Additional Resources For History of The Ponds
Some Information on this page was taken from these sources below
Post and Courier article: Monday, Feb 10, 2003 and October 08, 2020
South Carolina Plantations: https://south-carolina-plantations.com/dorchester/ponds.html
Inland Rice Fields:
Flowertown Festival Website Article:
A History of The Ponds - excerpt from Cultural Resources and Testing Surevey prepared by Brockington, 2008
The Ponds Plantation located in Dorchester County can be traced back to land grants originating in 1682.
The Percival Years - (1682-1723)
Andrew Percival was from Westminster County, Middlesex, England and was a relative of Anthony, Lord Ashley Cooper. In 1674 Percival was assigned to Lord Ashley, now known as Earl of Shaftsbury, to manage his personal Indian trade and to lay out and build his plantation at St. Giles Seignory on the west bank of the Ashley River. In 1682 he received his new 2,000 acres grant at The Ponds. However, Shaftsbury lost confidence in him and came to believe he was guilty of "fraudulent and base dealings" in his management of business affairs. By 1685 the second Lord Ashley dismissed his father's manager.
Percival apparently was living at the Ponds or Weston Hall Plantation by 1691, as a deed from that date describes Percival as "of Weston Hall". Historians never determined the derivation of the name Weston or Weston Hall. The swamp just south of the project is called Westo or the Westoe Savannah. The name Westo was taken from the Westo Indians.
Andrew Percival built the first house at the plantation he called Weston Hall. He established The Ponds as a "fortified plantation", like most of the other outlying land grants. Charles Towne (was not renamed to Charleston until 1783) itself had fortified against Indian and Spanish attacks as soon as it was settled in 1670. Eventually, The Ponds became primarily used for rice production.
In 1695, a map was printed depicting British land-grant rice plantations winding up the Ashley River past "The Great Savana" wilderness. The plantation farthest out, almost off the map's edge, was The Ponds.
At the time, the malarial depths of the swampy Charles Towne outback were as wild as the Congo, an overgrown morass of mammoth trees and almost prehistoric reptiles, feared tribes and whispered-about ghosts.
The plantation was set on a bluff at the rim of what would be called the Great Cypress Swamp.
By 1715, Indians had been encroached on, diseased, enslaved, robbed and beaten by colonists. The Yemassee, Creek and other tribes began organized attacks on English traders working the remote interior which led to a massacre on April 15, 1715 in Pocotaligo. This upheaval spread throughout the Lowcountry. Plantation owners fled to Charles Towne leaving their property unprotected from the Indians that were invading.
In 1716, the Goose Creek Militia was called up at "Fort Ponds". The militia was a ragtag assembly of 200 locals that had not fled behind the walls of Charles Towne. Colonel George Chicken (a British trade agent) and his troops marched north from here to defeat the Indians in the Yemassee War.
In 1723, Mary and Andrew Percival II sold Weston Hall to William Donning of Gloucester County, England. The tract was described as 2,400 acres from the Andrew Percival's original 2,000 acres grant and his sons 400-acre warrant.
The Donning/Drayton/Daniel Years - (1723-1788)
William Donning arrived in the Carolinas by 1729 and lived at Weston Hall cultivating crops and raising cattle until his death in 1732.
Thomas Donning, William's oldest son, assumed ownership of the property until his death just two years later in 1734. The property passed to his brother, William Donning Jr. On July 12, 1735, a notice was placed in the South Carolina Gazette that "125 slaves and all the oxen, sheep, horses, plates and household goods and plantation tools belonging to the estate of William Donning and Thomas Donning, Esq., deceased were to be sold at the Ponds Planation in Berkeley County near Dorchester.
William Donning Jr. and his wife Frances had two children, William III and Frances. Upon the death of William Donning Jr, the property passed to his wife continued to live on the plantation for many years. In her will the plantation was divided between her children. Her son William received all of the real property except for 1,000 acres of "The land commonly known and distinguished by the Ponds Plantation".
