History of Spring Island Ruins of the Edward House Plantation, Spring Island South Carolina

Spring Island was first granted to the prominent Indian trader Captain John Cochran on 1 September 1706 but evidence for the island's occupation by the grantee on anything other than a temporary basis during visits to local, Native American communities is equivocal. It is established that following Cochran's death at the hands of the Yemassee during, or soon after, 1715, Spring Island then known as Cochran's Island passed successively to his son, James Cochran, who died intestate some time between 1719 and 1724, and grandson, James Cochran the Younger. The latter is definitely known to have instituted improvements on the island, building a kitchen chimney and plastering an otherwise unidentified structure just before his death in 1739 or 1740. Subsequently, the property passed by inheritance to his kinswoman, Mary Ash.

Trinkley (1990: 29) observes: "Mary Ash married George Barksdale, but died prior to 1757, leaving possession, but not ownership[,] to Barksdale." Rather, Spring Island went to the couple's daughter, Mary Cochran Barksdale "who married John Edwards a Beaufort merchant in 1773 and had a son, George Edwards." Mary Edwards died in 1791 on Spring Island, leaving three small children. Her will mentions a brother, George Barksdale "of Spring Island" who was then perhaps managing the property. Mary's executors were instructed to sell any or all of the estate, if necessary, for the benefit of her children but this may or may not have happened, relevant records of the period being ambiguous. It does seem that Spring Island was divided into three portions before 1800, George Edwards receiving the middle one and his two sisters, Elizabeth Edwards and Mary Holbrook, sharing the rest.

This division is documented by cartographic resources. A map dated 1782 shows one settlement on the island located near its northwestern extremity. Another map dated 1812 attests that the same site was still occupied during the early nineteenth century; however, two previously unrecorded settlements now appear, the first located near the middle of the island on its east side, the second located some distance south. Additionally, a single structure is illustrated occupying a position near the island's north tip, this structure overlooking an open (probably deep water) stretch of the Chechessee River.