Hanover House Exhibit Displays

Hanover House on the Move

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Hanover House, first located in the frontier that would later be known as St. John's Parish, was constructed from handmade brick and local black cypress by enslaved persons on land that Paul de St. Julien, a Huguenot or French Protestant, inherited. He was part of the first de St. Julien generation born in Charles Towne, Carolina Colony rather than in France.

Mary de St. Julien, the daughter of Paul de St. Julien and Mary Amey Ravenel inherited Hanover House and more than 720 acres in 1741 after her father's death. Although young, Mary became a plantation mistress and slave owner, inheriting Folly, an African-American girl, and Lisset, an African-American woman. Until Mary wed Henry Ravenel in September 1750, she was the sole owner of Hanover for nine years. Afterward, Hanover stayed in the Ravenel family for 138 years before it was sold to a hunting syndicate in the early 20th century

  • Before

    Photos: interior of Hanover house in the 1930s from Library of Congress
    Interior photographs of Hanover House, near Pinopolis, in the 1930s from HABS, Library of Congress

    Document scan: portions of de St. Julien’s will (2 total)
    Portions of Paul de St Julien’s will
    Probated: April 6, 1741
    SC Department of Archives and History

    Photo: Images ca. 1941 of Hanover House interior, CU Special Collection

  • Deconstruction

    Document scans

    HABS, Architectural Drawings, Library of Congress

    By the 1930s, Hanover House was abandoned; it was more than 70 years older than any other home in Berkeley County. The house was saved from inundation during the creation of Lake Moultrie because of its age and the fact that it was the only surviving example of French Huguenot architecture in South Carolina.

    According to the 1941 article, "Historic Hanover House Of Berkley Moved to Clemson: Building Erected In 1716 Will Be Put In Its Original Form," by Manuel J. Rodgers in The Greenville News, Hanover's move to Clemson began with its deconstruction on August 19, 1941. A two-year delay was necessary during World War 11, but Hanover House was "complete in all detail" on November 1, 1945. This move began 200 years after the death of its original owner, Paul de St. Julien, in 1741.

    Once rebuilt on Clemson's main campus, the Spartanburg Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) took charge of recreating the Hanover House interior. The project was not completed until Hanover House was open to the public on June 7, 1962. The Greenville 􀀇ews piece, "Hanover House Opens Doors Thursday," said, The Spartanburg Committee has been working for nearly 20 years to furnish the old home, not as a museum, but to recreate the atmosphere of the era in which it was built."

  • After

    Photo: Restored Hanover in Clemson, HABS, Library of Congress
    Since the Historic American Building Survey report named Hanover House of “national importance," its relocation and renovation highlights the home's historical significance to the region and the state.

  • Hanover in the Headlines

    Moving Day

    Photo: Berkeley County’s Historic Hanover House Move to Clemson in 1940
    The Index-Journal, 10/26/1960

    Photo: On the Road Again
    The Greenville News, 3/31/1994

    Photo: From Lowcountry to Upcountry
    The Greenville News, 8/6/1961

    Photo: Historic Hanover House of Berkley Moved to Clemson
    The Greenville News, 8/12/1941

One Room, Two Different Worlds

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  • Learn More - One Room, Two Different Worlds

    The Hanover House Dining Room reflects two worlds that coexisted at Hanover House. With two exits -one into the Parlor and the other into the Keeping Room -each were used for very different purposes. The Parlor door was primarily used by family and guests, while the Keeping Room door was used by the enslaved African­Americans who prepared the food and served the family's needs.

    The original kitchen was in the basement, and later an outside kitchen was built. The basement walls were eight feet high and two feet deep. Enslaved African-Americans would have prepared the food, brought it upstairs to the Keeping Room and served the de St. Juliens and later the Ravenel families in the Dining Room.

    At the time of Paul de St. Julien's death, there were 45 enslaved persons who labored at and maintained Hanover and its 720 acres. The only written records of these individuals are the will and the inventory of Paul's estate, listing the enslaved laborers by name, gender and age category: adult or child. With one exception, familial relationships are unknown. 

