Legareville, at the confluence of the Stono and Kiawah Rivers, was the summer resort for Johns Island’s plantation owners before the Civil War.   The village had two dozen dwellings and both Episcopal and Presbyterian houses of worship.


At the beginning of the Civil War, in November 1861, the village was evacuated and abandoned along with the rest Johns Island by the order of General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Department of South Carolina at the time.   The Union Navy stationed gunboats on the Stono River off Legareville enforcing the blockade through most of the war.   On Christmas Day, 1863 the Confederates moved batteries into Legareville and shelled the USS Marblehead driving it off.


Subsequently Union troops landed at various times and began dismantling the houses at Legareville to use the lumber in their encampment on Folly Beach.


In August 1864 Major John Jenkins, in command of the Confederate forces on Johns Island, decided to burn the village to prevent the Union forces from further plunder.   His report stated, “When the determination to destroy the village was announced the Stono Scouts, owners of the property on the place, volunteered to aid”.   Thus Johns Islanders destroyed their own summer retreat to prevent it from being of further use to the enemy.


The painting of Legareville above was done by Johns Island resident Portia Burden Trenholm.   She was the daughter of Kinsey Burden who drew the historic 1820’s map of Johns Island and was one of the original cultivator’s of sea island cotton. Another version of the painting was done by Richard Jenkins Bryan (1907 – 1986) another well known Johns Island name.   In a 1949  article for the South Carolina Historical Society Magazine he wrote:


“I have a painting of Legareville which I copied from a painting made in 1870 by Portia Trenholm from a pencil sketch done in 1852, and which is now owned by Mrs. Bell Burden Walpole, of John’s Island, who inherited it from her father. The old foundations, chimneys, wells and cisterns which survived the destruction of the village, were utilized as local sources of supply for brick, and only a few large cedars and oaks remain to mark the site, now owned by members of the Hay family. Originally the land was owned by the Legare family, who sold lots to other planters.


I have seen deeds to lots at Legareville: Solomon Legare to John B. Whaley, March 6, 1848; John B. Whaley to Isaac K. Wilson, January 3, 1854; J. R. Wilson to Thomas Roper, May 30, 1860. Other families that spent their summers at Legareville were: Walpole, Grimball, Burden, Matthews, Brown, Fripp, and Bryan.”