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You can help build memorial
LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation
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Nothing says Thanksgiving like images of bountiful harvests and families gathered to gobble down copious amounts of food. Prayers of thanks are given for blessings received and those to come. And turkey dressing leftovers are coveted for reheating in the microwave over the long weekend.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in the mid-1800s for the LeConte family were celebrated at the home of Jane LeConte Harden who resided on her inherited portion of the Woodmanston Plantation at an estate called Halifax. Her home and her own celebrated gardens were not far from her childhood home and the famous gardens of her father, Louis LeConte.
Descriptions of what those holidays were like have passed down through the writings of various LeContes, all so idyllic.
But there is nothing left today of the homes or gardens of Louis and his daughter Jane at Woodmanston, Halifax or the other LeConte holdings in Liberty County. The family moved on to other places after the Civil War, and some of those born and raised here gained prominence and respect elsewhere.
What does remain, is a system of dike-works constructed 250 to 175 years ago for the cultivation of rice, a surviving monument to the people who planted and harvested the rice and other crops for the LeConte family.
“The Walk — an African-American Tribute” is being constructed at LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation southwest of Riceboro. This memorial is an opportunity for Liberty Countians, so many of whom descended from slaves and slave-holders alike, to say “thank you” to those who went before, those who cleared and cultivated a most inhospitable land with their labors.
Volunteers and contributions are needed to bring this unprecedented memorial to completion. It will be inaugurated in 2010, completed or not, in the 150th anniversary year of the last Slave Schedule of the United States Census before the onset of the War Between the States. That year there were roughly 2,000 caucasian residents of Liberty County, and 6,000 persons claimed as slaves.
If you feel inspired or moved to be a part of this monument of “thanks,” please call the LeConte-Woodmanston Foundation at 884-6500 or visit our Web site at This can be a memorial for the people and by the people who claim deep roots in Liberty County. Watch for progress reports and photos of our volunteers at work in the Courier.
Temporal, or temporary memorials to those enslaved in Liberty County, have been constructed by students from the Savannah College of Art and Design, at the demonstration rice fields and the site of the main flood gate at the Woodmanston Plantation. Admission to the site is free through December.

Evans is executive vice president of the LeConte-Woodmanston Foundation. You can e-mail her at
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