Pendleton in Anderson County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Woodburn Historic House
Memories of the Plantation Era -- Owners and Tenants
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, elected Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina in 1822, made Woodburn Historic House his summer home around 1830. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Pinckney was drawn to the life of a planter. He became a member of the Pendleton Farmers Society, the headquarters of which still stand on the historic square in downtown Pendleton.
Members of the Adger family lived at Woodburn loner than any other family. Although the family sold the property in 1908, their descendants remain involved with Woodburn to this day. They have donated numerous pieces of furniture and portraits of family members to the Pendleton Historic Foundation, a non-profit organization which owns and operates Woodburn and Ashtabula, its sister plantation house. Many of the objects on display within the house today richly relate to its past through these family connections.
Jane Edna Harris, who became a noted African-American social activist, was born on Woodburn Historic House in 1882 - not in the plantation house but in a tenant house on the property. She went on to receive training as a nurse, and eventually moved to Cincinnati, where she founded an organization called the Phillis Wheatley Association.
In her autobiography, A Nickel and a Prayer, published in 1940, Jane Edna Harris Hunter describes her life at Woodburn Historic House.
"The house in which we lived was a two-room, frame dwelling...in the garden patch mother tended the tomatoes; in the fields below, father drove his plow through long rows of corn, cotton, and molasses cane." - Jane Edna Harris Hunter, A Nickel and a Prayer
Memories of the Plantation Era
Built around 1828, Woodburn Historic House reveals many eras of South Carolina history. Originally a summer home for the Lowcountry elite, it was later a model stock farm with high-bred horses and cattle, and then became a tenant farm. Today it contains a rich collection of furnishings that are original to the house or belonged to family members. Distinguished residents of the plantation include South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and African-American nurse and social activist
A Model Stock Farm
Major Augustus T. Smythe, who was a trustee of Clemson College for a number of years, took ownership of Woodburn in 1881. At the time, most Upcountry farms grew cotton. Smythe's enterprise foreshadowed the agriculture future of the region, where the livestock farms and diverse crops of today have supplanted the cotton farms of the past.
A Summer Get-Away
In the early 1800s, many Lowcountry plantation owners left the summer heat and threat of malaria for the cooler climate of the foothills. This expensive home was designated to take advantage of this alluring climate. Design features of the home including high ceilings, cross ventilation, and wide columned piazzas on both stories at the front and rear. Lowcountry planter Charles Cotesworth Pinckney made Woodburn his summer home around 1830. In 1852 Woodburn was acquired by Dr. John Bailey Adger. The house remained in the ownership of Adger family members for over 50 years.
Decline and Renewal
Woodburn passed from Smythe to a series of owners who attempted to farm its land and maintain its buildings. The Great Depression and declining viability of agriculture in the early 20th century made this difficult. In the 1950s, the U.S. government gave the property to Clemson College. In 1966 Clemson college deeded Woodburn to
Since the 1960s, Woodburn Historic House has been restored, refurnished, and revived. Its preservation is mainly due to the efforts of volunteers. Today, Woodburn stands as a testament to many eras of South Carolina's agricultural past, and to the local residents who have recognized its historic value.
Buildings on site include the plantation house, the reconstruction carriage house, and the Moorhead Cabin, representing the frontier period of the region.
Erected by South Carolina Heritage Corridor.
Marker series. This marker is included in the South Carolina Heritage Corridor marker series.
Location. 34° 38.433′ N, 82° 47.717′ W. Marker is in Pendleton, South Carolina, in Anderson County. Marker is on Histori Lane. Touch for map. Marker is located near Woodburn's entrance gate. Marker is in this post office area: Pendleton SC 29670, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Woodburn Plantation (approx. ¼ mile away); Dr. Don C. Garrison (approx. 0.3 miles away); Tanglewood Mansion (approx. 0.7 miles away); "The Hundreds" Farmers Hall (approx. one mile away); Old Mill Stone (approx. one mile away); Health & Heritage Walking Trail (approx. one mile away); Hunter's Store (approx. one mile away); Pendleton (approx. one mile away); Printer John Miller (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pendleton.
Also see . . .
