Nestled between two additions, one on the east side and another on the west side, at 110 McNulty Road lies Blythewood's oldest original residence, a two-room structure constructed around 1840. This dwelling was a barracks probably for house servants consisting of two families. It had two front entrance doors, a porch with a banister railing, covered by a hip roof, and two rear doors and a center chimney with two fireplace openings, one for each room. Original ceilings were twelve feet in height. A vintage door is still in the house, a hand-made door constructed by carpenters, with thru mortise and tenons for stability. In Ridgeway Ruff's Old Store's entrance door is made this way, also, there is a door of like construction in Harold Branham's home which originated from the Claude Bundrick house that was located on Claude Bundrick Road.
George Frances Langford Wilson was born in the east addition of the house at 110 McNulty Road on June 1, 1918.
After much research, this house was most probably constructed by Christian Entzminger’s slaves to house two families. Christian Entzminger came to the Doko area around 1839. One of his first priorities was most likely establishing housing for himself and his slaves. Slave dwellings like this one were classified as “cabins”. Cabins, which were slave housing, had little real value and were not considered taxable property. Structures like this one housed one family on each side with a chimney in the middle with a fireplace opening for each room. Cabins were primarily sleeping quarters with bunk beds. Christian Entzminger passed on much of his property including slaves to Samuel Bookhart, his nephew, in 1854.
In order to conform to the outcries of the abolitionist and to pander to the comfort needs of the occupants, plantation owners and farmers upgraded slave dwellings from log cabins with dirt floors to dwellings built off the ground with wood floors. They believed better housing would enhance slave loyalty and produce a more productive labor force. Also, upgraded slave quarters were a statement of the owner’s status and wealth. Nearby there was probably a house occupied by the owner of slaves or an overseer as was common during the time. At the rear of the property was an outdoor privy and a chicken house. Next door at 112 McNulty Road was a barn that was in disrepair and eventually dismantled in the 1950’s. This barn indicates that there were white occupants nearby. Water for the needs of the white occupants and slaves was probably drawn from a spring near the north property boundry at 112 McNulty Road.
Throughout the South plantations and farms had slave barracks built as duplexes measuring 16 feet by 32 feet. This is the approximate size of the original dwelling on McNulty Road. It should be noted that slave dwellings were most always located behind the slave owner's house, referred to as "the big house". Consequently, there was most probably a plantation house situated between McNulty Road and Blythewood Road.
In 1876 Cynthia Bookhart agreed to sell the property at the corner of McNulty Rd. and Main St. to Sara J. Stanley for the sum of one hundred dollars which did not indicate on the transaction that there was a house on the property. During this time, South Carolina and the entire South as well, was in the historical period of Reconstruction after the Civil War. South Carolina was devastated, government was in chaos, the so-called second Civil War was in action in South Carolina, slaves had been freed, authority was challenged by lynching and gunfire on a regular basis, many businesses were insolvent, and land values plummeted to one dollar ($1.00) or less per acre. Therefore, the former slave structure had to be in place in order for the property to be sold for the premium price.
Structures or barracks for slaves were considered to be temporary buildings. They had no real property value before the Civil War. Cabins, as they were classified, began being constructed earlier in the same manner as modern day pole buildings with no foundation, stabilized vertically by post buried into the ground. The Fairfield County map dated 1876 reveals numerous cabins throughout the county. From an article in the Washington Post in 2007, "Even when they were new, slave quarters were rarely mentioned in deeds, tax records, and wills".
Samuel and Cynthia Bookhart inherited the property on McNulty Road in conjunction with other properties from a family member. The location of a primary house owned by the original property owners remains unknown although, as stated earlier, a barn located behind the house located at 112 McNulty Road was in existence until the late 1950's. This barn far exceeded the age of the house on the property occupied by Pauline Albert Howell after she purchased the property in the early 1950’s. Sherman’s forces may have burned the main dwelling, leaving the barn for the freed slaves.
Blythewood's oldest standing structure at 110 McNulty Road was originally dated by researching the history, origin and progression of nail manufacturing in the United States during the nineteenth century from the early 1800's to 1880 when wire nails began to replace nails made from iron ore. Nail manufacturing, like most other manufacturing endeavors, went through a series of progressive steps until a cost effective method was reached.
