Fort Hill Plantation - Clemson Pickens County South Carolina SC

Fort Hill Plantation – Clemson – Pickens County

Fort Hill Plantation 2004 - Pickens County, South Carolina
— Fort Hill Plantation's Calhoun Mansion © 2004 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Clemson University Campus, Clemson, Pickens County

    Located near the intersection of Fort Hill Street and Calhoun Drive in the center of the Clemson University campus.

  • Origin of name – Named for Fort Rutledge that had been built on the property during the Revolutionary War

  • Other names – Clergy Hall, John C. Calhoun Mansion and Library

  • Current status – The land is now Clemson University. The plantation house is open to visitors.


  • 1784 – Earliest known date of existence

    Robert Tate was granted 600 acres by the state (1, p. 2).

    The land was referred to as the Fort Hill Tract because of Fort Rutledge that had been built in 1776. General Andrew Williamson of White Hall Plantation was in command of the forces in the area during the Revolutionary War. He applied to Governor John Rutledge for funds and authority to erect a defensive fort. His request was granted and the fort built was named Fort Rutledge in honor of the governor (9, bk. 2, vol. 18, p. 7).

  • Late 1700s – John Ewing Calhoun owned the plantation (1, p. 2).

  • 1802 – The property was deeded to Reverend James and Elizabeth McElhenney. They built a small four-room house and called it Clergy Hall plantation (1, p. 2).

  • ? – Reverend James McElhenney died. The property was purchased by Mrs. John Ewing Calhoun (1, p. 2).

  • 1811 – Mrs. John Ewing Calhoun's daughter, Floride, married John C. Calhoun. They were distant cousins.

  • 1825 – John C. Calhoun moved his family from Washington, D.C. to Fort Hill Plantation. He rented the property from his mother-in-law, Mrs. John Ewing Calhoun (1, p. 2).

    He and Floride raised their nine children on the plantation. They remodeled the house several times to accommodate their large family. The house eventually contained 14 rooms Calhoun (1, p. 3).

  • 1836 – Mrs. John Ewing Calhoun died and John C. Calhoun became the sole owner of the plantation Calhoun (1, p. 2).

    John C. Calhoun began purchasing adjoining tracts of land until he had accumulated about 1,100 acres.

  • 1838 – Anna Maria Calhoun, daughter of Floride and John C. Calhoun, married Thomas Green Clemson in the parlor at Fort Hill on November 13.

    They lived at Fort Hill for the first few years of their marriage. They then lived at Cane Brake Plantation before moving to Belgium for Thomas Clemson's political career.

  • 1850 – John C. Calhoun died in Washington on March 31. He was buried in St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Charleston.

  • 1854 – Floride Calhoun sold Fort Hill to her eldest son, Andrew, who continued to operate the plantation.

  • 1865 – Andrew Calhoun died and Floride Calhoun was once again the owner of Fort Hill.

  • 1866 – Floride Calhoun died and willed Fort Hill to her daughter and only remaining child, Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson.

  • 1872 – Thomas and Anna Clemson retired to Fort Hill.

  • 1875 – Anna Clemson died of a heart attack. It was her wish that her husband preserve her father's house and use the land for a state agricultural college.

  • 1888 – Thomas G. Clemson died. His will states that he has "determined to devote the bulk of [his] property to the establishment of an agricultural college upon the Fort Hill place." His will was honored and the school became Clemson University.


  • Number of acres – 600 in 1784; 1,100

  • Primary crop – Cotton


  • Alphabetical list – Robert Tate (1784-?); John Ewing Calhoun (?); Reverend James and Elizabeth McElhenney (1802-?); Mrs. John Ewing Calhoun (?); John C. Calhoun (1836-1850); Floride Calhoun (1850-1854); Andrew Calhoun (1854-1865); Floride Calhoun (1865-1866); Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson (1866-1875); Thomas G. Clemson (1875-1888); Clemson University (1888-present)


  • Number of slaves – 70 to 80


References & Resources

  1. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1975
    Photographs, architectural overview

  2. Fort Hill Plantation - Clemson University

  3. History of African Americans at Fort Hill: 1825-1888

  4. John C. Calhoun - biography and political career

  5. Thomas G. Clemson - detailed biography

  6. Floride Calhoun - a short biography

  7. Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson - a short biography

  8. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

  9. Claude Henry Neuffer, editor, Names in South Carolina, Volume I through 30 (Columbia, SC: The State Printing Company)
     Order Names in South Carolina, Volumes I-XII, 1954-1965
     Order Names in South Carolina, Index XIII-XVIII

Contact Information

  • Fort Hill Plantation House
    Historic Properties
    Clemson University
    PO Box 345615
    Clemson, SC 29634-5615

    Telephone: 864-656-2475
    Website: Click here

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Flower photographs by Virginia Saunders, Columbia, SC. Please click flower for more info.


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