With Historic Brattonsville being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we're missing a whole lot about life on the farm! We connected with Farmer Eli to discuss what he misses the most about the living history site being open:
What is Historic Brattonsville?
Historic Brattonsville is an 800 acre Revolutionary War living history site where three generations of the Bratton family lived and worked, along with an enslaved community of African Americans. Experience an annual reenactment of the 1780 Battle of Huck’s Defeat, and explore the interpretive battlefield trail.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the site features more than 30 historic structures. The site chronicles the development of the Carolina Piedmont from the 1750s through the 1870s. Historic Brattonsville is included in The Green Book of South Carolina, a travel guide to African American cultural sites. Heritage breeds of farm animals are raised and cared for here, just as they were hundreds of years ago. Demonstrations of historical farming techniques and day-to-day activities are presented by historically dressed interpreters throughout the year on the Bratton Plantation.
Historic Brattonsville was also one of the major filming locations of the critically acclaimed movie, The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson. Various buildings and scenery at Historic Brattonsville were used to add realism and authenticity to the movie. Explore the Historic Brattonsville’s Gift Shop, which offers a unique selection of regional items. A visit to the gift shop does not require admission. The site includes the Walt Schrader Trails, more than eight miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. The site is currently closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Life on the Farm:
Farmer Eli is the historic farm program manager at Historic Brattonsville. Other than the Revolutionary War part of the site, Historic Brattonsville is an 1840s working farm. On the farm they use historic methods to grow heirloom crops such as corn and cotton along with seasonal vegetables. They also raise heritage breed livestock including Gulf Coast sheep, Red Devon cattle, Belgian draft horses, Guinea hogs and a variety of chickens. Though they are closed to the public at this time, the animals still need to be taken care of - such as bottlefeeding a lamb and five piglets. Animals are always a big hit amongst visitors here!
What Farmer Eli misses the most since the site has been closed is seeing the joy in visitors’ eyes when they interact with the animals. Unlike past generations, he says that today’s children have limited access to farms, so Historic Brattonsville gives children the opportunity to interact with the farm animals they most only read about in books. Not only is he a farmer, he’s also an educator. So another thing Farmer Eli is looking forward to is having visitors back so he can teach them what it was like on an early American farm.
You can follow Farmer Eli on Facebook at Eli at Historic Brattonsville to see pictures of animals and get updates on the farm. You can also follow Historic Brattonsville to get the latest on when they will be opening again and see the virtual programs they’ve have been hard at work creating. Updates can also be found at Chmuseums.org
If you'd like to see Farmer Eli in action with the animals, head to the Facebook Live he did which discusses what life on the farm is like in further detail - BONUS: you'll see him bottle feeding some really adorable baby animals!