Survey and Research
1. Name and location of the property:
The property known as the Lawing House is located at
6100 Neck Road,
Name, address, and telephone number of the current owner of the property:
6101 Neck Road
Representative photographs of the property:
This report contains representative photographs of the property.
map depicting the location of the property: UTM coordinates 17 506711.4E
Current Tax Parcel Reference and Deed to the property:
The tax parcel number of the property is 02302229.
The most recent deed to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed
Book 06652 page 535
brief historical sketch of the property:
This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by
brief architectural description of the property:
This report contains a brief architectural description prepared by Stewart
Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the criteria for
designation set forth in N.C.G.S 160A-400.5.
a. Special significance in terms of
its history, architecture and/or cultural importance:
The Commission judges that the property known as the Lawing House possesses
special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission
bases its judgment on the following considerations:
Harry C. Lawing House is important because it is a well preserved example of
an early twentieth-century rural Mecklenburg County farmhouse. Houses such
as the Harry C. Lawing House are becoming increasingly rare as once rural
land in Mecklenburg County gives way to urbanization.
Harry C. Lawing House is important because it is an early twentieth century
rural farmhouse that still retains a good degree of its original integrity.
Harry C. Lawing House is important because the Lawing family is one that has
a long and contributing history in the Hopewell section of Mecklenburg
Harry C. Lawing house is important because it is a good example of the type
of home available to small yeoman farmers in Mecklenburg County in the early
Harry C. Lawing House represents the economic development of the Hopewell
section of Mecklenburg County after the Civil War, development that was
largely a result of innovations in the agrarian enterprise of cotton
b. Integrity of design,
setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The
Commission contends that the architectural description prepared by Stewart
Gray demonstrates that the property known as the Caldwell Station School
meets this criterion.
Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal:
The Commission is aware that designation would allow the owner to apply for
an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion
of the property which becomes a "historic landmark." The current
appraised value of the house is $80,600. The current appraised value
of the 1 acre of land is $40,600. The property is zoned R. The
property is exempt from the payment of Ad Valorem Taxes.
10. Portion of the
Property Recommended for Designation. The interior and exterior of
the house and the
1 acre of land associated with tax parcel number
A Brief History of the
Harry Campbell Lawing
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in the early twentieth
century was predominately a collection of rural farms clustered around small
townships or community churches. While manufacturing and heavy industry was
located more centrally in urban Charlotte, the rest of the county was dotted
with yeoman farmers engaged in the agrarian enterprise of farming. Since
the end of the Antebellum era, “most Mecklenburg County farmers had been
small landowners or tenant farmers using mules, plows, wagons, hoes, sacks
for picking, and scales for their cotton production.”
The years after the Civil War were a boom time for small Mecklenburg County
farmers and “between 1860 and 1910, Mecklenburg County’s agricultural
economy experienced a prolonged period of prosperity that would ultimately
be its last.”
Since this area was never saturated with the large cash crop plantations
often associated with the Antebellum South the farmers of the area were not
dependant on slave labor. Therefore, “after Civil War, the majority of
Mecklenburg County farmers were able to replant and recover quickly."
New innovations in the cotton growing industry which allowed for easier
growing for small farmers coupled with easy access to Charlotte with its
cotton mills and transportation facilities, “gave farmers easy access to a
far reaching market for their cotton crops. The impact of these
developments was reflected in the rapid increase in the production of cotton
in Mecklenburg County – between 1860 and 1880, the number of cotton bales
produced in the county tripled, from 6,112 bales to 19,129 bales.”
The cotton boom continued well into the twentieth century
but changes loomed on the horizon. “By the mid-to-late 1920’s, the cotton
market in Mecklenburg County and across the South was faltering.”
As cotton prices dropped precipitously, the arrival of the boll weevil
wrecked havoc on cotton fields throughout the South and made life especially
difficult for the small farmers of Mecklenburg County who could not afford
the pesticides and equipment necessary to raise the cash crop and make a
Mecklenburg County farmers also faced another emerging
threat to their way of life: urbanism. Manufacturing and industry in
Charlotte was already causing the city to expand past its original four
wards at the turn of the century. By 1910, “Mecklenburg County’s urban
population surpassed its rural population for the first time in the County’s
Furthermore, the establishment of Camp Greene, a United States Army training
base, on the city’s Westside in 1917 would effectively double the city’s
population almost overnight. The post World War era, “was a time of
maturation and exponential growth as new industries flocked to the city. By
1930, Charlotte had surpassed Charleston as the largest city in the
This urban expansion began to put a significant dent into the rural
lifestyle of Mecklenburg County farmers. As a result, these farmers began
to abandon the farm for opportunities in the city, primarily as workers in
the cotton mills that they had once supplied with their crop. “The 1920s
witnessed the beginning of the decline in the number of Mecklenburg County
farms. In 1900, Mecklenburg had been 32.7 percent urban and 62.3 percent
rural. By 1910, the urban population was 50.7 percent. And in 1920,
Mecklenburg’s urban population had grown to 57.4 percent, and farm
production declined for the first time.”
