“One the eve of the Civil War, young contractor A. D. Holler (later of Rock Hill, S.C.), builds this lovely antebellum house.”
City Directories and History: The Brice House, now (2012), owned by the A.L. Gaston family, was originally constructed by A.D. Holler (1840-1919), perhaps his first contracting job, on the eve of the Civil War. Constructed for the Reverend R.W. Brice, the Pastor of Hopewell A.R.P. Church, the house was an extensive undertaking for
any seasoned contractor, much less for a young man who within days of completing the house would leave to fight. Built of hewn timbers and other first rate materials from the area, it has been reported that the original plaster, remains intact and in excellent condition. This Italianate style was a reflection of the contractor’s knowledge of architecture and that of Rev. Brice’s ability to financially undertake such a mansion. The Italianate style was extremely popular throughout the region in the 1850’s.
Mr. Holler, a native of North Carolina, moved to Rock Hill following the Civil War where he became one of the the region’s most successful contractors. During his career, he constructed many of Rock Hill’s finest homes, most of the textile mills in the area, and a large number of commercial establishments. According to his family, he routinely built homes in downtown Chester, SC. One of his best known works is Winthrop University’s main building, one Holler donated most of the brick for as part of Rock Hill’s efforts to attract Winthrop to the city.
Besides serving the Hopewell Church, Rev. Brice also helped establish the Chester A.R.P. church in 1869 and served as the minister for each congregation.
The mother of Robert Wilson Brice was Margaret Simonton, the daughter of John Simonton and Jeannette Strong. On both sides were intelligence and pious, thrifty and industrial parents. His grandfather, James Brice, gave the land on which the New Hope church stands his grandfather Robert Brice, was for many years and elder in the congregation. His grandfather, John Simonton, was also an elder in New Hope. When a boy, R.W. Brice attended the schools near his home and prepare for college by John McClurkin, who for man years taught school at New Hope.
On returning from college he taught school for a time at New Hope and then went to the Seminary at Due West, SC, where he completed his courses in the spring of 1848. After preaching throughout the South, he was called to Hopewell, Chester Co., SC on May 31, 1850. Subsequently, he married the daughter of Rev. John Steele of Kentucky and settled in Chester County, SC.
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