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BURLEIGH PLANTATION

 Concord, Person County, North Carolina

 

PLANTATION NAME: BURLEIGH (McGEHEE-PHIFER HOUSE)
ASSOCIATED LINK(s):  
ORIGINAL OWNER: Thomas McGehee (1784-1867), Thomas J. McGehee (1820-1853)
BUILT: ca 1820
ASSOCIATED SURNAMES: McGehee, Phifer
HISTORY:

The McGehee-Phifer House, commonly known as "Burleigh", was built in northern Person County, near the Virginia border, in the early part of the nineteenth century for Thomas McGehee, Sr. or possibly in the mid-century for his son Thomas Jeffrey McGehee. The land and house still remain in the hands of descendants of the builder. Family tradition cites a ca. 1820 date. This may relate to the smaller house nearby. McGehee inherited the property from his father Mumford McGehee. The elder McGehee had built up a farm of modest size by way of two state grants and several purchases. In 1794 McGehee was credited with the ownership of 700 acres and 10 slaves. The 1805 tax lists show a slight decline, to 515 acres and 8 slaves. McGehee died in 1815. His will, probated in 1816 left "the tract of land on which I now live" to his son Thomas.
Thomas McGehee was a prosperous and prominent farmer in Person until well after the Civil War. He was a representative in the state legislature for five terms, 1826, 1829, 1830, 1831 and 1833. In 1823 McGehee owned 1160 acres and worked them with 21 slaves. By 1840 he had over 2000 acres with 124 slaves. He grew a wide variety of crops such as Indian corn, oats, sweet potatoes, peas, beans, and Irish potatoes, as well as tobacco, of which he was the largest grower in the County in 1850.
Thomas McGehee, Sr. sold part of his plantation to his son Thomas Jeffrey McGehee in 1843, consisting of 766 1/2 acres. Thomas Sr. built another plantation house, Woodburn, adjacent to Burleigh, which he moved into, while Thomas Jr. married Mary Allen Hunt, and settled down at Burleigh, with whom he had 3 daughters, Ellen, b. 1848, Isabelle, b. 1849, and Elizabeth, b. 1851. Thomas McGehee Jr. died in 1853, at age 33, leaving his wife a widow at the age of 24. The widow, Mrs. Mary McGehee lived at Burleigh, running and operating the still prosperous farm right on through the Civil War, and until her death in 1925 at the age of 96. Daughters Isabelle married Robert S. Phifer of Charlotte in 1872, and Elizabeth married Percy Clark in 1885. Daughter Ellen never married.
 

SLAVE POPULATION: In 1850, Thomas McGehee had 119 Slaves, and Thomas J. McGehee had 31 Slaves.

Inventory of Slaves of Thomas I. McGehee, d. 1853, Person County. 37 Slaves.

Name, Birth:
LEAH, 1797
NANCY, 1834
LANDAR or HENDERSON, 1834
CHRISTINA, 1841
ROZETTA, 1848
ALFRED, 1837
GLOUCESTER, 1850
LYDIA, 1851
LUCINDA, 1851
JOHN, 1838
WALTER, 1852
PIERCE, 1853
KING, 1853
HENRY, 185[torn]
ROMULUS, [torn]
RHODA, [torn]
LIZZIE, 1821
NANCY, 1831
JOHN GLENN, 1839
GARLAND, 1841
BOOKER, 1823
JOE, 1820
DANIEL, 1814
DAVID, 1828
FREDERICK MORRIS, 1844
ROBIN, 1846
DANIEL TUCKER, 1838
CAROLINE, 1818
JEFFERSON, 1826
JULIUS ALLEN, 1838
ESTER WATKINS, 1839
ESSIE, 1844
RICHARD, 1820
RILAND, 1819
HARRIET, 1830
SYLVIA, 1829
ANNA, 1836
 

RESEARCH NOTES: Also of interest, is that famous cabinetmaker, Thomas Day, is noted to have built portions of the house, including the stairways. 

MISCELLANEOUS: National Register of Historic Places; Montford McGehee Papers, 1827-1890; Polk, Badger, McGehee Family Papers, 1790-1898; McGehee Cemetery, Estate of Thomas J. McGehee; Burleigh Plantation (NCSU Libraries); Burleigh Plantation

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