1. Woodburn. Woodburn is significant historically, architecturally and culturally. (Submitted on January 16, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Woodburn (Pendleton, South Carolina). Woodburn or the Woodburn Plantation is an antebellum house near Pendleton in Anderson County, South Carolina. (Submitted on July 26, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record: Woodburn. Woodburn, Woodburn Road, U.S. Route 76 vicinity, Pendleton vicinity, Anderson County, SC. (Submitted on July 26, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
4. Pendleton Historic Foundation. The Pendleton Historic Foundation was founded in 1960 to save the historic house at Woodburn at a time when its future was in peril. (Submitted on January 16, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
5. Descendants of Major Augustus T. Smythe. (Submitted on January 16, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
6. Encyclopedia of Cincinnati: Jane Edna Hunter (Submitted on January 16, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
7. Jane Edna Hunter. Jane Edna Hunter (December 13, 1881 to January 13, 1971), an African-American social worker, was born near Pendleton, South Carolina. (Submitted on July 26, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
8. Locals Become a Champion for Jane Edna Hunter. Jane Edna Hunter became a nurse, a lawyer and a social activist — most of which might seem ordinary, except that she was a black woman born to tenant farmers in 1882, a century before the Civil Rights Movement. (Submitted on December 11, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
9. Phillis Wheatley Association. Official website of the Phillis Wheatley Association. (Submitted on January 16, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. Woodburn Plantation
Woodburn is a majestic four story clapboard house built before 1830 and has been occupied only in the summer months for most of its existence. In 1815, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of Charleston purchased 650 acres near Pendleton on which he built the house as his summer home to accommodate
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was a member of one of South Carolina's most distinguished families whose members were prominent in politics, the military, and agriculture. He was the nephew and cousin of two family members who served as South Carolina's representatives to the U.S. Constitutional Convention. He was also a close friend and associate of John C. Calhoun. When Flat Rock, N.C. became more fashionable as a summer retreat in the late 1840s, the Pinckney's sold the plantation.
Dr. John B. Adger of Charleston, a prominent and wealthy Presbyterian minister, purchased Woodburn in 1852, enlarged the farm land to over 1,000 acres and added the two-story piazzas or porches on the west side that make the appearance of the house so distinctive today. Woodburn remained in the Adger family for the next 56 years. Dr. Adger sold Woodburn to his younger brother in 1858 and it served as a refuge for members of the Adger family during the Civil War. Ownership of Woodburn transferred to a nephew, Augustus T. Smythe in 1881 who transformed Woodburn into a model stock farm.
Jane Edna Hunter, who assisted in establishing the nationally recognized Phyllis
Today the house stands on over six acres along with a reproduction of the Adger carriage house containing Thomas Green Clemson's traveling coach and a Conestoga wagon. A one-room cabin (c. 1810) that has been moved to the site serves as the cook house today. A walking trail has been developed to the ruins of the barn and farm buildings. A slave and tenant farm house is being built with funds provided by the SC Historical Heritage Corridor to interpret the experience of the slaves and tenant farmers of Woodburn. (Source: Brochure by the Pendleton Historic Foundation)
— Submitted January 16, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
2. National Register of Historic Places
Woodburn ** (added 1971 - Building - #71000741) • Also known as Frank Place •
End of Woodburn Rd., W of Pendleton, Pendleton •
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Person Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown •
Architectural Style: No Style Listed •
Historic Person: Pickney, Charles Cotesworth, et
Significant Year: 1855, 1800 •
Area of Significance: Religion, Social History, Agriculture, Politics/Government, Architecture •
Period of Significance: 1800-1824, 1825-1849, 1850-1874 •
Owner: Private •
— Submitted January 5, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
Large plantation home; 4-story; two huge front porches, one directly above other. Two double French doors open from both front drawing rooms. Wide outside window and door moldings, deeply fluted with Greek-key designs. Similar window and door-corner moldings in drawing rooms contain the federal star. Two front bedrooms on third floor have modified windows which open as doors. On second level, large front porch extends across back of house with stair leading to herringbone brick terrace below. Beneath is double cistern 25” x 8” x 8”.
Former “widow’s walk” with benches has been removed from top of house. Other features include a first floor dining room; several large pantries; cupboards with framed glass doors; stair halls, one above the other, on all three levels; nine fireplaces.
