Sidi Limehouse: A man as unique as his name
By Stefanie Bainumsbainum@abcnews4.com
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- So the story goes in the early 1700s, the Limehouse ancestors were traveling from England to the fresh frontier of America for a new life.
There were four young Limehouse boys on a great old ship making passage across the Atlantic Ocean when one of the boys around the age of three fell overboard. An Arab man on the ship immediately jumped overboard into the sea to rescue the boy and held him high above water until the ship could turn around and save them.
The Arab's name was Sidi.
When the young Limehouse boy grew up he named his second son after the man who saved his life -- Sidi.
Seventeen generations of Sidis later sits Sidi Limehouse on his Johns Island farm. Limehouse runs the 100 acres of Rosebank Farms located off Betsy Kerrison Parkway with his wife, Louise.
Deep Lowcountry Roots
When people say Sidi Limehouse, what do they think of?
"Renegade," the rural farmer answers. "They think I am different; which I am."
Limehouse's Lowcountry roots go deep. The day he was born on Dec. 17, 1938, his father bought Mullet Hall Plantation on John's Island. Limehouse tells of his time growing up on land across from Kiawah Island. With a longing in his eyes, he remembers the Island as it was 74 years ago.
"It was a paradise. It was an abandoned island. It was a jungle to me. It was paradise," Limehouse says. "All the animals and everything and nobody there and I like that."
Limehouse says he doesn't like the mega-resort Island it has become, but that it's a done deal, and one he accepts.
"I wish they would have made a national park out of it but they didn't so it's development and they did a pretty good job," he said.
It's hard to picture the area before what it is today and how Limehouse knew it. With 'For Sale' signs and construction on almost every corner, Limehouse says he fears John's Island will become the next big development project.
"I hate that and I try to slow it up as much as I can, and I realize you can't stop it but you just try to make sure they do what they do and they do it right," Limehouse said.
Limehouse is a passionate conservationist and is President of the Friends of the Kiawah River group which looks to stop development of Captain Sam's Spit.
Limehouse is a man who likes to keep to his island -- only leaving John's Island for the Charleston peninsula when he absolutely has to.
"You used to be able to walk downtown and you knew everybody and I could walk down Broad Street and speak to three or four groups of people because I knew them," Limehouse says. "Now you walk down Broad Street, you don't know anybody."
A Farmer's Hands
With the hustle and bustle of Charleston, it's hard to picture a way of life that goes against the traffic -- but at Rosebank Farms that is exactly the life Limehouse has created.
From asparagus to zucchini and every vegetable in between, Limehouse says he eats mostly just from his farm, a pleasure he now shares with many others through the Lowcountry Local First's Community Supported Agriculture [CSA] program.
The CSA program makes it so anyone can purchase shares in a local farm and in return you get a specific amount of fresh produce each week.
"I think the CSA thing is not going to go away and I think the local thing is not going to go away," Limehouse said. "Younger people have the ability and drive and can really do good because the demand is there."
Just taking one look at Limehouse's well-worked hands tells the life story of man who rises and retires with the sun, talks to his crops to help them grow, and is happiest when he can share his farm with others.
"Just be happy in what you do. I am happy doing this, I am satisfied and what we are doing is a good thing and helps people," Limehouse said.
Sidi Limehouse -- a renegade of the land and for the land with an instinct of survival that was born on the sea thanks to a man named Sidi.