If you were to ask Bud Hill, the curator of The Village Museum in McClellanville, he’d fill your ear with stories about salt operations along the South Carolina coastline from the civil war era.
Most of these camps contained huge black kettles nestled over large fires by the shorelines, nearby you might find people bartering, selling, fighting, and even killing - for salt.
In fact, the Navy’s Great Salt Raids occurred over the entire south eastern coastal states where hundreds of organized salt companies were formed and thousands of employees were armed to protect themselves and exempt from military service while they produced this necessary commodity.
According to history, Bulls Bay Saltworks is the first operational salt works in South Carolina since February 25, 1865 when the USS James Cambers destroyed the final salterns at Palmetto Point Bulls Bay.
The raids occurred over three years, by the time it was over, “the Federal Navy cost the South over $6,000,000.00 in damages and lost product.”
“These raids were comprised of sailors and Marines of the blockading vessels. Armed with sledge hammers, awls, top mauls and axes, they would come ashore and break up the brick furnaces, cast iron boilers, cauldrons, and drying pans. Some of the boilers and vats were so thick, they had to be destroyed by the use of a landing howitzer, or planting explosive shells under them. Quite often they were aided by local Unionists and contrabands.”
We are honored to revive the tradition of purveying local sea salt for the community.
Bulls Bay, located in the Cape Romaine National Wildlife Wilderness Area is buffered by the Francis Marion National Forest and arguably offers the cleanest seawater source on the eastern seaboard.
“Thou hadst better eat salt with the Philosophers of Greece, than sugar with the Courtiers of Italy.” – Benjamin Franklin