“An antebellum piece of history being cherished and saved by a remarkable man. An African American History site…”
City Directories and History: One of Chester’s least recognized historic homes is the Osborne, originally spelled Osborn, home near Lockhart, S.C. overlooking the
Broad River and the Town of Lockhart on its west bank. The Osborne house with its elaborate barge-board scrolled trimming was highly indicative of the simple one story cottage style being constructed in the region by small planters. It was economical, attractive and often raised on a stone foundation. One local publication states, this house was constructed in circa 1853 with timbers sawn at an upright saw mill (water powered sash mill), located upriver at what is commonly known as the Ninety Nine islands location of York County, S.C. The source states that the lumber was transported by river barge down the Broad River to a mill owned by the Osborne’s and later to the house site. [CRPC] See further “corrected” information below. [The information via having hauled the timbers from 99 Island is suspect.]
This is an excellent example of how the Broad River was commonly utilized as a corridor for transporting timbers and other materials both up and down the river on large barges. Barge traffic was commonly used to transport cotton and other agricultural products to Columbia or beyond. Finished goods were purchased for the agricultural community and brought by barge up the Broad River for a fee. These barges easily floated down the river and using slave labor in most cases, the barge owners had the barge polled back up the river with the goods ordered from Columbia’s shops and factories.
The 2014 owner of the Osborne – Dickson house, acquired it from the family in 2001, after the death of the last Osborne family member to be living in the history home. The area where the home stands was known as the Cabal Community and mail was delivered along a broad stretch of river property both in Chester and York Counties to the Cabal Post Office. Lockhart in Union County, is directly across the river from the Osborne home, and historically had an important connection to the family. It was on the Amox or Amos Wright Osborne property along the Broad River that according to historian and owner, Billy J. Powell, the Osborne family erected both a water powered grist and saw mill. The grist mill operated at the time of the American Revolution [local tradition – however information suggests the Osborne family didn’t relocate to Chester until 1819], and was regularly visited by the British. The family had moved from Fitchburg, Massachusetts to the area to go into both the quarry business and the grist mill operation. Presumably, the materials for constructing the mill race, foundations, etc., for the mill all were quarried from their own stone site and constructed by the family. In the 1840’s the mill was partly damaged by a storm and high waters on the Broad River and was therefore expanded and updated. Mr. B.J. Powell, the local Cabal Community historian, has stated that Amos Wright Osborne often visited Fitchburg, Mass. to take possession of funds generated by the family’s long running sash business.
It was on the banks of the Osborne Mill site that the Lockhart Textile mill began the construction of the dam at Lockhart, S.C., and the subsequent construction of the water powered mill that stood on the west bank on the Broad River for decades.
By the 1852-53 period the Osborne family moved from what was their log house on the river, up the hill, to a new house of outstanding quality. The family maintains the materials, including the stone foundations were all cut and quarried from the Osborne property and that the family constructed the house that now stands on Cabal Road. Sons, Wade and Ellison Osborne were most likely the carpenter contractors who executed the construction. They are also credited
with the construction of the Cassell’s or Castle’s home, also in the Cabal community. Amos W. Osborne also signed his name to the beautiful tombstone of his daughter, at Bullock’s Creek Pres. Church Cemetery- the only documented example of his work as an engraver.
Opposite Lockhart Mill on the Chester side of the river is the magnificent water power of Mr. Wade Osborne, one of the most successful and prominent farmers in the county. According to a survey of a U. S. Government engineer, the water power is 12,000 horse, and if fully developed, would produce a second Lowell The natural advantages of the river at this place are superior to those on the western side, and capable of a higher degree of development It certainly presents a splendid opportunity for the investment of capital. Some of our moneyed men in Chester, Columbia and Charleston would do well to give this matter their serious consideration. Mr. Osborne has a grist and flour mill at this place, which does the grinding for the surrounding country. Though it has been improved from time to time a part of the mill building was used by the British during the Revolutionary War. The wheel now used is a modern Turbine of one hundred horse power. The Chester Lantern, November 30, 1897 (Reprint courtesy of the CDGHS – Bulletin)
The home remains in 2014 a remarkable testament to the builders but also to the current owner, Billy J. Powell, who has been visiting the home since he was a small child. He acquired the house and property and has beautifully updated the home and grounds. He has also conducted extensive research into the Cabal community and the Osborne family and mill operations. Enjoy viewing his video interview as part of R&R’s “Preservation from the Heart“ series. Also find other videos on R&R’s homepage under the resource tab.
