Rose Hill Plantation - Union Union County South Carolina SC

Rose Hill Plantation – Union – Union County

Rose Hill Plantation 2016 - Union County, South Carolina
— Rose Hill Plantation © F. Everett Leigh, 2016 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Basic Information

  • Location – Tyger River, Union, Union County

    2677 Sardis Road off US 176 (8 miles from Union)

  • Origin of name – The Gist family planted many roses in the formal gardens surrounding the mansion, at one time over 100 varieties (7)

  • Other names – None (7)

  • Current status – Open to the public as a State Historic Site since 1960

Rose Hill Plantation Kitchen 2013 - Union County, South Carolina
— Rose Hill Plantation Kitchen, 2013 © Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site —


  • 1811 – Earliest known date of existence (7)

    Francis Fincher Gist purchased land and created the plantation (7).

  • 1811-1830 – House built, exact dates unknown (7)

    A Georgian-style, brick house was built by either Francis Fincher Gist or his son William Henry Gist (7).

  • 1819 – Ann Tonge Gist became the plantation's owner when her husband, Francis, died (7).

  • 1821 – William Henry Gist became owner of Rose Hill, operating it as a working plantation growing cotton and corn (7).

  • 1858-1860 – The plantation's house was used as the Governor's mansion during Gist's term. Gist was an important player in South Carolina's secession from the Union in December of 1860 and became knows as the "secession governor" (7).

  • 1850s - early 1860s – Gov. Gist had the house remodeled and had two-story porches on the front and back of the house added. He also had the brick exterior covered with stucco. This dramatically changed the exterior appearance of the house, transforming it into a Greek Revival / Federalist architectural style (7).

  • 1874 – William passed away and the ownership of Rose Hill transfered to his wife Mary Elizabeth Rice Gist. The plantation continued to operate being farmed by tenant farmers and sharecroppers (7).

  • 1889 – Elizabeth died and the plantation was inherited by her grandchildren. The Gist grandchildren retained ownership for 40 years and continued to lease the property, including the house, to tenant farmers (7).

  • 1938 – The US Forest Service purchased Rose Hill.The Civilian Conservation Corps established a camp one-mile from the plantation's house and began to plant Rose Hill land that became a section of the Sumter National Forest (7).

  • 1942 – Clyde T. Franks purchased the house and approximately 44 acres of land surrounding it from the US Forest Service (7).

  • 1943 – Franks opened Rose Hill to the public. During his ownership, Franks worked diligently on restoring the formal gardens and house, including adding period furnishing (7).

  • 1960 – Franks sold the house to the South Carolina State Park Service and the property was renamed the Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site (7).

Rose Hill Plantation Ballroom 2012 - Union County, South Carolina
— Rose Hill Plantation Ballroom, 2012 © Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site —


  • Number of acres – 5,000+ acres in 1860; 44 in 1942-present, 2013 (7)

  • Primary crop – Cotton and corn (7)


  • Chronological list – Francis Fincher Gist (1811-1819); Ann Tonge Gist (1819-1821); William Henry Gist (1821-1874); Mary Elizabeth Rice Gist (1874-1889); Gist grandchildren (1889-1938); US Forest Service (1938-1942); Clyde T. Franks (1942-1960); South Carolina State Park Service (1960-present, 2013)

Rose Hill Plantation 2008 - Union County, South Carolina
— Rose Hill Plantation © Ed Long, 2008 —
(Do Not Use Without Written Consent)


  • Number of slaves – Approximately 20 in 1819; 32 in 1830; 82 in 1840; 136 in 1850; 178 in 1860 (7)


  • The house has three stories with the first two historically used as living quarters and the third a mix of living and storage areas. The exterior walls are 18-inches thick with the interior 12-inches. (7).

  • The original, wood-frame kitchen building was lost to fire in the late 1800s. A brick building was constructed to replace the original kitchen and still stands today (1, p. 2 and 7).

Rose Hill Plantation Ballroom 2013 - Union County, South Carolina
— Rose Hill Plantation in the Snow, 2013 © —
— Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site —

References & Resources

  1. National Register of Historic Places
    Nomination form - PDF - submitted in 1970
    Photographs, architectural overview

  2. Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site: Click here

  3. 30-15 Plantation File, held by the South Carolina Historical Society

  4. 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

  5. Catherine Campart Messmer, South Carolina's Low Country - A Past Preserved Text (Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing, 1988)

  6. Jane Ockershausen, The South Carolina One-Day Trip Book (McLean, VA: EPM Publications, 1998)

  7. Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site Archives

  8. Daniel J. Bell, William Henry Gist and Rose Hill: An Examination of Available Sources for Use in the Interpretation of Rose Hill State Park, Union, South Carolina, With a Proposed Narrative Booklet for the Site, unpublished manuscript, (University of South Carolina, January 1983)

  9. Rose Hill Plantation - SCIWAY's South Carolina Picture Project

Contact Information

  • Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site
    2677 Sardis Road
    Union, SC 29379

    Telephone: 864-427-5966
    Website: Click here

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