Chet asserts that the house did not go to Samuel and Mary’s son Samuel as was stipulated in Samuel’s will, because the son Samuel died (in 1847) before he probated the will. (It is believed that his mother Mary had died the previous year.)
According to Chet, in the situation that followed the junior Samuel’s death, Samuel and Mary’s son Hugh obtained ownership of the house. When Hugh died 10 May 1854 and his sizeable estate was partitioned and sold (proceedings filed 20 Sep 1854), his son Samuel attained the property.
From this Samuel, ownership went in 1887 to his daughter Ellen F. Reed who had married Benjamin Franklin Rice.
John Calhoun Matthews was a neighbor to our Reeds, and his home, which was very near the Reed house, was destroyed by fire. He approached Ellen Reed Rice about buying the house. The sale was completed in 1907.
John C. Matthews owned it until he decided to move to Blackville in 1911. His son (and Chet’s grandfather) John Gideon Matthews, Sr. took it over until his death in 1946. Chet’s father, Smith Gideon Matthews owned it and farmed the land from 1946 to his death in 1997. Chet inherited it and soon began following through on his dream.
(Click on pictures to enlarge.)
Chet related that homes like this were built with no closets because British taxes were levied by the number of rooms, and closets were counted as rooms. Instead of closets, armoires and chests were used to avoid higher taxes. Even though British taxation was a thing of the past when this home was built, people apparently didn’t feel the need for closets. They continued to build their homes without closets. The only original closet here is under the stairs.
Chet was extremely fortunate to find a contractor who was a true artisan and became very interested in the restoration, desiring to maintain as much of the original as possible and introduce new materials in a way that interfered the least with the history.
Both the heart pine and cypress are virtually petrified. Driving a nail is impossible without splitting the wood. Drilling a starter hole is even difficult.
The carpentry is incredible. The original house was made of heart pine and heart cypress cut from virgin timber.
The original supports are huge square chunks of heart pine.
Chet and my son Ian had to use both hands to lift the massive well cover.