Woodburn is situated on a promontory with view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and panoramic view of country side. Property is bounded by Clemson
Woodburn is significant historically, architecturally, and culturally. It was built in the early 1800s by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1789-1865), who was born while his father was governor of South Carolina. Named for his famous uncle, he was one of the authors of the U.S. Constitution and twice a candidate for President of the U.S. He, himself, became S.C. Lieutenant Governor in 1833; was a member of the Nullification Convention in 1832. Graduated from Harvard University, studied law, but became a large planter, cultivating over 2,000 acres of rice on several plantations. Leader in education: trustee of South Carolina College, College of Charleston and of Charleston Orphans Home. His father, Thomas Pinckney, was one of the greatest agriculturalists of his day. Family continued its prominence in Pinckney descendant who were authors, military and civil leaders, and ministers, one of whom became an Episcopal Bishop.
House owned in later years by Adger and Smythe families. The Reverend Dr. John B. Adger was a son of wealthy Charleston parents. A Presbyterian missionary to Armenia, he translated both the New Testament and Psalms into Armenian. He enlarged Woodburn in the early 1850s. Augustus Smythe, another early owner, created a model livestock
House reflects architecture of “Charleston type” houses in Up Country. Many planters built summer homes in Pendleton to take advantage of open space and summer breezes, and Woodburn, with its large rooms, extremely high ceilings, and central hallways, is typical of the Charleston influence that is part of Pendleton’s character.
The restorers of Woodburn dedicated themselves in their charter “to preserve, restore, and display again some of our cultural heritage; to recapture the spirit of great people, of fine living and a lively home, to the end that we and those who come after us may experience again the virtues and greatness of those who lived before us.” (Source: National Register nomination form.)
— Submitted July 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
There were several Charles Cotesworth Pinckneys. The one identified with Pendleton was born in 1789 when his father, Thomas Pinckney, was governor of South Carolina.
The father was one of the foremost scientific agricullturalists of his day and was a Federalist candidate for vice president in 1796. He named this son Charles Cotesworth in honor of his brother (1746-1825), an author of the U.
Pendleton's Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was attracted here for the reason many Charlestonians came to Pendletonnfor summer homes and in some cases permanent residences. His brother, Thomas Pinckney, was already here in his home at Altamont when Charles Cotesworth started buying Pendleton land in 1828.
He purchased at least three tracts, totalling several hundred acres and adjoining each other, on Eighteen Mile Creek west of the town proper. He built a four story frame house with several outbuildings, and this was his residence until 1852.
Pendleton's Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was lieutenant governor of South Carolina 1833, and had been a member of the Nullification Convention in 1832. He was an 1808 graduate of Harvard University, and was in the practice of law. A large planter, at one time he had more than 2,000 acres of rice on several plantations in the Lowcountry. He was a trustee of the South Carolina College, the College of Charleston and the Charleston Orphans Home.
He was quite religious, and employed missionaries for systematic instruction of Negroes, particularly the hundreds of slaves on all his and his father's plantations.
On July 20, 1852, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney sold all his Pendleton holdings to David S. Taylor for $2,525, and he returned to Charleston. He died in 1865 and the body was brought to St. Paul's in Pendleton for burial.
John Bailey Adger was born in 1810 of wealthy parents and could have lived a life of ease. He dedicated himself, however, to the Gospel ministery. After four years at Princeton Theological Seminary, he and his wife, Elizabeth Shresbury of Charleston, sailed in 1834 for Smyrna, Asia Minor, under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
There his main work became the translation of the Bible into the modern language of the Armenians. He wrote that he found these early Christians persecuted, "scattered allover Asia from Constantinople to Calcutta" yet having no Bible which was understandable to them. In time, through the translation, Armenian congregations grew from four or five members to 1,500.
While there, the Adgers lost their first three children and Dr. Adger wrote "but religion became a new experience for me, awakening within me far deeper and tendered emotions than it ever before produced."
After 12 years in Smyrna and Constantinople, the Adgers returned to Charleston for a year's furlough. Dr. Adger's eyes had been affected by a long illness with small pox and he wrote "My eyes, so weary with the trying work of Armenian reading, writing and proof reading, were to have comparative rest."
