History of the Cornwallis House
On the National Register of Historic Places, the Cornwallis House, ca. pre-1776, is one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Winnsboro. By whom it was built is not known... yet. However, it is a locally accepted (and well documented) fact that it was occupied as the headquarters of British General Lord Cornwallis during the "winter of discontent", Oct. 1780- Jan. 1781.
Cornwallis was in Charlotte when the defeat of Major Ferguson at King's Mtn sent shock waves through the British army. Cornwallis chose Winnsboro as
a good place for encampment-- it offered advantages for supplies and a strategic location between the British strondholds of Ninety-Six and
Camden. Several other houses in the town were commandeered by
British officers, and troops are documented to have occupied the
campus of the Mt. Zion Institute across the street.
Winnsboro is remarkable for having been the headquarters of General Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War. Perhaps more remarkable:
This all happened right when the war turned in favor of the Patriot forces!
After the Revolutionary War...
In 1797, the house was deeded to Revolutionary War hero and distinguished soldier, Captain John Buchanan. When General Marquis de la Fayette landed in Georgetown, May 1777, Captain Buchanan was the first American military officer to greet and entertain him. The Captain also presented the Marquis with a fine horse and allowed him to be accompanied by his own personal body servant: a man named Pompey Fortune. Fortune accompanied the Marquis through the rest of the war.
Captain Buchanan, the Marquis, and Fortune became close friends, and, as a thank you for his service to General Lafayette and his country, Buchanan gifted a large lot of land, with a spring "in a fine grove" in Winnsboro, to
Fortune where he
Today it is known as
Fortune Springs Park.
During the Civil War...
When Sherman's troops came through Winnsboro, the Cornwallis House was occupied by the Bolick family.
Only the mother, young daughter, and two old servants were left terrified in their home. The little girl, Elizabeth, had two pet Cornish hens that the "Yankee bummers" used as target-practice while the young girl begged for her pets not to be harmed. Though sad, this is just one of many stories that this ancient home has to tell...