Clermont c. 1735

The original Clermont home was built by Colonel William Wilson. It was one of only two 18th century brick homes in Craven County, the other being the Bellair plantation. The Clermont house was probably two-and-a-half stories and overlooked the Trent River. After Wilson’s death, the house eventually descended to his grandson, Richard Dobbs Spaight Sr., an American Founding Father and North Carolina’s eighth governor. He is also well known from the notorious Stanly – Spaight Duel, where he was hit with a bullet that led to his death.

Before the Civil War, Henry Ravenscroft Bryan and his wife, Mary Norcott Bryan, lived in the home. The couple and their family fled in March 1862 and the property was occupied by Federal forces, who dismantled the home and all associated support buildings. Only the family burial plot remained intact. In the early 20th century, a Bryan descendent tore down the existing family burial vault and enclosed the burial space with a brick wall.