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History of The Grove

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn


Today, most people think of The Grove as a house in Marion, but before there was a house, there as a popular cluster of oak trees on Alexander Ford’s farm on the east side of Marion.

In 1878, Mr. W.J. Montgomery (1851-1913) purchased the Ford Farm and with his young wife, Annie Stackhouse (1858-1927) of Little Rock (now Dillon County, SC), settled in the rambling farm house that stood on the property between the present house and Fairlee Street.


Mr. Montgomery continued to cultivate the land and practice law.

In 1893, Mr. W.J. Wilkins was employed to design and construct a new residence on the property, and built the house in “the grove”.  It was ready for occupancy in September, 1895.  The new residence was influenced by a style that was waning in popularity known as “Eastlake” named for its originator, British designer, Charles Eastlake.

Mr. Montgomery was a member of the SC House of Representatives from Marion County in 1882, 1883, 1889 and 1890.  He was in the SC Senate 1908-1912 and President Pro Tee of the Senate, and in 1905, President of the SC Bankers Association.

Six children were born to W.J. and Annie: Annie Mabel 1879-1968, writer and photographer; Bell Woods 1882-1960, educator, married Horace Tilghman, Sr. and devoted to her family; Kate Stackhouse 1885-1929, lawyer; William Joseph 1887-1889; Thomas Carlisle 1889-1960, lawyer WWI Army Veteran, and John Kenly 1896-1943, WWI pilot and commercial airline pioneer.

Mabel never married resided at The Grove all of her life. Horace Tilghman purchased the property in 1933, for his wife Bell, but the Tilghmans continued to reside at their house on Oakenwald Street.


After Horace’s death in 1937, Bell makes preparations to return to The Grove and moves in with Mabel.

In 1941, Mr. W.J. Wilkins, the original contractor, returns to oversee renovations on the house that include more bathrooms, central heat, an addition and a few cosmetic touches in the colonial revival style.  The famous wooden arches in the great hall were installed during the renovation.

Bell and Mabel moved into the modernized house in December 1941.

Anne Tilghman Boyce (1919-1988), Bell’s daughter and her family, moved into the house in 1966.

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