John de la Howe School
"South Carolina's Home for Children"

John de la Howe School was established in 1797 according to the will of Dr. John de la Howe, a Frenchman, who settled near New Bordeaux, SC. Little is known about Dr. de la Howe prior to arriving in Charles Towne at the age of 50, except that he was a successful physician. Upon arrival to Charles Towne, he set up a medical practice and made his company among the French Huguenots.

Over the next 18 years, Dr. de la Howe acquired well over 2,000 acres between Long Cane Creek and Little River where he moved in 1785. De la Howe built his homesite, "Lethe Plantation" on a hill overlooking Little River. An archeological dig was done and found Dr. de la Howe's homeplace. Artifacts of the dig are on display at the school today. Dr. de la Howe's will was very specific about his burial arrangements. He wanted his grave to be left unmarked but surrounded by a wall 10 feet square, 8 feet high and two bricks thick. A steel door and lock were to be built and the area kept in good order. Dr. de la Howe's tomb is in excellent condition today and many alumni and tourists visit the site.


According to Dr. de la Howe's will, his estate was left to care for 12 poor boys and 12 poor girls in a school based setting. John de la Howe School became a state supported agency in 1918. John de la Howe School is the oldest institution in South Carolina and the second oldest in the Carolinas. Dr. de la Howe's tomb and the virgin forest surrounding the tomb are listed on the Registered Natural Landmark. The school is also listed in the "National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. de la Howe's homeplace, called Lethe Plantation, is located in the area near the tomb. The school was originally located near Dr. de la Howe's homesite and moved to the present location in the 1800's. The present campus includes 12 cottages, a chapel, an infirmary, a school, a family center, an administration building, and other historic buildings.



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