Until about 1778 this island was called Bermuda, but afterward called Colonel's Island because of the large number of colonels having plantations here. Major plantations included "Woodville," "Herron's Point," "Maxwellton," "Suligree," "Maybank,: "Black Rock," "Laws," "Cedar Point," "Hickory Hill," "Dunham's," and "Melon Bluff."
Rice and indigo were the principal money crops grown on Colonel's Island during the antebellum era. During the War Between the States the island was also a source of salt, an essential ingredient in the making of gunpowder.
Long before European explorers reached North America Colonel's Island was a part of the Guale Indian kingdom of the Creek Nation.