The Original Rock Barn

The original Rock Barn, built by Frederick A. Hoke, Jr. (1824-1902), circa 1870 is shown here in this 1902 photo, taken by Eula Yount, dau. of Daniel McD. Yount, the same year that Frederick Hoke died.


(L-R) Natalie Martin, Garvin Arsenault, Martha Webb, Don Beaver, Bruce Eckard
 and Diane Chandler, (Not pictured, Donald Duncan) -- Photo by Don Barker


On April 30, 2009, there was a presentation event at the Rock Barn and Spa in Conover. It had nothing to do with the game of Golf, but of a memorial gift to the club.

In the library at Rock Barn gathering was Donald (Don) Beaver, whose vision is now a premium club facility and residential golfing communities, one of the finest in the south. Also present was the City Manager of Conover, Donald Duncan, the Mayor of Conover Bruce Eckard, Garvin Arsenault, General Manager of the Rock Barn Club, Martha Webb, gift presenter and staff members, Natalie Martin and Diane Chandler.

The high point of the meeting was the presentation by Mrs. Martha Webb of a framed print of the Original Rock Barn given in memory of her late husband, James (Jim) Webb.

James E. Webb was born July 9th, 1932, in Wilmington but his family later moved to Newton. He was a Newton-Conover High school graduate. After two years in the U.S. Army he returned and attended Lenoir Rhyne College and earned his business degree. He worked for Superior Cable, starting out on third shift, and moved up into the top ranks with Comm-Scope, serving some forty-five years. His community service included: Newton Conover School Board, Board of Trustees for twenty-five years at CVCC. As President of the Newton Conover Jaycees, Rotary Club, Conover YMCA and the United Way. He was devoted to his church, family, community and his many friends. He passed away August 27th, 2008.

Frederick Hoke built the barn around 1879 for a cost of about seventy-five dollars, using local wood and flat rock gathered from nearby waters and pastures.

Ms. Eula Yount took the picture around 1902, using a camera given to her on her birthday, by her father, Dr. Daniel Little McDuffy Yount, [1833-1914] who was at the time, Conover's first doctor. Ms. Yount is credited with supplying the majority of historic photographic preservation of local history, many of which are on display in the lobby of the city hall in Conover. Her negatives had been preserved in a shoebox by her aunt, Mrs. Catherine Long Moore, now residing at the Abernathy Laurels center.

A duplicate printing of this photograph is now on display downstairs in the Evelyn Rhodes local history room, at the main library, in Newton. A like framed print will soon be displayed in the lobby of Conover city hall.

The barn, now gone, once graced the green rolling hills of nearby Conover. But its presence can now be seen in this memorial, and of memories not too long ago.

[Article courtesy of Don Barker]

by Mollie Milliken

The Rock Barn Road near Conover draws its name from a picturesque old structure. Since U. S. Highway 40 was opened to traffic over two and a half of its miles have increased from approximately 100 cars per 24 hours to that many in 30 minutes.

The origin of the road's name is obvious, for when it was built forty years ago, it was named for a landmark that had been standing since 1798.

The old rock barn was built by Frederick Hoke who moved about 1798 from York [County, Pennsylvania] to Catawba Country on Lyles Creek. The area was then in Lincoln County and Mr. Hoke became one of the organizers of Catawba County and was chairman of the first session of Catawba County Court in May 1843.

Through the years there has bean much speculation about the ago of the barn, and even about who built it. Records show the above information to be factual.

The barn is three stories high and originally had four walls of two foot thickness made of large river stones, In 1933 or 1934 the Lyles Creek flooded the area and undermined the back wall, the one nearest the present road, and boards were attached to replace it, the remainder of the building is solid, including a hand-hewed pine sill that carries the joist for the top left. This sill is fourteen inches by forty foot. Twelve sills of comparative size run the thirty-four foot width of the building.

The basement of the building is entered from the back lower pasture and is used for a cow stall.

The second floor is at ground level at the front entrance and has a wide entrance. In later years a stall was added at each side of the door. The wide tongue and groove boards in the floor show wear. In olden days the horses threshed the grain on this floor by trampling over it. Now it is used for storage of grain. The loft on the third floor is reached by a narrow stair.

Bits of rumor are that Hoke offered the builders of the barn a gold watch or seventy-five dollars for the building of the barn. The house was originally separated from the barn by a road known as the Island Ford Road. This road crossed the creek and right where mail boxes now stand was said to be a busy intersection.
[see NOTE 1 below]

One road continued into Claremont and another went past the house and then branched off to go to Conover by what was the Bumgarner house, and another went past St. John's Church.

Persons recall that the roads follow the easiest routes that the terrain offered but ran much in keeping with the present road. The houseful of memories still stands. Its chimneys still work well. Water from the springs has been piped into the house and of its three porches. One has been converted into a bath room, says Mrs. Joe Herman, who with her husband, a direct descendant of Frederick Hoke, and children now own the old homesite.

Other treasured records show that Daniel Roseman bought 285 acres of the Frederick Hoke property from Peter Hoke in April, 1864 for $5,615. This included the property John Whittenburgh had purchased on July 3, 1798 from the military government of North Carolina for fifty shillings.

The eighty acre tract is said to be the present Rock Barn property that Hoke had purchased from Whittenburgh. Daniel Roseman had married Frederick's daughter Ann in 1810
[see NOTE 2 below]. In 1896 their sons, Capt. D. Frederick Roseman Marion I. Roseman owned the homesite and seven hundred acres of land. Since the original Frederick's will was filed in August 26, 1863, and the property was purchased by Roseman in 1864 from Peter Hoke, it is assumed that Frederick Jr. never made the old homestead his home though it was willed to him.

This man moved to Mississippi in 1856. He is said to have been an architect and builder of the first class and during the war was engaged on Govenment work by the Confederacy.

In 1896, a record from a history of the family from 1600 to that date said: "The mansion has undergone changes and has been modernised since the time of Frederick Hoke and the large rock barn remains as he built it."

Frederick Roseman's daughter Wilberta Eugonia Roseman married Henry Herman and lived at the homesite and raised a large family there too. Their son, Joe Herman and family are in family residence there now.

Frederick Hoke raised a large family and gave each of thorn a plantation. He is said to have had four wives,

His will was long and exacting. However, it contained an interesting after thought. "Oh, I forgot, the corner cabinet stays in the house for the life time of my wife for her use."

This is owner by Miss Cora Yount, who descended from the Hoke's via the Rosemans.

A kitchen pantry and stair well closet are the only two built-in closets from olden days. It contains two halls, one on either floor, three bed-rooms, a living room and dining room. All of the rooms are large and some walls are plastered, while others of beaded ceilings, and broad boards, Solid handmade doors were used in the rooms of ten to twelve foot ceilings.

Copied by Cora Yount.
THE OBSERVER NEWS ENTERPRISE, Newton, North Carolina,  November 1, 1954

NOTE 1:  [by Jerry Dagenhart <>] "The actual builders were Henry Dagenhart, a Hessian Soldier, and his sons. Construction began sometime in the 1820’s and part of the payment by Squire Hoke was a gold watch was last owned by my uncle Walter Dagenhart."

 NOTE 2: [by K. Isenhour] “Incorrect. Anne was born 25 March 1810 and married Daniel Roseman May 29, 1828”

All photos courtesy of Don Barker

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