Hillsborough Historical Society Inc.

Member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Vol.  VI, No.  31                        April, 1967


For the


T H I R D    B I E N N I A L    S P R I N G    T O U R

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TIME – Saturday, April 22, 1967 – 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Sunday, April 23, 1967 – 1:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.


HEADQUARTERS:                  – THE OLD COURTHOUSE on Court Square


TICKETS – Adults – $2.50

Children (through High school) – $1.00



General Chairmen     – Mrs. H.W. Moore

Mrs. Erle G. Hill


Registration               – Mrs. E.M. Lockhart

Mrs. Elmer Dowdy


Hostesses                   – Mrs. John Graham Webb


Craft House                – Mrs. Joe Hughes

Mrs. Scott Cates


Antiques                     – Mrs. James H. Coman

Miss Elizabeth H. Collins


Museum                     – Mrs. Clarence D. Jones


Sales Items and Square Dancing – Dalton H. Loftin


Floral Arrangements – Mrs. Fred Cates, Jr.


Window Displays – Quentin Patterson


Programs and Posters – Edwin Hamlin


Food Concessions      – Mrs. Quentin Patterson


Girl Scout Dances      – Mrs. Vance Isenhour

Mrs. Madison Cates


Parking                       – Remus Smith, Jr.


Guides                        – Dr. H.W. Moore


Slides Program          – Dr. Charles H. Blake


Tickets                        – E. Wilson Cole


Publicity                     – Mrs. Edwin Hamlin


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SEVEN HEARTHS, 157 East King Street, residence of Dr. and Mrs. Robert J. Murphy. This is the home as described by Mrs. Murphy (Kitty).


T’was not a case of “love at first site.” Second and third “sight” still didn’t promote any great admiration or affection. There was, rather, a slow case of evolution – a gradual osmosis of fondness for an old, almost tumbledown house that led to purchase of “Seven Hearths,” known then as the Hayes-Taylor House.


When we first looked at the property, the writer, Peter Taylor, was the owner. It had been rented for several years, and through neglect and age had been allowed to lean and sag, weather and deteriorate the way old frame structures will do, particularly in the warm, humid South. We were in desperate need of a house, and I am sure that the extreme necessity of seeking shelter moved us in, sans furnace, with inadequate plumbing, and with electricity that was nonexistent if someone ironed while someone cooked. The floors swayed like hammocks when walked upon, and bats frequently came down the wide-open chimneys, perhaps in search of insects that found no window or door screens to keep them outside. A thick mantle of ivy had pushed its way into the attics under the loose clapboards where it grew rampantly, and the winter wind found those same openings through which to whistle uninhibited. It was a rough and rugged year.


When our lease was up, Mr. Taylor told us that he wanted to spend several years in Europe, and could do so only if he put the property up for sale. As strange as it may seem, in the face of the foregoing unpleasantries, no great persuasion was necessary to have us buy the house. We had scrubbed the windows to the sun and let in a rainbow n the wavy prisms of leaded panes. We had crawled “over and under and in between” and had marveled at the massive supporting beams of oak, most of them 12 and 14 inches square, hand-hewn and grey with age. Fresh paint had been applied to he dingy walls and the rooms had come alive with color. We had scrubbed down the woodwork and mantels, chair rails, wainscot, and six-panel doors, and had found their pegs and their carving that gave evidence that here was the work of craftsmen possessing great skill and artistry. We dug up brick, larger, rougher, and darker than any we had seen before, and found on them handprints of their makers. Hard labor had unearthed the remnants of early plantings – roses and bulb beds – held fast in the clutches of Johnson grass and honeysuckle. The start had been small, but rewarding, and we were intrigued by what we had found.


We knew the house was old – just how old we were not sure. Miss Sue Hayes was born in it, and she told us that when her mother, Susan B. Hayes, bought it in 1876, that it was thought to be well over a hundred years old. Then Hillsborough was fortunate in having the Alfred Engstroms move here a few years ago, and Mrs. Engstrom, with her vast knowledge of research and her great perserverance in putting that knowledge to work, got at the Colonial Records – the deeds, the wills, court minutes, etc., and we were able to find the facts that supported our belief that our house might be, in its main block, approaching close to its 200th birthday.


