One of the oldest settlements in South Carolina, Beech Island is a community located along the Savannah River in Aiken County. Beech Island began in the 1680s as Savano Town settlement, an important trade center and “jumping-off” point to the Western wilderness. European goods, arriving in Charleston, were sent to Savano Town via the Westobou River (Savannah River). In 1716 after a major Indian war erupted, Fort Moore was built to protect the mercantile trade and to guard the Western entrance of the colony. Beech Island developed into an agriculture community and in 1856 Gov. James Hammond and eleven other farmers founded the Beech Island Agricultural Club, now one of the oldest surviving such societies in South Carolina. Three miles southeast of Beech Island is Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site, the former home of Hammond. Between Beech Island and Jackson on Silver Bluff Road near the Savannah River is Silver Bluff Plantation, a 3,100-acre wildlife and nature preserve.