Spring Hill House
Spring Hill house is the oldest structure on campus, built sometime between 1816 and 1820. The house is located on Centennial Campus on Barbour Dr. The house was built by the Hunters, a prominent family in Raleigh’s history and was later used by Dorthea Dix Hospital before being transferred to NC State. The Hunters enslaved African people to farm the land around the house for at least two generations. While there is a good deal of information about the Hunters and about Dorothea Dix Hospital, more research needs to be done to better understand the lives of the enslaved Africans who worked the land.
In 1757, King George II of England granted 565 acres of this land to John Giles Thomas, a large landowner and enslaver. This land was passed to Colonel Theophilus Hunter, Sr., who served in the Revolutionary War and is considered one of the founding fathers of Raleigh. Hunter, Sr., with James Bloodworth, donated land for Raleigh’s first courthouse. Colonel Hunter served as the first justice for the first county court held in Wake county and was elected to the North Carolina Assembly. He was also a county surveyor and tax assessor. Colonel Hunter and his family moved to Spring Hill sometime between 1771 and 1798, after their previous residence in Raleigh, Hunter’s Lodge, burned. The 1790 census indicates he enslaved 45 people, making him the second largest enslaver in the county. Colonel Hunter died in 1798, and his grave is located near Spring Hill House. According to the Dix Park Legacy Report of 2018, his will names 56 enslaved people.
Colonel Hunter left his property to his son, Theophilus Hunter, Jr., who oversaw the building of Spring Hill House, which was completed in 1820. The 1830 census indicates Hunter, Jr., enslaved 65 people and according to the Dix Park Legacy Report, his will names 67 enslaved people. According to Spring Hill’s National Historic Nomination form, at his death in 1840 Hunter Jr. left the property to his three daughters. In 1850, his daughter Maria Louisa Hunter Hall sold her portion of the Spring Hill property to the North Carolina State Commissioners for the State Hospital for the Insane. Spring Hill house was on the property of Emma Hunter, who retained the house until her death in 1864. The 1860 U.S. Federal Slave Schedule lists Emma Hunter as enslaving 16 people, most of them women and children. Upon her death the house was sold to William High, the sheriff of Wake County. High sold the house in 1872 to William Grimes, who was a landowner in the tenant farm system and a hotel owner. In 1907, the State of North Carolina purchased the property from William’s widow, Elizabeth.
From 1907 to 2001, Dorthea Dix Hospital occupied the property. Hospital staff members lived communally in the house from 1907 until 1960, when it was renovated as single-family housing for a staff member. It remained this way until 1976, when the house was used by the Hospital Volunteer Services and the Dorothea Dix Volunteer Service Guild. In the 1980s the hospital and members of the public became more interested in the historic significance of Spring Hill, resulting in the nomination of Spring Hill to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
In January 2001, Spring Hill house along with the land attached was transferred to NC State to be a part of Centennial Campus. After renovations, the Japan Center moved into Spring Hill house in June of 2001. The Japan Center, founded in 1980 as an initiative led by Governor James Hunt, works to strengthen connections between Japan and North Carolina and acts as a resource for citizens, companies, and public and private institutions. The center supports the Japanese language program and works to provide scholarships for students to study abroad and attend the Japan-American Student Conference. The center also works with schools around North Carolina to promote teaching about East Asia and Japan.References
Original Source References
“A Raleigh Centennarian” The Charlotte Democrat (Charlotte, North Carolina). Nov 29, 1875. https://www.newspapers.com/image/168164226/?terms=john%2Bhunter.
Ancestry.com. “Theophilus Hunter Senior.” 1790 United States Federal Census [database on-line].From First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Ancestry.com. “Theophilus Hunter 1798.” Wills and Estate Papers (Wake County), 1663-1978 [database on-line]. From North Carolina County, District, and Probate Records, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ancestry.com. 1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.From United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls.
Secondary Source References
Amis, Moses Neal. Historical Raleigh: With Sketches of Wake County (from 1771) and Its Important Towns; Descriptive, Biographical, Educational, Industrial, Religious. United States: Commercial Printing Company, 1913.