William Donning Jr (son of William and Frances Donning), acquired substantial debt and sold his share of the property off in 1765 to Daniel Doyley. He sold his portion of The Ponds (The Northwestern Tract) in 1769 to William Henry Drayton. Drayton and raced horses at the plantation. He repeatedly mortgaged The Ponds in an attempt to pay off other debts
The daughter of William and Frances Donning, Frances owned the Northeast Tract of The Ponds. She married Adam Daniel. When she died in the mid 1760's, she left the Northeastern trace of The Ponds to her infant daughter, Frances Daniel. When she grew up, she married William Scott Jr. who, upon his wife's death, sold the Northeast tract in 1794 to Colonel John Glaze. Colonel John Glaze had already purchased the Northwest tract from William Henry Drayton in 1785. Now both tracts were reunited again.
The Glaze Years - (1785-1818)
To clear his title, Glaze applied for a re-grant of both tracts from the State of South Carolina. Glaze was a planter in St. George Parish and served as a Lieutenant in the Revolution where he was taken prisoner when Charles Towne fell to the British in May of 1780. He remained in the militia after the war and earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He married four times and continued acquiring property along the Ashley River. It became too great of a financial burden. In 1795, he placed 3,767 acres in a trust to be sold to satisfy unpaid debts. The Ponds tract was purchased by Glaze's sister, Mary Glaze, so that it could remain in the family and was still owned by John Glaze. Upon John Glaze's death in 1818, his executor sold the Tract A portion, now listed as the "1,203-acre Ponds Plantation" to John Christopher Gottfried Schulz.
The Schulz Years - (1785-1818)
John Christopher Gottfried Schulz. (pronounced "Shoots" by Summerville natives) came to the United States in 1790. His father had arrived years earlier and settled in Charleston. They were German Protestants who came here to join some of their brethren already here in South Carolina. In 1829 he purchased a home in the growing town of Summerville. Schulz lived both at the Ponds Plantation and in Summerville. There in Summerville, local planters retreated to the higher ground during the summer months to escape the malarial conditions closer to the water.
In the 1830's, the current Farmhouse was built and was the third one to be constructed at The Ponds.
Schulz died of a sudden heart attack on September 25, 1833. Schulz's widow, Susan Cantey Schulz, continued to manage the estate. Since Schulz died intestate, the probate court seized the property and Susan Cantey Schulz bought the property back from her husband's estate. While she was able to buy back the main 1,203 acres, the rest of the properties was sold to other parties. She continued to own the Ponds until her death and her son Fredreik managed the property.
Susan Schulz dies in 1852. Her will stated she bequeathed to her children Maria Ann, John, Frederik and Harriet all of her possessions, including the Ponds. The estate was divided in 1852 with the 600 acre "Northern part of the plantation" going to Frederik. During the 1850's, Frederik reassembled most of the property sold off from the estate of his father.
Frederik served in the Civil War and was stationed mostly in the Charleston area where he could continue to monitor the management of the property. Schulz and his unit surrendered near Smithfield, North Carolina. When his parole ended, he returned to the Ponds and continued his surveying and farming.
Sometime before 1891, Schulz divided and sold off sections of the Ponds. Apparently, none of the deeds were recorded.
The Lotz Years - (1892-1911)
Edward Lotz was born in Grossenhausen, Kingdom of Prussia in 1848 and emigrated to the U.S. after the Civil War. In 1892. Lotz would reassemble the Schulz land and obtained quit-claim deeds from F. C. Schulz to clear the titles.
Lotz would use the property for his timber industry. He used the massive cypress trees in the swamp for roof shingles and the pines and other hardwoods or building materials, all of which he marketed in Charleston and other areas. He also operated a corn-grinding operation, managed a small sawmill and ginned cotton for his neighbors.
Lotz died on October 4, 1909 and is buried in the Boone Hill Cemetery just down the street. His wife, Margaret, and their children continued to live at the Ponds but had to heavily mortgage the property. In 1912, Margaret Lotz died, apparently at the Ponds.
The Simmons Years - (1911-2005)
James Stocker Simmons purchased the heavily mortgaged tract and continued to rent it back to the Lotz family until they vacated in 1914.
While James S. Simmons owned the land, his oldest son, Ralph B. Simmons, managed the property. Ralph acquired the property from his father in 1921. Simmons worked the land as an active corn, cotton and sweet potato farm, raised cattle in the 1950s.
He passed the property to his son, Ralph B. Simmons Jr, who established a trust for Richard S. Simmons in 1978. The property was leased until 2005 to the Schulz Lake Hunt Club.
The property became coveted for hunting and fishing with the Farmhouse serving as the hunting lodge. There used to be a small caretaker's cottage just beyond the house where locals could deposit a quarter to fish in the lake beyond the house, Schulz Lake.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo decimated the high bluff woods, and the family started to talk about what to do with the land".
