EXPLORING HOMESITE HISTORY
Learn the history of the homesite at 201 N Main Street and the families who lived here, interpreted through documentation, period furnishings, family portraits, photographs and artifacts. The family most closely associated with this home, the Terrells trace back to Virginia colonists and were earliest settlers of today’s Franklin County and Rolesville. On American soil, Terrells owned plantations, businesses and slaves, fought in the Revolutionary War, served local churches, built schools, and remained through Civil War and Reconstruction.
Early plantation and mill owner, Solomon Terrell, left widow Nancy Wall Terrell with young “orphans” to raise just west of the well-traveled Raleigh to Louisburg road. At about that time, future town founder William Roles was investing in multiple tracts of land including Alford family properties along the stage route. Roles bought the Alford “Halfway House” (near today’s Rolesville Elementary School), before purchasing a rental homesite (this museum location) from Kinchen Freeman (one of the highest bidders in the Peyton Alford court settlement of 1816). One 1822 map indicates wheelwright John Williams and family at this location. Terrell “orphan,” John Lewis Terrell (b. 1807), married into the Williams family in 1831, and may have begun married life with Sarah (Williams) Terrell on site; two of the couple’s children later worked as wheelwrights.
John Lewis Terrell, business partner with William Roles, was appointed one of Rolesville’s first three commissioners in 1837. By Roles’ 1839 bankruptcy, John Lewis Terrell lived west of town, and the Williams family remained on site. Documentation lapses until Terrell’s son, Sidney Wait Terrell, purchased the site c.1860 from the in-laws of his married older sister, Josephine Terrell Young. Sidney and his wife Viriginia A. Terrell retained the home for almost six decades. Local merchants J.R. and Gertrude Fowler next held the homesite for two decades (1918-1938) prior to establishing one of Wake County’s largest farming complexes east of town. The Elizabeth & Roy Broughton family owned the homesite for the next six decades. After that, a reduced half-acre site (that includes the historic home and buildings) was sold to the Womble family in 2002, Little House LLC purchased the tract one decade later in 2012, for current museum/gallery use.