By the Sweat of Our Brows


August 23, 2017



Marie Cheek

Community Relations Coordinator

Culture & Heritage Museums



The African-American descendants from Brattonsville’s plantation come together to tell their story for “By the Sweat of Our Brows”


McCONNELLS, SC- From the American Revolution through the realization of emancipation and into the turbulence of the Reconstruction Era, Historic Brattonsville resonates with an often ignored history that needs to be heard.  “By the Sweat of Our Brows” is an award-winning program that honors African American culture and heritage and is shaped by the descendants of the plantation’s enslaved. The descendants, referred to as the “Seven Sacred Families of Brattonsville,” come together to share their family stories about life in the Carolina Backcountry. The family surnames are Bratton, Crawford, Feaster/Femster, Lowry, Moore, Smith and Thompson.


“By the Sweat of Our Brows” happens on Sept. 9 and includes an array of activities and programs throughout the day. Historically dressed interpreters portray what life was like on the plantation. Cooking over open hearths, demonstrations of traditional agricultural practices, storytelling and playing African-American folk games will be ongoing activities. York’s Gold Hill Baptist Church Choir will be singing in the oak grove. Dr. Lisa Bratton will talk about her recollections of Historic Brattonsville and lead a discussion on researching family history. The annual event will culminate with the ‘calling of the names’ from the 1843 Probate List.


JD’s Wings & Things and Kenny Liles Fish Fry will provide food available for purchase.


WHEN: “By the Sweat of Our Brows” Saturday, Sept. 9 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


IMAGES: By the Sweat of Our Brows (BSOB) credit CHM staff unless noted credit to Mike Watts

click here for high resolution images


1     Feb. 2017 – In the original slave cabin, descendant Wali Cathcart holds a picture of his grandmother Lila and shares his memories of her telling stories about life on the plantation

1a 2015 BSOB - Descendant Sara Webb looks through photographs and heirlooms on display

2     2015 BSOB - a display for the Seven Sacred Families on the Homestead lawn

3     2016 BSOB -  heirloom quits on display on the homestead lawn  (photo credit Mike Watts)

4     2016 BSOB – BBQ on the Homestead lawn (photo credit Mike Watts)


Historic Brattonsville is included in “The Green Book.”  “The Green Book of South Carolina includes tourism sites and attractions from each of the 46 counties in South Carolina. Base criteria for inclusion is if a site is on National Register or has a State Historic Marker. With an interface similar to that of a tourism app, this mobile-first, web-based guide features detailed listings of significant African American heritage and cultural destinations across S.C., each with a narrative defining the historic significance of the site, images, map points, a link to directions and more.” -  From




“Taking in all that was going on in this historical adaptation of an antebellum built environment coupled with all of the African American living historians in period dress made it very clear to me why the event was appropriately titled ‘By the Sweat of Our Brows.’” – Joseph McGill on the Slave Dwelling Project and his experience sleeping in Brattonsville’s slave cabin on the eve of 2013’s “By the Sweat of Our Brows.”


AWARD WINNING PROJECT: 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.


ABOUT CULTURE & HERITAGE MUSEUMS: 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.  Culture and Heritage Museums is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Affiliate.