John A. Cuthbert House – 1203 Bay Street, Beaufort SC

Built in: 1810

The circumstance of the construction of this house has been lost to two competing legends over the years. The first suggests that it was built near Wyers Pond, but after much sickness and several deaths, the family decided that the location was unhealthy and had the house sawed in half and moved to its present site. The other indicates that it was built as a Presbyterian Manse and was acquired and moved by the Cuthbert family. Neither legend has been substantiated, yet both have plausible elements. The front portion of the house appears to have been built circa 1810 and it underwent significant remodeling in the late 1830s or early 1840s. Union General Rufus Saxton purchased the home by Cert. # 249 at the Direct Tax Auction 1865. The book Marching With Sherman, written by an aide of General W. T. Sherman, contains the following passage: “The General came to Beaufort and stayed one day at General Saxton’s. The latter owns a large fine double house on Bay Street fronting the sea. He bought it at one of the U. S. Tax Sales and I was told gave $1,000 for it.” The property was sold to Saxton’s friend and agent Duncan C. Wilson in 1882. Wilson was responsible for the construction of hundreds of prefabricated houses and military buildings on Hilton Head Island during the Civil War. Wilson is thought to have added Victorian style elements to the house, including the gingerbread trim and expansions to the south porch.

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