City Directories and History: This prosperous rural farm house was originally called the Wallace Plantation, constructed on a simple Carolina “I” house plan in about 1845.
“A home established around romance stands today on a rural road leading from Gray Court to Woodruff in the vicinity of Friendship Baptist Church. The site is well known to citizens of the county through the location of a fraternal lodge bearing the same name as that of the home. This settlement figured prominently during the Civil War era.
In the late 1840’s, Wilkerson Wallace built what was considered in that day an imposing country house. As was the usual custom, the housewarming event was held with neighbors, friends and visitors from afar in attendance. One of the guests was Miss Arianna Cheshire of Atlanta, Georgia, who was visiting with the James Fowlers of Warrior Creek community. It appeared that love had blossomed immediately, for the lady became the first mistress of Wilkerson’s new home.
In family letters preserved from the Civil War years, Wilkerson Wallace’s name appears quite often in the role of neighborly service. Mariah Ann Riddle wrote to her husband, Landrum Riddle, on April 12, 1860, that Wilkerson Wallace had accommodated her by bringing from Laurens three gallons of molasses for her family’s use. Again on November 5, 1862, Mr. Riddle wrote that he had sent to his wife by the evening’s express $60.00 in care of Wilkerson Wallace. Such inserts substantiate the fact that Mr. Wallace was considered a dependable neighbor and a helpful citizen in the absence of the fighting men.
The next owner of the Wallace house was Columbus Wallace, with whom two sisters lived, the Misses Mamie and Sue Wallace. Columbus was a prominent political figure, serving for two or more terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives in the late 1800’s. Known generally as “Pet” Wallace, he is also remembered as one of the first schoolmasters in the community.
The big house, put together with pegs and hand-forged nails, was the center of a flourishing plantation. The estate was self-supporting with its skilled workmen living and working on the premises. A number of buildings included the blacksmith and carriage shop, stables, barns and sheds for equipment. The carriage shop is still standing, and descendants recall the reputation of the carriage builders who turned out the finest of vehicles. Many of the tools, rather crude by today’s standards but adequate for the skilled workmen of that day, are among the family possessions.
Throughout the years the property has remained in the Wallace family. Miss Stella Wallace of Gray Court, great-great-granddaughter of Wilkerson Wallace owns the home, it being a gift to her from her father, Allen W. Wallace. Currently the Luther Burns family occupies the old home. Martin Wallace built his home a short distance from that of his brother, Wilkerson Wallace. In 1859, Martin gave his home to the fraternal order of Free Masons. It has since been known as Wallace Masonic Lodge No. 49. On a rise of land directly in front of the Wallace home is the family burial ground.”
Information from: The Laurens County Sketchbook, Author – J.S. Bolick, 1973
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