Nail manufacturing began in Massachusetts and western Pennsylvania. Completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 made transporting of nails to the eastern ports feasible. Nails were transported to other ports via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Beginning in 1825, early manufactured nails became more plentiful throughout much of the eastern portion of the nation. Type 8-B nails used in the construction of the house at 110 McNulty Road were available in the eastern U. S. from the early 1800’s to the 1840’s. The nails have identifying marks revealing their manufactured time table.
There are six different sizes of iron nails used in the old dwelling at 110 McNulty Road. Similar nails were used in the construction of Ruff's Old Store, circa 1840, in Ridgeway, SC. Also, nails of the same configuration but more symmetrical, manufactured between the 1840”s and 1880, were used in the construction of what was known as the Claude Bundrick house, a property purchased by Claude and Joe Bundrick after World War II. The Bundrick house, said to have been a stopover on a stagecoach route, was occupied by Jim Hoopaugh before the Bundrick’s purchased the property. Nails from the Bundrick house are much more uniform than the ones used in the construction of the house at 110 McNulty Road, due to the progression of improving the nail manufacturing process. Identical nails to the ones used at 110 McNulty Road have been discovered in slave barracks built as early as 1828 in Louisiana.
Nail manufacturing equipment was imported primarily from France but from other countries in Europe also. The manufacturing equipment also went through a step by step progression of improvements, each progressive step in manufacturing equipment left it’s identifying marks of manufacture, which were much like dating the product to match the corresponding dates of improved nail making equipment.
Generally, there were two basic phases of iron ore nail manufacturing in the United States. Phase one nails, made from the early 1800’s until the 1840’s and are easily dated by the splits surrounding the nail heads and the configuration of the nail heads. Phase two nails, uniform in size and shape, followed until 1880 when round head wire nails were introduced, much like the modern nails of the twenty-first century. Headless cut nails also appeared near the latter part of the 1800’s and were used to construct Zion Church and Ruff’s Chapel located in Ridgeway.
The plight of slaves has not been seriously and completely understood. It is believed that this slave cabin will shed some light into the hardships and maligned living conditions endured by non-white people in the South.
View the webpage “Housing for the Enslaved in Virginia” , "Blythewood Quarters" , and "Octoroon Slave Housing" for additional information.
Other Historical Structures and Sites
Luther Langford Barn
This unpainted building was located on the west side of the Luther Langford residential property facing east. The middle section had wood floors. It primarily was a storage building for the remaining inventory and fixtures from Langford Brother's Store and earlier, G.Y. Langford & Sons Store. The section on the right side was overflowing with women's shoes (boots) popular in the 1890's. These shoes (boots) had pointed toes, flared high heels, and were laced up to a height of about eight inches.
Inside the left side of the building was a large counter cabinet housing kerosene containers and manually operated pumps. Carolyn Langford Dangler requested that this fixture be dismantled by her nephew Stanley Ashworth and Woody Wilson. Large brass cylinders were part of the pumping mechanism, These cylinders were polished and displayed on the mantle above the fireplace in the living room of the Luther Langford house for many years.
Luther Langford Wash House and Stables
Located near the west side entrance to the Luther Langford house, facing south, was a small structure used for washing laundry. Measuring about eight by sixteen feet in size, the roof extended over a porch. This was a common structure for many residences. Between the wash house and the barn was a privy sitting further back on the property.
At the northwest part of the property were stables. The property line is indented at this location. Elton Wilson remembered this as the location of stables in his early years.
Located next to the W. E. Boney Store of 1916 was the older Boney's General Store. This building was used by W. E. Boney and others elected to the position of magistrate. Many trials were held there. The building was a simple unpainted wood framed structure, wood floor, wood lap siding with a large window on each side of the front entrance door. One light bulb, hanging from an electrical cord from the ceiling, illuminated the interior
in later years. Will Taylor, a local barber, farmer, and carpenter, used this building as a barber shop on Saturdays.
