This report was written on March 6, 1979
1. Name and Location of the property: The property known as the
Richard Wearn House is located at 4928 Tuckaseegee Rd. in Charlotte, N.C.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property: The present owner of the property is:
North Carolina National Bank
Charlotte, N.C. 28255
The present occupant of the property is:
William Preston Hayes & Edward Lawrence Hayes
4928 Tuckaseegee Rd.
Charlotte, N.C. 28208
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report
contains a map depicting the location of the property.
5. Current deed book reference to the property: The most recent
reference to this property is recorded in the Estate Records of Mecklemburg
County, Will #69-E-836. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 05303111.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property:
Richard Wearn (1798-1851) settled in Mecklemburg County in 1831. 1
He was a native of Cornwall, the southwesternmost county of England. 2
Traditionally, Cornishmen secured their livelihood from one of two sources,
from the sea and from mining. Illustrative of this truth are the words of a
favorite Cornish toast, "fish, tin, and copper." Indeed, tin mines had
abounded in Cornwall since earliest recorded times. In the nineteenth
century, however, the mining industry in the region began to languish. An
intelligent, independent, and resourceful people, the Cornish miners were
compelled to search for new areas in which to practice their customary
craft. 3 .Richard Wearn belonged to this aggregate of immigrant
miners who left Cornwall in the early 1800's.
Richard Wearn initially settled in Gatehouse of the Fleet, Scotland, a
center of tin mining. There he met and married his wife, Henrietta Thomson
Wearn (1803-1847) on November 25, 1822. 4 Soon thereafter,
Richard, his wife, and their first child came to the United States. 5
It is reasonable to infer that the decision to move to Mecklenburg County in
1831, nine years after his arrival in this country, was occasioned by the
fact that Charlotte was becoming a major center of gold mining. In 1830,
Victor Rivafanoli, and agent of a London mining company, had come to
Charlotte to purchase and lease property on which to introduce the most
up-to-date mining techniques. 6 Rivafanoli brought experienced
miners to Mecklemburg County. The mines which these men upgraded or
established included the Capps Mine, the Dunn Mine, St. Catherine's, the
Yellow Dog, and the Rudisil Mine. 7 The excitement engendered by
these activities intensified in 1831, when a veritable "nest of gold" (one
hundred and twenty pounds) was discovered near Charlotte. According to one
scholar, this find produced a "frenzy of excitement." 8 Also
indicative of the growing importance of gold mining in Mecklenburg County in
the 1830's was the decision to locate a branch of the United States Mint in
The cornerstones of the facility was laid January 8, 1836. 10
Richard Wearn prospered as a gold miner in Mecklemburg County. On August 8,
1837, he purchased a tract of land from William Polk on what is now
Tuckaseegee Rd. Here he erected a log house to accommodate his wife and
their children. About ten years later, c. 1846, he built a larger home on
the same tract. This edifice comprises a portion of the property known as
the Richard Wearn House today. 11
Henrietta Thomson Wearn died on January 23, 1847. Richard Wearn expired
on November 20, 1851. Both are buried in the
Old Settlers Cemetery in Charlotte. 12 The house was sold to
W.W. Elms to settle the Wearn Estate. Soon thereafter, however, J.B.
McDonald purchased the structure and gave it to his daughter, who was the
wife of George Henry Wearn (1834-1898). Following George Henry's death, the
house was sold to Rufus Holland Reid, again to settle an estate. The
transaction marked the end of the Wearn's occupancy of the structure.
13 The contribution of the Wearn family to the development of
Charlotte and Mecklenburg County has persisted, however. Indeed, the
descendants of the Cornish miner who settled on Tuckaseegee Rd. in the
1830's have excelled in a broad army of pursuits, including medicine,
engineering, architecture, and politics. 14
1 Cornelia Wearn Henderson, The Descendants of Richard and
Henrietta Wearn, p. 48. Hereafter cited as Wearn.
2 Wearn, p. 5.
3 The Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition
(Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York, 1910), Vol. VII, p. 180.
4 Wearn, p. 5.
5 Wearn, p. 6.
6 Bruce Roberts, The Carolina Gold Rush (McNally and
Loftin, Charlotte, N.C., 1971), p. 16.
7 Henrietta H. Wilkinson, The Mint Museum of Art at
Charlotte, A Brief History (Heritage Printers, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.,
1973), p. 5. Hereafter cited as Mint.
8 Fletcher M. Green, "Gold Mining: A Forgotten Industry of
Ante-Bellum North Carolina." The North Carolina Historical Review
(January 1937), Number I., p.11.
9 Mint., p. 10.
10 Mint., p. 19.
11 Wearn, p. 50.
12 Wearn, p. 5.
13 Wearn, p. 50.
14 For description of the contributions of the descendants of
Richard Wearn, see Wearn.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the Richard Wearn House. The
Commission was unable to gain access to the interior of the structure.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria set forth in N.C.G.S. 160-A-399. 4:
a. Historical and cultural significance: The historical and
cultural significance of the property known as the Richard Wearn House
rests upon three factors. First, it is one of the relatively few
ante-bellum structures which survives in Charlotte, N.C. Worth noting in
this regard is the fact that the structure is a two-story log house in
which horizontal board siding and a rear wing have been added. (James A.
