The Stable Office, according to John Hawks’ 1767 plans, featured two rooms for stables, one with four stalls and the other with six, as well as a “Coach House” and “Harness Room.” In a later description written in 1783, Mr. Hawks added that the Stable Office also included “Bedrooms for the servant employed in the stables and Lofts for hay or fodder etc.”
The Stable Office is the only remaining part of the original Palace complex. Both wings survived the 1798 fire that destroyed the main building of the Palace, but the Kitchen Office was demolished sometime in the early 19th century.
The Stable Office had many functions over the years. After the Civil War, it was used as a mission chapel and as a school for Christ Episcopal Church. In a memoir of North Carolina in the 1880s, John H. Wheeler noted that “the stables are still in a good state of preservation and are now used as school rooms.” The building was stuccoed in the 1870s, had its roof rebuilt at least once, and additions made in the rear. It was converted to residential use in the late 19th century and was an apartment house when the restoration of Tryon Palace began in the early 1950s.
Restoration on the Stable Office began in 1951. The 19th-century roof, rear additions and post-18th-century interiors were removed. When stucco was removed from the walls, about 75 percent of the original brickwork remained. False windows, which were part of the 18th-century design but which had been opened up in the 19th century, were bricked in again. Yellow brick pavers were laid for the floor, based on pavers found in archaeological digs. Original portions of the Stable Office include most of the exterior walls and the walls of the central passage. The wall separating the harness room from the stable was reconstructed.
Piecing together a list of the servants who worked for the Tryons in the Palace (1770-1771) is a historical scavenger hunt that spans across time and distance.
In 1765, before arriving at the Palace, Governor Tryon wrote a letter that mentioned seven servants at his home in Brunswick, North Carolina:
my trusty servant George
Pierre LeBlanc, cusinier [cook]
the lad we took from Norfolk
a sailor I have made my groom
a little French boy I got here
the girl we took from my farm
Turner, the farmer
However, Tryon did not mention two employees who had traveled across the Atlantic with him and his family. Patty Hatch, who kept house for the Tryons, and lady’s maid Ann Patterson are cited in period documents as having been staff since 1764.
By 1769 the Tryon household in Brunswick County included eight male and two female African American slaves. We know the names of only two slaves: Tom and Surry. Surry is listed in a 1777 runaway ad in a New Bern newspaper as being “formerly the Property of Governor Tryon, now belongs to the Estate of Isaac Edwards, deceased.”
Gov. Tryon bought Tom from James Murray in 1766. Murray wrote to the governor on May 5, 1766, stating that he had received payment for “the negro man Tom which I sold your Excellency.” On May 31, Murray sent a “Bill of Sale for Tom, who I rejoice to hear makes a good servant to so good a master.”
The Tryons left North Carolina in 1771, when Governor Tryon was appointed Governor of the Colony of New York. Their New York home at Fort George was destroyed by fire in 1773, and from documentation following the fire we know of twelve people then in their employ.
Housekeeper: Mrs. Patty Hatch
Steward: Malcolm McIsaac
Secretary: Colonel Fanning
Two servants of Colonel Fanning
Maids: Elizabeth Garrett, Elizabeth Laycock, Elizabeth Dudley
Lady’s maid: Mrs. Ann Patterson
Footman: Moses Marden
Servant: Isaac Dupuy
Colonel Edmund Fanning (1739-1818) was a Loyalist and New York native who, as a civil servant in Hillsborough, had ignited the ire of the Regulators, who accused him of extortion. After Governor Tryon put down the Regulator rebellion, Fanning served as his personal secretary until the Revolution. The slave Tom may be the same Tom mentioned in Murray’s 1766 letter. There is no further record of a Tom working for the Tryons after 1773.