Freedom of Thought in the Old South

By Clement Eaton | Go to book overview

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Orton was the home of rice planters on the Cape Fear River, near Wilmington, North Carolina. "The lower central portion of Orton house was the original colonial home of 'King' Roger Moore, [with walls] from 18 inches to 24 inches thick. -- Around 184 a second story and the columns were added by Dr. Frederick Hill who owned Orton in those years. About 1910 father, James Sprunt, added the two wings. . . . Rice was the main crop in pre-Civil War times, in fact on up to about 1900. . . . Orton was attacked by a landing force from Cornwallis' expedition and used by the Northern forces as a smallpox hospital after the fall of Fort Fisher." ( J. Laurence Sprunt to the writer, October 5, 1939) Frontispiece
George Mason ( 1725-1792) was one of the liberal aristocrats who made a contribution to the culture of the South. He was a large slaveowner, a tobacco planter, a speculator in Western lands, a justice of the peace, a vestryman of Pohick Episcopal Church, an active agitator of the American Revolution, one of the most important framers of the Virginia Constitution of 1776, and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. His liberal ideas were expressed in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Virginia Constitution, and the "Objections of Hon. George Mason to the Proposed Federal Constitution; Assigned as His Reasons for not Signing the Same." Facing page 7.
Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason, on the Potomac River, was completed in 1758. The architect and builder of this Georgian house was William Buckland, a skilled craftsman brought from England under indenture. Gunston Hall was a brick story-and-a-half house possessing two small but distinctive porticos; one, pentagonal in shape, faced a formal garden sloping down to the Potomac River;

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