Blackwell-Carter-Midyette House

Blackwell-Carter-Midyette House

This remarkable rural Italianate house lies at the westward boundary of the Fairfield Historic District which is part of a 640-acre patent to James Clayton in 1757. In the late 1850's, David Carter, Jr. commissioned Cason Emery Swindell to build this home for his daughter, Laura Elizabeth (1838-1912), upon her marriage to Edward L. Blackwell (1830-1870). One of Fairfield's earliest ornate Victorian designs, the house is set off by the extensive lawn with a backdrop of pecan trees and is distinguished by its tall, stately proportions. The one-story entrance porch reiterates the Italianate decoration of the two-story block; drop pendant brackets repeat those of the main roofline and fluted porch posts with bracketed capitals mimic the corner boards. Sidelights and a transom in a frame of fluted pilasters and consoles flank the front door. The transom retains its original panes of glass painted in a floral motif which originally also appeared in the sidelights. The gracefully curving staircase with turned balusters is similar to that of the Patrick Simmons House. Several interior doors retain their original painted graining. An octagonal motif is carried throughout the house in the shape of the chimney stack, the exterior panels of the front door, and the slanted newel post. Unique to Hyde County is the hall across the front and two rooms side-by-side behind. The kitchen-dining room was moved next door where it was enlarged for a dwelling. Except for the extension of an original shed at the west end of the rear elevation across the entire facade, the house has remained more or less intact.

In 1902, Laura Carter Blackwell sold her house and property in Fairfield to her brother, Henry Clay Carter. In his will dated 31 May 1919, Henry Clay Carter left the Blackwell farm (about 50 acres) and house to his daughter Jennie C. Midyette. In June 1932, Jennie (Jane Lindsay) Carter Midyette and husband Allen Burrus Midyette sold the house and four acres of land to their son Allen Lindsay Midyette. At the death of Allen Lindsay Midyette, the house and property passed to his widow, Gertrude, and sons Norfleet and Allen Midyette. In 1993, Karl and Gladys Stimpson of Pfafftown, Forsythe County, N.C. purchased the house and property from Norfleet and Allen Midyette.

In recent years, the Stimpson's refurbished an existing east side entrance to the front hall, installed a new kitchen, added a half bath under the stairwell in the entry hall and a full bath on the second floor, refinished all of the heart pine floors, repaired the plaster and installed crown moldings throughout the house, and added central heat and air conditioning. In addition, they made a window covered with plexiglass in the floor and on one wall so that visitors can view the original construction of the building. On the exterior of the house, the original shutters were removed, repaired, and rehung and the entire house received a new coat of paint. This is, once again, the beautiful home it once was when owned by Edward L. and Laura Elizabeth Carter Blackwell.

(Photo taken by Kay Midgett Sheppard on a research trip to Hyde County in 1989 before extensive restoration was done to the house. The description of the house is from High Tides; Spring 1998; pgs. 4-5 which included a line drawing of the house by Joey Simmons.)

Copyright 1999

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