Currituck Co., N.C. Houses

 

Daniel Lindsey Home

Located at Poplar Branch, N.C. due NE of graveyard behind Griggs School.  Information supplied by James Lupton - see page 296, story #427 of Currituck Heritage book.  The original information on this home that was in the book has disappeared.  *Also referred to as the Van Slyke or Van Slack house.

Addendum by Roy E. Sawyer, Jr.--
     Daniel Lindsey (18 Mar 1769 - 16 Aug 1837) built this house in the federal style c1808, soon after he married Elizabeth Bray (9 Nov 1786 - 14 Oct 1865).  The mansion was grander than any other home in Currituck County, and it featured a front two-story engaged portico.  The center or reception hall was grander in size than any other houses also, and four rooms on each floor opened into the hall.  The staircase ascended from the north side of the hall, and there was a trap door in the roof and a balcony so that traffic at Poplar Branch Landing could be observed.  A kitchen and dining wing was to the east side of the house.  The house faced west on property behind the present Griggs School and south and east of the Dr. Griggs home at Poplar Branch.  The house was torn down in the fall of 1972.
     Daniel and Elizabeth Bray Lindsey were the parents of seven children:
1.  Col. Jonathan Bray Lindsey (11 Nov 1807 - 22 Mar 1856) married Jane Bright McDonald Knox (16 Sep 1801 - 13 Feb 1859).  All I've got about Jane Bright McDonald Knox Lindsey is from Col. Gordon C. Jones.  pg. 28 of his "Albemarle Lindseys".  The book says "Two years later in Sep 1825, Edmund and Jane sold to his father one hundred twenty five acres near Newbegun Creek for one thousand two hundred dollars.  The parcel was 'allotted to Jane B. Lindsey, the daughter of John McDonald, dec'd.' (Deed Bk. X, p. 288, 351 - Pasquotank Co)".  Page 55 mentions her as the widow of Hugh B. Knox.  Also on pg. 55, it infers that she had been married to Jonathan Bray Lindsey's cousin, Dr. Edmund S. Lindsey (of Pasquotank), who had died in June of 1827.  On pg. 57 Rumor and Old Wives' Tales indicate today (1955) that all was not well between Jonathan and Jane, a feeling which may have a basis of fact and which again may be the result of, rather than the reason for, Jonathan and Jane being buried in different burying plots.  He died on 22 March 1856, a relatively young man in his fiftieth year.  His grave adjoining that of his father at the Poplar Branch house is marked by a white granite shaft some eight to ten feet high. ..later, on pg. 58 - So in February of 1859 Jane Bright McDonald, the widow of three husbands, was laid to rest.  No one knows today why she was not placed beside her third husband whose granite shaft, the largest marker in the Poplar Branch neighborhood, was less than two years in place and on which was reserved a spot for other vital statistics.  The family buried her about a mile further south in what is today (1975) known as the Walker Burying Ground just south of the "Caroland Farm".  In a few months a tomb such as was little known in the community had been completed.  Of white marble and granite, her sarcophagus rises some four feet above the ground and is about three feet wide by seven feet long."
     Their son, Ambrose Harvey Lindsey (18 Jun 1831 - 29 Jun 1906) married Adelade Charles (19 Feb 1838 - 7 Feb 1904).  Their descendants are numerous in the Tidewater, Virginia, area, and among them were:  Harvey Lee Lindsay (changed spelling of name), who was a commercial real estate developer, and  who married Katherine Pretlow Darden, a sister of Virginia Governor Colgate Darden who married Constance DuPont, and who also served as president of the University of Virginia; Virginia Wise Galliford, who married William B. Spong, Jr., who was a US Senator from Virginia and president of Old Dominion University.  Katherine
Darden Lindsay, daughter of Harvey Lee and Katherine D. Lindsay married James Harvey Kabler, Jr., who was a real estate developer who developed beach properties on Currituck's northern Outer Banks during the 1970's.
2.  Susan Jane Lindsey (27 Oct 1809 - 1837), who married John Barnard.
