Calhoun House – Abbeville, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Abbeville County Photos | Calhoun House
This elegant house in Abbeville was built in 1825 and renowned U.S. Senator John C. Calhoun, an Abbeville County native, lived there from the 1840s until 1866. The distinctive boxwood gardens that are highlighted by the afternoon sun were planted in 1859. The home was restored to its current state by Brigadier General and Mrs. Ben Johnson.
Although most well known for his stance supporting the now defunct institution of slavery, John C. Calhoun was an accomplished politician in his day. Calhoun was President James Monroe’s Secretary of War from 1817 to 1824 and is remembered for doing away with the military’s patronage system in favor of a modern bureaucracy. He also served as President John Tyler’s Secretary of State from 1844 to 1845. In 1957 he was named one of the five greatest senators in U.S. history by the U.S. Senate, sharing company with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay.
Calhoun eventually sold this house and purchased a home in the Upstate area that he named Fort Hill. He lived there with his wife, Floride, and their three children. His daughter Anna Maria married Thomas Green Clemson and when she died in 1875, Clemson inherited the home and over 800 acres of land.
This house is adjacent to the Abbeville Recreation Center facilities and was hidden behind overgrown foliage for many years.
SCIWAY thanks Mark Clark, an Abbeville native currently residing in Winnsboro, for submitting this picture and great historical information. He writes: “I went to the recreation center for many years as a boy never realizing a house like this existed in Abbeville. The Johnsons cleared the property and the whole town was amazed at the hidden jewel that had been discovered. The house was painstakingly restored by the Johnsons and is my favorite house in Abbeville.”