27 August 2008

Go... Tigers?

Ok, so after our first night of camping, we set off on our adventures and our first stop was the John C. Calhoun house at Clemson University. Calhoun was educated at Yale and a Connecticut law school during the time period when the northern states were contemplating leaving the Union. This led to his strong belief in State's Rights, Nullification, and the legallity of secession. His political career was one of the most colorful including Congress 1811-1817, Secretary of War 1817-1825, Vice President 1825-1832, Senator 1832-1843 and 1845-1850, and Secretary of State 1844-1845. In 1832 he and other Southern politicians protested the national tariff as only protecting the interests of Northern manufacturers. He threatened that South Carolina would secede over the issue, and only President Andrew Jackson's threat of invasion prevented it from occuring. This did not, however, quiet Calhoun who then turned the question to slavery, demanding that the Northern states never interfere with the institution. While he died in 1850, well before the Civil War began, he is often credited with being one of the South's greatest heros, and one of the founders of what would become the Confederacy. Although he is buried in Charleston, this home, known at the time as Fort Hill Plantation was where he lived from 1825-1850. *CHB*

Clemson University, home of the Tigers (very original). In the distance is part of the stadium known as Death Valley. Supposedly this name came from Presbyterian coach, Lonnie McMillan whose team continued to get beaten in the stadium, leading him to say "it was like Death Valley."

US, South Carolina, and Clemson flags
Portrait of John C. Calhoun. Take note, a house museum that lets you take pictures inside!!!!! Many bonus points!!!! *CHB*
An artists depiction of the Fort Hill plantation. The house itself was originally built in 1803 for Dr James McElhenny who named it Clergy Hall. Calhoun and his wife Floride bought it in 1825, enlarged it, and renamed it Fort Hill for Fort Rutledge, a nearby fort built in 1776.
A portrait of the US Senate. Calhoun is directly under the second column from the right.
When Calhoun died in 1850, the house went through a series of legal procedings before falling under the ownership of his daughter Anna Marie, wife of Thomas Green Clemson. Clemson was a scientist, mining engineer, diplomat to Belgium, and founder of Clemson University. In his will, he specified that the house be opened to the public as a museum. All of the furniture and objects in the house belonged to, were made by, or were given to either the Calhoun or Clemson families, and most of the portraits are of family members. The tour guide when we went knew the stories behind many of the pieces, and I will try to relate as many as I can remember. Seen above is the main bedroom, with the nursery through the far doorway.
If you look closely, you can se one of the house's eccentricities. Note how the top of the doorway slants to the left, and the far doorway slants to the right. This is seen throughout the house, and the guide said that it is not due to the houses age, but she wasn't sure why it was this way.
The dining area, with Floride's bridal portrait over the fire place. *CHB*
This piece was given to the Calhouns by a foreign ruler. I don't remember which one, but probably King Leopold. *CHB*

the living room. The couch belonged to George Washington and is one of very few surviving pieces like it.

The faces on this chair are carved after King Leopold *CHB*
The upstairs bedrooms

An old trunk and washbasin in a side storage room
Awards given to the Calhouns by King Leopold
personal artifacts of the Calhouns and Clemsons

The interior of the separate kitchen building *CHB*

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