Roger Wilson began his mercantile career in this building, only to move into W. E. Boney's newer and more spacious building shortly thereafter. Elton Wilson closed his service station business and started working for his brother in this building around 1940. These were depression years and starting a new business was quite a challenge. Elton Wilson said that W. E. Boney put up a wire fence inside of his store and progressively moved the fence closer to the front of the store as his inventory grew smaller. W. E. Boney closed the store thereafter. Elton Wilson earlier worked in this store while a school student. He parched peanuts in a contraption heated by a kerosene flame. Elton's job was to slowly rotate the container filled with raw peanuts until they were parched. The job paid five (5) cents.
G. Y. Langford and Sons Store
After moving to the Blythewood area around 1880, G.Y. Langford opened a mercantile business and blacksmith, partnering with some of his sons, on the west side of Main St. opposite the now existing store/church building that he and his sons constructed in 1916. The building may or may not have been in place upon his arrival. The building was wood framed, unpainted, and housed a blacksmith shop at the northwest section. There was a facade adorning the front displaying the name "G. Y. Langford and Sons". Artifacts from the blacksmith shop were unearthed by Woody Wilson in the early 1950's. A hitching post was located bearby behind the northwest corner of the old Blythewood Post Office building, now located at 110 McNulty Road. This hitching post was in place up until mule and wagons disappeared from use. Harold Branham's painting of a mule and wagon on the north side of the old Wilson's 5 & 10 Cents Store is almost a perfect depiction of scenes in Blythewood when animal drawn wagons were used. Kay and Woody Wilson looked forward to the passing of Bud Boney riding upon his mule drawn wagon down McNulty Road. He always greeted them, tipping his hat, "Little man, little woman", he would say. Bud Boney lived on the old Boney farm on Boney Road. He had a ruddy complexion, a ruddy colored mule, and his wagon was ruddy from the red clay on the Boney farm. Floyd Gunter, father of Connie Gunter Hall, and Abraham Cunningham, a non-white amputee also traveled McNulty Road riding upon a mule drawn wagon.
Later, Abraham Cunningham traveled in a Model A Ford. Walking with a homemade crutch, he chewed Lucky Joe tobacco, liked to choose his own plugs from the wood box container and was accused of pocketing a few plugs while making his selection.
George Y. Langford's Sawmill Shipping/ Receiving Office
Sometime erroneously referred to as an icehouse/milk shed, this small office sits on the Blythewood Historical Society grounds. It has one entrance door, offset from the center of the structure, probably to accommodate a writing table or desktop, and a rear "walk up" window which was opened to converse with prospective buyers/sellers of sawmill logs and lumber. This building obviously was occupied by someone processing documents associated with the sawmill operation and was later moved to the residential grounds of Dr. Michael Langford. The original door of this building has been replace.
The date of construction of this building goes back to the early 1880's. Again, the nails tell the story. Nails used in construction were made of iron ore and others from steel wire. Wire nails became available around 1880 and continue to be used in the twenty first century. George Langford and family arrived in the Blythewood area in 1880.
G. Y. Langford's Farms and Residences
G. Y. Langford came to the Blythewood area on a business venture. The abundance of Long Leaf Pine east of Blythewood drew him to this area. He purchased 777 acres on Twenty Five Mile Crek from Owen Smith. East of the purchased acreage near the intersection of Langford Road and Heins Road was a farm known as the Langford place. The house was painted green on the exterior, not a common color for houses at the time. Later, after his second marriage, when he added the east wing to the house at 110 McNulty Road, he painted the house green, also.
Around 1890 he purchased acreage near Big Cedar Creek, moved to the area, and started a farming and cattle operation there. He was the first to introduce Angus cattle to Fairfield county. It was also said that he was a pioneer in no till farming, a practice used in the twenty first century.
The Aaron Edgar Powell family were his nearby farming neighbors. His future wife was born into the Powell family in 1872.
George Langford turned over the farming operation to two of his sons, Sidney and Bachman and married Frances A. Powell in 1915. Buddy Langford, son of Sidney Langford, was born at this location in 1912 before his family moved to Blythewood.
George Langford was quite an entrepreneur, business and political force. In addition to his mercantile business, sawmill operation, and farm, he often called upon various political leaders at the court houses in both Richland and Fairfield counties, traveling there by horse and buggy initially. He had a white horse and often wore a white suit while riding upon his black buggy. Brooks Abell would often hide, along with his English Setter, in cover while quail hunting on Langford's land. Brooks could see Langford approaching after hearing gun shots.