"Cassena" – 315 Federal Street, Beaufort SC

Built in: early 1800s

Local tradition has often cited John Blythewood as the builder of this house in the early 1800s. Architectural evidence suggests a later construction date. Prior to the Civil War, the lot was owned by Ann B. Oswald and her sister Margaret (Mary) R. Bell, daughters of Blythewood. In 1862, Margaret testified she had lived in the house for “20 years before” outbreak of Civil War. Conveyed after the Direct Tax Sale by Tax Sale Certificate #223, the house is said to have been bought by a former slave of Mary Bell. The house remained in the hands of former slaves and their descendants until it was severely damaged and abandoned after the storm of 1893. Stories have followed the house that during the great storm boatloads of refugees from the islands were unloaded on the front porch, the highest point in the vicinity. It sat abandoned until 1898, when it was purchased and restored by H. T. Danner. Of the original Adam-style mantels, only one remains to suggest the former character of the house. Golden oak mantels, installed after the storm have recently been replaced by fine Adam-style mantels and ceiling cornices. The size of the foundation beams, pegged rafters, and hand-made nails show the unusual soundness and age of the construction.

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