Legend has it that “Saucy Jack” Stoney lost the Braddock’s Point Plantation to William Eddings Baynard in a late-night poker game at Hilton Head SC. The year was 1838.
The 1000-acre plantation had been in the Stoney family since the American Revolution when Captain John Stoney, Saucy Jack’s grandfather, had purchased it. It was a 4th generation inheritance by the time Saucy Jack got it from his father Dr. George Mosse Stoney.
The winner of the poker game was William Eddings Baynard. That explains the name by which it is known today: Stoney-Baynard Plantation. Some records indicate Saucy Jack simply went bankrupt and Baynard got the property at a fire sale. But that version obviously has much less dramatic appeal. Baynard died here at the “Big House” in 1849 after He and his wife Catherine had raised four children.
During the Civil War the Baynard’s and other plantation owners on Hilton Head SC were driven off the Island. The Big House became headquarters for Union officers. That made it the target of a Confederate raiding party, which torched and destroyed it.
The Baynard’s never returned to the Island after the War, although they did legally reclaim the land. Thus, the property was left in its present state of disrepair, another sad monument to the devastation of the American Civil War.
The front of the house is easily located by large square holes which once housed the posts supporting an expansive porch. To the rear stand the remains of a fireplace and outer wall.
In their beautiful setting on the highest point of the Island, these haunted places conjure happy family scenes of children and household servants playing together. A cloud blots out the sun and these are swept away by a violent conflagration. If you are very still the imagination can pick up the echo of the jack-boot invader pacing the large wrap-around porch of this haunted house.
Sometimes the haunting scenes of this idyllic setting are more evident to the senses. In life and in death luck deserted Baynard and the shades of his mournful funeral procession may still be seen filing past his tomb.
Legend has it that the rumor of jewelry, gold and riches motivated union soldiers to break into the family mausoleum. Ever since, on drizzly gray days Baynard’s ghost has been wandering the scene of his earthly existence. This is one of the true scary stories associated with paranormal activity at Hilton Head SC.
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