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The Hunt Cabin, located in the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, has been added to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

Published: March 14, 2016

The Hunt Cabin, located in the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, has been added to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Sponsored by the Pickens County ATAX Commission, the pattern is called Oconee Bell. Elizabeth Thackery from the Clemson area designed and made the fabric quilt block which is displayed in the cabin. The cabin was built around 1825 for the Hunt Family, the cabin was originally located in Seneca, near the current location of Big Lots. The Cabin was moved to the Garden by Clemson’s class of 1915.

The Oconee Bell pattern was chosen because it is an anchor plant of the SCBG’s new Natural Heritage Garden Trail, which ends at the Hunt Cabin. Oconee bells have been present in the Garden for over 40 years and include plants taken from the original plot discovered by explorer André Michaux in 1788, an area now subsumed by Lake Jocassee.

The Hunt Cabin
The Hunt family settled around the Townville and Seneca area after emigrating from Virginia. The cabin was the home of Ransom Hunt, his wife Martha Dalton Hunt, their seven children and Martha’s mother. This cabin, and the land on which it was originally constructed, was a gift from Ransom’s father, Charles Hunt, as a wedding present. The cabin was situated on 2300 acres of land that had reportedly been in the family for three generations.

The house was constructed from logs hewn from chestnut trees on the land, the chinking was clay mortar, the roof is split white oak shingles and the glass was originally handmade. Cabins were often plastered inside with white clay – known as Cherokee clay. This fine porcelain clay was shipped from the mountains of North Carolina to the Wedgewood factory in England. As the family grew, the house was added to and eventually the cabin was the kernel within a much larger structure.

The Hunt family farmed the land; they grew wheat, Indian corn, peas, beans and potatoes, and raised cattle, sheep, pigs and oxen. The family was also reputed to have brought the first apple trees into Oconee County. The Hunts were prosperous and reputedly very hospitable, being quick to welcome travellers into their home and to entertain them.

The original quilter of this pattern is Elizabeth Thackery. She has been quilting for almost 30 years, continuing a tradition that has been in her family for many generations. At a local Prickly Fingers quilt guild meeting in November 2014, Diane Schonauer announced that the South Carolina Botanical Garden was looking for a quilt with the Oconee Bell pattern on it as part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Mrs. Thackery was intrigued with the little