Mill Prong drawn by Steve Edgerton




After standing alone for a long period of neglect, Mill Prong has once again been returned to its former showplace status. The two story Federal House, retains the distinguished architectural quality which sets it above the other plantation seats in the portion of Robeson County that became Hoke County in 1911. The plantation, with its manor house and cemetery, also retains the important historical associations which ally it with the most prominent Highland Scots families in the upper Cape Fear region. Built in the late 18th century by John Gilchrist (1740 - 1802), an important political and social leader of the community, the house is one of the few remaining houses known to have been built by an immigrant Highland Scot. Mill Prong remained in the Gilchrist family until 1811 when Gilbert Gilchrist, who inherited the house from his father, sold it to Malcolm Peterson. It was Peterson, who sold Mill Prong to Archibald McEachern (1788 - 1873), another prominent leader in both the Highland Scots community and the state. McEachern enjoyed the greatest benefit of Mill Prong living there from the date of his purchase of the property until his death in 1873 - a period of nearly sixty years. The house was alas the residence of his son Daniel Purcell McEachern until his removal to Red Springs circa 1895. McEachern's descendants who continued to farm the plantation fields subsequently used Mill Prong as a tenant house and for agricultural storage. The Mill Prong cemetery, several hundred yards to the southeast of the house, contains not only the graves of the builder, John Gilchrist and his family, Archibald McEachern and his descendants but also the graves of many members of the large Highland Scots community who established here in the upper Cape Fear region the largest settlement of their people in the United States. Its historical significance is, therefore, as strong as that of the house itself. With the formation of Mill Prong Preservation Incorporated in March 1978 the road to restoration was soon paved.




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