Shortly before 1900 John Murphy, a Charleston builder and councilman, purchased all of Dewees Island and began construction of a house overlooking Dewees Inlet at the island’s highest elevation. The house no longer remains; it was destroyed by a storm. An old cistern and scattered bricks mark its location.
More than a hundred years before John Murphy built his house, Cornelius Dewees had a plantation including a house, out buildings, and agricultural land on Dewees Island. No trace remains of the Dewees plantation, but it seems likely that a house was built on or near the site of the Murphy house. This is the highest location on Dewees Island, providing protection from flood water and taking advantage of any breeze during the hot summer months. Little is known of the Dewees plantation after 1800. During the War of 1812 English soldiers landed on the island, burned several ships, and looted the house.
This site is one of the highest points of the island, making it the home site of John Murphy and the probably location for the Dewees family home. An old cistern is all that remains of a residence in this location.