I spoke with Mr. Hicks, who lives in the "new" house at Cascine Plantation to make arrangemenst for a visit. He referred to it as "the" Cascine.
Here is some information I've collected about the place.
Cascine might be called a symbol of Old North Carolina. It is a modest little house that has been largely overlooked in the excitement over more pretentious historic attractions. Yet it was built 17 years prior to the time Governor Tryon began his Palace in New Bern. When people think of early American homes and plantations, almost invariably they think of Mount Vernon, The Hermitage, or perhaps Monticello.
Comparatively few people have even heard of â€œCASCINE.â€ Yet, in Franklin County, North Carolina there is a 1,500 acre plantation, with buildings intact and furnished as they were when North Carolina was still a British Colony. Perhaps â€œCASCINEâ€ doesnâ€™t have the historical importance of Mount Vernon and Monticello, but as an example of buildings and furnishings of Early America, it is unexcelled.
This value is attested to by a framed document in the old house, which reads:
DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
Washington, D. C.
â€œThis is to certify that the historic
building known as Cascine, in the county of Franklin and the State of North Carolina has been selected by the advisory committee of the Historic American Buildings Survey, as possessing exceptional Historic and Architectural Interest and as being worthy of most careful preservation for the benefit of future generations, and that to this end a record of its present appearance and condition has been made and deposited for permanent
reference in the Library of Congress.â€
The document is signed by Harold L. Ikes, Secretary of Interior.
The owner is a direct descendant of the seven Perry brothers who settled the land in 1740, coming from Virginia after receiving land grants from the Earl of Granville. Framed copies of these original grants hang on the living room wall.
The 1,500 acres, in the original tract, have remained intact throughout the more than two centuries that have passed
since it was originally granted to the Perrys. Indeed there is no record of there ever being a mortgage against any part of the estate.
Cascine is not designated by any historical marker, only a simple sign by the side of U.S. 401, about five miles south of Louisburg, which reads, â€œCASCINE PLANTATION.â€
The lover of historical things, who turns down the dirt road, will find, after driving a mile with the lands of the plantation on both sides of the road, a long oak-lined drive leading off the left side of the road.
At the end of this drive can be seen a graceful old two story white house with a large porch across the entire front. This is the so-called â€œnewâ€ house of Cascine. It was built in 1850 and is a beautiful example of ante-bellum architecture.
To the left of this residence is the original Cascine house, a trim six-room, white framed, shingled-roofed house, built in 1750 and still furnished as it was two hundred years ago. It is a perfect example of the modest little homes that were far more prevalent than the large homes we so often associate with Colonial times.
Entering the house from the small front porch, one goes directly into the living room and back, in time, two hundred years to Colonial North Carolina.
In addition to the framed documents already mentioned, this room contains a collection of furniture which would bring joy to the heart of any antique fancier. There is a corner cupboard with a collection of old china and glassware. A portrait of an early Perry family member hangs over the mantle of the fireplace. On a deaconâ€™s bench, along the rear wall, there is an old carriage robe with the name â€œPerryâ€ in needle point. This robe was the handiwork of a guest, who presented it to her hosts in appreciation for their early day hospitality.
Going into the dining room, the visitorâ€™s eye is immediately caught by the display of priceless pewter ware, once so common, but now so rare. The pieces range in size from small mugs to large platters, displayed on the dining room table, in a corner cupboard, and across the mantle.
On the hearth, there is an assortment of utensils which were an integral part of every household of the era. There are
warming pans, irons, candle molds, bed warmers, and even a popcorn popper and a waffle iron.
One of the most interesting relics is a framed copy of a Treasury Warrant, signed by Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, September 13, 1789. This document was numbered One (1) with pen and ink and was the first money ever borrowed by the United States government. The amount was
$20,000 and was loaned to the government by the Bank of New York.
A small bedroom, off the dining room, contains a stretch cord bed, two leather trunks, a dresser, and a night stand. On the dresser is a box containing a large tortoise shell comb. The other room, a nursery, has a cradle and rocking chair.
In a gun rack at the side of the narrow stairs, in the back hall, are two muzzle loading rifles, a flintlock muzzle loading Sharpeâ€™s rifle and a muzzle loading Confederate manufactured carbine. There are also guns of various types hanging over the mantles in both the living room and the dining room. These guns, along with a Philadelphia derringer, in the dining room cupboard, make up the armament of the house. A number of shot and powder flasks hang by the stairway, in addition to a metal hurricane lamp.
One of the two upstairs rooms was used as a sewing and spinning room. It holds an assortment of spinning wheels, a loom, and other equipment used for the home manufacture of cloth in that bygone era. The second upstairs room is a bedroom and contains a spool bed, a dresser, a rocking chair, and a leather trunk.
The books of the house give a clue to the tastes of the early occupants and would bring envy to the eye of any collector of rare volumes. In addition to the usual works of Shakespeare and Pilgrims Progress, there is a copy of Miltonâ€™s â€œParadise Lost,â€ dated 1764, the works of John Locke, dated October 1632; a â€œMagazine des Enfantesâ€ printed in France in 1705, and a pamphlet dated April 19, 1774, containing Edmund Burkeâ€™s speech on American taxation.
â€œCASCINEâ€ house is constructed of heart pine that was cut from the plantation. There are no joints in the floor because all the flooring was cut to the full length of each room. The interior woodwork has been painted and time has given it a patina both rare and beautiful. Typical of houses of this era, the dwelling house contains no kitchen. The cooking was done in a separate building constructed of brick which still stands a few paces away.
The attached pictures show the original house restored, and the way it looked in 1940 at the time of the survey.
The family cemetery lies about two hundred yards from the main house. Inside its enclosed perimeter are the graves of early members of the Perry family.
I was wondering if anyone knows the history of the name. I can't find anything on the internet except that there are hotels and parks in Italy named "Le Cascine." The name comes from the Italian "cascina" meaning "farmhouse."
Was the plantation referred to as "Cascine" from its original founding? Is it referred to by that name in old Perry wills or real estate transactions?
I'm going there to photograph the interior of the original house and graveyard. If anyone is interested or has any information, please let me know. Thanks.