The information contained on this page was submitted by Robin Van Noppen Taylor and was written in the late 1940's and early 50's by her grandmother, Anne Pearl Pratt Van Noppen. Portions of this material may have appeared in the Messenger (Madison) in some form. If you would like more information about Mrs. Van Noppen's work, please email Robin Taylor at: email@example.comHome Page
In modern times we seldom think of the river, but in the old days it had an important part in the life of the people. As travel over bad roads was exceedingly slow, the chief means of communications and travel was by the rivers. Nearly all the large plantation were built on bluffs overlooking the rivers, not only because of the greater fertility of the low lands (where corn was the principal food crop for men and beast) but also to ship tobacco, lumber, salt pork and corn in boats or barges to market and on the return trip to bring back sugar, coffee, cloth and furniture.
Friends and relatives often built homes on opposite sides of the river so that they ight visit or help each other. The river was the chief resort of the young people for fishing, swimming, wading, boat-riding and even ice-skating were favorite pastimes. The river also played a part in the religious life of the times for baptisms were frequent in the river.
Shaffer in Carolina Gardens says "The lovely Dan, rising in the rolling meadows in the shadows of the blue mountains of Virginia, flows contentedly awhile through the Old Dominion, then after making two excursions into North Carolina, returns to Virginia, merges with the Roanoke, and entices it back to North Carolina to find the sea through the Sound of Albemarle."
Here, along the Dan, are to be found a number of beautiful old houses.
In a valley on Belews Creek, near its intersection with the Dan, is found Valley Home, built in 1795 by William Dearing. He was a native of Orange County, Virginia, having been born in 1763. He came to Rockingham County to build and operate a corn and flour mill at a place first known as Dearing's Water Mill and Farm.
William Dearing married Mary Hunter, daughter of Colonel James Hunter, Revolutionary patriot and leader of the Regulators. A son of this marriage was Alexander Dearing, who married Ruth Rogers, granddaughter of Colonel James Martin of Snow Creek in Stokes County. One daughter, Rosamond, married an Oderneal; another daughter married Randall Duke Scales and became mistress of the Boxwoods in Madison.
The Dearings built their home on a hill, overlooking creek and river. The house of two and one half stories was put together with wooden pegs and has two coats of plaster on the walls, perhaps the earliest insulation. William Dearing died in 1824 and his wife died in Madison in 1833. As their children had moved away the house and mill were for sale.
Enoch Moore and wife of Haw River, forty miles away, bought the house and 900 acres of land. Enoch's wife, Aday Hopkins Moore, did not like the situation of the house on the hill with the sharp winds blowing around it, so her husband mounted the house on rollers and moved it into the valley, where it became known as the Valley Home.
In this family were found united deep piety and great industry with mechanical genius among the men; educational talent among the women. "All his life Enoch Moore walked with the god of mechanics." (From Harold Coy's book The Prices and the Moores). He perfected a new mill and turned out fine lumber. His own wood work included walnut cabinets, leaf tables, chests and coffins. Many of the finest chests, tables, cupboards and secretaries in this region were made by him. He established a wagon business, building huge schooners as well as carriages. He built threshing machines and hardware in his iron foundry, which had a machine shop and blast furnace.
Enoch's son, Wright Moore, continued the manufacture of wagons, bureaus, sideboards, beds, chairs and tobacco boxes in great quantity. Wright married Marinda Branson from Randolph County. In 1854, Ada Moore, Wright's sister has established a girls' boarding seminary in Danbury, N.C. Her mother went with her to take care of the boarding facilities and the school was in operation for several years.
Marinda Branson Moore was not to be outdone by her sister-in-law, so at Valley Home she established Margarita Seminary, named for a friend, Margarita Nixon, a missionary to China. Wright Moore built large class rooms for the students. The birth of three daughters did not long interrupt her teaching. In addition to her numerous duties, Marinda wrote and had her brother publish a set of Dixie Readers. Some of these, after one hundred years, remain in the hands of her descendants, Bernic and Emily Payne and Mrs. Mary Wall. There are also copies of these books in the libraries of the University of North Carolina. The children of Wright and Marinda were Mary, who married James Wall and moved to Idaho, Grace, who married Dr. Payne, and Ada, who tied of tuberculosis at the age of eighteen.
