Melrose was originally known as the Murfree House and was built around 1810 by William Hardy Murfree. Murfree was an attorney and congressman, and was born at Murfreesboro on October 2, 1781, the son of Hardy and Sally Brickell Murfree. His father was a Continental army veteran who donated the 97 acres of land for the incorporation of the Town of Murfreesboro. William Murfree graduated from University of North Carolina in 1801 and read law for a year in Edenton before he opened a law practice in Murfreesboro. In 1805 Murfree entered politics upon his election to the state House of Commons. He was reelected in 1812, and also served as a Democratic elector in the presidential campaign of 1813. That same year he was elected to Congress, where he introduced several unsuccessful plans for internal improvements in eastern North Carolina. In 1820, discouraged his lack of success, Murfree moved to Tennessee, settling in 1823 on lands given to his father for his service in the Revolution. Murfree survived only three more years, before dying on January 9, 1826, leaving a widow and one son.The home was originally built in the federal style and is described as a two-story gable-roof brick structure with interior end chimneys and a modillion cornice. It was constructed with its main entrance on the five-bay east facade. Around 1813 Murfree sold the property to Brigadier General Joseph F. Dickinson, who commanded a detachment of North Carolina militia during the War of 1812. He made considerable alterations in the home. This was early in the Greek Revival period and the home was made to look similar to the Governor's Mansion of that time in Raleigh. A pair of brick two-story, two-bay wings were added to the south ends of the east and west facades. This shifted the axis from east-west to north-south and made the house essentially T-shaped. The present main (south) facade is seven bays wide. The central block on both the first and second floors contains two windows separated by a double door with a leaded lunette and sidelines. The upper entrance opens on a semi-circular balcony with plain square balusters. The facade is dominated by a heroic tetra style portico and is supported by columns of the Ionic order. The wings form the remainder of the main facade with each containing two windows separated by brick pilasters. The windows have six-over-nine sash on the first story and six-over-six on the second. Those on the first level have stone lentils with keystones. The portico and wings are surmounted by a balustrade with turned balusters. The south room of the oldest section serves as an entrance hall and is finished with plaster walls above a paneled wainscot. A two-flight stair with ornamental brackets and turned balusters rises from the west wall. The north room is finished in similar fashion but with slightly different moldings around the doors and on the chair rail. This room contains a simple Adam mantel decorated with attenuated colonettes and geometric fretwork. The south room is flanked by parlors to the east and west.These rooms have mantels and doors typical of the Greek Revival period. The windows are framed by reeded trim with heavy corner blocks decorated with roundels.Dickinson resided there until his death in 1822. His will left the land "on which I now reside" to his wife Peggy. Several years later she married Dr. Isaac Pipkin, a wealthy local physician, who moved in with her in 1925. Many of Murfreesboro's most fashionable and coveted social functions were held there in subsequent years, the status-conscious Mrs. Dickinson ruled Murfreesboro society for years to come. They later sold the property to John W. Southall on August 20, 1842. In 1874, After Southall's death, his widow sold the house to Colonel James Madison Wynns (1834-1906). He was the son to the old High Sheriff of Hertford County W.B. Wynns. He entered the Confederate army as Captain and was promoted to the rank of colonel. He was elected to serve his county in thLess
Melrose was originally known as the Murfree House and was built around 1810 by William Hardy Murfree. Murfree was an attorney and congressman, and was born at Murfreesboro on October 2, 1781, the son of Hardy and Sally Brickell Murfree. His father was a Continental army veteran who donated the 97 acres of land for the incorporation of the Town of Murfreesboro.
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- Nov 23, 2013
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