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Koger - Murray - Carroll House
Dorchester County, South Carolina

  Koger -
                  Carroll House

The Koger - Murray - Carroll House

by Peggy Murray Phalen

 The Koger-Murray-Carroll House is located on the Wire Road near Grover, South Carolina.  The road (an old Indian trail) was used in the early days as a stagecoach road as well as the main route for visitors and residents between Charleston and inland towns and settlements.  The Wire Road was called the Orangeburg Road on the Mills Atlas Map of 1820.  The exact date of construction of the house is unknown but according to historical experts it could be as early as 1790.

Joseph Koger, Jr. (III) was believed to be the original owner and resident.  He was born October 27, 1779 and died August 25, 1866.  His parents were Joseph Koger, Sr. (II) and Mary Tebets Cook (from Connecticut).  They lived in the Skull Swamp area of Colleton County and raised nine children.  Joseph Sr. (II) was a Revolutionary War Captain–-South Carolina Militia 1782-1784.  He was listed as a Captain in the Round O Volunteers, Colleton County, SC.  Josais (the father of Joseph the II assumed  the name of Joseph when he came to America) was the inventor of the first rice threshing machine. 
Joseph Koger, Jr. (III) was born in Colleton County on October 27, 1779.  He was a Captain in the War of 1812 and later promoted to Major.  He was a member of the SC House of Representatives from 1806 to 1812, Colleton County Sheriff from 1813 to 1817, and SC Senate from 1818 to 1838.  He ran and lost re-election in 1838 for the Senate, claimed fraud, sold all his possessions and moved to Mississippi.  He was a land agent there and became a member of the Mississippi Senate.  Upon his death on Saturday, August 25, 1866 he was buried in Soule Chapel Cemetery in Noxabee County, Mississippi.  His service was recognized by the Mississippi Senate

on January 11, 1867.  He was known as the Father of the Senate in Mississippi.  Many of Joseph and Mary’s descendants still live in the Noxabee County area. His tombstone reads: He was distinguished by fidelity in public life and his earnest and consistent piety.  He enjoyed universal respect and confidence.  Not slothful in spirit and serving the Lord.  One of the founders of Soule Methodist Chapel, Noxabee County, Mississippi.
Joseph Koger, Jr. (III) was married first to Abigail Sligh Milhous who was the widow of John Milhous.  She is buried about one mile from the old Koger House along with two of her children.  He then married Mary Murray who was the daughter of William Murray and Martha McQuillan of Murray’s Crossroads (now Grover, SC).   He married Mary on September 27, 1812 and they had ten children. 
The Koger-Murray-Carroll House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 as the Old Carroll Place.  It was also placed on the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in South Carolina in 2002.  The house is a typical Georgian style with Federal-era features such as the mantels.  According to family legend the house was constructed of cypress milled from nearby property.  It took seven to twelve years to complete according to old family histories.  

The clapboard single house rests upon massive low brick pillars laid in English bond.  The hip roof is pierced on the rear slope by two single chimneys.  All windows in the original portion are 9/9.  Brick steps (a later addition) lead to the front veranda.  The veranda is supported by six wooden posts and a single 40 foot board across the front.  It is believed to have been added later than the original construction or replaced an earlier porch.  Visible in the attic are hand hewn beams notched and pegged together still bearing Roman numerals for assembly purposes.  The framing is reminiscent of English techniques.  Handmade nails can be seen in many parts of the house.  Narrow hand-cut lathes are revealed under the crumbling plaster walls.  Wainscoting is pine with a faux finish graining to replicate oak paneling (a symbol of status) in the first floor rooms.  Handmade butt hinges support the doors which are from the Federal period.  Quarter-sawed one and one-fourth inch floor boards rest on double-pegged joists.  The staircase ascending three stories is as sturdy as the day it was built.  The upstairs was probably used as bedchambers and the design is much simpler than the lower floor.  Fireplaces are in each of the rooms upstairs and downstairs.  
A letter written in the 1940's by Zilla Wilson, the granddaughter of John Soule Murray states that the house once had a large porch extending around the sides.  She also remembered large oaks leading a half mile from each side of the house.  Evidence of the porch was found during restoration.  The location of the kitchen has not been found.  The shed roof at the back of the house most probably was enclosed and used as bedrooms.  A breeze-way between the two rooms was used to access the outdoors.  Evidence continues to prove this as the house undergoes restoration.

The house has had ten owners that can be documented.  After the Koger’s moved the property belonged to John Soule Murray, a brother to Mary Murray Koger.  He lived there only a short time before his death in 1844.  The home was then sold to John May, proprietor of May’s Ferry further up the Wire Road.  John May sold the house to Chancellor James Parsons Carroll. Chancellor Carroll used the home as a winter house.  He lived in Aiken, SC.

 In November 1900 the house was sold by Lewis E. Parler to Mattie A. Hartzog. The acreage was listed as 100 acres at that time along with the house.  Mattie left her mark on the house–--inside the downstairs hall closet is her signature and the date 1900.  Mattie sold the house to R.D. Canaday in January 1907 for two thousand dollars.  Again the property had 100 acres with the house. 

R.D. Canaday sold the house to Henry Allen Westerndorf for three thousand dollars in January 1923.  By this time the land had been divided and only 40 acres accompanied the sale of the house.  In 1946 the house was sold to Fitzhugh Sweatman and James Robert Sweatman for a sum of three thousand five hundred dollars along with the 40 acres.  Upon Mr. Sweatman’s death the house has belonged to his son and daughter-in-law, Fitzhugh and Martha Sweatman. 

     Koger- Murray - Carroll House Plaque


View excellent black and white photographs at the South Carolina Dept. of Archives and History, with a copy of the 1974 application for the National Register:

The Upper Dorchester County Historical Society is restoring the house. 

There was an article in the Times Democrat about the restoration of the house by the Upper Dorchester County Historical Society, but no photo:
http://www.thetandd.com/articles/2005/01/13/news/doc41e5f9089e898863775044.txt .

 Koger -
                  Murray - Carroll House Plaque

Back to Dorchester Co SCGenWeb


This file was contributed for use by the Dorchester County SCGenWeb Project  by:
Paulette Johnston - Photographs (2009)
Peggy Phalen - Updated history of the Koger - Murray - Carroll House (2010)

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