McLeod Plantation Timeline

Transition to Freedom

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the site is its connection to enslaved African Americans, Gullah Geechee culture, and their efforts to achieve freedom and social equality. “Transition Row,” featuring 6 houses built for the enslaved at McLeod, was home to generations of African Americans from the late 1700s through the 1980s. The 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a regiment made up of free African Americans, was quartered in these houses as well. Immediately following the war, the main house served as a regional office for the Freedmen’s Bureau and the row of small houses provided homes to freedmen and their families. 


McLeod Plantation was also a very significant agricultural site. Wappoo Creek was the main thoroughfare for McLeod’s agricultural products - most notably its cotton - to move to Charleston. Resources of interest at the property include acres of preserved agricultural fields, beautiful oak allées, and the giant McLeod Oak, which is thought to be as old as 1,000 years. In stark contrast to its primarily suburban surroundings, the site is an example of the otherwise unseen history of James Island and the other Sea Islands. 

McLeod Legacy

The last surviving heir of 3 generations of McLeods who inhabited the site was Mr. William E. McLeod. “Mr. Willie” traced his lineage back to the site’s namesake family who purchased the land in the mid-19th century. Mr. Willie passed away on January 19, 1990 at age 104. After his death, he left 1/3 of the property to the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF). HCF sold 15 acres of the eastern portion of the site, the funds of which allowed HCF to become the sole owner of McLeod. After 20 years of maintaining the property, HCF sold it to the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission with preservation covenants to guide the site’s future use as a public historic site.

Historical Timeline


  • Native American tribes inhabited James Island as early as 600 B.C.
  • “McLeod Oak” sprouts approximately 1000 A.D.


  • 1741 - William Wilkins sold 617 acres to Samuel Peronneau (Wilkins’ son-in-law)
  • First documented cultivation of land and livestock
  • 1741 - 1756 - Samuel Peronneau Sr.
  • 1756- 1768 - Samuel Peronneau Jr. leaves estate to 2 sisters: Sarah and Elizabeth
  • 1770 - Elizabeth Perronneau marries Edward Lightwood, Jr. (250 acres of 617 to Lightwoods)
  • 1778 - 1780 - British attack; Charleston falls; British Army occupies land of “Mrs Peronneau near Wapoo Cut” for 6 weeks, engineers repair bridge over Wappoo and army built batteries
  • 1796 - Lightwood daughter marries William McKenzie Parker, Jr. - Parker helps manage property for mother-in-law Elizabeth Perronneau Lightwood
  • 1829 - 1847 - William McKenzie Parker, Jr. and Sarah Peronneau Parker
  • 1847 - 1851 - Edward and William M. Parker III

William W. McLeod I/ Civil War/Reconstruction

  • 1851 - 1865 - William W. McLeod
  • 1854-1858 - William McLeod builds Main House
  • 1860 - McLeod Plantation has 74 slaves and 23 slave cabins; 5th largest plantation on James Island in acreage, 4th in value, 3rd in value of livestock, 2nd in value of produce, and 1st in cotton production
  • 1862 - Family relocates to Greenwood, SC
  • 1861-1865 - House used as Confederate field hospital, headquarters, and commissary
  • 1865 - Union Army occupies McLeod Property (54th New York and 55th Massachusetts)
  • 1865 - Freedman’s Bureau

William W. "Willie" McLeod II

  • 1878-1879 - William Wallace McLeod II inherits
  • 1899 - First permanent bridge across Wappoo Creek to James Island on the McLeod property
  • 1908 -Country Club Road built; bisects property to access bridge
  • 1911 - Tile drainage system installed in fields per USDA report
  • 1919 - William W. McLeod II dies leaving plantation to wife and 4 children

William E. "Mr. Willie" McLeod

  • 1922 - Last year cotton planted at McLeod; small dairy operation established
  • 1922 - McLeod family sells land and marsh to the Country Club of Charleston
  • 1924 - Portico added to north façade of house
  • 1925 - Country Club of Charleston opens
  • 1932 - Loutrel Briggs designs formal gardens and driveway entrance
  • 1940 - McLeod abandons farming; leases fields to other farmers
  • 1990 - Willie McLeod dies; leaves 1/3 interest of plantation to Historic Charleston Foundation

Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF)

  • 1993 - HCF sells 12 acres on east side - purchases remaining 2/3 interest of property
  • 1993 - HCF Preservation Building Crafts Training Program restore several outbuildings
  • 1994 - City of Charleston purchases one acre to build fire and police station
  • 1996 - Cemetery discovered on fire station property
  • 1997 - City abandons fire and police station site
  • 2004 - HCF sells McLeod Plantation to American College of the Building Arts
  • 2008 - American College of the Building Arts sells the property back to HCF

Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission

  • 2011 - CCPRC purchases from HCF
  • 2012 - Stabilization of most buildings (Meadors Construction)
  • 2012 - Master Plan for entire site completed (Jaeger Company)
  • 2014 - Construction groundbreaking (April)
  • 2015 - McLeod Plantation Historic Site official grand opening (April 25)