After Marinda's death, Wright married Emily Branson, sister of Marinda. Their children were Enoch, who became a millionaire, Thomas who also died of tuberculosis, and Martha Frances (Pattie).
The mechanical genius of the Moores was inherited in fullest degree by Enoch Moore II, now a resident of Pittsburgh, Pa. In the early years he flooded the old mill with electric lights and installed a telephone. He was a pioneer in the construction of electric furnaces and has 130 patents to his credit.
His nephew Tom Moore Price, is Vice-President in charge of the Iron and Steel division of the Kaiser Company.
Pattie (Martha Frances) who married J. V. Price and her daughters were successful teachers. Because of her beauty and personality, Pattie has been the inspiration of more than one poet's theme. In her girlhood, an admirer wrote a poem to a "Girl in a Gray Bateau."
"With the dary-eyed girl, we'd ever glide
O'er the azure breast of the waveless tide."
A friend in Greensboro, Mrs. Arnett, wife of a professor at Woman's College, wrote a poem after Mrs. Price's death, -- To Pattie Price
The essence of which is found in the last lines
"They say you are in Paradise
To me you're in each flower that blows."
All of Jim and Pattie Price's nine children are unusually intelligent and well-educated. Mary Price was a candidate for governor on the Progressive ticket in 1948.
After the death of Mr. Wright Moore, Dr. Payne and his wife Grace Moore Payne, bought and lived in Valley Home for many years. One daughter Elsie, married Matt Daniel and is now a music teacher in Madison. Bernice and Emily Payne are secretaries in Winston. Preston Payne is an electrical engineer and inventor in Denver, Colorado. Harvey Payne, a retired electrical engineer, has bought the old home, built a white brick house on the hill, and plans to build a lake and restore the 150 year old Valley Home.
The Reynolds family have built a number of handsome homes, but one, on the south side of the Dan, near Sardis Church, was built by a Fewell 135 years ago and came into the possession of James Reynolds when he married Miss Fewell. This house is of frame construction, three stories in height, a millstone for the doorstep and a fan light over the door. A spiral stairway, hand-carved, rises two stories to the spacious attic. The mantels and much of the woodwork are hand-carved. Several of the rooms are quite large, 20 by 20 feet with an abundance of light from many windows. Some rooms were painted in pinks and green.
When the Fewells moved to Missouri, they took a great number of slaves, a barrel of gold pieces and their favorite dog. The dog got out of the carriage and ran under a house. The family grieved for him, but in a week he was back on the Reynolds Plantation.
Mr. Reynolds married three times. The first wife was Miss Fewell, the second Miss Smith, and the third Miss Elnora Gosnell from Hagerstown, Maryland. She became the mother of Mrs. Mollie Wall and grandmother of Mrs. Hilda Wall Penn. Uncle Henry was a slave bought by Mr. Reynolds. He was the carriage-driver. He liked his toddy and often came in to the big house to say "Mistie, little Mollie's the prettiest baby in de worl', I clar she is, Mistie, won't you give old Henry a drink?" Of course she gave him the key to the cellar.
During the Civil War, Col. John E. Winston brought his men to the plantation and said "Cousin Jim, my men are hungry, but they are dirty and have lice so we can't come in." Mr. Reynolds, his wife and the few remaining slaves prepared food and carried it out to the soldiers as they sat down by the fence.
To Randall Duke Scales who married Mary Dearing of Valley Home, credit is due for building the Boxwoods and also for founding the town of Madison. It was in 1820 that he undertook these two projects, in both of which he built better than he knew.
Harvey Dinkins writes: "Scales planned a structure comparable to Mount Vernon and Monticello and what he planned he finished."
The home, situated on an eminence, and first known as Rural Retreat, is a very fine brick structure fronting the infant town, now grown quite large, and alos the Dan River. The house originally comprised eight rooms and an outside kitchen. It has had additions made by subsequent owners.
