William Dunklin Garrison was born in Greenville County, South Carolina, on September 6, 1843, to Edmond Barksdale Garrison and Sarah Cureton Garrison. Growing up in the Sandy Springs community of Anderson County, he joined the Confederacy during the War Between the States, becoming a captain in the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry. Post-war, he managed a cotton farm and married Ester Annie "Essie" Reid on December 17, 1868.
Acquiring land in 1869, he built a farmhouse, and together with Essie, they raised 11 children surviving into adulthood. The youngest of their children, Thomas Edmond Garrison (Thomas), married Nettie Clifton McPhail and cared for the family farm.Thomas and Nettie had 4 children – Sarah, Lou Nell, Nancy, and Thomas Edmond Garrison, Jr. (“T. Ed”).
In 1945, T. Ed returned from World War II. He expanded the farm, operating a dairy and general farming program, and engaging in various agricultural organizations. The T. Ed. Garrison Livestock Arena at Clemson University is named in his honor.
T. Ed. married Juanita Bartlett in 1955, and they had 6 children. The Garrisons were progressive for there time- and Juanita introduced farm tourism to the community by offering school tours of their Dairy farm in the 1960s.
Tragedy struck in 1990 when son Bart passed away in a silo accident. The J. Bartlett Garrison South Carolina Agriculture Museum in Pendleton, SC, is named in his memory.
The dairy herd was sold in 1994, shifting the focus to crops, beef cattle, and hosting seasonal events like a corn maze and farm festivals.
In 2013, T. Ed Garrison, Jr. passed away, leaving behind a legacy as a decorated veteran and successful farmer. The Garrison Farmstead, also known as Denver Downs Farm, stands as a testament to their heritage, listed in the National Historic Registry. Many of W.D. and Essie’s descendants still live in the area. Lee Garrison Smith, Catherine Garrison Davis, and Elizabeth Garrison Rasor are the 4th generation and current owners of the original Garrison farm. They are committed to preserving their farming legacy and providing special crops and farm experiences with the community and region.