Poplar Grove Plantation
Located in southeastern North Carolina and within the National Park Service’s Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, Poplar Grove’s historic house and the museum was once a sweet potato and peanut plantation. The agricultural skills of the Gullah Geechee people allowed them to produce peanuts from these two crops that were sold locally for consumption by wealthy planter families as well as enslaved Africans on plantations throughout the area. During the Civil War, this super protein-packed food source crossed racial lines to feed both Union and Confederate troops. In fact, in the last decade of the 19th century, Wilmington peanuts were shipped as far north as New York City before P.T Barnum’s traveling circus popularized them to ordinary people.
This museum is a beautiful place to visit in Wilmington North Carolina. In 1980, the manor house was restored and opened for public viewing on its own 15+ acres of land that are now devoted by The Coastal Land Trust as part of their efforts toward conservation and preservation. Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc., who initially helped establish this historical sight through restoration works, continues to help sustain it today with the aim towards education and awareness about history from all over America.
The Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. aims to provide the public with information about James Foy and his family, who owned plantation property in New Bern, North Carolina, during the Revolutionary War period. The land originally belonged to Cornelius Harnett before it was purchased by James Foy Jr., a lawyer from Baltimore as well as an influential political figure of the Eastern NC state government at that time.
The three-story manor house named the Mayflower is a testament to those who have contributed greatly in helping African Americans gain their freedom from slavery. The home has features like heart pine floors and a black walnut staircase that are found on many old plantations of coastal North Carolina, making it part of the Gullah Geechee Corridor where there were movements for civil rights during Civil War times.
Within the museum, complex is an original smokehouse, kitchen shed, carriage house, and tenant house. The man who lived in this was Nimrod Nixon. He served as a WWII soldier at the same time his employer son’s Robert Lee Foy Jr., did too, but he returned home afterward to live with no electricity or running water until when Robert Lee Foy Sr.’s lands & outbuildings were passed on to him from his father Mr. Nixon worked for during their lifetimes.