City Directories and History:1917 – H.Y. Simpson, 1948 – M. Theodore Motes, 1975 – Mason T. Motes, 2014 – Bill Ivey
Constructed in 1839, this Greek Revival dwelling has been owned by South Carolinians of prominence in both local and statewide affairs. The Simpson House is an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture. Its designer-owner, Christopher Garlington, probably with the aid of a pattern book, created a structure that still retains the aura of an antebellum plantation house owned by a wealthy planter. The white clapboard structure has three stories with a total of twelve rooms. The gable roof is pierced by four end chimneys contained within the structure. A fifth chimney is in the rear projection. At the end of the Civil War William Dunlap Simpson purchased the house from John Adam Eichelberger, a wealthy planter who had used the structure as his townhouse. Simpson, a graduate of South Carolina College and Harvard Law School, had been a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives for several terms and was a member of the State Senate when South Carolina seceded. During the Civil War, he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the war he was elected to the US House of Representatives; however, due to his Confederate affiliations, he was refused his seat in the House. Wade Hampton was elected governor in 1876 with Simpson as lieutenant governor. When Hampton was elected to the US Senate in 1879, Simpson became governor. He was appointed Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court in 1880. The Motes family purchased it from Simpson heirs in 1939. The once elaborate gardens, orchard, and vineyard have disappeared. Listed in the National Register July 24, 1974. [Courtesy of the S.C. Dept. of Archives and History]
Added data: In 1839, Colonel Christopher Garlington purchased land on West Main and hired master builder Thomas Badgett to construct this wonderful example of Greek revival architecture. Badgett designed the house using popular Boston architect Asher Benjamin’s Country Builder’s Assistant, 1833 a pattern book. The white clapboard building is three stories with a total of twelve rooms. It features four large Doric columns.
Major John Adam Eichelberger bought the antebellum town house after Col. Garlington moved from the area. Major Eichelberger’s fifty acres of orchards, vineyards, and formal gardens grew many varieties of berries as well as fruit trees including the then novel “Chinese Cling” peach. The first apricots to be grown in South Carolina were produced in Mr. Eichelberger’s orchards.
William Dunlap Simpson purchased the house from Col. Eichelberger at the end of the War Between the States. A lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army, Simpson became Governor of the state of South Carolina in 1879 and the landmark came to be known as the Governor Simpson house. William Dunlap Simpson went on to be appointed Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. His brother, Colonel Henry Y. Simpson, also lived in the house.
Explore history, houses, and stories across S.C. Your membership provides you with updates on regional topics, information on historic research, preservation, and monthly feature articles. But remember R&R wants to hear from you and assist in preserving your own family genealogy and memorabilia.
Visit the Southern Queries – Forum to receive assistance in answering questions, discuss genealogy, and enjoy exploring preservation topics with other members. Also listed are several history and genealogical researchers for hire.
User comments welcome — post at the bottom of this page.
Please enjoy this structure and all those listed in Roots and Recall. But remember each is private property. So view them from a distance or from a public area such as the sidewalk or public road.
Do you have information to share and preserve? Family, school, church, or other older photos and stories are welcome. Send them digitally through the “Share Your Story” link, so they too might be posted on Roots and Recall.
IMAGE GALLERY OF LAURENS CO HISTORIC HOUSES – Blythe Collection ca. 1980
User comments always welcome - please post at the bottom of this page.