City Directories and History: Samuel Wright Mitchell married Elizabeth Inman in December 1879. During the same year he built this home at the crossroads of Howells Ferry Road and Highway 97. In 1934 Thomas Arthur Wilkerson purchased the house and property from the First Carolinas Joint Stock Land Bank.
The Mitchell-Wilkerson Home is a slight variation on the typical I-House commonly found in the South. Unique features of the house include the hipped roof and interior flanking chimneys. The house has a one-story gable extension and the foundation, partially constructed of granite, includes a milestone for Howell’s Ferry. The bricks for the chimney were hand made on the property. Historical Properties of York County, SC – 1995]
The Wilkerson family has played a vital role in western York County for generations. According to family tradition, Thomas Jefferson Wilkerson (1808-1852) came to the area to build furniture for the Howell family who where in the process of having completed their new home. Mr. Wilkerson married their daughter, Lucinda Howell and in the process acquired a great deal of land. The Howell family not only were well to do planters but also owned the Howell’s Ferry crossing on the Broad River. It is most unfortunate but a great deal of his known furniture was destroyed when the W.B. Wilkerson home burned in the 1950’s.
The T.A. Wilkerson Store should not be confused with the Wilkerson complex of building in downtown Hickory Grove.
Across the road from the Mitchell-Wilkerson House sits the Wilkerson’s Farmer’s Supply Store opened in 1925 by two brothers, Thomas Arthur and James Walter Wilkerson. During its day the store and supporting mills (saw mill, grist mill, cotton gin) kept the site extremely active. The store closed in 1945. The store is a typical one story country store with weatherboard siding and a full facade front porch.
WILKERSON FARMER’S SUPPLY STORE: Opened in 1925 by brothers, Thomas and James W. Wilkerson, this store was part of a diversified complex that included a sawmill, gristmill and cotton gin. The store was a one-story building with clapboard siding and porch across the front, and is located across the home of Thomas A. Wilkerson at the crossroads of Howell’s Ferry Road and Highway 97.
Howell’s Ferry: “About eight miles north of the Pinckneyville Ferry, and between Smiths Creek and Howards Branch, John Bankhead established a ferry in 1792.47 48 In 1806 Joseph Howell bought this ferry. In 1813 William Howell became the owner and, in applying to the general assembly for a new charter, gave several insights into the importance of the ferry. Howell stated that “the ferry is the nearest route from the South eastern part of this state to Tennessee by way of Mills Gap. Also to the backparts of Georgia. It is also the route by which the mail passes on its return from Spartanburg to Columbia by way of Yorkville Courthouse.” In addition to periodically having to request new charters, ferry owners had to submit a copy of their rates of passage for various items that people sometimes wished to carry across a river.”
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
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