Deep Springs Historic Home
Rockingham County, North Carolina
In December 2012, Deep Springs Historic Home was one of the stops on the annual Christmas at Wright Tavern Tour. It has a long and interesting history.
When Nathaniel Scales died in 1824, he left “the west half of his land on Dan River” to his son, James Madison Scales, who was then twenty-one. In November 1825, James Madison married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Lesuer at Lennox Castle where her parents lived as managers of the mineral springs owned by Archibald D. Murphy. Their first child was born at Lennox Castle but their second, Nathaniel, was born in July 1830 at their new home on the Dan River. This would establish the date of construction of the house at Deep Springs between 1827 and 1830. At this time James M. Scales’ siblings all owned plantations in Rockingham County including Alfred Moore Scales at Mulberry Island, and Mary Scales McCain at High Rock.
The name of the plantation was taken from an unusually deep spring that supplied water to the house. Even more noteworthy was the “Gold Hole” near the house, where in 1846, a rare axatite meteorite, weighing approximately 25 pounds, fell. The meteorite is on display at the state museum.
Another important site was a mound in the yard where slaves were sold. At one time, James M. Scales sold a number of slaves to be sent to Mississippi breaking up families and causing considerable grief within the Deep Springs slave community.
There were seven children born to James M. and Nancy Lesuer Scales. For periods of time her parents, John and Nancy Lesuer, also lived at Deep Springs. The family was instrumental in the organization of Spring Garden, Leaksville, and Madison Presbyterian Churches often holding meetings of the Elders and acceptance of new members, including slaves, in the house.
Lesuer was appointed a Justice for Rockingham County in 1827. Lesuer also served as Clerk and Master of the Rockingham County Court of Equity and chairman of the public schools, 1845-1853, which in the county meant thirty-five one-room schools and thirty-nine teachers in 1848.
John Lesuer died in 1859 and his wife, Nancy, in 1864. James Madison Scales died in 1861 and his wife, Elizabeth, in 1862. So by the end of the Civil War this generation had all died. When Deep Springs was sold by agents of the family in 1874, Mary Annie Scales, the youngest child, married to her cousin, Edgar Forrest Scales, moved all the family portraits and furniture to his home near Cascade, Virginia.
The new owner was John M. Lindsay whose son William and his family moved first into the house, only to be replaced a few years later by his brother, Tamerlane B. Lindsay. Tamerlane’s first wife was Annie Scott and after her death, he married Rhoda Reid Scott, whose uncle was David Settle Reid, Governor and Senator. Tamerlane was a Confederate veteran. He converted the plantation office into a school for his two children and other plantation children in the neighborhood. The house again was elaborately furnished including the remains of a set of china given to the Linsays by Senator Steven A. Douglas after her married Martha Martin.
After Mrs. Lindsay’s death in 1949, the plantation was sold to Bill and Britt Armfield of Greensboro. Britt’s widow, Jane Harris Armfield, a descendent of Nathaniel Scales, sold the plantation in 1969 to a group planning for a private country club. Chartered in 1971, the land is now the Deep Springs County Club. The house was sold to Captain Dolan and Ida Hertzing and was again redecorated as one of the beautiful homes that now surround the club.
Today the plantation home is a private residence.