Wampee Plantation  
Porcher Family
By  Mr. F. M. Kirk
2 Black & White
     Wampee Plantation one mile from Pinopolis, on a portion of which is located Camp Francis Peyre Porcher, CCC, will lose most of its lands, dating back to earliest days of St. John's Parish, with the realization of the Santee-Cooper hydro electric development. 
     The plantation as it now exists consists of a number of different tracts.  Wampee has witnessed a number of divisions and additions during the more than two centuries of its history.  The present house, built some time after 1822 is the third dwelling to be erected there. 
     The name Wampee, apparently derived from the Indians once so numerous in this section, is to be found among the earliest records of St. John's Parish. 
     In 1696 John Stewart received a proprietary grant to a tract of eight hundred and four acres, situated near a locality known as "Wampee," on the west side of Biggin swamp.  Portions of this grant later became the nuclei of Somerset and Somerton Plantations.  A third portion of this grant was a part of the present Wampee. 
Bought by Minister
     The Rev. William Screven, said to be the first Baptist minister to come to Carolina, arrived in the province in 1696, bringing with him a number of his faith from Maine, and seems to have cherished the dream of founding a haven for Baptists in Carolina.  Two years later he received a deed from Stewart for his grant, and in 1700 he received an additional grant for three hundred acres at Wampee, adjoining Stewart's grant. 
     Mr. Screven settled himself at what is now known as Somerton Plantation, naming the place after his old home in England, and attempted to settle a town there. 
     Whether the Baptists were not welcomed by the French Huguenot of the community, or whether financial conditions intervened is not know.  At any rate, in 1704, Mr. Screven sold out his holdings to Rene Ravenel, a devout Huguenot, who thus came into, possession of a part of Wampee. 
"Infested with Anabaptists"
     One is inclined to think that the Baptists were not cordially received, for under the leadership of Mr. Screven they became so active that an Anglican, Judge Nicholas Trott, wrote the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1703, asking for literature, as "we are here very much infested with the sect of Anabaptists." 
     Though the clergyman did not realize his ambition of founding a town at Somerton, neighboring Wampee seems to have been something of a country neighborhood for the surrounding plantations.  For in a letter of Charlotte Broughton to her husband, Nathaniel Broughton, written in 1732, the following reference is found to Wampee: 
"June ye 15: 1732    My Dear 
      I sent on Sunday to wassamsaw about the fouls, my father having forgot to tell me what you desired till Saturday, therefore could send no sooner.  Mr. Lawson sent me word his wife had none fit for yeus as yet, he came down on Tuesday and told me had heard of some at Wampee . . . " 
     By 1749 Wampee was established at a St. John's Plantation and the first house had probably been built, for the January 19 issue of the South Carolina Gazette for that year mentions that Gabriel Guignard owned Wampee Plantation , three miles from Stone Landing (now known as Stony Landing) containing eight hundred and seventy acres of rice and indigo lands.
Built by Macbeth
     It is probable that Guignard purchased part of the tract from Rene Ravenel, the remaining portion being a royal grant. 
     Wampee later passed into the hands of  Thomas Sabb, who sold a portion of it, in 1783, consisting of three hundred acres, to James Courtonne, Jr., of Charleston.  A creek near Wampee is still known as "Sabb Creek." 
     The plantation was sold in 1790 to Charles Johnston, of Charleston, whose daughter, to whom it descended, married James Macbeth.  It thus became a seat of the Macbeth family.  James Macbeth died in 1822 and the present house was built for the widow soon after by her son, Charles Macbeth, Confederate war mayor of the city of Charleston. 
     Wampee was inherited by Richard Yeadon Macbeth, and was willed by his widow to William Cain, his nephew, whose widow now owns the place. 
     There are a number of Indian mounds at Wampee.  Excavations were made into several members of the Charleston Museum, a few years ago.  In one of the mounds the remains of an Indian, sitting in a crouching position, were unearthed. 
Why House was Small
     In colonial days the Congaree road, leading down from the Congarees to Stony Landing, was an important artery of commerce.  Merchandise was brought up Cooper River, unloaded at Stony Landing, and sent to the Upcountry by way of the Congaree road.  That was in days long before the first Santee canal. 
     Remains of the old road are still clearly traceable at Wampee.  A few miles further on the road continues in use as State Highway 46. 
     Traces of the two older houses, anteceding the present house at Wampee, are still to be found on the plantation. 
     The present dwelling is on much the same style as most St. John's houses, but all dimensions are considerably smaller.  The reason for the difference is interesting. 
     During construction of the building, when all framing was set in place, and before weatherboarding and roof were added, a violent cyclone struck the community and passed immediately over the house under construction.  The force of the wind broke off all framing near the sills.  Not a whit dismayed, the builders simply sawed off the broken timbers and built the house on proportions smaller than originally planned. 
      On one of the tracts, making up the present Wampee Plantation lived a Dr. Hardcastle, a practicing physician in St. John's, who had served as a surgeon in the British army during the Revolution.  After his death his widow, who was the daughter of a merchant engaged in trade on the African coast, moved to St. Stephen's Parish. 
Porcher Family
Number of Indian Mounds Found on Santee
Valley Plantation Named for Red men
One Mile from Pinopolis
Berkeley County Historical Society