Cashiers NC History: Hampton and Halsted
Dr. Halsted

Dr. William Stewart Halsted, a New York native who was the first chief surgeon of John Hopkins Hospital, was the person who gave the name “High Hampton” to the beautiful 400 acre Cashiers estate he purchased in 1890.

When he died in 1922 he had increased the acreage to 2,200 acres. You wonder “How did this come about? Who was Dr. Halsted?”

On the first page of Becky McKee’s 2012 book, “High Hampton Inn, 90 Years of Making Memories,” it tells about the marriage of Dr. Halsted and Caroline Hampton on June 4, 1890, at an Episcopal church in Columbia, South Carolina. Caroline, born in 1861 to Sally Baxter of New York and Colonel Frank Hampton, brother of General Wade Hampton III, lost her mother to tuberculosis when Caroline was only one year old and just a few months later her father was killed on a battlefield in the Civil War.

Most of the information regarding Caroline included in this article comes from Dr. Daniel B. Nunn’s typescript written in 1998 entitled, “Caroline Hampton Halsted, An Eccentric But Well-Matched Helpmate.” The orphaned Caroline and her sister, Lucy, were reared by their father’s three old-maid sisters, living in a small building amidst the ruins of Millwood Plantation, which the Union Army had destroyed near the end of the Civil War. The aunts made sure their nieces received the best education possible, sending them to a girl’s school named Edgehill, near Monticello.

At age 18, Caroline Hampton returned to South Carolina for a few years, spending as much time as possible at her favorite place – in Cashiers Valley, North Carolina, at her family’s hunting lodge known as simply “The Valley” to her uncle, General Wade Hampton III. Needing an income, Caroline went north to New York where her maternal grandmother lived and entered nurse’s training.

By the late 1880s she moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she joined the staff of the new John Hopkins Hospital and was soon appointed head nurse in the operating room working under Dr. William S. Halsted. One thing led to another, culminating in the marriage of the doctor and his nurse in the summer of 1890. The couple honeymooned in Cashiers Valley, where the “citified” doctor immediately fell in love with the mountains and soon bought the Hampton family estate, naming it “High Hampton,” a name that combined his wife’s maiden name with part of his family’s estate’s name in Great Britain which was known as “High Halsted.”  

Illustrating this article are three photos taken by Laura Brown. Located on the dining-room wall at High Hampton Inn and Country Club are images of Caroline Hampton Halsted; Dr. William S. Halsted; and a paragraph from Dr. Daniel B. Nunn’s Halsted’s Carolina Connection; The Story of Caroline Hampton.

Now you know who really named High Hampton!