NC MRF History Tour - July 23, 2005

The House in the Horseshoe

The fourth of five scheduled NC MRF History Tours was held on July 23rd. The tour started in Apex, NC and traveled to The House in the Horseshoe in Moore County. Twenty five riders attended this history tour. Riders from the Jordan Lake SCRC, Greater Raleigh SCRC, CMA, Raleigh CBA, Chatham CBA, Heartland Wings, along with several independent riders attended.

At the start, Bruce Harris, our Tour Director told the riders about what they would see at the House in the Horseshoe to give the riders a primer on the historical significance of our ride destination. Before we departed, Bruce reviewed the proposed route and held a brief safety meeting. The first stop was at the site of the original Chatham County courthouse. That site is about a mile south of the existing Chatham County courthouse. Then we made a gas stop in Carbonton, and rode to our destination. Once at the House in the Horseshoe, we were lucky enough to get a personalized lecture from local historian Jeff Rieves. Jeff is the Educational Specialist at the House and was dressed in period clothing. Jeff gave us a 60 minute informative tour of the House and even demonstrated the operation of a 69 caliber period musket. After the tour was over, many of us headed to the Checkered Flag Grill in Sanford for lunch.

The weather was clear and we all had a safe ride. We made some new friends, had a good meal, and learned more about North Carolina's history.

A total of $230 was raised for the MRF. $50 in memberships and $180 in donations were collected. A $180 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.

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

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 planning this History Tour, and his enthusiasm for creating fun, alternate riding opportunities for North Carolina's riders.

To view the MRF's legislative agenda, go HERE. If you are not already a MRF member, please consider joining. The MRF is completely focused on supporting street motorcycling.
Join online HERE

The fifth NC MRF History Tour will ride to the Tory Hole in Elizabethtown, NC to learn about the Battle of Elizabethtown on Saturday, August 27th. There will be a total of five NC MRF History Tours during 2005.

Story of The House in the Horseshoe

During the American Revolution, irregular warfare was being waged in the backcountry of North Carolina by groups of citizen-soldiers: the whigs--or revolutionists, and the tories--who were still loyal to the King of England.

The House in the Horseshoe was then the home of whig colonel Philip Alston. The home is named from its location on a horseshoe bend in the Deep River.

On the morning of August 5, 1781, while Alston and his band of revolutionaries were camped at the dwelling, they were attacked by a unit of tories, whose leader was the notorious David Fanning. During the ensuing skirmish, the tories attempted to set the house on fire by rolling against it a cart filled with burning straw. After several casualties on both sides, Alston surrendered. The house stood riddled with bullet holes, many of which still remain.

Although Alston was distinguished as a lieutenant colonel in the state militia, a justice of the peace, and a state senator, his career was marked by corrupt activities. He was twice indicted for murder, removed as justice of the peace, and suspended from the state legislature for a variety of reasons. In 1790 Philip Alston sold the house and plantation and left the state.

In 1798 the twenty-five-hundred-acre plantation was acquired by Gov. Benjamin Williams who, in addition to serving four one-year terms as the governor of North Carolina, had been a colonel under George Washington, was a member of the first board of trustees of the University of North Carolina, and served in the national Congress at Philadelphia.

Williams enlarged the house by adding two wings containing a kitchen and a master bedroom. One of Williams's ambitions was to become a planter. The growing of short staple cotton was becoming a profitable pursuit as a result of Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin, and the Horseshoe land was excellent for that purpose. In 1801 Williams planted forty-two acres of cotton; he grew nearly two hundred acres the following year. By 1803 his plantation was being worked by approximately fifty slaves and was valued at thirty thousand dollars.

Williams died on the plantation in 1814. Though he was first buried some distance away, his grave was subsequently relocated on the grounds of his former home. Williams's family occupied the house until 1853. The dwelling changed ownership several times until 1954, when it was purchased and restored by the Moore County Historical Association. In 1955 the state acquired the property.

The architectural style of the house follows that of the coastal lowlands. The two-story frame dwelling is a typical eighteenth-century plantation house that features a gable roof with large double-shouldered Flemish bond chimneys and a shed porch. The center-hall plan reflects Governor Williams's early nineteenth-century remodeling of the house. It is distinguished by the strikingly elaborate and well-executed detail of the doorways and some of the interior woodwork, including the especially fine mantel in the north parlor. The interior is furnished with interesting late colonial and early Federal-period pieces. In the summer and spring, bright flowers surround this white plantation house.

Join the MRF online HERE

Join the MRF online HERE