This Cotton Plantation in SC stayed in the same family for 197 years

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina
Date added: February 16, 2024
Northwest (2010)

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Oakland represents a prime example of a rural nineteenth-century South Carolina farmhouse, the Carolina I-House. Both interior and exterior details and style showcase the excellent craftsmanship and talent of largely slave labor. The qualities of early nineteenth-century materials attest to its survival into this century. The home remains true to its original plan and is one of a few examples of its type in Aiken County.

Oakland's architectural origins lie in its symmetrical and balanced style. Due to its central hall two-over-two floor plan with gable-end chimneys, a one-story gallery on the facade, and a shed room on the rear elevation, it can be classified as a Carolina I-House. A weatherboard exterior and nine-over-nine windows, most of which are original, also contribute to its status as an excellent example of a rural Carolina plantation house. Interior details and construction methods exhibit outstanding craftsmanship of the early-to-mid nineteenth century. Handsome hand-carved mantels, trim work, an elegant stairway, heart pine floors, and a plaster ceiling medallion exhibit detail not usually seen in a rural South Carolina farmhouse, indicating the educated taste of its builder.

Oakland, built by planter Wade Glover (1798/9-1859) in 1826, was maintained by the Glover family for more than one hundred and forty years, or for six generations, until the death of the last Glover descendants to live in the house (three elderly sisters, Lyla, Willye, and Effie Glover, died in 1964, 1970 and 1977 respectively). After a few years of neglect, the house and property was sold out of the family in 1983.

Oakland, built by planter Wade Glover (1798/9-1859) in 1826, was maintained by the Glover family for more than one hundred and forty years, or for six generations, until the death of the last Glover descendants to live in the house (three elderly sisters, Lyla, Willye, and Effie Glover, died in 1964, 1970 and 1977 respectively). After a few years of neglect, the house and property was sold out of the family in 1983.

In 1786 Samuel Glover was granted 640 acres of land on Big Horse Creek in the New Windsor Township of Edgefield District. The 1790 United States Census lists him with four sons, two daughters and one slave. Upon his death in 1802, the land was divided among his four sons. Andrew Glover (1762-1822) inherited the tract where Oakland is located.

This tract was passed on to Andrew Glover's younger brother Wade in 1824. Wade married Caroline Cox of Georgia in 1825, and he and his new bride lived in a small cottage on the Oakland property while the main house was under construction in 1825-26. The house was completed in time for Caroline to give birth to the first of the Glovers' twelve children in what was then the master bedroom on the first floor and is now (2010) the dining room.

Wade Glover, who was listed as a "Farmer" in the 1850 United States Census, was a planter of more than average means, in the context of South Carolina and the antebellum South. His total real estate holdings were valued at $40,000, and he owned fifty slaves ranging in age from 10 to 60 when most slaveholders owned fewer than 10 slaves.

In 1850 Oakland contained 200 improved acres and 500 unimproved acres, the total valued at $12,000. An adjacent plantation or farm, managed for Glover by an agent, contained 600 improved acres and 2,400 unimproved acres, the total valued at $1,500. In 1850 both farms had several horses, asses or mules, milk cows, oxen and other cattle, sheep, and pigs, valued at $17,000, and raised both cash and subsistence crops in varying quantities such as cotton, wheat, Indian corn, oats, peas and beans, Irish potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Though Glover did not grow cotton at Oakland his adjacent farm produced thirty-five 400-pound bales of cotton the previous year. Oakland and the adjacent farm also produced modest quantities of butter and wool, and generated additional modest income from pigs sold for slaughter, valued at $1,400. Glover also owned a saw and grist mill in the area, which was valued at $8,000, employed five white laborers, and produced 100,000 feet of lumber and 400 bushels of corn meal and flour the previous year, generating an additional modest income valued at $1,600.

Wade Glover died December 4th, 1859 at the age of 61, leaving Oakland and the rest of his real estate and personal property to his widow Caroline. A friend eulogized Glover as a man whom to know is to admire and respect, if not to love. . . .Mr. Glover, at the time of his death, was one of the largest landowners in the state, owning over 20,000 acres of land, all of which was more or less valuable for timber or planting purposes. Besides this, he owned a number of slaves and a large amount of personal property and although possessed of this great wealth, as has been said, he did not attempt to exercise a personal influence outside of his own domain. But here he was a monarch and a more humane, just, liberal, generous, kind, charitable, lenient, considerate and hospitable monarch rarely ever existed. . . . So large a space did he occupy in these aspects during his life time that it is at his death a void was left which probably will never be filled again by any one many in this part of the country.

