History of the 1812

The first owner of record we have for the home now known as the 1812 was George Locke.  In August of 1787, George Locke was issued a US land grant for 30 acres on the west shore of Rocky Creek in Rowan County.   He added to that additional land and he built a sawmill called Locke’s Shoals along the creek.   Iredell County was formed from Rowan County in 1788.

Daniel Boone and his wife raised their family nearby. He wrote of hunting on Rocky Creek and nearby Hunting Creek.

In 1792, George deeded his land to John Tomlinson, father of Dorcas Tomlinson Turner who later lived in the home for almost 50 years.   John’s father, Humphrey Tomlinson, bought adjoining land from Joshua Ellis.  The total acreage included a tub mill (a mill that sits and turns sideways in the current without a dam) and an early one-story log cabin.  This log cabin became unstacked in 1811 due to an earthquake in New Madrid, Missouri. 

Dorcas Tomlinson Turner
1813 – 1900

Humphrey  had deeded much of his land to another son, Perry Tomlinson, in 1804.   Perry and his brother Notley erected a two-story log cabin in 1812 on this location from that existing log cabin.  Those logs still exist at the 1812 as the front two-story section.    Dorcas Tomlinson (daughter of John and granddaughter of Humphrey) was born on the property (but not in this house) in 1813.  She was the 16th and youngest child of John and Tabitha Tomlinson.  There were so many children that a brother was named Eleven.  Three of her siblings married Gaithers; three married into the Summers family and three married Lovelace’s.  Descendants of those families still live in the area.  Dorcas Tomlinson married Wilfred Turner in 1832 and they located in Davie County where they farmed and
where their first seven children were born. 

Dr. Aaron Dyer Gage, born in NY, bought the property from Perry Tomlinson in 1835 after he married a local girl, Mary Young. Mary was the niece of Sam Houston who was governor of Tennessee in 1827 and the first and third president of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Sam Houston was politically independent and known for his efforts toward preserving the Union. Houston, Texas, is named for him.

Aaron and Mary Gage lived in this home with their only daughter, Sarah, until 1850 when the family moved to Virginia and sold the home as well as the nearby tub mill to back to Notley Tomlinson who had changed his name to Notley Tomlin sometime between 1840 and 1850. After Dr. Gage’s wife died, he moved back to this area where he went into a retail textile business with his granddaughter’s husband (Walters & Gage) in Statesville, North Carolina, and where he died in 1885. His granddaughter died just a few weeks later in childbirth.

Notley Tomlin built a cotton mill and ran it in partnership with Wilford Turner who married his sister, Dorcas.  There is an 1874 deed between A. D. Gage and Wilfred Turner (book D5 716).

Wilfred Turner

In 1850, Wilford Turner bought an interest in the cotton factory of Tomlin & Gage.  In 1852, he bought out his partners.  He owned the cotton mill and also a cotton gin, store, and flour mill.

The Wilford Turner family became the occupants of the home with their 7 children shortly before their daughter Virginia was born there in October 1851. Two more children, Emily Ella Turner and Wilfred Dent Turner were also born in Turnersburg. 

In 1870, there were just four children left in the home with Dorcas and Wilford.  One of their sons (John) had died during the Civil war and one of their daughters (Laura) had died of disease.    In 1878, a married daughter, Pamela Wyche died, and Dorcas and Wilford then raised her three young daughters, Bertha, Pamela, and Julia, who were 7, 5 and 3 when they came to live with their grandparents in Turnersburg.

Dorcas Tomlinson Turner knew of this home from the time she was born in 1813 to the time of her death in 1900 and she lived here for 50 years.  The photo at the right is the headboard of the bed that Dorcas and Wilfred Turner had in Turnersburg. This photo was shared with us by Pamela Lee, a great-great-granddaughter of the couple.

Two of Turner’s daughters, Adeline Dorcas and Ella Emily, married M. K. Steele and L. T. Stimpson.   Mr. Steele and Mr. Stimpson subsequently opened a store in Statesville called Stimpson and Steele Mercantile.  Wilfred Turner, M. K. Steele and L. T. Stimpson, rebuilt the Turnersburg mill in 1890 after the original mill burned in a fire.   A gin and general store were constructed and houses were built for the people who worked in these various enterprises.  The water power to run some machinery in use was obtained from Rocky Creek.  The property was continually in the hands of the Stimpsons, Steeles, Turners, and Tomlins for over 100 years.

Worthy of Record
Worthy of Record

The eldest son of Wilfred Turner was Columbus Lafayette Turner.  C. L. Turner’s grandson, Walter Turner, has written a book called “Worthy of Record” containing the Civil War writings of his grandfather.  “Lum” Turner and his wife lived in the cottage home behind the main house after he returned from the war. That home is available for overnight stays. Although C. L. Turner was a southerner, he advocated that it was a good thing the war had been won in favor of the union. Otherwise, he said, we’d all still be fighting.

W. D. Turner
Wilford D. Turner Lt. Governor of NC 1901 – 1905

The youngest son of Wilfred Turner, Wilfred Dent Turner, was born in the home in 1855. He was appointed Lt. Governor of North Carolina two weeks before his mother died and served the state from 1901 to 1905.  He was the only Lt. Governor who has ever been from the county of Iredell. A later resident, C. V. Henkel, Jr., also ran for Lt. Governor but did not win the office.

