If you’ve driven through town recently you may have noticed a new historical marker at the Deerhead Oak. Upon closer inspection you will have found that it is marking the birthplace of Archibald Rutledge. Well, not exactly. No, Archibald Rutledge, South Carolina’s first poet laureate, was not born in the long branches of one of McClellanville’s oldest live oaks (estimated at over 1,000 years old). The Department of Transportation moved this sign from Archibald Rutledge’s true birthplace known as “Little Hampton” where the family’s vacation home from Hampton Plantation. The original “Little Hampton”, on the corner of Pinckney Street and Rutledge Court, was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo, but a new home was rebuilt in it’s place.
The plaque was placed there in 2000 to commemorate this significant location and then the DOT decided that the sign was too close to the right of way and moved it more than 1,000 feet. The strange thing is that it’s the same distance to the road and taking up the same amount of right of way space as before, it just no longer accurately mark Archibald’s birthplace anymore. Village Museum director, Bud Hill, has been trying to get answers from the DOT explaining the move, but has not been able to reach anyone.