While most documented history on the island begins in the late 1660's, arrowheads found on the island provide evidence that Native American hunting parties visited the island over 9,000 years ago. English Captain William Hilton first viewed the island in 1664, about the same time the Yemassee Indians were arriving from Florida to displace the Cusabo Indians. In 1715, a bloody skirmish between the Yemassee, who were raiding settlements for the Spanish, and British scouts on the south end of the island gave Bloody Point its name.
The 1800's brought the transition of Daufuskie into an economic jewel among the sea islands. Rice and indigo farming, followed soon after by cotton farming provided wealth and employment. Ornate mansions, lush gardens and lavish social events set the stage for a period of prominence for Daufuskie. As always, the waters around the island provided oysters and shellfish in abundance and spawned a separate world-wide market. The 1860's brought a civil war and disruption to life on Daufuskie, but it would take more than man alone to alter Daufuskie.
|The Gullah Heritage|
West African countries such as Angola, Sierre Leone and Senegal are believed to be the home lands for many of the people brought to the island to develop the large plantations and who ended up in a life of slavery. Strong in spirit and spirituality, and with a beautiful language all their own, the Gullah community has influenced our religion, cuisine and of course, the economic success of the sea islands. In danger of fading in to history, we all need to embrace and celebrate the heritage and culture of those who kept the spirit of the "low country" alive.
|Today and Not So Long Ago|
The first half of the 20th century brought decline to Daufuskie as first the Bol Weevil devastated cotton farming, followed by the depression, and finally industrialization to support World War II led to the pollution of the Savannah River and surrounding water ways shuttering the once vibrant shellfish and oyster industries. By the late 1950's only a few hundred residents remained. Today, Daufuskie remains a hidden jewel where its natural beauty and simplicity are respected; where time is measured more by morning and afternoon than by meetings and minutes. Evolving, certainly, but with one foot firmly rooted in our history and one hand held lightly on the future this island will remain a truly special place for generations to come.