South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Sams Plantation Complex Tabby Ruins, Beaufort County (Frogmore vicinity)
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Tabby Hearth Main House Ruins Main House Ruins Main House Ruins Tabby Blade House
and Smokehouse
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Tabby Blade House Tabby Chapel Ruin
and Cemetery

The Sams Plantation Complex Tabby Ruins is archaeologically and architecturally significant. The site, possibly built upon and occupied well before 1783, encompasses approximately ten acres on which the ruins and/or archaeological remains of at least twelve tabby structures have been identified. Tabby structure ruins include the main plantation house, a rectangular enclosure comprised of tabby walls, a large tabby kitchen, and five tabby slave quarters. Immediately outside this enclosure were a variety of tabby dependencies including a barn/stable, a smokehouse or blade house, a well/dairy house, and a well. The smokehouse in entirely intact and retains the only pitched tabby roof known to exist anywhere in the United States. Northwest of these structures was the Sams family cemetery and Episcopal chapel enclosed by high tabby walls. Two other structures, possibly an overseer’s house and a granary/mill were located to the southeast of the plantation house. Southwest of the main house was a tabby cotton house. Historic documentation indicates additional buildings within close proximity including main barns, a slave street, fowl houses, and a pigeonnier. Berners Barnwell Sams and Lewis Reeve Sams acquired the plantation from their father William in the early 1800s. The Sams grew indigo, cotton, and oranges. This important and unique orange crop was shipped by schooner to Charleston for distribution to northern markets. The slave labor force necessary for these plantation operations numbered in the hundreds. During and subsequent to the Civil War the Sams Tabby Complex was occupied by freedman. Following the Civil War the plantation house was destroyed by hurricanes. Listed in the National Register March 4, 2011.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property. In addition, the Historic Resources of St. Helena Island, ca. 1740-ca. 1935 includes historical background information for this and other related National Register properties.

Most National Register properties are privately owned and are not open to the public. The privacy of owners should be respected. Not all properties retain the same integrity as when originally documented and listed in the National Register due to changes and modifications over time.

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