Midway Plantation, Fort Motte South Carolina

Date added: February 20, 2024 Categories: South Carolina House Plantations & Farms Greek Revival

The original Midway was built by William Russell Thomson (1761-1807), probably ca. 1785.

It was so named because it was located midway between Belleville, the family home of William Russell Thomson, and Bellbroughton, owned by Mrs. Thomson's father. After Thomson's death, the plantation became the property of his son, Charles Robert Thomson.

After the War Between the States, Midway was sold to Robert E. Clark. In 1879 Midway was bought by Philip W. Fairey. After Fairey died in 1889 his son, Jacob Risher Fairey, inherited the plantation.

Midway Plantation reflects both Greek Revival and Federal influences. The structure is significant as having been the past residence of prominent figures in the political and social history of Orangeburg County.

In 1875 Midway Plantation consisted of approximately 1400 acres. By the time Jacob Risher Fairey inherited it, there were about 350 acres remaining. Fairey added to this land until it included approximately 1400 acres at the time of his death in 1951.

Jacob Risher Fairey introduced new farming methods and scientific practices to Midway. In August 1928 he received one of the state's twelve Master Farmer Awards.

Midway has changed appearance several times over the years and now shows evidence of both Federal and Greek Revival influences. Semi-circular fanlights above the front entranceways, Tuscan columns, and the wainscoting and paneled doors of the interior are among the noteworthy features of this structure.

William Russell Thomson served as a lieutenant in the Third South Carolina Regiment of the Continental Line but resigned in 1778. In 1781 he joined the militia and obtained the rank of Lt. Colonel. He was appointed justice of the peace for Orangeburg District and in 1790 was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. In October of 1791, he was appointed Ordinary of Orangeburg District, and in 1794, by a decision of the state legislature, was elected sheriff of the district.

William Sabb Thomson and Charles Robert Thomson, sons of William Russell Thomson, were both elected senators from the parish of St. Matthews. William Sabb served from 1830 to 1834, and Charles Robert from 1842 to 1846.

The sixth owner of Midway, Jacob Risher Fairey, also served in the South Carolina Os Senate between 1933 and 1937.

Building Description

Midway is thought to have been built ca. 1785; however, the present facade was not built until later; tradition says around 1859. At this same time, two rooms are said to have been added to each floor at the front of the original structure. In 1879 the house was again altered; the original part of the structure (ca. 1785) was removed, leaving the 1859 additions.

The present Midway is a two-story, antebellum frame structure with both Greek Revival and Federal influences. The front facade features a pediment and a two-tiered portico with four Tuscan columns on both levels. (The columns on the first level are supported by stone bases.) Each level features a central entranceway with three-paned sidelights, semi-circular fanlights, and flanking pilasters topped by an entablature. Eight 6/6 windows with louvered shutters, four on each floor, are also on the front facade.

The left side is characterized by four 6/6 windows with louvered shutters on the main part of the structure and a one-story wing with various windows and an entranceway. The rear features two gabled dormers (6/6) and a small enclosed porch. This rear wing and porch were added around 1900. A sun porch was added to the right side around 1920. The shingled roof has three chimneys.

The first floor of Midway is comprised of five rooms, an entrance hall, and a sun porch. The second story has two large rooms. The interior is noteworthy for its paneled doors, wainscoting, and hand-hewn sills.

Midway is surrounded by the vestiges of a landscaped garden featuring camelliaS, magnolias, and cedars.

Midway Plantation, Fort Motte South Carolina

Midway Plantation, Fort Motte South Carolina

Midway Plantation, Fort Motte South Carolina

Midway Plantation, Fort Motte South Carolina