Carolina Adventure: Historic Brattonsville - York County, SC | Olde English District

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Carolina Adventure: Historic Brattonsville - York County, SC

Kathy Pettit,

The Past Speaks

It’s been compared favorably with Williamsburg and Charleston for those who love immersing themselves in history.  Historic Brattonsville is a 775-acre living history site which dates from the Revolutionary War period.  (Try to visit when they’re presenting a reenactment of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat, which occurred on these ground approximately 225 years ago.)

It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and showcases more than 30 historic structures that are open to the public.  Called “house museums,” they take visitors from the 1750s through the 1840s.  

 And there’s more.  Historic Brattonsville is a living history site with African-American interpretations – very unusual in the Southeast.  Recent visitors applaud the interactive events that can be found there.  (One family found children in period clothing, playing games that would have been played during the plantation’s active period.  The re-enactors encouraged visiting children to join in the play, which made fun for all.)
Among the structures on site:

Colonel William Bratton House, from 1760s.  The plantation home built on 200 acres of land in what was Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, NC is in Mecklenburg County).  This was the frontier, and the family may have immigrated from Ulster, in Ireland.  Colonel Bratton is a fascinating figure – well worth learning about, from his early military service to his years in politics.

McConnell House, early 1800s.  Moved to the site, it represents a fairly common house used during those times.  The ceramics on display are worthy of attention.

The Homestead, from the 1820s, was built by the youngest son of Colonel Bratton, at least partially to reflect the family’s growing status.  The design is quite striking -- Federal style with curved staircases.  Wings added later added more elegance.  

The Slave House, a replica of an original home.  It’s a bit unusual in that the structure is patterned after the slave houses on the property, and is made of brick.  (When Dr. Bratton died in 1843, records indicate that he had about 140 slaves living on the property.)

Hightower Hall, dating from the 1850s.  This white frame Italiian Villa mansion was built for one of the next generation of Brattons.  This home was considered quite grand and is very striking today.

WOW Factor:  The sheer size of the property and number of buildings make it a wonderful outing.  An on-site Heritage Farm program adds to the historic fun, with Devon cattle, Gulf Coast sheep, Ossabaw Island hogs, and rare Dominique chickens. And for Mel Gibson fans, parts of [The Patriot] were filmed here.
Hint: Take a picnic.  Drinks are available.  With special events occurring throughout the year, choose a time when something extra is happening.  It just adds to the general excitement.
Find out more at the Culture and Heritage Museums of York County