Koger - Murray - Carroll House
Dorchester County, South Carolina
The Koger - Murray - Carroll House
by Peggy Murray Phalen
Updated by Peggy, August 2012
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 a main route for visitors and residents between Charleston and inland towns and settlements. It was called the road to Orangeburg on the Mills Atlas of 1820. The exact date of construction of the house is unknown but new research has shown that the house has been in place since at least 1793 and probably was constructed beginning in the mid 1780’s.
Originally it was thought that Joseph Koger, Jr. was the original owner but new findings reveal that Thomas Ferguson owned the property as early as 1775 and upon his death in 1786 it was sold to David Campbell. At this time it appears that David Campbell had the home built on the plantation along with three other homes for slaves and a large barn. A plat of the property surveyed for John Milhous, Jr. dated 1793 shows all of the buildings present and in the deed of transfer from David Campbell to John Milhous, Jr. for a sum of four hundred pounds sterling includes the plantation or tract of land containing one thousand two hundred and three acres (more or less) together with houses, outhouses, ways, water, water courses, paths, passages, trees, fences and easements.
John Milhous, Jr. was a millwright as was his father who owned the saw mills three miles up the road at Cattle Creek. John Milhous, Jr. married Abigail Sleigh and at the time of his death in 1797 had two children with a third unborn. All of his children died between his death in 1797 and 1802. He left the plantation house and property to his children, Elizabeth and John and to his unborn child he left property that he had in the Orangebugh District near Barnwell that was left to him by his father John Milhous, Sr. He also made provisions for his wife Abigail to live in the plantation house until her death. With the untimely deaths of the children, Abigail inherited the entire plantation and when she married Joseph Koger in March of 1802 made provisions in their marriage settlement that the property would go to him upon her death. Joseph Koger and Abigail Sleigh Milhous married in 1802 and had they had four children. Abigail died 17 June 1812 and was buried near the Koger House in what was probably the Milhous Cemetery. No markers remain but it is known that a cemetery existed there in the 1970’s.
Joseph Koger, Jr. married again in September of 1812 to Mary Murray daughter of William Murray and Martha McQuillan Murray of nearby Grover (then known as Murray’s Crossroads). They lived in the home until 1838 when he became disenfranchised with politics in the district and moved to Mississippi. He sold the house to John Soule Murray, a brother-in-law. John Soule did not live long after purchasing the home. He died in 1844 at which time the home was sold to John May the proprietor of May’s Ferry just up the road from the plantation.
John May sold the home to Chancellor James Parsons Carroll for a winter home. He lived in Aiken, South Carolina. In November 1900 the house was sold by Lewis E. Parler to Mattie A. Hartzog. The acreage accompanying the house had been divided and was now down to just a 100 acres. Subsequent owners have been identified as R.D. Canaday, Henry Allen Westerndorf, and then the Fitzhugh Sweatman family in 1946. The house was donated to the Upper Dorchester County Historical Society in 2004 and restoration was completed in 2009.
The house was constructed of black cypress and is in the Georgian style with Federal-era features such as the mantels. Many unique features exist from the original construction such as the wainscoting in the two front rooms on the first floor made of pine faux finished graining to replicate oak paneling (a symbol of status). Writing exists in the upstairs bedroom on the window trimming from the 1850’s. The handmade butt hinges supports the doors which are from the Federal period. The staircase is as sturdy today as it was when it was constructed. One of the chimney’s at one time had 1794 written on it which probably was when the house was completed.
This old home is truly a one of a kind and is one that would be worthwhile anyone’s time to visit. There are so many unique construction features to see that have not been mentioned.
MORE ON THE KOGER-CARROLL HOUSE
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:
This file was contributed for use by the Dorchester County
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