R&R Note: Roots and Recall is proud of it’s calling attention to, and telling the story of, this outstanding piece of history, resulting in subsequent articles in Winthrop University’s Magazine as well as numerous other regional publications. Much of the credit belongs to both Joe Ligon of Ligon Productions and Joanna Angle, both of Chester, S.C. who helped showcase this wonderful piece of history!
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OUR BROAD RIVER FRIENDS The Chester Lantern, November 30, 1897 (Reprint courtesy of the CDGHS – Bulletin)
On last Tuesday we set out In our buggy for Broad River. In due time, we arrived at the home of our old friend, Mr. Craig Kirkpatrick, who has passed his four score years. The house in which he
was born is still standing; notwithstanding, it was built before the Revolutionary war. (Note the same Kirkpatrick home pictured above.) This house has still the same little window from which Tories could be seen and warning given to the Whigs to escape to a neighboring swamp. We were informed by our old friend that he began farming on his own account in 1835, and sold cotton that year as high as 16 cents per pound. The next year he sold cotton as low as three cents per pound. In 1845 he sold cotton at four cents. So our farmers will observe that a low price for cotton is not confined to the present time, and take comfort there from.
The home of Mr. Walker Hardin, a successful young farmer, was safely reached. He lives in York county, a short distance beyond the Chester line. Not far from his residence is the saw mill of Ashe & Moore, under the management of W. N. Ashe. Some of the hickory and ash logs sawed at this mill are four feet in diameter. This material is utilized in buggy factories. Continuing our journey we arrived at the home of Mr. Richard Thompson, a prominent farmer, who has one of the best plantations in the State. A considerable amount of his land produces one bale to the acre.
The next day we crossed Broad River, and were not long in reaching Lockhart Mills. These mills began operation in Feb. *96 and have run at a fair profit The building is of brick and has four stories. It has 25,000 spindles, 800 draper looms, and makes four yard sheeting. It employs 370 employees and has efficient officers, as follows: J. C. Carey, President and Treasurer; E. C. Beach, Superintendent; Mr. Bacon, Book-keeper. Mr. C. D. Farrar was the first president, and to him is due in a great measure the credit of this enterprise. He worked with indomitable perseverance until a sufficient amount of stock was subscribed in Charleston, Greenville, New York and elsewhere to justify him in beginning work. The machinery of the mill, the cards, in fact everything connected with it, is of the latest improved make. There are seventy-five houses for the operatives, one half of which are made of brick. There is also a company store, of which Mr. Whitney Livingston is manager and Mr. Glover is book-keeper. It is built of brick, 120 feet long, 50 feet wide, and has two stories, the upper story being used for church purposes. The Lockhart Mills is a great enterprise and bears testimony to what perseverance can accomplish.
Opposite Lockhart Mill on the Chester side of the river is the magnificent water power of Mr. Wade Osborne, one of the most successful and prominent farmers in the county. According to a survey of a U. S. Government engineer, the water power is 12,000 horse, and if fully developed, would produce a second Lowell The natural advantages of the river at this place are superior to those on the western side, and capable of a higher degree of development It certainly presents a splendid opportunity for the investment of capital. Some of our moneyed men in Chester, Columbia and Charleston would do well to give this matter their serious consideration. Mr. Osborne has a grist and flour mill at this place, which does the grinding for the surrounding country. Though it has been improved from time to time a part of the mill building was used by the British during the Revolutionary War. The wheel now used is a modern Turbine of one hundred horse power.
The view from the mill is grand and picturesque. The towering cliffs on both sides of the river, the lofty trees with their variegated hues, the rotting, dashing water, the massive rock, the Lockhart Mills in the distance presents a picture that is beautiful to behold. Dr. J. C. Brawley, formerly of this county, is one of the physicians employed by the Lockhart Mills Company. He is pleased with his position. On our return we called on Maj. John W. Wilks and family. He has one of the most desirable homes and is the largest land holder in the county. He adheres tenaciously to his own views, and expresses them forcibly. He believes that the North and South will not be thoroughly reunited until the former makes some compensation to the latter for her slaves. There is a host of people that would like for this thorough reunion to come at once, if it would be attended with so happy a result Mr. R. P. Folkes is still merchandising at Wilksburg. Like other merchants he feels the effects of the hard times.
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