City Directories and History: Local historian, Bubba Lyles wrote; “I think it was built at the end of the Nineteenth Century as it was entirely covered, both walls and ceilings, in the beaded board thin ceiling material of the era. My father thinks it was built by a man related to the stagecoach house builder named Loving Jones (see corrections and updates below). Afterwards, it passed to share cropper rentals until the Ruff family of Ridgeway purchased it and its lands in the early twentieth century. By then it was the twenties and the boll weasels had hit. The Ruff family rented and sharecropped it to the Simpson family for about fifty years. The most prominent Simpson family member was Christina, grandmother, great, great ancestor of the family for whom the community is named. Christina Simpson was left a widow with many children in the early twentieth century and many generations of her family grew up in this house. Christina became a legend in the community who when left widowed as a young woman during the great depression with a large family took it upon herself to plow, seed, cultivate, and eventually harvest these lands as a share cropper.
Her legacy, as she lived into her nineties in this house, is that courage, perseverance, and determination would prevail over racial bigotry and its small minded legacy which is hatred, and she was never deterred in her stronger determination to teach her children and grands, the importance of her courage.
In the years since my grandfather bought this wasted “place” (next door), as he always called it in 1935, Christina was then planting and growing cotton and other crops late into her middle age. Our family considered Christina very much a lady planter and were fortunate to know her at the end of her life in this house.” J.M. “Bubba” Lyles, III
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See invaluable comments and updates below concerning the home and history, by Fairfield County’s museum director, Pelham Lyles.
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I have some stories wonderful Miss Christina passed on to me. I thought she was the aunt of the Simpson family and am not sure she had any of her own children but lived with the Simpsons until her death. It was Christina who hid the woman who was fleeing barefoot from her shotgun wielding drunken husband by hiding her under the corn in her corn crib. He had shot through the walls of his house at her and killed their child in his crib. This tragedy took place in the old house that our grandfather converted into the cattle barn on our farm down the road.
It would be great to post these on R&R. Take a few minutes and send them in. Many thanks for your continued input.
Pelham Lyls says
The old barn structure where the baby was killed is long gone, but there may be pictures in an old scrapbook of Bubba’s and my father’s. It was a one room affair that later had sheds attached all around for farm use. I am glad to see the image of the little school here. Mrs. Christina told me of going to school there with the neighborhood children and I have some teacher’s names somewhere. I think it was used in the 1920s-30s. Remains of the structure were still standing beside Barber Rd. the last time I rode through that section.
One more fact. The community name of Simpson did not come from Miss Christina’s name. The Simpsons were an Irish immigrant family which came in during the early to mid decades of the 1800s, potato famine time. I speculate that Christina’s slave ancestors worked with or were slaves of the Simpsons as their farming enterprise grew. She may have been a descendant of the Irish family or perhaps her parents adopted the name after Emancipation. She was a wonderful story teller and I spent some afternoons listening to the stories with my horse tied to the front banister of the house while sitting on her porch swing with her. The house is shown on the 1876 county township map as Mrs. Simpson’s (too early to be Christina) and a house that stood just east of it was occupied at that time by __Jones. These Joneses were not connected to the Darling Jones family of Kershaw County and Longtown Rd. but from the Ralph Jones Quaker family. Ralph became a Baptist preacher and his son William Jones built the nearby Vaughn-Blair stage coach stop in 1811.
Lynn B. says
I currently reside in this home. It states this house was heavily renovated and doesn’t look like original structure. Actually, it does (other than the addition of a garage and deck out back). The house had been vacant for over 25 years and was home to buzzards and lots of rats. It was so overgrown with trees, etc. you could barely see it. We had to take a bulldozer to clear a path just to be able to enter the house. I have many photos of the renovations. We actually removed all rotten wood from interior and exterior but there was a lot of the old house that still remains. The foundation and huge beams under the house and between rooms remain. It is the exact foot print of the original house. I will say, somewhere along the way an addition was made to include a kitchen of sorts that included a porch type structure and then a bathroom. You had to step down from the main house central hallway to enter this area. This remains a kitchen a “sunroom “ type hall and a bathroom. All in the same locations as it was when we purchased it(we left the step down). At our age we did decide to use siding instead of wood to help with maintenance. The original outhouse still stands out in the back. There is so much more I could say about the renovations and although it is updated, it’s still the original footprint of the house. We love this old house along with all it’s little quirks and crooks.