This monument was erected by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Wade Hampton Camp No. 273 to commemorate the public service of Lt. General Wade Hampton, III, C.S.A. and to show that his home, known as Diamond Hill, once stood 125 feet southwest of the marker. Hampton’s life of service included time spent in the South Carolina House of Representatives and as a Confederate General, post-Reconstruction governor and U.S. Senator.
Wade Hampton, III owned a large part of the land that is Forest Hills today, and built his stately residence on the west side of the road that is now known as Westminster Drive. Born in 1818 and raised at Millwood, his father’s plantation east of Columbia, he began construction of a home for his second wife Mary Singleton McDuffie in 1959. Diamond Hill, thought to be a large brick, Greek Revival style house with a two-room library, was completed in December 1860 not long before the outbreak of the Civil War. Hampton’s home was destroyed when Gen. William T. Sherman/s Federal troops burned much of Columbia on February 17, 1865. Alfred Hampton, Wade Hampton’s son remembers the scattering of corner brick pillars and a mass of crushed bricks that remained of his family’s home.
Hampton did not rebuild Diamond Hill, but instead used the bricks to construct a modest cottage outside of present day Forest Hills that he called Southern Cross. The property, located at the corner of what is now Forest Drive and McDuffie Avenue, burned in 1899.
Archaeological remains of Hampton’s Diamond Hill residence have been significantly disturbed over time. 1403, 1411, and 1417 Westminster Drive were constructed on the site of the ruins in 1929, 1939, and 1985 respectively. What remained of Diamond Hill’s foundation and chimney stones were used to mark property boundaries for these three residences. The historical marker is constructed with foundation stones from Diamond Hill as well.
The most prominent remnant of Hampton’s nineteenth century presence in Forest Hills are the trees for which he had a great fondness. In particular, the live oak at 1403 Westminster Drive dates to Hampton’s residence. Otherwise, the monument, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 as a contributing property in the Forest Hills Historic District is the only tangible reminder of a significant figure in South Carolina history that once owned the land upon which the Forest Hills neighborhood was established.
To learn more about Wade Hampton’s monument and the history of Forest Hills, go to
www.nationalregister.sc.gov/richland/S10817740139/index.htm and scroll to the bottom of the page to view a complete copy of the National Register nomination.