In 1845, Randall Duke Scales, his family and numerous slaves, moved to Mississippi with others who became distinguished in history. A bachelor, Dr. Oliver, occupied the house for a year, then sold it to Mr. and Mrs. John De Puy Watkins. Mrs. Watkins, the former Phoebe Stone, descendant of the Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland, was a lady of excellent taste. She sent to her husband's former home in Cascade, Virginia, and had a great number of box bushes brought to the plantation. These she planted on each side of the wide brick walk, and also in squares, loops and circles. There is one great court surrounded by Box bushes now thirty feet in height in which Kate Rucker Penn had planned to be married. Just at the hour of the ceremony a great downpour of rain sent the guests inside.
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Vaughn purchased the plantation in 1880. Their only daughter, Miss Luola Vaughn, married Harry Penn, formerly of Danville, Virginia. Mrs. Penn, who is now a widow, her son Edgar and his wife and daughter now occupy the house.
In the Penn's house, geneality and hospitality prevailed. Mr. Penn seemed interested in every person with whom he came in contact, His sense of humor and love of life made him a charming companion, while Mrs. Penn was and is a gracious hostess and excellent homemaker. It was in this home that Mrs. Green Penn, Mr. Penn's mother, chose to spend her last years. The Penns built for her a pleasant first floor suite, overlooking the old fashioned garden. This entire garden is in beds with walks between. All beds are bordered by cowslips and contain tulips, narcissus, pinks, bleeding hearts and many more low-growing flowers.
On the opposite side of the house is the large court of box bushes with a garden which is in a circle surrounded by English box. There are between five hundred and a thousand bushes of both the American and English type. Every year they become more beautiful and luxuriant. It is not only their vigorous condition but their perfect form, uniformity and size which are remarkable. Visitors come from many parts of the country, skeptical perhaps of what they have heard, and go away marveling at a sight which dwarf's their imagination.
The Lindsay house is two miles from Madison, on the south side of the Dan, across Lindsay's bridge. It was built by Mr. John M. Lindsay a good many years before the War between the States. "The Mount" was named for his home in Virginia, which in turn was named for "The Mount" in Scotland, the home of Sir David Lindsay, Lord Lion and King-at-Arms for King James of Scotland and England. "The Mount" was inherited by Mrs. Fannie Lindsay Busick; from her it went to Mrs. Essie Busick Teague. It has recently been bought and restored by Essie Busick Martin Williamson and her family.
Nearby is the name of the home where William Lindsay, his wife Nannie Meador Lindsay and their seven children lived. After Mt. Lindsay's death, Mrs. Lindsay moved to Guilford College in order to give all the children a college education. All of these children were ambitious, energetic and unusually intelligent. Opie Lindsay became North Carolina's first ace in the first World War. Cabell was a teacher and a lawyer. Bill was at one time a teacher, later a real estate dealer. Avila was a teacher who married a lawyer, Mr. Lowe. Nannie Sue who married a Lawyer, became Superintendent of Nurses at Watts Hospital in Durham, and later Superintendent of Nurses at Duke Hospital. Octola, who became Mrs. Dan Taylor, possessed a kind and gracious personality and is loved by all who knew her.
"A home of classic rural splendor," according to Harvey Dinkins, is the home of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tamerlane Lindsay. Deep Springs is so named because of a spring so deep that the bottom has never been reached. The house is set in the midst of several acres of landscaped terrain in a magnificent grove and has a large flower and vegetable garden.
The house was long occupied by James Scales and his wife, who was a Timberlake. About 1880 it was sold to Mr. John M. Lindsay and occupied by him, his oldest son William, his wife and baby, Avila Lindsay. After two years, William moved to his home near "The Mount" across the Dan River, two miles from Madison. Tamerlane Lindsay and his wife, Rhoda Scott Lindsay, occupied the house until a few years ago, when Mr. Lindsay passed away, and more recently Mrs. Lindsay also. Their other two children were Mrs. Annie Scott Lindsay Lockett of Winston Salem and David Lindsay of Charlotte. The Lindsays were charming hosts and Mrs. Lindsay and her daughter were delightful conversationalists. Mrs. Lindsay was a great lover of nature and a write of poetry. She was the sister of Mr. Hugh Scott, lawyer and banker of Reidsville. In the parlor was a life size, full length oil portrait of Mr. Scott, painted in Italy. There was an oil painting of her aunt Annie Settle Reid over the mantel. Among the many cherished keepsakes were two cups, the remainder of a set of china given to Mrs. Lindsay's mother, Rhoda Reid Scott by the little Giant, Stephen A. Douglas.
