#59 Thomas Blow House 352 S. Church Street (Circa 1790)
Believed to be built in the 1790s, this federal style house is named after one of its early inhabitants, Thomas Blow, who owned the property from 1798-1800. In 1770, Mr. Andrew Mackie purchased a vacant lot 52 (now 352 S. Church Street) for £5 or roughly $17-20 by using 18th Century Virginia exchange rates. In 1800, a deed of trust listed the assessed property value at $400, thus clearly indicating the construction of a house since Mr. Mackie’s purchase. From this we can undoubtedly deduce the house was built no earlier than 1770 and no later than 1800—most likely Mr. Mackie built the house in the 1790s. Given the unequivocal evidence of an existing house from the 1800 deed of trust, the house has conservatively carried the name “Thomas Blow” and the year 1800.
The original 1790s house consisted of two parlors and a staircase on the first floor and one chamber on the second floor; below was a standing-height cellar that is believed to have sheltered two house slaves. A detached kitchen sat behind the house, though no discernible foundation may be found today. Key features include heart pine floors of planks 22’ long and over 1” thick, fireplaces in all rooms (including the cellar), wood-pinned mortise-tenon ceiling and floor joists, and 12” square hand-hewn beams supporting the house over a three-wide brick foundation. Although wainscoting adorns the front parlor and chair railing stretches throughout the house, there is no cornice molding on the 10’ ceilings. From 1822 to 1827, Mrs. Fannie Boykin, the widow of War of 1812 notable Francis M. Boykin, owned the residence.