Thursday, January 09, 2014


You probably do not know that my family bought Woodside in the early 1980's and then asked ourselves "What will we do with it?" A friend said, "You may know as much about what you will do with it as if my dog would catch the cars he loves to chase. What would he do with the car?" We really hadn't give thought to that. When we moved to Yanceyville, my husband's mother told us: "My grandfather Richmond was born in Caswell County. I want you to find the Richmond home where he was born." This was the first Richmond home posted we found, but we didn't know whether it was the right one. A few days later it was posted "For Sale" and my husband was anxious not to miss purchasing it in case it was his Richmond family home place. He called me and said, "I'm going to buy it! I can get it for $16,000. That's a good buy!" SO, We bought it! We sold it ca. 1994 and I won't get into what we spent, but it wasn't cheap!

Rick, I maintained careful records - photos before and after - with many written pages. I later gave the records to CCHA after we sold Woodside. I would love to hear that CCHA published the details to benefit CCHA. Maybe we could contribute something to the cost. Woodside was owned by Caleb Hazard Richmond and his descendants until ca. 1903. Two families followed each other until ca. 1940 (can't remember their names). All 3 families re-located away from Caswell county and after they left. Bo, who ID'd himself to us as a grandson of a Richmond's slave cook moved into the house. We often said, Bo did as much as we did by keeping Woodside from vandalism for more than 40 years. The pictures will show the improvements we achieved. Even with furnishings I sought to preserve the Richmond heritage period by always buying appropriate details.

Later owners made many improvements but felt free to abandon the emphasize of its heritage. My daughter (an NCSU grad professional designer) designed a sign post to hang at the driveway entrance which she carefully reproduced to scale the beautiful newel post. When things liked this happened, we just reminded us, "We just sold it! Forget details like that"

One more thing for accuracy - the Caswell County Architectural book lists Woodside as being built ca. 1856. This is incorrect. The Richmond descendants documented that Woodside's Federal style home facing east was built ca. 1825 when Caleb Richmond married a local woman who died after their third child was born. He remarried in mid 1830s - another local woman - six children were born to them. He enlarged his home to enable the home to care for his family. Via this addition Woodside became purely Greek Revival style facing south. An architectural specialist for ID'ing change in old homes came with a group see older homes in Caswell County. When they came to Woodside for lunch, he questioned my belief that Woodside was built at one time (vs. at 2 or more times of adding). He led me around the exterior to show the proof outside then a walk through the interior to show additional proof. When you have an opportunity to look carefully, take this list with you.

Exterior: Rear of Woodside - Federal style roof line; on east side of Woodside - evidence of eliminating window adjoining chimney in east front room; Front (South) Greek Revival style roof line including change of front east side from original Federal style to Greek Revival style etc.

Interior:  Small room between large rooms (east front room and east back room) was original hall; evidence of stairwell especially visible in upstairs floor where fireplaces upstairs and downstairs added later; both downstairs and downstairs had pegs for hanging up boots and extra chairs; addition of fireplaces in this area included a narrow closet in the hall exactly the right size for the rack built by Thomas Day to store the additional space used to increase the size of the dining room table (can change the dining table from size 4-6 to 12-14) and on the other side of the fireplaces (in the dining room) a floor to ceiling cabinet store; etc.

Source: Lib McPherson Email ( 8 January 2014.

See: Ruth Poteat Bender's Story

Richmond-Morton-Holland House ("Woodside"), built c.1855. One of the finest examples of the Boom Era Greek Revival style in Caswell County. Two-story frame, with hip roof, interior brick chimneys, two pedimented Doric entrance porches. Eccentric interior trim, with a spiral, exaggeratedly curvilinear newel post that is attributed to Thomas Day, famous local cabinetmaker. Birthplace of Ellen E. Richmond, wife and first cousin of Confederate General Stephen Dodson Ramseur. They were married here in 1863.

Stepping into the Woodside/Richmond house is like stepping back in time. Its entrance hall has a coiled newel post of magnificent mahogany and a spectacularly-carved stair rail that pay homage to Thomas Day. Eight of Day's Greek Revival mantels are found throughout the house, with each of the bedrooms featuring a cozy fireplace.

My family bought Woodside ca. 1980. The last owners moved away ca. 1940 and left it in the care of the Caswell County leaders who directed someone to care for it. Bo the man who lived in Woodside after the owners moved away told us he and some of his family moved in from a house for tenants and took care ot it. Bo told us that the man in charge sold most of the box woods to the Penn Estate in Reidsville and also sold several of the porch columns - claiming he was "getting rid of trash."

Bo had taken care of the house as best he could in the circumstances. He told us his grandmother was a slave belonging to the Richmond family who built the house ca. 1825 when Caleb Hazard Richmond (native of Rhode Island who came south to expand his families business reach) married the daughter from a prominent local family. The original house was Federal style and faced east. Ca. 1836 his wife died and left himwith 3 children to raise. He married a second local daughter from another prominent family and expanded the home to care for 6 more sons and daughters.

Source: Elizabeth McPherson Comment Posted to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page 31 December 2013.

"I loved the home ["Longwood"], too. My family bought Woodside in ca. 1980 when it was available for $16,000. Restoring it cost about $200,000. Chip Callaway (then at UNCG) brought Architectural (exterior and interior) students to study Longwood (already restored) and Woodside (no restoration). Their class project was to recommend what to do to Woodside and with it. I thought Longwood and Woodside were the same size but Chip explained that Greek Revival home were so carefully and skillfully measured that the size is hard to easily determine. The window panes are identical in size. Longwood's window panes were 9x9 at top and bottom - Woodside's window panes were 12x12 at top and bottom. I always wished that more of the beautiful homes around Caswell County had been preserved. Not only the beauty of the homes, but the rich (I don't mean wealthy) history of Caswell County. I lived there more than 40 years and truly loved it. I am currently living in Alamance County (my husband's home county). His Richmond family came from VA to Caswell County before the American Revolution and settled somewhere in the Leasburg area that was named the Richmond District before they developed the current areas names. My home territory is Hoke County, and my family history there began via my mother from the Ray/Black family after they fought the Culloden battle and saved their skins by finding new homes in NC and via my Parker/Gibson kin"

Source: Lib McPherson Post to Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page 27 December 2013.


  1. Mrs. McPherson, I can't thank you enough for this descriptive writing about architectural elements. There have been some things that have puzzled me, as well as others and I look forward to printing these details that you've shared and going around again. As the innkeeper and manager for the Woodside, I've been wearing many hats this past year and loving being at Woodside, running the bed and breakfast, the weddings, VIR guests and more! Enjoying learning all the history of the house, most especially, the Thomas Day history.

  2. Thanks you so very much, Mrs. McPherson, for all the detail that you've provided here. I know we've talked and again, I'm still finding things. I was working out on the grounds again and uncovered, with the help of some minimal erosion, something that looks handmade, metal object like for a horse. Also uncovered pieces of leather, like for an old boot. Also, I was recently contacted by a Mr. Lentz who is a descendant looking to sell Thomas Day furniture that was originally in the Woodside. And, I found the post that your daughter's sign originally hung on. If I find her sign, I'll be certain to let you know.