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Classic plantation house a trip through time

By Gary McCullough
Correspondent

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  • Details

    Foscue Plantation’s house is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays and by appointment. Admission: $10. Info: 252-224-1803; www.foscueplantation.com.



Foscue Plantation’s operating hours are very limited but a visit is well worth the pre-planning. Set off from the highway by an iron gate, this handsome ante-bellum home is a visual delight, the exterior graced with crepe myrtles and a towering magnolia tree; the interior bursts with family heirlooms and period antiques.

Distance

Located near Pollocksville, 10 miles southwest of New Bern, Foscue Plantation is about 255 miles from Charlotte, a 4 1/2-hour drive, one way.

To see and do

At first glance, the Foscue plantation house, built in 1824, has a modern look – a handsome, three-story brick house that would be right at home in Charlotte’s Myers Park neighborhood. Step inside, however, and the feel is anything but modern: The house is a splendid showplace of high-style pre-Civil War décor. It was built near the Trent River by Simon Foscue Jr, for many years as a Justice of the Peace in Jones County who also earned a place in high society as a very successful planter. Befitting his prestigious position in the region, Foscue built for his family a home along the lines of the high-style side-hall townhouses fashionable in among the wealthy.

It is constructed of bricks made on the plantation and laid out using the traditional Flemish bond design. The home has remained in the family for eight generations, and current owner James E. Foscue has spared no expense to refurbish the home place and to furnish it with a vast array of family pieces and period-correct antiques. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Guided tours last a minimum of 90 minutes and include all three floors of the home as well as the basement. At every turn in every room, guests behold stylishly ornate furnishings; handsomely carved mantels, wainscoting, and crown molding; decorative rugs and curtains; mirrors, paintings, portraits, and accent pieces and interesting personal items and curios. While tours provide general information about the architecture, education and lifestyle of the ante-bellum period, they also delve into the individual stories of Foscue family members.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, the family enjoyed economic prosperity and great social standing. The Foscues owned 48 slaves at the plantation at the start of the war – a considerable number even in Eastern North Carolina. After New Bern fell to Union forces in late 1862, the family had to make concessions to the Yankees who occupied the town and surrounding countryside to avoid having the house damaged or destroyed.

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