MCCLELLANVILLE — They owned much of the Point Plantation land for generations. The town carries their name, and on Saturday about a dozen McClellans watched as a state historical marker for the plantation was unveiled on South Pinckney Street.
The town's Village Museum erected the $1,700 marker during an afternoon ceremony, where most of the crowd of about 55 people wore white or teal.
Ruby McClellan, 96, watched from the front porch of her house across the street, where she has lived most of her life.
Originally a king's land grant of 490 acres, the McClellans first purchased the property in 1771 and expanded their holdings to 1,350 acres, the marker says.
"Half of what is today McClellanville was once Point Plantation," said Selden Hill, museum director.
Master Carpenter Archibald McClellan built a plantation house on the property near a creek. It burned in about 1902, and a new house that replaced it still stands there today.
Susan Kobrovsky says her father, the late Rev. James O. McClellan Jr., was born in the house and lived there until he grew up and struck out on his own. Her dad, who died of cancer about five years ago, owned McClellan's General Store on U.S. Highway 17A. People called him Capt. J.O., so many people took to calling the store Capt. Jo's, she said.
The reverend's father, James O. McClellan, passed the old plantation house down to James O. McClellan Jr.'s sister, Augusta Leland, Kobrovsky said.
Hurricane Hugo ravaged the house in 1989. The storm surge was so high it flooded much of the lower level. A gold plate tacked about seven feet high near the front door marks the height the water reached inside the grand plantation home.
Ned and Lucia Jaycocks purchased the house after the storm and renovated it. Visitors to the marker ceremony on Saturday strode down a grand avenue of oaks and got a rare tour inside the old plantation house.
On the front porch, which overlooks the creek, was the original, framed 1705 land grant and the king's wax seal that accompanied it. They are both worse for wear after the big storm.
"They're lucky that it survived," Hill said.
Throughout generations, much of the land has remained in the hands of the McClellans, Hill said. He said they were cattle ranchers, cotton farmers, makers of sea salt and more and that they fought in the Revolutionary and Civil wars and founded a town called McClellanville.
The McClellans likely won't be forgotten anytime soon. The new historical marker out at the roadway explains some of the family history and makes that almost certain.