Robert Wilson Williams House

Historic Property
Alternate Name:
Old Williams House
Street Address:
Lena Street (S-3-264), Allendale

Site Number:
Site Number:
Date Surveyed:
Construction Date:
after 1780
Historic Use:
Current Use:
Vacant/Not In Use
Construction Method:
Roof Materials:
Signficant Architectural Features:
It is believed that the core of the old Williams House - a 1 room log structure , rectangular in plan, with high gabled roof - was built ca. 1785 by Robert Wilson Williams. Resting on a foundation of large round sections cut from huge cypress trees, hand-hewn sills support unfinished log joists flattened on the top to receive wide floor boards, the upper surfaces of which are hand planed. Above the wood ceilings are rafters of straight saplings lapped and secured at the ridge of the roof with trenails. Across the rafters are closely spaced wood strips that were originally covered with wood shingles. Gable ends have rough sawn lapped siding on hand-hewn studs. Exterior walls are 8" pine logs, and at each corner is a wide plank adjacent to the dovetail joints which extends up the full height of the wall and is secured to each log with a heavy wood peg. Low batten doors are centered in the north and south walls. Early hardware has been replaced with later material. There is no evidence to indicate that the exterior was ever covered with weatherboard or painted, and the original clay luting between the logs is 'still evident. Interior walls also appear to have never been covered with finish boards or painted. The 1 room east addition, built of heavy sawn wood members, shows a marked departure from the original log building technique. Interior and exterior wall surfaces are covered with sawn planks and are attached with cut nails. Upon completion (ca. 1st of 19th century), the chimney in the original 1 room cabin was dismantled and a chimney was built in the new addition and a smaller fireplace in the original cabin. The cooking fireplace is characterized by a large opening, and the chimney and hearth are of handmade brick. Soon after the 2nd room was constructed, 8' wide porches were built across the full width of the house at front and rear, both wings having floors of wide sawn pine boards secured to log joists below with cut nails. A 2 room Victorian wing was added to the west side of the house in the late 19th century. This wing is a separate structure connected to the earlier house by a covered breezeway. OUTBUILDINGS:
Historical Information:
The old Williams House is representative of pioneer log construction of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Born in 1758 in the Barnwell District, Robert Wilson Williams received a land grant at age 27 and soon after built a one room log house for his wife and himself. A second room on the east side and porches were added later as their family grew. In the 19th century, descendants added a 2 room Victorian wing to the west side. According to local tradition, Sherman's soldiers set fire to the old house, but it would not burn.
Source of Historical Information:
"Robert Wilson Williams House, Allendale, S.C." by Jack 0. Boyte, AIA of Charlotte, N.C. (unpublished paper); "The Old Williams Place, Allendale, S.C.", (anon, unpublished paper); "The Old Williams Place in Allendale, S.C." (anon unpublished paper - according to this paper, the house was built in 1848 by James Lawrence Williams and his mother Esther Roberts Williams, the 2nd room built ca. 1855, and the last addition was constructed ca. 1875-80.); Allendale on the Savannah, p. 189-193 (reprint of 1940 article contributed by Chlotilde R. Martin - this article also asserts that the house was built by Lawrence Williams, and it goes on to describe outbuildings that were on the property); "The House that Sherman Couldn't Burn" Allendale County Citizen, Dec. 6, 1973, p. 4.
City of Allendale, 1979-1980
Archives Location:
Box 13, Series 108042, Survey of historic resources (county by county data on surface properties), circa 1971-2014

Related place
Allendale County