History of Joggling

So the story goes...

The year was 1807, and a man by the name of Cleland Kinloch bought land to build Acton Plantation, which he named after Acton Park in England.  A widower, Kinloch invited his sister Mary Esther Kinloch Huger to care for the household chores following the death of his wife.  While living at the plantation, Mary Esther developed severe rheumatism and was unable to enjoy her beloved carriage rides.  In her frustration, she sent a letter to relatives at Gilmerton, an estate in Scotland.  Her letter described the state of her health and her desire to somehow get well.  In response, her relatives sent drawings and plans for what would be the first joggling board.  Their hope was that she might be able to "joggle" in order to both exercise and also simulate the motion of a carriage.   

The plantations’ carpenter used the plans in constructing the joggling board. After the building plans took shape, the joggling board was placed on the porch of the Acton Plantation. The widespread love of the joggling board echoed through the entire Lowcountry and became a necessity for all porches.  

The term “courting benches” was also established in the 19 century. According to the legend, if you had a joggling board on your front porch you would never have an unwed daughter. Young couples would sit and get to know each other, the gentleman on one side and the lady sat on the other. Each would “joggle” guiding themselves to the middle. Once reaching the center, they would enjoy an easy conversation and maybe even a kiss.


This beautiful antique joggling board can be found at the Aiken-Rhett House (circa 1818) in Charleston, S.C.