Around 1806 Williams Braisford purchased land along the Altamaha River in Georgia. He started one of many rice plantations on the coastal plain. Eventually it would grow to 7300 acres. Before the Civil War, the plantation prospered from the rice crop being tended by 357 slaves.
After the Civil war, the crop became unprofitable from a combination of loss of low cost labor and competition from other crop growers in the US and overseas. Much of the land was sold after the war to pay property taxes imposed by the state. Despite these setbacks, the property would remain in the family for five generations.
The plantation house that remains was built in the early 1850’s and was used by the family until the last family member, Ophelia Dent, died in 1973. She was the last of two sisters that operated a dairy farm that allowed them to keep the property and donate it to the state debt free.
A guided tour of the house explains the history of the plantation and the lives of those who lived and worked here. For me, it was a surprise to learn of the many rice plantations that operated on the river before the Civil War. There are walking trails among the many trees and visiting the river bottom areas where the rice was grown.
This stop proved to be our last stop on our Georgia trip. As I mentioned in a previous post, we were returning to the motorhome after visiting the interpretive center at the entrance and Anneke slipped on a hickory nut and fell. After a visit to an urgent care, we decided to head for home.