Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure
Welcome to the audio-described version of Charles Pinckney National Historic Site's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and a map, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that our visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the site, discusses the public service of Charles Pinckney, and provides information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 24 minutes.
OVERVIEW: Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, located in South Carolina, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 28-acre park is situated 6 miles north of Charleston off US 17. This park was established in 1988. Each year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be had at Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. We invite you to explore the park's natural beauty and rich cultural history. Feel the Spanish moss draped in live oaks. Take a hike and hear bird song. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure
The front side of the brochure has Pinkney's portrait and the name of the site, Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, on the far left.
The middle two folds are all text and describe Pinckney's life of public service on the bottom two-thirds. The top one-third of the middle two sheets has the interpretive text on the Constitutional Convention and Pinckney's contributions.
The right side of the front page has the painting of the Constitutional Convention on the top one-third with the image of the US Constitution and the silver inkstand below taking up two-thirds of the page.
IMAGE: Charles Pinckney Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, circa 1786
Charles Pinckney, the subject of this Gilbert Stuart portrait, circa 1786, is seated facing the viewer. He wears a powdered white wig and has a prominent forehead. He is visible from the waist up to his shoulders and head. His right arm is cut off in this picture, and his left arm is only partially shown. His complexion is rosy with a light tan. His lips are pursed tightly. His gaze is direct. His eyes are blue or green in color.
He is wearing an unbuttoned champagne colored coat over a buttoned waistcoat of the same color with a ruffled white cravat, or tie. The only visible skin in the portrait is Pinckney's face. His left hand is tucked inside his waistcoat. The end of his shirt sleeve is visible and similarly white and ruffled to his cravat, or tie.
Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, N.Y.
IMAGES and TEXT: Signing of the Constitution
IMAGE: Glanzman painting
This image depicts an artist's rendering of the signing of the US Constitution. The scene takes place indoors in Independence Hall in a wood floored room with gray painted wood paneling on the walls. The room has two empty tables, all covered in green baize, in the foreground with strewn papers, books, and inkwells.
In the background of the image, the viewer's attention is drawn naturally to the left center where George Washington, President of the Constitutional Convention, stands behind a table with James Madison to his left. In front of Washington there stands a man hunched over a document on the table, likely signing the Constitution. Four men stand nearby facing the document, perhaps waiting in line. To the right of Washington stand four men. In the immediate foreground of Washington, behind the gentleman signing the Constitution, are two men seated at a table. One of them is Benjamin Franklin. Franklin's cane sits on the table.
To the left of the four men, standing near the head table where Washington and Madison look towards the viewer, are several tight groupings of men in conversation, all facing towards the viewer or at an angle. Twelve men are standing. Five men are seated at tables.
Charles Pinckney is found seated at a table furthest to the right of the painting.
From "Signing of the Constitution" by Louis S. Glanzman
Louis S. Glanzman
When William L. Pierce of Georgia sat down in Philadelphia to assess his fellow delegates at what would become the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he saw Charles Pinckney as “possessing a spirit of application and industry beyond most Men.” The youngest South Carolina delegate and long-time advocate of a strong central government, Pinckney had been among the first to call for a general convention to amend the ineffective 1781 Articles of Confederation.
He attended every session, served on the rules committee, and debated frequently and forcefully, advocating for protecting property interests and establishing a central government with a clear separation of powers. Skillfully navigating through heated debates, Pinckney helped shape the world’s oldest written national instrument of government—the United States Constitution. He put forth a full plan of government known as the ”Pinckney Draft.” Today’s Constitution includes some 30 provisions supported by Pinckney, including the two-part legislature, single chief executive, annual state of the union address, emoluments clause (restricting government officials from receiving gifts or titles of nobility from foreign states), and protection of individual citizens’ rights.
TEXT: A life of public Service
Charles Pinckney was born into a prominent Charleston family on October 26, 1757. His father, a wealthy planter and attorney, was commanding officer of the local militia, member of the General Assembly, and president of the state’s Provincial Congress.
Young Charles received his basic schooling from David Oliphant, a noted South Carolina scholar who emphasized history, the classics, political science, and languages. Growing political unrest with Great Britain disrupted Charles’ plan to attend school in England. He ended up staying home and studying law with his father.
In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, Pinckney represented Christ Church Parish in the state assembly. As a lieutenant in his father’s militia regiment, he took part in the attempt to retake Savannah from the British. The next year, after the British captured Charleston, Pinckney and his father were imprisoned along with other American officers. The elder Pinckney was freed after swearing allegiance to the British Crown, which saved the Pinckney estate. Charles wasn’t released until June 1781.
In 1784 Pinckney became a delegate to Congress, then meeting in Trenton, New Jersey. In May 1787 along with his cousin Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Pierce Butler, and John Rutledge, he represented the state at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Due in large part to his efforts, South Carolina ratified the new Constitution on May 23, 1788.
