Hope Plantation celebrates Black history

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2022

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WINDSOR – Hope Plantation and the Roanoke-Chowan Heritage Center keep giving back to the local community.

On Feb. 26, the Center will host two lectures 11 a.m.-to-1 p.m. as part of it 28th annual celebration of African American History Month.

Noted historian and retired Head Librarian at North Carolina Central University in Durham, Dr. Benjamin Speller – a Bertie native – will speak on Jeremiah Bunch and the Bunch family. They were farmers and house carpenters (1780s-1860) who lived near Republican and worked in the plantation communities of Bertie County for at least three generations.

“We will also feature ‘Carpenter Charles’, a review of the life of Charles Peele, an enslaved woodworker and furniture maker who lived on the Oaklana Plantation in western Bertie County,” said Center Historian Allison Gupton. “Several of his pieces are highly collectible and you know how hard it is nowadays to track those down.”

Mrs. Ollie Bond and Mrs. Colleen McGlone, two of Charles Peele’s descendants, will share biographical information about his relationship to persons living in surrounding counties.

Hope Plantation is located about four miles northwest of Windsor on Hope House Road, just off of NC Highway 308. It offers unique insights into the late 18th and 19th century rural life in eastern North Carolina and the American South.

The Plantation’s centerpiece is the home of David Stone (1770-1818). It was completed in about 1803.

Stone is ingrained within the fabric of history in the Old North State. He represented Bertie County in the North Carolina state legislature, served in the US House of Representatives and US Senate and was governor of North Carolina from 1808-to-1810.

Governor Stone’s home is a stunning example of an academic architectural combination of Federal and Georgian architecture. Restored and opened to the public since 1972, the mansion is meticulously furnished with an extensive collection of original period pieces, the finest collection of Roanoke River Valley furniture known to exist anywhere.

The Stone family sold the plantation in the mid-1830s and it passed through several hands until it was acquired by Historic Hope Foundation in 1965. During this time, it fell into disrepair, but a restoration was undertaken beginning in 1966 and completed some six years later.

Also on the grounds are several other structures, including the 1763 King-Bazemore House and the Samuel Cox House, built around circa 1800.

The property is also home to the Roanoke-Chowan Heritage Center. A museum and other displays in the Heritage Center focus on the region’s multicultural heritage of Native Americans, African Americans, and descendants of English settlers, all of whom characterize the region today.

Other programs Historic Hope offers throughout the year that appeal to a diverse audience include the Ives Lecture, which focuses on the arts. There is also an annual yard sale, a genealogy workshop, a fall festival, and the famous Christmas Open House.

Recently, the Foundation has undertaken the project of assembling a list of Governor Stone’s living descendants. They are aware Stone and his wife, Hannah, had 11 children, ten girls and one boy. Only five of the children lived to adulthood and four of those had children of their own. Some surnames of descendants include Pace, White, Daniel, Phillips, Outlaw, Cowan, Pearce, Hale, Webber, Thomas, Turnbull, Hicks, Glah, Price, Harrison, Bridgers, Lewis, Strange, and many others. A vetting process will be undertaken to assure authenticity of lineage.

“You can go to our Facebook page and find where we’re asking about the descendants,” said Foundation President Dr. Turner Sutton. “We don’t have very many, but we have picked up three or four Stone descendants we didn’t know about before. We’re hoping to stay in contact with them and pick up some memberships as well.”

For those interested in becoming a member of the Historic Hope Foundation various membership plans are available beginning at $40 per year, These gain admission to the historic houses and includes not only helping to preserve a national treasure, but receiving a number of benefits based on one’s level of support.

Tours are available at the Heritage Center building on Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until March 31. From April 1 until December 10, the office will be open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10-to-4.

For more information on other days/times call 252-794-3140 or email at info@hopeplantation.org. For more information on programs, visit www.hopeplantation.org.