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Historical Background

'The highest worth was a man in agriculture'

-Historical Interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg

     Starting around 1750, colonial farmers settled the Yadkin River valley and along the eastern

foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The vast forest, open meadows and

                                                                  fertile river valleys were inhabited by buffalo, elk, mountain lions,                                                                           bears and wolves. It was a wild frontier to the pioneers and an ancient                                                                     homeland to the Catawba and Cherokee Indians. These early settlers                                                                         were farmers when agriculture was characterized by ox power,

                                                                  wooden plows and seeds sown by hand. Crops were cultivated with a                                                                       hoe and harvestedwith a sickle. It was a hard life, enabled by the                                                                               protestant work ethic, the assistance of neighbors and the motivation                                                                     to accumulate wealth. The colonial farmers prospered,                                                                                                 formed communities and promoted commerce.  Our agrarian heritage was established, and itdominated society for over two centuries.

     In 1778, John Dyer and his family settled on land along

the Burke Road, approximately a mile and a half from

Forks in the Road, later to be called Moravian Falls in the

1870s. Tapping the abundance of virgin forest, he built,

probably in conjunction with local artisans, a distinctive

log house utilizing purchased materials including

weatherboard, glass, and hardware. In 1784, John  sold his

property to his son-in- law Benjamin Hubbard, who

farmed the land until his death in 1823. Benjamin’s son, JoelHubbard died young, but his son, William Henry Hubbard, raised 11 children on the farm from 1846 until the 1890’s.

Farm Layout

Architectural Context

Artist Rendering of Sketch


                                                               Artisans, versatile in their skills, were mobile and able to travel and work                                                           throughout an area as large as three counties. It seems likely                                                                                     that specialized tradesmen helped to construct the Hubbard house. The                                                                   intricately constructed fieldstone chimney from onsite material suggests a                                                             mason’s craftsmanship and a joiner’s work is evident in the Federal-style                                                               fireplace mantles, wainscoting, and trim


                                                               The full-length front porch seen on the

Hubbard house was common in Southern houses by the late 1700s. The

one-over-one or two-over-two room layout of a bedroom or bedrooms over

a parlor or parlor and bedroom is typical of log houses, and the proportion

of room size reflects the value of interior space. The parlor of the Hubbard

House is five feet wider than the smaller bedroom, with the same

proportions in the upstairs rooms.

     From the 1780s, when traditional building flourished at all levels of society, log architecture in North                                                                     Carolina attained its greatest variety and quality. Undulated furring strips                                                               were crafted to counter the imprecise squaring of the logs, allowing a plumb                                                           surface on which to attach the weatherboard. The construction techniques                                                             of the components indicate the quality with which the house was built.                                                                   These components included a shingled roof, glass windows, an enclosed                                                                 rake, shutters, a full-length front porch, an enclosed stairway, and tongue-                                                             and-groove flooring. The Benjamin Hubbard House is an excellent example                                                             of refined log construction containing interior and exterior details that                                                                     display sophisticated craftsmanship.

     The half-dovetail notch two-story log houses reflect elements of traditional German building techniques, with their enclosed winder stairs, rooms of unequal size, and hall and

parlor rooms. This tradition also included an interior centered chimney, but

the Hubbard House demonstrates the assimilation of the Tidewater,

Anglo-tradition of exterior, gable-end chimneys into the German floor plan.

Early, influential Pennsylvania settlers conformed to a Scotch-Irish form of

rectangular log houses built using German techniques, with spaces left

between the logs for chinking and frequently covering the logs with board

siding, as with the Hubbard House.

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