Known locally as the Lake Landing House
The Lake Landing house is a three story double-pile house built around the year 1820 of mid-Federal Period design. It has a side hall plan and two interior exposed-face chimneys in the east gable end. Originally it had eight rooms in the main house, with a separate dependency building used for cooking purposes. Each of the four main rooms on the first and second floors contains a fireplace and approximately one-third of the floor space on the first and second floors is taken up by a staircase leading to the third floor.
Considered the most intact and finely detailed plantation house in the Lake Landing area, the form and salient features of the house are similar to late 18th/early 19th century New Bern side hall houses. During a complete restoration in 1969-70, it was discovered that all of the interior and exterior trim, including the shutters and most of the hardware, was original; only the plaster needed to be replaced. Chair rails and wainscoting were used throughout all three floors, a feature not found in any other Hyde County house. The dining room has been repainted in its original deep red color. The wide side hall accommodates a long two-run staircase with wide, open well. The family room wing on the west gable end formerly was a barn that was attached to the house during the restoration; the chimney is a modern reproduction of a chimney at Williamsburg, Virginia. The original exposed beams in this building indicate that it probably was built as a kitchen or weaving house. A kitchen and milkhouse stand on their original sites. Physical evidence indicate that the house may have been built as early as 1810.
In May 1813, Samuel Weston deeded 75 acres of land to David Wallace of Carteret County. The property is described as being on the South side of Mattamuskeet Lake near the Lake Landing and joining Samuel Gibbs. In the same year Lovett Bell sold David Wallace an additional 10 acres of land joining the Northeast corner of land Wallace bought of Samuel Weston. In 1826 David Wallace (now of Hyde County) sold 100 acres of land to William W. Hill. It is described as the land Wallace bought of Samuel Weston and Lovett Bell in 1813. If the architectural evidence is taken into account, the house was either the home of Samuel Weston or David Wallace.
In February 1829 Benners L. Ensley purchased the property from William W. Hill for $3,100. Ensley was the second husband of Sarah Henry Gibbs, widow of Samuel Gibbs, whose property adjoins this tract. After the death of Benners L. Ensley in 1830, the property descended to his widow Sarah, and son Benners Alexander Ensley. In an 1831 petition by Sarah, she states there is only one living child--Benners Alexander Ensley, 22 Negroes, and his plantation known as the homestead or Hill Plantation. In December 1853 Benners A. Ensley sold the property to Joseph S. Mann for $3,163.75, excepting only the dower of his mother, Sarah Swindell. (Genealogy Note: Sarah had married Dixon Swindell, her 3rd husband, in 1837.) This deed now claims the property consists of 1161/8 acres.
In Joseph S. Mann's 1890 will, this plantation is devised to his daughter Jane S. Mann, and son John L. Mann, and mentions it is where his son William now lives adjoining the lands of W.P. Midyett and others. In October 1900, Jane S. Mann and John L. Mann quit claim to each other with John L. Mann receiving the portion which contained the house. In December 1900 he sold the house and 431/2 acres to his sister, Sarah E. Mann.
In Sarah E. Mann's 1938 will, she left a one-sixth undivided interest in all of her property to her living brothers and sister or to their heirs. The house remained in the Joseph Spencer Mann family from about 1850 to 1941. In 1941 her executor sold the home and 38 acres to Dr. James E. Swindell of Wake County, N.C. In 1968, Dr. J.E. Swindell and wife Florence C. Swindell of Wake County sold the home and 31/2 acres to the present owners, E. Royden Clarke, Jr. and his wife, Anna Jean Marshall Clarke.
(Photo from Historic Lake Landing Landmarks brochure submitted by Margie Brooks from the Greater Hyde County Chamber of Commerce. Information from Hyde County History published by the Hyde Co. Historical Society in 1976 and High Tides; Fall 1983; pgs. 11-12.)
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