Legend has it that “Saucy Jack” Stoney lost Braddock’s Point Plantation to William Eddings Baynard in a late night poker game on Hilton Head SC. It was the year 1838.
The 1,000-acre plantation had been in the Stoney family since the American Revolution, when Captain John Stoney, Saucy Jack’s grandfather, purchased it. It was a fourth generation inheritance when Saucy Jack obtained it from his father, Dr. George Mosse Stoney.
The winner of the poker game was William Eddings Baynard. That explains the name by which it is known today: Stoney-Baynard Plantation. Some records indicate that Saucy Jack simply filed for bankruptcy and Baynard obtained the property at auction. But that version obviously has a much less dramatic appeal. Baynard died here in the “Big House” in 1849 after he and his wife Catherine had raised four children.
During the Civil War, Baynard and other plantation owners in Hilton Head SC were expelled from the island. The Casa Grande became the headquarters of the Union officers. That made him the target of a Confederate assault group, which set him on fire and destroyed him.
The Baynards never returned to the island after the war, although they legally claimed the land. Thus, the property was left in its current state of disrepair, another sad monument to the devastation of the American Civil War.
The front of the house is easily located by large square holes that once housed the posts that supported a wide porch. At the rear are the remains of a fireplace and an exterior wall.
In their beautiful setting at the highest point on the island, these enchanted locations evoke happy family scenes of children and servants playing together. A cloud hides the sun and they are swept away by a violent conflagration. If you are very still, your imagination can catch the echo of the cat’s boot invader strolling the large wraparound porch of this haunted house.
Sometimes the haunting scenes in this idyllic setting are more apparent to the senses. In life and in death, fate abandoned Baynard and the shadows of his sad funeral procession can still be seen parading in front of his grave.
Legend has it that the rumor of jewels, gold and the rich motivated the union’s soldiers to break into the family mausoleum. Ever since, on gray and rainy days, Baynard’s ghost has been roaming the scene of his earthly existence. This is one of the true scary stories associated with paranormal activity in Hilton Head SC.