By the Sweat of Our Brows


August 17, 2016



Marie Cheek

Community Relations Coordinator

Culture & Heritage Museums



Local church hymn choirs will perform and African American descendants from Brattonsville’s plantation come together to tell their story during “By the Sweat of Our Brows”


McCONNELLS, SC- “By the Sweat of Our Brows” is an award-winning program at Historic Brattonsville that tells the story of the plantation’s enslaved from colonial times through the Reconstruction. On September 10, the descendants of those enslaved will come together and share their family stories. Referred to as the “Seven Sacred Families of Brattonsville,” the surnames are: Bratton, Crawford, Feaster/Femster, Lowry, Moore, Smith, and Thompson.


Heirloom quilts made by Ruth Smith Moore and other family artifacts will be on display. An array of activities, music and programs are planned throughout the day.


New to this year’s “By the Sweat of Our Brows” will be performances by hymn choirs from two local churches: Mt. Zion Baptist Church of McConnells, which was founded by enslaved Bratton descendants, and Gold Hill Baptist Church of York.


Records show that in 1843 the Bratton plantation was home to 139 enslaved individuals.

During “By the Sweat of Our Brows” historically dressed interpreters portray what life was like for the enslaved on the Carolina Backcountry plantation. Historic cooking over open hearths, quilt making, blacksmithing, making bricks out of clay, storytelling, and playing African-American folk games will be ongoing activities.


Between 11 a.m. – noon, Dr. Lisa Bratton will lead a panel discussion on how the family history carries on. An “African American Genealogy Presentation: How to Guide” will be offered from 2-3 p.m. and York County Historical Center will talk about African Americans’ role in the American Revolution. “By the Sweat of Our Brows” will culminate on the front steps of the Bratton homestead with music by Rock Hill’s Stars of Zion and followed by the ‘calling of the names’ from the 1843 Probate List, which declared freedom for the “Seven Sacred Families of Brattonsville.”


Food will be available for purchase.


WHEN: “By the Sweat of Our Brows” Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


LOCATION: Historic Brattonsville, 1444 Brattonsville Road, McConnells, SC 29726 (803)684-2327


ADMISSION: Adults $8, Seniors $7, Youth $5, CHM members & ages 3 and under FREE


For more information, please visit




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1.   last year’s ‘calling of the names’ from the front porch of the homestead and the family’s displays

2.   making bricks while the sun shines

3.   preparing a meal in the slave cabin

4.   working in the garden

5.   a scene from 2014’s “By the Sweat of Our Brows”


“By the Sweat of Our Brows” is an annual program at Historic Brattonsville based on both scholarly research and the collective memories of descendants of Bratton slaves.  Throughout the year, the site’s living history programs endeavor to portray African American culture as an essential part of telling the story of the Carolina Piedmont.


AWARD WINNING PROJECT: The South Carolina African American Heritage Commission recognizes “By the Sweat of Our Brows” as a project that significantly and dramatically influences in a permanent way the preservation and interpretation of African American history and culture in SC. The South Carolina African American Heritage Commission’s Project Award was presented to York County’s Culture and Heritage Museums on behalf of “By the Sweat of Our Brows” at the South Carolina Archives & History Center in Columbia on March 28, 2014.


ABOUT HISTORIC BRATTONSVILLE: Historic Brattonsville features over thirty colonial and antebellum structures, including two house museums. The plantation spreads over 800-acres and includes farmed land with heritage breed animals, a Revolutionary War battlefield site with interpretive trail, and a nature preserve with miles of walking trails. Seasonal events, reenactments, and living history programs interpret life in the Carolina Backcountry from the 1750s to the 1850s.


GENERAL HOURS of OPERATION: Tues – Sat:  10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday: 1 a.m.  – 5 p.m.; Closed on Mondays.

Culture & Heritage Museums is a family of museums in York County, SC, which includes Historic Brattonsville, Main Street Children’s Museum, McCelvey Center, and Museum of York County. The mission of the Culture and Heritage Museums is to communicate and preserve the natural and cultural histories of the Carolina Piedmont, inspiring a lifetime of learning.