3.  Mary Lindsey (b. 21 Jun 1814) who died young.
4.  Elizabeth Bray Lindsey (24 Jun 1818 - 6 Nov 1895) who married Col. Wilson Reed (1792 - 1860).
5.  Jane B. Lindsey (9 Mar 1820 - 2 Sep 1843) who married Wilson Corprew.
6.  Edmond Coke Lindsey (21 Sep 1825 - 18 Sep 1890) who married first Margaret Elizabeth Silvester (1832 - 1856).  After she died, he married Mary Eliza Owens (27 Aug 1834 - 23 Feb 1898), and among their numerous descendants is Anna Eliza Lindsey, who married Col. Gordon Cowley Jones, compiler of Lindsey Family history and Currituck County history.  Edmond C. Lindsey sold the property to the US Government for the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
7.  Ann Matilda Lindsey (5 Oct 1828 - 2 Jul 1872) who married Willoughby Wilson.
     In Deed Book 27, page 278, it is recorded that in 1859 Elizabeth Bray Lindsey sold to William Crocker, of Norfolk, for $8,000, "Those several pieces or parcels of land which Daniel Lindsey died seized of in the county of Currituck by estimate one thousand acres".  By this time, this Lindsey
family was primarily seated elsewhere,  in the Norfolk/Portsmouth, Virginia region.
     William A. Crocker probably only lived in the mansion for a few years.  In the 1860 census, his age was listed as 34, his wife was Frances and they had a ten-year old daughter, Fanny.  He was a native of Virginia, his occupation was listed as Methodist Episcopal minister, and he was worth ten thousand dollars.  No records of Crocker serving in the diocese have been found. Since he had paid Elizabeth Bray Lindsey eight thousand dollars in 1859, it is assumed that he was a person of wealth.  It is likely that he was of the Crocker family of Portsmouth, long involved in steam navigation around Norfolk harbor, and that he might have been Poplar Branch's first steamboat
agent.
     When the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal was dug at Coinjock in the late 1850's, Alexander Campbell was an engineer in charge of construction.  He was a native of Argyllshire, Scotland, and his wife was Caroline, who was from London.  When Samuel Russell of Middletown, Ct., a longtime president of the Currituck Shooting Club, wrote his "History and Notes Relating to the Currituck Shooting Club" (Pelton & King, Publishers, New York, 1925), he described Caroline as a "young Englishwoman of ruddy complexion and sanguine temperament".  Alexander Campbell (31 Oct 1819 - 18 Sep 1861) is buried at the Asbury Methodist Church Cemetery, Barco, NC.  Caroline Campbell's next husband was George VanSlyck, a native of New York.
     By the mid-1850's, Valentine Hicks, from New York, had begun annual winter pilgrimages to Poplar Branch to shoot ducks, and he stayed in the Lindsey home.  Later, George and Caroline VanSlyck accommodated the northern visitors when they operated a house of call, or an inn and tavern in the Lindsey house.  On 8 Jun 1857, Stephen Tabor, Samuel T. Tabor, Stephen H.
Townsend, John T. Irving, Archibald T. Finn, Richard S. Emmet, Benjamin H. Lillie, George H. Fox, Elias Wade, Jr., Dwight Townsend, William J. Emmet, Valentine Hicks, Edwin Post, George S. Gelston, and William H. Furman, met in the law offices of Philo T. Ruggles, Esq., in New York City, and formed the Currituck Shooting Club.  Membership in the club became very prestigious
and attracted people like J. P. Morgan, William K. Vanderbilt, Dr. William Seward Webb, and many members of the Havemeyer family, and James Stillman.  From the formation of the club in 1857 until the first clubhouse was built in 1859, members stayed at the VanSlyck Inn while on their visits to Poplar Branch.  The club purchased about 1,900 acres on Currituck Beach and along
Currituck Sound from Abraham Baum initially when the club was formed.
     Then in January, 1877, the Lindsey house saw its most famous visitors ever.  On Saturday 13 Jan 1877, the Russian Imperial battleship "Swetlana" cleared the Virginia capes and docked at Hampton Roads.  On board were the Grand Duke Alexander Aleksandrovich (second son of Tsar Alexander II), who would become Tsar Alexander III, of Russia,  in 1881.  The imperial party also
