“A lovely rural farmstead west of downtown Rock Hill.”
City Directories and History: This house is well beyond the original limits of Rock Hill, but it is included for the simple reason that it is the one house from the antebellum era for which we have the exact year of construction: 1811. Situated on a tract of almost one hundred acres, this house was the home of Major Thomas Roach‘s son Samuel Madison Roach, who was born the same year in which the house was built. Samuel M. Roach died in 1907. Since that time, the property has been in the hands of the family of the late W.J. Roddey. The house and grounds are beautifully kept today and are a credit to the present owners, Jack and Ann (Stevens) Roddey. The wife of Samuel Roach was Mary Louisa Workman, the daughter of James S. and Deborah (McConnell) Workman. This old landmark was a handsome home-place when it was built, and it is still a handsome place today.
This house was typical of many Catawba River Valley homes being professionally constructed in the rural areas surrounding Rock Hill in the early 19th century. Craftsmen used their own well established criteria as well as publications that gave exact measurements and details to complete a home of this quality. It is highly unfortunate that dozens of this type home have been destroyed since WW II. Many of these examples were just south of Rock Hill along the Lower Land‘s Ford Road. Andrew Giles, a local carpenter – contractor, is “credited” with built this fine example by local historian William B. White, Jr. The house was a finely constructed piece of carpentry and the extensive bracing of the roof and interior woodwork suggest that indeed someone of Mr. Giles ability did indeed execute this dwelling. Mr. Giles is known to have been a prolific contractor also responsible for the construction of the early 19th century York County Courthouse.
SAMUEL M. ROACH – (Taken from the Yorkville Enquirer column, “York’s Octogenarians,” printed August 12, 1903.)
Today’s subject is Mr. Samuel M. Roach, who lives near Rock Hill and who, so far as we have positive information, is the oldest male citizen of York county. He is ninety-two years of age. Mr. Roach’s father came to this country from Ireland and served through the war of 1812 as a major in the American army. He built the house in which the son, Mr. Samuel Roach, is now living, in the year 1811, the year of Mr. Samuel Roach’s birth. The house is rather an unusual one. It is walled inside with brick, plastered over, and every nail used in its construction was forged by hand on the premises. The building cost about $2,000 and is still in a fairly good state of preservation, notwithstanding its ninety-two years of service. Mr. Roach was raised a farmer. Although endowed by nature with fine intellect, and thoroughly instructed in all that went to make a man of sterling character, he never sought political or social prominence.
He was content all of his long life to devote himself strictly to attending to his own business, and after his marriage especially gave his entire attention to the requirements of his growing family. His wife was Miss Mary Workman, who died in September, 1895, aged eighty-two years. As the result of the marriage there are seven children living as follows: John M. and Wm. T. Roach, in Texas; Mrs. William Edwards in Tennessee; T. J. and R. W. Roach at Rock Hill; Sam M. Roach, Jr., at Ogden, and Mrs. W. T. Sturgis, who also lives near Rock Hill. Mr. Roach has been a number of Ebenezer church for nearly half a century, and since boyhood has enjoyed a reputation for upright character and correct living. He has probably never had a dollar except what he made himself on his own farm, and he has the reputation of never having bought a pound of meat or a bushel of com in his life.
The neighborhood of which Mr. Roach’s home is the centre, for a radius of two miles at least, is entitled to especial distinction for the longevity of its inhabitants. A Mrs. Sturgis, near there, died at one hundred and two; John Campbell died at eighty-two, and his wife died at seventy-two; James Jones died at seventy-seven, and his wife, Rhoda Jones, died at eighty- four; Mrs. Mary Allen died at eighty-four and her daughter, Miss Mary Allen, died at eighty- two; Mrs. Jincy Henry died at eighty-two; A. T. Black at seventy-two, and his wife died at seventy-three; Samuel Sturgis is living at eighty-five, and his wife, who died some years ago, was seventy-six.
Mr. Roach, although feeble on account of his advanced age, is still able to walk about, and during most of the time his mind continues clear. Obituary of Berry Moss-Berry Moss, an old and highly respected citizen of our community, died yesterday morning about 4 o’clock, in the 78th year of his age. He was a man of industry and economy and was held in warm esteem by all of his neighbors not only for honesty and integrity, but more than all, for his kindly deeds and generous help to the poor and those in need. His remains will be interred at Mount Paran.
The Yorkville Enquirer, November 25, 1891. (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on May 22, 1889 – “Rock Hill’s Main Street is being lined with granite, a large quantity being brought from Fairfield Co., wagons are also daily hauling from the quarry of Mr. R.W. Roach on his farm.”
The Herald reported on Feb. 24, 1900 – “On a severe storm in Bethesda and also reported on Feb. 28th about damage from the same store in the Chester Lantern. The following properties were mentioned; Scott Wilson’s barn blown down and two mules killed. On J.J. Dunlap’s farm a tenant house occupied by Jane Archie and four children was blown away, with wood timbers located one quarter mill away, the family survived. Two other houses were unroofed and another set on fire. At the farm of M.B. Dunlap a roof was blown off and a hog weighing 225 lb.s was blown 250 yards. On Capt. W.L. Roddey’s Robertson place, the roof on one house was blown off, the chimney on another knocked down and a third house was shifted on its foundation.
At the S.M. Roach house, a tenant house was blown down.
In Chester County the house of J.G. Smith in Lowryville was blown off its foundation and Mrs. Smith was stuck by a falling mantle. The dwelling of Jeff Revels and nearly all outbuildings were destroyed. The house of Burt Roberts near Armenia had damage.
R&R Note: If he constructed this house, it is likely he also did much if not all of the work on the Robertson and Gordon plantation houses, in the Bethesda area. The Roach – Roddey house remains one of the best built homes of the early 19th century in York County, and there are clear similarities between all three early dwellings.
Informative link: Roach – Roddey Home
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