Battle, Kemp P. The Early History of Raleigh, the Capital City of North Carolina. A Centennial Address Delivered by Invitation of the Committee on the Centennial Celebration of the Foundation of the City, October 18, 1892. Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton, printers, 1893.
Dix Park Communications Subcommittee of Dix Legacy Committee. “Final Legacy Report,” August 28, 2018. https://dixpark.org/sites/dixpark/files/2018-11/Dix%20Park_Full%20Legacy%20Report_2018.pdf.
Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan. Adopted by Raleigh City Council. February 19, 2019. https://dixpark.org/park-planning.
Dorothea Dix Hospital. “Spring Hill House.” Archived at Wayback Machine, July 11, 2001. https://web.archive.org/web/20010711010136/http:/www.dhhs.state.nc.us/mhddsas/DIX.
Eanes, Zachary. “$2 billion, HB2 reassurances and a site next to Dix Park couldn’t bring Amazon to NC.” The News & Observer, (Raleigh, NC), November 30, 2018. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article221641250.html.
Grimes Family Papers, 1713-1947, 03357. Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. https://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/03357/.
Karpel, Richard. “Newspaper Notice Helps Save County’s Oldest Grave.” Public Notice Resource Center, November 6, 2018. https://www.pnrc.net/2018/11/06/newspaper-notice-helps-save-countys-oldest-grave/.
Long, Belle. “Grave Listing of the Theophilus Hunter Cemetery.” The Jacob Hunter Trust. Accessed September 29, 2020. https://jacobhuntertrust.org/cemeteries/grave-listing-of-the-theophilus-hunter-cemetery/.
Norris, Elizabeth E. “Hill, Theophilus Hunter”NCpedia, 1988. https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/hill-theophilus-hunter.
Native Land Digital Team, “Map of Native Land,” Native Land Digital, Accessed April 17, 2020, https://native-land.ca/.
NC State University. “NC Japan Center.” Accessed September 29. https://japan.ncsu.edu/.
Hinton, Mary, Duke Kerr, and Mary Bates Sherwood. “Hunter, Theophilus.” NCpedia, 1988. https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/hunter-theophilus.
Seed, Patricia. Ceremonies of possession in Europe's conquest of the New World, 1492-1640. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
“Spring Hill,” National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form, October 31, 1984, North
Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/nr/WA0188.pdf.
Smith, Rick. “Source: Should Amazon choose Raleigh, NCSU-owned property is a leading contender.” WRAL TechWire, June 4, 2018. https://www.wraltechwire.com/2018/06/04/source-should-amazon-choose-raleigh-ncsu-owned-property-is-a-leading-contender%E2%80%8B/.
Shaffer, Josh. “Raleigh is Growing Around Wake County’s Oldest Grave. Leave it Alone, Descendants Say,” The News & Observer, (Raleigh, NC), October 23, 2018.https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article220407315.html.
Shaffer, Josh. “Raleigh is Growing Around Wake County’s Oldest Grave. Leave it Alone, Descendants Say.” The News & Observer, (Raleigh, NC), October 23, 2018.https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article220407315.html.
Summerell Chamberlain, Hope. History of Wake County, North Carolina. USGenNet Inc., 2014. http://www.us-data.org/nc/wake/bio/hunter_theophilus.txt.
Visit Raleigh. “Spring Hill House.” Accessed September 29, 2020. https://www.visitraleigh.com/listing/spring-hill-house/60552/.
Waugh, Elizabeth Culbertson. North Carolina's Capital, Raleigh. Raleigh: Junior League of Raleigh, 1967.
“Roots of Hope:Rediscovering The Legacy of John Hunter Documentary Premiere.” City of Raleigh. Sep 23, 2020. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNRviiVhiMI.
Wilson, Jade. “ The Will of the Father.” The Black on Black Project, June 1, 2019. https://www.blackonblackproject.com/will-of-father-raleigh.