by Susan London
On a recent chilly November evening, approximately fifteen Rolesville residents, some of whom have ties to the Town dating to the 1700’s, filled the front room of the John Lewis Terrell house at 201 N. Main Street. They were just the type of folks Terry Marcellin-Little was counting on to attend – people who had a common interest in the Town and who might share her passion in preserving its story through the formation of an official historic society.
Marcellin-Little, who purchased the house at auction in 2012 and plans to open it as the Little House Museum and Gallery in the spring of 2017, has spent the last four years renovating the property, researching its story, and successfully convincing the Town to support its possible addition to the National Historic Register.
In conjunction with the museum’s opening, she is spearheading efforts to create a Historic Rolesville Society through a series of interest meetings that will hopefully culminate in a legal, organized entity that can move forward in documenting and preserving the Town’s history.
A native of Chapel Hill, Marcellin-Little quickly developed a passion for the town after moving to Rolesville in 1994. “I became very curious about Rolesville’s past … a lot of old buildings have been knocked down. I really want to create an awareness and appreciation of the history of the area,” she said.
Rolesville is the second oldest town in Wake County, and there isn’t a detailed accounting of its earliest days. Much of what is known is based on limited public records from the time and since there were numerous residents who were members of the same family, it isn’t always easy to sort out which person the records refer to. Marcellin-Little hopes that a historical society will bring more information to light as longtime residents are spurred to recount their own family histories.
If the residents who attended the meeting on Monday, November 14th were any indication, there is definite enthusiasm for her endeavor. After Marcellin-Little opened the meeting with a discussion of the timeline leading to the creation of the museum, attendees introduced themselves and engaged in conversation about their own ties to Rolesville.
Many of them already knew each other and stories soon emerged of how their individual lives and families intertwined with one another. As long-time resident Barbara Williams Timmons noted, “once you get out of the city limits, everyone is kin to each other.”
When someone mentioned their family had a stash of old documents they’d never found time to research, Betsy Wall, the historian who has been helping Marcellin-Little pore over documents related to the John Lewis Terrell house said, “Bring it to us! We’ll do it for you!”
Through the course of the evening, Marcellin-Little discussed the legal formation of the historical society as a nonprofit and asked people to weigh in on the official name of the proposed organization. She also asked attendees to consider roles they might be willing to take on, and secured potential volunteers to assist in developing bylaws and articles of incorporation, assist with financial matters, and help with publicity.
After the meeting was over, the group previewed the nearly completed interior of the building and viewed an array of historic artifacts discovered around the Rolesville area by history enthusiast Michael Bailey which will be displayed at the Museum when it opens.
The next interest meeting for the Historic Rolesville Society will take place on Monday, January 16th at 7 pm. Meetings will be held on the third Monday of each month. For more information visit www.facebook.com/LittleHouseMuseumGallery, or contact Terry Marcellin-Little at 919-271-0923.
Categories: In Wake County