What is now eastern Lincoln County has a rich history dating back to before the county was created in 1779.
Join the Denver Citizen as we take you on our Magical History Tour of the area.
The landmarks included here are in Denver or Iron Station.
The Mundy House
Our trip begins at the Mundy House, on N.C. 16 South, just past Mundy Road on the left. The Mundy family, who descended from Revolutionary War soldier Jeremiah Mundy, was one of the founding families of Rock Springs Camp Meeting and Campground. The family owned the house, built in the mid-1800s, until it was acquired by the Lincoln County Historical Association in 2014. Today, the Mundy House has an herb garden with herbs donated and planted by the East Lincoln Garden Club.
Head south on N.C. 16, make a left on Campground Road, drive a quarter-mile until you arrive at the Proctor-Cornelius House. This home is also one of the oldest structures in the county, built by Richard S. Proctor in 1875. He died in 1909 and is buried at Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Denver.
Rock Springs Campground
About a half-mile more down Campground Road is Rock Springs Campground, the oldest religious campground in the U.S. For more than two centuries, local residents have gathered there for the annual camp meeting, which usually takes place in August. Most of the “tents” at the campground have been passed down from generation to generation. Tents in the past have sold for as much as $45,000, and some tent owners have invested more money than that to renovate their spaces.
Bethel United Methodist Church
Another mile down Campground Road, on the right, is Bethel United Methodist Church. Settlers Daniel Asbury and Joseph Mundy played a big role in the growth of the church, which was organized in 1875. Asbury is credited with helping to bring Methodism to the area, and Mundy donated land to the church. According to members of the congregation, relatives of Asbury and Mundy are buried in the cemetery beside the church.
Unity Presbyterian Church
If you head back toward Rock Springs Campground, make a left on N.C. 16, drive about five miles, take a left on Unity Church Road, drive for about a half-mile and you’ll see Unity Presbyterian Church on the right. According to the church, it was established as Beatties Meeting House in 1764. Pioneer John Beattie founded the first religious center in the area. The church became a stop for many pioneers during the Revolutionary War. The church has undergone numerous renovations since the 17th century, with its current sanctuary holding more than 300 people.
Going back to N.C. 16, make a left and drive 2.5 miles before making a right on N.C. 73. Go another 2.5 miles until you reach Ingleside. The home, built in 1817, sits on a hill at the intersection of N.C. 73 and North Ingleside Farm Road on a hill. The home was built by Daniel M. Forney, who served as a major in the War of 1812. Forney was also a North Carolina congressman from 1815 to 1818.
Continue on North Ingleside Farm Road, turn left onto Beth Haven Church Road, then right on Vesuvius Furnace Road to reach Vesuvius Vineyards. Originally called Vesuvius Furnace, the home and furnace were established in the late 1700s by Gen. Joseph Graham, who was one of the leading iron producers in the county in the 18th century. In 2009, the home was privately restored and renamed Vesuvius Vineyards. It is used as a winery and wedding venue.
Tucker’s Grove Campground
If you go back towards Beth Haven Church Road, make a right and drive 2.5 miles. Tucker’s Grove Campground will be on your left. Tucker’s Grove is a historic African Methodist Episcopal Church meeting ground. Some locals say the original campground at Tucker’s Grove was built by freed slaves. Similar to Rock Springs Campground, Tucker’s Grove has an annual camp meeting, where people from the community go to worship. The meeting at Tucker’s Grove has been operating continuously since 1872.
Make a left out of Tucker’s Grove onto Beth Haven Church Road, drive about a third of a mile, hang a left on Old Plank Road, drive for roughly 3.5 miles, turn right on Mariposa and drive another three miles and you’ll be in the vicinity of Forney Cemetery. The gravesite located in a wooded area beside East Lincoln Motor Speedway is where Peter Forney was buried, along with his wife and son. Forney served as a captain during the Revolutionary War. After the war, Forney got involved in the iron manufacturing business and became successful. In 1794, Forney entered politics, serving as a representative in the N.C. House of Commons and as a senator. In 1813, Forney was elected as a congressman. Forney was 77 when he died.
If you head north on Old Plank Rd., take a left onto Brevard Place Road, drive about four miles, turn right onto Long Circle, and drive 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Devine Road, and drive another mile, where you’ll reach our last stop, Magnolia Grove. The former plantation house is at the corner of Keever Dairy Farm Road and Magnolia Grove Road. Built in 1824, Magnolia Grove was the location of Lincoln County’s first courthouse and jail. The name comes from longleaf magnolia trees that surround the property. According to some locals, the house was used as a tavern where people could buy liquor before it was converted into a courthouse. Lincoln County native Edgar “Cap” Love purchased the home in 1971.