The Mill Prong House, in Hoke County (originally Robeson County), North Carolina, was built by John Gilchrist, Sr. in 1795. Gilchrist was a prominent land owner and politician during and after the War of Independence who had immigrated from the Scottish Highlands shortly before the war. The house was built on the Mill Prong of Raft Swamp, which took its name from McPhaul’s Mill which is a mile or so upstream. McPhaul’s Mill was a rendezvous point for the local Loyalist militia who fought for the king against the local Patriot militia in a vicious civil war. The house and surrounding area are symbolic of the Highland Scots immigrant community that settled the Cape Fear and Lumber River valleys in great numbers, beginning in 1739, with the arrival of the 350 Highlanders of the famed Argyll Colony. The historical significance of the site and surrounding area lies not only in its status as the source of Highland immigrant resistance to the idea of independence from Great Britain, but also as the source of the economic, political, social and cultural development of this region of North Carolina. The Scottish immigrant community that arose in the region around the Mill Prong House later played a critical role in the settlement of the “Old Southwest” (the area we now know as the Gulf States) and of Texas.
The Mill Prong House
Carolina Scots and the Settlement of the Old Southwest