Our Photographers Contact Us
Our Patrons Please Give Today Add Images Add History Our Work South Carolina Picture Project

William Dunlap Simpson House — Laurens, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Laurens County  |  William Dunlap Simpson House

Adopt A South Carolina Landmark
William Dunlap Simpson House

This Greek Revival home in Laurens once belonged to a South Carolina governor and Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Designed by its original owner, Christopher Garlington, in 1839, the manse boasts five chimneys and two pairs of fluted Doric columns. Towards the end of the Civil War the home was purchased by William Dunlap Simpson, a graduate from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) who also attended Harvard Law School.

William Dunlap Simpson House

Jo Anne Keasler of Greenville, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Prior to the war, Simpson had established himself as a prominent servant of the state. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1854 until 1856 and again from 1858 until 1860. Simpson continued his public service during the war, sitting in the South Carolina Senate from 1860 until 1863 and in the Confederate House of Representatives from 1863 through 1865. He was able to serve in the Confederate army as well, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

William Dunlop Simpson House

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

After the war Simpson was elected to the United State House of Representatives, yet he was not confirmed due to his active past in the Confederacy. His political career continued to soar, however, and he was elected lieutenant governor in 1877 with Governor Wade Hampton, where he served until Hampton resigned for a seat in the United States Senate in 1879. Simpson then became governor for one year before being appointed Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court until 1890.

The house remained in the Simpson family until 1939.

The William Dunlap Simpson House is listed in the National Register, which says the following:

Constructed in 1839, this Greek Revival dwelling has been owned by South Carolinians of prominence in both local and statewide affairs. The Simpson House is an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture. Its designer-owner, Christopher Garlington, probably with the aid of a pattern book, created a structure that still retains the aura of an antebellum plantation house owned by a wealthy planter. The white clapboard structure has three stories with a total of twelve rooms. The gable roof is pierced by four end chimneys contained within the structure. A fifth chimney is in the rear projection. At the end of the Civil War William Dunlap Simpson purchased the house from John Adam Eichelberger, a wealthy planter who had used the structure as his townhouse.

Simpson, a graduate of South Carolina College and Harvard Law School, had been a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives for several terms and was a member of the State Senate when South Carolina seceded. During the Civil War, he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the war he was elected to the US House of Representatives; however, due to his Confederate affiliations, he was refused his seat in the House. Wade Hampton was elected governor in 1876 with Simpson as lieutenant governor. When Hampton was elected to the US Senate in 1879, Simpson became governor. He was appointed Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court in 1880. The Motes family purchased it from Simpson heirs in 1939. The once elaborate gardens, orchard, and vineyard have disappeared.

William Dunlap Simpson House Info

Address: 726 West Main Street, Laurens, SC 29360
GPS Coordinates: 34.49542,-82.02474

William Dunlap Simpson House Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

One Comment about William Dunlap Simpson House

Sally Hawkins says:
July 4th, 2018 at 6:49 pm

The Motes family got it because Mrs. Louise Motes was Gov. Simpson’s granddaughter!

View SC Landmarks by Town or Type

Abbeville ACE Basin Adams Run Aiken Alcolu Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cayce Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Chesterfield Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Daufuskie Island Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Erhardt Eutawville Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Great Falls Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hardeeville Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Hodges Holly Hill Honea Path Hopkins Hotels & Inns Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Jamestown Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Lowndesville Manning Marion Mars Bluff McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinewood Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Prosperity Ravenel Restaurants Ridgeland Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Santee Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stateburg Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Sunsets Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Troy Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Ware Shoals Waterfalls Water Towers Wedgefield West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Woodruff Yemassee York