City Directories and History: Cedar Tree Plantation was built circa 1853 on a high elevation by Edward G. Palmer of Valencia for his son Dr. John D. Palmer of Ridgeway, S. C. The smoke house and kitchen are still standing, with original farm bell. This house was built from lumber off the place, featuring 18-inch boards from heart pine. The foundation is still in excellent condition. Cedar Tree remained in the Palmer family for many years, and since their ownership it has belonged to the DesPortes, Bulows, and Van Exems.
Mrs. Van Exem is one of South Carolina’s charming great ladies. After the death of her first husband….who was a congressman from the Sixth District, she was the first woman from this state to be elected to Congress. Mrs. Van Exem was a writer, dramatist, and patron of the arts. [Fairfield Sketchbook]
An old cemetery with tombstones over one hundred years old are located near home of this plantation. Colonel Dunbar of the Revolutionary War is buried there. Part of an old brick wall still stands around the cemetery. Around the wall is a Cherokee rose that is over one hundred years old. [Our Heritage Book] And the regional survey of the area in 1970 states at that time most of the original farm buildings remained including the smokehouse, kitchen, wash house, and the old farm bell.
Click on Greek Revival with an Italianate influence for additional information.
Click on the More Information > link to find additional data – A Fairfield County Sketchbook, by J.S. Bolick, 2000 (Courtesy of the FCHS)
“Cedar Tree plantation house was built about 1853 by Edward Gendron Palmer of Valencia for his son Dr. John Davis Palmer. It was on the southern extremity of the Valencia property near the new Charlotte and Columbia Railroad of which Mr. E. G. Palmer was the first president. It is a charming one and a half story house with a splendid garden that shows the results of one hundred years of nurturing care. In later years it has been owned by the Des-Portes and the Bulows. It is now the home of Mrs. Van Exem. After the death of her first husband, Congressman Allard H. Gasque, she was the first woman from South Carolina elected to Congress.”
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
IMAGE GALLERY – Courtesy of photographer Ann Helms, 2018
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