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Cross Keys in Union County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Cross Keys House

 
 
Cross Keys House Marker - Front image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 7, 2008
1. Cross Keys House Marker - Front
Inscription.
[Front]:
A post office was established in 1809 at Cross Keys, S.C. In 1812-1814, Barrum Bobo erected this house at the intersection of the Piedmont Stage Road and the Old Buncombe Road. During the ante-bellum period, it was the center of a properous plantation. The gables of the building contain the cross keys insignia and the dates of the construction.

[Reverse]:
On April 30, 1865, during the retreat from Richmond, Virginia, Jefferson Davis passed through Cross Keys, S.C., accompanied by the Confederate cabinet and his military escort of five brigades. Mrs. Mary Whitmire Davis, who owned the Cross Keys House at that time, afterwards related to her descendants the story of President Davis's luncheon at the house.
 
Erected 1970 by Cherokee District United Daughters of the Confederacy. (Marker Number 44-3.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the United Daughters of the Confederacy marker series.
 
Location. 34° 37.95′ N, 81° 46.41′ W. Marker is in Cross Keys, South Carolina, in Union County. Marker is at the intersection of Old Buncombe Road and Jones Ford Road, on the left when traveling east on Old Buncombe Road. Touch for map. Marker
Cross Keys House Marker - Reverse image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 7, 2008
2. Cross Keys House Marker - Reverse
Reverse side
is located in front the house, which is located at the intersection of Piedmont Stage and Old Buncombe Roads. Marker is in this post office area: Union SC 29379, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Padgett’s Creek Baptist Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); Battle of Blackstock’s (approx. 2.7 miles away); Battle of Blackstock (approx. 4 miles away); Captain Shadrach Inman Memorial (approx. 4.9 miles away); Ready for the Enemy (approx. 4.9 miles away); The Trap Is Sprung (approx. 4.9 miles away); The Main Event (approx. 4.9 miles away); In Hot Pursuit (approx. 4.9 miles away); New Hope Baptist Church (approx. 4.9 miles away); Bloody Chaos (approx. 4.9 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Cross Keys House. Built 1812-14 by Barrum Bobo, a prosperous merchant of an influential Union County family, the Cross Keys House is a fine example of a Georgian Colonial in common bond brickwork. (Submitted on November 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Barham F. Bobo (28 Mar 1776 - 20 Sep 1829). The Cross Keys House was built by Barham (Barram) Bobo and was originally three stories, with original lands of thousands of acres. (Submitted on March 7, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Jefferson Davis.
Cross Keys House and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 8, 2008
3. Cross Keys House and Marker
Jefferson Finis Davis (June 3, 1808 – December 6, 1889) was an American politician who served as President of the Confederate States of America for its entire history, 1861 to 1865, during the American Civil War. (Submitted on July 10, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Plans for Cross Key
In 2006, Cross Keys was purchased by the Union County Historical Society. Initially, the society planned to open Cross Keys to the public and for it to serve as the centerpiece for a coordinated effort to promote various historic sites in the county. They were awarded a $6,000 grant that was used to hire a qualified preservation architect to investigate the existing conditions at the house and to develop a plan for repairs and maintenance. The house is in remarkable shape, despite having been damaged by a storm in July 2006. Repairs still being done when the photos on this page were taken.
    — Submitted November 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. About Cross Key House
Built 1812-14 by Barrum Bobo, a prosperous member of an influential Union County family, the Cross Keys House is a fine example
Cross Keys House image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 7, 2008
4. Cross Keys House
Front of house
of Georgia Colonial in Common Bond brickwork. Located on a knoll, the tall house with two full stories plus attic and basement is an area landmark. Gabled roof with identical pairs of end chimneys, five symmetrically spaced unshuttered windows on either side of the double doors which are protected by massive, raised first-story portico. White Tuscan columns at front and engaged columns at rear support portico and triangular pediment. Between each pairs of end chimneys, a date stone is placed beneath the gable. On one of these is carved the date of house's completion (1814), original owner's initials (B.B.), and crossed keys thought to be the insignia of the builder. (Barrum Bobo is said to have been a ship's purser.)