But rest did not come. Dr. Adger found on return that all Southern missionaries serving under the American Board of Commissioners had become an embarrassment to the board because of the slavery question. Dr. Adger resigned from his work and for the next five years became missionary to the Negroes of Charleston. At the end of 1851, he turned this work over to Dr. John L. Girardeau.
Then, desiring an outdoor life to rebuild his impaired health, he and his family set out with carriages and horses for the up country, finally arriving in Pendleton.
With his wife, four children, two servants, three horses and the carriage and buggy, the Adgers arrived in Pendleton and found quarters at the Cherry Hotel. Elam Sharpe, a Presbyyterian ruling elder, started showing him around, the first stop being the former Pinckney home which had been named Woodburn from a couplet in one of Walter Scott's poems:
"Where Reed upon her margin sees, Sweet Woodburn's cottages and trees."
Dr. Adger wrote "I fell in love with Woodburn at first sight-the beautiful ride through the woods to the house, the old dwelling itself, the splendid mountain view seen from its windows, the beautiful road doWn to the stable, the fertile acres of bottom land. All these together made a deep impression on my fancy. It became clear to my secret thought that this, with its four hundred and fifty acres, was the home I was looking for. From Pendleton we went to Clarkesville, Ga., visiting Toccoa and Tallulah Falls on the way. It is beautiful country but Woodburn had hold of my heart."
He purchased the land from David S. Taylor, enlarged the house and added more acreage and other outbuildings.
Dr. Adger gives a vivid picture of one phase of their life and interest in their Negro servants at each plantation: "I was constantly away on Sundays, preaching myself. My wife assembled both children and grown people on Sunday afterrnoons on our wide piazzas, reading and explaining the Scriptures to them, teaching them Bible verses and many of our best hymns ... My brothers and I employed a faithful, earnest minister to preach to them every week, and my children taught all of them to read who were disposed to hear."
After five years as, Woodburn, he says, "I had become anxious to return to the proper business of a Gospel minister." At Columbia Theological Seminary he spent the next sevennteen years of his life as Professor of Church History and Polity. Dr. J. H. Thornwell, Dr. Joseph R. Wilson and Dr. Woodrow Wilson (the father and grandfather of President Woodrow Wilson) were his honored co-professors and friends for the rest of his life. Each summer he preached in Pendleton as the family lived at Boscobel, which he had purchased.
The Seminary had to close in 1861 as all the students joined the Confederate Army. Dr. Adger moved to Pendleton for safety, storing his valuable library and furniture in a warehouse in Columbia, where they were later burned by Sherman's army.
There are revealing glimpses of life in Pendleton during the War years: many funerals to conduct as bodies of Confederate soldiers were sent back home; the picture of the Home Guards, "a small body of very old men and some fifty lads, one of them my son, John, about fifteen years old":...the story of a raiding group of Yankee soldiers, one of whom was left to die by his comrades, following a fatal accident with his own gun the body buried by the Adgers, with a Christian service, and a wooden tombstone erected. The brother of the Yankee later came back to thank the Adgers with tears.
Many Smythe and Adger relatives refugeed at Woodburn, Boscobel and Ashtabula during the war. At least one family wedding was happily solemnized by Dr. Adger, that of his niece, Anna Adger, to a Columbia Seminary graduate, the Rev. Thomas Hart Low of Hartsville.
In September 1865, Dr. Howe, Dr. Woodrow and Dr. Adger reopened the Seminary, which to date has had many years of usefulness to the Presbyterian Church, training men for the ministry. After retirement in 1873, Dr. Adger "enjoyed a long and fruitful pastorate as the resident minister of Pendleton Omrch."
When Dr. Adger sold Woodburn in 1858, his brother, Joseph E. Adger was the buyer. Dr. Adger had Boscobel by then, and in the Civil War period family members from the Lowcountry refugeed at both places.
On April 23, 1881, "E.A. Smythe, assignee, and J.E. Adger, agent for creditors, made their conveyance to Augussline T. Smythe all that land comprising 1,1l9 1/2 acres known as Woodburn Farm." Smythe created a model livestock farm there, specializing in race horses and purebred cattle.
Smythe, an Adger relative, retained the farm until Feb. 21, 1911, when he sold it to W.F.C. Owen of Greenville. He acknowledged in the deed that several parcels had been sold earlier and he conveyed the balance of 845 acres to Owen for $20,000.
