A Historic Crossroads
As one drives through the rural roads of northeastern Harnett County, one might catch a glimpse of the sign, "Barclaysville", at a typical country crossroad. Approximately twenty-five miles north of this crossroad is Raleigh.; twenty-five miles south is Fayetteville. This road is known as the Old Stage Road. The direction sign to the east and west informs one that Buies creek is four miles away and Benson eleven miles. One might still hear the whistle of the train that once passed by the crossroad and never realize that at one time a train stopped regularly to pick up lumber at Barclaysville. There are tobacco fields surrounding the roads with little traffic except for local drivers and tractors humming on their way to the fields. As one passes through this quiet, sparsely settled community, nothing of any significance would be noted. However, historical significance lies hidden within this crossroad called Barclaysville.
In 1819 or 1820, Mr. and Mrs. John Barclay came to this section of North Carolina from Pennsylvania. They purchased a 510 acre tract of land and built an Inn called Barclay's Inn upon this land along the Old Stage Road which was the main route from Raleigh to Fayetteville. This inn provided a welcomed stop for many travelers making a trip via stage coach, horse or foot.
John Barclay died on May 25, 1828. He was survived by his wife, Mildred Barclay, and three daughters,
Katie, Ann, and Mildred. The inn and land was left to his wife. Mrs. Barclay became the owner and managerof the inn, and a very capable manager she proved to be.
The History of a Crossroad
Barclay's Inn was famous from Boston to New Orleans for it's fine food and hospitality. The well known inn also housed famous visitors as well as many others. Legend has it that Marquis de Lafayette stayed at Barclay's Inn during his visit to the United Sates in 1824 or 1825. He was a french soldier and statesman. Lafayette fought for American independence, and it was he that along with George Washington forced Cornwallis to surrender.
There is also a legend which claims Barclay's Inn hosted Santa Anna in 1836. However, let it be pointed out that Santa Anna was not on a luxury tour but rather was being transported to Washington D.C. as a United States Government captive after being captured in eastern Texas. Santa Anna had led his mexican army against the Texan volunteers at the Alamo.
The Battle of the Log cabin was supposedly fought near Barclaysville. This battle was between opposing political factions during the 1840's. The elections were generally spirited and close between the Whigs and Democrats.
A description of Barclay's Inn is found in Frederick law Olmstead's book The Cotton Kingdom. Olmstead was a Yankee writer who traveled from Raleigh to Fayetteville in 1853 or 1854. His description goes as follows: Before eight o' clock, I reached a long cabin which I found to be Mrs. Barclay's. It was right cheerful and comforting to open the door from the dark, damp, chilly night into a large room filled with blazing light from a great fire of turpentine pine by which two stalwart men were reading newspapers, a door opening into a background of supper-table and kitchen, and a nice, stout, kindly looking Quaker like old lady coming forward to welcome me.
As soon as I was warm, I was taken out to supper: seven preparations of swine's flesh, two maize, wheat cakes, broiled quail, cold roast turkey, coffee and tea.
My bedroom was a house by itself, the only connection between it and the main building being a platform or gallery in front. A great fire burned here also in a large fireplace; a stuffed easy chair had been placed before it, and a tub of hot water, which I had not asked for, to bath my weary feet.
And this was a piney-woods stage house! But genius will find it's development no matter where it's lot
is cast; and there is much genius for inn-keeping as for poetry. Mrs. Barclay is a Burns in her own way,
and with even more modesty; for after twenty-four hours of the best entertainment that could be asked for,
I was only charged one dollar.
This is quite a tribute coming from Olmstead for he had precious little to say that was favorable to North Carolina.
Today, across a plowed field where the Barclay Inn once stood, one can see a cluster of trees, beneath which lies the remnants
of stones marking the graves of John and Mildred Barclay from whom the crossroad got it's name.
From Boston to New Orleans Mrs. Mildred Barclay and the Barclay Inn was known for Southern Hospitality at it's finest - At Barclay Villa our wish is to carry on that same spirit as we welcome visitors from around the nation and around the world!
We would like to welcome you to Barclay Villa...