NC MRF History Tour - April 16, 2005

Wake County - The Early years

The first of five scheduled NC MRF History Tours was held on April 16th in Raleigh, NC. The tour covered the early years of our capitol county. The motorcycle history tour stopped at six locations around Wake County to teach riders about the struggles that early settlers had with government and the efforts they made to create a new, free, republic form of government in North Carolina.

The tour started at the Falls Lake Dam where our tour guide, Bruce Harris, told us of the first settlers in Wake County to share the land with the native Americans. From there, the tour traveled to the homesite of the John Hinton II House. John Hinton’s first land record (1743) is the oldest known for what is now Wake County, for 138 acres on the west side of the Neuse River. He built a cabin there. He later accumulated several thousand acres on both sides of the Neuse, and later built his plantation house, The Square Brick House, on the east side of the Neuse River. We toured the Hinton family cemetery that contains headstones dating back to the early 1800s. From there, the tour rode to the Beaver Dam Plantation House where we all learned that William Hinton built Beaver Dam around 1810. The federalist style house is located at the end of Smithfield Road in Knightdale. His plantation contained over 5,000 acres with about 50 slaves on land acquired from his father. After that, we rode to the Joel Lane House in downtown Raleigh and learned about Raleigh's oldest home. It was constructed around 1760 by Joel Lane, a prominent political figure in our state's history from the colonial era through the Revolutionary War. He was also a vital figure in the founding of Raleigh, since the city is built on what was once part of his plantation. Then we rode to the Mordecai House. The Mordecai House was once the seat of one of the largest plantations in Wake County, North Carolina. The original portion of the house was built about 1785 by Joel Lane for his son and daughter-in-law. The home acquired its name from Moses Mordecai, who married the Lane's granddaughter. State architect William Nichols designed the 1826 Greek Revival addition. Home to five generations of the same family, the house features their 18th and 19th century furnishings, portraits and books. The last stop of the tour was at Haywood Hall where we learned about North Carolina's state treasurer John Haywood and his efforts to line his pockets with state funds. Haywood was the NC State Treasurer for 40 years. Haywood's ability to swindle funds from the state treasury helped to create the checks and balance systems within state government that are still in effect today.

After the tour was over, we all headed to a historic lunch spot in downtown Raleigh. The Roast Grill is a very small, 12 seat, hot dog restaurant located four blocks from the capitol building that has been serving hot dogs to North Carolina's legislators and constituents since 1940. Even our lunch stop was a history lesson. Only this lesson was about 65 years of eating great hot dogs in Raleigh.

During the tour, three riders joined the MRF. We'd like to welcome Rick Carnagey and Chris and Beth Rouse to the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. These three riders understand the importance of protecting the things they love. Riding our motorcycles is important to all of us and these three riders have shown their love for motorcycling by joining an organization that is completely focused on preserving their riding freedoms.

A total of $155 was raised for the MRF. $65 in memberships and $90 in donations were collected. A $90 Freedom Fighter donation was made to the MRF and that donation will go directly towards our fight at the federal level for fair motorcycle related legislation.

This tour was limited to ten bikes as there was limited parking at several of the stops. The next NC MRF History Tour will be limited to twenty (20) bikes and will ride to the Alamance County Battle Grounds. There will be five NC MRF History Tours during 2005.

We would like to thank long-time MRF Individual Sustaining Member Bruce Harris for his dedication to the MRF, his time and effort in organizing and narrating this History Tour, and his enthusiasm for creating fun, alternate riding opportunities for North Carolina's riders.

The next MRF History tour is scheduled for May 28, 2005. See the NC MRF History Tour page for more information. (

Join the MRF online HERE

Join the MRF online HERE