History

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1676

In the 1670s, Stephen Bull came to North America and settled just north of Charles Town. By 1676, Stephen was granted 400 acres along the fertile banks of the Ashley River and founded one of the first plantations in South Carolina, Ashley Hall. Here, he built the house where he lived and where his children were born – a small, single-story, brick dwelling that still stands today as one of the oldest surviving structures in South Carolina. He would go on to gain a well-earned reputation as a diplomat between the British colony and Native Americans in the region – so much so, that the Etiwan tribe named him one of their chiefs.

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1704

Born in 1683, Stephen Bull’s son, William, inherited the property around 1704 and built the large estate home which remained the family’s primary seat for the next 150 years. William is often referred to as “Governor William Bull of Ashley Hall and Sheldon” since he served as Lt. Governor from 1738-1744. He would see the colony through tumultuous years during the Stono Rebellion and the Charles Town Fire of 1740. Governor Bull also assisted James Oglethrope with planning the city of Savannah, serving as their first architect. Despite building the beautiful home at Ashley Hall, William relocated to Sheldon Plantation in Beaufort, SC where he remained until his passing in 1755.

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1755

After his passing, Governor Bull willed Ashley Hall Plantation to his son, William Bull II, often referred to as the “Honorable William Bull.” Born in 1710, he was a true renaissance man. William II was one of the first Americans to graduate in medicine from a European University and, like his father, held many offices including Lt. Governor. Bull would also help to bring significant education reform to the colonies and designed the plantation’s formal gardens.

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1763

After leading the resistance against the Cherokees, Honorable William Bull signed the Treaty at Ashley Hall Plantation which resulted in the end of the Cherokee War of 1763. Family tradition states it was signed in the old Stephen Bull home. William Bull II would remain at Ashley Hall until the American Revolution.

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1782

After siding with the British during the Revolutionary War, William Bull II left Ashley Hall Plantation and Charleston to return to England with other loyalists. He remained in Britain until his death in 1790. His widow, who still remained in Charleston, erected the monument that still stands at Ashley Hall today in his honor.

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1790

With no heirs himself, Honarable William Bull willed Ashley Hall Plantation to his nephew, William Bull, often distinguished as the “William Bull of Ashley Hall.” During the later years of his ownership, the artist, Charles Fraser, visited to paint the grounds of Ashley Hall. His painting depicts a 3rd story on the house which often lends confusion on whether William Bull of Ashley Hall or his son made that addition to the estate home. William Bull would pass in 1805.

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1805 - 1818

After his death, William Bull of Ashley Hall’s son, William Stephen Bull, inherited the property. Born in 1784, he would follow in the same footsteps as his ancestors by holding many offices such as a South Carolina House of Representative and as a local leader in the Lowcountry. He may have made alterations to the house and grounds in 1810, but it is unclear based on family records.  In 1818, William Stephen Bull passed, and his son, William Izard Bull inherited Ashley Hall. William Izard would go on to accomplish a great many things including colonel in the South Carolina Militia and a member of the South Carolina legislature. In 1853, he made two important alterations to the main house at Ashley Hall: the double piazza and the semi-circular sandstone steps, which are the only remains of the estate home.

The Settlement at Ashley Hall Monument Mark

1873

Near the end of the Civil War, with Union troops moving up the Ashley River looting and burning homes, Colonel William Izard Bull burned the main home down himself to keep it from the Federal army. Bull would try to rebuild his fortune, but unfortunately in 1873, the property was foreclosed and sold, ending the nearly 200 year Bull ownership.

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