“A Master Builder – Mechanic moves to Yorkville and begins his business.”
City Directories and History: 1958 and 1966 – Agnes H. Lawton
A pivotal house in York’s downtown area, this house was built in the 1820’s by T. B. Hoover and was later sold to Isaac D. Witherspoon, one of York’s most renowned statesmen. The Witherspoon family inhabited the house for almost a century until it was sold to John J. Hunter, one of the last surviving Confederate Veterans living in Yorkville. Mr. Hunter married Elizabeth Winslow Lindsay, a direct descendant of Mary Chilton, the first woman to step off the Mayflower, and of Governor Winslow, one of the first colonial governors. Mary Chilton’s eleventh-generation granddaughter, Mrs. Agnes Hunter Lawton, a local teacher, lived in the home until her death in 1990.
An early interpretation of the Greek Revival influence in York is the front portico, supported by three columns rather than the four-column style. The house is carefully-designed for cooling and cross-ventilation, with all the rooms open to the exterior. A detached brick kitchen, one of the few remaining in the Up-country, still stands in the rear. This house is individually-listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [Courtesy of the Yorkville Historical Society – 2002]
The construction of this fine home under the management of Thomas B. Hoover, reported to have been his own residence, one of the region’s premier brick contractors and carpenters, is in itself far more noteworthy than that of someone’s linage outside of the region. Thomas B. Hoover was not only constructing public buildings such as the York County Jail/Wilson Building, but also many fine residences for the area’s wealthiest. The York County Estate Papers of 1824 report he was paid $30. for having constructed the coffin for “Major” Thomas Roach. This was indeed a very handsome sum for a coffin, during a period when most coffins sold for less than $3 each.
“Thomas B. Hoover, master builder who came to Yorkville in 1823 from his native North Carolina, turned an unattractive, unimportant hamlet into an impressive-looking village that very much resembled New England towns of that period.” Information from: The Genesis of York, by Wm. B. White, Jr., Yorkville Historical Society, 2015 – Jostens Publishing Company
The federal Manufacturers and Industrial census also reported in 1832, Hoover was manufacturing and selling 170,000 brick annually at a cost of $6. per thousand. Many of these brick went into the construction of York’s finest homes. One of his best known buildings is the White Homestead in Fort Mill, SC which earned him a handsome sum of $5,000. for contracting the handsome dwelling for one of the regions most influential businessman.
*** The census data for 1860 is for Ann Witherspoon and her family including I.D. Witherspoon a local attorney in York, SC (see 19 West Liberty St. for additional data on I.D. Witherspoon). It is unknown as to how long the family many have resided here. John J. Hunter’s family census records are also listed while he is in the household of his father, a prominent Dr. in the Bethel area of York District, S.C.
The Witherspoon-Hunter House was probably built ca. 1825 and is significant as having been the home of two of York’s leading families. It is also significant architecturally, being an example of an early 19th century upcountry townhouse. The structure was probably built by Thomas B. Hoover. In 1823, Hoover bought three contiguous lots for $550. In 1831 Hoover sold this property to Isaac D. Witherspoon for $3,000. Witherspoon was a lawyer and prominent figure in both local and state politics. He served in the South Carolina Senate between 1840 and 1856, and while a member also served as Lieutenant Governor between 1842 and 1844. In 1880, John Jackson Hunter bought the house. Hunter was a Civil War veteran, ran a dry goods business and served as mayor of York. Constructed of wood, the structure rests upon a raised brick basement. It consists of a two-story front section covered by a gable roof, and a one-story L-shaped annex at the rear. A double-tiered portico on the front, which appears to be a later addition, is supported by three square columns supporting a pediment. Included within the nominated acreage is a small brick building of unknown construction origin or original purpose. Listed in the National Register February 7, 1978. [Courtesy of the S.C. Dept. of Archives and History]
DR. J.H. CLAWSON – We are gratified at announcing the return of J. Harry Clawson, M. D., to his home in this place, after an absence of two years at the University of Maryland, for the purpose of offering himself in the science of medicine. Besides having been assistant resident physician in the University Hospital, (Baltimore Infirmary) for two years, enjoying all the advantages of the practice in that institution, he was also during last year one of the faculty of physic in the University. With the superior advantages which he has thus enjoyed, and a mind well stored by extensive reading and study, we predict for our young friend a brilliant success in the practice of his chosen profession. As will be seen by announcement elsewhere, he has formed a partnership with Dr. J. F. Lindsay.
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