City Directories and History: Built on land owned by Major John Vanderhorst of Charleston, S.C., who along with along with John and Richard Winn, owned much of the property where the Winnsboro now stands, when it was recognized, by an act of the SC General Assembly, March 8, 1785. Major Vanderhorst was a valuable member of the Mt. Zion Society and willed it one-thousand pounds sterling. In 1809, Caleb Clarke, a highly educated lawyer, purchased the property and enlarged the structure. It was later owned by John Jackson (also known as J.J.) Neil and his family. Wall of the house are made of local brick with stucco exterior covering. The large exterior chimneys flank either end of the house which was a common early 19th century feature. [Courtesy Chamber of Commerce]
Reminiscences of Old Winnsboro by P. Rion – 1903, states, “James S. Stewart, the father of Mrs. W.C. Beaty lived, where J.J. Neil resides and Mrs. Musket, the grandmother of Mrs. Beaty lived where W.C. Beaty now resides -“
The News and Herald of Winnsboro, SC reported on July 8, 1885, that – “J.HJ. Neil was constructing a new office for $500.”
Click on the More Information > link to find additional data – A Fairfield County Sketchbook, by J.S. Bolick, 2000 (Courtesy of the FCHS)
Informative link: Greek Revival Architecture
The 1912 Sanborn Map shows this home as a masonry house on the edge of town.
This Early American brick house was built about 1809 by Caleb Clarke, Esq., of Maryland. The site was owned in 1786 by Major John Vanderhorst of Charleston, on the street named for him when the original plat for the “Village of Old Winnsborough” was made in 1787. This home has seen continuous living for a century and a half, and is one of those which sheltered “refugees” from Charleston in the War Between the States. In 1873, Mr. John Jackson Neil of Fairfield, father of the present owners, purchased the place and it has been the Neil family home ever since.
The house is set among ancient oaks, the lawn, once graced with two classical summerhouses, still enclosed by picket fences. Of plain brick originally, the walls were later coated with tan stucco, long since weathered into soft hues. The walls are three bricks in thickness and there are two great outside chimneys. Double piazzas across the front with wide gable denote the Jeffersonian period bearing out the date of 1809, but there are architectural features in both the main house and out-houses indicating living quarters in the late 18th century. The four solid one-foot-square hand-hewed pillars, supporting the piazzas, are almost primitive in cutting. The original wide slatted shutters with hand-wrought fittings are at the upper windows, but the solid wooden blinds original to the first floor were replaced in 1873 by the narrow slatted blinds now in use.
Stalwart simplicity characterizes` the un-ornamental exterior, but one finds grace and charm within where every room has three-way exposures to light with many small-paned windows; and all woodwork is hand-carved. There are generously wide mantels of Adam design and panelled dados around the walls beneath the deep seated windows. There are no strictly “Period” rooms, the furnishings being cumulative and largely heirlooms from four generations of the family in old Fairfield. Antiques of interest to be seen are heirloom silver about 1807 by a Winnsborough silversmith, Mr. James E. Elliott; a Revolutionary hexagonal pie-crust table made by slaves on the Barkley place in Winnsborough; a Queen Anne cherry highboy 1730-1750 of Connecticut origin; and a tea-set built around three pieces of old Sevres, 1758. Notable are many other pieces of beautiful china, both ornaments and table services. [Our Heritage]
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