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Boone Hall Plantation and Secretariet

Yesterday, John and I took a mini tour of Boone Hall in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Rather than horse-drawn carriages going through these gates, there was a line of cars waiting to enter.

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Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations, continually growing crops for over 320 years. This antebellum-era plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During the tour of the house, the guide shared its history with us.

The earliest known reference to the site is in 1681 is when a land grant of 470 acres from owner Theophilus Patey, to his daughter Elizabeth and her new husband, Major John Boone as a wedding gift.  The land became known as Boone Hall Plantation though it is unknown when a house was built on the site.

The Boones began growing rice, cotton, and indigo, and thus began a long history of providing Boone Hall crops for the South Carolina low country and the world.

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The Horlbecks brothers, Henry and John, were architects who designed and built many buildings and landmarks in Charleston, purchased the plantation in the mid 1800’s.  By 1850, Boone Hall was producing 4,000,000 bricks per year using 85 slaves. Besides manufacturing bricks, they ventured into commercial pecan production. The plantings became known as the world’s largest pecan groves in the early 1900’s.

This 1900 house was the residence then.

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The Horlbeck family also improved the plantation by completing the Avenue of Oaks that lead up to the plantation house in 1843.

boone hall plantation and gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Stone, a Canadian, bought the plantation in the 1930’s. He built the present house and planted crops such as cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes. The crops became popular low country commodities for shipping to the northern markets.  Mr. Stone used hand made bricks that were discovered in the woods at kilns previously used.

The house is three stories with a full basement and measures about 10,000 square feet. Unlike original plantation houses, the new house has a full-sized kitchen in the house along with seven bathrooms. The first floors houses the kitchen, library, dining room, loggia, and game room. The second floor has seven bedrooms, and the third floor has two rooms, a bathroom, and a full-sized attic.

 But crops have not always been an integral part of this farm.

My husband John has often talked about the Clydesdales that his father owned. Mammy and son Champ helped with the farming, and the four sons loved those horses for their strength, their height, and the excess hair near their feet. The two were gentle, and Champ was young enough to frolic in the field. When Mammy was tired of riders, she would stop, and the riders would simply slide off.

Rather than a tractor, Oliver used the horses to plow, pull the wagon which was his truck, and pull the mower, hayrake, and baler. These horses were trained to only his signals and his voice. For almost 20 years, they worked hard for Oliver until John’s dad died.

Ten of these majestic animals were visiting Boone Hall, so that is why we chose this excursion yesterday on a hot, June day in Charleston. (There is something about going down memory lane that is memorable.) Again there was gentleness, as the small hands of little people gingerly reached through the fences to touch the horses. We patted Ozzie, as he was getting a bath.

 

And then we went on the house tour to hear more about horses and their past with  Boone Hall.

When the guide mentioned thoroughbreds, my ears pricked up. My dad grew up in Shelbyville, Kentucky, in between Lexington and Louisville. And the Derby run at Churchill Downs, the Keeneland race track in Lexington, and numerous other names flashed in my brain. This is what he shared.

Princequillo (1940-1964) was a thoroughbred race horse conceived in France and born in Ireland. He was known for his performances in long-distance races and his successes as a sire. When World War II broked out, his pregnant mare/mother was shipped to Ireland. As the war escalated and the German bombing of England increased, it was obvious that racing was going to be put on hold. So Cosquilla, the mare, and her colt were shipped to the United States.

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In 1940, the Stones sold the plantation to Georgian prince Dimitri Jorjadze and his American wife Audrey. (Jorjadze was a member of the Russian Georgian nobility who became exiled after the overthrow of Tsarist Russia and the Bolshevik takeover.)The prince raced horses under the nom de course, Boone Hall Stable, with the most notable of his horses being Princequillo who in 1943 was the fastest distance runner in the United States.

Prince Dimitri Jorjadze

Jorjadze placed him under the care of future Hall of Fame trainer Horation Luro. Princequillo won several important races at longer distances. He broke the Saratoga Race Course record for 1¾ miles, and his performances were such that he is considered to be the best long-distance runner. Princequillo’s descendants include Secretariat, Triple Crown Winner in 1973:  1977 Triple Crown Winner Seattle Slew; and US Horse of the Year winners, A.P. Indy and Cigar.

