The Marsh-Johnson house, an excellent example of a plantation plain house, has withstood the elements for over 200 years in its' own little corner of Saluda County. This house symbolized the owner's prosperity and status in the Carolina upcountry in the 18th and 19th centuries.
During its' 200 years, the land on which the Marsh-Johnson House sits was first the Ninety Six district, then Edgefield County, and since 1895, Saluda County. Although it has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982, it was rescued from the ravages of time and neglect by the Saluda Historical Society in 1990 when Virginia Trotter Witt, decendent of four Patriots of the American Revolution, deeded the house to the Society to be restored.
The Marsh-Johnson House, a farmhouse built with simple lines and excellent workmanship, is a mirror of the past from the 1700's to the middle 1900's. Construction probably began between 1773 and 1817. In 1773 Ogden Cockcroft received the tract as a Royal Land Grant of 300 acres, and on March 2, 1804, he sold to Bryan Marsh all that Plantation or tract of Land containing 300 acress..." In 1917 when Edgefield District was surveyed for the 1825 Mills' Atlas Map, the home of B. Marsh was noted in the location where the house stands today. Whether Ogden Coccroft built this house (as the land grant's use of the word "Plantation" seems to indicate) or whether Bryan Marsh constructed it is in question, but the general consensus of its' age takes into consideration the types of nails, the brick work, and legal documents.
The Marsh-Johnson House was built on a central hall plan with single, square rooms to either side of the hall. The original partition between the central hall and the left parlor was removed in the 1960's when the ell and separate4 kitchen were torn away and the materials used to construct the back two shed rooms.
The walls, floors and ceilings were constructed of wide boards with a chair rail on the first floor walls. The rooms downstairs are painted a greenish-blue, and two hand-carved mantels with arches surround the downstairs fireplaces. An enclosed quarter-turn stairway tucked into the parlor room wall leads to the two second-floor bedrooms. Two doubler-hipped chimneys are built in the Flemish Bond pattern, which is a method of laying brick by alternating on each row of bricks the headers (short side of a brick) with the stretchers (long side of brick facing out). These headers were glazed with still-visible royal blue glaze. Large brick piers underneath the house were also laid in the Flemish Bond pattern. Such details indicate that the house was built by a skilled craftsman for a person of some wealth. The house has be stabilized by rebuilding the brick pillars and one of the chimneys.
During 2013, interior and exterior restoration of the Marsh-Johnson House was completed. Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of the Old 96 District Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Saluda County ATAX funds, the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and Historical Society members and friends.
Today, if you drive by the house, you will see that the lawn is neatly mowed and that the Pyracantha Garden Club has constructed a rail garden and planted bulbs and shrubbery. Daffodils in the spring, nandina with red berries in the winter, and the yard's huge pecan trees welcome visitors to this historic rural Saluda County home.