(WGHP) — As a man who loves history, the book Ron Osborne is reading on the front porch is like gold.
“On the 5th of June, 1865, under the shade of a big Oak tree in front of his house, where he had bidden his wife and children goodbye, two years before, to answer the call of the Raleigh Guards, William B. Hoggatt was privileged to again clasp in his arms, his wife and little ones, with joyful hearts,” he reads.
It’s not just any story – it’s the story of one of Osborne’s ancestors, a man who lived in the house in front of which Osborne is now reading the memoir. The house and much of the land surrounding it have been in Osborne’s family for 9 generations – back to a time before there even was a United States. The original William Hoggatt built a log cabin on the property near what’s now Pleasant Garden in 1755 with a grant from England’s King George II through his royal surveyor William Churton.
“This is from the North Carolina State Archives,” Osborne said to his daughter, Sarah McCombie. “Some of these things you haven’t seen, yet.”
Ron shows Sarah and the others on their farm the deed from William Churton, “His Lordship’s Deputy Surveyor for the County of Orange,” that provides Hoggatt with 640 acres after a few years if he can show it can be “homesteaded,” which is a process in which people move to some land that they then farm and verify is productive.
While everything changed and grew up around the 640 acres William Hoggatt was deeded in the 1750s, that farm remained. It’s still a farm and now Sarah and her husband Austin will become the ninth generation of the family to take it over. It’s a daunting and expensive task.
“My husband and I are 29 years old, and we’re very young and…gritty. We are just so excited to take this massive project on and save the land, preserve the land and one day, live in a house that my ancestors built in the 1750s,” Sarah said.
That will take a while. Follow along as FOX8 documents Sarah, Austin and Ron’s adventure as they restore one of the oldest homes in the US.