Completed in 1859, Redcliffe?s Greek-Revival mansion was the home of James Henry Hammond and three generations of his descendants. Hammond, whose political career included terms as a United States congressman, governor of South Carolina, and United States senator, was perhaps best known during his lifetime as an outspoken defender of slavery and states? rights.
It was Hammond who coined the phrase that "Cotton is King" in an 1858 speech to the Senate.
A successful cotton planter, Hammond designed Redcliffe to be an estate for relaxation, entertaining and agricultural experimentation. Soon after its completion, Redcliffe quickly became the physical and emotional center of Hammond family life.
In 1935, James Henry Hammond?s great-grandson, John Shaw Billings, began restoring the mansion to its 19th-century grandeur.
Billings, an editor of Time, Life and Fortune magazines, donated the estate and its collections to the people of South Carolina in 1973, ensuring that his family?s beloved home place would be preserved.
Redcliffe Plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.