Edisto Island is rich with history. It’s been through times of prosperity, times of destitution, and everything in between. Remnants of the past dot the island and all beg to tell their stories. If only these structures and locations had the ability to talk…
Thankfully, locals are the voice of the island’s past and Dottie Thomas – owner and operator of Tours of Edisto – is one local who knows her stuff.
Tours of Edisto features Dottie at the helm. She takes groups to the many plantations, churches, and cemeteries on the island in her van. They get to hear the stories of how Edisto got its name from her early inhabitants, learn about her folklore, and they get a lesson about the vegetation native to the Carolinas.
Thomas said that while the plantation homes are privately owned and not open to the public for general tours, she still takes them to the property so that the homes are visible. Some of the plantations she goes to include Middleton Plantation, Cassina Pointe, Seaside Plantation, Brick House Plantation, and more.
Thomas has stories about each location, but especially enjoys the story about the organ currently housed at the Edisto Presbyterian Church.
This organ was smuggled out of a plantation by Union troops who were going to use it to make shells for their guns to wound and kill Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. They put the organ on a barge and began sending it up the North Edisto River towards Charleston. Confederate troops intercepted and sank the barge. The organ ended up back in Edisto where it’s been ever since.
For you ghost-lovers out there, Thomas also tells the story of a woman from back in the 1800s that was all set to marry her beau out at Brick House Plantation when a jealous former lover came up and shot her dead. It is said this woman’s ghost still haunts the area while she waits for all eternity to marry her love.
Find out more about murders, ghosts, prosperity, and so much more on Dottie’s Tour of Edisto. Contact Dottie to schedule your tour by calling (843) 869-1984. Tours are $20 per person or $15 per person for parties of 4 or more. Meet at Main’s Market on Highway 174 to head out on a tour. Passengers will be served lemonade and benne wafer cookies – a hallmark of true southern hospitality – while riding back in time on a tour of the roots of the island we all know and love.