On Saturday, May 11, 2019, we visited Middleton Place, a plantation on the banks of the Ashley River about 12 miles from Charleston.
Based on our historical knowledge, we wanted to see such a plantation if fate had brought us to this area.
We strongly condemn all forms of slavery, but we wanted to see what such a place looks like.
Henry Middleton was a plantation owner and officer; his property was Middleton Place. Today it is run by a foundation and functions as a museum.
Henry Middleton had many enslaved people, but he also freed many.
The plantation is located in a vast area where rice was mainly cultivated.
First, we walked around the entire plantation on a horse-drawn wagon. We were shown where the enslaved people worked - including working on a riverbank in a flooded area. Interestingly, it was said that it was not the enslavers or the snakes and alligators that lived here that were most dangerous to the enslaved people, but the mosquitoes.
Then we walked through the huge plantation. We looked at the house where the plantation owner lived with his family. The original was destroyed in the Civil War. The house, now a museum, was formerly a guest house with original contemporary furnishings.
After that, we looked at where the enslaved people practiced various crafts, such as a forge, a craft yard, a barn, and so on. Interestingly, there are still craftsmen here who tell about the history of contemporary life.
And in the end, we came to "Eliza's house". Eliza served with the family for 40 years and was the last enslaved person to live in this building. The house was named after her.
The house itself offered living space for two families. The one on the left, now a museum, provides information about the life of the enslaved people here. The right side can only be seen through the window; this section shows the contemporary furnishing.
The winds of history have hit us hardest here. It's felt everywhere, but this is where it's at its best (for us). Man instinctively thinks and shudders at the fact that all of these things in history could have happened.
The garden of the plantation is also huge and wonderful. We saw alligators and turtles in several places. Part of the garden now has events - mainly weddings - when we were there, there was one.
There's also a restaurant with a buffet and a la carte options. We had lunch here and chose the buffet, but it was nothing special (at least, it was expensive for that).
It was a beautiful day full of experiences.