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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Walnut Grove

My Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter is the Kate Barry Chapter in Spartanburg, SC. We have monthly lunch meetings with interesting speakers. In October we had a bagged lunch at Walnut Grove and were given a tour of the home that our chapter helps with donations. It turned out to be a beautiful Fall day and I got some wonderful photos of the the house, grounds and our ladies.

Here are some our "daughters" waiting for the tour.

The tours

The Moores were Scots-Irish who had come from Northern Ireland (possibly Antrim or Down) to America. Later they left Pennsylvania in a movement of Ulster settlers traveling down the Great Wagon Road to the South Carolina Backcountry. Eight of their ten children were born in Ireland with the last two born in America. In 1763, Charles Moore received a grant for 550 acres along the Tyger River by King George III. He later received additional grants bringing his total acreage to about 3,000. In 1765 Charles Moore built a house on the property. He and his wife, Mary, raised 10 children in the house.

In 1867, the first child of Charles and Mary Moore, Margaret Katherine Moore (Kate, 1752-1823) married General Andrew Barry at the age of 15. They lived at Walnut Grove and it was so named for the walnut trees that Kate planted around the home. They later settled about 2 miles from the plantation.

Kate Barry was an excellent horsewoman and helped her husband by spying on Tory troops, chasing them away from her home, and gathering men to help her husband fight during the Revolutionary War. It wasn't unusual for Kate or her slave Uncle Cato to mount their horses, ride to the patriots' encampment, and warn her husband and his troops of impending danger. She was considered quite a heroine and our DAR chapter is named after her. The Moores and Barrys were strong supporters of the American Revolution and Kate knew every inch of land in the area, all the shortcuts and trails, where Patriots lived, and how to contact them. It is thought that Walnut Grove served as a recruiting center prior to the Battle of Cowpens. Single-handedly, Kate rounded up the necessary local Patriots to join General Morgan's forces for the Battle of Cowpens in 1781. When Kate learned about Colonel Banastre Tarleton's advance toward the area called Cowpens, she knew that the soldiers from her husband's militia unit had all returned to their farms, and that all available men were desperately needed to halt the enemy's advance. According to legend, she tied her baby to the bedpost while she rode her horse to warn neighbors that the British were coming. Her warning helped to prepare the colonial forces to defeat the British governor, Cornwallis, and his men and drive them north, out of the state of South Carolina.

In 1781, after the surrender at Yorktown, Va., the Patriot-turned-Tory William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham took a vengeance trip -- pillaging, burning and slaughtering. In November, 1781, Major Cunningham paid a visit to the plantation of Charles Moore. According to local legend, Captain Steadman (affianced to one of Moore's daughters) had come down with a fever and rested in the home of his fiancĂ©’s parents to recuperate. With him were two of his subordinates. Being a proper household Steadman was rendered immobile within a "bundling bag". The two soldiers accompanying Steadman were bedded down in a nearby barn. When the Loyalists stormed the house Cunningham personally shot Steadman in his defenseless position. Knowing that they would be killed, the two other men with Steadman tried to run, but Cunningham and his Tories shot them down in front of the house. Tradition also has it that the Loyalists were wearing pine sprigs in their hats. One of the Loyalists stuck his pine sprig in the ground, which grew to be a large pine tree. Kate rode to where her husband was gathered with his men. Captain Andrew Barry made it back in time to stop the soldiers from burning the house down and forced them back. The "Bloody Scout" moved on to the Wofford’s Iron Works at Lawson’s Fork Creek, and destroyed it before continuing their raid. Not far from the oak and walnut trees today lies the Moore family cemetery with 147 stones, some marked and some unmarked. The accounts passed down over time say the men killed during the raid were the first buried there.

In another incident, the Tories (Americans who supported the British) came to her house and demanded information about the whereabouts of her husband and his troops. When she refused to give them this information, the Tories tied her up and whipped her with a leash.

After the war, things settled down at Walnut Grove and elsewhere. Charles and Mary Moore lived until 1805 when they died in their seventies. His plantation comprised 265 acres at the time, because 750 acres had been given to his two eldest sons, General Thomas Moore (who represented the area in the US House of Representatives between 1801-1817) and Dr Andrew Barry Moore (1771-1848), who practiced medicine for 48 years in Spartanburg County. Walnut Grove was also home to the Rocky Spring Academy. In 1770 Charles Moore built a school building and operated the first school in Spartanburg County. Rocky Spring Academy was open until 1850. The children of the family and their neighbours were taught Greek and Latin, mathematics and spelling. They were taught firstly by Charles Moore, then by a long line of teachers. Even in the Upcountry, the Ulster-Scots emphasis on education was strong.

Kate is buried in the family cemetery in Moore, SC, beside her husband, Andrew Barry, who was one of the first elders of the Nazareth Presbyterian Church nearby. This church and it's old cemetery are still here. Descendants of Charles and Mary Moore had owned the house and property until 1961 when the late Thomas Moore Craig and his wife, Lena, gave it (and 8 acres) to the Spartanburg County Historical Association. The Sptbg Historical Assoc. restored it and opened it up to the public in the late 1960's. The outbuildings are original including the kitchen, blacksmith shop, wheat house, barn, meat house (built in 1765), wellhouse with dry cellar, school, and doctor's quarters. The main house has double shouldered chimneys, clapboard-over-log construction, and Queen Anne mantels. The documented collection of antique furnishings and accessories vividly portrays living conditions in Spartanburg County prior to 1805.