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Seattle Slew

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Secretariat

I truly love seeing random threads come together for weaving, and I loved the tour of the Boone Hall Plantation house. (below)

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Winston Churchill – “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

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He Doffed His Hat To Me!

Walking toward the visitor’s center at Musgrove Mill Historical Site on Saturday, I met a re-enactor. He, not only bowed to me, but doffed his hat! In response, I nodded my head.

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The action of respect took me aback. Silent words of greeting were spoken, and for a moment, I felt like a queen. No, I was not attired as one; there was no crown on my head or long gown trailing behind me, but my presence had been noted with 18th century courtesy. In those years, this cultural expression was one of recognition, respect, gratitude, or simple greeting between two persons.

In retrospect, I believe I might have straightened my shoulders a bit and walked on with a slight smile. The unexpected salutation made me more aware of the manners that have changed in our world.

There is a connection between doffing and donning. One of the first uses of it in print can be found in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, published around 1470. He wrote, “Doffe of thy clothes, And knele in thy kyrtylle” (tunic or petticoat).

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The English bard, William Shakespeare, frequently used  ‘doff,’ often in a figurative manner. In the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet entreats Romeo to change his name with the words, “Romeo, doff thy name.” In the The Taming of the Shrew,  Baptista chides the bridegroom with “Fie, doff this habit, shame to your estate”.

Obviously, we can don hats, clothes, or even character traits. Equally easy, all can be later doffed. These archaic words simply describe the actions of “do on” or “do off.”

A minister calling on a parishioner

From the 16th to the 18th centuries in England, the donning and doffing of hats was governed by a code of etiquette and custom that it is hard for us now to appreciate. Each man of standing wore a hat, and the form of hat and the rules were a part of society. This custom filtered down in society to the working classes, who greeted the gentry with a doff.

English settlers brought this custom with them, and polite society expected this courtesy on a new continent.

In the 21st century, men no longer routinely wear hats. Both my grandfathers and great-grandfathers traditionally wore hats when they left their homes. When they entered a building, they removed their hats. My dad owned a few hats and wore them occasionally for specific times; he owned a rain hat, a golf cap, a Master’s hat, and a Derby hat. Slowly hats have lost their places.

Whether a national leader or a farmer, men doffed their hats well into the 20th century.

Image result for art print: british prime minister winston churchill doffing hat outsidBritish Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill

On July 4, 1892, there was a joint meeting to celebrate our nation’s birthday. This clear, sunny day was lightened with a calm breeze off the Potomac River.

The Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Sons of the Revolution, and the Order of the Cincinnati met together at 9:00 at the Church of the Epiphany in our nation’s capitol. The organ refrain of God Save the State was as loud as the singing of America in this special religious and patriotic service.

A Chaplain gave directions for the order of the processional to the monument, and the men and women, on foot and in carriages, took their places. The Daughters of the American Revolution were at the end. As the parade reached the corner of G and the Fifteenth Street, business men hurried out of a hotel.

Police held back people and cars from interrupting the walk. Seeing the elegantly dressed men and women in the street, a gentleman asked, “Officer, what is this?”

The response was, “The Sons and Daughters of the Revolution.”

In one motion, that same man doffed his hat. All down the street, man after man followed suit as the men and women passed. Until all in the procession passed, no hats returned to their respective heads. It was a tribute to not only those who walked the streets of Washington, DC, but also for the memory of those who fought during the Revolutionary War. (from First “Safe and Sound” Movement by Helen Hardin Walworth, Founder and Honorary Vice President General NSDAR)

There are no photographs of this scene, but in my imagination those doffed hats respectfully speak to both the past and the future of our nation.

Golf has been dubbed the gentleman’s sport. I grew up in a family of golfers and was privileged to attend the Master’s on several occasions. There is something about how the golfers greet their fans as they walk up the fairway. Standing to their feet and loud clapping greet the golfers, and the players respond with a doffed cap or visor.

Phil Mickelson

Albert Einstein said, “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”

No, doffing one’s hat is neglected in society these days, but respect is always in fashion.