Stenhouse, "Exploring Old Mecklenburg" Charlotte, N.C., 1952, p. 27).
Second, the structure is intimately associated with the history of gold
mining in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Third, the structure served as
the abode of a family which has made a significant and lasting impact upon
the development of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
b. Suitability for preservation and restoration: The overall
condition of the structure is fair to good. The structure could be easily
preserved. It is noteworthy that the structure is located immediately
adjacent to a municipal park.
c. Educational value: The Richard Wearn House has educational
value because of the historical and cultural significance of the property.
d. Cost of acquisition, restoration, maintenance, or repair: At
present, the Commission has no intention of securing the fee simple or any
lesser included interest on this property. The Commission presently
assumes that all costs associated with restoring and maintaining the
property will be paid by the owner or subsequent owner of the property.
e. Possibilities for adaptive or alternative use of the property:
The Richard Wearn House is zoned R9. Moreover, it currently serves as a
viable residence. The fact that the structure is immediately adjacent to a
municipal park suggests that it could be adapted to purposes associated
f. Appraised value: The current tax appraisal of the
improvements on the property is $5,990. The current tax appraisal of the
25.38 acres of land is $62,180. The most recent annual tax bill on the
property was $1,141.85. The Commission is aware that designation would
allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad
Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes
g. The administrative and financial responsibility of any person or
organization willing to underwrite all or a portion of such costs: As
stated earlier, the Commission presently has no intention of purchasing
the fee simple or any lesser included interest in this property.
Furthermore, the Commission presently assumes that all costs associated
with the property will be paid by the present or subsequent owner of the
9. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria established for inclusion in the National Register of Historic
Places: The Commission judges that the property known as the Richard
Wearn House does meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic
Places. Basic to the Commission's judgment is its knowledge that the
National Register of Historic Places, established by the National Historic
Preservation Act of 1966, represents the decision of the Federal Government
to expand its recognition of historic properties to include those of local,
regional, and state significance. The Commission believes that the
investigation of the property known as the Richard Wearn House demonstrates
that the property possesses local historical and cultural importance.
Consequently, the Commission judges that the property known as the Richard
Wearn House does meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic
10. Documentation of why and in what ways the property is of
historical importance to Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County: The
property known as the Richard Wearn House is historically important to
Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for three reasons.
First, the structure is one of the relatively few ante-bellum houses
which survives in Charlotte, N.C. Second, the structure is intimately
associated with the history of gold mining in Charlotte and Mecklenburg
County. Third, the structure served as the abode of a family which has made
a significant and lasting impact upon the development of Charlotte and
An Inventory of Buildings In Mecklenburg County and Charlotte for the
Historic Properties Commission.
Fletcher M. Green, "Gold Mining: A Forgotten Industry of Ante-Bellum
North Carolina." The North Carolina Historical Review (January 1937),
Cornelia Wearn Henderson, The Descendants of Richard and Henrietta
Records of the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Superior Court Office.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office.
Records of the Mecklenburg County County Tax Office.
Bruce Roberts, The Carolina Gold Rush.
The Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition, Vol. VII.
Henrietta H. Wilkinson, The Mint Museum of Art at Charlotte, A Brief
Date of Preparation of this Report: March 6, 1979
Prepared by: Dr. Dan Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
139 Middleton Dr.
Charlotte, N.C. 28207
Telephone: (704) 332-2726
The main block of the Richard Wearn House is two stories high, three bays
wide and two bays deep, It has a
gable roof of asbestos shingles and projecting eaves. The gable and
chimneys are brick and dissimilar. The chimney on the left is older. White
horizontal board siding covers the exterior walls. There are no blinds or
shutters. The windows on the first floor are
nine-over-six. Two small windows are in each gable end. A single center
door with full-height
side lights comprises the front entrance. The doorway and window
surrounds are not distinctive in keeping with the motifs found in vernacular
farmhouses of this region.
The most imposing feature is a wrap-around porch. The design suggests
that the porch was added in the late nineteenth or early twentieth
centuries. The roof is supported by a series of turned and tapered columns.
The bases of the columns are newel posts for a balustrade which has a
slender or attenuated balusters and a molded handrail. A lattice-like
pattern occurs at the porch frieze.
Local authorities report that the original part of the house is a two
story log structure. It would appear that the house has been modified and
enlarged on several occasions. Most probably , the first change involved an
extension of the main block to permit the installation of a center hall.
Later, the Victorian porch was built. A one-story ell with a gable roof
extends from the rear of the main block. This was probably added to house a
kitchen. Additions or enclosures also occur on the left rear of the main
Two outbuildings are visible from Tuckaseegee Rd. An open-sided wall
house with lattice-like columns and brackets and a gable roof is in the back
On balance, the Richard Wearn House exhibits a mixture of architectural
styles and designs. Originally a log structure, the house somewhat later
assumed the scale and proportions reminiscent of the Federal style. Finally,
the house was "Victorianized."