City Directories and History: The history of the Rives, Smith and Cross families are recorded in this 2012 account written by Mrs. N.C. Thomas of Rock Hill, S.C., who has shared it with R&R for your enjoyment. Please open the files under the MORE INFORMATION LINK / RIVES PLAT MAP below the picture column to read both the article as well as the second entry by Tom Mayhugh, outlining the property itself. This article may not be reproduced in part or whole without written permission from Roots and Recall. In 2014 there is nothing remaining of the historic home, but it is wonderful to have the recorded history written under the more information tab and the images she has graciously shared for preservation.
CENTURY – OLD SMITH HOME REPLICA OF WYOMING By Elizabeth Reed, The Herald Newspaper
Hand hewn and pegged timbers characterize this old home in Eastern Chester County. It is in the Rowells section and not more 16 miles from Rock Hill.
The fine old Smith home in the Rowells community closely resembles “Wyoming,” ancestral home of the Pride family. Its similarity to “Wyoming” and the fact that it stands not more than a mile from Wyoming, indicates that the y were built at about the same time. Older residents of the Rowells community understand that the home is fully a century old. In all likelihood the house was constructed in the 1850’s. It is variously known as the Reeves, Smith and Cross home. The position of the windows and chimneys are the only major differences in the two old homes. Chimneys in the Smith home extend in the inside offering opportunities for closets which few home of its day possesses. The larger windows extending from the ceiling almost to the floors are in pairs.
The house itself is not as elaborate as “Wyoming” on the inside, although fully as fine looking on the outside. Smooth wide boards are used for ceiling downstairs. In some of the upstairs rooms the walls have rough pine boarding as if they were never quite completed. A double portico, massive double doors, oval fan lights above the doors and in the third floor characterize the house. Inside a few of the delicately etched door knobs are left. The door facing, window facing and mantels are finished in a zigzag pattern that is repeated in each room. A history of the house for more than 60 years has been obtained from Mrs. B. N. Craig whose uncle, Harvey Smith owned the house as long as 60 year ago. In fact, Mrs. Craig, herself, was born in the house at the time her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. R. M Cross lived there.
Mrs. Craig recalls the many visits to her grandparents as a little girl. She recalls in the winter the big back hallway served as the refrigerator for the many partridges killed in the neighborhood. It was the boast of many a man in cold weather that he ate a quail a day for a month or longer at a time. But it is the beauty of the grounds that Mrs. Craig recalls most vividly. Plans are understood to have been laid out by an English architect and even today the English and Dutch bulbs lift their head in the early spring. The house was approached by a long line of cedars that formed a circle around the building. The circle was inside a square of cedars. Rare English holly and some of the massive cedars still grow around the house. Georgia and John Cherry, the residents of the home, have kept up the traditional plantings by placing small cedars as the base plantings. Mrs. Craig recalls the many crepe myrtles that stood near the house and the many blooming plants. She recalls a kitchen formerly stood near the house, a custom of the days of plentiful kitchen help.
Mr. Harvey Smith owned the house from 1891 to 1910. It then passed on to his daughter, Mrs. Robert Gage of Chester. She owned the home until it was sold to Duke Power Company. For a number of years the house has been rented. Joe Faris, of Rock Hill, who has lived in the Rowells community most of his life, recalls that at one time Jim Hough lived in the home.
Notes by R&R: To the trained eye, Wyoming and the Smith house have little architectural resemblance beyond their basic house form and use of a double portico. And it was just this thought that may have gone through the mind of the original builder. For unlike Wyoming, one of the finest homes to have ever been constructed in the region, the Smith home did not match its’ grandeur. However the basic form and layout of the rooms did follow that of thousands of 19th century dwelling throughout the Carolinas. To suggest that it was Wyoming that it copied was simply a pipe dream of the early 20th century owners who had nostalgic notions of who designed homes and how most were constructed.
“I do know that Mount Holly was occupied by Margaret Smith, Harvey’s sister, after she married Rufus Cross from Chester, and Harvey never lived there, another interesting link to how things worked during those times. Common for relatives to live on lands owned by relatives and work the land. They lived there and farmed the land, had five children, Samuel being one, never owned the house. Mother’s mother, Marie Cross Craig, was grandchild of Margaret Smith Cross and Rufus. She was born there, lived there until about ten years old when they moved into Chester.” – Contributor 8/12/14
The Harvey Smith house, which he owned but never resided in, was a comfortable dwelling offering nice lines, constructed features of merit and details – routinely used just prior to the Civil War. However, there are considerable architectural features which are suggestive of a later dwelling or one having been updated. Unfortunately, without seeing the home, R&R can’t give a great deal of architectural input. Mrs. Reed’s historic article was very generous in telling her readers, that it had unfinished rough board wall on the second floor and the mantels were of a zigzag repeat pattern. The use of rough cut timbers for walls was a common cost saving practice that was utilized throughout the region. In most homes these walls were intended to be covered with heavy canvas wallpaper – prevalent from in the 19th and first quarter and even early twentieth century. Zigzag mouldings are Victorian in nature and again reflect a late 19th century design feature. The home’s original owner, Mr. Cadwallader Rives, according to the 1860 Federal Census, was a very successful farmer at the age of thirty three, worth approximately $80,000. With this vast wealth, it would have been very easy for him to have constructed this or any fine home prior to the Civil War. It is questionable, if the house viewed in the above image, remained true to the original architectural style or had been updated in the 1880-1900 period.
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