This home was bought by the Armfields. Bill Armfield is dead, but he and his wife restored the old home before he died.
Across the river from Deep Springs was Danbury, home of Governor Alexander Martin. This great patriot served our country as a Colonel during the Revolution and as a United States Senator afterwards. He served as Governor for six terms, a record which has never been equaled, and as a state senator for seven terms.
Robert Douglas, in his "Life of Governor Martin" writes, "About 1789 Governor Martin moved to his residence in the new county of Rockingham and thereafter resided on a plantation to which he gave the name Danbury, situated on the south bank of the Dan River at the mouth of Jacob's Creek."
Here he lived until his death in 1807, possessing ample means and exercising the most generous hospitality. Among his guests was George Washington, who spent several days with him in June 1791. Upon his death his body was placed in a vault on a wooded bluff overlooking the Dan River. His body was later moved, but no one seems to know where. Even his home has now disappeared.
Mulberry Island Plantation was originally the home of Alfred Moore Scales, who married a Martin, the niece of Governor Martin and granddaughter of Colonel James Martin of Snow Creek. In about 1850 it became the home of the Settle family. Judge Thomas Settle married Mary Glen, daughter of Mr. Tyre Glen of Yadkin County, thus uniting two of North Carolina's most aristocratic families. Prominent people young and old gathered at Mulberry Island to feast and dance and plan political campaigns. The Judge was an able politician as well as a great jurist.
Mr. Hugh Scott, lawyer and banker of Reidsville, wrote, "The Settles were a family remarkable for their distinctive graces of mind and body. Thomas Settle, judge of the superior court, associate justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and Republican candidate against Vance, presided over the Philadelphia convention which nominated Grant for President of the United States. In his later life he served as minister to Peru and as a United States District Judge in Florida."
Judge Thomas Settle was the father of a second Judge Thomas Settle of the U.S. Circuit Court, a man conceded to have been without a superior and with few equals in personal address, brilliancy of intellect and magnetism and charm as an orator. This last judge was the father of Congressman Thomas Settle. His sister, Mrs. Mary Settle Sharp, was a famous teacher of expression and dramatics at Woman's College in Greensboro. Flossie Settle became a well known actress. The first Judge Settle's sister, Mary, became the wife of Robert Martin, mother of Martha Martin who married Stephen A. Douglas, the opponent of Abraham Lincoln for President in 1860.
After the Settles, the home was owned by the Trogden family, then later owned by Mr. John Moore and occupied by a preacher named Glidewell. He cut down and burned a great number of hundred year old box bushes. Mr. John Moore later sold the plantation to Mr. Charlie Penn. The Penns restored the old home and added modern comfort, convenience and beauty to house and grounds. Mr. J. S. Carter superintended the 1298 acre farm. Mr. and Mrs. Edrington Penn occupied the home.It was sold to Horner Grogan to be occupied by his son Wendell. Grogan later sold the house and plantation of more than 1000 acres to Mr. Charles Stone of Kinston, North Carolina for $130,000.
Landscaping at Mulberry Island Plantation includes a sunken garden. The house faces south, looking down on the valley of the Dan River, a few miles west of Leaksville. Few home sites in the state are more beautiful.
Mrs. Arvila Lowe writes "there was a beautiful home across the river from Mulberry Island which was called the "old Reid Place." It was given by Senator Settle to his daughter, Henrietta Settle, who married a Reid. David S. Reid was another famous statesman who began life here on the banks of the Dan and began his public career as a lawyer in Rockingham County. He lived at one time in Wentworth, then later in Reidsville. Reid was Congressman, Governor, United States Senator and a member of the Peace Conference of 1860.
