sits on its original location, the house remains highly intact. Allen Robertson was one of the highly influential members of the community; attorney, planter and was a member of the Indian Land Agricultural Society of which the Rev. Archibald Whyte served as chairman. Presidents for the next year were elected: John Massey, Allen Robertson, William P. Thomasson, and Joel S. Barnett. A. P. Johnson was named President for 1858. Among those receiving premium awards were these: Allen Robertson – for best managed farm in his section!
In the 1960’s Herald reporter, Elizabeth Reed, wrote extensively on many of York County’s early homes. She wrote the following in the Herald Newspaper.
“According to all available information and to records on family tombs, the old Robertson home on the Bethesda road, almost within sight of Rock Hill is well over 100 years. In all probability the Robertson home and the Merritt home up the road a short distance, (no longer standing), were built about 1820s.
Adger Huey who lives in the community is 76 and has spent his entire life in the same locality. Huey says that he house was an old one in his boyhood days. He thinks that the wooden section of the home was built first and the one story brick wing was added later.
As Huey remembers, the builder of the home was Major William Robertson, who lived in the home for many years and carried on extensive farming operations on the broad acres surrounding the house. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson had three sons; Edward, Charles and Thomas according to Huey. Graves carrying these names on the inscriptions are found in the old cemetery near the house.
When the Robertson family moved from the plantation near Rock Hill, they lived for a time at the
corner of Johnston and Trade streets. The three brothers operated a store where Friedheim’s now stands. The store was the forerunner of the modern dime store and sold a varied line of merchandise at somewhat cheaper prices than were cared in the stores.
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on March 14, 1894 – “The Firm of Robertson Brother’s prop. of the Racket Store, failed last week. The firm did a good business but is said to have failed from dealing with cotton futures.”
The Robertson boys later moved to New York and became very successful businessmen. A descendant of the family living there today is Mrs. Cleo Robertson DuPre.
Huey also tells of the well-known sulfur spring, which was a Mecca for young and old in the Gay Nineties. The sulfur spring was in the Robertson place pasture and was so popular that a dancing pavilion was built nearby. Gay Rock Hillians-and perhaps some not so gay-found the dancing pavilion and the “healing waters” of the spring a favorite place to visit. At length the pavilion fell into disrepair and the vein of water was lost. Huey thinks that he could find the spring again, however, if he tried. (Is this the location of what is marked “Spring Rock” on the 1856 map. We can’t be sure but there is reason to believe they are one in the same?)
A wrought iron fence, by all evidence about a century old, surrounds the Robertson graveyard near the house. In it are perhaps 25 graves. The huge boxwoods and saplings have in many cased covered the tombs. By holding back the slow growing shrubs, the inscriptions can be read with care. Many of the gravestones mark the last resting places of children. The fact that graves of children and young people so outnumber those of adults proves that medical science has come a long way in the past 100 years.
One of the most interesting tombs and proof that the Robertson’s were hospitable, even to the point of sharing their last resting place, is the grave of a young minister. These words can be read: “The grave of the Rev. Simeon C. Bradway. He was born in Sumter District, So. Co. March 2nd 1819 and died August 19, 1843. Many admirable qualities distinguished him as a friend, brother and son. Sincere and devout Christian he pursued his ministry with growing zeal. He died in service of Bethel Association by whom this tablet is erected.”
Thomas Robertson died July 7, 1849 at the age of 79 and his wife, Rebecca died February 1, 1857 at the age of 74 years, nine months and 11 days. They are buried side by side.
