This abandoned home on Edisto Island is associated with the Hutchinson family, a well-known black family that has resided on Edisto for several generations. It is said to be the oldest remaining African-American residence on Edisto. The home was built in 1885 by Henry Hutchinson. Born into slavery at the onset of the Civil War, Henry Hutchinson was the son of Jim Hutchinson, a biracial slave whose parents were a female slave and an unidentified white man.
During the war, Jim Hutchinson served in the Union army after Union troops occupied Edisto Island, causing white plantation owners to evacuate and abandon their land and slaves. Following the war, Hutchinson became a leader in the black community by advocating black land ownership and helping others acquire property. Jim Hutchinson was later murdered by a white man from Wadmalaw Island.
Henry Hutchinson was also a well-respected community leader and built and operated the island’s first black-owned cotton gin in 1900. He ran the business until 1920. Hutchinson and his wife, Rosa, lived in this house until his death around 1940.
In 2017, it was announced that the house was purchased by the Lowcountry Open Land Trust, and there are plans underway for a complete restoration.
The Hutchinson House is listed in the National Register:
The Hutchinson House is the oldest identified house on Edisto Island associated with the black community after the Civil War. It was the residence of Henry Hutchinson, a mulatto who, according to a local tradition, built and operated the first cotton gin owned by a black on the island from ca. 1900 to ca. 1920. Hutchinson was born a slave in 1860, and was the son of James Hutchinson, a mulatto who made notable attempts both as a slave and as a freedman to improve conditions for blacks on Edisto Island. Henry Hutchinson is said to have built the house at the time of his marriage to Rosa Swinton in 1885, and resided here until his death in ca. 1940. The house is a rectangular, one-and-one half story residence featuring a side gable roof with bargeboards and three gabled dormers on the front slope of the roof. The weatherboard clad house rests on a raised, brick pier foundation and has shed and gable-roofed additions at the west and north elevations. The pedimented front porch dates from a later period.
Historic Pictures of the Hutchinson House
More Pictures of the Hutchinson House
Reflections on the Hutchinson House
Contributor James R. Geib says of his photo below: “Researching Edisto for a quick photography trip turned up this interesting, abandoned house. I couldn’t end my trip without a visit to see it in person and try to capture its mystery on camera.”