There are various references in early COURT MINUTES to William Reed’s dwelling house “near the Court House.” Reed and his wife, Elizabeth Douglas, were living in Orange County in December, 1752, when he was appointed deputy to William Churton, and in 1753 deputy clerk of the Court. In the COURT MINUTES Reed petitions for a license to keep an Ordinary or Tavern at his  house on Lot 30. The dwelling house being located on “The GREATER KING STREET,” the Road to Halifax, and the old Indian Trading Path, was well-placed to be used as a tavern. DB No. 1 reveals that on Sept. 8, 1755, William Churton sells to William Reed, Tavernkeeper, “Two certain Lotts of Land (No. 30 and No. 40) in Corbinton on the north side of the great Street commonly called King Street, and a Lott (No. 29) on the West for the sum of 15 shillings for each Lott.” (Included in the deed is a provision for building within two years.)


C.J. Sauthior drew his map of Hillsborough in October, 1768, and on it, on lot 30 there is a dwelling house where the present house stands. There were two outbuildings behind the main house, and a garden to the East, where oral tradition says it stood within living memory. There seens to be a structure to the stream call the Still-house Branch running through the Western edge of lot 30. Very likely this was an early still-house to supply William Reed’s Tavern.


Barnaby Cabe was the next owner of the property. No deed has been found for this exchance of lot 30, but it is believed that Wm. Reed, the younger (there were 5 William Reeds!) sold to Barnaby Cabe after Reed’s father’s death in 1764.


Then we have one of those confusing and frustrating records appearing. DB No. 2, page 57-58 states that on Jan. 7, 1777, Barnaby Cabe sold the two lots, 30 and 40 to William Courthney, the prominent Quaker, for 80 pounds sterling. DB No. 8, page 151-152 states that Barnaby Cabe sold the two lots to William Courtney, the Quaker, in Jan., 177-. Unless additional record are found some day, I guess we will just never know which of the two dates if the correct one. One important fact is outstanding, however. This same lot had brought only 15 shillings a short time before, now brings 80 pounds sterling. We can surmise that not only was the Tavern built, but it must have been going at a good rate! I have always hoped that Courtney owned my house from 1770 rather than from 1777. Barnaby Cabe was a bit of a skally-wag. Not only did he supply the King’s troops with needed supplies, being a wagoner for the same, but he has left a “padded expense account” for all posterity to read. He lists his supplies in Colonial Records, and often we find that if he carried the British 15 pairs of shoes, he also adds, “one for self.” If he carries 6 barrels of rum to Troops, he inevitably has “one for self!”


On Jan. 7, 1790, (which I shall, by reason of choice, call TWENTY years later) William Courtney deeded his property to his grandson, Josiah Watts, Jr. This deed bears out the 1770 date found in DB No. 8, as it states in part,  “For the natural love and affection which he hath and beareth unto Josiah Watts, his grandson… the said Lotts… purchased of Barnaby Cabe, 7, January, 1770… with Houses, and all outhouses, etc.”


It is sad to note here that Josiah Watts, Jr. must have died at an early age. No deed or will has been found, but the Will of Josiah Watts, Sr., dated July 6, 1798 leaves the estate to his brother, Thomas Watts.


It is in June, 1799, that Lott 30, the Still-House Lott, adds another record to its “boozey” name in the early annals of Hillsborough history. DB No. 9, refers to an indenture made by Thomas Watts of Orange County and Africa Parker, a free man of the town (formerly owned by the Quaker, Wm. Courtney) arranging between them a “copartnership and Joint trade in the Art, mystery and business of a Distiller” for 12 years. Thomas Watts “did bargain, will let and lease to Africa Parker” the western half of lot 30 and the western half of lot 40 (the area of the Still-House Branch). Africa Parker could write his own name, always spelling out “free man” after it, but he had to go into debt to Cain, Ray and Company for the equipment to make his still function. He deeds in trust, to these people, his interest in the western half of the lots in return for three separate debts he had to incur. The still-house on lot 30, the two stills now standing and fixed in the still-house, “the stands, tubs, potts, and other utensils and implements.” DB No. 16, p. 340 shows that Thomas Watts, Africa Parker’s partner, paid the three separate debts owed, and redeemed the western halves of  lots 30 and 40 one year later.


