Pipkin Family Association

Pipkin-Goodman-Edwards Farm and Outbuildings

"Forgotten Gates" by Thomas R. Burchko

Generally considered to be the second oldest house in Gates County, this impressive complex of residence, dairy, and smokehouse enjoys a commanding view of a superbly isolated site that evokes the agrarian character of the landscape when the house was first built. The original portion of the one-and-a-half story gambrel roofed house, the western three bays, is a former side-hall plan house dating from the third quarter of the eighteenth century, between 1750 and 1775. This is determined by the rounded log sills and English bond brick base of the double-shoulder 7:1 common bond brick chimney. The gambrel roof house was a popular house type during the late eighteenth century, with this being the oldest of four such structures in Gates County and one of the oldest of the approximately twelve examples in Gates, Chowan, Perquimans, and Pasquotank counties. Like the Thomas B. Riddick House, its steeply pitched second story wall is covered with imbricated shingles and pierced by simple shed dormers.

Early in the 1800s this side-hall plan house was expanded by the addition of a parlor on the east, resulting in the present center-hall plan. Remaining interior elements suggest a superb Federal style finish. Later in the 1840s, the interior was entirely reworked with Greek Revival details, including the truncation in size of the ca. 1800 Federal mantel, the modification of the door surrounds into flattened Greek Revival profiles, and the replacement of the colonial mantels with austere Greek Revival ones. The original colonial parlor even received pilaster-enframed aprons beneath the windows. Fortunately, the enclosed stair and most of the raised six-panel doors remain unaltered.

The upper story consists of two large bedrooms and one small unheated room. The full-width shed roof porch dates from the early nineteenth century expansion as does the rear two-room ell, which contains a simple paneled mantel.

The smokehouse and dairy are among the county's architectural treasures, being contemporary with the earliest section of the house. Rarely do outbuildings survive from the 1700s, and so a pair of structures dating from between 1750 and 1775 are exceptional remnants of early architecturally distinctive support buildings in North Carolina. The attenuated smokehouse has graceful proportions, flush sheathing boards with feathered edges, and closely spaced mortise-and-tenon studs for security. The dairy displays a ventilator pattern of exquisitely intricate wave pattern slats, resulting in a hypnotic sequence of solids and voids. Its over-sized gable roof provides ample cornice overhang to shade the ventilators. It also is sheathed with flush boards, but apparently not feather-edged. Rose head nails are evident on the front and sides.

The houseís early history is as yet not proven, but every indication suggests that the earliest house was built for Isaac Pipkin (ca. 1734-1815), who served as one of the three original justices when Gates County was organized in 1779. It was perhaps built after his marriage ca. 1760 to Charity Goodman (ca. 1734-1815). The farm was then inherited through the generations. The house was perhaps enlarged soon after the 1807 marriage of the Pipkinís grandaughter, Charity Lee (1790-1868) to William Goodman (1782-1841); the Goodmans also undertook the houseís Greek Revival remodeling. It was later inherited by their son, Jethro Darden Goodman (1812-1882), who lived nearby on the Goodman-Smith Farm while his sister, Edith Goodman Creecy Howell, the wife of the Rev. Edward Howell of Piney Grove-Reynoldson Baptist Church, resided here. Upon Jethro D. Goodmanís death, the farm was acquired by his daughter, Elizabeth Goodman Edwards (1841-1913), who resided here with her husband, John Allen Edwards (1831-1923), until their deaths. Their heirs maintained the house as rental property until the 1960ís.

Photos contributed by Bob Pipkin

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