included in the "carte-de-visite", the Grand Duke Konstantin (the younger), Prince Stcherbaton, and Russian naval officers.  Norfolk was abuzz with excitement over the royal visit, and on 22 Jan.,  Max Strakosch, a renown opera manager in New York, brought Lillian Adelaide Neilson to Norfolk to perform for the imperial visitors at the Church Street Opera House.  The Hygeia Hotel at Old Point Comfort hosted the imperial visitors with a seven course dinner.  There was a train trip to Washington, DC, to meet with the president and government officials.  Some of the people of the borough of Norfolk were not as excited as others about the imperial visit, and some dowagers began complaining to city officials that certain members of the entourage had "relieved themselves" in their flower pots.  The visitors were quickly escorted to Poplar Branch and were hosted at the Van Slyck inn where they shot ducks.  William Henry Walker was their guide, and the Grand Duke
Alexander tried to persuade him to come home to Russia and offered him a lucrative position on one of the royal estates, but he declined the offer. The Grand Duke Alexander (1845 - 1894) married Princess Dagmar of Denmark, who was known as Empress Maria Fedorovna in Russia.  Their son became Tsar Nicholas II, and he was the last Romanov emperor of Russia, and he and his family were assassinated at Ekaiterinberg in 1918.
     On 16 May 1878 Caroline Campbell Van Slyck married David B. Nye, in Boston, at the residence of J. C. Curtis, by Rev. James Freeman.  Mrs. Nye wrote several letters to Thomas J. Jarvis, while he served as governor of North Carolina.  She was attempting to obtain land grants from the state for islands of marsh which she had had dredged from the sound bottom, and which were used for duck hunting purposes.  Typically these small islands were diked, and some of the dikes remain today, the islands long having been washed away.  Apparently Mrs. Nye left the area by the mid-1880's, and the property was acquired by H. H. Halstead.
     In the summer of 1881, a promoter named E. Everett Pray, from New York, began buying or leasing all the property he could get his hands on from Nags Head to Coinjock.  Pray formed a club, originally called Kitty Hawk Bay Sportsman's Club, and in his zeal, apparently forgot to or overlooked paying for the lease or purchase of the properties involved.  The Kitty Hawk Bay
Sportsman's Club was organized 18 July 1881, but by September, 1881, the name was changed to Kitty Hawk Club, and it was announced publicly in New York that the club controlled 240,000 acres in North Carolina.   The club worked out its problems with land and found out that about all it actually owned was the Narrows Island property near Poplar Branch.  The club changed its name to Narrows Island Club and members stayed in the VanSlyck inn until their clubhouse was completed in 1884.  Narrows Island Club eventually acquired the Nye property and marshes of Jordan Poyner and William Henry Walker.
     Jordan Poyner (27 Nov 1836 - 10 Feb 1927) later came into possession of the mansion.  He was the son of Rev. Nathan Poyner and Lydia Dailey Poyner.  Jordan Poyner married Lydia Griggs (17 Sep 1840 - 2 Jun 1916).  Their children were:
1.  Grizzell Medora  Poyner (20 Oct 1862 - 1 Mar 1898) who married John Emeriah Wright (1844 - 1910).
2.  Elizabeth Poyner (d. 18 Dec 1912) who married Appollas Owens.
3.  Mary Jane Poyner (16 May 1866 - 19 Jan 1928) who married Lewis N. Walker (1862 - 1929).
4.  Pattie Poyner (1869 - 1902) married John C. Gallop.
5.  Thomas Poyner (1869 - 1909) married Christine Doxey.  Their son, Willard Poyner, sold the property for development in 1972.
     Thetis Walker, daughter of Mary Jane Poyner and Lewis N. Walker, married Howard Forbes, and they and their children, Howard Jr. and Rosalyn Forbes, lived in this house for many years.  Lewis Walker was a brother of William Henry Walker, mentioned earlier.

 

This photo 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