Various members of the Watts family owned lot 30 until 1834 when it was sold, for the sum of $1600.00 to Col. Stephen Moore. Note that the Watts family had owned the property for 44 years. In all probability, Thomas D. Watts, a very prominent and wealthy man, built the west wing of the house.


Stephen Moore lived here for only 8 years. He became heavily involved in numerous debts, and this property, along with his vast holdings in other places had to be sold to satisfy his debtors.

The house changed hands many times and knew many owners from 1842 until it was bought on Dec. 5, 1877, by Susan B. Hayes, wife of William A. Hayes for the sum of $800.00. Mrs. Hayes added the Northeast portion of the house, removing the side of one of the smaller outhouses, probably a “summer kitchen” and building over the brick open area-way to join the two buildings together. The three additions to the house are easily discernable, and no one chose to build “their” level the same as any other builder. In all, there are 5 different levels – so if “split-level” is an innovation, it is in the term only. It was in “operation here in Hillsborough before the Revolutionary War!


The restoration of the house has taken 13 years. It has cost thousands of dollars, study, help from many sources, some pillage and plunder from ruinous houses of the same era to obtain wood, glass and brick, when we found too great deterioration of that which was here. Many Victorian features had to be stripped away, but since they were added over an earlier structure, they presented no great problem. All in all, this old house contains most of its own original building material. We have for reasons obvious, but in two baths. We no longer draw water from the well, and we have furnace heat in the winter and wir-conditioning in the summer. The electricity works even if there is ironing and cooking at the same time. We have become expert in brick-laying, painting, and restoring old wood. Some one asked me not long ago if we “didn’t have a ghost”. I was sorry to reply that we did not. A friend who was standing near-by remarked, “She’s done so much of everything else to this old house that I am sure she’s planning to come back and haunt it herself.” So perhaps I shall. I shall first confer with the shade of William Reed, tavernkeeper; I shall ask C.J. Saunter some questions about the appearance of things long gone that appeared on his map of Hillsborough in 1768; perhaps I won’t be able to find that double-dealing Barnaby Cabe, but the Quaker will be there to set me straight about Deed Book 8; Africa will be there – a really “free” man, as will Stephen Moore, who dispite his losses and burden of debts, had the great feeling to write in his indenture of 1842, where his horses were to go, giving certain loved personal belongings to certain friends, and writing of his slaves, including “Dicey, who is not to be separated from her children.”


In the meantime, do come to see our old house on Tour in April. It is neiter famous nor historically great, but you may find it interesting, and we love to share it with those who do.



Brick kitchen and East part of house probably built about 1797.


Earliest deed dated 1797 from James Hogg, ancestor of present owners, to James Phillips. Property came back into family in 1854 when bought by Thomas Blount Hill of Halifax, and has remained in the family since that time.


Kitchen originally had a partition, making two rooms downstairs – kitchen with big fire place and Dutch oven and the cook’s room with smaller fireplace. There are two rooms upstairs.


Some old kitchen utensils remain in view – waffle iron, skimmers and ladle on wall, on the table in the corner a sifter, a beater for whipped cream, a pudding mold, cake pans, coffee mill, molds for cottage cheese and jellies, a nutmeg grater, cherry seeder, and raisin grinder. The large pewter covers on the safe were used over the food when it was carried across the yard to the dining room in the house. The old iron pieces on the hearth, the brass kettles, and the jugs add to the collection used many years ago.


