“Master builder, Jedidiah Coulter’s transformation of an historic log house.”
City Directories and History: The first person associated with this parcel was John Parker from Goose Creek in Charleston, S.C., who had received a 2,000 acre parcel
in 1772. Mr. Parker was a Delegate to the Conventional Congress in 1786 -1788. He was also the brother-in-law of Arthur Middleton and one of several Charlestonians who owned property in the Lowry’s area. He sold his interest in the property to James McDowell Lowry in 1818. Three years later it was once again sold to the Rev. James Lowry, as a parcel of 1,711 acres.
The Erwin-Abell home, circa 1840’s is one of Chester County’s finest examples of artisanship and architecture. Attributable to local York County contractor/mechanic Jedidiah I. Coulter (5/11/1803 – 8/16/1851), the home is a reflection of the Rev. James Lowry’s aspirations and designs on his role as a leader in the community. When he had purchased the property originally from James McDowell Lowry, according to the family, he found a large log cabin, facing the side road, Love’s Road, which led to the community of Brattonsville. To the south end of the cabin, he added what now is the front of the Erwin-Abell home. It would have been easy for him to have also located Mr. Coulter, sometimes spelled Cutler or Collier, since he resided within a few miles of the house. Coulter may have recently completed another fine home in the community, what became known as the Darby Plantation house. Living within a few miles of the Lowry’s home, Coulter used his skills to once again showcase his outstanding artisan-ship. The financial means available to the Lowry family allowed the finest of materials and workmanship to be displayed both on the interior and exterior of the home.
The signature artisan-ship that ties all of Coulter’s construction is not only the elaborate exterior moldings but the repeated use of decorative elements such as the tulip motif and what has been described as the Palmette leaf motif. Besides these two elements, the construction details and overall design of the structures are nearly identical. When Coulter died in 1851, his inventory listed extensive numbers of fancy planes, moldings, and a rare lathe. The individuals purchasing these items from his estate were local carpenters and contractors hankering for his tools.
Their are genetic ties between the Bratton and Erwin families but there are also close cultural and educational ties which may have influenced the finishing touches associated with the home. The teachers at the Brattonsville Academy were Catherine and George L. Ladd, both artist. He advertised that he painted murals,
portraits, and more. It is highly plausible that either Mr. or Mrs. Ladd, executed the canvas wall-covering, in the Erwin-Abell home while they resided in the community.
Informative link: Mills Map of Chester SC
James Turner Kee (or Key). Married Claudia Sims, daughter of William Randolph Sims and his wife, Hattie Bratton Erwin.* Issue:
a. Claudia Key. Married James Ferguson Wherry II of Chester County, S.C.
b. Letitia Key. Married Henry Radcliffe Sims of Orangeburg, S.C., member of the Senate of South Carolina and president of Winthrop College, Rock Hill, S.C. He was also a proprietor, editor and publisher of the Orangeburg Times & Democrat No issue. (He had a twin brother, Hugo Sims, who shared ownership of the Orangeburg newspaper.)
Information from: The Bulletin – A publication of the Chester District Genealogical Society
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