He is buried at the Glover Family Cemetery not far from Oakland, on Pine Log Road near Capers Chapel United Methodist Church.

Oakland eventually passed to Wade and Caroline Cox Glover's eleventh child and youngest son Pierce Butler Glover (1847-1914), and then from him to his three daughters Lyla (1882-1964), Wyllie (1884-1970), and Effie (1890-1977), who were the last family members to live in the house, using kerosene oil lamps for light and a wood-burning stove for cooking. The Glover sisters were interviewed by Susan Huntemann for the County Independent (Aiken, S.C.), July 5th, 1961, and reminiscenced about growing up at Oakland at the end of the nineteenth century and living there through the middle of the twentieth century.

In 1983 Edward N. Boland, executor of Effie Glover's estate, sold the house and 5.05 acre-tract on which it sits out of family hands for the first time since Samuel Glover had acquired it one hundred and ninety-seven years earlier in 1786, just after the American Revolution. Owners since have been Barry and Brenda DeLoche, 1983-1987; Wilton and Cheri Lee, 1987-1990; John and Anne Suich, 1990-2004; Christopher Fair, 2004-2007; Edward Bernard, 2007-2009; and Roderick J. and Joan M. Lenahan, 2009-present. The Suichs renovated the main house, and the Lenahans completed interior renovations in 2009-2010.

Site Description

Oakland Plantation is located in the vicinity of Beech Island, Aiken County, South Carolina, midway between Aiken and Augusta, Georgia, on the bluff or plateau east of the Savannah River, on Storm Branch Road one mile southeast of its intersection with Pine Log Road.

The main house, built in 1826, sits on a parcel of 5.06 acres, in a grove of mixed trees. The surroundings beyond the tree border are in pasture. The main house at Oakland is a five-bay, two-story, weatherboard Carolina I-House with end gables, each with a two-story brick chimney. The facade features a full-length one-story gallery measuring 40' x 11', supported by six fluted Doric columns. A ca.1850 full-length shed porch added to the rear elevation was later enclosed as a finished room, and a ca. 1850 schoolhouse was added to the right-rear elevation ca. 1920. Taken together, the total square footage is approximately 2700 square feet.

Cedar frame the entrance drive and a brick walkway to the portico steps.

The interior exhibits far more detail than the typical plantation or farm house of the early nineteenth century. This includes extensive paneled wainscoting, heart pine flooring throughout, intricate and extensive trim work, and five elaborate mantels. The entrance way is crowned by a graceful and imposing stairway leading from the center hall to the second floor. Two large rooms with elaborately decorated mantels flank the entrance hall (current living room and dining room), and are mirrored on the second floor by two equally large bedrooms, also with decorated mantels. All four rooms possess no less than four nine-over-six pane glass windows, many with original glass.

Four outbuildings are also present on the property. A ca. 1850 frame one-story gable-end dairy house and a ca. 1920 frame one-story gable-end garage are historic. A ca. 1850 frame privy, relocated here from Virginia in the 1990s, and a 2009 frame shed-row horse stable are not historic.

The overall complex sits on a plot surrounded by thick stands of trees on three sides with road frontage at the front and open pasture land at the rear.

In the colonial era this area was known as the "New Windsor Township," as shown on DeBrahm's 1780 map of South Carolina. The township was on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River opposite Augusta, Georgia. During the western encroachment of the colonies toward the Indian Lands, the British Colonial government had set up twelve townships in South Carolina strategically placed to support the expansion of agricultural and other means of commerce. This same map shows several natural land boundaries of the original Glover family properties, including Town Creek and Big Horse Creek. A subsequent map of Edgefield District (later Edgefield County) produced in 1817-1825 shows a mill on Big Horse Creek under the name A. (Andrew) Glover, the oldest son of Samuel Glover. This is the earliest permanent record of Glover property in the area.

Windsor Township area was part of the Ninety-Six District, which subsequently became Edgefield District in 1785. By the mid-nineteenth century the rural community here had become more populated and was now referred to as "Hammond," as depicted on an 1871 Edgefield County map. This same map not only shows the location of Oakland, but also plots the location of such nearby landmarks as Capers Chapel (ca.1830) and four other plantations owned by Glover descendants. None of these properties are extant in 2010.

