John Stuart, original landowner and great-grandson of King James V, was banished to South Carolina in 1686 along with his wife and children from Scotland for religious beliefs. In 1698, John was granted 1000 acres including a neck of land formerly inhabited by the Pocatalagoes, part of which would come to be known as Wampee.
The third known house to be built on the grounds is the present Wampee House, built in in the mid-1830s by Charles Macbeth, Confederate mayor of the City of Charleston, for his mother, Catherine Johnston Macbeth, as a place to vacation during the hot summers. Typical of the era, the white frame Wampee House faces south, with a porch running the width of the front. It features a center hallway and staircase leading to the second floor.
The present dwelling is on much the same style as most St. John’s houses, but all dimensions are considerably smaller. The reason for the difference is interesting. During construction of the building, when all framing was in place, and before weatherboarding and the roof were added, a violent cyclone struck the community, passing immediately over the house under construction. The force of the wind broke off all framing near the sills. Not a whit dismayed, the builders simply sawed off the broken timbers and built the house on proportions smaller than originally planned.
Today, Wampee is owned by Santee Cooper and used as part of their conference facilities on the picturesque shores of Lake Moultrie in Pinopolis, S.C. Along with conventionally scheduled visitors to the center, tales abound of more ethereal residents – the “girl in blue,” whose portrait hangs in an upstairs bedroom, and a woman standing on the front porch in a flowing white gown apparently waiting for her husband to return home, and a Wampee Indian maiden who lost her life following her mate into battle with European settlers. Other stories have ghosts being seen on the upstairs landing and noises being heard there constantly.