The Great Depression further exacerbated this trend and between “1930 and
1940, the number of farms in Mecklenburg County dropped from 3,723 to
Despite this trend toward urbanization much of
Mecklenburg County still clung to its rural roots. The small hamlets and
localities sprinkled throughout the county with names like Croft, Paw Creek,
Thrift, Derita, Deweese, and Long Creek to name a few continued to operate
as the focal points of their particular area serving the needs of the yeoman
farmers that clustered around them. One of these communities,
Hopewell, was centered around the Hopewell Presbyterian Church. According
to United States Census Records, “the church was established in 1762. In
1765, John McKnitt Alexander, then 32 years old, donated 21 acres of land
for the building site and graveyard. He is proclaimed as a signer of the
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence as he was the Secretary of the
Convention held at Charlotte may 20, 1775.”
Initially comprised of Scotch-Irish descent, the members
of the Hopewell community have long considered themselves of the independent
mindset and nowhere is this more obvious then in an early story about the
community dating from the Revolutionary War.
During the war, ‘. . . it had frequently been mentioned
to the King’s Officers that Mecklenburg and Rowan Counties were more hostile
to England than any other in America.”
Anti-British sentiment was indeed high in Mecklenburg County, and in the
Hopewell community this sentiment was delivered to the British in the form
of armed aggression and gunfire at the Battle of McIntyre’s Farm. British
General Cornwallis, “dispatched a foraging party, comprised of several
hundred men, toward Hopewell Church in search of supplies. At the McIntyre
Farm they were fired upon from the nearby woods by a group of some dozen
young farmers of the neighborhood, and were severely defeated.”
The large British contingent, routed by a relatively small rebel force, gave
credence to the notion that Mecklenburg County was a veritable “hornets’
nest” of rebellion during the war.
While the Battle of McIntyre’s Farm highlights the
community’s patriotic zeal and their willingness to fight for their rights
they were, at their core, farmers. The community continued to make farming
their chief enterprise and would continue to do so well into the twentieth
One of Hopewell’s residents, Harry Campbell Lawing (April
23, 1899 - March 20, 1973)
illustrates this ideal. While his story may be viewed by some as typical of
a yeoman farmer during the era in which he lived, the story of his family
and home are vital to the historic context of quickly disappearing rural
According to family history, the Lawing’s first came to
the United States from Wales in the early 1700’s.
The earliest Lawing in the area was James Middleton Lawing (1826 - 1869) who
was married to Violet Isabella Dunn Lawing (1828 - 1906). Their son, James
Lafayette Lawing (1858-1934) married Margaret Jane Dunn in 1884.
Originally, James L. Lawing lived in the Paw Creek section of Mecklenburg
County. However, he “moved from Paw Creek to the Hopewell section January
1, 1909 and moved his membership from Cooks Memorial, where he had belonged
for about 19 years.”
The Lawing’s had six children. There were two girls: Ada Dunn Lawing (1884
and Violet Isabella Lawing (1890 - 1971),
and four boys: John Blair Lawing (1886 - 1957),
Graham Lafayette Lawing (1888 - 1954),
William Franklin Lawing (1896 - ?)
, and Harry Campbell Lawing. The Lawing family settled and grew along Neck
Rd., not far from Beatties Ford Rd. and Hopewell Presbyterian Church.
The History of Hopewell Presbyterian Church, first published in 1939,
lists three Lawing names at that time as property owners along the road:
Ada (who also shared a home with her sister Isabella [Belle]), John, and
Harry had his house built on a parcel of family land
along Neck Rd. between his sisters and brother. Mike Lawing, Harry’s
grandson, stated that Harry’s cousin, Frank Lawing built the house around
This is an interesting footnote to the history of this particular property
because it has also been asserted that Frank Lawing also constructed several
houses of the same style in the Derita community.
Frank Lawing wasn’t the only person who helped build the house though.
Longtime Neck Rd. resident Mr. Samuel Carr remembered that his father had
“built the chimneys in that house.”
It is asserted that at one time, the Lawing family had
about 3000 total acres stretching from Neck Road all the way back to N.C.