Coincidentally, the brother of Wilford Turner, William Hatch Dent Turner, married Elizabeth C. Campbell.  Elizabeth was the 4th cousin 4 x removed of current owner, Wendy Waldron (Wendy’s grandmother’s grandfather was Elizabeth’s grandfather’s brother).  Wendy discovered this connection to the home when doing genealogy research in the late 1990’s.

They tell a story about this old mill stone that has been in the side yard for all these years.  It was brought up from the grist mill when it was too smooth to be used there any longer; made for a mounting block; made to cut watermelons on a hot day or maybe just because nothing was discarded in those times but whatever the reason it wasn’t what it turned to to be – “The Marrying Stone.”

   Wilfred Turner who lived at the 1812 was the Squire and he performed the marriage ceremonies for the people who lived in the village and nearby farms.  One late Saturday night a couple came banging on the door for the Squire to come out and marry them.  When he finally came down, prepared to lecture them on disturbing their Squire’s sleep, the sanctity of marriage and how their poor hogs needed their corn, he found them meekly standing on the stone.  They said they wanted their marriage to start on a firm foundation so he married them then and there.

 The Henkel family was well known in Lenoir and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. C. Vance Henkel, Sr., was an early entrepreneur and built a livery stable in Statesville that is where “Twisted Oak” restaurant is now located. Vance Henkel built hotels, roads, golf courses, and was one of the most prominent citizens of Statesville. He and his wife, Lila, raised four children in Statesville, North Carolina.   The family home, is referred to as the Lowenstein-Henkel House. It was originally located on Broad Street.

Lowenstein-Henkel House

Vance Henkel also built and owned the Vance Hotel on the corner of Front and Center Streets (across from where the Civic Center is located).  C. V. Henkel, Jr., ran the hotel and city club.  Vance Henkel died in 1926 when his son was 18 years old.

In 1941 and 1942, C. V. Henkel, Jr., and his mother, Lila, purchased the land and home from M. L. Davis whose descendants still own adjoining land.  The Henkel family had a business relationship with W. D. Turner.  Henkel Livestock & Co sold land to W. D. Turner in 1905 in Statesville. 

The home in 1940

C. V. and his mother restored and enlarged the former Wilfred Turner house until it contained fourteen rooms.  The house was painted pale yellow with white trim and dark green shutters.  The yard was beautified and enclosed with a white picket fence.  Some of the boxwood bushes in the yard were brought here by Lila Spilman, sister of C. V. Henkel, from her Knoxville home.   The property was expanded under C. V. Henkel’s ownership and includes a cottage house, a carriage house, the barn, and the boathouse.

Marguerite Nunan Henkel

In 1944, C. V. married a recent widow whose family he had known for some time through their connections at Blowing Rock and horse shows.    Marguerite Eugenia Nunan, whom he called “Shorty” and everyone else called “Mimi,” was the mother of two children, “Sugar” and Chuck Haywood who were raised here. 

C. V. continued to buy land until he owned over 1000 acres.  The creek at the foot of the hill behind the house was dammed, stocked with fish, and a boat house was built.  C. V. Henkel represented the county for five terms in the North Carolina state senate in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

 C. V.’s first passion was Mimi and their passion was horses. Thoroughbred show horses were pastured and trained here.  Night Owl, foaled in Turnersburg, was sold to the US Olympic team and was the winning mount at the 1960 Aachen games.  As the horses grew older, they were turned out to pasture.  C. V. Henkel’s favorite horse, Red Sails, was buried in the front pasture. 

Senator C. V. Henkel, Jr.
Senator C. V. Henkel, Jr.

 Mimi Henkel passed in 1961 after a long illness.  CV remarried in 1965 to Julia Sharpe.  The wedding was held at the 1812.  Then NC Governor Moore attended the March wedding that was delayed due to his late arrival.  Julia walked down the stairs and was married in the bay window of the dining room with about 100 guests in attendance.

Henry Summers was C. V. Henkel’s best friend and “right hand man.” He served as the best man when CV married Julia.  Henry’s younger brother, William, was best friends (and shared the same birthday) with Chuck Haywood, Mimi’s son and CV’s step-son.  The photo above is a photo of William and Chuck in 2009 when they attended a gathering here at the 1812.  

There are plenty of interesting stories about the property; ask Patrick to tell you the stories about Senator Henkel’s pink Cadillac or the clandestine visit to the home by President Lyndon Johnson when you visit!

The Waldrons are the current owners of the 1812 Hitching Post Farm.  Patrick Waldron has owned the home since 1983.  He is an internationally known designer and artist with a strong interest in history.

Wendy joined Patrick in 1999 and is a photographer and event coordinator.  Wendy also has an interest in genealogy, web and graphics design, and she was formerly a registered nurse.  Both Pat and Wendy are romantics and have lovingly decorated the 1812 Hitching Post with treasures and finds that have captured their hearts. When looking for a place to get married themselves, the Waldrons discovered how difficult it was to plan an intimate, stylish, and romantic wedding that is unique and creative without spending a fortune.   They created The 1812 Hitching Post so brides of today could still have the elegance and comfort of a wedding in a homey setting from the past.