The land surrounding Bonnie Doone along the Ashepoo River outside of Walterboro was issued to William Hopton as a royal land grant in 1772. Subsequently the tract changed hands several times, and Dr. Theodore DeHon owned it by the time Union troops burned his plantation house here at the end of the Civil War in 1865.
The property had served as a rice plantation, and rice continued to be cultivated here until 1911 despite the fact that the industry had all but disappeared after the war due to the loss of slave labor. After the war the property continued to change hands, and at the beginning of the twentieth century the title to the property passed between the Sanders family and Colleton Mercantile until it was bought by New York stockbroker A.H. Caspary in 1931.
Caspary purchased several tracts of land in Colleton County – including the former DeHon plantation and a tract called Bonnie Doone – and he combined them all to create a single 15,000-acre property which he called Bonnie Doone.
He then built this 32-room, 10,000-square-foot Georgian home on the site where DeHon’s plantation house had stood before it was burned.
In 1965 the Charleston Presbytery bought the property for use as a camp and conference center. The Presbytery then sold 132 acres – including the house – to the Charleston Baptist Association in 1978.
By 1987 the Charleston Baptist Association had established an endowment fund to preserve the house and property. Bonnie Doone can be rented as a conference center by other denominations or groups and is also a popular event site. The mansion was featured in the 1994 television mini-series Scarlett.
The above oil painting by Charleston artist Darlene Usry-Byrd hangs in the library of Bonnie Doone.