settlement by the early colonists. Evidence supports this theory due to the excavation of charred bones, arrowheads and pottery shards from the western fringe of Wampee near Fanny Branch.
In 1696, John Stuart received a grant for 1,000 acres in return for his work reviewing the Fundamental Constitution by request of Sir James Colleton. Stuart had difficulty getting his promised land but eventually prevailed, receiving it in small increments. Stuart added additional lands to his holdings, ending up with several thousand acres, and Wampee Plantation was born. In 1698, Stuart conveyed 804 acres of Wampee to Reverend William Screven who had recently relocated his Baptist congregation from Maine. In that same year, Rev. Screven received another grant for an additional 300 acres all of which became Somerset Plantation. Wampee has witnessed a number of divisions and additions during the more than two centuries of its history. The present house, built sometime after 1822 is the third dwelling to be erected on the site.
Wampee Plantation House
In colonial days, Wampee Plantation House stood on the Congaree Road which was an important artery of commerce. Merchandise was brought up the Cooper River, unloaded at Stony Landing and sent to the Upcountry by way of the Congaree Road. Remains of the old road are still clearly traceable at Wampee. Traces of the two older houses, predating the present house at Wampee, are still to be found on the plantation grounds. The present dwelling is much the same style as most of the homes built in the early 1800s, but all the dimensions are considerably smaller. The reason for the size difference is interesting. During construction of the building, when all framing was set in place, and before weatherboarding and roof were added, a violent cyclone struck the community and passed immediately over the house under while under construction. The tremendous force of the wind broke off all the framing near the sills. However, not to be dismayed, the builders simply sawed off the broken timbers and built the house on proportions smaller than originally planned.
People have long proposed that many spirits inhabit the Wampee House and grounds. The sound of doors opening and closing has kept many overnight guests awake until the wee hours of dawn. Some guests report having their clothing moved from where they placed it the night before. A visiting New York businessman reported seeing a face hovering above his when he awoke during the night. Tiny white lights have been seen moving slowly across the front porch only to then quickly disappear into the night. Others claim to have seen the full body apparition of an Indian maiden. The Indian woman has been seen in every room of the house and on the surrounding premises. Many theorize this to be the spirit of the Indian woman unearthed in a sitting position from a near-by burial mound. Little is known about her history, but numerous accounts of the apparition describe her as porcelain faced, wearing a flowing white gown.
Reportedly, she stands on the front steps to the Wampee Plantation House bidding welcome to all who have enough courage to cross the threshold. A portrait of a young maiden in blue hangs in an upstairs bedroom above the hearth. This young maiden has been seen looking out the upstairs bedroom as if waiting for someone to return. Numerous accounts state that objects move of their own accord or become lost, only to turn-up later in an entirely different part of the house. Whatever your experience may be at the Wampee Plantation House, rest assured you are not alone!
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