THE HOMES OF OLD WARRENTON-CONTINUED
THE STEWARD HALL-HOME OF COLONEL W. A. JENKINS
In 1857 or '58 William A. Jenkins (the lawyer), came into the ownership of the old premises and building known as "Steward's Hall," built by the Trustees of the Warrenton Male Academy in 1807 as a dormitory and boarding place for the students of that institution. Upon his marriage with Miss Della Clark, daughter of James Clark of Pitt County, he altered it; making it a very pretty modern residence. During the life of Colonel J Jenkins they continued to make it their home, with their two children, Mary, who married Haywood Clark, son of Governor Clark of Edgecombe County, and William, who died when quite a young man, never marrying.
During the War Between the States Mr. Jenkins became Colonel of the 46th N. C. Regiment. He resigned this office in 1863, to take control of his father-in-law's estate of considerable value. Colonel Jenkins was for many years, and up to his death, the most successful practitioner of law in the county. He was not a profound lawyer, nor was he of literary taste or culture, but he was the brightest intellect the county produced in his generation. He was of medium statue, with very black curling hair, regular features, and strikingly intelligent and sparkling black eyes. He was quick and energetic in all his movements, mental and physical. In his addresses at the bar, and in his political speeches, he was impassioned and fiery. He was attending Halifax Court, when he died very suddenly, only forty years of age.
Mrs. Della Clark Jenkins was a very pretty and attractive person, with a gentle and sympathetic manner. She was a devoted wife and mother, and a very generous and interested member to her church in all its activities, the poor of the community found in her a generous and constant friend.
After Mrs. Jenkins left her home it was rented from time to time to different families, one of them being Henry Hunter, from Warren County. As age came on Mr. and Mrs. Hunter found their large farm in the county too difficult to manage, and concluded to move to the town to live.
Mr. Hunter had been from early manhood, a most successful and contented farmer. He and Mrs. Hunter were an ideal couple, representing the old type of a happy marriage, begun in youth, and extending on to an advanced age, far beyond their golden wedding. They were the parents of six children. Bettie married Mr. Fitts of the county, Della married Dr. Robert King, of Louisburg, Frank married Miss Katie Wilcox. For years Frank Hunter and Dr. Robert King were engaged in the drug business in Warrenton. Henry Hunter, Jr., lived the years of his manhood on his farm, six miles from the county seat. His first marriage was with Miss Emma Jones, the third daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Duke Jones, his second wife was a Miss Hardy, of Blackstone, Virginia. He has recently died on his farm. Buxton Hunter has always engaged in the drug business. For some years he was associated with William Simpson, of Raleigh; at present he is living in New Bern, North Carolina.
It was while Mr. Hunter was occupying the Jenkins' home that it was completely destroyed by fire.
THE OLD HOLLOMAN PLACE
In the south of the yard of the home of Colonel Jenkins, in very early days of the town, there was a cottage of two or three rooms, with no parching. There were tall box bushes, and other shrubs growing between the house and the gate, opening on Main Street. This was the home of Mrs. Sarah Holloman, the only milliner of the town at that time. Her two nieces, the Misses Whitney, lived with her and Mr. Holloman, and assisted her in the work. In her work she was most autocratic, always late in delivering her bonnets Saturday nights, and often sending them early Sunday, which, in that Puritanic day, when the Sabbath was rigorously kept, was considered a sin. After her business became much enlarged, she moved to the center of the town, occupying one of the stores of the White block. Her husband, Mr. Holloman, was a gun and locksmith by trade, and worked in his ten by twelve foot shed, back of this residence.
Upon this site is a nice cottage, built by Mrs. Haywood Clark, the only daughter of Colonel Jenkins, which she rents to Mrs. Mary Grace Taylor, and her daughter, Bessie. Mrs. Taylor was the (laughter of E. C. Waddill, and a life time resident of the town. She is a woman of fine character, and fine intelligence. The daughter, Miss Bessie, is a wonderful person, much handicapped by ill health when a child; yet she has overcome all obstacles and made so much of her life, that she has commanded the respect and good will of the community. She has a most successful business, and is also a good musician, playing well on both the organ and the piano.
THE HOME OF MRS. SUSAN TANNAHILL
On the north of the William Eaton, Sr., place, in fact on the edge of his large yard, as it formerly was, W. T. Johnson bought a lot and erected a very comfortable and convenient brick house, about thirty-five years ago. He did not live in it very long, and in 1893 he sold it to Mrs. Susan Tannahill, where she, with her two daughters, Miss Eliza and Mrs. Charles Jones, and her granddaughter, Lilie, now Mrs. Tasker Polk, and Alice, made a home. Alice died some years ago. Mary, the oldest daughter, married John White, of Norfolk, and died years ago in New York State, leaving one son, Edward. Miss Eliza has been a woman of splendid Christian character, and of great usefulness in her family, a most devoted daughter, sister, and aunt to the many nieces and nephews.
The mother of the family, Mrs. Tannahill, was a most remarkable woman. She was left a widow in early life, with six children and very limited means. By her industry and good management, she so reared them that she was abundantly repaid by seeing their success in life, and their unfailing devotion to herself.
