Less Traveled

Page Ivey



Visit the Burt-Stark Mansion in Abbeville

Posted 3/26/2013 1:11:00 PM

The home that was the site of the last gathering of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ war council hosted a happier occasion this past weekend.

The Greater Abbeville Chamber of Commerce had its annual Oyster Roast and Lowcountry Boil on Saturday (March 23) at the Burt-Stark Mansion, 400 North Main St., Abbeville.

The Greek Revival home was built in the 1830s by David Lesley, a local attorney and planter. It was sold several times before it was purchased by Armistead Burt, a U.S. congressman from South Carolina.
Burt owned the home when Jefferson Davis convened his last war council as he retreated from Richmond, Va. – the capital of the Confederacy – further south.

In May 1865, Davis met there with his generals after vowing the South would continue to fight the Civil War. But given the fact that Robert E. Lee had already surrendered his army in Virginia and the firm words of his generals about the tattered state of what remained of Confederate forces, Davis finally conceded that the cause was indeed lost.

The home passed through several more owners after the war and was bought by the Stark family in 1900.

Mary Stark Davis, the last surviving member of that family, donated the house to the Abbeville County Historic Preservation Commission. The commission operates tours 1-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday or by appointment. Tours are $10 per person. Call (864) 366-0166 for more information.