The Families

The Ownership of the Burt-Stark Mansion Through the Years

David Lesley

Lawyer, planter, judge, Presbyterian Elder. Built the Mansion in the 1830s. Died in 1855.

House purchased by

Thomas A. Hoyt

Pastor, Upper Long Cane Presbyterian Church. Called to pastorate in Louisville, Kentucky in 1859

House sold to

Andrew Simonds

Banker of Charleston. Married his cousin, a daughter of John A. Calhoun and great-niece of John C. Calhoun in 1860.

House sold in 1862 to

Armistead Burt

Also married to a niece of John C. Calhoun, the lovely Martha Calhoun Burt. U.S. Congressman from 1843 to 1853. Close personal friends of Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Davis. Hosts to Mrs. Davis for ten days in April and to President Davis on May 2–3, 1865

House sold in 1868 to

James R. Norwood

Planter devastated by Civil War. Died in 1875. House occupied successively by widow Sarah Hester Norwood and daughter Sarah Norwood Calhoun.

House sold in 1900 to

J. S. Stark

Banker and Planter. Restored house and grounds as Abbeville showplace. Married Ann Miller, niece of Martha Calhoun Burt. Mrs. Stark and her twin daughters, Fannie and Mary, were active socially throughout the South.

House inherited by

Mary Stark Davis

In 1971, Mary Stark Davis agreed to donate her historic home to a properly formed public body so as to preserve it for future generations. To that end, the Abbeville County Historic Preservation Commission was established and its members appointed by Governor Robert McNair at the recommendation of the legislative delegation. In 1976 Mrs. Davis donated the contents of the house as well.

Watch an old building with care; guard it as best you may, and at any cost, from any influence of dilapidation. Count its stones as he would jewels of a crown; set watches about it as if the gates of a besieged city; bind it together with irons when it loosens; stay it with timbers when it declines. Do this tenderly, and reverently, and continually, and many a generation will still be born and pass away beneath that shadow.

~ John Ruskin