Forsythe-Belvin House

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The early-nineteenth-century, three-bay, frame dwelling built over a high fieldstone foundation is one of a very few hall-parlor houses that have survived in Durham County. The entry door of six raised panels, held in place by H and HL hinges, opens into an ample hall with wide- board flooring, horizontal wainscoting, and plaster, all refinements that show the house to have been a fine structure of its day. The smaller parlor has wide-board flooring and wide flush- board sheathing. An attic, where the parallel striations of a water-powered reciprocal saw can be seen on framing members, is reached by an enclosed stair at the back of the hall. Shortly after the house was built, two small rooms in an engaged shed at the rear of the house were finished with plaster and wainscoting similar to that in the hall. The house has been vacant and deteriorating for a number of years.

Duncan H. Forsythe and his wife Margaret F. Forsythe are the earliest known owners of the 235- acre tract on which this vernacular Georgian-style dwelling was built. They conveyed the property, then in Wake County, to Charles H. Belvin in August, 1866.1 At Belvin’s demise, Emma D. Belvin, wife of his son, Joseph, inherited the house and land. That couple’s daughter, Bertha Belvin Hornbuckle, recalled that corn, tobacco, and cotton were the principal crops grown on the farm in the early twentieth century. A nineteenth-century corncrib and a number of early-twentieth-century tobacco barns are found near the house. In 1945 Emma Belvin sold the property to W. Arthur Mayton and his wife, and their daughter, Mrs. William Sparrow, now owns it.

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