On June 30, 1930, the S.C. State Bank of Greenville obtained the property in a mortgage foreclosure from Owen, and on Aug. 15 that year the bank sold two tracts of land, totalling 605.6 acres and known as Woodburn Farm, to John Frank for $5,000.
Woodburn Farms, Inc., was established and Virginia Frank Neff, president, conveyed it solely to John Frank for $10. Frank mained a fine farm there many years and it later came into the hands of the federal government, and then Clemson University.
Clemson deeded it to the Foundation for Historic Restoraation in Pendleton Area on Aug. 1, 1966 and for several years Foundation members did much toward restoration of the plantation home. It then became necessary in 1972 to seek federal aid in the form of a grant and to accomplish this, the Foundation has deeded the house and the 6.46 acres of land included to the Pendleton District Historical and Recreational Commission. The PDHRC has received HUD funds, matched by $25,000 raised by Foundation members, and restoration is underway. (Source: Pendleton Historic District: A Survey by the Pendleton District Historical and Recreational Commission, pgs 53-55.)
— Submitted July 26, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
5. About Augustine T. Smyth
Augustine T. Smythe is a lawyer and well known business man of Charleston and bears the same name as his honored father, with whom he was associated in practice for a time. Considering their career together the name has been a distinctive one in the legal, civic and business hie of Charleston for over half a century.
The late Augustine T. Smythe. who died in 1914. was born at Charleston October 5. 1842, son of Rev. Thomas and Margaret M. (Adger) Smyth. Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D., came from Belfast, Ireland, in 1830 and for over forty years was pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston. He was also a gifted speaker and writer. Margaret M. Adger was a daughter of James Adger, who came from County Antrim, Ireland, in 1790. The names Smythe and Adger have for a century been conspicuous in the business, professional and all the varied interests of the City of Charleston.
Augustine Thomas Smythe always acknowledged a great debt to his parents and next to them to Professor Sachtleben, whose excellent private school he attended as a boy. In 1860 he entered South Carolina College, and remained a student until he entered the army. As a member of the College Cadets he assisted in the defense of Charleston Harbor at the first attack on Fort Sumter. In 1862 he was mustered into the regular Confederate army as a member of the Washington Light Infantry, which became Company A of the Twenty-Fifth South Carolina Volunteers. He was with that organization until the close of the war, doing duty in the Charleston defenses and at the end of the war was a member of a Cavalry Brigade. After the war he accepted his own poverty as the common lot of the South and endured a time of stress and struggle until he could become established in his profession. He studied law in the office of Simonton & Barker at Charleston and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He at once began practice and continued active in the profession for nearly half a century. For a number of years he was senior partner in the well known firm of Smythe, Lee & Frost.
From 1880 to 1804 he was member of the State Senate, and during a large part of that time was chairman of the judiciary committee. In earlier years he was the president of the Pioneer Fire Company, one of the volunteer fire companies of his city, and always kept up an interest in the local militia, serving for a number of years as major of the Washington Light Infantry. He was also prominent in Masonry, being grand master of the Grand Lodge and grand high priest of the Grand Chapter and commander of South Carolina Com- mantiery No. I. He was also a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason. From 1800 to 1896 he served as a trustee of South Carolina College and was a trustee of Clemson Agricultural College from 1900 to 1906. He was the first commodore and one of the organizers of the Carolina Yacht Club, and at one time was president of the Hibernian Society. For many years and until his death he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. On June 27, 1865, he married Miss Louisa McCord, of Columbia. She was a daughter of Col. D. J. McCord, prominent as a lawyer, and the granddaughter of Judge Langdon Cheves.
Augustine T. Smythe, Sr., left surviving him three daughters and two sons. The eldest of his surviving sons is the Rev. L. Cheves McC. Smythe, who has been a missionary of the Presbyterian Church for several years in Japan, and who was during the World war with the Red Cross in Russia. Mr. Smythe is a graduate of the University of- Virginia, where he received an M. A. degree, and of Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1916 he married Miss Mary Fletcher, daughter of Judge James H. Fletcher, of Accomac, Virginia. The daughters are Louisa C., wife of Samuel G. Stoney, of Charleston; Hannah McC., wife of Anton P. Wright, of Savannah, Georgia; and Susan S., wife of John Bennett, of Charleston.
