April - May 2006

Copyright 2006 Marilyn Ralls Johnson

Tryon Palace and Gardens

Taking interior photos of the Palace wasn't allowed.  More about Tryon Palace here.

The Dixon House (above) is to the left of the first set of gates to the Palace grounds.  Dixon is a sept of the Keith Clan, and is  also related to the Simonton family.

To the right of the gates is the Hay House.  It was just the right time for flowers, and I couldn't resist photographing some of the lovely, blooming 18th century plants in the gardens outside the Palace grounds.

The Stanly House has links to the Shepard and Bryan families, follow this link to information about the home and a tour.   Back garden views and back porch railing below.


The James Bryan House is in the same block as the Palace, at 605 Pollock.  It is not open to the public. James Bryan married Rachel Herritage, the granddaughter of my direct ancestors, William II and Rachel Bryan Whitfield.  James and Rachel Herritage Bryan's distinguished son, John Herritage Bryan, lived in this house at one time. This son is my second cousin 5 times removed.  The home is in the Federal Style popular at the time it was built in 1803.

Office Door

Other Sights

I took a trolley tour of New Bern and learned about its history.  We saw a number of houses, learned about the catastrophic fire and early churches, and visited an old cemetery whose entrance arches cry on visitors and the New Bern Academy Museum.  The city was founded by a Swiss group who liked the abundant fishing, location on two rivers, mild winters, and the area's flora and fauna as described in words and drawings by an English naturalist. They named it after Bern, Switzerland.  Locals say the name as if it were one word, New' burn, with the accent on the new.

Bern means bear in Switzerland, and the original Bern has a pit of live bears in a plaza.  So New Bern has a plaza with carved wooden bears. We enjoyed eating lunch, shopping, and visiting the library in the downtown area when we were sightseeing there.

Meanwhile, Back at the Resort

We enjoyed a great view of the Resort's harbor on the Nuese River from our apartment.  My son's activities included early morning walks, fishing in several lakes, Resort parties, eating in the restaurant, and sailing on the Nuese River.  There were also several golf courses, a spa and swimming pool to enjoy at the Resort.


Sightseeing in the Area

We decided to visit the Crystal Coast, so off we went south to Morehead City and Beaufort (Bo-fert).  We made a left just before Morehead City and went across a bridge over to the outer banks and Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle.  Going NE on Highway 58 we visited Fort Macon (Civil War) State Park, on the Atlantic Ocean. 

Going back over the bridge and past Morehead City, we went east on Highway 70 to Beaufort, where we had lunch in a restaurant overlooking the Beaufort harbor and Carrot Island (where the wild ponies roam), and then visited the North Carolina Maritime Museum.  We had signed up for a boat tour of the outer banks, but the weather was cold and windy and the tour didn't leave the dock since less than the minimum of 15 persons turned up.  We decided to take our own auto tour instead. 

First we drove around Beaufort (est. 1709) and checked out the 100 or so old homes there.  Most of the historical homes were charming, freshly painted, frame buildings. Signs on the buildings told us the date built and sometimes the name of the original owner.  Some homes were built long before the Revolution, and Hammock House (1709) claimed to have had the pirate Blackbeard (d 1718 ) as a boarder when he was in town.

We went east on Highway 70, then 12, toward Cape Lookout and Cedar Island.  The lighthouse at  Cape Lookout is visable from the highway.  Although a number of private ferries go to it, we enjoyed the warm and dry view from the car. For fun I had my picture taken with a replica of the lighthouse.


It was a 1/2 day trip to visit the graves of the Revolutionary War hero William Whitfield III and his father and mother, William II and Rachel Bryan Whitfield, at Seven Springs, NC, overlooking the Nuese River.  Cliffs of the Nuese State Park is nearby.

The town was originally named Whitehall after William Whitfield's plantation White Hall.   During the Revolution patriots encamped across from White Hall at "Greenfield", the residence of Col. Joseph Green, William II's son-in-law.

White Hall was the site of a Civil War skirmish that devastated the town, and there is a CW monument near the Whitfield graves, which is pictured to the right. There is also a large display with an extensive account of the Civil War battle.

As we were leaving, we stopped to ask directions of a lady sitting on her porch.  She told us about the flood in 1999 that damaged the museum building near the Whitfield graves.  It had to be torn down, and the records were put elsewhere.  She recalled that it may have been a Whitfield home at one time.

She said that every year a reunion is held for Whitfield descendants in Seven Springs.  Also that the church she attends was built by descendant, William B. Whitfield (d 1904), for a Presbyterian congregation in 1874.  The Church sits upon a high hill, and its builder is buried in the cemetery behind it.


Also on the Nuese River,  Fort Barnwell, est. 1712, was a stratigic outpost in the Indian Wars.  It must have been a fairly large settlement at the time of the Revolution, as George Washington included it in his southern tour.  A General William Bryan may have lived in the vicinity at the time of the Revolution, and Cornwallis is said to have engaged the patriots here after the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge.  We were unable to locate the remains of the Fort, because there was a fork in the NE road and no directions.


Needham Bryan, father of Rachel Bryan Whitfield, lived on a plantation called "Snowfield" near Lewiston Woodville in Bertie County about 15 miles from the present location of Hope Plantation, built in 1803.  "Snowfield", built about 1722, by all accounts was not preserved, so we visited this nearby historical site to get some idea of the locale, early 1700's lifestyle, and buildings. The King-Bazemore House at the Hope Plantation site is closest to being a contemporary with "Snowfield".  It was raining when we arrived, so no pictures outside.

The tour inside was excellent, giving us a real idea of life on an isolated plantation. They even have a demostration trough for meat salting, a process which preserves the meat for years.  Here is a link to Hope Plantation.

After the Trip

Justin sent me a dozen roses for Mother's Day.