The unassuming facade of this simple farmhouse belies a storied past. Hopewell Plantation, founded by General Andrew Pickens in 1784, was not only the home of one of America’s great war heroes, it is also the site where the Hopewell Treaties were signed. Today it is owned by Clemson University, where it continues to serve as a working farm (1).
General Pickens served as a state representative and, prior to that, was one of the most formidable figures in the American Revolution, playing key roles in the victory at the Battle of Cowpens and Battle of Eutaw Springs. Although General Pickens began his military career by fighting the Cherokee in the Anglo-Cherokee War, he was well-respected by tribal leaders. They called him “Skyagunsta” – or Wizard Owl – in honor of his military might. (Learn more about this interesting nickname.) Pickens was regarded as unusually fair, and Hopewell Plantation eventually became the site of several Native American treaties, the most consequential of these being the Treaties of Hopewell (often referred to collectively as the “Treaty of Hopewell,” although they were actually three distinct treaties with three separate tribes).
In late 1785 and early 1786, Pickens helped negotiate treaties with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw indians. These pacts are important because they provide civil liberties that are still in place today (1). Of course they also resulted in huge losses of territory for the native tribes. The treaties end,
The hatchet shall be forever buried, and the peace given by the United States, and friendship re-established between the said states on the one part, and all the Cherokees on the other, shall be universal; and the contracting parties shall use their utmost endeavors to maintain the peace given as aforesaid, and friendship re-established.
According to the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, “The Cherokee negotiations took place with Great Chief Corn Tassel; 36 other chiefs; and nearly 1,000 men, women and children — including Nanye-hi (aka Nancy Ward), a beloved Cherokee woman — under the Treaty Oak on the Hopewell property. The treaty was signed on November 28, 1785. The Choctaw treaty was signed January 3, 1786 with Chief Yockenahoma and 30 other chiefs. The Chickasaw treaty was last, concluding several days later on January 10 with Chief Head Warrior Piomingo, who shared white beads as a token of peace and friendship” (2).
The treaties were signed beneath a tall oak which stood for many years. Below, you can see the famed tree before and after its fall.
General Pickens married Rebecca Floride Calhoun, who survived the Long Canes Massacre at age 15 but lost much of her family including her grandmother, Catherine, who was also the grandmother of John C. Calhoun. Together they had 12 children. One of these, Andrew Pickens, Jr., became South Carolina’s governor. General Pickens and his wife are buried at Old Stone Church in Clemson.
Hopewell Plantation: Our Sources
1. Hopewell Plantation: Pickens Family Plantation & Treaty Site, Clemson University.
2. Hopewell Treaty Site, South Carolina National Heritage Corridor.
3. Hopewell Plantation, SouthCarolinaPlantations.com.
Hopewell Plantation: Help Build This Page
The South Carolina Picture Project is a grassroots labor of love, built over many years by citizens across the state. This landmark entry is in need of attention. Are you familiar with Hopewell Plantation or its builder, Andrew Pickens? If so, please take a moment to fill in one or more of the following fields based on your knowledge. We really appreciate your help, and we will credit you for your contribution. Thank you!