The Reuben Brown House Preservation Society, Inc. (RBHPS) is a non-profit organization established to encourage and promote awareness, participation and appreciation of cultural, historic and fine arts in Columbus County and to preserve the Reuben Brown House and other historic buildings in Columbus County.
Reuben Brown House Preservation Society (RBHPS) began as the Whiteville Fine Arts Committee in the 1960’s, a well-respected, industrious group of women who passed on the mantle of supporting cultural efforts to the ever-widening membership of today. RBHPS sponsors a wide offering of programs and gatherings throughout the year, which are free and open to the public. It is the lead sponsor for the A.R. Ammons Poetry Contest since 2000 and for the county-wide Historic Plaque Program.
Reuben Harvey Brown 1821 - 1870
Reuben Harvey Brown was a schoolmaster for the Whiteville Academy subscription school from 1869-1870. The school was on the east side of the current Hwy. 701 North about opposite the present-day Whiteville Cemetery. Reuben, his wife, Patience Teal Brown (1831-1903), and their nine children lived in the four-room Reuben Brown House in 1869.
Reuben Brown died in 1870 and his family continued to live in the home for many more years.
Patience Teal Brown, wife of Reuben Brown with Gladys Brown Proctor, granddaughter of Reuben Brown. One of Reuben and Patience Brown's sons, Joseph Addison Brown, became a successful merchant in Chadbourn and served as a North Carolina State Senator.
Reuben Brown House
The Reuben Brown House is a late Federal-style cottage built circa 1849 west of Whiteville. The house is typical construction of the period, using lumber from a saw mill on Pine Log Road. The house has two large main rooms joined by a connecting door. Both rooms have fireplaces and front doors that probably opened out into a fairly wide and deep front porch. At least one of the house's two small rooms was likely used as a larder or storeroom.
Reuben Brown House was moved to its current location in 1967. The house has its original exterior siding and doors, interior flooring, ceiling and windows. Restoration work in 1991 and 2002 made it possible for the house to be used as a public civic event space.
The Reuben Brown House is owned by the Reuben Brown House Preservation Society, Inc., a nonprofit organization which maintains the House and uses it as the setting for programs focusing on history, literary and cultural subjects.
Reuben Brown House is moved to E. Columbus Street
Join Reuben Brown House
Membership is open to any person or organization that supports the objectives of the group and who pays the annual dues. There is one general membership meeting annually, plus social gatherings and public arts events.
Corn crib moved to the RBH property is repurposed as a detached kitchen and educational space.
Photo By Justin Smith
Steven Bryan of Whiteville donated the smokehouse, which was constructed on his great-grandfather’s farm in Evergreen about 130 years ago. Bryan remembers hams being salted in the modest structure and sausage being made there during his childhood in the 1950s.
The Reuben Brown House was built in 1849 on farmland in the vicinity of the current Columbus County Law Enforcement Center. The house was moved in 1967 to its current location on the corner of Franklin and Columbus Streets. When it was given to the Fine Arts Committee by the Columbus County Commissioners, the members of the Committee borrowed money through the Whiteville Development Corporation to purchase the current lot from Gooley Gurganus and his wife, for relocation of the house to avoid demolition.
Today the Reuben Brown House property is also home to a corn crib donated by the Jim High family from his farm in the Welches Creek community. The corn crib has been repurposed to serve as a detached kitchen and educational venue.
In 2020, Steven Bryan donated a smokehouse to Reuben Brown House which was constructed on his great-grandfather’s farm in Evergreen about 130 years ago.
Photo By Justin Smith
Steven Bryan (center) gives the key to the smokehouse moved from his family farm in Evergreen to the Reuben Brown House in Whiteville as a donation to the Reuben Brown House Preservation Society. Accepting the key are RBHPS members Tom Leggett, Janice Simms, Marcus Gallagher, Stuart Rogers, Margo Wright, Lisa Epperson, Pat Ray and Janice Young.