David G.W. Ward plantation.

The Ward-Applewhite-Thompson House is a historic plantation home located near Stantonsburg, Wilson County’s oldest incorporated town. It was built about 1859 and is a boxy two-story, three-bay, double-pile, Greek Revival-style frame dwelling. It has a shallow hipped roof and wrap-around Colonial Revival style porch with Doric order columns added about 1900. Attached to the rear of the house is a gable roofed one-story kitchen connected by a breezeway.

“Country doctor” David G.W. Ward bought the property in 1857 and probably built the house two years later. (In the 1890s, his heirs sold it to heirs of W.H. Applewhite.) Situated on the confluence of Whiteoak and Goss Swamps, the old road to the coast (now Highway 58), and Contentnea Creek, the county’s only navigable waterway, “this well-watered, flat an fertile tract … was a prime site for the home of an important planter.” D.G.W. Ward, who was also a farmer and merchant and was active in local civic and social affairs, was such a man.

Though he could hardly have worked his vast acreage otherwise, as usual, the Nomination Form glosses over Ward’s slave ownership. In a discussion of his residency, a footnote mentions that Ward is listed with 46 slaves in the 1850 Greene County slave schedule. In the 1860 census of Greene, he is credited with owning 54. Among them were Sarah Ward and her children Henry, Mittie and Appie, who were his children, too. Ward owned extensive property in both counties and likely maintained quarters in both. Certainly, his slaves labored across county lines.

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Ward-Applewhite-Thompson house, February 2014.

The Civil War set D.G.W. Ward back, but not for long. When he died in 1887, he stood possessed of more than 1900 acres in Wilson and Greene Counties.

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Wilson Advance, 22 August 1889.

For a personal account of my history with this house, see here.

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