January on Knowitall
This month on Knowitall, we’re excited to share our first 3D Virtual Tour! Try out this new technology in your classroom with an up-close tour of Homestead House at Historic Brattonsville. There’s also a new Martin Luther King Day Collection to explore, and we have resources for remembrance on Holocaust Memorial Day.
- Our 3D Virtual Tour of Homestead House at Historic Brattonsville awaits you on Let’s Go! Try it out today!
- Also premiering this month is a new Video Overview that provides much of the history of the Scots-Irish family who settled there, their success in cultivating the land, and the subsequent expansion of the Brattonsville estate that followed. Present-day Historic Brattonsville has become the home of other historic structures not original to Brattonsville, which have been moved there for preservation.
The content is divided into three sections:
III: Daily Life
Settled in the mid-18th century by the Bratton family—Scots-Irish Presbyterians, originally of Scottish ancestry, who had moved to northern Ireland in the 17th century, and came to North America in the early 18th century, making the typical migration down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania, through Virginia and western North Carolina, and settling in present-day York County in 1766. Although they were not the first to settle in the area, they were among the first who settled prior to the American Revolution. They took an active part in the struggle for American independence. Three brothers, William, Robert and Hugh Bratton, all fought in the Revolutionary War. William Bratton was an officer in the local militia, served in Thomas Sumter’s militia brigade, and fought in many battles of the American Revolution.
The Video Overview provides some of the history of the family and the expansion of the estate, including a brief history of the buildings that exist at Brattonsville today—the Col. William Bratton House (ca. 1766), the Homestead House (ca. 1823-1826), the Brick House (ca. 1840s), and some original slave cabins, as well as some that are not original to Brattonsville, and some outbuildings and barns brought from elsewhere for preservation.
View the historical marker detailing some of the history of the Bratton family, who settled in York County in the 1760s, fought in the Revolutionary War, and were successful in developing Brattonsville far beyond the expectations of their ancestors.
The Backwoods Cabin is typical of the type of structure the Scots-Irish settler would have built upon first arriving in the area. Constructed of readily available natural materials, the cabin was meant to be a temporary structure until the settler and his family established themselves and could build a more permanent structure. Although there are many ways of joining logs at the corner for the construction of cabins, the simplest style was the V-notch. The Scots-Irish used the V-notch because it was faster and required less construction time, enabling them to quickly provide shelter in a hostile wilderness.
This detail of the logs in the McConnell Log Cabin depicts how the logs were more carefully hewn and prepared as compared to the rough timbers used to construct the Backwoods Cabin.
The broad axe is believed to be of Viking origin dating to early Scandinavia. It was used as both a weapon and a tool. It is likely that Scots-Irish would have been familiar with its use before coming to America. The broad axe was used to trim the logs, making them flat and square.
Moved to Brattonsville in 1983 from its original site on the McConnell Plantation three miles west of Brattonsville, the log cabin is typical of a later Scots-Irish dwelling that would have been a more permanent replacement for the hastily built Backwoods Cabin. The exterior of the cabin features weatherboard siding over hewn logs. Siding would have been a major improvement in building technique for the time as well as being a step up socially for the owner when compared aesthetically to the rough exterior of a log cabin. It also added a feeling of permanence to the structure. The hewn logs are fitted together using half-dovetailed notching rather than the V-notching seen on the Backwoods Cabin.
The first Scots-Irish settlers had to be self-sufficient because they were often isolated from other people by distances of miles. Food had to be acquired through gardening, herding and hunting. Cloth for linens and clothing had to be made by hand. Producing something as simple as cloth required that sheep be bred and cared for, and the wool sheared and made into yarn. The blacksmith was important to a community because it was he who made items for the home, such as pots and pans, wrought iron, and tools.
Built in 1823-1826 by Dr. John Simpson Bratton, son of William and Martha Bratton.
In the early 19th century, William Bratton’s son, Dr. John Bratton, inherited the estate. He was a medical doctor, as well as a planter, a slave owner, and a merchant, and he expanded the plantation from the original 200 acres to about 8,000 acres, owned about 139 slaves, and was one of the largest cotton planters in the upstate. His wealth came not only from grain crops like wheat, oats and corn, but also cotton, which provided the capital to continually expand the plantation. After his death in 1843, the estate was divided among the family members.
For Martin Luther King Day, observed on Monday, January 16, we invite you to explore our new Collection:
For Holocaust Memorial Day, observed on Friday, January 27, we share these resources for remembrance:
Trace the events of the Holocaust through the testimony of survivors who settled in South Carolina. Interviews are combined with dramatic archival footage for a powerful and moving record of the inhumanity that was experienced during the Holocaust.
Full interviews with South Carolinians who survived the Holocaust and those who liberated the concentration camps or witnessed the atrocities that took place.
As always, we welcome your comments and questions!