City Directories and History: This is one of the rare early 19th century plantation homes surviving in the Piedmont region of South Carolina. The house is beautifully crafted with fine architectural details not just limited to the double front porches. Hillside is a excellent example of just want was desired during this period by those who had made their money in the production of cotton in the early years of that agricultural boom. It has been suggested that Hillside could date to as early as 1812 but the construction methods and architectural styling suggest a period circa 1825-35, with other changes to perhaps the roof line at the mid century.
The house retains most of its original hardware, doors, mantels and moldings. However, an early carved mantel has been removed and only pictures remain of the “gouged” work that went into making it an outstanding example of the period.
Hillside is a well-preserved example of the Federal style in upcountry South Carolina. It also chronicles various changes that occurred in design between 1820 and 1850. The proportion and details of the original part of the house reflect the delicacy of the Federal style; those of the later addition are heavier and reflect the Greek Revival. It is not know exactly when Hillside was built, but architectural analysis suggests it was constructed ca. 1820-30. Its builder, James Hill, moved with his wife to Union County to settle on land given to him by his father. They lived first in a log cabin and later built their permanent home. The house is a two-story clapboard structure that features a central double piazza with slender wooden columns of the Tuscan order. In the pediment is a semi-circular fanlight which is identical to those over the front doors which open onto the piazzas. The gable roof is covered with pressed tin shingles and the cornice is boxed. The structure was enlarged ca. 1850 by an addition to the right end which gave the house its present “L-shaped” plan. Sculptured gateposts are located at the end of the drive to Hillside. The tall granite posts feature designs in relief sculpture and are notable examples of folk art of the mid-nineteenth century. According to tradition, the posts were carved ca. 1861 by J. E. Sherman, a Union soldier who became ill and was left at Hillside to recuperate prior to the Civil War.
(Sherman is also credited with doing the stonework at the Hillside House, spring.) Also included in the nominated acreage are a hand-hewn barn, a well with modern well-house, and another small 19th century structure. Listed in the National Register February 17, 1978. [Contributed by the S.C. Dept. of Archives and History]
*** R&R NOTE: In 1818 Chester County surveyor, Charles Boyd did a comprehensive map of Chester County and recorded Moman’s Ferry just north of what is Fish Dam Ford on the Broad. Local bargeman, Wm. Kelly was also dealing with James Moman, whom he purchased finished goods for in 1817 and delivered them. Moman’s Ferry also led to Moman’s Mill in Chester Co., S.C.
It appears that Chalmers G. Davidson wrote in The Last Foray, Hill, “John Thompson of Fish Dam section. Born 1816 (S.C.?), married Elizabeth Pickett Mobley (Mar. 1, 1824-May 8, 1854) and in 1861, Mrs. Anne E. (Meng) Wallace (1828-1914); died 1887. Slaves 116 (Union District).” This information however, could not be verified by R&R as it pertains specifically to Hillside Plantation.
“Near Carlisle in Union County is a two-story frame house built in 1832 by James Hill on the estate acquired by his father in 1791. It is Greek revival in style, its superimposed slender Greek Doric Columns form a portico with a second-floor piazza. In the pediment is a semicircular fanlight. At the gateway, the large granite posts are chiseled in a grapevine pattern.”
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
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