TUSCULUM

TUSCULUM

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1830
/ Demolished in
1853-1960
Architectural style: 
Type: 
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Last updated

  • Wed, 11/23/2016 - 8:43am by gary

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,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1830
/ Demolished in
1853-1960
Architectural style: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

Rev./Dr. John Witherspoon (1791 - 25 Sep 1853) was the son of Dr. John Witherspoon, one-time president of Princeton University and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who grew up on the New Jersey estate of his father, called Tusculum, 1.5 miles north of Princeton, NJ.

After his father died when John Jr. was young, he was placed under the guardianship of Frederick Nash, of Hillsborough, NC - his half-brother (John's mother had been the wife of both Abner Nash and John Witherspoon Sr.)

John Jr. attended UNC and "read law" with his half-brother at the Cameron/Nash law office. On July 1, 1813, he married Sarah Kollock, sister of Frederick's wife. He studied Theology at Princeton and become minister at St. Matthew's in Hillsborough. Around 1817 he purchased and "extensively repaired" "Twin Chimneys"

Sometime in the early 1820s, John Jr. purchased two tracts of land south of the town of Hillsborough, NC from Frederick, where he built his own "comfortable Piedmont farmhouse and [...] cluster of necessary outbuildings." He called the farm Tusculum in remembrance of the New Jersey estate where he lived as a young boy.

Per Mary Engstrom, this farm was located "about where the state prison farm stands today [1975]." It burned in 1827, but was "promptly rebuilt"

Engstrom recounts a rather spectacular series of failed ventures and reversals that plagued Witherspoon after that point. She paints a picture of him near the end of his life in "singularly pitiable circumstances at his old home [Tusculum] [...] standing in the remnants of a mulberry orchard [...]

The fate of Tusculum after Witherspoon's death are unknown, but clearly it is gone as of 2016.

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