In 1848, then well-known educator Catherine Ladd and her artist husband purchased the 1830 Richard Cathcart home in downtown Winnsboro and set up a boarding school for the education of young ladies. Girls from many other places came to the Winnsboro Female Institute to learn both the cultural and academic masteries necessary to develop ladies of social standing. The Winnsboro Female Institute closed just as the rumblings of war preceded South Carolina’s secession from the Union in January of 1861. The building was converted to house many successive decades of habitation and commercial operations. It emerged again as an educational establishment in 1976 when it was restored and converted to be the Fairfield County Museum. This three-story townhouse is listed on the National Historic Registry as a late example of Federal style architecture. The 18 inch walls are made of locally fired bricks laid in Flemish bond and the large square building is three stories high. The ornate wood and plaster work of the interior were beautifully restored in the 1970s through the efforts of local preservationists.
The museum features artifacts and furnishings which represent our Fairfield County history and prehistory. A genealogy research room on the second floor is staffed by volunteers. Visitors hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 AM – 5 PM and on Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. Family researchers should call ahead or email in order to have a volunteer on hand to help. The Museum is located at 231 S. Congress St. Mailing address is P. O. Box 6, Winnsboro, SC, 29180.
Email to the museum is at firstname.lastname@example.org and to the genealogy room at email@example.com.