By the end of the Civil War, the Rice Kingdom was doomed.
The loss of slave labor, coupled with destruction of property, changes in the marketplace, and severe damage from a series of powerful hurricanes, led to almost complete abandonment of rice agriculture in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
In 1865 a correspondent for The Nation pronounced, “The South Carolina aristocracy is destroyed.”
On Hobcaw Barony, rice production continued, though greatly diminished, into the twentieth century.
The heirs of William Algernon Alston sold portions of their Hobcaw land to Robert and Eliza Donaldson in 1875, and the Donaldsons attempted to bring back rice cultivation. They hired freedmen who were still living on the property, and ran a rice mill at Barnyard Village until it burned in 1902, putting an end to their efforts. The rice mill is pictured below in a photograph taken sometime before 1875.
By 1911 all rice production on the Waccamaw Neck had ceased, but its imprint on the landscape remained.