Berry Hill Plantation

Berry Hill, located on the Dan River, was built in four sections for four different families. Around 1745 the first section was built by Peter Perkins on land that his father Nicholas Perkins had willed to him. This section is almost lost, but it remains unique with its long sloping roof, covering the porch and an end room. It has a fine old chimneys laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers, and its ceilings and mantels are high. One of Peter Perkins’s daughters, Alcey married Peter Hairston (1752-1832), son of Robert and Ruth Stovall Hairston.  

The first addition to Berry Hill was made in 1843 when an elegant little story-and-a-half house was built. It has beautiful chimneys, designed with graceful slopes and breaks. Even though hooked onto its brothers and sisters, it is probably the most admirable addition. The third addition was joined at some later time and has a broad rock chimney. The fourth addition was made in 1910 with a two-story house dominating the family cluster and pulling it all together into an intriguing unit. The whole home gives harmony to the whole.

After the Battle of Guilford Court House in 1781 during the American Revolution, Berry Hill became a hospital for the wounded. This story is told in Maude Carter Clement’s "The Turn of the Wheel". An old family story also says that Berry Hill served as headquarters for a French general a few days before the retreat from Guilford Court House.

Berry Hill was probably used for a large encampment at some time because a great flood in the Dan River, prior to 1890, washed the soil away and exposed a number of Revolutionary muskets, bayonets, and camp kettles. It is also legendary that a musket ball from the fighting hit a chimney of this home.  

This large estate was said to have originally been named Buryhill because of the large number of British soldiers who died and were buried here. This story seems to verify the above story. Averse to a change in the name, which for generations had identified the place, the name was changed only by two letters, making the attractive name of Berry Hill.

by Carolyn Henderson, Libba Johnson and Robert E. Hairston, Jr. - hairston.org