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Gillespie-Brown House: The Almost Wedding Gift

In 1830, Samuel Gillespie built what he wanted to be the “grandest house in Columbia” for his new bride-to-be. Sparing no expense, he built an ornate, Greek Revival mansion. Unfortunately, the bride changed her mind and married another. Samuel didn’t want to live in the house.


He arranged for the Columbia Masonic Lottery to sell tickets for it in 1832. Samuel made back his investment, the Columbia Masons made money, and local doctor John Witherspoon Pettigrew (J.W.P.) McGimsey (1796-1874) and wife Rowena Jassey McGimsey (1797-1827) got a great mansion. They married in 1821.


Dr. McGimsey sold it shortly to Dr. William H. Brown. Brown (1826-1894) had married Eliza Anne Calhoun (1828-1864) in 1850. Eliza was the daughter of Charles and Margaret E. Todd and granddaughter of Christopher and Sarah Dick Todd of Elm Springs.


The next owner was youngest daughter Margaret “Maggie” Calhoun Brown. She married John P. Brown in 1879. After John died in 1882, Maggie remarried James Clark Taylor in 1883. Maggie died in 1923 and James passed away in 1943. In the 1930s, the house was sold and divided into four apartments. See Elm Springs

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