Augustine T. Smythe, Jr., the younger son, was born at Charleston, January 25, 1885, and was graduated in 1903 from the University School of Charleston. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia in 1907 and in 1909 completed his preparation for law in the Harvard Law School. He was admitted to the bar the same year and began practice at Charleston with his father's firm, Smythe, Lee & Frost. He is now a member of the firm Smythe & Visanska. Mr. Smythe is a director of the Southern Home Insurance Company, Charleston Savings Institution, Dime Bank and Trust Company, and has many other business connections. He is a member of the Carolina Yacht Club and is a Mason and Knight of Pythias.
He married Harriott Ravenel Buist, a daughter of the well known Charleston citizen and lawyer, Henry Buist. They have two children, Frances R. and Augustine, Jr. (Source: History of South Carolina by Yates Snowden, pgs 146-148.)
— Submitted July 26, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
6. A Nickle and a Prayer
Jane Hunter was the daughter of a former slave and a mother who was born the day Lincoin signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Her parents were sharecroppers at Woodburn when Jane was born. When she died in January, 1971, it caused headlines throughout the nation, including the following Page One story from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
By Charles H. Loeb
CLEVELAND:-Sixty-five years ago last May, a young Negro nurse in her early twenties came to Cleveland homeless, almost penniless, and without friends and proceeded to literally parley "a nickle and a prayer" into a career that won her international renown. This young woman founded an institution that for more than a half-century has been advancing the standards of Negro girls and women in the community that adopted her as its own.
The young nurse Was Jane Edna Hunter.
The institution-The Phillis Wheatley Association.
Early Sunday morning, Jane Edna Hunter died peacefully in the Margaret Wagner House of the Benjamin Rose Institute in Euclid Heights, where she had lived in seclusion with only fleeting memories of either her friends or her outstanding accomplishments.
A product of rural Pendleton, S.C., where she was born on December 13, 1882, her death marks the passing of one of the most, remarkable feminine careers of our time, and while, in life, she was the recipient of uncounted honors, her accomplishments never succeeded in erasing a humble beginning that she recounted in her autobiography, A Nickle and A Prayer which enjoyed nationwide circulation some years ago, and fully established Jane Edna Hunter's fame as "Godmother of America's Brown Daughters" for all time.
In her early life, Miss Hunter's chances for social refinements were extremely limited. A farm girl, she recalls in her book how she worked in the fields of South Carolina, picking cotton and dropping com behind a two-mule plow from sunup to sundown.
Even at the missionary school she attended, she found herself at 16, in charge of a dining room and scrubbing a hundred feet of hallway and doing the laundry for the mission family.
Her nurse training was earned at Hampton Training School but until she entered the Cleveland community, her real education and the social graces she not only developed, but instilled in young Negro girls, was negligible.
In Cleveland, after being turned down when she applied for listing in the Nurses Registry of that day, she made the rounds of doctor's offices, and worked with and for the famous doctors of her time, one of them the personal physician of John D. Rockefeller.
Her contacts with wealthy Cleveland area families only sharpened her interests in helping other girls, many of them flooding in from the southland, to adjust to the complex life of a big city. They also provided her with a reservoir of financial support that helped her found, and for 37 years direct the affairs of the Phillis Wheatley Association in the heart of the Central Area at East 46th and Cedar Avenue. One of the city's early skyscrapers, it now stands dwarfing the buildings surrounding it today in a blighted slum area.
In the early days of its founding the Phillis Wheatley Association taught service skllls, cooking, sewing, housekeeping, and the like to its girls, while also providing them protected, clean, modern housing at virtually whatever they could pay when employed.
She kept a sharp eye on her "girls" and insisted upon the most scrupulous conduct from dormitory residents, promptly ejected any girl who failed to follow her strict code of conduct.
But things at Phillis Wheatley changed after her retirement in 1948, and the emphasis also changed to more cultural pursuits, including the formation of the Sutphen Music School adjacent to the main building and the teaching of health education and the like.
In her early retirement, and until her failing health led her to seclusion, Miss Hunter busied herself in setting up the Phillis Wheatley Foundation, establishing a scholarship fund to give aid to girls seeking college educations, with emphasis on home economics and nursing careers.
