Old Town Plantation
Old Town Plantation House
1785; N side SR 97, 0.7 mi. W of SR 1406
Rocky Mount vic.; private, visible at a Distance from road
Among the oldest houses in the inner coastal plain, this is one of the few surviving examples of the small, carefully finished frame dwelling built for planters in the 18th c. The gambrel roof, English-bond foundation double-shouldered Fleming-bond chimneys, full-width shed porch, and hall-parlor plan with enclosed stair are all hallmarks of an architectural tradition that developed by the mid-18th c. and changed little for several decades. The enclosed porch rooms are reconstructed from physical evidence; the rear ell is new.
The house was built in 1785 for Jacob Battle, a wealthy and industrious farmer, in the year of his marriage to Penelope Edwards. Jacob extended the landholdings he received from his father, Elisha, who had come from Virginia to Edgecombe County in 1747 or 1748, established a plantation, andbecome a political leader and progenitor of the large and prominent Battle family. At the time of his death in 1814, Jacob was the owner of extensive acreage and more than 100 slaves. Old Town Plantation continued in the hands of descendants until the early 20th c. Endangered at its original location 2 miles east, the house was moved and restored in 1980.