Mount Pleasant Under Absentee Ownership
Mrs. Emma E. Wingfield of Birmingham, New York, who inherited a controlling interest in Mount Pleasant in May 1884, was an absentee owner and probably placed the property in the hands of tenants or a farm manager. Deeds and tax records indicate that Mrs. Wingfield inherited a partial interest in the property from Reubin C. Gray and had purchased the residual interest of Charles M. Gray. Real estate tax rolls, which first credit Emma Wingfield (Winfield) with Mount Pleasant in 1883 (a year before she purchased Charles M. Gray’s share of the property) note that the farm consisted of 642 acres with $1, 250 worth of improvements and that it had come into her possession “by will of R. C. Gray.” Although the buildings at Mount Pleasant were valued at $1,250 in 1883 and 1884, by 1885 their estimated worth had risen to $1,300. The tax assessor failed to note why he revised his evaluation. He may have done so because Mrs. Wingfield had the buildings at Mount Pleasant repaired or improved or because she constructed a new building. The value of Mount Pleasant’s buildings remained constant, at $1,300, through 1887 (Surry County Deed Book 19:670; Land Tax Lists 1883-1887). In October 1887 Mrs. Emma E. Wingfield and her husband, B. F., of Birmingham, New York, sold their property to Amelia Schmitt ( actually, Schmidt) (Surry County Deed Book 22:365).