    Dublin, Charlo, Harry, Northampton, Hanover, Juvenal, Virgil, Homer, Mahinjan, Peter, Billey, Prince, Saxegotha, Frederick and Casar were the men tasked with creating the rice fields from the swamplands, planting the crops and any other assigned need of the family. Lucy, Lise!, Dianna, Roxanna, Amelia, Amey, Silvia, Montenon, Colonbine, lssabel, Prisila and Philis were

    the women who would have harvested the crops and performed other assigned duties. Folly, Judy, Susy (youngest child of Lucy), Mary, Aufie, Sipio, Amey, Houlihan Markis, Pompee, Celinda, Mobila, Sofie, Samson, Jupiter, Mathias, Cupit and Cyrus were all children whose genders were not always stated.

    The origins of these enslaved adults are unknown. Most likely, they would have come from Africa's west or "rice" coast due to their expertise with planting, harvesting and processing rice. Although their stories of resistance and sheer determination were unwritten, Hanover House today shares their history with those who visit, not just the stories of the de St. Julien and Ravenel families.

    The portrait to the left is of Susannah LeNoble Ravenel, mother of Henry Ravenel who married Mary de St. Julien in 1750. The companion portrait located in the Parlor, is of Rene Louis Ravenel, Susannah's husband.

    The original 181h-century portrait of Susannah was painted by Henrietta Johnston, one of the first professional female artists in the U.S. working in Charleston.

    The original portraits of Susannah and Rene were copied by Charleston artist Alicia Rhett, a noted 20􀀂-century artist and earlier an actress in "Gone with the Wind," for Hanover House.

    Document scan: list of enslaved peoples from Hanover House inventory

    Document scan (2 total): HABS Architectural Drawings, Library of Congress

    Photo: Dining Room including English oak cupboard

    Photo: portrait of Susannah LeNoble Ravenel

    Photo: portrait of Mary Ravenel Broughton

Putting Together the Parlor

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    The Parlor, as it is today, has undergone several changes. This room would have been the most formal room in the house and may have hosted special events like the December 1849 marriage supper of William Moultrie and Mary's first-cousin Damaris Elizabeth de St. Julien. As the family's wealth grew from the enslaved labor of Africans, modernization occurred throughout the house, including the additions of 19th-century mantels and a single front door that is 4-feet 2-inches wide.

    The hand-crewel curtains, embroidered by members of the Spartanburg Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA). under the leadership of Susan Lewis Brown, now hang in the Parlor and Dining Room and are examples of 18th-cenh.ny design. The Spartanburg Committee and its members continue to support Hanover House today.

    The walls of the Parlor tell visitors that this is the most formal mom in the house with the decorative inset design, and the Spartanburg Committee, NSCDA staged this room to recreate 18th-century life of the de St. Julien and Ravenel families. Most items are period antiques or early reproductions. The built-in keystone cupboard, however, is original to Hanover's 18th-century construction.

    Hanover contains a collection of original and reproduction prints by noted naturalist Mark Catesby who explored South Carolina around the time Hanover was built.

     After Clemson College had saved Hanover from inundation, additional help was needed for Hanover's interior decorating. By 1953, Nettie Smith Owings, of Clemson, and the other memb􀁁rs embarked on the formidable task of furnishing Hanover as historically accurate to the time (1700-1750, and families.


    The Spartanburg Committee of the NationaI Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), photographed in the parlor, began fundraising in the 1950s by hosting silver exhibits, teas and oyster roasts. Those funds furnished Hanover House in period antiques, making it possible to serve as an historic house museum and architectural treasure of "nationaI importance."

    Photo: two framed photographs of the Le Serruiers

    Photo: highboy

    Photo: Susan Brown giving instruction between two women

    Photo: four women standing behind one seated woman

Master Bedroom

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    The master bedroom is the only upstairs room retaining its original shape at Hanover House. In the 18th century, there would have been an identical room on the opposite side of the house. The walls of this room are left unpainted since, historically, all the walls upstairs were not painted. All the walls and ceilings upstairs were originally whitewashed.

    The upstairs rooms were used exclusively for the family’s personal use. The fireplace here provided needed heat, especially in the winter time, and has its own flue, independent of the fireplace downstairs. Looking at the bricks, one may notice a range of colors from deep purple to golden brown. This color variation is one of the surviving Gallic features of the home.

    In the 18th century, all bricks would have been made on site. The necessary dry materials were brought in as the sandy soil of South Carolina’s Lowcountry would not have been conducive to making bricks.

    The process of making one kiln load of bricks could take up to two months. Water would have to be stomped into the dry materials, then the clay would be placed in molds to take its shape. The molded clay would be left out in the sun to dry so that all the moisture evaporated before being placed in the kiln.

