The Magwoods, an Irish Family in Charleston
With a door painted this delightful shade of EMERALD GREEN, how could I resist?
I HAD to pause in our walk to investigate further! I had to get close and make pictures.....and knew I wanted to research this lovely old Charleston home.
I adore creaky old gates, rusty fences, locks that have been there for who knows how long. The fence posts and the creaky gate here did not dissapoint.
I now call it "The Green Door House". It was built by Simon Magwood. The best I could figure out was someone named James Carson purchased two lots back in 1814 but he had to sell them in 1818 to settle his estate. Mr. Magwood bought both lots. He built the "Green Door" house for himself.
Even with green water flowing in this old fountain, I still loved it. Hey, maybe they dyed the water to match the green front door?! LOL
Just look at all that chipped goodness......layers of history here.
The 2 and one half story house with a raised basement had an elaborate and fancy interior. It was early Greek Revival style and featured lots of carved wood and plaster which was usually called Regency style. The house has 9 bedrooms.
|Check out the door lock! Can you imagine the key?|
Mr. Magwood was from a place in North Ireland called "Monaghan" and he was born in 1763. He came to America after the American Revolution in 1785.
Crowded ships sailing to Charleston were full of Irish families.Many were quite wealthy and became planters, slaveholders, and merchants in South Carolina, becoming even wealthier.
Simon worked constructing wharves all along the Cooper River. He also owned property on remote Bull's Island and on Shem Creek.
(above and below)--the same carved plaque on the stone wall, taken at different times
He built this house for his oldest son, Charles, and his wife, Rebecca. Both Simon Magwood and his son's homes were about 6,000 square feet. They lived there close beside each other for many years. Here I am in Charles and Rebecca's doorway. Its a wonderful alcove style that you step into....
Mr. Magwood Sr. was President of the Hibernian Society which is an Irish benevolent society founded around 1801. It was started as a relief society to help Irish immigrants.
The Society has a gorgeous Hall here in Charleston that still has beautiful balls and weddings as well as other events there. He was also a State Senator.
He married Mary Elizabeth Holmes, who was born in 1770.
Mary would've been about six years old when the United States became a Nation!
The Liberty Bell rang out in Philadelphia (July 8th) the first time the Declaration of Independence was read out loud in a public place! About a month earlier, the Battle of Sullivan's Island had been fought nearby when militia from South Carolina fought to stop a British attack on Charleston.
Mary gave birth to quite a few children (seven, I believe)---Charles (whose doorway I am in above), James, Eleanor,(1798) Simon, Susan(1807) Eliza, and Sarah.
Fashions Mary might've worn:
|a beautiful Irish green coat!|
|Countess and daughter Louise by Jacque-Louis David|
|Isn't this red velvet gown pretty?|
pretty shade of old blue.........
very interesting old urn on top of fence post--anyone have any thoughts on what this might be?
Beautifully gorgeous front door!
|The main door into their home is the same emerald green|
|Mary probably gave birth to her seven babies in those rooms upstairs|
Simon Magwood Sr. became a rich merchant and he owned a cotton plantation in St. Andrews Parish. Below the St. Andrews church were the old Magwood Gardens. There were about 19 acres of azaleas, holly, ivy, mistletoe and hundreds of Japanese trees.
|Big old trees with lazy curtains of Spanish Moss|
|many of the Magwoods are buried here|
It appears most, if not all, of his children gave him and Mary Elizabeth many grandchildren.
How Susan might've looked and been dressed as a child:
and as a young lady becoming a teenager:
Simon built his daughter Susan a townhouse at Charleston's South Battery upon her marriage to Andrew Moreland, who was born in 1789, in Ireland. The Magwood family was Irish and Susan married an Irish man.
I think they married around 1827, not too long before Andrew Jackson became President and the electric telegraph was invented. To send messages so quickly and efficiently would've been amazing to the people of this era! I wonder what they would think of today's email and texting?
Fashions Susan might've worn during around the time of her marriage:
The gowns look so much lighter and looser and more comfortable than the Civil War era hoopskirts!
The electric sewing machine was invented just a few years after Susan married and I think that would've made sewing these fancy long dresses so much faster and easier!
I read that Susan had been born right before Christmas in Ireland...I am not clear on if the Magwoods traveled back to Ireland and she was born there, or what.( I think she was their fourth child?)
