Open letter to Residents of Rose Hill community
15 May 2008
Thank you to all the Rose Hill residents who attended our open house / 150th birthday party for Rose Hill Plantation house last Friday - May 9th. To recap what happened for those of you who could not attend...Bill and Kathryn Kirk ( who are brother and sister and the great, great grandchildren of Dr. John and Caroline Kirk ) and Bill's daughter, Ellen, were here from Kansas and Missouri to present us with the original portrait for Dr. John Kirk. Kathryn Kirk has had this painting in her home for many years and felt that it needed to come back here to Rose Hill to add to our history house museum. Bill also surprised us by bringing his James Kirk portrait that was given to him by his father many years ago. Both of these paintings had been painted by Dr. John and Caroline's daughter, Emily Kirk, in the mid 1800's.
In addition to these two wonderful items returning to the house, former owner Iva Roberts Welton brought with her the original National Register of Historic Places plaque that was presented to her back in 1983 when the house was first listed.
Many wonderful people of note were here that night - quite a few Kirks including Rose Hill residents Mr and Mrs. Thomas Glendinning and their daughter Cynthia ( from the Dr. James Kirk side of the family) and Mr. Ned Kirk Stender ( nephew of Mrs. Webb of Charleston - representing the Emily Kirk side of the family), as well as Kirk descendant Ms Anne Heyward. Author, historian and lowcountry treasure - Mrs. Mary Pinckney Easterling Powell and several of the other Pinckney family members were here as well. Rufus Aiken ( from the Sturgeon time of ownership) was also here with his son. Author and historian Bill Behan and his wife, BHPS president, Donna Huffman, and Director of the Heyward House, Maureen Richards, were here. Several members of local historic societies came by as well as representatives of local chapters of the UDC and SCV. And... we had many of you show up that night - the current owners of Rose Hill Plantation community.
Ms. Dianne Brannen brought her beautiful carriage and two horses to ride guests around the property for the evening. Our pianist, Mr. Jay Samuels, played "Songs of the South" on both the 1858 piano that we just bought for the entryway and the late 19th century piano in the parlor. At one point Jay had a sing along to "Dixie" and "Old Man River" with several of the guests. I enjoyed watching my parents dance to their song, "Moon River". Guests were also treated to a performance by the artist Tina Fripp who played her guitar and also performing a duet with Mr. Samuels. Later, Ian DeNeeve played guitar as well.
Tea and scones were served by Lady Vonna Caldwell of "A Lil Piece of Heaven Tea House" in Port Royal. The crabcakes, shrimp and the meat station in the gentleman's room was prepared and attended by Ben "Shack" Johnson and his wife of "Johnson and Johnson" catering. The delicious sandwiches and brownies were brought by Mr and Mrs. Thomas Glendinning. My mother made my favorite Southern cheese straws and deviled eggs. That incredible cheese dip was the creation of Ms. Serena Crumley and the coconut cake was brought by Ms. Martha Crapse. The Rose Hill house cake topper was the creation of Signe's bakery over on the island. Ian and Marceen DeNeeve made the lemon ice cream. The two cookie and brownie mixed trays were a gift from our friends at Celebrations catering.
My dream of the past 12 years has been to finally finish this house ( well, we're almost there) and to one day find the descendants of the Kirk family ( now they are our dear friends) and to gather as many former owners or their descendants as possible to have a reunion here. Having the Kirks come to stay with us this past week and being able to take them around to tour all of the Kirk cemeteries and grounds and to have them be a part of this celebration was a bit of closure for me and a sense of finally being able to make things right with history. This night, in particular, made all of the past 13 Rose Hill years seem very much worth it to me. It was a wonderful night that I will treasure for the rest of my life - a great 150th birthday celebration for this house.
To see pictures that are posted of the evening, go to www.rosehillmansion.com.
Rose Hill Plantation House