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Wake County North Carolina Cemeteries

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245    SPRING HILL - THEOPHILUS HUNTER GRAVE

      Location - The Spring Hill House is located on the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus at 705 Barbour Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina, between Western Blvd and Lake Wheeler Rd.


      The following description is from the NC State DHHS web site.

      Spring Hill House - The Theophilus Hunter, Jr. House picture of house

      Spring Hill is located on the site of the large plantation owned by Colonel Theophilus Hunter, a pioneer settler of Wake County and an early leader in Wake County and Raleigh. He served as first Judge of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1771, as a colonel in the Colonial Militia, as Representative to the House of Commons, as first county surveyor, as first county tax assessor, as one of five commissioners supervising the erection of the first State House in 1791, and as one of seven Raleigh City Commissioners in 1795. In the late 1700's Colonel Hunter built a smaller house just behind where the present house stands, on a high knoll overlooking the city. He named the house "Spring Hill" for a spring which was located at the foot of the hill near several large rocks.

      Colonel Hunter died in 1798 and is buried near the present house. His grave is the oldest marked grave in Wake County. Theophilus Hunter, Jr., inherited a large portion of the 2,500 acre plantation. About 1816 he built the present two story frame house of late Georgian style with a one story rear wing adjoining the small late eighteen century home of his father. The house, standing on a high foundation of heavy stones and mortar with brick piers, was an impressive sight located on the highest hill on the plantation and flanked by cedar trees. The slave quarters were located to the west near the present Council Building. When Theophilus Hunter, Jr. died in 1840, the plantation encompassed 5,000 acres.

      The Hunter family owned and occupied Spring Hill until 1864. Sheriff William Henderson High purchased Spring Hill and 160 acres in that year. He and his family lived there until 1872 when he sold the house and farm to William Grimes, a weathly philanthropist who used the house as a summer home. In 1908, Mr. Grimes' widow sold the Spring Hill property and 160 acres to the State Hospital.

      The house was occupied by hospital staff members over the next 66 years. The original small house burned during this period. Since 1976, Spring Hill has been the headquarters of Dorothea Dix Community Relations Department and the Dorothea Dix Volunteer Service Guild. It functions as a social, educational, and public relations area for patients, staff, volunteers, and the community.

      It was named a Raleigh historic site in 1978 and was listed on the National Register in 1983. It became a museum house in 1982 when an historic exhibit and memorabilia of Dorothea Dix Hospital was located in the house. The Spring Hill House is located on the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus at 705 Barbour Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina. The house is open for public viewing Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. For information call 919/733-5454.

      The Spring Hill House on the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus was reallocated along with 52 acres of land from the Department of Health and Human Services to NC State University on December 21, 2000. The house was undergoing renovations during the reallocation period, and its custody was passed to the University on April 20, 2001. The house and surrounding lands will become a part of Centennial Campus. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and is referred to as Spring Hill or the Theophilus Hunter House.


  1. Hunter, Theophilus, Sr. (Col.)   (b. 1735 - d. 1798)
      • A pioneer settler of Wake County and an early leader in Wake County and Raleigh. He served in North Carolina's House of Commons, was an officer in the Colonial Militia, and acted as judge, surveyor, tax assessor, and city commissioner. Colonel Hunter died in 1798 and is buried behind the house in Wake County's oldest marked grave.

        The grave reads: "Theophilus Hunter, Sr., Lieut Colonel N.C. Troops, Rev. War, 1798, Erected by Caswell-Nash Chapter D.A.R. Raleigh, N.C. 1952"


Web page updated 28 July 2016


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