Oldest home in Suffolk in plain view

Published 10:10 pm Thursday, June 3, 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE: We drive past them every day — homes that have stood sentinel in Suffolk through the march of time, homes whose place in history was set decades ago. The Suffolk News-Herald and the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society will be working together during the next few months to tell readers a little more about some of the old homes that are part of the city’s rich history.

The home at 365 North Main St., the white building on the corner of Main Street and the entrance to Cedar Hill Cemetery, is thought to be the oldest house in the city.

The original town of Suffolk, chartered in 1742, largely consisted of Main Street from the Nansemond River to the present day CSX train tracks and two subsidiary streets that are now a portion of Constance Road and Mahan Street.

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In 1779, the British burned the town and in 1837 a fire started on the north side of Mahan Street and burned the town.

The 365 North Main Street home is believed to have been built after the 1779 fire, but it escaped the 1837 fire, and it remains standing as the oldest house in the city.

In the first decade of the 1800s, it was the home of Archibald Richardson, who was appointed postmaster by Thomas Jefferson on May 12, 1804. The wing on the north end of the house is said to have been used as the post office by Richardson.

Richardson’s daughter married John Richardson Kilby, and this house served as the home for their family throughout the Civil War.