They (Susan and Andrew) had three children of their own: Ellen (1828), (looks like she was born very soon after her parent's marriage)- who never married.
Edward (1831) who was a Civil War veteran (8th Battalion)
and Isabella (1846). Isabella would've been a young teenager about the time the War began and her brother became a soldier.
Susan and Andrew's lot once fronted the water on the Ashley River. The marshes that bordered their property were filled in on the south and the west to create land to build Murray Blvd. around 1912. The big Sumter House hotel was there and has now been renovated into nice condos. The other part of the marshes were filled to create our big 15 acre waterfront park with the gazebo called Whitepoint Gardens, a place we walk in often.
I love the gazebo there.
Susan died in 1904, so she wouldn't have got to enjoy this gazebo nearby her home.
|Beautiful and Detailed Carving around the Door|
children play! The salty breezes from the Charleston Harbour would've swept right through this yard on summer days! Maybe Susan sat in a rocking chair on the upstairs porch and rocked her babies to sleep or soothed them on fussy teething nights. Maybe she enjoyed her coffee out here on warm spring mornings.
.....and then I thought I heard it..yes......the pretty and soothing sound of bubbling water! Here's the fountain:
I wonder if Susan chose this fountain?
Their pretty garden. The gate must go to the carriage house.In their day, beyond that was the marsh and the water.
A very pretty garden with pretty flowers blooming in March. I wonder if Susan planted these flowers and bushes? I wonder what her favorite flowers were? And I wonder if she liked to sit outside in her garden on summer mornings?
I would think that Andrew and Susan's children probably liked to play in their garden. Children liked to play "annie-over" and little girls liked to play "graces" which is where the girls used sticks to toss a hoop to each other. Indoors children liked to play with "tiddly-winks" and "pick-up" sticks. Back then, some pick up sticks were actually made of ivory! Dominoes were also very popular in the later 1800s. Kids also played charades and "blind man's bluff" and liked jacks, spinning tops, and marbles. Their little girls, Ellen and Isabella, surely loved dolls. Fancy dolls with porcelain heads were the most coveted during this era and little girls practiced being future "mommies" and learned to sew simple items by making ruffly dresses and pinafores and pretty bonnets for their doll babies.
I also think every one of their children would've been attracted to the shimmering water just behind their home...to fish, watch the dolphins, throw rocks and sticks in, catch crabs, watch boats, and watch the pelicans swooping about.
The Moreland family had a beautiful prime spot for watching Charleston sunsets right there at their home. We often go to watch the sunsets in that area.
|Were Susan's babies born in those upstairs rooms?|
and Isabella Finley. Sadly, I could not find a portrait of her.
Susan and Andrew's house has six bedrooms, a beautiful view of the harbor, heart of pine floors, heavy crown molding, and an 800 square foot carriage house. It was built on a foundation of floating palmetto logs in a sandy bed of mud--which they thought would help it to be "earthquake proof". It did indeed survive the big earthquake of 1886 as the palmetto logs helps the house to "sway" in high winds and earthquakes.
I'm not sure if the home is now privately owned or in the hands of the Historic Charleston Foundation at present. I think I read that it IS, and that it is restored and protected.
Simon lived in his house over on Smith Street until his death in 1836.
(He lived to see Ellen and Edward born, and Isabella was born about ten years after he passed away. I could not find out for sure if any of Simon and Mary's other children ---Charles, James, Eleanor and Simon--- had grandchildren for them.)
I could not find out if anyone lives there at present.
Simon and Mary's gravesite:
It is hard to read--this is what is carved on it:
Marks the Spot
Where are interred
a native of Armagh
County of Monaghan Ireland.
He died after a life of
on the 4th day of August 1836
in the 73rd Year of His Age.
The remains of
Mary Elizabeth Magwood
consort of Simon Magwood
who departed this life
on the 1st day of February 1833
in the 63rd Year of her age.
Susan died in 1904. When she was a woman of almost 70 years old.....she would've seen the first telephones! I bet that was exciting!
She was buried in the St. Andrews churchyard, as was her husband Andrew.
Her husbands stone:
Their daughter Ellen (died 1913) is there also, and their son Edward (died 1917) and daughter Isabella (died 1931) are both at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery.
I enjoyed learning all about the Irish Magwoods and now I clearly see and understand why-----
THE FRONT DOORS OF MR. MAGWOOD'S HOME WERE PAINTED THE EMERALD GREEN!