A manor. A murder. A cemetery. A noticeable stain on the floor. What do these have to do with a beautiful place called Walnut Grove?
Established in 1765, Walnut Grove Plantation––of Roebuck, South Carolina––is more than a house and acres of walnut trees. It is a time machine that ushers you into another time.
Walnut Grove was the home of Charles and Mary Moore, Scots-Irish immigrants, who were active supporters of the American Revolution. Charles, a school teacher, built and operated the first school of Spartanburg county right there on his property. Rocky Spring Academy was in existence 1770-1850.
The grove of black walnut trees is attributed to the eldest of the ten Moore children, daughter Margaret Catherine “Kate” Moore. Kate served as scout during the Battle of Cowpens. She later married General Andrew Barry at the age of 15. Kate was widely considered a heroine for her contributions to the American Revolution as a scout, a spy, and a recruiter.
I first visited Walnut Grove when I was a student in the third grade. The grounds were lovely, the manor, school house, smokehouse and scattering buildings were all intriguing. But it was the enthralling tale of the patriot named John Steadman that captivated me most. Steadman was a soldier the Moore’s hid away until Loyalist, “Bloody” Bill Cunningham raided the place and murdered the man. For years, tourists were told the stain that blemished the upstairs bedroom floor was the blood of the poor murdered Steadman. This is what I remembered most about my visit. Recently, I researched information on the plantation and was very disappointed to learn that with the technological advances of the 21st century, it has been determined that the ever so popular stain is not that of human blood. The story that intrigued so many, including this Southern gal, turned out to be untrue.
To learn more about Walnut Grove Plantation you can visit:
- The page about Walnut Grove at Wikipedia
- The page about Kate Barry at Wikipedia
If you find yourself in the Spartanburg area in early-mid May, Walnut Grove, which has recently been closed for renovations, is hosting their Grand Re-Opening May 11, 2019. You can find information about the event here.