Original Building Contract Ainsley Hall - Robert Mills House, Columbia South Carolina

The Articles of Agreement are thoroughly detailed, and Mills' role as a professional architect is defined by the provision that the work is to be done agreeable to his "designs and instruction." Regrettably, the whereabouts of the architect's drawings is not known.

This "Schedule and Description'5 is a detailed specification for a fashionable house of the period with "Venetian" windows, inside folding shutters, pilaster trim, and "circular partitions" to some of the rooms.

Articles of Agreement made and concluded this sixth day of May in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty three between Ainsley Hall on the one part, and Charles Beck Carpenter & undertaker on the other part.

Whereas, the said Ainsley Hall intends to erect certain buildings for residence in the town of Columbia, and to employ in the erection of the said buildings & in their finishing, a quantity of work in wood, And whereas this Charles Beck is willing & doth hereby undertake and contract to provide, and set in its proper place in the said buildings the aforesaid wood work done in the best and most workmanlike manner, and agreeably to the designs and instructions of Robert Mills Architect.

Now therefore it is agreed by & between the said parties hereunto & in the manner and form following viz. On the part of the said Ainsley Hall it is covenanted & agreed with the said Charles. Thai; in consideration of the work hereby stipulated to be done, being executed in a faithful & workmanlike manner, agreeably to the designs of the said Robt Mills, the said Ainsley will pay or cause to be paid to the said Charles from time to time such sums of money as the state of the work shall justify, yet in the rates, that when the said work shall be completed, the said sums shall not exceed Twenty five hundred dollars. And when the buildings are completed, the balance that may be due is to be accounted for to the said Charles, according to an agreement previously entered into with him.

Schedule and Description of the Carpenters work referred to in the agreement entered into between Ainsley Hall and Charles Beck Carpenter. In the annexed description a general reference is had to the drawings in order to designate the size of the buildings, divisions of the same into rooms etc, number of windows doors etc.

Main House - (Basement story)

All the doors & windows to be jaumb [sic] cased and faced with single architraves- windows to reveal 1/2 a brick outside & to shew a head quirk'd. The doors to be six pannel moulded 1 1/2 thick, hung with butts, and secured with locks &c- The windows to have box framing, 2 inch moulded sashes hung with weights - Inside pannel shutters, plain moulded skirting to receive plastering, to all the rooms, passages etc. - The front and back door to have side lights, and the end door to have transom lights - The necessary dressers & shelves to the Kitchen, pantry and closets to be put up - plain neat mantles where required, to the fire places - plain neat stairs up to the principal floor, corner bead or strips to receive the plastering to the external angles.

Principal Story

All the doors and windows to be jaumb cased in a proper manner, & finished with double faced architraves or pilasters as may be directed. The doors to be dble work'd 2" thick panneled. The principal rooms folding doors to be finished particularly to drawings as also the Venetian windows and front door. - All the window frames to be revealed, 21 mid. sashes, dble hung with weights, the dressings to descend to floor, panneled dado back and elbows - Inside shutters to fold in a box, front face panneled back flaps clamped secured with fastenings &c in a proper manner. Dble torus moulded skirting on ground to all the rooms, passages & staircase, grooved into floor. The floor of Joists to be counteracted [?], the floor of the best quality, secret nailed. The stairs to be neatly & handsomely finished with a continuous rail of mahogony, & a scroll balusters of curled maple or mahogany: nosings moulded & mitered: risers dovetailed into step - plain brackets. Circular stud partitions between the South rooms & straight all braced in the Parlor agreeably to drawing. Corner beads or stripy to the angles to reserve plastering. Carpet strips to all the doors. Handsome mantles to the fire places, if ordered, with the necessary hearth borders. The Carpenters work requisites to be done to the Portico to he executed, to prepare it for stuccoing. The South Colonnade or Piazza to extend the whole front. The Columns to be of the Doric order, ceiling to be panneled. The floors to be finished in the best and most secure manner for the rest of the finish see the drawings. The china closet and others to be properly shelved.


Chamber Story

The work to be done in this story is to be finished on every particular; where it corresponds in the plan like the work in the principal story - chimney mantles of a handsome kind included. All the requisite centers to turn the arches, lintels over the openings & wood blocks etc. thro out the buildings to be provided.


The Raising floor to be framed in a proper manner the Roof hipped, and framed with principal Rafters, & prepared for slating. The Roof of Portico to shew a pediment front as in drawing; the ceiling prepared for plastering.- A full cornice to run round the whole building according to drawings a gutter worked in the crown moulding.

Kitchen & Wood houses

All the carpenters work, required about these offices to be done agreeably to drawings in a plain neat and substantial manner. The double window sashes in the Kitchen to slide. All the rest to hoist with springs. The corner corresponding windows in the wood house to have shutters in the place of sashes to hoist, but to shew on the face as sashes - real sashes are to be in the temporary Kitchen - The necessary jauirib casings & mouldings to receive the plastering are to be pat up to all the doors and windows. Single mlSl six pannel doors thro'out. skirting to receive plastering. Groovd & tongued floor on joists to the 2d Story- plain stairs of communication to 2d story.- Hip Roof framed with collar beams (to form ceiling of chambers) shingled in the best manner, finishing upon a brick cornice, with a gutter strip on the top of same & the necessary pass holes. Plain neat mantles where required to fire places.

Privy & Smoke house

The privy to have four holes and a tight strong box to Slide under them as a receiver - floor groovd & tongued, jaumb casings to doors of both window skirting. The Roof to the privy & the Smoke house to shew pediment fronts North & South & finished to a brick cornice [?] and shingled. - The necessary centers, to turn arches, lintels ect to be provided & such stud partitions as are in plans.

Carriage house

All the Carpenters work required to this building are stated on the plan, and consist of two large carriage doors front & rear - a circular pediment over the same opened & finished like drawing as a doorway. Eight stalls with racks & mangers finished as the northern stalls - the floor over the stables to be dropped to afford more head room to the loft - The Roof to be shingled & to shew gable ends finished to a cornice. Note The rough fencing already done is included in the above contract.

It is understood that the said Ainsley is to furnish the said Charles with good & sufficient materials requisite for the completion of the said work, & that the said Charles is to use every reasonable economy in working them up, so that there should not be an unnecessary waste.

And on the part of the said Charles, it is hereby covenanted & agreed with the said Ainsley as follows, to wit - That in consideration of the said sums to be to him duly paid and at the period above recited, he shall & will at his own proper cost and expense provide all the Carpenters work required in the erection of the said buildings, in the best and most workmanlike manner, according to the designs of the said Robert Mills, and agreeably to the schedule hereinto annexed, setting the same in its proper place in the buildings as required and have the same completed in all the month of September in the year 1824, unavoidable delay on accidents excepting.

When the whole work is completed, the balance that may be due the said Charles, amounting according to this contract to the sum of Two thousand five hundred dollars is to be accounted for in the manner before mentioned.

It is understood that the said Charles is to furnish the necessary assistance in laying out the buildings or may be required from time to time by the said Robert Mills.

Should any work stated in the schedule annexed be ommitted, or should any be ordered additional, the same is to be valued agreeably to the rest of the work, and as the case may be, the said work so ordered, in writing, to be omitted or added, is to be subtracted from or added to this contract - said order must be given by the said Ainsley or his agent.