When the new county of Rockingham was formed from Guilfford in 1785, a commission was formed to select a site for the court house, prison and stocks. A site near Eagle Falls was chosen and in an old barn there, belonging to Adam Tate, the first Court in Rockingham County was held. This site was considered too far from the center of the county, so Robert Galloway offered to give 100 acres including the site of the present Court House. His offer was accepted.
Later a group of men attempted to form a town on the site of Eagle Falls, to be called Jackson Town, but this venture died aborning.
Dr. Jesse Carter and his wife, who was a Galloway before marriage, lived with their family at Eagle Falls for many years. This house is still standing and is a fine example of the architecture of the early period. After the death of Dr. Carter, his family moved to Madison. One daughter, Lettie, had married Judge Mebane and the Mebane family lived in the house now owned by Bryan Shaffer. A son, Dr. Cecil Carter, practiced medicine in Madison and later in Mayodan when that town was formed.
Dr. Jesse Carter's brother, Billy Carter, lived for many years in the fine old home at Hibernia (Winter Home). This home was first known as Neal's Bent and occupied by James Walker. It is five miles from Madison, on the highway between Madison and Pine Hall, on the right side of the road as one drives to Pine Hall. It is on a hill and the back of the house is now turned toward the highway; the old road went by the front of the house. There are many fine box bushes and rose bushes left from the Carter days. Several members of this family moved to Madison. Misses Mary and Sallie Carter, who had attended Dr. Shook's academy in Madison in 1840 lived at Hibernia but as old ladies came to Madison to live. Their home was a delightful place to visit because of the culture, charm and refinement of Aunt Sis and Aunt Sac as they were affectionately known and for their lovely keepsakes and antiques. Their sister, Betty Carter, married a celebrated Presbyterian minister, Dr. Watkins Mebane.
Mr. Jesse Carter, brother of these ladies, had a handsome home on the site of Dr. and Mrs. Roach's present residence. After his house burned, Jesse Carter moved to Carthage, North Carolina. It is said that some of the Carter clan built the house now occupied by Janie Faust. Members of this family also moved to Greensboro, Winston and Mt. Airy.
Randall Duke Scales and his wife, Elizabeth Deering, had a daughter Elizabeth Deering Scales who married a Twitchel. For them, the parents built the Galloway home in Madison before 1840. In 1845 the couple moved with Randall Duke Scales and his family to Mississippi. The house went to Nat Pitcher Scales and from him to Dr. Spencer, then in 1880 to Colonel John Galloway. This house, now 110 years old, seems as good as new and promises to last another 100 years. All interior wood work is very fine. The walls are twelve inches thick. The kitchen and dining room were in the basement. There were many out buildings as late as 1890. A fish pond and ice house were near by, and some distance back of the house, Mrs. Galloway had many fine and rare flowers, and probably the first green house in Madison. Here there were flowers blooming all the year.
Colonel and Mrs. Galloway's home became a religious and social center. In winter they had Sunday School in the house, choir practice one night a week, not for Episcopalians only, but for all who wished to sing. The Colonel enjoyed a whist game nearly every evening and billiards nearly every day. He had a billiard table in one of the large rooms. He had a fine library and he seemed to be glad to lend to all who were trustworthy.
Col. Galloway entered the Civil War as a private and was promoted to a Colonel. He wrote the history of his beloved regiment. Many stories are told of his morale building qualities during the war. It is said that one night when he was singing and dancing in camp, a soldier asked "How can you be so cheerful?" He answered "Why don't you know that when the handsome men are killed we homely ones will have a chance with the girls?"
On one occasion a bullet hit Colonel Galloway's watch which was over his heart. He immediately turned to a soldier near by and asked, "Why is this the oldest watch in the world?" The soldier gave it up so Colonel Galloway answered the riddle "Because it has kept Time from Eternity."