The oldest son, Robert Tannahill, served in the Confederate army; after the war he went to New York City to live, and engaged, very successfully in the cotton commission business, serving as president of the Cotton Exchange for some time. His two younger brothers, Edmund and William, were engaged in the same line of business with him. The oldest daughter married Charles Jones, of Warren County; there was only one son of this marriage, Edward, who died when quite a young man.
Isabelle, the second daughter, married Henry Plummer, of Warren County. They reared a large family in Petersburg, Virginia.
Mrs. Tannahill's husband died, when a young man, in Cuba, where he had gone in quest of health. She was a Miss McNair, of Edgecombe County, North Carolina; after her widowhood she moved to Petersburg, and lived there all during the war. She was most generous and unselfish, and her home was always open to the Confederate soldiers, when she assisted in nursing the sick and wounded. A Warren County soldier, Major Robert Alston, was nursed back to life, from horrible wounds, in that home, and as an expression of his gratitude for the kindness he had received, in after years he called his first daughter Eliza Tannahill.
Mrs. Tannahill was a woman of fine intelligence, very retentive memory, and very fond of reading. She wrote an excellent letter, for she was interested in every person and all her surroundings, had a keen sense of humor, and thoroughly enjoyed life. She was a most consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, though the least narrow professing Christian I ever knew. Her heart, her purse, her loving interest was open to all of God's children. In personal appearance she very much resembled Queen Victoria. She lived to the advanced age of eighty-eight, and used to laugh and say, "They call Mr. Gladstone the Grand Old Man; we are the same age, why not call me The Grand Old Woman?"
THE HOME OF WILLIAM EATON
THE SHOW-PLACE OF OLD WARRENTON
The present residence of Charles Jackson was known seventy-five years ago as the Eaton Place, the show place of Warrenton, which was built by William Eaton, Sr., in 1843, Mr. Holt being the contractor. Mr. Eaton's first marriage was with Miss Elizabeth Macon, one of the daughters of Nathaniel Macon. The children of that marriage were William, Charles, Buckner, Nathaniel and Bettie (afterwards Mrs. Hopkins). His second wife was a Miss Hickman, of Tidewater Virginia; the only child of this marriage was Ella, who married Governor P. H. Bell of Texas. Mr. Eaton was probably the wealthiest planter on Roanoke River in slaves and land. When his daughter, Ella, was finishing her course in Mrs. Meade's School in Richmond, he built this handsome residence, as a summer home, in which to entertain her friends.
Her father gave her every advantage. She traveled extensively in Europe, under the care of Bishop and Mrs. Ives. During the season she would visit the most fashionable springs of that day, the Greenbrier White, of Virginia, and spend her winters in Washington.
With all the opportunities given Mrs. Bell by her father, however she was never at ease in social life, never overcoming a most timid and shrinking disposition. Affectionate and clinging by nature she was warmly drawn to all her blood connection. She was a woman of the highest sense of honor and truthfulness, and was entirely unworldly. There was something most pathetic in the fact that she never seemed to find spiritual rest in her church connection. She was brought up in the Episcopal Church. Under the influence of Bishop Ives she went over to the Church of Rome, and for a while she remained in that communion. Then she fell under Baptist influences, and became a member of that church. Finally she came back to the church of her childhood and died in that faith.
During one of her winters in Washington City she met a former Governor of Texas, Peter Hansborough .Bell, then a representative in Congress from Texas. He was born in Virginia, but had gone to Texas in early manhood, and had been prominent in political life in Texas after the Annexation. For a few years after their marriage they lived in San Antonio, but the remainder was spent in her native. State, most of it in Warrenton.
As an evidence of appreciation of the service that Governor Bell rendered Texas the State presented him with a very handsome saddle and bridle, gold mounted, which he used in his horseback rides around Warrenton. He sat a horse gracefully, man and horse looking as if they were molded together. After his death the accoutrement was sent to the Texas Museum. Also in his declining years the Legislature of Texas issued him a patent of very valuable lands.
In 1890 Governor and Mrs. Bell sold this place to W. P. Baughm, of Washington, North Carolina, and moved to Littleton to live. Their span of life was very short after they made this change of residence. Both lie in the cemetery near Littleton.
Her father, William Eaton, Sr., lived to be a very old man. He lies buried in the southeast corner of what was then the end of his large premises. A simple slab marks his grave.
After the family of Mr. Baughm returned to Washington, North Carolina, this place was purchased by Charles Jackson, where he, Mrs. Jackson, and their only daughter have resided for quite thirty years. Mr. Jackson is a merchant of marked success. He is connected by blood and marriage with the Palmers, the Drakes, and the Milams of the county, and his ancestry is among the very early settlers of Tidewater Virginia. Mrs. Jackson was a Miss Gregory from Granville County, related to the Persons, the Thorps, the Brodies of that section. In these days when we see so many old homes neglected, no effort made to keep up the original beauty, it is really remarkable that Mr. and Mrs. Jackson have kept the "old show place of the town" just as it was, when Mrs. Eaton planted the beautiful hedges, and ornamental bushes of box.
Montgomery, Lizzie Wilson; Sketches of old Warrenton, North Carolina; traditions and reminiscences of the town and people who made it, Raleigh, Edwards & Broughton printing company, 1924.