This two-story dwelling is thought to be the oldest remaining structure in Newberry. Construction materials suggest that the home was built around 1808, though descendants of Jacob Gauntt, the home’s first owner, suspect it may have been completed earlier. Some even suggest the home predates the Revolutionary War.
Jacob Gauntt was the son of Israel Gauntt, a Quaker born in New Jersey who came to North Carolina in 1753 before moving again to Little Pine Tree (now Camden) in 1760 and finally Newberry in 1765. Jacob Gauntt was born sometime between 1760 and 1765. Being Quakers, the Gauntts were pacifists and thus refrained from participating in the Revolutionary War, though they did offer supplies to the Patriot militia. However, according to the will of Israel Gauntt, the family owned slaves, despite their ties to John Woolman, the well-known Quaker preacher who opposed slavery.
A local legend claims that, during the Revolution, a Tory named Hubbs heard that Israel Gauntt, an old man at the time, had a large sum of money in his home. Hoping to rob him, Hubbs knocked on the door of the home and asked Gauntt’s wife for some water. As she gave water to Hubbs, he pointed a pistol at Mrs. Gauntt, who alerted her husband. Yet it was the Gauntt’s daughter, Hanna, who subdued the Tory, knocking him to the ground. Hubbs fled through a window, and everyone survived the event unscathed. Some believe the event took place here, in his son Jacob’s house, though there is no evidence to support the claim; the Gauntts owned hundreds of acres in the Newberry vicinity.
The Gauntt House originally sat on College Street until it was moved to its current site on the grounds of the Newberry County Historical Society on Nance Street in 1972. Two years earlier, the owners of the property had donated the house to the society with the stipulation that it be relocated. The society restored the home in 1975. An interesting feature of the home is the entrance next to the front door, which leads directly to a stairwell to the second floor. The Gauntt house sits behind the Newberry Public Safety Complex, in front of the historic Coppock House.