It is thought that the Sewee Indians, a tribe who lived along the Carolina coast in the 1600s, once resided on the banks of Awendaw creek. “Sewee” is thought to mean “island” or “island people.” The tribe hunted and fished in the Awendaw tidal creeks and barrier islands in this area.
During colonial and revolutionary times this area in Awendaw was part of a giant barony (known as Manigault Barony, Sewee Barony, or Awendaw Barony) which consumed over 12,000 acres. It was owned by Gabriel Manigault during the revolution, who was the third richest man in the country at the time.
Tim Penniger, who co-authored a book about Awendaw’s history, said “If George Washington slept everywhere they said he slept, he would have been comatose,” but George Washington did stay at Manigault Barony before his grand entrance into Charleston during the Revolutionary War. Since Gabriel Manigault was so instrumental in the funding for the Revolution, it’s speculated that Washington visited the barony as a sign of appreciation to the Manigault family.
According to local legend, just before Gabriel Manigault was scheduled to leave the area to join the Army, he buried all of his valuables on his land and told no one their secret location. He was killed a week later, and residents still wonder about the Manigault family treasure.
There is little known about the style, size, or structure of Manigault Barony, but it’s safe to assume it was destroyed by a fire. Carbonized nails, melted glass, and charcoal, riddle the former grounds.