There were a number of old homes built by the Galloway family. One of the best known was Mon Vue, (French for My View). This old brick house sat on a wooded eminence facing the driveway and the river. There was a small fron porch and also a side porch. One entered a long wide hall where there was often dancing in the old days. In the living room and dining room there were silk brocade curtains as well as valuable old furniture. Of the five pstairs rooms, one was a family living room. In the four bed rooms, the tester beds were so high that each required a step ladder. Curtains around the bed were low, so that when they were drawn the occupant of the bed was entirely concealed.
The father of this family was Thomas Spraggins Galloway. His daughters were Sallie, Lucinda, and Laura. As their mother died when the children were young, Miss Sallie was never married but became a second mother to her brothers and sisters, to nieces and nephews, and then to great nieces Eda and Mildred Cunningham. Lucinda married Dr. A. B. Johns of Leaksville; Laura married Colonel John Cunningham who lived near Milton.
The three sons, John Tom and Sank all fought for the Confederacy and all became Colonels. They had fighting blood, for their great-grandfather Charles Galloway fought for the Pretender, who was his cousin, and after the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1743, Charles Galloway decided that "discretion was the better part of valor" . He came with his family to North Carolina, settling in Rockingham County. His son, Bob, became clerk of superior court and was known as "honest old Bob."
The garden at Mon Vue contained a great number of box bordered beds. There were roses, The York and the Lancaster, crimson holly which is seldom seen now, Persian lilies, violets and of course Iris and spring flowering shrubs and bulbs.
Mon Vue was burned some years ago. It is said that tenants found honey between the walls ; tried to smoke out the bees and thus set the house on fire.
One of Patrick Henry's children was Nathan Henry, who taught school for a number of years in the old brick Academy at Leaksville and lived in a small cottage nearby on what is now Henry Street. The Nathan Henry Cottage is now known as the Century House and is said to be the oldest in town. It overlooks a good portion of Leaksville. In the Episcopal Cemetery are three little graves of Nathan Henry's children. The local chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution has put a coping around the little graves and care is taken of them by the ladies of the church.
This house, bought in 1916 by Mr. and Mrs. Dan Taylor, and restored by them, is one of the most ideal small homes one could wish to see. From cellar to attic not an inch of space is wasted. In the basement is a huge stone fireplace with the old cranes and kettles still in place. This was the kitchen and dining room in the old days. The house has been furnished with the oldest and rarest furniture to be found so as to preserve its spirit of antiquity.
Later owners have been as cultured and beloved as were the Henrys. Dr. Syd Martin and his wife Bettie Rives Johns Martin were an ideal pair. Dr. Martin with his round red face, white hair, his beaming smile and cheerful manner was loved by young and old. Aunt Bettie was frail and dainty as a Dresden doll, a person who loved her church, the hundred year old Episcopal church just across the street, and all her fellow men. Her life was spent in good works. The Lord called her home on Easter evening.
Miss Annie Eliza Jones, daughter of Dr. A. B. Jones and sister of Dr. A. B. Jones, Jr. was known during the Civil War as the "Angel of the Confederacy." Countless soldiers wounded and ill blessed her for her faithful and devoted care. Miss Annie was a brilliant and gifted writer. Her novel Coolemee breathes her dee religious fervor and devotion.
Mr. and Mrs. Dan Taylor are worthy inheritors of the traditions and atmosphere of the old home. Mrs. Taylor was formerly Octola Lindsay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Lindsay, granddaughter of Mr. John Mott Lindsay of the Mount.
In 1798, John Morehead moved from Pittsylvania County, Virginia to a home in "The Meadows" a few miles from Leaksville. He and his sons and grandsons began the present manufacturing industries in the Valley of the Dan.
John Motley Morehead, the eldest son, became one of North Carolina's greatest statesmen. He was a member of the Peace Conference in 1860 which tried to prevent the Civil War. During the war he was a member of the Confederate Congress. Following the war he was instrumental in the establishment of North Carolina's railroads. Morehead presided over the convention that nominated Zachary Taylor for President in 1848 at Philadelphia. He was twice Governor of North Carolina.
