“One of Chester County’s finest old homes, once sat on the edge of the fertile agricultural area, known as the Blackjacks.”
City Directories and History: Seven Oaks, on Darby Road near the York County line, was one of Chester’s outstanding pieces of architecture. Wanting a modern home
for his family, F. Guy Darby demolished the old structure but retained many of the original features for us in several family homes. The stately house was originally constructed in circa 1840 or perhaps a little earlier by neighbor, Jedidiah I. Coulter (5/11/1803 – 8/16/1851), a contractor-mechanic who lived between the Darby farm and what is today, Historic Brattonsville. Not only did he construct Seven Oaks, the McNeil – Darby Plantation home, but several other fine home in Chester and Fairfield counties. This property had been in the McNeil family for many years prior to the Darby’s acquiring it later in the 1880’s. The home was perhaps originally built for Samuel McNeil, who is buried on the property near the house. The 1840 Chester County census reported that it was Elizabeth McNeil between the age of 40-50 who lived at this location with her 31 slaves.
The architecture of Seven Oaks is highly distinguished with it’s double piazzas, flanking wings, dental moldings, fan light transoms and beautiful proportions. It was similar to that of the Douglass plantation in Union County, SC, thus suggesting this design, like many other mid 19th century homes, may have derived from a popular pattern book.
Coulter’s distinctive signature was the use of several elements including but not limited to; the use of the carved “Palmette Motif” palm on mantle facings, elaborate and highly elegant staircases, six panel doors of the exact same type, dental/cornice moldings, and over-the-top entrances with fan lights. A Darby descendant, stated, “I nearly broke down into tears, when he viewed the duplicate staircase from his grandmother’s Darby home being used in Albion Plantation.” Coulter like most 19th century artisans repeated his work from house to house. In this manner, though there are no interior pictures of Seven Oaks, by comparing them to Albion and the Erwin – Abell house images (see on Old York Road), a clear understanding of it’s proportions and style can be surmised.
The interior doors that remained from the Darby home were donated to a local artisan in circa 1998, who has used them to construct furniture and other decorative elements. Many of the doors retained their original box locks as well as feature both riser hinges and hand wrought strap hinges.
This piece of property has continued being in the Darby family since the 1880’s. Other families who have been associated with this parcel was the John McConnell family.
Informative link: Mills Map of Chester SC
William Erwin. Born in Ireland in 1735. Died May 20,1814. Buried in Bethesda Presbyterian Churchyard, York County, S.C. Married in 1759 to Sarah (“Sally”)Ross, who was born before 1744 to James and Catherine (McCullough) Ross. She was a sister of Major Frank Ross of York. She died at the age of 98 years. Issue:
A. Dorcas Erwin. Born in 1756. Died October 22, 1798. Married in 1784 to
Alexander Moore, born in 1756 to James and Rachel (Black) Moore. Died
December 14,1813. Buried in Bethesda Churchyard. Issue:
1. James Moore. Born December 16,1784. Died 1849. Married Sophia
2. Sarah Moore. Born August 3,1786. Died 1848. Married Eggerich Johan
3. Jane Moore. Died unmarried before 1798.
4. Mary (“Polly”) Moore. Born 1790. Married Andrew Baxter Springs.
5. William Shakespeare Moore, M.D. Born June 25,1791. Died December
1,1861. Married (1) Harriet Baxter Springs, daughter of Captain Richard and
Jean (Baxter) Springs. Named (2) Jane Baxter (Dinkins) Cushman.
6. Alfred Moore. Born March 23,1793. Married Jane (McElhaney) Murphy.
7. Rachel Moore. Married Jedediah Coulter. (Note they lived next door to the Darby farm in the edge of York County, S.C.)
8. Maurice Augustus Moore, M.D. Born August 10,1795. Died in Union,
S.C., on August 31,1871. Author of Reminiscences of York. Married (1)
Elizabeth Adeline Evalina Allison, (2) Sophonisba Nott.
9. Dorcas A. Moore. Born February 1798. Died in Union, S.C., in 1871.
Married in 1821 to John J. Pratt.
Information from: The Bulletin – A publication of the Chester District Genealogical Society
Explore history, houses, and stories across S.C. Your membership provides you with updates on regional topics, information on historic research, preservation, and monthly feature articles. But remember R&R wants to hear from you and assist in preserving your own family genealogy and memorabilia.
Visit the Southern Queries – Forum to receive assistance in answering questions, discuss genealogy, and enjoy exploring preservation topics with other members. Also listed are several history and genealogical researchers for hire.
User comments welcome — post at the bottom of this page.
Please enjoy this structure and all those listed in Roots and Recall. But remember each is private property. So view them from a distance or from a public area such as the sidewalk or public road.
Do you have information to share and preserve? Family, school, church, or other older photos and stories are welcome. Send them digitally through the “Share Your Story” link, so they too might be posted on Roots and Recall.
User comments always welcome - please post at the bottom of this page.