Turning the Pages

by Mrs. E.R. MacKethan from The Fayetteville Observer, Sunday September 8, 1957

There are many homes in Cumberland County, which have stood over a hundred years. They are houses full of historic lore of the antebellum days, and most of them are still occupied by descendants of the early builders.

Today, we are giving the history of several of these old houses, where families are closely connected by ties of blood or marriage, viz: the MacPhersons, the McArthurs, the Murrays, the McCormicks and others.

"Buena Vista"

"Buena Vista," the ancestral home of the MacPhersons, is on the Fort Bragg road. It is not only an interesting historic spot, but exciting romance hovers over it. It was built about 1845 by Alexander MacPherson and was the home of Mr. and Mrs. MacPherson and their three children, John Alexander, William and Elizabeth Murray.

When the War Between the States was declared in 1861, John Alexander MacPherson was in college, and entered the service in the 6th North Carolina Infantry. He served gallantly throughout the war, first as lieutenant, and then as captain. He was wounded twice, at the Battle of Bethel and around Richmond. He was at the Battle of Gettysburg, when the 6th North Carolina Regiment covered itself with glory.

In January 1865, Capt. Alexander MacPherson was married to Sarah Buchanan [McNeill], daughter of Major John McNeill and Elizabeth Buchanan McNeill at their home Knapdale, in Richmond County. He brought his wife to Buena Vista, where he was born in 1838. Here they reared nine children, Elizabeth Avery (Mrs. John Shaw), "the twins" Flora (Mrs. R.B. Evans) and Mary (Mrs. George McNeill), Jane (Mrs. Clarence Lytch), Miss Katie, John A., Frank, of Montgomery, Ala., Leighton of Columbus, Ga., and James.

Near the end of the war, General Smith B. Atkins of General Sherman's Army made Buena Vista his headquarters and set up his office in the parlor. His soldiers ransacked the house, destroying the funishings, taking the old silver and china and burning the outhouses, taking all they wanted in the way of food. But the old house was spared and stands today as originally built, with its early architecture of the 1800s. It is now the house of Duncan and Gilbert Shaw, grandsons of Captain and Mrs. MacPherson.

Captain MacPherson was for many years an elder of MacPherson Presbyterian Church. He died April 19, 1905 and is buried in the Churchyard by the side of his wife and kindred. The North Carolina Historical Commission has erected a marker in his memory on the nearby highway.


Another old house is "Colinwood" often spoken of as the McArthur home. It was built by Colin McPherson about 1790. He left no children and the home became the property of his niece, Mrs. Alexander MacPherson. Later her daughter, Elizabeth Murray, who married Joseph Allan McArthur, owned it. The McArthurs lived at Cottonade until 1882 when they moved to Colinwood. Mrs. H.G. Crockett, youngest daughter, died a few years ago, and left the property to her son, H.G. Crockett, Jr., of Wellesley Hills, Mass. The old house in now unoccupied after having been for many years the center of culture, particularly from an educational standpoint, for here lived "Prof Joe" and his sister, Miss Mary, two teachers known both near and far for their fine service for over 50 years in the schools of the state and community.

The home bears the first name of the builder. The mantels and wainscoting came from England, and probably the bricks for the tall chimneys and the unusually big fireplace.

This is another ancestral home still owned by descendants for nearly 177 years. Colin MacPherson gave the land on which nearby MacPherson Church was built and it is named as a memorial to him.

"Hollywood Farm"

"Hollywood Farm" is the home of Mr. and Mrs. S.H. MacPherson, which adjoins "Colinwood." Mr. MacPherson's father was William H. MacPherson, the twin brother of Mrs. Joseph Allan McArthur. The present home is built on the original spot where two other homes were burned.

Mr. and Mrs. MacPherson have reared a talented and interesting family of four girls, and the family has upheld the fine record of their antecedents for hospitality and service. The sisters, Miss Elizabeth MacPherson and Mrs. Fannie MacPherson McIntyre, added much to the poetic, artistic and cultural life in the community and the state.

"Sand Hills"

"Sand Hills" on Lower Little River, owned by the McCormick brothers and sisters of Manchester, dates back to 1791. In that year, John McCormick landed at Charleston, S.C. from Argyleshire, Scotland, and came to Manchester, N.C., for a short visit. But he decided to remain and cast his lot with his fellow-Scotsmen.

Today the first house built by John and his wife, Mary McDonald, in 1821 has been in the family for six generations. A newer house has been built nearby, where the McCormick brothers and sisters reside.

Fate was kinder than was feared a short time ago, when it looked as if Uncle Sam would take the old house. But it was spared and still stands as a reminder to these McCormicks today, of their Scotch ancestors who bult well. More than a century has passed but John McCormick's influence still lingers at "Sand Hills". The house is quaintly built of long leaf pine and the outside walls covered with Juniper shingles, put together with wooden pegs. The bricks were from England, with the word "Queensrun" marked on them.

In the family cemetery, John and Mary McCormick and many descendants sleep.

Among the members of the family now living at "Sand Hills" are A.A., Hugh, L.H., Misses Annie and Bettie McCormick.