History of Mill Prong House

Mill Prong House, Hoke County, NC
Restored Mill Prong House as it is today, located at 3062 Edinburg Rd. in Hoke County, NC.
Remodeling changes made to original design of Mill Prong House in 1834.
Remodeling changes made to Mill Prong House in 1834 by Colonel Archibald McEachern.
Rear view of restored Mill Prong House as it is today.
Rear view of restored Mill Prong House as it is today.
In the last half of the 18th century, more than 20,000 Highland Scots, including John Gilchrist and the father of Col. Archibald McEachern, immigrated to the Cape Fear Region of North Carolina, the largest Highland Scot settlement in America.

Many left Scotland after 1746, the year the Scots rallied under Prince Charles Stuart only to suffer defeat by the British at the Battle of Culloden.

The Scots in the Cape Fear Region were divided in their sympathies during the Revolutionary War and the area around McPhaul's Mill was a center of Loyalist activity.

Many followed the appeal of their heroine, Flora MacDonald, and joined the Loyalists who suffered defeat once again at the Battle of Moore's Creek near Wilmington.

In 1781, Patriot General Rutherford defeated the local Loyalists in a final battle near Mill Prong.

During the last year of the Civil War, General Sherman passed through the area on his way to where the Battle of Bentonville, the largest Civil War Battle in North Carolina, was fought. His troops bashed in the family piano which once again resides at Mill Prong.

Upon arrival in the Cape Fear area, the Scots were hardworking and devoted themselves to the Presybterian Church, education and public affairs.

Their native language, Gaelic, was used in church services through the 19th century.

Mill Prong House owners

John Gilchrist (1740-1802), John Gilchrist, Jr. (1785-1868), Colonel Archibald McEachern (1788-1873) and Daniel Purcell McEachern (1836-1917), all lived at Mill Prong.

Gilchrist Sr. and Jr. represented Robeson County in the House of Commons and State Senate off and on from 1792 to 1846.

Daniel Purcell McEachern served Robeson County in the State Senate in 1879.

Gilchrist Jr. founded Floral College near Maxton, the college bearing the distinction of being the first for women chartered in North Carolina and the second for woman chartered in the South.

Gilchrist Jr. and McEachern the younger were antebellum graduates of the University of North Carolina.

Photo of Mill Prong House around 1920 presumably by someone in the Bullock family of Red Springs.
Photo of Mill Prong House around 1920 presumably by someone in the Bullock family of Red Springs, descendants of Colonel Archibald McEachern.
Mill Prong House was erected c. 1795 and received its name from the nearby stream, a tributary of Raft Swamp.

McPhaul's Mill was located downstream and the location of the residence was the Mill “Prong” of Raft Swamp.

Constructed in the Federal style, it was remodeled in the Greek Revival style in the 1830s by Col. Archibald McEachern. Stylish for its day, the interior contained extensive wood graining and marbling.

Col. McEachern purchased the Mill Prong House and 1500 acres from John Gilchrist, Jr. in 1834 and was operating a large plantation with Mill Prong as its center on the eve of the Civil War.

Restoration in 1993

Mill Prong House restoration was completed in 1993. It remains a unique survivor of the Highland Scot settlement with no renovation or changes in the fabric of the structure since the 1830s. Electricity, heat and air-conditioning were added in the restoration.

Since the Scots settling the area came from Argyle, a second floor Argyle room is set up complete with clan flags of families from the area. Anyone with a Scottish name in his background is encouraged to sign his or her name under his clan name in the clan registers provided.

The house is owned by Mill Prong Preservation, Incorporated, a qualified 501 (c) (3) charitable corporation.

Use of the structure is available to St. Andrews Presbyterian College of Laurinburg, NC, for its Scottish Heritage Center.

The organization will consider rental for special functions.