Saturday, September 21, 2013

Power Points: Sortie Into Hillsborough, North Carolina (Take I)

Hillsborough, North Carolina, soaked as it is in history and culture, continues in its role as a fine place to visit briefly or at length. Little wonder why the congregation in this 6,000-person enclave of superb writers like (in alphabetical order) Hal Crowther, Alan Gurganus, Jill McCorkle and Lee Smith. Once there was the Occaneechi village and still in the greater area reside 700 living members of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. Regulators were hanged here before the American Revolution. Lawrence Thompson, my great-great-great-great grandfather, signed up with Moore's First North Carolina here circa 1776 with the promise of a land grant; he later fired his rifle at British ships over by the coast in Old Brunswick Town near Wilmington before it was reduced to ruins. Lord Cornwallis occupied Hillsborough in 1781. Some time after he moved with his Anglo-American force on to Wilmington and Revolutionaries recaptured the town, Loyalist raiders under David Fanning captured a slew of men and hauled them off as prisoners. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston made his headquarters here near the end of the American Civil War. And so on. What I'd like to convey only is this: what a cool, fascinating place!

Pictured here -- on the grounds of Edmund Fanning's place that was burned to the ground by Regulators in 1770 -- stands Masonic Eagle Lodge Number 19 on King Street. The lodge was chartered in 1791; this building was built in Greek Revival style (with apparently Federal style simplicity except for the front portico) in 1823-1825. It sill operates!  When first built, a glass observatory festooned the top center of the roof, but it began to leak and was eventually dismantled during the Civil War. Its uses have included as an opera house, library, study hall and meeting place. 

And man, this is just one site observed from a brief walk. I love Hillsborough!

Today's Rune: Journey.  

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I have been there, but so long ago now I hardly remember anything.