There is much beautiful carving in wainscoting, molding, and mantel.

Significance: Located at the intersection of the Old Buncombe Road and Old Ninety-Six Road (also known as Old Piedmont Stage Road), the Cross Keys House, a center of a large and prosperous plantation, provided a welcome stop for travelers. An advertisement for the sale of Cross Keys in the Columbia Telescope, September 1, 1838 tells of advantageous location: "Persons wishing to connect merchandising and tavern-keeping with farming and planting, would not find a situation better suited to the business in the upcountry of South Carolina."

As early as 1809, a
Cross Keys House National Registry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Wes Cox, October 30, 2010
5. Cross Keys House National Registry Marker
post office was established at Cross Keys under the supervision of George Gordon, the first post master. Two old milestones indicating distance to Union "12 m" and Columbia "68 m" remain in front of house as evidence of early highway system.

Tradition supported by diaries holds that Jefferson Davis, his cabinet and military escort dined here on their flight from Richmond. The group included General Ferguson of Mississippi, Generals Dibrell and Vaughn of Tennessee, Colonel W.C.P. Breckenridge and General Basil Duke of Kentucky, General John C. Breckenridge, cavalry commander, and General Bragg, senior General of the Army (Lee, Johnston and Beauregard having surrendered).

The Cross Keys House will be marked by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History as an historic site on the Jefferson Davis Trail, a stop which immediately precedes Davis' final Council of War at Abbeville.

Architecturally, the Cross Keys House is significant as a brilliant example of Georgian Colonial with beautiful interior hand carving. Also extensive collection of antique furniture, china, glass, silver and family daguerreotypes of the present owners who have lived in the house for at least three generations. Since completion in 1814, the Cross Keys House has been continuously occupied. The South Carolina Department of Archives also has scheduled an historical marker which
Cross Keys House image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 7, 2008
6. Cross Keys House
Side view of house
will be erected at Cross Keys to tell the history of the house and its owners. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted March 7, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. National Register of Historic Places Designation
On the National Register of Historic Places :Cross Keys House ** (added 1971 - Building - #71000811)
SW of Union on SC 49, Union
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering, Person
Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown
Architectural Style: Georgian
Historic Person: Davis,Jefferson
Significant Year: 1814, 1812
Area of Significance: Agriculture, Military, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1800-1824
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Single Dwelling
Current Function: Domestic
Current Sub-function: Single Dwelling
    — Submitted July 10, 2009, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

 
Categories. MilitaryNotable BuildingsNotable PersonsNotable PlacesWar, US Civil
 
Cross Keys House image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 8, 2008
7. Cross Keys House
Union County Historical Foundation Board of Trustees at Cross Keys House image. Click for full size.
By Wes Cox, October 30, 2010
8. Union County Historical Foundation Board of Trustees at Cross Keys House
Cross Keys House image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 7, 2008
9. Cross Keys House
Out-buildings on property
Cross Keys House Restored Out Buildings image. Click for full size.
By Wes Cox, October 30, 2010
10. Cross Keys House Restored Out Buildings
Cross Keys House image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 7, 2008
11. Cross Keys House
More out-buildings
Cross Keys House Restored Out Building image. Click for full size.
By Wes Cox, October 30, 2010
12. Cross Keys House Restored Out Building
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 7, 2008, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 4,310 times since then and 106 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 7, 2008, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   3. submitted on November 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   4. submitted on November 7, 2008, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   5. submitted on November 1, 2010, by Wes Cox of Union, South Carolina.   6. submitted on November 7, 2008, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   7. submitted on November 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   8. submitted on November 1, 2010, by Wes Cox of Union, South Carolina.   9. submitted on November 7, 2008, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   10. submitted on November 1, 2010, by Wes Cox of Union, South Carolina.   11. submitted on November 7, 2008, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   12. submitted on November 1, 2010, by Wes Cox of Union, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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