Historic Sites and Buildings
Early in 1798, in a state of extreme mental anguish apparently brought on mainly by mounting debts, James Wilson, probably while visiting North Carolina on Federal circuit court matters, took refuge in this house. It was the home of his friend and fellow U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, who had been instrumental in the North Carolina ratification of the Constitution. Within a few months, Wilson died there.
The little-altered Iredell House, which is in excellent condition, is a large L-shaped structure. It is constructed of frame and is two stories in height. The roof is gabled. Two-story verandas span the front, or south, and rear elevations of the long arm of the ell. Transoms flank the central entrances on both levels, and louvered shutters flank the windows.
The building was erected in three stages. The earliest, the present short, or east, arm of the ell, was built in 1759 by John Wilkins. In 1776 Joseph Whedbee enlarged the structure by adding to its west side the two easternmost bays of the present five-bay long arm. In 1810 Iredell's widow extended the arm by three bays to its present size and added the verandas.
The original section of the house contains a living room and one other room on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second. The first floor of the 1776 portion consists of the dining room; the second floor, a large bedroom. These two sections are furnished as a historic house museum. The remaining part of the long arm, dating from 1810, serves as the caretaker's quarters. The State owns and administers the residence.
Last Updated: 29-Jul-2004