What's in a name? A bit of Seabrook Island and Lowcountry history, that's what, enshrined in several of the street and place names we pass by every day. The picture above, for example, from about 1900, is of the Andell family whose Andell Bluff farm once included all of Seabrook Island. The name survives in the island's Andell Way and, of course, the Andell Inn at Freshfields. (That's patriarch William Andell, on the porch at upper right.)
The Andells acquired their farm from the Gregg family in the 1880's and built a farmhouse which still stands just off Betsy Kerrison Parkway on the banks of Bohicket Creek. It's said to be one of the oldest homes still standing on Johns Island, and was restored by Andell granddaughter Betty Stringfellow, who lived there until her death in 2017. During the more than fifty years the Andells owned the island, they farmed Sea Island cotton, raised hogs and chickens, and turned their dairy cows out on what is now Jenkins Point. The purchase of the island from the Andells by Julius Morawetz in 1938 marked the turning point from the island's agrarian history to resort community.
The Andell house overlooks what was once the Haulover Cut, the inspiration for naming Seabrook's cross-island roadway The Haulover. Long before the Andell's time, Bohicket Creek - which connects the Bohicket River to the Kiawah River and over which the Parkway now passes just before the traffic circle -presented an obstacle to river traffic traveling between the two waterways as the creek narrowed and grew shallow enough for river craft to run aground. Boats carrying produce or other cargo had to be unloaded at the site, so that both boat and cargo could be hauled over to the other side and deeper water to continue the journey. The first expansion of the Cut was undertaken by British troops in 1715. A bridge was in place by the time of a Civil War skirmish at the site between Union and Confederate troops in 1864; and by 1900, William Andell had devised a swiveling wooden bridge to allow river traffic easy passage.
And then, of course, there's the very name Seabrook. That would be for William Seabrook, the wealthy plantation owner on Edisto Island who bought what was then called Simmons Island from Ebenezer Simmons in 1816. Seabrook was the first to successfully grow Sea Island cotton on his new island before selling it in 1863 to William Gregg for $150,000 in Confederate money. The Greggs, as noted, sold the island twenty years later to the Andells, whose name remains securely tied, with William Seabrook's, to island history.