In true History Tourist fashion, we hit a lot of places during our four days in Clemson. Most of them don’t make for full blog posts but are worth mentioning.
South Carolina Botanical Gardens
We both like gardens so we made it a point to visit the South Carolina Botanical Gardens at Clemson University. We didn’t have time to see all 295 acres, but we saw the formal and butterfly gardens (for Mr. History Tourist, who likes to photograph them) and a couple of historic houses on the property (for me, who just likes them in general).
This 1835 cabin was built by slaves for Ransom and Martha Hunt, successful farmers with 8000 acres. They lived with their 12 children in this cabin, so “successful” apparently didn’t meant that you got a lot of room. The cabin was originally located a few miles away and moved to Clemson in 1955. We were there at off hours, so neither of the houses were open, but I took a photo of the interior of the Hunt cabin through the window.
The 1716 Hanover House was built for French Huguenot Paul de St. Julien. At the top of one of its two chimneys is inscribed “Peu a Peu” (little by little) from the French proverb “Little by little, the bird builds its nest.” Hanover House, too, was moved from a different location, in the 1940s when the creation of man-made Lake Moutrie threatened to submerge it. I couldn’t see inside, but a sign outside said that the local Colonial Dames of America chapter has furnished the interior with 18th century antiques.
Bob Campbell Geology Museum
The museum, part of the SC botanical garden, is made up of several gem and mineral collections donated by alumni and other collectors (Bob Campbell was one of the donors – a quarry owner who funded the construction of the building).
The sign on this says: Pterosaur; Solnhofen limestone; Jurassic period; 155 million years old; Bavaria, Germany.
Mr. HT is a rock hound, so he had a long and satisfying talk with the curator of the museum. They talked about Patuxent River Stone, the state gem of Maryland, which (shocking!) the curator had never hear of. It’s a rock that can be found only in Maryland but, in Maryland, can be found everywhere. When we got home, Mr. HT sent the museum a box of it.
Barnard Bee Grave
One of my favorite stories about the Civil War is about how Confederate General Thomas Jackson got his moniker “Stonewall.” It was at the first Battle of Manassas that his fellow Confederate general, Barnard Bee observed him and said “There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall.” Or something to that effect.
The fun part of the story is that Bee might not have meant it as a good thing. Major Burnett Rhett, aide to yet another Confederate general, Joseph Johnson, claimed that Bee spoke in annoyance, because Jackson was just standing there…like a stone wall… instead of going to Bee’s aid. Bee was killed just minutes after uttering that line, so no one will ever know.
Bee is buried in the St. Luke Church cemetery, in his hometown of Pendleton, South Carolina. Pendleton’s about 10 minutes from Clemson.
Upcountry History Museum
It’s the ten duel commandments. Yes, another Hamilton the Musical reference.
My favorite object at the Upcounty History Museum at Furman University in Greenville was this pair of 19th century dueling pistols. “The arms used should be smooth-bore pistols, not exceeding nine inches in length,” says the Code of Honor, the book that sets dueling rules in the south. That’s not one of Hamilton’s ten duel commandments, but things are probably different in Jersey.
The Upcountry History Museum was the last thing we visited before we flew home from the Greenville airport, so normally this would be the end of the 2015 Southern Road Trip. But I just realized that I never wrote about the very first place we visited on the trip. So I’ll be circling around to that for one more road trip post.