Main House (1824-1826)

Oakland Plantation is a two-story five-bay gable-end farm house with a Carolina l-House at its core. The definition of an "I-house" as defined in an archaeological report discussing plantations of similar date and style in the Savannah River basin, is "a two story dwelling originating from a classical, colonial period Georgian dwelling with central hallway, symmetrical plan with paired chimneys ... the I-house is one room deep which differentiates it from the two room deep original Georgian plan, therefore it appears to be a folk simplification of Georgian elements ... (and an I-house with later alterations, such as the house at Oakland) typically has a rear shed extension." Oakland was built in 1824-1826 by Wade Glover and is a virtually intact and remarkably preserved example of an early nineteenth-century Carolina I-house with minimal mid-nineteenth century and early twentieth-century additions and alterations.

The exterior is clad in weatherboard with a brick pier foundation with a stucco skirt added in the 1990s. A fish-scale tin roof covers the main (original) section of the house and a pair of two story brick chimneys defines each gable end. All bricks are soft hand-made and laid in American bond.

The front facade exhibits a one story full length gallery measuring 40' x 11' and topped by a flat shingled roof and supported by six fluted wood columns of the Doric order. The gallery is surrounded on three sides with a railing of turned balustrades, a tongue and groove wood floor and a bead board ceiling. Half columns attach the gallery to the main block. A flight of four wooden steps lead up to the gallery with balustrades repeating the form on the gallery. 'The front wall of the house within the gallery is sheathed in a wide flush board and the gallery is beaded board. The main block measures 40' x 22'.

Four nine-over-nine windows with louvered shutters flank the front entry. It is noteworthy that original glass panes exist in these windows and the majority of the windows at Oakland. The principal entrance is located at the center of the main block on the gallery and is accessed through a paneled door. The door is flanked by side lights and a transom. The door exhibits a brass door knocker with the engraved date "1826." The entry hall exhibits a plaster 48"-diameter ceiling medallion depicting tobacco leaves, grape vines and cotton blossoms. Plaster fluted crown molding encircles the front portion of the entry.

Visible on the front elevation to the right and attached to the rear of the main block of the house is the ca. 1850 plantation schoolhouse attached to the house ca. 1920. It is clad in weatherboard with two windows, one original with a simple shutter and one weatherclad replacement wood window. The original window was deteriorated beyond repair. The roof on this portion is asphalt shingle. Its use, when initially added, was as a kitchen integral to the house when the original exterior kitchen house dependency became impractical for continued use.

The left elevation is composed of the two-story main block with a two-story brick chimney on the gable end with three nine-over-nine windows, one on the first level and two on the second, all with louvered shutters and flanking the chimney. The striking element of the left elevation is the one-story Greek Revival porch with pediment gable front and four tapered Doric columns. The style of this porch indicates that this was a mid-nineteenth century addition. Additionally, two half columns connect to the house and the porch and connecting stairs exhibit straight balusters. A one story portion of the chimney is located within the porch. A flight of seven wooden steps leads up to the porch. A simple pine door located on the porch leads to the interior of the main block, specifically the original birthing bedroom, subsequently used as the formal dining room. The left elevation also exhibits the end of a one-story shed room at the rear of the main block. One nine-over-six window with louvered shutters is situated at this end of the shed room. Also visible and located at the far end of the shed room is the former plantation office with a one-story chimney and one nine-over-nine window flanked by a pair of louvered shutters. The paneled external entry door to the office is also located off this back porch and is reached by ascending a set of six wooden steps to the small porch made of tongue and groove floor. A beaded board ceiling and a four-section railing on the exterior two sides are supported by forty-one straight balustrades. The office exterior is clad in weatherboard with an asphalt shingle roof.

The right elevation with a gabled end on the main block and a two-story chimney is flanked by a pair of nine-over-nine windows on the first floor and an additional pair on the second floor. Shutters are present on all windows. This elevation also exhibits the addition of the plantation school house to the rear of the main block. The addition is a one-story gable end weatherboard structure on brick piers with stucco skirt. This elevation shows a three-over-three window, with a one- piece rustic shutter. This section has an asphalt shingle roof.

The rear elevation exhibits the full-length shed room attached to the rear of the main block with the plantation office attached perpendicular to the shed porch line. This porch is referred to as the rear porch. A pair of paneled doors provide access to the former shed interior, now a enclosed family room. The rear of the plantation office holds one nine-over-nine window and attached louvered shutters. The rear of the schoolhouse addition exhibits one six-over-six wood replacement window. The left rear of the shed room exhibits three windows, one nine-over-six and two six-over- six. A brick one-story chimney existed between the two smaller windows at one time and when removed was replaced with weatherboard. The original outline is visible.

