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West Ashley Flashback: Back To The Big House

Moving from downtown Charleston to the Country at Pierpont-on-the-Ashley

William Norman James proudly sits on the front stoop of the “Big House”.  The home was located on a tract of land that is now at the corner of Markham and Highway 61. James and the adjacent property owners (Tumblestons) sold property to the SCDOT in order that the new road, Markham, could be constructed. Later the property was sold to Texaco for use as a gas station. (Photograph courtesy of Norma Flood Hancock)William Norman James proudly sits on the front stoop of the “Big House”. The home was located on a tract of land that is now at the corner of Markham and Highway 61. James and the adjacent property owners (Tumblestons) sold property to the SCDOT in order that the new road, Markham, could be constructed. Later the property was sold to Texaco for use as a gas station. (Photograph courtesy of Norma Flood Hancock)


November 17, 2017
By Donna Jacobs | Contributing Writer

“Double Wedding in Pierpont” read the Sunday Sept. 15, 1940 headline on the page entitled News of Society and Accounts of Women’s Clubs Activities During the Last Week.

Amelia May Clifton wed Ollie F. Flood Jr. Mable Leona Johnson wed Thomas Stoy Clifton. The ceremony was held at the Pierpont Methodist Church. Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. James, hosted the barbecue reception at their home. Double punch bowls and dual wedding cakes honored the double wedding theme.

The family journey leading to this double wedding celebration in Pierpont-on-the-Ashley took many twists and turns. Amelia’s (known to her family as “Wedgie”) mother, Amelia Weathersby Clifton married her second husband William “Bill” Norman James and they lived on Queen Street downtown. The opportunity arose to purchase a 5-acre plot fronting Highway 61 at Pierpont-on-the-Ashley and the James took it.

James’s professional career included not only time as a construction foreman with Charleston Construction Company but also working as a concrete foreman at the Charleston Naval Shipyard.  His hobby making decorative concrete products developed from this profession. All of these skills culminated in the building of what became known as the “Big House” on Route 4.

James built a home that would accommodate his now large blended family and his father.  The “Big House” had a central oil stove, formal living room, dining room, kitchen, six bedrooms, and one bathroom.

The yard was beautifully landscaped and appointed with the decorative concrete planters that James enjoyed making. There were many family celebrations held at the “Big House” that took advantage of the 5 acres and the formal living areas including the double wedding celebration.

But moving to the “country” was not fun for “Wedgie”, after living at the hub of activity on the peninsula. However, she met her future husband while biking with her brothers along Highway 61 and on Sept. 7, 1940 she wed Ollie Flood Jr.

Stories of growing up in St. Andrew’s Parish? Contact Donna Jacobs at westashleybook@gmail.com

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