The Inn’s joggling board is located at Retreat on Main. Formerly known as “the Jackson family house”, the Park’s purchase of the house in 2004, made them the second owners of this late 1800s property. While restoring the house, many historic tidbits were discovered in the attic, sparking an interest to learn more about the history of the Jackson family home. While visiting former owner Harriet Jackson, age 99 in the year 2005, Ms. Jackson graciously shared history about the land and house with Bonnie Park.
Harriet Jackson’s father purchased the property and had a house built prior to 1887, the year he and her mother married. During the midst of becoming a family with seven children, and having outgrown the original Main Street house, in the latter 1800s, the Jackson’s built a two story home on Moore Street, the street siding the Inn’s Main House and the street on which both Inn cottages are located.
Years later, the home was inherited by Margaret Murchison Jackson, one of the Jackson daughters. In 1949, the front of the house was destroyed by fire but the back part of the building was in good shape. Harriet explained, “It had been my mothers dream to someday have another house on the old Main Street property, as she loved living there”. Margaret honored her mother’s dream by arranging to have the house moved back to the Main Street location for restoration.
During the Park’s 2004-2005 restoration of the home, records were found in the attic describing the moving of the house...who did the work, how much they were paid, what days they worked and did not, etc. An architectural plan for the stairwell, prepared by Bennettsville architect Henry D. Harrall was discovered in the attic, along with several garden plans, penned by the Jackson’s. Architectural plans were drawn for a new façade and the house became home once again. A picture of the Jackson Family taken on the front porch of the dwellings original façade (while the house was located on Moore St.) hangs on the stairwell at Retreat on Main. When completed, the architectural style of the façade became Georgian.
Along with the house, the family joggling board was moved to the Main Street location and placed on the front porch. When asked about the history of the joggling board, Harriet Jackson, 102 years old in 2008, said it was around long before she was born and she believed it to be 150 years of age. She recalls its place on the back porch when the house was situated on Moore Street, where her “mother joggled the children to sleep.” The Jackson family Joggling board is yet another part of their history the Parks enjoy sharing with guest who seek Southern porch relaxation. It is of original design without modern day rockers and sits on stationary supports.
The first joggling board believed in the U.S. was built at C. 1803 Acton Plantation in Sumter County near Stateburg, S.C., the small town where famed writer, Mary Boykin Chestnut, who chronicled life in the South during the Civil War was born.
Owned by Cleland Kinloch, when widowed, his sister, Mrs. Benjamin Kinloch Huger came to the plantation to care for the family. Mrs. Huger suffered from severe rheumatism and in letters written to relatives at Gilmerton, the family estate in Scotland, Mrs. Huger described her unfortunate health dilemma. Her Scottish cousins sent a model of a joggling board which they suggested she sit on and gently bounce for the sake of exercise. The plantation’s carpenter constructed a joggling board to reflect the model from strong local timber. It was from the healthful success of this early 1800’s exercise board design that its concept rapidly spread throughout South Carolina’s Lowcountry until it became near as commonplace as today’s swing set or hammock.
Even more relaxing than the beloved Southern rocker, it is said this springy, pliable board of relaxation was once made from South Carolina’s Palmetto, the state tree. They are, however, typically made from yellow pine and painted Charleston green, a color so nearly black it’s often hard to tell the difference.
The joggling board was a favorite form of 19th century entertainment and they graced the fashionable porches, piazzas and gardens of most Charleston homes and plantations.
Also known as “courting benches”, the joggling board provided a place for couples to spend time getting to know each other. With the lady sitting on one end of the board and the gent on the other, continual upright gentle bouncing would guide them to the center of the board where side by side they shared conversation and intimate moments.
Popularity of the joggling board faded after World War II, when acceptable timber for this unique board became harder to acquire and labor too cost intensive. Today, period joggling boards remain on the porches of countless historic homes in South Carolina’s Charleston and throughout the state.
The Inn also has a rare 1800’s courting sofa, a formal upholstered period piece with each end having rounded backrests, slightly tilted In the direction of the opposite side. Due to the design, when seated, the couple face each other as they spend time together on this lovely parlor sofa. The center of the sofa has a bowed wooden bar that connects the two rounded backrests, perfect for both hand resting and holding. The Inn’s courting sofa is located in The Gathering Place in Retreat on Main.