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The Greenwood


Article originally published In Columbia Tribune on May 7, 1989
Original Article

Whatever Happened to Greenwood?

By Francis Pike of the Tribune Staff and Midge Crawford for the Boone County Historical Society

The red-brick house pictured above, located at 2810 Paris Road in northeast Columbia, is one of the city's oldest homes. It was purchased April 14 by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, an agency that provides funds for preserving old homes and buildings in the state.

The department bought the house from Melissa Williams of Kansas City and her two sisters who live out of state. The purchase prices was $63,350, according to Claire Blackwell, director of historic preservation for the department. Until recently, Williams conducted an antique business at the 150-year-old home.

Blackwell plans to conduct an open house soon to show the property to possible buyers. This is the first property the department has bought outright, and they plan to resell it with preservation conditions attached to the sale.

Greenwood was originally built in 1839 by Walter Raleigh Lenoir, a north Carolinian who brought his wife and family to Boone County in 1834. Before leaving North Carolina, he disposed of most of his possessions at a public sale and brought with him to Missouri two wagons, two carryalls, 11 horses and 23 slaves, some of whom would later help in building the house.

In a letter to his brother, William Lenoir, in Tennessee, he wrote: "After a long and fatigueing (sic) journey, I have located myself for the present about 2 1/2 miles N. East (sic) of Columbia on a rich and fertile tract of land 320 acres (a half section) about 40 acres of which is under cultivation with tolerable comfortable cabbins (sic) and other necessary outbuildings.

"I have leased the place for one year and am to give two barrels of corn or $1.50 per acre for the improved land... and am surrounded and in mist of a dense population approaching the nearest to an equality and I think the most hospitable and kind people that I've ever happened amongst during life. They all own valuable lands and a few slaves and possess good natural minds and tolerably well-improved, and further, they are temperate and moral."

Lenoir's letters, after the first year or two of farming operations, reflected his contentment with the area. Slaves did most of the work and those that were not needed were hired out. He wrote that "even the poorest lands in Boone County would be considered of good quality in Wikes County, N.C."

In December 1835, he purchased the land he was renting and began to plan for the building of his new home. In May 1836, he wrote to his brother William: " Within three years, I hope to be situated in a comfortable brick house on a beautiful eminance (sic), partly surrounded by a delightful grove of sugar trees, black walnut, hickory, oak and white ash."

In June 1838, Lenoir wrote to William: "I am making preparations for building a dwelling house next summer, and think that I can have all the materials by next spring without advancing any money. My neighbor who owns a sawmill owes me for hire of hands as much as my bill for sawing will come to."

The house was probably built sometime in 1839 because Lenoir wrote to his brother in 1840 that he was "about to build a frame smokehouse," suggesting that work on the dwelling house was completed.

Four years later, Walter Lenoir died. His wife, described as a "a staunch pioneer women," continued to live at Greenwood, and with the aid of her son, Slater Ensor Lenoir, and her slaves, farmed the 880-acre plantation until her death in 1877.

Some years later, the place was put up for sale and bought by DWB Kurtz in 1881 for $7,500. Kurtz sold it by 1919 to F.J. Nienaber, and after lying abandoned a number of years, the home and 144 of its remaining acres were bought in 1933 by Margaret and Warren Fuqua. The couple lived there 36 years and made major repairs and restorations.

In December 1969, the property was sold to the Baker and McClintic families, and in March 1974, it was sold again, this time to Gorman Williams, father of Melissa Williams.

Reproduced with permission from The Columbia Tribune
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