The Walnut Grove house

The house was made of logs but the outside was covered with wooden siding and the inside was completely covered with wooden panelling. We were told that this siding and panelling are original so it was done like this from the first.

Some of the mortar between the bricks disintegrated so they have layered mortar over it at different times.

Front yard with 200 yr old cedars.

The living room.

This Bible box (on a stand) carried the family Bible across the Atlantic Ocean from their homeland of Ireland and was carried into the Backcountry of SC. We treat the Word of God like so much unnecessary trash and yet, what a treasure it was considered in those days. We should be ashamed. God's Word is more precious than gold.

The downstairs Master Bedroom was beside the living room.

The staircase to the upstairs had a door that opened into the Master Bedroom and a door to open into the living room. There were 2 narrow steps to the landing going in either direction. Then the narros and steep stairs up.

You can see how the landing splits to go right or left in this photo.

Something that I noticed was that this house was very comfortable and fancy for a frontier home. This house was built during a very primitive time for upstate SC. Yet this family had fireplaces in most of the rooms (even one fireplace upstairs for the children). Just keeping all the fireplaces going was a job for someone. It meant cutting, hauling, stacking, bringing in, cleaning for MULTIPLE fireplaces. Which is one reason there was usually only 1 or 2 fireplaces in a home. They had taken the time, energy and expense to put outdoor siding and indoor panelling over the log cabin. The house was large compared to the log cabins of most frontier homes. They had porches and out buildings. They had painted the interior and exterior. They had some nice furniture considering where they lived. It would not have been easy to bring nice furniture all the way up to the Upstate or someone nearby had to be a master woodworker to make the furniture. Having books this far into the frontier at the time would have been an indication of prosperity. Sugar was an expensive commodity because it had to be brought in from the lowcountry. It's why they had sugar chests with locks on them so that the housewife could regulate the use of sugar. They made honey or molasses up here for sweetening. So, even though this place looks primitive to us...for their times it would have been a very nice working home.

The steps end at the large dormitory type bedroom (i.e. there is no hallway). This bedroom was used for the girls and younger children. Off this large room were two smaller bedrooms perhaps used for boys or for older children.

The beds were all "rope" beds. Which meant that there was a netting of rope under the mattress. The mattress on top of the ropes would be filled with duck down or straw. To keep the ropes from stretching and sagging, they had a tool that would be used to tighten the ropes. This is where the saying, "Sleep tight", comes from. The Master Bedroom bed was canopied and had a trundle bed for the babies or toddlers to sleep in. There is also a trundle bed upstairs in the girl's room.

Originally the house had a back porch that was later enclosed to make a dining room and a keeping room. A keeping room was where food was brought in from the kitchen and any additional things were done to it. It was also used for storing dishes, pewter, silverware, table linens, etc.

The dining room

The kitchen out building. It was built away from the house to try and protect the house from any fires starting in the kitchen. This kitchen house had an upstairs in it and since, heat rises (from the fireplace), it was probably a warm place to sleep. It may have been for a servant's family or for some of the children overflowing from the upstairs bedrooms. It originally only had 1 small window downstairs so the kitchen would have been pretty dark. Two newer windows have been added afterwards. But you have to remember that glass window panes were an expense and why would you want to spend that much on a kitchen building that might burn down anyway? Also, you didn't have screening from bugs. But you did need ventilation or the kitchen would get too hot in the summer.

Inside the schoolroom and weaving room

If you haven't visited Walnut Grove, please do. It's a great tour.

Location – Tyger River, Roebuck, originally called the Ninety-Six District, now called Spartanburg County, SC (Upstate), Located off SC 215 at 1200 Otts Shoals Road, Roebuck, SC, 29376.

One of Kate Barry's descendants sent me some interesting information about one of the Barry descendants:
Andrew Barry Hanna, was the grandson of Kate Barry. His parents were James and Violet Hanna ( Barry). A B Hanna came to Texas about 1839 at age 20. He soon became an officer serving as a volunteer in The Republic of Texas’ efforts to repeal invasions by Santa Anna and the Mexican Army. He participated in the ill-fated Meir Expedition (1842) into Mexico, was captured, and held in a prison in Mexico for 2 years. Upon his release ( Sept. 14, 1844 ) , he made his way back to Texas via schooner to New Orleans. His mother, Violet, moved to Texas in 1845 with her son-in-law’s family. The name of A B Hanna is inscribed on a monument memorializing the episode known in Texas as the Black Bean incident.

To see Walnut Grove during their Festifall:

For more on the Battle of Cowpens check out my post at:

For more on the Battle of Wofford Iron Works check out my post at:

For more on the Battle of Cedar Springs check out my post at:

For more on the Battle of King's Mountain check out my post at:

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