In 1813, Isaiah Moses purchased The Oaks, an estate once owned by the Middletons, who had acquired it in 1678 as part of a King’s grant. Eighteen miles from Charleston, the property included cleared lands, woods, and about 60 acres of rice fields.
Buying a plantation was a step up in society and sometimes led to wealth. Many merchant planters, however, lived financially precarious lives. If the plantation sank into debt, chances were the owner could fall back on his urban business. Or a merchant might sell his country assets to pay his debts in the city, which is apparently what happened to Isaiah Moses.