Hwy 16 (Brookshire Blvd.) but as the family grew and moved away from the
area that total dropped considerably.
Harry, like many others in the area had a small farm where he raised cotton
and corn. As Mike Lawing would relate, his grandfather had, “15 acres of
cotton and he raised and slaughtered pigs.”
Cotton farming wasn’t Harry’s only endeavor; he also sold food. He would,
“carry eggs to Charlotte and sell them.”
According to his grandson, Harry worked, “in food sales for about 35 years.”
The Lawing’s also rented out some of the land they didn’t
farm to sharecroppers. Samuel Carr’s father was one such person. As he
related his father, “grew corn and cotton and raised hay (West Virginia and
Alfalfa hay) for the livestock.”
Initially, the home was built without electricity. Mike
Lawing related a funny anecdote about how his father Harry Jr. (1923 - 2000)
went off to war in 1942 and there was no electricity. However, three years
later, “when he came back there was electricity.”
Soon after he left for war, electricity finally made its way down Neck Rd.
and one can only imagine his surprise after returning home and seeing the
modern miracle of electricity in a home that had never known it.
Other longtime Neck Rd. residents helped shed light on
the Lawing family and their home. Ms. Louise Conner remembered that the
Lawing’s “had a good relationship with the church.”
The church she was referring to was Mt. Olive Baptist Church, a local
African-American church situated directly across the road from the Lawing
homestead. Apparently the church was also a favorite of Harry Lawing’s two
bulldogs because, as Ms. Conner relates, “they liked to lay on the church
steps and Mr. Lawing had to call them back so they could go clean the church
Mrs. Cornelia Henderson, another long time Neck Rd. resident, remembered the
Lawing family, especially Harry’s wife, Mary Esther, who she remembered as
being “really sweet.”
Mrs. Lawing’s cooking skills were held in high esteem because, as Mrs.
Henderson related, “we always liked to go up there because she always had
Mrs. Lawing was real nice to the neighborhood children too. “She would
always give my kids a quarter at Halloween,” stated Mrs. Henderson.
She added that even though Jim Crow segregation was the law of the land at
the time, the color line was blurred somewhat up on Neck Rd., because “even
though it was segregated, we always had a good time with them.”
The Harry Campbell Lawing House serves as a reminder of
days gone by. A time when Mecklenburg County was more rural and pastoral,
and things moved at a much slower pace. As the farmland and forest around
the Lawing homestead gave way to highways, subdivisions, and retail stores,
this house offers a unique glimpse into a time, not so long ago, when people
did more with their land than simply live on it. The Lawings, like many
other small Mecklenburg County farmers, utilized their land for a myriad of
purposes so as to diversify the amount of income they took in. While life
wasn’t a constant struggle to survive, it most assuredly was not a bed of
roses. Mecklenburg County’s rural farmers faced many obstacles including
(but not limited to) poor soil, sick crops, and falling crop prices. As the
twentieth century progressed and Charlotte expanded, these farmers found
themselves now under attack from land developers and suburban sprawl. As
the municipal line of Charlotte stretched further and further away from the
city center, these small farms and the stories they held began to quickly
and quietly disappear into the pages of history. It is though the Harry
Campbell Lawing House that one can still get a glimpse into the not so
incredibly distant, yet quickly fading history of rural Mecklenburg County.
Sherry J. Joines and Dr. Dan L. Morrill,
Historic Rural Resources in Rural Mecklenburg County, North Carolina¸
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, no date,
http://cmhpf.org/surveyruralcontext.htm, (Accessed August 8, 2010).
 Emily Ramsey and Laura
Ramsey, Survey and Research Report on the Jesse and Mary K.
Washam Farm, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks
Commission, January 30, 2002, http://cmhpf.org/Surveys&rwashamfarm.htm,
(Accessed August 8, 2010).
 Sherry J. Joines and Dr.
Dan L. Morrill.
 Emily Ramsey and Laura
 Jennifer A Schmidt, ed.,
1850 Census of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (Including the
Mortality and Slave Schedules), (Spartanburg, S.C.: The Reprint
Company, Publishers, no date), p.54.
 Mecklenburg County Death
Certificate # 1973000733
 Interview of James Michael
Lawing by Bill Jeffers (August 21, 2010).
 Reverend Charles Wilson
Sommerville, The History of Hopewell Presbyterian Church: For
175 Years from the Assigned Date of Its Organization 1762,
(Charlotte, N.C.: Hopewell Presbyterian Church, 1939), p. 153.