In April 1788 Pinckney married Mary Eleanor Laurens, and they eventually had three children. Over the next 10 years he held a variety of political offices, including president of the South Carolina State Constitutional Convention, governor of South Carolina, and US Senator.
Early on, the Pinckneys supported the Federalist ideology. By 1795, Charles had come to view the Federalists as the party of the rich and well-born. He joined with Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans, championing the interests of rural Americans over those of the coastal aristocracy.
During the Presidential campaign of 1800, Pinckney was Jefferson’s South Carolina campaign manager. Jefferson rewarded Pinckney with an ambassadorship to Spain.
During that time, he helped facilitate the acquisition of Louisiana from France and tried unsuccessfully to get Spain to cede Florida to the United States.
Pinckney returned to South Carolina in January 1806 and served briefly in the General Assembly before being elected to his fourth and final term as governor, 1806–08. In 1818, after a final term in the legislature and a brief retirement from active political life, he was elected to the US Congress, from which he retired in 1821.
Pinckney spent his final years in Charleston, where he died on October 29, 1824, at age 67. He had devoted 42 years to serving community, state, and nation. He is buried at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Charleston.
IMAGE: Pinckney signature
Charles Pinckney's signature can be found on the bottom left of the front side of the brochure. It begins at the bottom of the portrait of Charles Pinckney and extends below the text describing Pinckney's life of public service.His signature is written clearly in a neat, loopy cursive.
IMAGE: Silver inkstand used by Pinckney and other delegates in signing the Constitution
The image depicts the US Constitution and a silver inkstand.
There are two sheets of the US Constitution shown. The opening page, with the opening of the preamble "We the People" clearly visible, is underneath the second sheet, which contains the end of the document and all the signatories, whose signatures are organized by their state. This limits the view of the majority of the first page of the document.
The cursive script on the documents is faint, so only headers identifying the article and its corresponding number are clearly seen. Article I, on the bottom page, and Articles V, VI, and VII on the top page are featured.
In the foreground below the US Constitution is a silver inkstand. The inkstand consists of a tray with 3 visible legs and three inkpots resting on it. There is a white quill, leaning to the right, sitting inside the middle pot. The middle pot has holes for quills and a long handle coming out the top of it. The other two pots are open without a similar covering.
Silver inkstand used by Pinckney and other delegates to sign the Constitution.
Inkwell and Signature - NPS; Constitution - National Archives
OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure
The top two-thirds of the back side of the brochure for Charles Pinckney National Historic Site has text and two images. On the far left, there's a quotation from Charles Pinckney to President Washington, with a modest description of Snee Farm, and an image of uncultivated indigo. The middle portion of the top two-thirds discusses archaeology at the site and shows a photograph of an active excavation. The right side has information on planning your visit, accessibility, and other local National Park Service sites to visit.
The bottom one-third of the back side of the brochure has a wayfinding and interpretive map on the left. In the middle, there's interpretive text about Snee Farm and its use as a plantation. To the right, there's interpretive text describing an image of enslaved workers unloading a rice barge.
TEXT: Apology to Washington
A QUOTE: "I must apologize for asking you to call at a place so indifferently furnished & where your fare will be entirely that of a farm." —Charles Pinckney to President George Washington, May 1791.
IMAGE: Uncultivated indigo
This artist's color painting of uncultivated indigo shows a portion of a plant without the context of an agricultural field. Indigo, flowering plant, is a herbaceous shrub. Blooms can be seen on the plant. The green leaves are arranged feather-like from both sides of a common axis.
IMAGE and TEXT: Unearthing the past
Underneath the text section, "Unearthing the Past," is a photograph of an active archaeological excavation in front of the 1828 cottage.
The foreground of the photograph shows archaeologists at work. From left to right, there is a standing male archaeologist at rest. Near him are two seated archaeologists, one male and one female, working. Moving further to the right and getting closer to the house, there's a kneeling archaeologist of unknown gender with her back to the photographer examining something in her hands. Then there is a female archaeologist leaning with her left hand supporting her, lying on the ground and working. To her right, several feet away, there is a male archaeologist with a shovel in one hand, kneeling and working. Between this archaeologist and the house can be found exposed brick from the excavation work being done.
The background of the photograph shows the live oaks with Spanish moss to the right of the house and the front of the 1828 cottage itself. The two-story white cottage is symmetrical. There is a front porch and two windows to either side of the entrance where the parlors were located. The pitched roof has a chimney. There are 3 windows on the second story of the house. There are also symmetrical wings to either side of the back of the cottage with low connectors leading to taller steep pitched roofs over either wing.
The park’s 28 acres constitute a small portion of the property known as Snee Farm, which Charles Pinckney inherited from his father. Most of Pinckney’s personal papers were destroyed in a fire. Much of what we know about the lives of the residents—free and enslaved—results from archeological discoveries.
