Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 1: No 2) >> Simms in Spartanburg >> Page 27

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 27

Secondary Scholarship | 1993
Transcription 27




SIMMS IN SPARTANBURG

Frank A. Coleman

On Simms's happy treks up the State Road from Charleston to his hunts
and travels in the North Carolina mountains, he passed through Spartanburg
County. There is a record of at least four places where he sojourned on these trips
One is the country place of Captain Andrew Jackson Daniel and his wife Nancy.
The two-storied clapboard Daniel house was built in 1837 as a wedding present
for the new couple. It had a double front Palladian portico and large end
chimneys, was capacious and comfortable, and sat on a noble rise at Foster's
Cross Roads about four miles southeast of the village of Spartanburg and two
miles northeast of present-day Roebuck. It was long a landmark to travelers and
the center of a 2,000 acre plantation. Although its appearance has been much
altered, the home still stands today on its original site.
The Daniel family, descended from Virginians who settled in the area in
the 1700s, had become affluent by Simms's day and naturally got to know the
great and near-great who stayed in the several hotels in Spartanburg and at nearby
Glenn's Spring (later Glenn Springs). Simms and Captain Daniel became friends;
and the author visited the Daniel country house in summer. Here, Simms was
said to have written a good many poems. Family tradition has it, that one of
Simms's volumes had an engraved frontispiece or illustration that pictured the
Daniel house; but precisely which book has been lost from family memory.
Simms also stayed with the Daniels at their townhouse in Spartanburg. It was
located on South Church Street, about where Hampton Avenue crosses it today.
To commemorate the Simms-Daniel friendship, it has been a Daniel family
tradition for generations now, to name a son "Gilmore," and so today the present
adult "Gilmore" and his son "Gilmore" live in Orlando, Florida. They are both
called "Gilly," as was Simms's own son, Gilmore, Jr., a wee lad when the
Simmses visited the Daniels in 1847.
The third place Simms is known to have stayed in Spartanburg is the
Walker House Hotel, later named the Piedmont House. It was built in the early
1840s just in time for Simms's jaunts. It burned in 1882. The Walker stood on
East Main Street where now rises the sixteen-story "Flagstar" office tower.
A History of Spartanburg County (Band and White, 1940, pp. 63-64)
notes that the Walker was especially commended to summer visitors, "for in the
forties the people of the lower part of the State began to find in the climate of
Spartanburg a delightful change....Among the notables who patronized it was the
family of William Gilmore Simms."