Built around 1855, this home in Batesburg-Leesville is one of the area’s few remaining antebellum homes. Of these homes, the Mitchell-Shealy House is one of only two that maintains its architectural integrity; the other is the Hartley House. In 1993 the neighboring communities of Batesburg and Leesville consolidated to create a single municipality, Batesburg-Leesville. While the Hartley House stands in the Batesburg side of town, the Mitchell-Shealy House can be found in the Leesville side.
Though some sources claim the home’s first owner was John Andrew “Jeter” Mitchell, others state it was Jeter’s father, William Carey Mitchell, who built the home, and that the son inherited the house following the elder Mitchell’s death in 1880. In either case, we know that Jeter was a planter and Leesville’s first postmaster after the town was incorporated in 1875. He built the Hendrix House in 1888, which passed to his daughter after his death in 1908. After Mitchell moved to his new home, this house fell into the ownership of Berly (also spelled Berley) Shealy. The home remains in the Shealy family today.
The Mitchell-Shealy House is listed in the National Register (note that the street address of the home is now East Columbia Avenue; some of the street names changed following the consolidation of the two towns):
Constructed ca. 1855, this two-story weatherboard residence combines Greek Revival and Italianate features under a metal shingle gabled roof. A central projecting double portico features chamfered posts-four across each floor—and turned balustrades beneath a front gable. Central doorways on each floor are surrounded by multi-paned sidelights and transoms. The lower front porch has been screened in. The façade and rectangular central block and centered rear ell of one story are embellished with bracketed cornices and triangular window caps. Side single windows are balance in pairs on each floor, four across. Central chimneys pierce the roof ridge. A later addition extends the rear ell on the right rear side but does not impair the building’s overall integrity. The house was constructed by J.A.J. (Jeter) Mitchell, prominent local planter and first postmaster of Leesville. The house is one of five surviving antebellum buildings in the Batesburg-Leesville area and one of only two antebellum buildings in the area that retains its integrity.