Today the house has been completely restored and used as the main center for amenities in a residential development under the same name, The Ponds.
You may notice that several of the historical names above have been adopted as street names running through The Ponds community. Weston Hall, Lotz, Donning and Yemassee are all road names within the community.
More Recent History
In 2005, the Simmons family owned the 1,984 acres that had become known as The Ponds Plantation.
Greenwood Development approached the Simmons family with a plan to develop the land. Greenwood entered into an agreement with the Simmons family to purchase The Ponds Plantation 1,984 acres at a cost of $20,600,000. Interestingly, the Title Deed describes the total acreage as 1,984 while the Quit Claim Deed listed the total acreage as 1,948.
Greenwood also had to purchase 2.05 acres from the Estate of Mary Johnson for $175,000. The estate owned the lot where the Highway 17-A street front entrance to the community currently lies. Previously, the Simmons family used Schultz Lake Road as the entrance to the 1,984 acres.
Greenwood donated land plus $3 million for the on-site Summerville YMCA, as well as land plus $500,000 for Dorchester County fire, sheriff and emergency service substations. Greenwood even set aside a site for a future elementary school for the Dorchester II School District. By 2007 they were ready to sell lots and let building start.
Greenwood was responsible for moving and restoring the Schulz-Lotz Farmhouse, building the Pavilion, the pool and the amphitheater.
The original vision from Greenwood was to build the infrastructure, sell the lots and allow the buyers to bring in their own builder to build their own customized home.
When the housing crash occurred, Greenwood changed strategies and brought in builders like D.R. Horton to build the Carillon 55+ community. They also brought in David Weekley Homes, Harbor Homes, HH Hunt Homes and Sabal Homes to build in the early sections.
In 2012, Greenwood Resorts commissioned artist Wayne Edwards of Okatie to build the treehouse structure to surround a beautiful grand live oak tree in an area behind its historic farmhouse. View the article:
In 2013, Greenwood Communities and Resorts, Inc sold off all of their holdings in The Ponds including development rights, all unsold lots, undeveloped land, streets and easements still held by the developer, common properties, alleys, streets and roads and all of the wetlands to Kolter Homes LLLP of Floriday. They paid $18,000,000 for the entire lock, stock and barrels.
If you read the Early History, note that Schultz Lake and Shultz Lake Road were named after an owner of the Ponds, John Christopher Gottfried Schulz. Even though all historical deeds and documents spell Schulz without a T, for some reason when the County registered the name of the Lake and assigned a name to the road, they spelled it Schultz. Hence the continued confusion. When referring to the Schulz-Lotz Farmhouse that was moved and restored, the correct spelling of John Schulz is used.
Kolter Homes specializes in their 55+ communities called Cresswind. As of the beginning of 2021, Kolter has 20 Cresswind communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
During their years as the developer, Kolter added the outdoor kitchen, (grilling stations), the horseshoe pits, the playground parks at Donning and at Warbler, a small park at Ribbon and Weston Hall, the Coffee Cottage, fountains in the ponds, a multi-purpose sports field, new Farmhouse furniture (upgrade) and remodel of pool area with expanded deck and cabanas.
Kolter did not initially bring in any builders, instead choosing to expand within the general communities themselves as well as beginning their Cresswind community. Greenwood has developed within the community all the way through Donning Drive. Kolter extended Donning Drive beyond Tortoise Street and everything west of Donning Drive. At the same time, they began building sections of their Cresswind neighborhood.
In 2019 they closed the sales office at the head of the community and moved it back to their Cresswind community. The model homes along Village Ponds Drive by the sales office and along Headwaters Drive were sold off. Kolter also built out the rest of the lots along Headwaters Drive.
Kolter brought in several builders to build in the remaining sections of The Ponds that were not in their Cresswind community. Dan Ryan Homes, Ryan Homes, Crescent Homes and soon D.R. Horton were all sold lots to build.
Once complete, the communities within The Ponds will be at their 1,950-limit described in the Planning Document of the Developers Agreement.
Articles about The Ponds
The vision of The Ponds has changed through the years. This article shows some of the vision of the community from the original developer, Greenwood. Realtors frequently interview developers to see what kind of community is planned. Jana Bantz and Associates did this to help sell houses in The Ponds: