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Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 collection

Identifier: AMN 1150

Scope and Contents

The Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 collection contains some information on Seashore Farmers' Lodge No. 767 I. L. U. J James Island organized May 5th, 1906 including rules, rituals and officers. The bulk of the information was created from 2006-2011 by members of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge Restoration Project, later the Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare, and includes organizational and administrative records, preservation registration, grant information, awards and financial records and various articles and information on the history of James Island.

The collection is arranged into five series:

1. Organizational and administrative records are divided into four subseries.

1.1 Organizational and administrative records include rituals and rules from the historic Seashore Farmers' Union No. 767. In addition, there are records from the restoration period, which include meetings minutes, member profiles and activities, articles and by-laws of the Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare Foundation.

1.2 Preservation registration records reflect historical data compiled to apply for recognition of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 on the National Register of Historic Places, including information on the history of Sol Legare and the Lodge, and drafts of the official registration application

1.3 Grant information includes a detailed listing of grants applied for by the lead organizer of the restoration project, Corie Hipp, to fund the restoration of the Lodge, including grants awarded and grants denied.

1.4 Financial records includes correspondence with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as donors, various receipts and invoices related to the restoration project, additional information about the status of grants as they relate to the operating budget of the restoration project.

2. Lodge restoration includes correspondence regarding the initiation of the lodge restoration process, information about fundraisers, images from the restoration process, various articles about the restoration process and grand reopening of the renovated building and an informational pamphlet created by Corie Hipp.

3. Awards reflect honors bestowed upon the renovated lodge received on behalf of the lead organizers of the restoration process.

4. Articles and clippings includes write-ups on the participation of the 54th Massachusetts Re-Enactors (which includes member of the restoration project), in the Martin Luther King Day Parade and a variety of write-ups centered on activities of the Lodge nearing the end of and after the restoration process.

5. James Island history contains information of historically black beaches, including a write-up on Mosquito Beach on Sol Legare as well as write-ups on the 54th Massachusetts Re-Enactors Civil War tour.


  • Creation: 1906-2018, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 2006-2011


Language of Materials

Materials are in English

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Historical Note

The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767 was established as a fraternal society on May 5th, 1906 with Edward Wilder, Jr. serving as President, Alonzo Gilliard as Vice President, Levola Whaley as Financial Secretary and Benjamin Lafayette as Treasurer. The Lodge is located in the historically Gullah Geechee community of Sol Legare on James Island, named after antebellum plantation owner Solomon Legare, and settled by formerly enslaved Africans and African Americans shortly after the end of the Civil War. Lodge members were small farmers and all the founding members were residents of Sol Legare. In 1915 construction of a two-story rectangular building began on land belonging to lodge member Henry Wallace. Additional lodge members, including Mose McNeal, Eddie Singleton and Lawrence Gilliard, assisted in the building’s construction.

The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767 was co-ed from its inception and was also a part of the International Farmers' Liberty Union Justice (IFLUJ). Like most fraternal societies the Lodge’s rituals were secret, including a secret handshake and members had to be initiated. Meetings were held on the second Monday of the month. Along with the church, the Lodge served as a center of community activities for Sol Legare. As a part of its creed lodge organizers provided support for its members, including assistance in the event of crop failures, health and life insurance and support for sick members and their families. When a resident of the community died, a drum was sounded from the lodge to notify the community; lodge members served as pall bearers, assisted the bereaved and issued death benefits for active members in good standing. Lodge members also provided assistance, recreation and education for the extended Sol Legare community including raising money for the local Sunday School and hosting Vacation Bible School.

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s the Lodge also helped found several mutual aid societies across the South Carolina Lowcountry. It was considered the mother lodge to other IFLUJ lodges in the area and participated in Lowcountry wide lodge events. Over time the farming activities became less important and community and recreation activities increased. In addition to Saturday picture shows, which attracted black people from beyond Sol Legare, ice cream and cake fundraisers were held on Sundays and holiday celebrations, which included drumming, dancing and feasts, were also central to lodge activities. The Harbor Pavilion opened on nearby Mosquito Beach in 1953 and much of the recreation that had once taken place at the Lodge relocated there.

By the 1980’s the Lodge had over 300 members. However, the building sustained damage in 1989 during hurricane Hugo and most of the Lodge’s records were lost. Membership is considered a family tradition and many families pay dues for relatives who longer live in Sol Legare and are not active in the Lodge. Of the three other black lodges that once existed on James Island, the Seashore Farmers' Lodge No. 767 is the only one that remains.

Efforts to restore the Lodge in the late 1990’s proved unsuccessful and the building continued to sustain damage as a result of multiple natural disasters. In 2006, the Seashore Farmers' Lodge Restoration Project commenced led by Corine “Corie” Hipp, 5th generation Sol Legare resident Ernest Parks and then James Island Town Council member and 4th generation Sol Legare resident William “Cubby” Wilder. In 2007, the Seashore Farmers' Lodge No 767 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Town of James Island awarded a $50,000 grant to assist in the restoration of the Lodge due, in part, to the efforts of Council member Wilder. Circa 2009, the Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare Foundation was formed by members of the volunteer restoration project as a community based non-profit. The focus of the Foundation was public education, back to school assistance, home improvement, community clean-ups, death services, hosting an annual picnic and overseeing the continued restoration of the Lodge.

The volunteer restoration committee, additional grants and donations, community support and volunteer hours all contributed to the restoration process, the physical portion of which began in February 2009 led by local contractor Michael Riffert and culminated in the spring of 2011. On April 16, 2011 the lodge reopened to the public as the Seashore Farmers' Lodge Museum and Cultural Center.

Sources: Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare, approx. 2009, box 1, folder 3, Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 Collection, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 2006, box 1, folder 7, Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 Collection, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Seashore Farmers' Lodge Museum (pamphlet), 2011, box 2, folder 5, Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 Collection, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.


0.79 linear feet (2 archival boxes)


The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767 was founded in 1905 by residents of the Sol Legare community of James Island. The building, which housed the Lodge and became the center of member and community activities, was constructed in 1915. The Lodge was created as a mutual benefit and fraternal society, which served as a safety net and provided many necessary services for members and area residents. Edward Wilder, Jr. served as the Lodge’s first President.

The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767 collection contains rituals and by-laws pertaining to the historic lodge, meeting minutes, preservation information, grant information, financial records, correspondence, images, write-ups related to the restoration of the Lodge, which commenced around the 100-year anniversary of the Lodge’s existence. The collection is arranged into five series. The first series, Organizational and administrative records, contains four subseries beginning with Organizational and administrative information including by-laws from the historic lodge, meeting minutes from the community-led and mostly volunteer-run restoration project and information on the establishment of the Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare Foundation. Preservation information is the second subseries, which reflects historical information on the Sol Legare community and the Lodge itself compiled for the National Register of Historic Places registration form. Grant information is the third subseries and consists of information on grants applied for to support the restoration process. Financial records is the last subseries of series one and consists of correspondence, budget information and receipts from donations and grants to support the restoration of the Lodge. The second series is Lodge restoration, which contains correspondence, printed materials and images from the restoration process. The third series is Awards and it reflects honors received on behalf of the Lodge by restoration volunteers for their efforts restoring the site. The fourth series is Articles and clippings, which contains various write-ups on activities involving lodge restoration volunteers and community members after the bulk of the restoration was completed. The fifth and final series, James Island history, contains background information on James Island’s historically black beaches and lodging on Mosquito Beach as well as write-ups on the 54th Massachusetts Re-Enactors.

Collection Arrangement

1. Organizational and administrative records, 1906; 1951; 1989; 1998; 2006-2011; 2018

1.1 Organizational and administrative records, 1906; 1951; 2006-2011

1.2 Preservation registration, 1989, 1998, 2006, undated

1.3 Grant information, 2007-2011

1.4 Financial records, 2006-2011

2. Lodge restoration, 1997-2013, undated

3. Awards, 2009-2012

4. Articles and clippings, 2010-2013

5. James Island history, 2001-2011, undated

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated by Corine Hipp in 2018.

Inventory of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 collection, 1906-2018
By Erica Veal
November 2020
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States