Foscue Plantation has geared up for a 19th century Christmas.
The old plantation house was built in 1824 by Simon Foscue Jr., and has been in the same family ever since – seven generations.
The current owner, James Foscue Jr., has displayed the Pollocksville plantation house as a museum interpreting the 1850s for a number of years. He said the understated decorations the house shows reflects a Southern home in the holiday season.
“You won’t find any Christmas trees,” he said – “to my understanding Christmas trees were brought over to Pennsylvania from Germany, and they didn’t get into Southern homes for many years.”
Instead pine boughs, poinsettias, magnolias, red berries and an ongoing theme of bright red candles are in every room.
It’s a cozy, dreamy walk as a guide walks you through just about every room in the three-story house – basement included.
Simon Foscue was appointed Justice of the Peace by Governor Hawkins in 1813, when he was living in an earlier house on the plantation. At the time, it was the most powerful single position in county government.
Foscue also worked developing his plantation as a farmer.
He made frequent trips to New Bern where he admired the side hall townhouses such as the Eli Smallwood House in town, and when he built his own new mansion, he used many of its elements.
Foscue deeded his home, along with 500 acres and 25 slaves, to his son in 1829 and that son, John Edward Foscue, left it in his 1849 will to his wife until her death, at which point it was turned over to his sons Christopher and Henry Clay Foscue.
It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, one of the first North Carolina houses to receive that distinction.
Many of the furnishings throughout are original to the plantation. Guides explain the Christmas traditions as well as furnishings, their uses, the family history and plantation life.
Foscue Plantation is open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday, but special tours at other days or hours can be arranged in advance if you call 252-224-1803. Tickets are $10 and the tour will take about two hours.
Foscue Plantation is located at 7509 U.S. 17, just north of Pollocksville.