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History

On June 9th, 1913 Francis Alston Wilkinson, who grew up on Sea Cloud Plantation (now part of the Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area) married Mary Violet Wescott and one year later they purchased a 14 acre tract of land now known as Wilkinson’s Landing, from the First Baptist Church located on Edisto. The tract had been deeded to the church in 1829 by Hephzibah Townsend, one time Mistress of Sea Cloud Plantation. All that is left of the original 14 acre purchase is the 6 acre site known as Wilkinson’s landing.

Cecil Westcott
The home on Frampton Inlet of Mary Violet Wilkinson and Francis Alston Wilkinson in 1915
Cecil Wescott

Shortly after purchasing the land, Mr. Wilkinson purchased from Dr. William Bailey a home that was located at Salt Landing Plantation further up the South Edisto River. The home was dismantled into two pieces, each piece being put on a barge and floated down the South Edisto, up St. Pierre Creek and then up Store Creek to Mrs. Wilkinson’s home place known as Dill Farm. Dill Farm was located on Hwy 174 across from where The Old Post Office Restaurant now stands. Once the two pieces arrived at Dill Farm the home pieces were loaded on carts and pulled by oxen to the home’s current location and reassembled onto the very Tabby foundation the house sits on today, all a fascinating tale in itself! In 1916 Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson moved into their new home at Wilkinson’s Landing.

 

Mary Violet and Francis Alston Wilkinson with daughter Jean Cornish Wilkinson in 1918 
 1930

Mary Francis Wilkinson Mead in 2012

Mr. Wilkinson was Charleston County’s first police officer on Edisto and held that position until 1940. Mr. Wilkinson passed away in 1948 and Mrs. Wilkinson passed away in Charleston in 1980 having lived much of her life in the old home place at Wilkinson’s Landing. Mrs. Wilkinson’s father, Cecil Wescott, was a renowned local artist and lived in the old home place after his wife’s death in 1918 Mr. Wescott lived in the old home place until his death in 1942. Both of their graves are at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Hwy 174 on Edisto Island. Mr. Wescott's paintings can still be found not only in the homes of many native Edistonians, but in Charleston and around the entire country as well.  During their life together, Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson had three children, a son who was born at home and died one day after his birth, and two daughters, Mary Francis, and Jean Cornish Wilkinson. Mary Francis and Jean grew up together at Wilkinson’s Landing and while both spent time away from Edisto over the years, they were always drawn back to the Wilkinson Landing home they knew and loved. Jean passed away in 2008 and Mary Francis Wilkinson Mead is alive and well today and in her late 80’s. If you are very lucky, you will catch Mary Francis at the Landing where she will be more than happy to mesmerize you with tales of years gone past!  The children of Mary Francis Wilkinson Brockman Mead take great pleasure in presenting you the opportunity to visit Wilkinson’s Landing.

The Tabby Oven 

              The oven remains at Wilkinson’s Landing              

In the early 1800s, Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend, mistress of Townsend Plantation, now known as Botany Bay Plantation, wanted to raise funds to build Edisto’s first Baptist church. When her husband refused to help, she had a huge tabby oven built where slaves could bake bread to be sold in Charleston to raise money to build the church. Mr. Townsend refused to allow the slaves to help with the baking of the bread and she told him she would do it herself. Apparently not wanting his wife to be selling bread on the streets of Charleston, Mr. Townsend relented and the money was raised to build the first Baptist church on Edisto Island. The first Baptist church on Edisto was dedicated in 1818 and stands just off SC Hwy 174 and is also the burial site of Hephzibah Townsend. 

 

Webster’s Int. Dictionary: Tabby – Gullah, ‘tabi, of African origin: a cement made of lime, sand or gravel, and oyster shells and used chiefly along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina in the 17th and 18th centuries