Obediah Shirley House – Honea Path, South Carolina
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Located one-half mile west of Honea Path stands this home known as the Obediah Shirley House. The original section of this home was built as a log cabin by Obediah Shirley. Shirley was born in Abbeville in 1802 and married Jane Armstrong in 1824. Shirley and his family settled here and built the original log portion of this structure in 1826. He became a large landowner in this area, part of his property was developed to create the town of Honea Path. He was a successful farmer who hauled his cotton to the nearest market in North Augusta to be sold.
Over the course of 26-years, Shirley and his wife had ten children, eight of which survived into adulthood. Over the years, descendants of the original builder continued to expand the home to meet their growing needs. Logs were also used in the next phase of the house which exists as the middle room of the home today. After 1850, a third room was added across the front with an enclosed stairway to reach the second level. The last major addition to the structure was a one story wing used as the kitchen at the rear of the home. The end chimneys and foundation are fieldstone which was sourced from a quarry, across the road, that was once part of the original property.
Though many additions have been made over the years, the interior remains intact with the decorative details being simply executed. The house has many modern conveniences such as electricity, running water and a kitchen but when descendants were living there no bathroom plumbing was ever installed. By the 1980s the house had 86 acres of land, most of which was sold off and developed. In 1988, descendant, James Austin, Jr. conveyed one acre and the historic house to the Shirley House Foundation to be restored. The house went through a major restoration effort in 1988 which stabilized and preserved the home for future generations. Today, the house exists as a museum open for tours by appointment only.
The Obediah Shirley House is listed in the National Register:
The Obediah Shirley House sits on a one-acre site located outside Honea Path and is an excellent example of a simple plantation farmhouse, or I-House. The house is a two-story, 4-bay gable roofed frame structure. There is a one-story front shed porch and kitchen ell in the rear, and two exterior end chimneys. The fieldstone used for the chimneys and foundation came from a quarry that was part of the original property. The house was built in several phases, to accommodate the changing needs of the households who occupied it until the late 1880s. The original core of the building was a one-story log structure built circa 1826 by Obediah Shirley. This was extended at least twice by the addition of two rooms to the north and a second story. After 1850, another room was added, extending the house’s width to three rooms. The front porch and kitchen ell were added in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The log framing has inverted re-notched corners. The front façade has two entrance doors, symmetrically placed, leading to rooms at each end of the house. The Shirley family occupied the house for approximately sixty years and farmed the property for more than 150 years.
Obediah Shirley House Info
Address: Bagwell Drive at intersection with Wildwood Drive, Honea Path, SC 29654
GPS Coordinates: 34.451595,-82.414037
Obediah Shirley House Map
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