“A grand piece of York County architectural history worth restoration.”
City Directories and History: In 1962, when Plantation Heritage was published by Kenneth and Blanche Marsh, this home remained in the Gordon family and was architecturally intact and in beautiful condition. Shortly thereafter, a new owner acquired the property and renovated it heavily. It was during this remodeling that the house lost it’s historic integrity but much of the home’s history remains.
Built in the early 19th century by Mansfield Gordon, a well to do planter in the Bethesda community, the house has remarkable architectural similarities to the Robertson – Fairey house, also in the Bethesda area. The mantels, staircase, form and function of the two dwellings are nearly identical, clearly leading one to suggest, these houses were built by the say artisan. There are also similar characteristics with the Roach – Roddey home which historian Wm. B. White, Jr., attributes to Andrew Giles of York, S.C. Yet, it is Mansfield Gordon himself, the owner of this home, who was also a known artisan working with others in the area to build houses and churches. In 1850 Mansfield Gordon is a very prosperous farmer-carpenter owning over twenty slaves. In 1839 he was a patron of the Bratton’s general store and was also listed as one of the associates who contributed to the construction of Bethesda Presbyterian church.
At this junction, no one can identify the contractor-mechanic for these three dwellings but it is most likely the builder of the Gordon house also built the Robertson house within the same decade and the Roach home. They are each remarkably handsome dwellings with very fine architectural details bearing the trademark of the same contractor.
Note that two of Mansfield Gordon’s sons were working as clerks and James Fox, a wagoner, was also living in their household. This suggests by 1850, the Gordon family, was more involved in a retail business rather than the carpentry-construction trades. The same census lists Mansfield Gordon as a one of York County’s wealthiest men.
GRIST & ROBERT MORROW TRAVEL THE YORKVILLE-CHESTER ROAD The editor of the Yorkville Enquirer, A. M. Grist, and a friend, Robert J. Morrow tour Bullocks Creek township in this Nov. 17, 1933 column, “Just A-Rolling Along the War—Log of the Green Chevrolet as it Voyages over more of York County.”) Three or four weeks ago my friend, Mr. Robert J. Morrow, who lives a couple of miles from the courthouse just off the Kings Mountain road, walked down to my home to tell me about an old-time mill that I had never heard of before. I appreciated Mr. Morrow’s kindness much, as he is well over his three-quarters of a century in age and doesn’t get around as pert as he did some years ago, but at that he is a right spry old gentleman. This old mill, so Mr. Morrow informed me, was the William Gordon mill, and was located in Bethesda township on the waters of Stony Fork not far from where it crosses the Landsford road. It was quite a famous place In its day. To the best of Mr. Morrow’s recollection there was a good sized mill pond there, and it was quite a resort for fishermen and for swimmers. It was before he came into Bethesda township from Chester county to live, but he had been told at one time when the two companies of United States soldiers were located in Yorkville in 1871 and 1872 and later, many of the soldiers spent much time there swimming, fishing and recreating. The mill served quite a large clientele as it was the only place in a considerable territory where corn could be ground into meal. Tuesday afternoon I met Calvin S. Gordon on the street here and asked him what he knew about the old Gordon mill. He said the mill went out of business not less than 45 years ago. That it was the property of his father, the late William Mansfield Gordon, and the reason for its discontinuance was the fact that by that time there were so many steam driven corn mills in the country that it didn’t pay to operate the Gordon mill. “It was one of the finest places for fish in the whole upcountry,” said Mr. Gordon, “and lots of people would come there on Saturdays to fish and to swim.” Asked if he remembered the soldiers staying about the pond, Mr. Gordon said that the soldiers would come there and camp for a week or more at a time, “Lieutenant Benner and his wife secured room at my father’s and stayed there quite a good deal. They were mighty nice people said Mr. Gordon.
Among others mentioned by Mr. Gordon as habitual visitors to the Gordon millpond to fish and swim in the days long gone by, was the late Bolivar Scott. (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
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