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April 28th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

“Uncle Bill” Greenlee

(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today's photo is of Bill Greenlee and his wagon. "Uncle Bill" as most people knew him was the last person alive to have known Thomas Green Clemson. Greenlee lived to the age of 104. He was a common sight in and around Clemson for years hauling almost anybody and anything.

For those who need a reference as to where the photo was taken, Dan's (and later TDs) would later be located in the café in the background.

Bill Greenlee (1870 - 1972) was a former servant of Thomas Green Clemson who continued to be a local personality and character until his death in 1972. The remainder of this blog is an excerpt from Mary Katherine Littlejohn's "Tales of Tigertown" (1979), pages 5-7:

"If time at Clemson could be turned back to about 1883, we might see the elderly Thomas G. Clemson, Esq., driving an open, two-wheeled buggy down the shady avenue from his beloved Fort Hill homeplace to the large wooden gate at the 'big road' (where Sikes Hall now stands).

With young Bill Greenlee, just a shirttale of a boy, beside him in the buggy Mr. Clemson was going calling on his neighbors. They traveled at midday so shadows from the cedars wouldn't fall across their heads. 'A shadow from a red cedar was a forecast of death.'

Turning left into the big road (Old Greenville Highway - ed.), the travelers passed a large broomsedge field (Bowman Field) and continued down the hill to the bottomlands of the Seneca River where Mr. Clemson commented with pride about the four acres of rice being cultivated there.

Continuing their journey, Mr. Clemson complimented young Bill for his special talent with horses. He had given Bill a picture book about raising horses because Bill seemed naturally possessed with this talent. While still a small tyke living at the Andrew Lewis place, San Salvador, located west of Lewis Road, Bill had won first prize in a riding contest at the South Carolina State Fair."

(Note: If you have old pictures dating before 1990 that are Clemson related and you would like to share them, send them to me in an email with as much information about the picture as you can give and I will use it for a future “Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day”).

Scott Rhymer can be reached at

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