George Washington Capehart

(Bertie County)

Featured Character – The Home Front

Scotch Hall

           Courtesy of Preservation North Carolina             and Tim Buchman

In his 1726 will, colonial surveyor general William Maule called his home overlooking Albemarle Sound, “Scots Hall.”  In 1811, successful planter Cullen Capehart bought the property, by then known as “Scotch Hall.”  In 1838 his son, George Washington Capehart, started building the present manor house.  Taken together, father and son, operated the largest plantation in Bertie County.  By 1860, they maintained 9,200 acres of land, owned two-hundred and ninety-seven slaves, and had a personal income listed at over $100,000. 

 George Washington Capehart inherited his family’s land in what is now Washington County and in 1838 built Scots Hall, sometimes referred to as Scotch Hall.  In 1849, he and his wife, Susan Brian Martin, hired George Thigby Throop to tutor their children. Throop later wrote the novel Bertie (1851), providing a glimpse into the lives of Scotch Hall’s inhabitants during the mid-nineteenth century.

After the bombardment of Fort Sumter, George Washington Capehart’s son, William Rhodes Capehart, joined a local artillery unit.  After Union forces captured a majority of eastern North Carolina in 1862, the rest of the family evacuated west.  George Washington Capehart left Scotch Hall in the hands of his overseer, James A. Smith. The Smiths were able to keep the Union troops at bay, though they witnessed the Battle of Batchelor’s Bay while living at the residence. After the war, Capehart and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1883 when their son wrote the family names on a pane of glass of the house which can still be seen today. Scotch Hall has remained in the Capehart family.