Parris Island Plantations


In 1715, Alexander Parris purchased what is now called Parris Island from Edward Archer. By 1722, Parris deeded about half the island to hisdaughter Jane and her husband John Delabare. Parris and Delabare bothestablished plantations here, though Parris never lived on the island.The earliest plantations grew food crops and tended cattle. By the1750s, indigo, used to dye cloth blue, became the most important cropuntil the American Revolution, when indigo sales declined from the stopin trade to England. After the war, indigo grown in India made itunprofitable to continue planting it here. By 1775, there were six plantaions on Parris Island (see map on right).

In the 1790s, a new cash crop began to create wealth as never seen before in the colonies: Sea Island Cotton. Grown only in theclimate of the Lowcountry, iot’s fine fiber was in high demand, and commanded huge prices. By the first decades of the

1800s it made many area planters among the wealthiest people in the United States. Cottonplantations using slave labor remained on Parris Island until the Civil War. Many of the freed slaves stayed on the island, and began to farm the land for themselves