This blog is a tribute to this grand home and all those who who have ties to Laurelwood. As the grandaughter of Jasper Hampton Campbell who purchased Laurelwood in 1908, I have many wonderful memories as a young child visiting Laurelwood. We fondly called it "The Big House". There were Easter egg hunts on the front lawn, Christmas celebrations, Sunday dinners, and a lot of time rocking in the rocking chairs on the front porch as my aunts shared stories about life on the Laurelwood plantation. They talked to us about their experiences and shared stories that their parents told them of life and happenings in the lower richland area. Many of these stories have been forgotten. I hope to bring these great stories back to life and preserve them just as Laurelwood is being brought back to life and preserved. There are hidden treasures to be revealed. A legacy to be handed down and passed on.
Let me help you look past the physical imperfections that you notice on first glance to see the hidden beauty that's just waiting to be revealed once again. The stories and information shared here will link the past to the present. There is much to be learned and many memories to share so that all can see the true beauty of ....Laurelwood.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Walk Through the Big House!

I was able to do something today that I have wanted to do for a long time.  I was able to walk my children through "the Big House".  My oldest child who turns 20 this month remembered visits there when she was small when we would visit my Daddy.  However, my other 4 children had never been inside.
Michael Bedenbaugh was there today doing a walk through for the Richland County Conservation Commission and invited me out to see what was going on. Of course I was thrilled to have the chance to walk through the house again and show it to my children. I got to show them the bannister where I used to slide down the stairs!
Also the room that I used to sleep in when I visited.
I was a bit overcome with emotion when I first walked in the house. I was a little bit caught off guard with my feelings. It's been 15 years since my father died and he moved away from here the year before he died. This was my first time ever being back in the house without my father being here and it just seemed natural to walk in and expect to see him in his favorite chair. But he wasn't there.
His chair sat in this spot to the left of the fireplace.  This was actually the dining room but my 3 aunts used it for a dining room/family room. They had their rocking chairs and special chairs lined up and a television in this room.  The long dining room table used to go here.
The table sat to the right of the fireplace longways in front of the door that leads to the kitchen.
They have had some major clearing of the overgrowth going on.  This area to the left of the house was once a beautiful garden area. It can be again!!!
Here we are looking out the back from the top floor.  This area used to be a nice manicured grassy lawn where we played croquet and horseshoes. The cane has literally taken over!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Family Ties part 1


My brother, Doug Campbell, Grandson of Jasper Hampton Campbell and son to Douglas Quentin Campbell has this to share about his memories of stories told by the family. Jasper Hampton's father, was Thomas Belton Campbell, he fought in the Civil war. After being taken prisoner then released, he walked barefoot to SC from Virginia after the surrender at Appomattox. He (Thomas Belton) may have been an aide to General Wade Hampton. Thomas's son Jasper Hampton Campbell (I wonder where the Hampton may have come from?) moved his family to Laurelwood in 1908 after their family home called the Leesburg Plantation burned to the ground. Also, I remember that Daddy had told me that the reason that Sherman's troops possibly didn't burn the house during the Civil war was that there may have been a lot of trees(on either side of the avenue) and they could not see it, or because a pastor used to reside there. He had told me that at one time there was a well just to the right of the right entrance to the property coming from the avenue and then take a slight right and then left coming in where Civil war soldiers would get water. The 4 corners of the house are on the North, South, East and West points of the compass. As best I can remember, Jasper Hampton had a sister Lilly, and a brother Andrew who I think at one time was the county commissioner of Richland County. Daddy had told me that his father used to run a shingle mill and a saw mill and had also been quite a successful planter and merchant before the depression and that he could have gotten out of the business and been wealthy enough at one point to not have to worry about anything, but he felt a responsibility to the community to keep the business going. After the depression nearly everything was lost except for the family home and surrounding property. Daddy had told me that they grew food and sold it to a prison that was close by(I don't remember which one). He said that our grandmother (Minnie) had come up with the idea to grow iceberg lettuce one winter and that they were able to survive a particularly hard year from the proceeds of the sale of the iceberg lettuce. He had also told me that the children had to ride in the back of a pickup truck to Columbia and he remembered wearing clothes with patches on them and taking baskets of produce into the buildings to sell to the people who worked in various offices in Columbia. I think that he felt humiliated by this experience. The children were Jasper Hampton Jr(JH),Nancy, Annie, Grace, Margaret, Calvin, Quentin(daddy) and Ben. When we stayed over for the night, if we heard a noise that could not be explained we were told that it was "Mr. Lead-in-ham in the attic"(the resident ghost). Ghost stories were told though I don't remember many of them except for one where someone would see a lady on the road at night and pick her up and then when they would reach their destination she would be gone.
Here is where our journey begins at Laurelwood Lane otherwise known as "The Avenue" by family members.  When I was a little girl this was mostly cleared and blackberry bushes lined either side of the avenue. I remember picking blackberries with my brothers and sisters and riding a horse for the first time down the avenue.  I have asked my siblings to share with me any of their thougths and stories about Laurelwood and I have a very informative story that my brother Doug Campbell shared.( I will be posting it soon.) I learned a lot of family history that I didn't know about.  With me being the youngest of the 5 children that my parents had, I recall a lot of the stories but not all of the details.  I hope that with writing these stories out and people commenting, that we can sharpen the details and fill in some missing pieces. I'm so glad you are on this journey with me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Laurelwood Plantation

