“Looks straight to me! Nail it.” were the words of Henry Boncil Dyches to his workers. Or so goes the family story of the 1905 construction of the old homeplace now known as “Cottontop”. The truth of this story became evident in later years as renovations were made to the original house.
The Dyches Family Homeplace, now known as “Cottontop” was built by Henry Boncil Dyches and his wife, Alice Cannon Hutto. Henry was one of 21 children of the Confederate War veteran, BONCIL HENRY DYCHES of Blackville, SC. As a young man, Henry loved to fish in the Edisto River. He became friends with Alice’s brothers and eventually began spending several days at a time as a house guest with the family. Alice was still a child, 10 years his junior. Every time she saw Henry she always asked if he was married yet and he would reply, “I’m waiting for you to grow up.” They married on November 14, 1897.
Henry and Alice’s son, Herman Henry Dyches married a town girl, Susie Williamson in 1916. They raised six children PEARL, H.H., CHARLES, ELDRIDGE, NOLAN, and GLENN together. By the time the youngest son came along in 1932, part of the original front porch was enclosed to make a small bedroom for baby Glenn. Today it is the bathroom of what is now the master bedroom, “King Cotton”.
The years passed and the children grew up, married, and moved away. But for many years the family continued to gather on Sundays at “Granddaddy and Grandmama’s” for Sunday dinner. No matter how many of us were there to eat, we somehow all fit around that laden table!
Jimmy Wilson of Savannah, GA, son of PEARL DYCHES, bought the homeplace in 1996. He and his wife, Barbie, renovated the old farm house to use as a country home. Later Jimmy had another old farmhouse moved to the present site where it was connected to the original house. The house now has six bedrooms to accommodate family and friends gathering for weekends in the country. The décor of the home is reminiscent of the Old South but with all the conveniences of modern living. With numerous pecan trees still present from days gone by, Jimmy and Barbie have continued to add other fruit and nut trees over years. Vineyards have been planted and produce a delicious harvest of the South’s native grape, the muscadine.
Stories of our great- great- grandfather, wounded at the Battle of Sessionville, and many other family stories were often shared in the shade of a big oak tree outside the kitchen door. Sitting on folding stools or low wooden chairs, fanning the gnats away with funeral parlor fans, we children heard these stories, created our own, and precious memories were etched in our souls.