In 1790, shortly after the Revolutionary War, an island planter named William Elliott II grew his first crop of a “long-staple, silk- fibered, smooth-seeded cotton,” which quickly became known as “Sea Island” cotton. Almost overnight it brought great riches to those who planted it. The markets in Europe gobbled it up. The wealth these planters amassed from 1790 to 1825 made them among the richest families in early America!
Growing this product required intensive labor; thus, the extensive use of slave labor flourished in these sea islands and Hilton Head as well. Hilton Head was the site of hard-working, productive farms owned by wealthy planters. They typically built grand homes away from the sea islands in climates cooler and safer from malaria than the Lowcountry plantations.
Seasons passed, families were built, great profits were amassed and the island persisted as it had for thousands of years before.
CIVIL WAR TROOPS STATIONED AT PORT ROYAL