Name: Jessie Mabel COLLETTE
Given Name: Jessie Mabel
Change Date: 17 APR 2009
Dunn Daily Record
Birth: 29 AUG 1883 in Tennessee
Death: of Cardio-Respiratory Arrest 11 AUG 1971 in Harnett County, North Carolina
Burial: 12 AUG 1971 Angier Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Harnett County, North Carolina
Reclaiming The Old Homeplace: Historic House Gets Makeover, Unveils Treasures
by: Jason Beck
Teetering on the precipice between demolition and preservation, the house at 62 McIver St. looms tall in both stature and in the history books as one of the oldest homes in town. Now, thanks to one Angier man, the home is on the way back to its former glory.
Donald Gregory, who owns an Angier construction company, purchased the house built by his great uncle W.H. Gregory in 1915, and is in the process of restoring it. Though the home is more than 90 years old, Mr. Gregory said there are few like it in the area.
"It's probably one of the best built homes I've ever seen and I've been building for years," he said. "These are real 2 by 4s, 2 by 8s and 2 by 10s ... the craftsmanship is unbelievable."
Featuring pocket doors, six fireplaces and its original bathtub, the home was built as one of the most luxurious dwellings of its time.
"It's just unique," Mr. Gregory said. "I just couldn't stand to see that much history go. It's one of the oldest nicer homes in town."
Another person breathing a sigh of relief for the home's salvation is Joyce Bell, who grew up in the house with its original owners, who were her grandmother and grandfather.
"It was so nice. It was a wonderful, wonderful home," she said. "I'm thrilled to death."
She has memories of Christmas and the large wrap-around porch, of soldiers visiting her sisters at the home during World War II.
"Of course I was little then so I remember it bigger than it was," she said. "There is so much history there you could never quit talking about it."
She said her grandfather started building the home before World War I, gathering all the supplies but having to halt until the war was over due to a lack of manpower for building. She said it took some convincing to get her Aunt Marie, who still owned the property, to sell the home - however, the house is still in the family.
"My Aunt Marie would have never sold to anyone but a Gregory," Mrs. Bell said. "I called her and said if we don't sell this house, it will be destroyed."
What Mr. Gregory found inside the house when renovations began was nothing short of astounding.
"We found Uncle Bill and Aunt Mable's marriage license, all kinds of magazines dating way back ... many in the 1940s," Mr. Gregory said. "We found deeds to property around town."
And of course, there were plenty of pictures.
"When we started taking stuff out of the house and I started seeing these wonderful pictures I almost fainted," Ms. Bell said. "I thought they were lost forever. A lot of this, these pictures, should be preserved."
Also inside one of the home's walls is a time capsule, placed by the original owners. Mr. Gregory said he still is debating whether to break the capsule's seal. He said soon the home will once again be one of the finest structures in town, as it was when it was built before the Great Depression.
"It's going to be a showplace," Ms. Bell said. "It's going to be lovely."
As for the home's future, don't expect it to be on the market any time soon.
"I'm going to move in it, my wife and I," Mr. Gregory said. "We are going to keep it in the family."
Father: J. Edwin COLLETTE
Mother: Alida BAYLESS
William Haywood GREGORY b: 1 JAN 1871
- Inez GREGORY b: ABT 1907
- Dorothy M. GREGORY b: ABT 1908
- Evelyn Louise GREGORY b: 8 OCT 1909 in Harnett County, North Carolina
- Mabel Ruth GREGORY b: 3 DEC 1910 in Harnett County, North Carolina
- William Haywood GREGORY b: 2 SEP 1912 in Harnett County, North Carolina
- Walter Bryan GREGORY b: 22 OCT 1914 in Harnett County, North Carolina
- Marjorie Alida GREGORY b: 5 JAN 1916 in Harnett County, North Carolina
- Marie C. GREGORY b: ABT 1918
- Edward Max GREGORY b: ABT 1921
- Melba Iris GREGORY b: 1 APR 1923 in Harnett County, North Carolina
- Text: ?A