Eliza’s House

Middleton Place slave house

Inside a slave house

The room you see once was inhabited by the slaves of Middleton Place. This photo shows one of the rooms in this two-family duplex, which is no bigger than the smallest homes today. What I found very bizarre was that it had been inhabited all the way up until 1986. No. I didn’t say 1886, I said 1986! The last African American, Eliza Leach, lived in this home just like a slave would have too. She chopped her own firewood for the chimney. She would retrieve her own water from the spring nearby. Eliza worked for 40 years at Middleton Place.

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One Comment

  1. My name is Jeff Neale and I currently serving as the Director of Interpretation for the Middleton Place Foundation.

    At Middleton Place – a historic 18th / 19th Low Country Plantation – Eliza’s House serves as our primary exhibit on the institution of slavery. The exhibit details not only the experiences of the men, women, and children enslaved within the Middleton Family’s network of 19 primary plantations, but it includes a listing of almost 2800 names of enslaved individuals and families.

    I must point out though, that Eliza’s House was not a slave quarter. It was built in c.1870 and originally housed two freedmen – former Middleton Slaves – named Ned and Chloe.

    Eliza Leach, the building’s last occupant and who the house was named for, lived there for decades through the 1980s until her death at age 94. During the time that she lived there, the house did have modern conveniences such as electricity and plumbing. After her death, the decision was made to restore the house to its 19th century form and to use the building as a historic interpretive space.

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