Overview | Location and Hours | Offerings
The Seay House
The Seay House shares the stories of women in the late 1800s through the
lens of three Seay sisters who lived in the home and ran their self-sufficient
The home is an example of a
small, rural farmstead and is believed to be the oldest home inside Spartanburg's
city limits. The original log portion dates
to the late 1700s or early 1800s while other rooms were added in the 1800s. Originally the home of Kinsman Seay, his
three unmarried daughters lived in the home, ran the farm, and made microloans.
May-October: 10:00-4:00, Every 3rd Saturday
Groups of no more than 40 people can schedule visits year-round
ADMISSION: Free on Seay House Saturdays. Donations appreciated. $5 per person for scheduled groups.
GROUP VISITS & OUTREACH PROGRAMS: For information on how to schedule a group visit or an outreach program, download our Group Visit & Outreach Planner.
EVENT RENTALS: For information on renting Seay House for your event, download our Rental Policies & Agreement.
LOCATION: 106 Darby Road, Spartanburg, SC, just off Crescent Avenue
DIRECTIONS: From downtown Spartanburg, take South Church Street (US 221)
toward Roebuck. Turn right onto Crescent
Avenue, then right onto Darby Road. The
house is immediately on the left.
A Visit to Seay House
At the Seay House, visitors tour through what is believed to be the oldest house inside the city limits of Spartanburg. Although a definite construction date for the log portion has not been established, evidence indicates that it was built prior to 1850. Two of the frame additions made to the home in the late 19th century still remain. The oldest portion of the house is a typical Scots-Irish, one room, one and one-half story, log house. The logs are hand-hewn and the foundation consists of fieldstone. The pipestem chimney, also made of fieldstone, is a style commonly found in Virginia and quite unusual for Upstate South Carolina.
The Seay House is a modest home and reflects the kind of life that the majority of the farmer in Spartanburg County lived. Interpretation at the Seay House focuses on the lives of women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was a farmstead, and the three daughters of Kinsman Seay - Ruthy, Patsy, and Sarah - who lived at simple farm life in this house up to the times of their deaths. While today this home is largely surrounded by a modern neighborhood, when you step onto the grounds you can begin to imagine what it must have been like to live without electricity or running water, to grow and raise your own food, and to make your own clothing.
Learn more about the Seay sisters and some of the history they lived through by watching this video by Linda Powers Bilanchone.
A Brief History of Seay House
This site was originally known as the "Jammie Seay House" when it was acquired by the Association. However, when more in-depth research was conducted, it became known simply as the Seay House. The earliest individual who can be directly tied to the house is not James (Jammie) Seay, but rather Kinsman Seay, the eldest son of Jammie Seay. Kinsman was born September 17, 1784, and died February 1, 1883. There is documentation that indicates Kinsman and his descendants were associated with this house until about 1969.
James Seay, born in Virginia in 1750 and a Revolutionary War soldier, migrated to South Carolina. The first land transaction bearing his name was in 1784 when he received a grant of 200 acres near Fairforest Creek. Jammie Seay died in 1843, aged 93, and was buried at St. Timothy's Chapel in what is now the Arkwright Community. He was accorded the full military honors due a patriot veteran of the Revolution.
Although court records are sketchy, a newspaper obituary suggests that at one time Jammie Seay owned as much as 500 acres of land south and west of the Spartanburg Courthouse. In his old age, there is the possibility that he divided the tract among his children and lived with his son, Kinsman, in the Seay House. Although the home place was certainly modest, Kinsman Seay was respected in the village and a founder of Central Methodist Church. As late as the 1890's Kinsman's unmarried daughters still lived in the house and maintained the family ties to Central Methodist Church.