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Beaufort, SC, Bay Street

Beaufort, SC. 700 block of Bay Street. Photo taken in December 2008.


One story building to the right of the red awning is the site of Daniel de Saussure's house. It was built before 1770 and destroyed by a fire in 1907 which also leveled about a third of Beaufort's commercial district. Daniel de Saussure was a merchant who brokered the local import and export business that served many of the surrounding rice and indigo plantations prior to the American Revolution. He maintained warehouses further to the east.


His home, arranged very much like a Charleston single house and containing his Beaufort office, was one of the tallest buildings in Beaufort. It was an imposing 3 and a half story tabby structure with offices on the ground floor and his family's private residence on the 3 levels above. Tabby was a common building material made of crushed oyster shells, sand and lime. With no native stone and with only a limited about of clay found in the immediate area for making brick, tabby was a useful substitute for artificial stone, at least until until the introduction of concrete in the early 20th century.


Part of the tabby walls of an adjacent store building, also belonging to Daniel de Saussure, remains standing and belongs to the same building as the red awning.


Once he had moved his family and prinicpal business to Charleston prior to 1780, most of Daniel de Saussure's business operations in Beaufort, including stores and warehouses, were transferred to his protege and clerk, John Verdier. Daniel's son Henry William de Saussure was a contemporary of John Verdier, though a few years younger.


Verdier became one of Beaufort's most successful and colorful merchants after the Revolution. The Verdiere house at 801 Bay Street with its double portico appears to the left in this photograph, in the next block. The Verdier was where LaFayette stayed during his official visit to Beaufort in the 1820's. Coincidently, LaFayette was the guest of Henry de Saussure when the old hero of the Revolution traveled to Columbia during what some have called LaFayette's grand farewll visit to America in 1825.


Bay Street, Beaufort, SC. Photo taken December 2008.


Photo and text posted: 6 December 2008

Revised: 29 March 2011

Copyrights reserved: hdescopeland


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Taken on December 6, 2008