People of the Village
In this photograph, taken sometime between 1875 and 1905, the simple antebellum dwellings of Barnyard Village are still occupied by African Americans, and woven fences, similar to those found in West Africa, surround the gardens. The large structure in the middle of the street may have been a kitchen.
Barnyard Village c. 1875-1905. Courtesy of the Belle W. Baruch Foundation and Georgetown County Digital Library.
Barnyard Village was located on Friendfield Plantation, which was part of the original land grant made to John Carteret by King George of England in 1718. Ownership of Friendfield Plantation changed many times and by the late 18th century it was in the hands of the Allston family, a large clan of rice planters in the Georgetown District. By the 1830s it belonged to William Algernon Alston, who changed the spelling of his name to differentiate himself from his numerous relatives.
Portrait of William Algernon Alston from the "Allstons and Alstons of Waccamaw" by Elizabeth Deas Allston, 1936.
Barnyard Village was built to house enslaved laborers who worked in many aspects of rice cultivation on Friendfield Plantation, serving as millwrights, mechanics, machinists, blacksmiths, coopers and carpenters.The variety and complexity of their occupations belie the misperception that enslaved persons were unskilled. In fact, they brought with them from Africa knowledge of animal husbandry, agriculture, fishing, boat building, basket making and numerous other practices and procedures of great value to Europeans.
Cultivating rice, South Carolina, c. 1900. From the College of Charleston Stereoscope Views Collection at the College of Charleston Libraries, courtesy of the Low Country Digital Library