Currituck Co., N.C. Houses

 

Caleb Bell Home and "Quarters Kitchen"

Located on Snowden Road near Snowden.  Present owner is Mrs. Marie Stephens BallanceMrs. Ballance says four generations of the family have lived there--Caleb Bell, his son, Haywood Bell, Haywood Bell's daughter, Betty Bell, who married Stephens, and Marie Stephens Ballance, who married Clarence Ballance.  The beaded English siding is intact and is in excellent condition.  Also note the door by the side of the chimney.  The windows are the three-row upper sash type.  The original wide flooring, mantel, and panels are all as they were, beautifully preserved.

The "quarters kitchen", back of the manor house, is still intact and used as a wash house.  Note the marine lap siding.  Another "quarters kitchen", still standing, has been converted into a garage.  The pictures shown were taken some years ago, but the buildings remain just as they were then.  The only difference being in the size of the shrubbery, now a great deal taller.

[Photo taken by the late J. Howard Stevens who wrote Albemarle, People and Places]

UPDATE 2/23/2006 from Anne Jennings:  The Caleb Bell Home and Quarters Kitchen are still standing but may not be in the not so distant future. The home is reported to be rented out and in deplorable condition. The former Sammy Williams farm which meets the property on the south has been sold to developers. A paved road has been built and subdivision laid out with lots now being offered for sale.

Part of a letter written in 1957 to Alma O. Roberts by Margaret Bell Stover reads:
"Fatherís Brothers record - Papa did not get in to The War. As a negro was killed why I do not know on Grand Pa Bellís plantation which Clarence Ballance and Marie on now. The Yankeys accused Grand Pa Caleb Bell of having the Man killed so the came took him as a prisoner & put him in Prison at Ft. Monroe, Va. So Papa did not go he was ready to go as all 4 of his Bros. were in Service he took care of the farm & family - until they let Grand Pa out after Small Pox broke out in prison. Vaccinated him with Poison Virous & turned the men out. He was broken out with Small pox When he got home & all 4 at home - step mother 1st Cousin who lived with them & papa - all 4 sick at one time Dr. Cowell looked after them all the time. Well Mr. Will Shaw and Mr. Joe Grandy, his father signed my papers they were in the same Cavalry with Uncle Branson Bell. He had pneumonia and died at the Ladys Hospital in Petersburg Va. & is buried in Branton Cemetery there. Iíve been to his grave. So two Confederate Veterans signed my papers. Iíve been a Member of W.D.C. 52 years."

Margaret Baxter Bell (b. 22 Apr. 1878 at Indian Ridge, Currituck County) was the daughter of Joseph Etheridge Cartwright Bell (b. 16 May 1843 - d. 27 July 1906) and Josephís third wife, Mary Adelia (Mamie) Baxter (b. 31 Oct. 1864 - d. 10 Dec. 1907).

There is a story that I have heard told about the Caleb Bell Home during the Civil War. Supposedly, Union soldiers were marching down the road toward the Caleb Bell house. As they approached the lane leading up to the house they were met by a boy scarred by smallpox who warned them not to approach the house because all inside were sick with smallpox. Because the boy was marked by the scars of the disease, the soldiers believed his story and did not approach the house. It is supposed that this may have been the only reason that the house was not burned by Union soldiers during the war.  I have yet to find written information to support this story, but it probably exists. In light of the contents of Mrs. Stoverís letter, I think the story is very plausible. It is a story that may have been repeated on other plantations during the period of the Civil War.

For more information about this Bell family of Currituck, see the Branson Bell Home.

 

These photos and information are from the project "Old Homes in Currituck County to 1860" originally compiled June 1960 by Alma O. Roberts and Alice Flora of the Currituck County Historical Society.   We are indebted to Barbara B. Snowden, president of the Currituck County Historical Society for permission to reproduce this collection on the internet, and also to Gerri Andrews and Diane Ferebee of the Currituck County Public Library who provided digital copies of the photos.  No part of this document may be used for any commercial purposes; however, please feel free to copy any of this material for your own personal use and family research.  Images are for personal use only, not for redistribution.

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© 2005 Marty Holland