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What was the story behind the old plantation that used to stand past Poplar Grove?

Ben Steelman
Belvidere Plantation house

Front view of the Belvidere Plantation house, Hampstead, N.C., in October 1986. (Courtesy of Pender County Public Library Digital Archive)

You might be thinking of Belvidere Plantation. The old plantation house (also called the Merick-Nixon House) used to stand on property where the Belvedere subdvision and country club are now located. (Note the different spellings.)

The mixed Georgian-Federal structure — which  dated at least from 1810 but may have incorporated earlier elements — was moved by former owners Connie and Landon Anderson in 1989 to protect it from development. The house, which had a gambrel roof, had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Andersons had gone to great expense to restore it.

In 2005, the Andersons sold the house and its new location to the company developing Virginia Bay Plantation. In 2006, the new owners had the Sloop Point Volunteer Fire Department burn the house down as a training exercise.

Belvidere Plantation — the property, not the house — dated from around 1728 when Jeremiah Vail received a land grant. In 1758, Jeremiah Vail Jr. sold the 320-acre tract to his father-in-law, George Merrick, who owned it until his death in 1804. In 1822, James Nixon acquired the house and land, which remained in the Nixon family until 1957. Development on the Belvedere subdivision began in the 1970s.

The Pender County Belvidere, by the way, is not to be confused with the Belvidere Plantation over in Brunswick County, on the west bank of the Cape Fear River, which once belonged to Gov. Benjamin Smith. That was the Belvidere that George Washington visited briefly during his southern tour as president.

A fairly complete list of Pender and New Hanover County plantations that once lined the coastal sounds — including Frog Hall, Grovediere (where Hampstead is now located), Sloop Point and Green Hall — can be found in “Early New Hanover County Records” by Elizabeth McKoy (by the author, 1973); a copy is in the local history room at the New Hanover County Public Library.

Another Scotts Hill plantation was the McClammy plantation, right off U.S. 17. After the Civil War, it belonged to Maj. Charles W. McClammy, a Confederate veteran who was active in Democratic politics. McClammy represented New Hanover County in the state House and state Senate (before Pender County was split off as a separate county in 1875) and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1887 to 1891. He was killed in 1896, at the age of 56, when a boiler exploded at his Scotts Hill home.

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3 Responses to “ What was the story behind the old plantation that used to stand past Poplar Grove?”

  1. On July 23, 2011 at 12:57 am Steve Clemmons wrote:

    I don’t know the name of the plantation, but there was a manor house located on the left side of the highway across from Scotts Hill Loop road. It was just past the Methodist church about one half mile north of Popular Grove Plantation. There was two lines of trees leading up to the old house.
    It was torn down board by board to the underpinning and taken up to Elizabethtown and put in storage. The man who did the salvage work said it dated back to late 1700’s.from some the various building techniques and artifacts that he found.
    I wonder if this place is the one he was talking about?

  2. On July 26, 2011 at 11:38 am jp wrote:

    I believe they may be speaking about the plantation style home on the left just past Poplar Grove. Was in horribel shape then it was torn down about 6 or 7 years ago

  3. On July 27, 2011 at 11:46 am JP wrote:

    Could be. I am guessing property was the old Blake farm. You can check it out on Pender county GIS. It was a beautiful old home. NOFO Gallery had a framed photograph of it at one point that was really cool and nostaligic. I tried doing some research on the Blakes but couldnt find anything

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