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 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.
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 during the New Madrid, MO earthquake.
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. 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. He owned it until 1850 when he moved to Wytheville, VA, and sold this 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.
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).
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 had died during the Civil war and one of their daughters had died of disease. In 1878, a married daughter died, and Dorcas and Wilford also raised their three young granddaughters, 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. She lived in Turnersburg all but the first 18 years of her married life.
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.
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.
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 from 1901 to 1905.
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.
The four Henkel children were raised in Statesville, North Carolina. The Henkel’s purchased home now
called the Lowenstein-Henkel house that was located on Broad St. They also built and owned the Vance Hotel on the corner of Front and Center Streets (across from where the Civic Center is located). CV, Jr., ran the hotel and city club. C.V. Henkel, Sr., died in 1926 when his son was 18 years old.
In 1941 and 1942, Columbus Vance Henkel 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.
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.
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 country for five terms in the North Carolina state senate.
Thoroughbred show horses were pastured and trained here. Night Owl, foaled in Turnersburg, was sold to the US Olympic team and was a 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.
Mimi Henkel passed in 1961 after a long illness. CV remarried in 1965 to Julia Sharpe. The wedding was held at the 1812. NC Governor Moore attended the March wedding. 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.