The second story of the main block is visible above the shed roof and contains an original nine-over-six window with louvered shutters. This window is centered on the second floor landing above the central hall. Two identical windows one on either side were removed over time in each of the upper floor bedrooms to accommodate the introduction of closets and bath facilities. This was accomplished without denigrating the exterior weatherboard appearance nor the esthetics of the interior trim such as crown modeling, chair-rail and wide baseboards.

The interior of Oakland displays the typical symmetry of an I-house with a central hall plan. All floors are original wide- plank heart-pine and walls are plaster and wall board. The center hall on both levels is flanked by two-over-two-rooms of almost identical size, with original chimney pieces and mantels. Wainscoting surrounds all rooms and flows up the stairway to the second level. The stair ascends first with ten stairs to a 4' x 4' landing, turns and climbs three stairs to a second smaller landing, and turns once again and continues to the second level with three additional stairs. Of particular note is a heart-pine chair rail embedded in the plaster wall crowing the top of the wainscoting on the stairway and in the entry hall. Ascending the center hall stairs leads to the upper 9' x 12' landing and sitting area. Two bedrooms flank the sitting area, both with original chimney pieces and mantels. Both rooms are accessed through six panel doors on double hinges.

The first floor central hall leads to the rear shed room through what was originally a rear exterior door leading to the shed area. Access to the office and schoolhouse additions is through the now-enclosed shed room through separate doorways. The shed room and office contain original chimney pieces and wainscoting. We can be fairly certain the original shed was open because the current owners were faced with an interior window on the wall separating the shed room from the main block. The window has since been removed and the wall repaired. An additional window existed at the right end of the shed room, probably placed there when the shed room was enclosed ca. 1850 and used as a dining room. The window was subsequently removed and transformed to a bookcase probably at the same time the office and the schoolhouse were mated with the enclosed shed-room. Next to the current bookcase is a large six-panel door which originally led to the outside kitchen house but now leads into a portion of the old schoolhouse and its current use as a laundry room.


Dairy House (ca. 1850): The Dairy House is positioned to the left rear of the main house. It is a small one story weatherboard gable end structure with central door that dates from the late nineteenth century. It measures 15' x 15'. The sides contain slatted openings at mid-height which are protected by overhangs. The interior is paneled in horizontal pine boards with a pine floor and contains a shelf running around three sides just below the slatted openings. Three wooden steps lead to the door which is a sawbuck style.

Garage (ca. 1920): The Garage/Carriage House is located to the approximately 120' off the right side of the main house. It is an early twentieth century weatherboard building with a standing seam tin roof and a similarly roofed lean-to attached. The double front door on the gable end is of a saw buck style.

Privy (ca. 1850, relocated to Oakland in the 1990s): This privy, originally on a plantation in Virginia is located 200' to the right rear of the main house. It is a one story weatherboard with gable end shake roof and center door entry. The interior is pine board with a three holed "sitting area" along the rear wall. The original construction date is unknown, but presumed to be antebellum. The building was restored and relocated to Oakland in the 1990s by previous owners, and no records remain of its original location or construction date.

Shed-Row Horse Stable (2009): This stable is positioned 150' to the left rear of the house. It is built of pine board tongue-and-groove construction, with two stalls, a tack room and a feed room, with a standing seam metal roof.

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Facade, north elevation (2010)
Facade, north elevation (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Northwest (2010)
Northwest (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Northeast (2010)
Northeast (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina East elevation (2010)
East elevation (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Classical portico Ladies Porch, east elevation (2010)
Classical portico Ladies Porch, east elevation (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Southwest elevation with attached schoolhouse wing (2010)
Southwest elevation with attached schoolhouse wing (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina South elevation rear ell with engaged porch (2010)
South elevation rear ell with engaged porch (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Detail of roof's pressed metal shingles and chimney northeast corner (2010)
Detail of roof's pressed metal shingles and chimney northeast corner (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Detail of end of log floor sill/plate west elevation near chimney (2010)
Detail of end of log floor sill/plate west elevation near chimney (2010)

Oakland Plantation, Beech Island South Carolina Front entrance into central stair hall (2010)
Front entrance into central stair hall (2010)