“A refined piece of simple Upcountry S.C. architecture.”
City Directories and History: The White – Rainey house, just south of Sharon, S.C., was “reportedly” constructed by York County contractor Lawson Jenkins, for John White, in ca. 1838. White’s son, William
later moved to Arkansas and the property was put up for sale for non-payment of taxes. In 1871 William J. Rainey obtained the property at public auction and it has remained in the Rainey family to the present, 1995.
The home features functional shutters and a full-facade, one-story front porch. On the grounds are several dependencies of historic value. A log smokehouse and tenant house are located on this site. [Historical Properties of York County, SC – 1995]
The house is a classic “I” House form and featured handsome mantels and large rooms. The central hall downstairs divides the house and there are two massive bedrooms on the second floor. Mr. Joe Rainey inherited the house and lived here for many years. Subsequently, Beverly Rich acquired the property in the 21st century and made significant architectural and cosmetic changes to the dwelling including installation of a blue metal roof and Victorian style entrance.
Mr. Lawson Jenkins (1811-1887), was a well known carpenter-contractor in Western York County and this is one of the early homes he is credited with constructing. The 1850 Manufacturers and Industrial Census also lists him as a successful gin maker.
John Leonidas Rainey 17 May 1844 – 27 Feb 1924, served in Co. G Palmetto Sharpshooters. Married Mary Adeline Gilmore 9 Apr 1865. She was born 23 May 1849 – 4 June 1922. Lived at Rainey Place two miles south of Sharon, his brother, Robert lived just north of Woodlawn Pres. Church in Sharon. John L. Rainey for one dollar deeded six acres of land to the 3Cs Rail Road 25 Sep 1888 for a site for depot. Near the site Rainey built the first store that would become Sharon’s first store. Rainey is considered to be Sharon’s town father since Sharon’s boundaries included mostly Rainey land. In 1891 he and Jeptha Gwin formed a partnership and built and began operating the first gristmill in February. On 11 Jan 1893, about 45 guests assembled at the Rainey home for the marriage of his oldest daughter, Ella Rainey, to Joseph H. Saye, MD. Rev. W. S. Hamiter of the Woodlawn Pres. Church officiated. Rainey built a new home in Sharon in 1910. In 1914 Rainey developed the Sharon Warehouse Company under direction of the S.C. Warehouse Commission. About a month before his death, the Yorkville Enquirer interview him and spoke of his health, “I do not eat any hog meat any more–that is, no fresh pork. I can eat beef or chicken and it does not seem to hurt me–partridge too. I can eat partridge all right.” [Information contributed by J.L. West]
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on Feb. 3, 1892 – “Ms. Ella Rainey left Sharon last Monday for Union to become a student at the Clifford Institute.”
Just down the street from the Rainey house was one of the regions best oak split basket makers, Mr. Charlie Cole of Sharon, SC. His baskets were beautifully crafted and sturdy.
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