Ashley Barony

The Ashley Barony was a 12,000 acre grant taken in 1675 by Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury and one of the original eight Lords Proprietors of Carolina. With the aid of family friend Andrew Percival, Shaftesbury intended to maintain the plantation as independent of the local government. Shaftesbury established the site as a profitable plantation-trading post by 1677, deriving income from skins and furs, cedar barrel staves, and logwood. Another important figure in the development of Ashley Barony was Dr. Henry Woodward, who established a network of trading arrangements that laid the groundwork for the Carolina Indian Trade. This trade, focusing on skins, furs, and slaves, heavily influenced relations with Native Americans throughout the Southeast for the next century. On the site, Woodward organized Lord Ashley’s personal Indian Trade with area tribes in 1674, and used it as a point of departure for his journey down the Savannah River to a Westo town in October 1674. After establishing contact with the tribe, Woodward conducted trade with the Westos from Lord Ashley’s estate for six years. Shaftesbury died in 1683, and the plantation’s slaves, servants, and material goods were sold to Andrew Percival in 1685. The land remained in the Ashley family until 1717, when it was conveyed to Samuel Wragg. The site of Lord Ashley’s settlement was not used again. However, through a 1983 survey and archaeological excavations in 2009 and 2011 the site has been clearly identified and explored. Excavations discovered intact brick wall foundations, seventeenth-century ceramics, and Native American pottery, among numerous other artifacts.