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Plantation: Kensington of Richland County, SC
   
Location Wateree River, Located eight miles east of Eastover on US 601, half a mile past the entrance to International Paper
Eastover, Richland County, SC
Plantation Details
  Other Names: Headquarters

  Timeline: 1787 - Earliest known date of existence Matthew Singleton was the first owner of the plantation originally known as Headquarters. He died in 1787 and his son John inherited the property (HABS Report 1, p. 2). At the death of John Singleton the plantation was passed on to Colonel Richard Singleton, his son. During Colonel Singleton's life he acquired six additional plantations located on both sides of the Wateree River. Matthew Richard Singleton was the heir of Colonel Singleton (HABS Report 1, p. 2). 1844 - Matthew Richard Singleton married Martha Rutledge Kinloch. They changed the name of the plantation to Kensington to reflect the name of the bride's childhood home near Georgetown (Neuffer, bk. 2, vol. 13, p. 22). 1851 - Matthew Richard Singleton began construction of a plantation house. It was not completed until 1855. By this time Matthew had died and his wife and children continued to live on the plantation (Neuffer, bk. 2, vol. 13, p. 23). The house consisted of twenty-nine rooms with a total of 12,000 square feet. 1870-1880 - Matthew Richard Singleton's sons, Richard and Cleland Singleton, divided the plantation lands in half. Cleland Singleton built a house on the southern half. It was a one story structure with three rooms built high off the ground. It was used by the overseer of the plantation from 1925-1941. It has since burned down (HABS Report 2, p. 2). Richard Singleton's heir, Matthew Richard Singleton, constructed a small house on the northern portion of the plantation (HABS Report 4, p. 2). When his son died, Richard Singleton decided to sell his half of the plantation. Robert Hamer purchased the property, however, before he could live there he died. His family moved in and proceeded to farm the land (HABS Report 1, pp. 2-3). 1925 - Cleland Singleton died and the Hamers purchased his lands. The original plantation lands were once again back together. The Hamers added indoor plumbing and electricity to Kensington Mansion along with other improvements (HABS Report 1, p. 3). 1941 - The Hamers sold the entire plantation to the United States Government as an agricultural cooperative for displaced farmers. Nothing came of this project and the plantation was sold to the Lanhams (HABS Report 1, p. 3). When the Lanhams bought the property they built their own residence at the junction of the oval drive and the avenue to the highway. It was a small brick house that resembled a suburban ranch style house. The iron railing surrounding the porch was taken from the interior balcony of the Kensington mansion. In 1983 the house was slated to be demolished (HABS Report 3, p. 2). The Kensington Mansion was no longer in use as a residence. Instead, it became a storage area for farm equipment, fertilizer, and feed for animals (HABS Report 1, p. 3). 1981 - The plantation was purchased by Union Camp Corporation, later known as International Paper. International Paper and the Scarborough-Hamer Foundation have restored the house and it is now open for tours.

  Currently: Open to the public for tours
  Buildings: Kensington Mansion Plantation Store Summer Kitchen Matthew Singleton Residence

  Crops: Primary crops - Cotton and indigo

  Owners: Hamer; Lanham; Cleland and Richard Singleton; John Singleton; Matthew Singleton; Matthew Richard Singleton; Colonel Richard Singleton; Union Camp Corporation/International Paper; United States Government

Additional Information
References
 
1.
Kenan, Robert Gignilliat. History of the Gignilliat Family of Switzerland and South Carolina. Easley, S.C. : Southern Historical Press, c1977.
2.
30-15 Plantation File, South Carolina Historical Society
3.
Neuffer, Claude Henry, ed. "Names in South Carolina." Volume I through 30, 1943-1983, Columbia, SC: Published by the Department of English, University of South Carolina. Printed by The State Printing Company, Columbia, SC.
  Website: kensington.sumtercountymuseum.org/index.htm
  Phone: 803-353-0456