Clermont Plantation, Spaight Grave to Undergo Massive Cleanup Beginning Wednesday

Marines, DAR, State Parks, Tryon Palace to Support Cleaning Effort

One of North Carolina’s most significant sites for U.S. history, the Clermont Plantation and gravesite of U.S. Constitution signer Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr., will undergo a massive cleanup beginning Wednesday, Jan. 26.

On Jan. 26, nearly 100 staff and volunteers, including 50 U.S. Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and staff from both North Carolina State Parks and Tryon Palace, helped clear overgrowth and other vegetation from the 51-acre site to prepare it for visitors and future education programs in the coming years. 

Hughrena MacDonald, who inherited the property from her mother, died in 2008 and bequeathed all 51 acres of land to the Tryon Palace Foundation. MacDonald’s will permits the use of land for growing plants for Tryon Palace, archeological investigation and interpretation, natural history documentation and interpretation and other uses related to Tryon Palace’s mission.

The property entrance and gravesite is located on Madame Moore’s Lane near the mouth of Brice’s Creek, situated along the Trent River’s south bank between New Bern and James City. 

In addition to being a signer of the U.S. Constitution, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. (1758-1802) was the first North Carolina governor born in the colony, where he served at a critical time in North Carolina’s development as a state, and presided over the relocation of the capital to Raleigh and the founding of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Spaight’s death, which occurred in 1802 during a duel with local politician John Stanly, is recreated each year as part of Tryon Palace’s living history and character interpretation programming.