Sedalia | Union County, SC | c. 1820s-30s
If we could peel away the facade of this seemingly broken home, we would find a story that spans almost 200 years of South Carolina history.
Expanded and updated over time, it is believed that the rustic two-room log cabin that makes up the center of this home was constructed in the 1820s or 30s by Dr. William Johnson Bobo.
Sometimes called the Bobo House, it would come to be called Sedalia, along with the surrounding area that adopted the name as well, as mentioned in this slave narrative:
“Dat over in Sedalia in de Minter Section.
You kno’s ’bout de larce plantation o’ Marse Minter, dat gib de section its name. Way back over dar whar I was born.”
The foundation of the home came from rocks and stones from the nearby creek and most of the framing of the house was made from fallen trees on site. There are also some limestone slabs that came from a stone quarry that was down the road a few miles.
Back in those days, housing for enslaved persons stood behind this home near the creek that surrounds the property. There are also two unmarked graves on the site which are believed to be the burials of those who were forced to work this land.
By the mid-1840s, Bobo and his extended family from nearby Cross Keys Plantation decided to leave South Carolina and relocated west to Panola County, Mississippi. The home passed on to John Russell Minter, a farmer, and merchant, who had also served as an officer in the Confederate Treasury. After the war, Mr. Minter had tried his hand at real estate in California but returned home to South Carolina when the venture was unsuccessful. It was at this point that he purchased the Bobo Home ‘Sedalia’ where he would become an important ‘boss hog’ in the area according to one local account.
John and his wife Fannie settled here, starting the farm back up after the war when he became known as an excellent farmer who specialized in cotton, corn, and cattle. But life would not be easy for them as tragedy would soon strike the Minter Family.
On March 15, 1881, daughter Fannie’s dress caught on fire in front of the fireplace. Her mother Fannie, nearly 9 months pregnant, rushed to help and her clothes also caught on fire. The younger Fannie passed on that very day and her mother and unborn brother 10 days later.
The fire damaged a large portion of the home and determined to move ahead for what remained of his family, John rebuilt and expanded the home. What started originally as a two-room log cabin was eventually expanded to the 12 room home with 100-foot piazza that we see today.
And 10 years after her death in 1891, John was working to build to his community by helping to found a nearby Presbyterian Church where his family could worship.
After a considerable amount of research, I was able to track down a photo of the Minter Family reunion at Sedalia, c. 1912.
But the new century would bring more challenges and on January 1st, 1913, a significant earthquake hit here, causing damage to the wellhouse and main home. At the time, a Mr. Will Stewart, the farm manager, rebuilt the wellhouse (which still stands today). Just 4 months later, John Minter would pass away at the age of 79.
The 1920s would prove to be just as difficult and by 1928, the Minter Family had lost the home in a court bankruptcy, making way for Will Stewart, the farm manager here, to step in a buy it. The Stewart family would call Sedalia home until the 1970s when husband and wife passed away after spending more than 40 years of their lives here.
Their children did what they could to keep the property up until they passed away too and now, it sits in a sad state of repair while the land is leased by a hunting club.
Sincere thanks to descendants of the Stewart & Minter Families who graciously provided some of the background and photos to go along with this story!