I would like to introduce you to a grand lady, Laurelwood.  She's very old, very worn but still very beautiful! This photo was provided by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation who recently partnered with the Richland County Conservation Commision to purchase the property in efforts to save this beautiful treasure of South Carolina history.


Here is the description of Laurelwood taken from the SC State Historic Preservation Office. "Laurelwood is significant architecturally as one of the few remaining antebellum plantation houses in lower Richland County. Built in the Greek Revival mode with a two-story, pedimented portico featuring paneled piers, this house is said to have been constructed ca. 1830 by James H. Seay, cotton, corn and rice planter. In 1850, Seay owned 2,500 acres with 600 improved acres; however, by 1860 he had apparently divested himself of all but about 425 improved acres. A small portion of Seay’s acreage went to the Congaree Baptist Church, which constructed a church known as Good Hope, on the property near Laurelwood. The two-story frame building has a typical central-hall, double-pile plan, with interior chimneys. The façade features a two-tier, pedimented porch spanning the three central bays. The porch has paneled piers and a simple balustrade. The rear elevation originally had a two-story porch similar to the façade porch. This was removed in the twentieth century, and a one-story, frame addition built in its place. Most of the original woodwork is intact in the house. Two historic outbuildings are located on the property. A frame smokehouse is to the southeast of the house and a frame barn is to the northeast. Listed in the National Register March 27, 1986." Copied from the state preservation office web page.

I am the grandaughter of Jasper Hampton Campbell who purchased Laurelwood in 1908. This southern plantation was home to my family for almost a century! Here is a photo of my grandparents, Jasper Hampton Campbell and Minnie Ammons Campbell.


Laurelwood has left us an invaluable legacy of not only historical proportions but we have been handed down a looking glass to expose our roots so that we know and understand our heritage. What a gift! My purpose for this blog is to share with you the legacy that Laurelwood has passed on to us through pictures, stories, people, events and anything else I can dig up about this amazing property. So get you a glass of sweet southern tea & your rocking chair and enjoy the legacy of Laurelwood.  
The name Laurelwood Plantation was more than likely given to the property at the time that it was purchased by my grandparents.  It was named after the wild mountain laurel that grows in abundance in the nearby woods.  There is some speculation and information coming out that Laurelwood may solve an old mystery about the whereabouts of the Sandhills Plantation.  Michael Bedenbaugh the Executive Director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation has a some very interesting information about this.
I have many wonderful memories as a young child visiting Laurelwood.  We fondly called it "The Big House". There were Easter egg hunts on the front lawn, Christmas celebrations, Sunday dinners, and a lot of time rocking in the rocking chairs on the front porch as my aunts shared stories about life on the Laurelwood plantation.  They talked to us about their experiences and shared stories that their parents told them of life and happenings in the lower richland area.  Many of these stories have been forgotten.  I hope to bring these great stories back to life and preserve them just as Laurelwood is being brought back to life and preserved.  There are hidden treasures to be revealed.  A legacy to be handed down and passed on.
Let me help you look past the physical imperfections that you notice on first glance to see the hidden beauty that's just waiting to be revealed once again.  This blog is a tribute to this grand home and all those who who have ties to Laurelwood.  The stories and information shared here will link the past to the present.  There is much to be learned and many memories to share so that all can see the true beauty of ....Laurelwood.