They who love an old house
Will never love in vain
For how can any old house
Used to sun and rain
To lilac and to larkspur
and arching trees above
Fail to give its answer
to the hearts that give it love.
Robertson House - 1820
Hard to believe this historic home was slated for a controlled burn for firefighter training. The bricks are from the pre-Civil War era; the back of the house is the original wood from 1820. In the 1980s, the house was moved to its current location. And, found on the third floor of the house: carefully preserved chalk drawings on the window frames, made by the Robertson children.
The Robertson House is one of York County, South Carolina’s outstanding pieces of historic architecture. Built in 1820, it is the oldest habitable home in the county. Even though it no longer sits on its original location, the house remains highly intact. The home was originally constructed for Major Wm. Robertson and later lived in by Allen Robertson. Major Robertson lived in the home for many years, and carried on extensive farming operations on the broad 2,000 acres that surrounded the house. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson had three sons, Edward, Charles and Thomas. The three boys later moved to New York where they became successful businessmen. Thomas, the youngest son, died in 1849 at the age of 79. His wife, Rebecca, died in 1857 at the age of 74. They are buried side by side in the old Robertson cemetery. A wrought iron fence, now over 150 years old, surrounds the Robertson graveyard near the original location of the house with 25 graves in it. Most of the gravestones mark the last resting place of the Robertson family.
The officials touring the home told him they had no desire to save the house, and in fact, were going to burn it down for a fire training exercise.
The Robertson House is fine reminder of the large number of 19th century structures of handsome proportion and quality construction that once dotted York County. It originally stood proudly on the corner of Robertson and Ogden Roads. Today this is the location of the SC Department of Transportation, and nothing remains but the family cemetery. By the early 1970s, the house was unoccupied and beginning to show signs of significant deterioration. Dr. Frank Fairey, a Rock Hill surgeon, had an intense interest in historical artifacts and the preservation of history. He took notice of the home and its lovely lines, eyebrow windows, panel doors, elegant wainscoting, shouldered brick chimneys and original window glass. One day, as he was driving by the house, a large red fire truck was sitting in the driveway. The officials touring the home told him they had no desire to save the house, and in fact, were going to burn it down for a fire training exercise. Within a few days, the Fairey family purchased an option on the Robertson House from the owners, the City of Rock Hill.
In the 1980s, Dr. Fairey and his wife, Martha, moved the beautiful house from its original location on Robertson Road to Oak Park Road where it now sits overlooking Fishing Creek. (Interestingly, it was positioned so that what was originally the front of the house is now the back, facing the creek). Though the house was intact architecturally, in order to make the home livable and bring it up to 21st century standards, the home was carefully remodeled to preserve its architectural character. The last owners of the Robertson House were Drs. Cecil Givins and Roberta Gray, who purchased the home in 1991 and lovingly cared for it, the grounds and their numerous animals.
The current owner, Dr. Heather Rorison, a dentist from Charlotte, purchased the property in the summer of 2015 and named it Tipsy Goat Estate. Dr. Rorison has owned and remodeled several historic homes over the years and is dedicated to the preservation of historic sites. She plans to share her farm with many rescued animals while investing in the upkeep of the estate and making it available to others as an event venue and for their enjoyment.
Excerpts taken from Roots and Recall.