No standing structures remain from the Pinckney era. The present house, built around 1828 on the site of the Pinckney plantation house, is a typical tidewater cottage once common throughout the Southern coastal areas. Archeologists have identified the location of ponds and fields used for growing indigo, rice, and cotton. Several Pinckney-era features were identified through excavations, including the plantation house, kitchen, two slave cabins, and a well. Over 150,000 artifacts have been unearthed, including 18th- and early 19th-century Chinese porcelain, French and English tableware, pottery called Colonoware made by enslaved workers, wine and liquor bottles, cutlery, British and American coins, and the remains of domestic game animals.
TEXT: Pinckney's "very valuable tract"
Snee Farm was originally part of a 1698 grant to Richard Butler. Charles Pinck ney’s father bought the property in 1754. Cattle, indigo, rice, and a variety of foodstuffs were raised on the plantation.
Though never Charles Pinckney’s primary residence, Snee Farm was a significant landholding among his six plantations. In May 1791, at Pinckney’s invitation, George Washington breakfasted here during his Southern Tour of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.
On April 28, 1810, Pinckney placed an ad in Charleston’s City Gazette offering properties for sale, including Snee Farm:
A very valuable tract of about eight hundred acres of Land, ten miles from the city . . . consisting of about one hundred and twenty acres, more or less of rice lands, and the rest fit for the culture of grain of every kind and great part for black seed cotton. . . . On this are a comfortable Dwelling House, new Kitchen, brick Barn, and some other Buildings and a very handsome Garden of eight or ten acres, at the back of which, there is a landing for a large schooner. . . . The Negroes now on it will be sold with it.
During Pinckney’s ownership, the property included 40 to 60 enslaved Africans. They tended indigo and rice fields, and many were skilled wheelwrights, coopers, sawyers, carpenters, and gardeners. After Pinckney sold the farm in 1817, enslaved labor continued on the plantation as cotton replaced rice as the dominant cash crop. After the Civil War, many former slaves stayed on as tenants or sharecroppers.
IMAGE and TEXT: Unloading a rice barge
This rectangular black and white sketch shows enslaved Africans or African Americans unloading a rice barge sitting in a creek with tall marsh grass in the bottom right hand corner of the picture.
The barge is docked along the far side of the creek. There is a simple board from the barge to the shore. On the barge, there are two individuals to the left bending over and grabbing rice bundles. Standing in the middle of the barge are three individuals. One has a load of rice lifted over their head. On the far right of the barge are three individuals gathering up rice. One enslaved person is walking up the board towards the shore where another enslaved person is walking back towards the barge. In the background there is a low fence line with an agricultural field behind it.
Unloading a rice barge.
Lowcountry planters placed enslaved Africans with rice cultivation skills at higher value. Known as ”Carolina Gold,” rice— along with indigo and cotton— fueled the economy of Charleston and the young nation as a whole.
MAP: Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
This map serves primarily as a wayfinding tool to identify Charles Pinckney National Historic Site's location using adjacent and nearby roadways. The map also serves an interpretive purpose as it identifies through the use of a two-toned color key to show the current 28-acre core remnant of Charles Pinckney's Snee Farm (shown in a dark green) with the original 715-acre extent (shown in a light green).
The map has a compass rose. It also has a key in which 1 mile corresponds to a little over 1 inch on the map. The map also directs the user to other local National Park Service sites off the map or to prominent towns or interstates.
Long Point Road, the road off which the park sits, runs east-west between US 17 and I-526. To visit the site, coming from Charleston (where tour boats depart to Fort Sumter), drive north on US 17 and turn left onto Long Point Road. Historic Christ Church, Pinckney's parish, is directly across US 17 from this turn off. The park will be on your left after approximately one mile traveling on Long Point Road.
If you were to drive past Charles Pinckney National Historic Site on Long Point Road, you would hit the intersection with Whipple Road. This road leads the motorist to Matthis Ferry Road, which does connect to US 17.
If you travel further north on US 17, you travel towards Georgetown and Myrtle Beach.
Before reaching Long Point Road, on US 17 N, you pass the Isle of Palms Connector on your right. 517, or the IOP Connector, takes you towards Sullivan's Island and Fort Moultrie.
The light green shading shows that Pinckney's 715 acre plantation extended from Long Point Road to US 17.
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
TEXT: Plan your visit
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is 6 miles north of Charleston off US 17. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm; closed Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1.
The visitor center has exhibits on Charles Pinckney, the impact of slavery on the new nation, and archeology at the park.
TEXT: While you’re in town
Visit nearby National Park Service sites in the Charleston area:
Fort Sumter National Monument (includes Fort Moultrie)
Reconstruction Era National Monument
We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information ask a ranger, call, or check our website.
OVERVIEW: More information
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is one of over 400 areas in the National Park System. To learn more visit, www.nps.gov.
National Historic Site
1254 Long Pond Rd.
Mount Pleasant, SC, 29464
1214 Middle Street
Sullivans Island, SC, 29482
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National Park Foundation
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