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Mullet Hall

We're fortunate in having the Johns Island County Park just down the road, with its equestrian center, hiking trails, dog park and 3-D archery range. But all that activity lays on top of what was once one of the largest plantations on Johns Island.

Riding trails cross once-fertile farmland

The county park still bears the name Mullet Hall, bestowed on 600-acres along the Kiawah River acquired by one Thomas Mullet in 1791; but a century earlier, early British settler Thomas Stanyarne had been the first European owner of vast acreage along the Kiawah and Stono rivers granted to him by the colony's Lords Proprietors. By the 1780's, the property had passed from the Stanyarnes through Thomas Mullet to the Legares who, with other substantial land holdings to the north and west, came to own nearly two-thousand acres bordering what is now River Road. It was James Legare who built the first permanent structure that bore the name Mullet Hall. Rice and cotton were the prominent crops grown with enslaved labor.

Excavating the faint traces of a slave cabin

Archeological excavations carried out in 2017 and 2018, when the western portion of the once-vast plantation has been sold to the company that would create today's Kiawah River development, revealed little more than a few clay floors and bricks from ramshackle slave houses that dotted the property. No trace was found of Mullet Hall itself, any remnants of which would have long been plowed under and broken up during the property's long agricultural history. The live-oak lined track leading to the site's hiking and riding trials may be the only sign of a once prosperous plantation.

An archery lesson at Mullet Hall

The Legares owned and managed the plantation right up until the early 1900's, when financial backers foreclosed on the acreage and sold its 1700-acres to a management company, which rented it out in small parcels to local farmers until Julian Limehouse bought the land in 1942 for $12,000. It remained in Limehouse hands, passing to Julian's heirs, until 1994, when the heirs conveyed to Charleston County the 738 acres that comprise today's county park. The remainder of the property was eventually sold for development as Kiawah River, on which Limehouse land is still farmed as the only reminder of Mullet Hall's rich history, buried deep underfoot.

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