An entire row of graves of children of Thomas and Rebecca Robertson is to be found in the cemetery. Two read “Mary J. Robertson, youngest daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Robertson, died October 27, 1849 at the age of 19; Charles Robertson, youngest son of Thomas and Rebecca Robertson, died October 13, 1843 at the age of 17. (Large numbers of additional graves were mentioned in the Reed article as well as mentioning that the arrangement of the homes front was reversed when the road was changed.” Article dated Feb. 3, 1949
YORK RANGERS – War clouds were gathering in little Rock Hill, far-removed from most of the issues that were dividing the country, all of which leads to this question: Who is the York District area was orchestrating the rattling of sabers and the beating of drums? The rank-and-file people of York District had no zeal for secession or for killing their Northern neighbors. And, too, there was a large, strong group of York people who actively opposed Negro slavery, witness the anti-slavery ministry of William Cummins Davis of Yorkville and his fellow members of the Independent Presbyterian Church. An examination of an account of the meeting to organize The York Rangers reveals that it was the leaders of the planter class who took charge of affairs: Col. Cadwallader Jones of “Mount Gallant,” Maurice A. Moore of Yorkville, the attorney Allen Robertson, Col. Edward Avery of Ebenezerville, Newton A. Steele, George Eli McDuffie Steele, Daniel Williams, and Capt. E. R. Mills. (Correspondence via Wm. B. White, Jr., to WBF 2007)
Yorkville Enquirer, Thursday, January 9, 1862
Board of Relief for Families of Soldiers
The legislature passed an act for relief of families of soldiers and the following persons were appointed in York for the local board of relief: A. B. Springs, Dr. William Adams, Allen Robinson, John S. Bratton, John A. Brown, Captain J. C. Phillips, William Oates, John B. Mintz, Rev. R. A. Ross and Dr. Robert Darwin
Across the road not so very far away, Ike Oates, a cousin, moved into what was known as the Allen Robinson place—that also was in the early eighties. The Robinson place dates back to the Civil War days and according to Mr. Williford, just after the war was a center of attraction for many of the imbibers of the day who went there to get “government brandy,” whether it was Confederate State government brandy or whether it was United States brandy________ (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
Mrs. Rosa B. Guess wrote in her Rem. of Johnson Street – “Mr. Tommy Robertson’s house, near the comer, a cottage with a wide porch around the front, and on the side what we used to call a “shotgun house,” one room wide, where Mr. Tommy’s mother and afflicted sister lived. I never saw either of them and can’t remember the others of the family. Mr. Tommy and his wife, who was called “Miss Cleola,” had two children: Cleo and a boy. This family moved to New York City, where Mr. Robertson opened a factory where they made ladies’ shirtwaists. I recall that several times a box of “two-family shirtwaists” was sent to Mrs. T. A. Crawford and my mother, perhaps on account of a doctor bill. My father and Doctor Crawford practiced medicine together until 1898, when my father died.”
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The historic home was moved from the corner of Robertson Road and Falls Road, (2012 – SC DOT Shop), to Oak Park Road where it overlooks Fishing Creek about two miles from its original location.
The beautiful Robertson home remained on its original location until the 1977, when it was purchased and moved to its current location by Frank S. Fairey, M.D. and his wife Martha. Though the house was intact architecturally, to make the home livable and bring it up to 21st century standards, the home was carefully remodeled to preserve its architectural character. Local historian and author, William B.White, Jr. wrote of the Robertson house, “A final note on the Robertsons. The remaining family moved to New York City in September, 1889, where they operated a shirtwaist factory (Major W. L. Robertson had died in August, 1896). He was a brother of Allen Robertson, Esq., early attorney in the Rock Hill section, and of Mrs. Rocinda R. Williams. In the latter years of the twentieth century,…Dr. Frank Strait Fairey, moved the house to a new site on Fishing Creek, and completely restored the house and created beautiful gardens to surround it. The author recalls the simple, chaste Early Federal lines that distinguished this fine house.” [Along the Land’s Ford Road – Vol. I by Wm. B. White, Jr.]
IMAGE GALLERY OF MOVE – MARCH 1977
It appears that following the Civil War the family moved into Rock Hill on Johnston Street and later to New York City. “Across Johnston Street was a two-story house which was occupied by the Evans family. Mr. Evans was a druggist in Rock Hill. West of the Evans house was a vacant space and then on the northeastern corner of Elm and Johnston stood the Robertson house, the family of Thomas (“Tommy”) Robertson and his wife, Cleo, the latter of whom moved to New York City, where the family manufactured shirtwaists and shipped them all over the country.” [Robbins – White Tour Booklet]
*** Note that an early grant map of Chester Co., S.C., near Richburg, shows Thomas Robertson as a early landowner. See the Heritage Map link below.
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