The iron chest between the two doors was used in the first Bank of Hillsborough, which was a branch of the bank of the Cape Fear in Wilmington. The agent for this bank was Dr. James Webb. The ledger shows the accounts of many prominent citizens of this section dating from 1815-1828 – Archibald Murhphey, Elisha Mitchell, Josiah Turner, William Cain, Gov. Burke’s daughter, Mary, Duncan Cameron, Dennis Heartt, Thomas Ruffin, Thomas Webb.


The brick wall of the Pool Garden was builr in 1954 and the pool added a year later.


BURNSIDE – Entrance at end of East Margaret Lane. Mrs. Robert M. Browning and her daughter, Mrs. Mary B. Nelson are residing here and have made it passible for Tour visitors to see this famous old home. Miss Rebecca Bonnehan Wall, the present owner, recently has restored the old basement dining room and is opening it for the Tour. Miss Wall and Miss Annie Cameron have given us this interesting history of BURNSIDE.


The direct sequence of the ownership of “Burnside” starts with an order from the Earl of Granville, in the year 1754, that William Churton, at one time Surveyor General for the Carolinas, survey 653 acres of land to be assigned as a town to be named “Orange” in honor of William of Orange.


This 253 acres not included in the town of Orange lay east and immediately adjoining the town limits. These town limits, wntil very recently, remained as laid out by William Churton, as do most of the streets bearing the names selected by him. “Burnside” proper, forms a portion of this 253 acres.


“Burnside” received its Scottish name from its fifth owner Paul Carrington Cameron, because it lay along a stream or “burn.” It was while he was owner of “Burnside” that the magnificent “coniferous” trees of many varieties were planted as well as several trees of each variety native to the State. These plantings were done under the direction of a landscape gardener from England. Some of these beautiful trees are still in their prime.


The great oaks standing in the grounds were, according to authorities, well developed trees on that March day in the year of 1663 when King Charles the 2nd made his gracious gift of land to eight of his favored supporters, later known as the Lords Proprietors of Carolina.


“Burnside” has through the years been a silent witness of much of the history of early North Carolina. Passing a few yards north of its ancient oaks ran the Great Catawba Path, a highway for the Indians passing from eastern Virginia and Carolina to the Catawba Indian country which lay along the river that now bears their name. Many years later this path became “The Great Oxford Road.”


In passing through the present site of Hillsborough, those red-skinned travelers made their way through “Occoneechee Town” named for the tribe of Occoneechee Indians. Lawson, the first Carolina Historian, reports this a large village at the time of his visit in 1701.


The lowlands at “Burnside” have yielded up many Indian relics as well as funeral trappings of these bygone owners, and are still a fertile source of Indian arrowheads.


Again in the year 1771 “Burnside’s” giant oaks stood as silent observers of the execution of certain of the Regulators hanged by order of the Court of the Royal Province of North Carolina on June 19 of that year. The names of only four of the six men executed are known. Merrill and Messer were Captains of companies in the forces of the Regulators. Pugh, a gun-smith from Hillsborough showed exceptional bravery in the “Battle of Alamance.” Little is known of Matter. These names appear on the tablet placed by the Colonial Dames to mark the site of execution which was on the Burnside property.


“Burnside”, since Indian times has had ten owners as follows –

William Few, Sr.         1758               Paul Cameron                        1854

William Few, Jr.          1772               Paul Cameron Graham         1907

James Hogg                1777               Bennehan Cameron              1907

Cullen Pollock            1794               Annie Cameron Collins Wall            1912

– Rebecca Bennehan Wall


BURWELL SCHOOL – 319 North Churton Street. Please refer to NEWS-LETTER No. 25 for the complete story of this famous school. It is now the property of the Historic Hillsborough Commission and is a restoration project. By courtesy of the Commission the property will be opened for the Tour. Visitors will see restoration in progress. Members of the Commission and residents of Hillsborough will act as hosts and hostesses (in Colonial costumes) and will be available to answer visitor’s questions.


JOHN GRAHAM WEBB BOXWOOD GARDEN – 117 East Queen Street. This charming little garden at the rear of the 193 year old Webb home, often called Miss Polly Burke’s School for first usade, has many old plants – roses, iris, japonica, anemone, forsythia, clematis, blue hyacinth, Persian lilac, and lily-of-the-valley. Boxwood and other plants and shrubs have been added since 1932 by the present owner.


