Scott Garlock - In The FieldScott Garlock - In The Field

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1849 - - - Millbrook

January 26, 2015  •  3 Comments

Stone masonry sentries entangled in nature, their rusted iron gates frozen in time as they faithfully stand guard. Brushing back the thorn clad vines walking the broken contours of rock and mortar, a date and name can be seen giving provenance to this lost realm:

1849 Millbrook



Walking past the muted sentries, the remnants of a private road that meanders through a grove of venerable oaks, lies ahead. The rhythmic sound of a cold winter rain filtering through soft pines, resonating off recently fallen leaves provides cadence to this journey. Skeletal oaks, their long gnarled branches beckoning me to continue. Suddenly....reminiscent of ruins of a lost civilization... the hipped roof of an old plantation home comes into view towering over the surrounding trees. Subtle details of the massive home can be seen behind a wall of winter foliage. With reverence, navigating nature's labyrinth, it’s time ravaged architectural elements are both breathtaking and heartbreaking to behold. Through a pair of broken second story doors that once opened to a now splintered portico, rain water can be seen trickling down deep fissures that run down thick plastered walls. Hand carved roundel corner block medallions that adorn an upstairs bedroom doorway glisten with moisture from wind driven rain. Walking aside this forsaken beauty one truly feels diminutive, its large six over six windows unceremoniously covered in tin roofing give tantalizing glimpses into the venerable home's compromised interior. A rear entrance, open to the elements, beholds the most tragic scene of all as rain water can been seen streaming down a rear staircase, its vintage woodwork soft by the hand of nature. Water pooled atop rotted floor coverings in the main hall lead to the front entrance staircase, its white painted hand railing emerging from the darkness. Respectfully and with heavy heart, this wayward guest decides to take his leave. Before making my way back up that long overgrown path, I find myself standing in front of the home one last time, the afternoon sun graciously breaking through the clouds illuminating the weathered face of this once proud southern home. A perfect time to pay my final respects to her and those that called her home.




"1849 Millbrook"




1849 - Millbrook B&W1849 - Millbrook B&W


I hope you enjoyed the personal account of my last visit to Millbrook, the Warren County, NC plantation home of Nathan Miliam (1802 -1870) and his wife Elizabeth Fitts (1805 - 1884) The Milams were married on August 22nd 1827 in Warren County NC. Nathan was appointed postmaster of the Macon Depot on February 21st 1855. Their Greek Revival home was built by renown Virginia builder Jacob Holt around 1849.

The above black & white photograph of Millbrook is one of two photographs that will represent my last photos taken of the home. Its compromised interior environment is the most dangerous I've encountered having almost claimed my life once before. In just the last year and a half since I first visited the home, it has rapidly deteriorated loosing 25% more of it's roof due to a recent collapse.


Unfortunately the stars fell out of alignment for this lost piece of southern history many years ago. The stories are varied as to why but the results are the same, another historic home, whose architectural pedigree is indigenous to a very localized part of the state and found nowhere else in the country, is lost to the ages. Could the home have been saved? Would education in preservation and restoration made a difference in Millbrook's fate? The answers are quite possibly...yes. Had the current property owners had a deeper appreciation for the home and it's place in Warren County's history, maybe they could have put their differences aside and the house wouldn't be in ruin today. Had they been educated on preservation programs and associated resources available to them, the family might have choose another path for Millbrook. Awareness and appreciation in regards to preservation and restoration of these homes are key to their continuing to their survival. Every time one of these historic homes are razed or left to deteriorate, the chronological age of what is considered historic in a particular community is reset to later date which is truly tragic.


Millbrook is the perfect embodiment for the mission of the upcoming

2015 North Carolina Museum of History


"Rural Revival: Photographs of Home and Preservation of Place".

1849 - Millbrook Color1849 - Millbrook Color


Mission objectives such as:

* developing awareness of the continued need to preserve these historically significant homes and places;

* educating our citizens about the community benefits of historic preservation;

* informing citizens about historic-preservation resources available to them,

* recognizing successful restoration projects.


To help accomplish these goals, the North Carolina Museum of History is partnering with these preservation entities who are responsible for helping give back a voice to the walls of old and forsaken homes that we all inspire to hear speak:

* The State Historic Preservation Office;

* Preservation North Carolina;

* Edgecombe Community College’s Historic Preservation Technology Program






With that said, I'm sounding a Call to Action to all of my friends here at Scott Garlock Photography!

I've been told by officials at the North Carolina Museum of History that those that follow my work are the very demographic that they want to attract and they hope appreciate this Exhibition and the preservation endeavors of the museum. As you may know, the museum has created a fundraiser project that will not only help fund this exhibition and future exhibitions, but act as barometer for interest in future preservation related projects. This is the first time that the North Carolina History Museum has used various social media outlets to garner interest and support for their programs Let's help them to be successful in their efforts.

My challenge to all my photography followers is for every Facebook Book "Like" that 1849 - Millbrook generates, that you would take just 3 minutes out of your day and $ 1.00 out of your pocket and show a token of your appreciation for the North Carolina Museum of History's efforts, as well as those of the State Historic Preservation Office, Preservation North Carolina and Edgecombe Community College’s Historic Preservation Technology Program.

Also, let us not forget the efforts of a certain photographer who risks life and limb crawling through the bowels of abandoned homes to capture those unique photographs that you look forward to everyday! I know for a fact that he would appreciate your support of the North Carolina Museum of History and the "Rural Revival: Photographs of Home and Preservation of Place" Exhibition and the sponsoring programs.

So please take the time, (only 3 minutes and $1.00 dollar - any amount is greatly appreciated, donations are tax deductible) to show how much you care. I think it would mean a lot to the North Carolina Museum of History to collect over 500 $1.00 donations than one generous donation in the same amount. That would demonstrate true support for their programs both present and future.

Just click the link below


Power To Give


Thanks, Scott

January 26, 2015


Millbrook plantation(non-registered)
Was in good condition in the 1990’s, and as a guest of the Palmer family who each year held a weekend family reunion near the property and toured the property. There was a lesser house nearby called Shady Grove, and the family members spent one day cleaning graveyards of both houses. Being familiar with Rose Hill and a distant relative of the family who restored it, I appealed to them to save the house but to no avail, as the African American who owned it vowed no white man would ever own it again, even if it fell to the ground, and it did. How very sad. It was still magnificent in those days.
I stumbled upon your photos of Millbrook and my heart sank! Having been invited to family reunions of the Palmer family, one of the last owners to live in Millbrook I remember how beautiful the house was back in the mid-80’s although still falling into neglect and pleas to the current owner fell on deaf ears. The Palmer families gathered one weekend every year to renew family ties and clean the family graveyard at a lesser plantation house, Shady Grove. During one of the visits, my host and I walked through the entrance to take photos of Millbrook only to find ourselves on the receiving end of a double barrel shotgun toting owner who most angrily shouted at us and said he didn’t care if it fell down, as apparently is happening.
Such a loss in so many ways!
I tried contacting the owner off and on starting in 1992 or so, trying to see if he'd consider selling (tax records showed an owner in some other town (Greensboro, maybe?), although relatives lived across the street from Millbrook). I never heard back. It's a real shame. That location, especially, with all of those huge mature trees, was something else.
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