This chapter begins with an introduction to the Johnston family: educated, political, gentleman farmers who built the famous Hayes Plantation in Edenton, North Carolina. Son James Johnston engaged the services of William Nichols as a “professional” architect. The author explains how Nichols evolves into a professional architect, moving beyond using carpenter trade books to incorporating ideas illustrated in the important architecture books of his era, specifically The Antiquities of Athens by Stuart and Revett (1769). The influences of this book, and many more, are discussed in detail from room to room, as are architectural details including cubic massing, rectangular dependencies, colonnade connectors, cornices, windows, columns, facades, porticos, the observatory, and the belvedere. When completed, the timber-framed Hayes was a conglomeration of Federal, Greek, Palladian, British, and American influences. It was a resounding success for Nichols and would become the precedent setter for the Greek Revival movement in the Southern backcountry some twenty years later. The success of Hayes caused Nichols’s reputation to grow. Soon after its completion in 1818, he was offered and accepted the position of state architect for North Carolina. He soon moved to Fayetteville, at that time the largest city in the state.
Keywords: James Johnston, Edenton, North Carolina, Chowan County, North Carolina, Albemarle Sound