Page 10 - Robeson Living Spring 2020
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gest supporters of Floral College.  Floral was founded in 1841   Prong Preservation, Inc. The group raised over $170,000 to com-
          and was the first college in North Carolina and the second in the   pletely restore the home including the addition of electricity, heat,
          south to confer diplomas to women.                    and air-conditioning. Keen attention to detail and craftsmanship
                                                                returned the structure to its original handsome appearance.  Orig-
          The year after the death of his first wife John, Sr built a Mill   inal doors, mantels and woodwork contribute to the value of the
          Prong. The two-story planation house embodies the distinctive   house and make it one of the finest specimens of a Highland Scot
          architectural  characteristics  of the  Federal  Period  including   homeplace in the Cape Fear region.
          Flemish bond chimneys and well-executed Federal detail, man-
          tels, doors and hardware.  The porch columns are solid timbers,   Antioch Presbyterian Church and Academy
          square at the top and bottom, changing to octagonal forms in
          the center.  The bases of the columns on the first story have
          high channels cut through them so that the water will drain from
          the porch deck.  This is the primary contributor to the columns
          having lasted since the original 1795 construction.  The porch
          railings are molded and fit into the columns through mortises.
          In addition to mortising, the top and bottom rails are held in
          place with small wooden pegs.
          The interior of the home was designed and decorated to the high
          standards befitting a man of Gilchrist wealth and position. All
          of the first-floor rooms are wooden sheathed, the moldings are
          the door and windows frames as well as the chair rails are of a
          pattern favored by Federal period builders. The wainscoting of
          the parlor also has the simulated wood graining in a brown and
          dark ocher.

          Located off the back porch was a room that was called a peddler      Antioch Presbyterian Church
          or traveler’s room.  The room only has an exterior door so that
          you couldn’t enter the main house.  At the time that Mill Prong   The residents living in the around McPhaul’s Mill and Mill Prong
          was built  the  road in front of the  house was the  Stagecoach   attended Raft Swamp Presbyterian Church, which was  orga-
          Road, it being the main road from Fayetteville to Charleston.   nized in 1789 with Reverend Dougald Crawford, a University of
          It is believed that travelers would have used this room for over-  Glasgow graduate and former chaplain in British Force, served
          night accommodations.                                 as the first pastor. A great account of Raft Swamp and later An-
                                                                tioch Presbyterian Church is found in the Historical Sketches of
          The most colorfully decorated room in the house is one of the   Antioch Presbyterian Church written for their sesquicentennial
          upstairs bedrooms it is painted in four colors.  The panel sec-  Celebration n 1983.
          tions in the baseboards are brown, the upper walls are a blue
          green, the mantel and baseboards are black, and the rails, styles   Crawford being Scottish could understand the loyalist sympa-
          and chair rails are red brown.  The restoration team went out of   thies of the Highlanders. He was described as a rather stiff per-
          their way to make sure that the colors that you see in the Mill   son. He spoke to no one at church, but walked straight to the
          Prong are not just the colors of the period but are the actual col-  pulpit, preached and then left. A complaint was that he spoke too
          ors used in the house.                                rapidly. Crawford refused to connect himself with the Presbyteri-
                                                                an Synod of Philadelphia. One of the most interesting pastors was
          Mill Prong remained in the Gilchrist family until 1811 when   Scotland born Reverend Colin Lindsay who came to Raft Swamp
          Gilbert Gilchrist, who inherited the house from his father, sold   in 1792. Lindsay claimed the fame of being born after his “Moth-
          it to Malcolm Peterson. It was Peterson, who sold Mill Prong to   er’s death”. In 1736, a Scottish woman fell sick and entered a
          Archibald McEachern (1788 - 1873), another prominent leader   deep coma. Thought to be dead, she was buried near her home.
          in both the Highland Scots community and the state. McEachern   The evening of the burial, grave robbers, greedy for the diamond
          enjoyed the greatest benefit of Mill Prong living there from the   rings on her fingers, dug up the body. Finding one ring extremely
          date of his purchase of the property until his death in 1873 - a   difficult to remove, they began to cut off her finger. At this same
          period of nearly sixty years. The house was alas the residence   moment, she regained consciousness and sat up in her coffin. The
          of his son Daniel Purcell McEachern until his removal to Red   terrified robbers fled, leaving the unfortunate soul alone in the
          Springs circa 1895. McEachern’s descendants who owned the   cemetery. She walked back to her home. Six years later, in 1744,
          plantation house until the early 2000s subsequently used Mill   this woman gave birth to Colin Lindsay. Lindsay immigrated to
          Prong as a tenant house and for agricultural storage.  the United States in 1790. He settled in the Sandhills region and
                                                                became one of the area’s most colorful, if not cantankerous, min-
          In the 1978 Hector MacLean former NC Senator and son of for-  isters. He was suspended from the Presbyterian ministry three
          mer Governor Angus Wilton Mclean brought together extended   times due to his violent temper.
          members of the Gilchrist and McEachern families to form Mill
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