Thomas Hayward, Jr., a local rice plantation owner, signed the Declaration of Independence.
As talk of Revolution escalated in the colonies, Hilton Head Island sided with the colonists. Daufuskie Island, just one mile south, was occupied by the Loyalists and was a British stronghold. During the American Revolution, the British frequently raided Hilton Head Island and burned plantations and captured slaves who were later sold in the West Indies. The raids continued even after Lord Cornwallis surrendered in 1781 at Yorktown.
South Carolina lost more men, and gave more money to the Revolutionary cause than any other colony. More Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes were fought in South Carolina than any other colony.
England had provided the market for indigo, this vanished after the Revolution. The settlers turned to cotton. In 1790, Hilton Head Island was the first island to grow cotton. Sea Island cotton became the finest cotton available in the world.
Many of the sea island plantation owners built their summer homes on the banks of the Beaufort River to catch the cool prevailing breezes. Beaufort was referred to as the "Newport of the South." The majority of the houses on the outlying plantations, though large, were not pillared mansions.
During the War of 1812, the British again invaded Hilton Head Island and burned most of the houses located near navigable waters.
Source: Carolana Website
Colleton County - north
Jasper County - west
Hampton County - northwest