Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site is a historic site in Union County, South Carolina, that preserves the home of William H. Gist (1807-1874), the 68th governor of South Carolina. Gist helped instigate a Secession Convention in South Carolina, which led to the creation of the Ordinance of Secession that preceded the Civil War.
William Gist was the natural son of Francis Fincher Gist (c. 1773-1819), a Charleston merchant and South Carolina state representative, who by 1811 had purchased land in Upstate South Carolina. Either Francis Fincher or William Henry built a Georgian-style brick house (c. 1811-1830), eventually called Rose Hill after the many varieties of roses planted in its formal gardens.
In the late 1850s and early 1860s, William Gist remodeled the house, adding two-tiered back and front porches and stuccoing the brick in order to transform the exterior into the more fashionable Greek revival-style. The final house had three stories, the first two used as living quarters and the third a mixture of living and storage areas. According to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Rose Hill featured "more refined ornamentation than usually found in upcountry houses of the period." A spiral staircase led to the second floor, which included a ballroom with two fireplaces so that the space could be converted into two bed chambers to accommodate guests.
During Gist's term of office (1858-1860), the house served as the governor's mansion. From Rose Hill, Gist wrote the governors of Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, suggesting that if Abraham Lincoln were elected President, South Carolina might take the lead in seceding from the Union.
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Rose Hill Plantation Historic Reviews
I was looking at my SC State Parks guide one day to see what I could do since I had a Saturday off. While looking for information on the house I discovered that on this particular Saturday I would... more »
It seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but if you are in the area, it is a good tour. The guide (ranger) was very knowledgeable about the house and the area. The house was in good condition... more »
Loved the tour. Ranger Stephanie was full of facts about the property and it's previous inhabitants. The grounds and house are very well kept. I talked with Bruce the groundskeeper/maintenance supervisor for about 30 minutes and he gave me the folklore of the place. Our 3 girls and nephew (8,8,6,4) loved the tour and all the fun facts they learned. We had a nice picnic under the shelter and hiked the trails to end a perfect day trip. Highly recommend this historic site.
My wife and I stopped by the plantation today and had a wonderful time. When we got there we went to the ranger's office and he was very friendly. He offered to take us on a tour of the home and was very knowledgeable and took pride in the home. Telling us all they knew of the plantation and the family that lived there. We went around the grounds and took the loop trail around the grounds. It was well kept and was a very enjoyable 1/2 mile walk. I would recommend everyone to visit this little gem in South Carolina.
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