I. Jenkins Mikell had numerous children throughout his four marriages. In each of his marriages, he followed the tradition of using the wife’s surname for his children’s first or middle names. For his second marriage, he married a distant relative, Amarinthia Jenkins Townsend (yikes!) He and Amarinthia combined their last two names for their son "Townsend Jenkins Mikell."
**Thankfully, this tradition actually made my research a lot easier, when it came to tracing through the many generations, wives, and children.
Townsend was born in 1840. He continued his family business as a plantation owner, and built his own plantation house between 1870-1880 on a small island within Store Creek. His plantation was named Sunnyside.
The style of his home is a blend of elements from both his mother's and father's family homes. While it is still a plantation house, it has a unique French mansard roof that is topped by a cupola. The cupola is similar to the one on nearby Bleak Hall Plantation, which is the family home of his mother and also where Townsend Mikell was born.
Out front, a small cannon rests near the steps of the house and was found in the South Edisto River. Family legend says that it was either a Revolutionary War canon -- or it once belonged on a pirate ship.
Entering through the front door, there is a central hallway flanked by rooms on each side featuring a decorated floor at the entry and triangular patterned beadboard ceiling in a front room. A full porch extends across three sides of the home and an addition was added onto the back.
The Foreman's House & The Notebook
On the property there are several outbuildings including a foreman's house, commissary, kitchen, a long weatherboard barn with tabby foundation and the tabby foundation of a cotton gin that was in operation in 1882 and possibly earlier.
Most notably, the foreman's house was used in the movie The Notebook as Noah's dad's home (Sam Shephard). The building has since been restored.
Townsend Mikell was barely 21 when the Civil War broke out. While all the women and elderly were evacuated from Edisto Island, he later described his interesting experience of attempting to stay with his father and defend the island.
Click through the numbers below to read each page.
In his old age he was asked by one of his grandchildren to recount his marriages, he was said to have replied, “My dear, it has been so long ago that I don’t remember the first one. The second one was your grandmother, and she brought me wealth and success; the third was the love of my life; and the fourth is the comfort of my old age.”
Despite the personal setbacks, Isaac became one of South Carolina’s wealthiest men during the golden age of Sea Island cotton. By 1860, Peter’s Point Plantation consisted of 2,200 acres of land and 225 slaves. Its estimated annual production of ginned cotton was 70,000 pounds, making it one of the largest produced of Sea Island cotton in the United States. Even in present day, local author, botanist, and leading historian on Sea Island cotton, Richard Porcher, states that there was no finer cotton in the world than the cotton grown on Edisto Island prior to the Civil War.
Ten years after inheriting Peter’s Point Plantation (derived from Point Saint Pierre), Isaac built the current plantation house – which is still a private home for his descendants. Situated overlooking St. Helena Sound at the junction of St. Pierre’s Creek and Fishing Creek, the house has a picturesque view and a commanding setting.
Isaac’s son later described the house as having “twelve great rooms with white and colored marble for inside adornment, a spiral stairway, broad brown stone steps, and double piazzas.”
Since the house is on private property, little photographic documentation of it exists publicly.
The above photos were collected from the South Carolina Historic Properties Record.
The following book excerpt was found in “Edisto Island: A Family Affair.”
Isaac built the Peter’s Point house at a time when most planters were still concerned with the functionality of their plantation houses, rather than extravagance. When it came to showing off wealth, locals purchased other properties in Charleston – where they could be seen and admired. The simple Peter’s Point house was still built tastefully, with double piazzas and an overall Greek revival style one might find in Charleston. This house is a good example of the transitional stage of plantation homes from the smaller functional homes of the early 1800s to the grand plantation mansions before the Civil War.
In contrast, Isaac later built a mansion known as the Isaac Jenkins Mikell House for his “town house.” I discussed this house previously (you can read the full post by clicking here). Isaac built this house during his third marriage, which he described as the love of his life.
Isaac lived in the above house throughout his third and fourth marriages. In “Tales of Edisto” a family story recounts the funny story of his fourth and final marriage:
For sources, see above mentioned books. For genealogy:
Posts are a combination of my own research, visits, and conversations, plus various information found around the web. I try to provide sources, but if you have specific questions, feel free to ask!