The History of Rolesville: Green-Hartsfield House

April 2016

By Chloe Nadyne

The Green-Hartsfield House is a historic home located at 7404 Halifax Road and is one of three Rolesville properties in the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the late 18th century or early 19th century, the house has been restored to relative historical accuracy by its two most recent owners and occupants, Thomas Mundy and Jule Holland III.

Green-Hartsfield House

The Green-Hartsfield house, seen from the front, rests on the crest of a hill. Photos by Chloe Nadyne

The current owners bought the house in 2010 and moved there in 2011. Surry P. Roberts, the previous owner, also contributed greatly to the restoration with a National Park Service-certified rehabilitation of the property in 1987.

Some of the most recent modifications to the house include the restoration of the original flooring in the first-floor parlor and the installation of the original first-floor wainscoting, which was found in one of the outbuildings on the property.

“We found it in the shed out back,” Mundy said, clearly still ecstatic at this stroke of luck.

Green-Hartsfield House

This outbuilding is believed to have been built at the same time as the house. Once having served as the kitchen for the house, the building now is used as storage space.

The modernized front porch that had been built by previous owners was reconstructed as a more historically accurate porch using posts salvaged from the original. Most of the modern additions to the house have been stripped away, although a modern west wing containing a kitchen remains to improve the functionality and livability of the home.

The house owes its name in part to the original owner and builder of the house, William Green. It is thought that Green built the house sometime between 1799 and 1807, although the exact date is not known. After the death of William Green, only Green’s second-born son, Bryan, remained in the house. In 1823, Bryan Green married Martha Mints Hartsfield, and thus the house was dubbed “Green-Hartsfield.”

Several homes in Rolesville carry the name “Hartsfield,” because the Hartsfields were a prominent family in the area. One example is the Hartsfield-Price House, also on Halifax Road. Martha Hartsfield’s brother, Dr. Wesley Hartsfield, is buried at this house and is believed to have resided there prior to his death.

Walking into the home is like walking into an exceptionally preserved snapshot of the past. You step through the door, thought to be original to the house, and are immediately in the parlor. The floors are a rich dark wood, and the walls are bright white. The front rooms are flooded with natural light, and decorated true to the period of the house, with beautiful wing-backed furniture and paintings that reflect the historic nature of the house.

Although the current owners requested interior pictures of the house not be published, Mundy  gave a tour of the first floor and explained interesting things he has learned in six years of ownership.

Green-Hartsfield House

The sole remaining piece of the original ceiling, this ornate decoration is an unusual feature in a house of this time period.

“You can take a picture of this,” Mundy said with enthusiasm, indicating an ornate piece of ceiling in the middle of the right-side parlor.

He explained that although most of the features of the house are fairly common of early 19th-century homes, the decorative medallion preserved on the only remaining piece of original ceiling is unusual for a house with a relatively austere outward appearance. Although the piece has the same off-white color as the surrounding ceiling, Mundy points out the faintly raised outline of the square of original ceiling that surrounds the medallion.

He also explained the guesswork that went into the remodeling of the house, such as ripping up the floor with the hopes of finding the origial underneath. Fortunately, the original hardwood flooring was intact and directly underneath the modern laminate.

The house, which rests on a granite foundation, was originally part of an expansive piece of land, about 1,000 acres at the time of construction. Through the years, however, acres have been bought and sold, and the house now sits on only one acre. Surrounding the house on this acre are several outbuildings in varying conditions. The only surviving outbuilding appearing to be built during the construction of the house is a small structure with a mortise-and-tenon frame and a large chimney in the south gable end. This building is thought to have been used as a kitchen up until the addition of the west wing to the house.

The Green-Hartsfield House is a historically significant property to the Rolesville community because of the exceptional preservation that coincides with the early history of the town. At more than 200 years old, it is one of the oldest houses in Rolesville and has clearly withstood the test of time.