THE NASH LAW OFFICE – 143 West Margaret Lane. This property was purchased in July 1966 by Judge L.J. Phipps, Chairman of the Historic Hillsborough Commission, for possible purchase and restoration by the Commission. This is  one of the two best surviving examples of Old Hillsborough law offices. (The other: Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin’s Law Office at Burnside.)

The earliest date if uncertain. May be in 1770’s. Tradition says a royal governor used it temporarily. Known to have been on Lot #10 when sold by Duncan Cameron in 1805 to Chief Justice Frederick Nash. May have been built by earlier owner, Francis Nash. Main Nash home stood where Farmers’ Exchange stands today.


After Chief Justice Nash’s death in 1857, his daughter, Misses Sally K. and Maria Nash, with their cousin, Sara Kollock, began the famous Nash and Kollock School for Young Ladies. Law Office was used as music studio; two rooms to west added as Sara Kollock’s living quarters but also used as piano practice rooms.


LADIES IN THE MAKING, a delightful book by Ann S. Nash, tells how the Law Office and its extension was used by the Nash and Kollock School for nearly 30 years. This is the only structure remaining from the famous Nash and Kollock School.


The most recent owner, Mrs. T.E. Lloyd, created the beautiful garden in the rear.


CHATWOOD – the home of Dr. and Mrs. Charles H. Blake – 0.8 mile west on Hwy. 70; right 2 miles on Faucette Mill Road. Mrs. Blake describes Chatwood.


The Coach House was built about 1790, probably by Robert Faucette. It stands high ground above the ford of the Eno, near the Faucette Mill. It accommodated travelers on the King’s Highway, the road to Greensboro.


There are two entrances, on to the inn-parlor, the other to the owner’s quarters. All the walls and floors are of the original wide pine boards. The inn-parlor, now the living-room, connects with the former kitchen which has become the “back bedroom”. The old bar has been converted into a modern kitchen. The owner’s quarters have become the dining-room. Traces of the original gray-green paint may still be seen on the walls.


The frame of the wing is from the Naille Johnson house, formerly on the St. Mary’s area. It also dates from 1790. The frames of both parts of the house are oak timbers all numbered and put together with pins. The first floor of the wing has become the weaving studio, a much enjoyed room, which looks out over the original Faucette acres of fields and woodlands, bordered by the Eno.


An herb garden, a sanctuary garden of old roses, and a shrubbery, planted for the many birds that winter here may be enjoyed by visitors. The small greenhouse and heated pit are filled with a collection of geraniums, principally the old-fashioned and scented-leaved varieties, which do very well in the garden in summer, and have much charm.







Second floor of the Old Orange County Court House




BAPTIST CHURCH – 1860-1870





This past winter your Projects Committee, assisted by Mr. Alexander Shepherd, planted hundreds of spring bulbs in the Cemetery. These bulbs were given by Mrs. Alfred Engstrom from the garden of Hooper House. Hopefully, blooms will be enjoyed by Tour visitors.



Hosts and hostesses in colorful Colonial costumes will be in the homes and public buildings to explain and to answer questions.






CRAFT HOUSE – OLD NASH LAW OFFICE , 143 West Margaret Lane. Crafts of the colonial period, with native craftsman at work. (Making lye soap, quilting, caning, ceramics, and many others,) Throughout the Tour.



Beautiful antique china, crystal, silver and furniture will be displayed and for sale by:

Mollie Boren, Antiques – Greensboro, N.C.

Whitehall – Chapel Hill

County Squire, Antiques – Durham – Chapel Hill Blvd.

Flying Eagle – Durham – Chapel Hill Blvd.

In addition, Mrs. George B. Daniel, Jr. will arrange a display of Orange County antique furniture. Many of our members and friends will recognize some of these pieces. They were shown by Mrs. Daniel in her fine slide program on “Old Orange County Furniture”, presented at the Society’s Annual Meeting in October, 1964.