    Originally, Paul de St. Julien envisioned a house where the basement, matching triple-flued chimneys and entire first floor would have been made exclusively from bricks. However, after needing four large kiln loads, the first floor had to be made with local black cypress instead. Most of the cypress paneling is original thanks to the material’s resistance to water damage and insects. During the home’s reconstruction in the 1940s, some paneling from upstairs was removed and used downstairs.

Clemson Bedroom

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    The interior wall on the right of the Clemson bedroom was added some time after the initial occupation of Paul de St. Julien. This partition may have been used to create a bedroom for girls and a bedroom for boys. Mary de St. Julien and her husband, Henry Ravenel, had 16 children though only six of her sons lived into adulthood. Her three oldest sons fought in the Revolutionary War alongside Francis Marion, also known as the Swamp Fox. None of her daughters lived into maturity.

    This room is called the Clemson bedroom because it serves as a testament to the historic preservation efforts of Clemson College, now Clemson University, and the faculty, staff and students at the time. All of the textiles in this room were produced by the Textile School of Clemson College around the early- to mid-20th century in traditionally 18th-century patterns and construction. They were given to Hanover House courtesy of Dean Gaston Gage and staff.

    The blue and white coverlet is a reproduction, and its pattern, the “Whig Rose,” dates from 1720. Each golden tassel on the bottom of the coverlet was sewn by hand by Mrs. Arledge of Tryon, North Carolina. The bed hangings were copied from an antique French fabric, then dyed to match the blue of the coverlet. The linen cloth of this intricate weave was brought to the Colonies from the East Indies in the 17th century. The Hindu name for it was “sirsaka” and the French copied the weave in cotton, calling it plissé or ruffled.

    The half-tester bed is an exact reproduction of a bed in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and was made for Hanover House in the Clemson shops. The ladder-back chairs were also made by Clemson students.

    Framed on the wall above the mantel is an original Mark Catesby print of “Chimney Swift with Wood Lily.” This colored ornithological engraving is from a 1772 Dutch edition of Catesby’s work that was produced by Johann Michael Seligmann.

The Willard Bedroom

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    The Willard bedroom does not have a heat source as the added partition that would divide the 18th-century room blocked access to the fireplace. There are no known records as to who may have used this room during the Ravenel family’s ownership of Hanover House or if it was used only in the warm months when a fireplace was not needed.

    All beds at Hanover House are what’s known as rope beds. These rope beds must be regularly tightened with a wooden tool, appropriately called a rope tightener. The enslaved domestic laborers would have been responsible for tightening the ropes and preparing the materials to use for the mattresses and pillows.

    The use of rope beds is where the expression, “Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite,” comes from. If the ropes are not “tight,” those in the bed will sink toward the floor. As for bed bugs, those in the beds would hope that no bugs remained in the bedding or pillow materials that might bite them in their sleep.

    The furnishing of this room was sponsored by Isabel Sims Willard and her mother, Mrs. Sims. The mother/daughter benefactors were members of the Spartanburg Committee of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, whose dedicated and financial support made the restoration of Hanover House’s interior possible.

Upstairs Hallway

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    The overall construction of Hanover House aided in its ultimate survival past the early-20th century when it no longer served as a family residence. The style is known as reverse shiplap. As you look on each board, either just above the ceiling construction or along the exterior walls, notice the narrow groove carved into each board. These same grooves exist on the outside of each exterior board, serving as a built-in gutter system for the house. This, along with the hearty qualities of black cypress, helped the structure to survive despite complete abandonment.

    Framed on the wall between the master bedroom and center bedroom, there is what remains of a floral pattern appliqué quilt made by 11-year-old Harriet Porcher Smith. Harriet was born in March 1844 at Mexico Plantation in Stephen’s Parish, now Berkeley County, South Carolina. Her parents were Robert Press Smith and Mary Mazyck Gaillard. Tragically, Harriet died on July 22, 1855 in Pineville, South Carolina.

    The pair of hand-wrought, tin sconces on the wall were also from Mexico Plantation while it was owned by Major Samuel Porcher.

    To the left are a flax spinning wheel, a wool spinning wheel and a yarn/thread winder. On a plantation of similar socio-economic status as Hanover, these types of items would have been used in a separate outbuilding. Enslaved African American domestic laborers would have most likely used these types of spinning wheels in order to make fabric for the everyday clothes for the St. Juliens and Ravenels, as well as the enslaved community.