Historic Brattonsville – McConnells, South Carolina
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This house is part of Historic Brattonsville – a 775-acre Revolutionary War battlefield site with over 30 historic structures dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. On July 11, 1780, a British Legion troop led by Captain Christian Huck (also spelled Houk) of Philadelphia arrived at the plantation of Patriot Colonel William Bratton, who earlier had been at his home to check on his harvests and recruit for Sumter’s Brigade.
Prior to Huck’s arrival, Colonel Bratton had learned of Huck’s impending attack and set off with his troops to intercept them at Walker’s Mill in Chester County, where he erroneously believed the Tories to be camped. When Captain Huck and his men reached Bratton’s home, they found only his wife, Martha, and threatened her for information on her husband’s location. Martha famously refused, and Huck moved on to the nearby property of James Williamson to await Bratton and his men.
Back at Walker’s Mill, Bratton received word that Huck’s force was camping out at Williamson Plantation. Bratton planned to ambush the Tories at dawn. At daybreak on July 12, 1780, Huck and his men were soundly defeated by Colonel Bratton and his force in a battle that lasted about 10 minutes. The event restored the morale of the Patriots that had been in decline since the Seige of Charleston that May. The battle was one of several victories for the Americans that would lead to their ultimate triumph and independence.
The wealthy and influential Bratton family continued their prosperity after the war. Their small family farm was transformed by the prosperity of cotton, and it became a large plantation with many slaves. As the family’s wealth increased, the Brattons became leaders in local society. They began building an impressive estate in the early 1820s to match their high social status. Many of the buildings were constructed from lumber and bricks cut and made right on the property. The Bratton family lived here until 1910. It was then maintained by tenets and farmers working for the Bratton family until the 1950s, when it was divided and sold.
The new owners restored many of the buildings, and by 2001 York County gained possession of much of the land and turned it into a living museum. The Homestead House, however, is still owned by descendants of the Bratton family and is operated by the York County Culture and Heritage Commission.
The plantation became internationally famous when it was used in the filming of the Revolutionary War movie, The Patriot. Annual special events at historic Brattonsville include the Battle of Huck’s Defeat, the Piedmont Pottery Festival, Civil War reenactments, and Christmas candlelight tours.
Historic Brattonsville is listed in the National Register, which adds the following:
Brattonsville is a small but important area of York County significant for its architectural record of South Carolina development. Brattonsville Historic District includes three distinctive homes built between 1776 and 1855 by the Bratton’s, a prominent York County family. The Revolutionary House, built in 1776 by Colonel William Bratton, was originally a one-room log house with a small porch. It was the home of Colonel William Bratton who fought in the Revolutionary War. Later additions were added to the original structure and clapboard siding was placed over the original logs.
The Homestead, Brattonsville’s second house built ca. 1830, was the home of Dr. John S. Bratton and was significant as a center of an 8500-acre agricultural complex. This twelve-room, two-and-one-half-story antebellum mansion is an example of Greek Revival residential architecture. The interior features Adam mantels, exquisite dadoes, and a carved staircase. The Brick House, built in 1855, has a two-story brick façade with end chimneys, a two-tiered portico, stucco-over-brick columns, and a two-story wooden wing at back. It was originally a private boarding school for girls.
Reflections on Brattonsville
Contributor James Boone shares with us his Brattonsville experience:
“We visited a community this weekend called Brattonsville near McConnells, SC, a 775-acre site with 30 structures dating back to the 1760s. The community is located off Highway 321 close to Rock Hill, SC. The Brattonsville site represents the history of Scots-Irish and African-American people in South Carolina before lives changed during the Civil War. Three brothers – William, Robert and Hugh Bratton – settled the property in the 1760s, and all the brothers fought during the Revolutionary War. The brothers fought in a battle near the current museum with overwhelming British forces and defeated them, which was a turning point in the war, on July 12, 1780.
“There are more than 30 structures on this site which preserves the way of life during the early 18th century and beyond. Brattonsville is the site of Huck’s Defeat in 1780, which was the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Later, Americans also won victories over British forces at Kings Mountain in October 1780 and then at Cowpens in January of 1781. The living museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., with special events planned throughout the year.”
Historic Brattonsville Info
Address: 1444 Brattonsville Road, McConnells, SC 29726
Historic Brattonsville Map
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