SLIDES PROGRAM – films and narrative of Hillsborough houses. (Approximately 30 minutes.) Saturday, 11 A.M., 1 P.M., and 3 P.M. Sunday, 2:30 and 3:30 P.M. Strudwick Hall at the Presbyterian Church.


COLONIAL CHILDREN’S DANCES – Local Girl Scouts – Old Court House Lawn – Saturday, 10:30 A.M. – Sunday, 1 P.M.

BAND CONCERTS – South Lawn of Old Court House – Saturday, 3 P.M. – Sunday, 2 P.M.


SQUARE DANCE DEMONSTRATION – Saturday, 12 Noon until 1 P.M. – South of Old Court House on Margaret Lane.


FOOD – The Orange Grove Grange at two locations, the Burwell School and the Parking area, East of the Old Court House, will provide box lunches (chicken with appropriate accompaniments), delicious country ham biscuits, coffee and soft drinks.


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Miss Lois Sweaney, Durham, N.C.

Mrs. A. Leroy Caldwell, Durham, N.C.

Mr. Everette Rosemond, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mrs. James Webb Rogers, Sr., Landover, Maryland

Mr. Joseph Shepperd Rogers, Landover, Maryland

Mr. and Mrs. H. Walton Moore, Jr., Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. and Mrs. John Couch, Hillsborough, N.C.

Mr. and Mrs. Lucius Cheshire, Hillsborough, N.C.

Mr. and Mrs. Young Smith, Jr., Hillsborough, N.C.


Mrs. E.M. Lockhart, Membership Chairman reports current membership is 505. 500th member, Mr. H. Walton Moore, Jr.


Mr. Lockhart announces the loss of two members because of death:

The Rev. Mr. Roland C. Stubbins, Efland, N.C.

Mr. Edwin A. Clare, Durham, N.C.



The major project of the year is a brochure of the Murals. This is being prepared by the author, Le Gette Blythe, and the artist, Kenneth Whitsett. The Museum Committee hopes to have it ready for the Spring Tour.


Mr. Joe Hughes, representing Cone Mills, has set up an interesting exhibit showing the raw cotton and the different steps to the finished cloth.


Mr. and Mrs. Harry Woods have given 14 old books, some dating back to 1838. A few are from the Nash and Kollock School and the Burwell School. For the present they have been placed in the drawer of the old desk from the Nash-Kollock School given by Mrs. Mary Exuum Shepherd.


Mrs. Charles H. Blake is in the process of rethreading the 150-year-old loom. She will demonstrate weaving here during the Tour.


Relatives of the late Mrs. Thelma Rosemond Johnston, a charter Member of the Museum Board, have started a Memorial Fund in her honor. Board members and friends have contributed to this Fund. Additional contributions honoring Mrs. Johnston will be most welcome.


The Orange County Ministerial Association met at the Museum on February 6, 1967. This program, arranged by the Rev. Mr. J.F. Minnis, member of the Museum Board, was to see the Murals. Dr. Charles H. Blake ran a tape recording of comments by the artist, Mr. Whitsett.


On Sunday, April 2, 1967, Mr. Edwin Lynch, Keeper of the Historic Weights and Measures, made his annual inspection. The new and old were brought together this year. Mr. Marion L. Kinlow, Supervisor of the Dept. of Weights and Measures of the N.C. State Dept. of Agriculture, Raleigh gave the principal talk.


Correction from the January NEWS-LETTER: The copy of the deed signed by Nathanial Rochester and the Copy of the deed signed by William Churton were given by Mr. and Mrs. James Webb, Greensboro, N.C.


PROGRAM CHAIRMEN – The Horticulture Committee offers to interested groups three slide programs with commentary:

“Some Gardens of Old Hillsborough”

“Old Roses of Hillsborough”

“Herbs for Flavor, Fragrance and Physic”


Rental $5.50 each, plus return postage.

Personally presented programs, $10.00.

Please write to Mrs. Charles H. Blake, Box 613, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278