 Mecklenburg County Death
Certificate # 1973003298
 Mecklenburg County Death
Certificate # 1971001827
 Mecklenburg County Death
Certificate # 1957000559
 Mecklenburg County Death
Certificate # 1954000314
 Sommerville, p. 153.
 Interview with Samuel Carr
by Bill Jeffers (August 30, 2010).
 Interview with Cornelia
Henderson by Bill Jeffers (August 19, 2010).
 Mecklenburg County Death
 Interview with Louise
Conner by Bill Jeffers (August 19, 2010).
 Henderson Interview.
The Lawing House is a front-gabled
wood-framed house that faces north, and sits back approximately sixty feet
from Neck Road. The house is in good condition and has retained a high
degree of integrity. The house lot is approximately .75 acres.
Grassy lawn surrounds the house, with approximately 1/3 of the
lot being wooded. The surrounding land is undeveloped and wooded,
giving the setting a distinctly rural character.
The facade is largely sheltered by a
hipped porch roof that wraps around and shelters a portion of the east
elevation. The porch is supported by a continuous brick foundation
laid in a running bond. A single vent has been set in the foundation
wall. Wooden steps (recently replaced) lead to the porch in front of
the front door. The porch roof is supported by tapered posts.
Simple handrails with picket baluster are set between the posts. Porch
floor is tongue-and-groove boards, and the ceiling is composed of beaded
tongue-and-groove boards. The porch roof as well as the roof over the
principal section of the house is a 5V metal roof. The front gable
projects above porch roof and features a three-part opening containing a
four-light sash bordered by two rectangular louvered vents.
The house is covered with simple wooden
siding, including the portions of the exterior sheltered by the
porches. The facade is three bays wide with the front door centered
between two four-over-one double-hung windows. The front door features
three horizontal panels set below four vertical lights. The pressed
metal lockset appears to be original. Doors and windows are surrounded with
simple boards topped with moulded trim.
elevation is four bay wide. The two bays closest to the facade contain
single four-over-one double-hung windows. These windows are separated
by an external shouldered chimney with a simple corbelled crown. Set near
the middle of the elevation are paired windows. The bay closest to the
rear elevation contains a single double-hung window. All of the
windows are four-over-one double-hung windows. Original brick
foundation piers are joined by early curtain walls. Rafter tails are
exposed. Near the rear of the house a corbelled brick flue
pierces the roof.
elevations features a full-width porch covered with an engaged hipped
roof. Tapered posts are infilled with metal screen and recently added plywood
panels. The rear elevation is three bays wide, with a replacement
nine-light wooden door centered between four-over-one double-hung
windows. Porch floor is tongue-and-groove boards, and the ceiling is
composed of beaded tongue-and-groove boards.
The east elevation is partially sheltered by the wrap-around porch.
The east elevation is four bays wide. Two single and one set of paired
four-over-one double-hung windows in the east elevation are like those found
on the other elevations. A short six-over-six window is set near the
rear of the house and reflects the addition of a bathroom.
integrity found on the exterior of the house is also found in the
interior. With the exception of a bathroom added around World War II,
the floor plan of the house does not appear to have been altered. The
front door opens directly into a large parlor that features a Craftsman
Style mantle with a mirrored overmantle, and double shelves supported by
brackets and short square columns. Walls and ceiling are
plastered. Windows and door openings feature simple butted board trim
highlighted with mitered band around the perimeter of the trim. Flooring is
narrow strip pine boards. The rear wall of the parlor contains a
double-door opening (doors missing) opens into a dining room. A
two-panel door on the east side of the parlor opens into a front
bedroom. The room features an original mantle with decorative beading
and a single shelf supported by curved brackets. The room also
contains a closet with a six panel door.
The parlor also opens into a long narrow hallway that extends down the
center of the house to the rear door. Like the parlor, the hall
features plaster walls and ceiling. Flooring is narrow pine
strip. The hallway and most of the other rooms contain tall beaded
baseboards. The doors opening onto the hallway are all two-panel
doors. Most of the interior doors have retained their original pressed
steel knobs and escutcheons.
To the rear of the front bedroom is located another bedroom that shares an
internal chimney. The mantle in this room is simpler, without beading,
and the flooring in this room is wider (approximately four inches).
Like the front bedroom, this room contains a closet with a
six-horizontal-panel door. A grid and panel ceiling was recently added to
The dining room contains a masonry flue thimble that once served a
stove. It also contains a drop ceiling.
The integrity of the interior decreases as one goes toward the rear of the
house. The hallway opens onto a bathroom that was carved out of an
existing rear bedroom. The bathroom features mid-twentieth century
fixtures. The kitchen walls have been covered with paneling.