This abandoned farmhouse in the rural Colleton County town of Williams was built by Colonel George Warren in 1842. The town was known initially as Buck Head, but by the end of the nineteenth century, it was called Williams for Tom Williams, Colonel Warren’s brother-in-law, who donated land for a church and served as the town’s first postmaster in 1895.
A descendant of Colonel Warren, J.L.B. Warren, was the editor of the local newspaper, The Press and Standard. He also published a book on nearby Walterboro in 1939 entitled Little Pieces on Doings in the Nineties, With Peeps into the More Remote Past.
Paula Broderick Finley, whose family once owned the home, shared the following history with us in our Facebook group:
This was my great-great-grandfather’s house near Williams, SC. It was sold out of our family, regretfully, about ten to fifteen years ago. Col. George Warren first had a sawmill near Smoaks, SC.
He used a “branch” to move the lumber by water to this location to build the house. Later he built another sawmill near the house and a small village developed there. Later that mill was moved to Williams and is still owned by descendants of George Warren.
Col. Warren had a family here, farmed and was the High Sheriff of Colleton District. His daughter, Amelia Warren, (my great-grandmother) was raised here. She married Sidney Milton Key and lived many years in Beaufort. They had a son, Warren Eve Key (my Grandfather) who brought his wife (Ellen Nora Adams Key) back to this house In Williams where they farmed and raised eight children. My mother, Caroline Key Broderick, was born and raised in this house (DOB 8/8/1909).
My grandparents moved from the house to Walterboro to retire in 1945. The house looks rough around the edges now, but the structure is rock solid!
Several in my generation had great hopes of restoring the house for family gatherings. Unfortunately, that did not happen! I still love that house and our old family cemetery which is across the road. When turning onto George Warren Road to drive to Williams, I have such a wonderful feeling! I know who I am and where I came from. Having “roots” is fantastic! Most importantly, I have seven first cousins, [as well as] second, third, fourth, and fifth cousins and their families who proudly share this heritage with me!
A square grand piano used in this house is on display in the Colleton Museum.”
Interior Pictures of Warren Farm
Reflections on Warren Farm
Photographer Brandon Coffey says, “The first time I ever came across this magnificent house I had been traveling a new route between St. George and the Donnelly WMA. I had spent the day shooting wildlife and was starting to feel tired as the sun was setting. Driving along that old country road I happened to glance left just as the sun was setting and making the old worn windows of this farmhouse glow as if it were alive. Immediately I slammed on brakes and flipped around – I had to shoot this house! The way the sun filled the home filled it with an energy that was exciting to see. Ever since that chance encounter this has been a favorite spot of mine to revisit from time to time.”