Along the Jefferson Davis Trail
City Directories and History: One of the many stately homes built by local York County contractor, Mr. B.F. Rawlinson during the 1850s, for the wealthy planter, Mr. John Massey.
An example of the type structure that once graced the rural route that connected the small village of Ebenezer to the growing commercial center that became Rock Hill, South Carolina. Originally sold to the fist owner, Capt. John Massey, the house was sold following the financial difficulties of the Civil War to John L. Watson and later once again became the property of J.H. Matthews in 1895. This Italianate style home, was the seat of a large cotton farm and graced the north corner of what is today Herlong and Ebenezer roads. The Matthews family maintained a large farming and cotton ginning operation on this corner well into the mid 20th century. In 1976, the property was sold and shortly thereafter demolished to make room for a new commercial venture known as the Village Square Shopping Center.
One should take note of the lovely proportions of this dwelling with its Italianate eave brackets, center chimneys, three part windows, hip roof, and double porch columns.
Dr. Alton Brown stated, “… Simrill Matthews had a big farm, a gin and a community store (corner of what is today Ebenezer and Herlong). I made many trips to the Matthews’ Store to buy small items we needed at home. Mr. Simrill had three, (correction – four children: Mary Elizabeth Matthews Eakle, Hames Simril Matthews, Jr., Dr. Watson Hayes Matthews, and Thomas Henderson Matthews) children, I believe Jimmie was my brother Ralph’s age, a good friend and later became a well know Rock Hill contractor. Watt became a veterinarian and their was a beautiful daughter, Mary Elizabeth.”
The Herald on March 4, 1903 reported, “Mr. M. Ben Massey, who for the past thirteen years has been a merchant in Ebenezer Township, has bought the stock of goods of Mr. E.R. Avery in Rock Hill and is now in control. Mr. Massey’s son, Neely and Mr. Julian Avery will be incharge.”
The Rock Hill Record reported on March 4, 1909 – “For sometime there has been a questions of building a new road to Yorkville from Rock Hill which would be three miles shorter than the old road that follows the railroad. Citizens in Ebenezer, Newport and Tirzah are opposed, as it would take business away from them.”
FB comment from Randal Ramsey of Rock Hill on 8.24.15 “Matthews-Benfield grading was based out of this house. The store at Herlong & Ebenezer was Bechtler’s, then Niven’s, then Sawyer’s. The little wood building at the railroad track on Cathcart St. was once the train stop for the town of Ebenezer, then became a sign shop.” SCROLL DOWN
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