WHITE OAK — Seth and Bobby Lewis, along with a slew of volunteers from around the region, have made painstaking progress in transforming Harmony Hall Plantation from the best-kept secret in Bladen County to a point of destination for those interested in history.
The latest step toward that goal was the refurbishment of the state historical marker for the site.
“Two years ago, that marker disappeared,” Seth Lewis said recently. “Volunteers made a number of inquiries in the community on its whereabouts, but nobody knew (where it was).”
That all changed recently.
This past summer, a volunteer reported that the sign was on the ground not far from the post it once was displayed on along River Road.
“It was almost out of sight because of leaves, dirt and a healthy colony of fire ants,” Lewis said.
He added that information had been received that a vehicle had collided with the pole and knocked the historical marker off. The pole actually still held a small portion of the bottom of the marker.
Lewis said the N.C. Highway Patrol was contacted “to see who done it,” but there were no records of an accident involving the historical marker.
“We thought that, if we could find out who had collided with the sign, perhaps insurance would pay for the marker being repaired and put back up,” Lewis said. “After having no luck … volunteers decided to take the sign into their own hands.”
A new historical marker typically costs about $3,000.
Frank Allen, a retired shipyard welder now living near Bryan’s Pond, was contacted and he took on the job of welding the cast iron sign back together.
“With the use of special welding rods and a few metal straps, he put it back together,” Lewis said.
During a cleanup day at Harmony Hall Plantation earlier this month, Scott Lewis and his son John took on the challenge of repainting the historical marker. With that task now complete, the sign is ready to be put back on its post.
The historical marker for Harmony Hall Plantation was erected in White Oak in 1940 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The marker reads:
“Harmony Hall. Two miles west stands Harmony Hall, the home of Col. James Richardson, Revolutionary soldier and patriot. His wife, overhearing plans of Cornwallis, quartered there, dispatched information to her husband with Green’s Army in South Carolina, thus aiding in the defeat of the British and retreat of Cornwallis. Erected by the Battle of Elizabethtown Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and Bladen County, June 14, 1940.”