At the time she was assigned a guardian, the inventory of her estate filed by Attorney Charles M. Hadley, estimated her assets at $409,000 most of it in sound stocks and bonds, and nearly $50,000 in cash deposited in Cleveland banks. She also owned several parcels of real estate, including the home she built at 2170 E. 46th St., right next door to Phillis Wheatley.
Atty. Hadley, at the time attributed Miss Hunter's wealth to the initial piece of property she managed to buy at 2276 Scovill Avenue, and her amazing frugality and thrift.
At that time, also her relatives were listed as Winston E. Harris, 76 (a brother since deceased), Eliza Thompson, 3392 E. 128th St., niece; and Pauline Thomas, 3225 E. 121st St, first cousin.
Nan L. Shores, cousin, James A. Millner, cousin, and Tenus Brown, cousin, all of Cleveland. (Source: Pendleton Historic District: A Survey by the Pendleton District Historical and Recreational Commission, pg 55.)
— Submitted July 26, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
7. Replica of slave cabin added to Woodburn Plantation
The Anderson Independent-Mail
By Nicole Smith
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Pendleton — The Pendleton Historic Foundation has added a replica of a slave cabin to its Woodburn Plantation tour to honor Pendleton-born Jane Edna Hunter.
Hunter was born in a slave cabin at Woodburn in 1882. Although the original cabin was destroyed, the foundation has been working for a more than a year to raise the money for the replica and to build it.
Building the replica has been a dream of the foundation’s, said Christa Skeen, president of the group. She said Hunter changed the perception of what women can do.
“At a time when slavery was still so prominent, and there were still problems with race, she was able to overcome being born on a slave plantation,” Skeen said. “She overcame adversity to help other women in similar situations.”
Hunter completed nursing school despite having only an eighth-grade education and moved to Ohio in 1905. While there, she noticed a lack of unemployment and housing for young black women, according to the foundation.
She founded the Phillis Wheatley Association to help deal with those problems, and in 1911 the association became a home for black women by providing housing, employment and social development. It was the first of its kind and eventually became one of the largest social-service agencies in Cleveland.
Hunter founded a scholarship fund for black women.
Though she never moved back to Pendleton, some of her descendants live in the area. The descendants were invited to the cabin’s dedication in May.
Skeen said Hunter probably remained in Ohio because of her success.
“She’d made such an impact and difference there that she wanted to make sure everyone would follow in the right footsteps,” she said.
The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor awarded a grant for the cabin replica.
Devon Harris, director of public and visitor relations for the Heritage Corridor, said educational components and historical value are what make grant applications stand out.
“We use our grant program to help fund projects like this that offer historical presence and education on a local level for visitors and residents to enjoy,” Harris said. “The Pendleton district does a wonderful job with their preservation projects.”
The historical foundation and cabin, she said, were a “reliable guarantee to fund.”
“It’s a great project,” Harris said. “It’s a great destination for visitors and offers that … sense of pride in your community when you’re a resident.”
The cabin replica has been furnished in a style nearly identical to the conditions Hunter would have lived in, Skeen said.
“It has very little furniture, very few objects,” she said. “She came from literally nothing, and regardless of whether she became wealthy or not was able to give others so much.”
During tours at Woodburn Plantation, which is at 130 History Lane in Pendleton, visitors are taken through the cabin and told about Hunter and her accomplishments.
Others can learn from Hunter’s example, Skeen said.
“Race and color and gender are not barriers,” she said. “If you follow your dreams, you can be an inspiration to yourself and others.”
Skeen said the foundation would like to see more tourists come to Woodburn, but the group especially wants to make sure Hunter’s story is told. The foundation provides tours for schools and individuals and has another plantation home, Ashtabula, open for visitation.
Currently Woodburn is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, but as the summer temperatures cool down, more hours and days will be added, Skeen said. Admission is $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 5 through 10 and free or children younger than 5.
The foundation will also hold a benefit gala at Woodburn on Oct. 16, and Hunter’s story will be discussed at that event.
Visit www.pendletonhistoricfoundation.org for more information.
— Submitted July 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Categories. • Agriculture • Civil Rights • Notable Buildings • Notable Persons •
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