SC History Trail

Hopsewee Plantation

Built more than 30 years before the American Revolution, Hopsewee Plantation was home to Thomas Lynch Senior and his son Thomas Lynch Junior, both of whom were delegates to the Continental Congress. Thomas Lynch Junior was the 52nd signer of the Declaration of Independence.


Hopsewee Plantation
494 Hopsewee Road, Georgetown, SC 29440
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Phone: 843-546-7891
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Site Description
Located on the North Santee River, 13 miles south of Georgetown off U.S. 17, Hopsewee Plantation is the birthplace and boyhood home of Thomas Lynch Junior, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The Lynch family established a rice plantation on the site in the early 18th century, and Thomas Lynch Senior built the existing plantation manor house in the 1740s. On the eve of the American Revolution, Thomas Senior was a prominent Patriot leader in South Carolina and was elected as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses meeting in Philadelphia. There, the other Founding Fathers considered him "highly esteemed" and he was a vigorous supporter of Colonial rights.

In early 1776, while serving in the Continental Congress, he suffered a debilitating stroke, and his son, Thomas Lynch Junior, was elected as a delegate to assist his father. When the delegates signed the Declaration of Independence, a space for his signature was left where the South Carolina delegation signed the document, but Thomas Senior died before he could add his name to the Declaration.

Thomas Junior did sign the famous founding document, and at age 26, he was the second youngest member of the Continental Congress. Poor health also affected Thomas Junior who left Philadelphia in December of 1776 and returned to his home, Peachtree Plantation, the ruins of which now lie in the forest across the Santee delta from Hopsewee. He attempted to represent his region in the South Carolina legislature, but he was limited by his illness which may have been malaria. In December of 1779, he and his wife, Elizabeth Shubrick Lynch, sailed for France, where he hoped his health would improve. Instead, his ship was lost at sea and despite his youth, Thomas Lynch Junior became one of the first signers of the Declaration of Independence to die.

Today, Hopsewee Plantation is privately owned and is open to the public for tours and events. The plantation home is typical of the elegantly simple style of most 18th-century rice planters, many of whom also owned palatial townhouses in Charleston. The home is one of the rare plantation homes of its day to survive storm, war, economic depression, and time. It features a raised brick foundation, siding cut from local black cypress, hand-hewn pine flooring, an unusual Lowcountry cellar and candle-stick molding.

The house faces the North Santee River, the highway of its day, with the still recognizable rice fields across in the Santee delta. Majestic live oaks grace the view of the river, along with seasonal flowering camellias and azaleas. Tours lead visitors through the home from attic to cellar. Outside is the manor house kitchen, outbuildings and the remains of the plantation slave village. Visitors may also enjoy lunch and traditional English tea in a modern tea room. Hopsewee Plantation was South Carolina's first National Historic Landmark.
Access and Admission
Site Access: Public
Access Description: Open 10am to 4pm Tues. - Fri./12pm to 4pm Sat./Reservations Recommended
Average Viewing Time: 1 to 2 hours or longer
Admission: Adults $17.50/Ages 12-17 $10.50/Ages 5-11 $7.50/Grounds Only $7.50
Historic Registry: National Historic Landmark
Ownership: Private
Tours and Events
Guided Tours: Yes
Group Tours Yes
Events: Traditional Teas are served with reservations and special Holiday Tours are available by appointment. The River Cottage is available for private functions.