Jonathan Lucas, Sr., a skilled millwright, sailed from England in the 1780s and shipwrecked on the Carolina coast. Remembered for his brilliance in wind and water-powered mill design, Lucas invented a system that combined rice grinding and mortar and pestle technology. In 1787, he built the world’s first water-powered mill that used this new mechanical process, followed by the first tidal-powered mill that operated without holding tanks. Lucas’ invention replaced the laborious task of hand-pounding and threshing rice. His tidal-powered mill was a technological marvel and revolutionized the industry. Lucas became the foremost builder of rice mills along the Georgia and Carolina coasts. In 1793, he purchased 471 acres at Haddrell’s Point including the old Greenwich Mill for 500 lbs. sterling. Lucas modified this saw mill into a dual rice/saw mill powered by Shem Creek tides, the first of its kind in the Charleston area. He built a home on the knoll overlooking the mill pond from which he operated his flourishing mill design and manufacturing business. In 1801, Lucas and son Jonathan also built a large tidal-powered toll rice mill on the Ashley River and Charleston became the center of the rice-milling industry. That year Governor John Drayton said of Lucas, “For these mills, the public is indebted to the exertions and ingenuity of Mr. Jonathan Lucas…” Lucas sold his Shem Creek property to William, his son and business partner, for 2,000 lbs. sterling in 1816. At the end of the Civil War, the buildings were burned by Confederate troops as enemy soldiers approached. In 1869, William sold the Greenwich Mill tract for $12,000. Today, traces of the mill foundation and holding pond are visible at low tide. This marker was erected in 2013 by Thomas Cario Middle School 8th grade students, teachers Mrs. Burroughs and Mrs. Leland, and the Mount Pleasant Historical Commission.

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