Governor Morehead built a small brick house on the knoll near the mill on the Dan, as a temporary residence when he was in the community. This was the beginning of the home of his famous son, Jams Turner Morehead. Major J. Turner Morehead bravely fought in the Civil War, surrendered with General Johnson's Confederates in 1865 and went to Spray to live. He built and occupied with his family the handsome home called "As You Like It" by his daughter, Mrs. Lily Morehead Mebane. Major Morehead and his son, John Motley Morehead III assisted in the discovery of acetylene gas and also in the use of ferro-chromium in hardening armor for battle ships. He and his relative, John Morehead of Charlotte, who lived in Spray for many years, were also promoters of cotton and woolen mills.
The children of J. T. Morehead continued to be prominent, successful citizens. John Motley Morehead III gave the planetarium and museum to the University of North Carolina and to our state.
Mrs. Kerr Morehead Harris was a judge in Virginia. Mrs. B. Frank Mebane organized the first welfare work in Spray, founded the Leaksville-Spray Library and spent her life in good deeds. Many notable and famous people were guests in her home, as well as residents of Leaksville and Spray and the surrounding countryside.
The youngest child, Emma Grey Morehead Parrish, died in the 1950's in Leaksville. Mr. Walt Morehead lives in Rye, NY, but frequently visits his native town.
The stately plantation home of Mr. and Mrs. Ivy Smith tops a thickly wooded hill. A winding road leads to the top, where a magnificent grove of willow oaks on the spacious lawn frame the great white house. The rooms are large, with ceiling friese work. All wood work in the house is hand carved; there are original window cornices of gold leaf, a large collection of family portraits dating from Revolutionary days, and a great number of family coats of arms. Willow Oaks is their pattern of glass. Their empire china cabinet contains over two hundred and fifty pieces of this pattern in shades of blue and amber, as well as clear, on display. The corner cupboard contains over one hundred silver and copper lustre coffee cups. The furniture of couse, is of the old period, very rare and valuable. Mr. and Mrs. Ivey Smith, Jr. live nearby and have a fine dairy farm.
Mrs. Smith has been a great loved of flowers. She formerly specialized in the cultivation of asters.
This house was built in 1818 by Dr. Broadnax. After the Broadnax family occupied it, it was bought by the Fitzgeralds and was sold by them to the Ivey Smiths.
Probably the oldest home so far inland is Berry Hill, located on the Dan River between Rockingham County, NC and Pittsylvania Co., VA. It has never been sold, but has passed down from the original grant from the King of England, by successive wills, for about three hundred years. It is now the property of Mrs. Ruth Hairston Simms, wife of Admiral Simms of the first World War, who inherited it from her great-grandmother.
This house happens to be at the point where the Colonial Army under General Greene crossed the Dan in his famous strategic retreat before the army of Cornwallis after the battle of Guilford Courthouse. After crossing the Dan River with great difficulty, General Greene camped his army on the river bank and offered resistance to his pursuers. The Berry Hill house where General Greene had his headquarters was struck by Cornwallis. The chimney of General Greene's room was partially destroyed. On the river bank, remains of old Revolutionary muskets, as well as bullet molds and lead, have been found.
The original house was made entirely of hewed lumber, even the flooring having been made of puncheons split out of logs from the original forest. In 1806, the "New part" of the house was added.
On the west side of the house is the garden, still surrounded by its ivy-covered wall. The eight beds composing the garden are surrounded by the dwarf variety of boxwood, much of which is now over six feet high. There is almost a half mile of this boxwood hedge. To the west of the garden is the old Hairston cemetery.
In 1728 when William Byrd came to this region to draw the dividing line between North Carolina and Virginia, he called the Meadows of the Dan, in Rockingham County, "A land rich even unto the fabled lands about Babylon." This was to him the "Land of Eden." Thousands have been drawn to this region by the inspired words of Byrd and have found them true.
The sites for these homes were selected with greatest care. They should be on a hill overlooking the river, have fine shade trees, good water and plenty of space. The material for each home was the best to be had and the building faithfully done. All furniture was made or selected with infinite pain and care. The gardens were planned and made with great love and labor. Each home was the center of culture and education, religion and beauty.
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