Moving into the decade of the 1810s, Lemuel Alston’s prospects for his village sales moved ahead with 15 lots over five years. One of those new residents was John Crittenden, who built a home on the northeast corner of Court Square (now the site of Luna Rosa). Another was Francis McLeod, a wealthy Georgia planter who settled here after visiting for years. He took over Chancellor Waddy Thompson’s home, near the first grave (1812) of what would become Springwood Cemetery.
Access improved with three additional postal routes from Columbia — just in time for the beginnings of the village becoming a popular summer getaway for Lowcountry plantation owners. Having two former South Carolina governors build homes, Henry Middleton’s Whitehall (1813) on Earle Street and Joseph Alston’s home on Pendleton Road, in the village indicates the type of appeal the village had.
A few years after Lemuel Alston’s discouraging congressional loss in 1811 to his rival Elias Earle, he decided to sell his remaining Greenville land, a whopping 11,028 acres. Forty-year-old Vardry McBee from Lincolnton, North Carolina, bought it for $27,557, changing the trajectory of the village forever.
McBee was a successful businessman of diverse professions as well as a large landowner and astute agriculturalist. Soon Alston’s depleted fields were irrigated and rotated properly, and in 1817 McBee built a new grist mill on the upper falls.
Though he bought the village, McBee continued to live in Lincolnton and contracted with Edmund Waddell to turn his new home (Prospect Hill) into a hotel. At the same time, Adam Carruth was producing muskets for the U.S. government at his foundry downriver.
At the close of the decade, the population of the village was about 400 and continued to attract wealthy Lowcountry visitors (like Joel Poinsett, the newly appointed president of the South Carolina Board of Public Works), politicians and Northerners like William Bates and Thomas Hutchings, who helped begin the earliest efforts for making textiles in the county. Animal drovers from Kentucky and Tennessee also regularly came through the village, perhaps influencing the village’s expansion with the newly formed Coffee Street, named for Tennessean War of 1812 hero John Coffee.