The Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) continues its variety of homes with an emphasis on collections and styles as a part of the 2019 Home Tour on Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Whether you call the style “French Colonial,” “Southern Plantation,” or “Lousiana Plantation” the home owned by Steve and DeEtta Hunter is one of a kind. The origin of this house is as complicated as its most famous resident, Dr. William P. Rucker. The house is first specifically mentioned when the land was sold to Margaret A. Rucker in 1877, describing it as “being where Dr. Wm. P. Rucker and family now reside.” They may have been renting from the previous owner, Samuel S. Hoover. Previous deeds suggest structures but there is no further identification. The house was originally built with the first floor more underground than today and the genteel living quarters on the second floor; there was no stairway between the two.
Dr. William P. Rucker owned slaves and yet supported the Union. He feared for the safety of his family in Summersville, VA (now WV) and sent his wife, Margaret, four sons, and two freed slaves to Marietta, OH for safety during the Civil War. While there, Charlotte Scott, one of the freed slaves, learned of the assassination of President Lincoln. She immediately brought forth $5, her life savings, to start a fund for a monument to President Lincoln for the Emancipation Proclamation. Her wish was finally realized when the “Freedman’s Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln” was installed in Lincoln Square on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in 1876.
Dr. Rucker is also known for his role as defense attorney in the trial of Trout “Edward” Shue for the murder of his wife, Zona Heaster. This murder trial involved evidence given to Zona’s mother by Zona’s spirit when she appeared to her mother and described how she had been killed by her husband.
Visitors will be able to see a photograph, in the upstairs hall, of the Rucker Family in front of their home.
Steve and DeEtta Hunter have filled their home with a wide variety of historic items from the Greenbrier Valley area in order to preserve them. These artifacts will provide a feast for the eyes of visitors. The Hunters are graciously providing some refreshments in the back yard.
The home of Aaron and Sparrow Huffman is situated in a beautiful location with spacious grounds. Architect William Monafield designed it for Paul and Margaret Summers and it was built in 1952 as their vacation home. Paul enjoyed playing golf at The Greenbrier while Margaret painted in her studio. Nephew David Summers and his wife Denice purchased the home in 1984 and sold it to the present owners in 2018.
The Huffmans, owners of The General Lewis Inn and Stardust Cafe in Lewisburg, have two small children and envision this as a wonderful country retreat, though still in town. They especially appreciate the large porches, open gourmet kitchen, spacious library and living room with wood burning fireplaces, and appealing vistas from the bedrooms. Visitors will appreciate Sparrow’s minimalist approach to decorating and find that the home provides an oasis of calm and grace.
In addition to the traditional tour of homes on Saturday, June 8, a Garden Party will be held at the home of Dr. Kyle and Ann Fort on Friday, June 7, beginning at 6 p.m., and “Graveyard Townsfolk” will tell their dramatic stories in the Old Stone and Pointer Cemeteries on Sunday, June 9, at 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. Learn how to clean and preserve grave stones and enjoy dessert provided by The Greenbrier in Old Stone Fellowship Hall.
For more information and tickets, visit the Greenbrier Historical Society/North House Museum or their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/greenbrierhistorical/ and web page http://www.greenbrierhistorical.org/.Tickets can be purchased in person or online. Tickets are also available at the Greenbrier Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tickets for the Garden Party and the “Graveyard Townsfolk” presentations are limited so contact them soon.