“Rose Hill was the home of Colonel David Provence when he married Elizabeth Hall, the daughter of wealthy planter, Daniel Hall….” An eccentric man, he is buried in a lone grave near his home, across the road from the Rock Creek Baptist Church and cemetery. The house was acquired many years ago by the Blairs, who still own and occupy it.(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
City Directories and History: R&R has been informed that this was originally the Colonel David Provence house circa 1860’s with later updates and remodeling. The
home owner, Mr. Provence moved from Kentucky to Fairfield County in circa 1856 and married Elizabeth Hall, whose father is reported to have given them the home. The Fairfield County Sketchbook suggests Alexander B. Jennings also worked on – built the home. The S.C. Artisans Database does not have him listed as a recognized builder. However, Mr. R.D. Jennings of Fairfield Co., was listed in the 1860 Census as a carpenter, age 70. See Elkins Map of Fairfield Co for the location of the Provence home, Rose Hill.
Mr. Provence, was a noted gentleman, and was buried at Rock Creek Baptist Church. Other occupants/owners of the home have been Mrs. Hannah Long Blair and her daughter, Mrs. George Blair Parker.
Rose Hill History
Rose Hill was built shortly before the Civil War. The locks are patent dated 1862. The house was given as a sort of wedding dower/deed to Colonel David Provence and his wife Elizabeth Hall. Elizabeth was planning to move to Florida where David was a lawyer. Her father Daniel Hall, a wealthy land owner in both Chester and Fairfield County did not want her to leave South Carolina thus being far away from him. He deeded the house to David with the stipulation that he and Elizabeth would stay in South Carolina. This deed is on file at the SC State Department of Archives. David Provence was Catholic. He requested when he died that he be buried in a granite outcropping across that road from Rock Creek Baptist Church on lands belonging to a Mr. Lyles. He wanted this burial arrangement so that the “plow would not disturb his bones“. Sometime around 1900 a young boy attending the Rock Creek School, John Davis Blair Jr., went to eat his lunch at the Colonel’s grave. He found the grave open with the bones
scattered. Family legend has it that a band of gypsies living at the Broad River near Strother were the culprits. They believed the Colonel was buried with money, specifically gold dollars on his eyes. To my knowledge it was never proved who the culprits were for sure. David Provence died in 1876. After his death, Elizabeth Hall Provence remarried and moved to the Long town section of Fairfield County.
James Ivey Long rented the house and land from “Mrs. Provence” and her children. The earliest
known date that James Long and his family occupied the house comes from a wedding invitation of James I. and Mary Brown Long’s daughter Hannie dated 1890. James Ivey and Mary Brown Long raised three children here. Hannie, Mary Gertrude ”Nicie”, William Hampton and George ‘Pet’ Long. James I. Long was a son of Mary Richardson and John Long of Monticello. John Long died shortly before James was born in 1846. James enlisted in the Civil War at age 15. He fought with Kershaw’s Light Brigade and was wounded at The Battle of Gettysburg. James and Mary bought the Herron place in Adger in 1907. James gifted Rose Hill to Hannie who was married first to James Edward Blair in 1890. After James’ death in 1899 his half-brother John Davis Blair, a widower with 6 young children, ‘wooed” Hannie (much to James Long’s chagrin) and eventually they married in 1900. John was 20 years Hannie’s senior. Jack and Hannie had three children Mary Knowlton, Georgia Long and Sallie Brown Blair. John Davis Blair served as Justice of The Peace at Strother from 1888 until his death in 1927. He was instrumental in establishing the post office at Blair and was Post Master for a time.
Rose Hill fell into disrepair after not being occupied for 30 years after the death of the last occupant Georgia Long Blair and her husband Coleman Isaac Parker. Part of it does live on though in Columbia in the Hampton Hills area off of Garners Ferry Road. The mantles doors and all of the outdoor corbels and molding were salvaged that the house of recreated faithfully to look like the original. Much has been said about the Colonel’s ghost being sighted at the house and on the road near his grave. My favorite ghost story though is one my grandfather Herbert McLaughlin the husband of Mary Knowlton Blair. “walk down to the Colonel’s grave and ask him what he is doing and I bet he will tell you nothing at all.” (Information contributed and written for R&R by Dan Wilson – 2016)
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