2009-12-25 / Two Hours From Home

Goodwill Plantation, A Living History

Part 9: The Slave Houses
By Grover Rye

Slave cabin and well at Goodwill Plantation Slave cabin and well at Goodwill Plantation There were originally three rows of slave houses at Goodwill Plantation consisting of ten houses each. One row near the main had a well site in front of the house. Descendents of the slaves freed in 1865 lived in these houses until 1941 when soldiers from Fort Jackson came to the plantation for training in World War II. When the slave descendants left, they went by the main house and told Beatrice Rye they were scared of the soldiers, and they were going to move to Highway 76 (Garners Ferry Road). This ended an era of slave descendents living on Goodwill Plantation.

The second set of ten slave houses were on the upper side of the plantation and were there until 1920 when a forest fire destroyed them. The third set of ten slave houses were on the lower side of the plantation near the swamp. These were used after the Civil War to hold prison laborers who worked the plantation.

In February 1865 after the burning of Columbia, Sherman’s soldiers came to Goodwill Plantation and told the slaves they were free. Some of the slaves left, but many stayed at Goodwill and continued to work. Descendants of those slaves lived in these houses until 1941 when soldiers from Fort Jackson arrived for special training. In February 1865 after the burning of Columbia, Sherman’s soldiers came to Goodwill Plantation and told the slaves they were free. Some of the slaves left, but many stayed at Goodwill and continued to work. Descendants of those slaves lived in these houses until 1941 when soldiers from Fort Jackson arrived for special training. Today only two slave houses and a well remain.

The Confederate Soldiers’ Marquee

When Grover Rye heard that the Confederate Soldiers’ Home in Columbia was to be torn down because all efforts to save it had failed, he felt that he should do something to save the marquee from being destroyed with the building. The Confederate Soldiers’ Home on Confederate Avenue and Bull Street in Columbia operated by the State of South Carolina as a home for Confederate veterans and widows.

Just a few days before its destruction in 1962, he was able to obtain the marquee from the Confederate Soldier’s Home.

The next day the letters of the marquee were reassembled. The entire word “Confederate” was saved, but the S was the only letter saved from the word “Soldiers.” The marquee was mounted on the face of the two–story 1858 mill house at Goodwill Plantation and proudly displayed for the next 31 years.

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