209 Main Street
The Peter Ringware House was built on original Lot 23 of the town plat Theophilus Weeks laid out in 1771. In 1774, the owner of the lot was Archelous Weeks, son of Theophilus, probably an inheritance since this was about the time of Theophilus’ death. He sold the lot to William Wrenn who sold it to Benjamin Reeves, a bricklayer, on October 13, 1777 for 22 pounds. Archelous Weeks bought the lot back in January of 1778, built a house and resold the property to Peter Ringware on September 15, 1778 for almost three times the previous price of the lot (Ringware had just married Sarah Greenbarge on August 28, 1778).

Capt. Ringware was one of a number of early settlers of French decent. Near the end of the Revolution, he requested permission of Governor Thomas Burke to name a privateer vessel in his honor. He lost his home through mortgage foreclosure in 1784, possibly due to failure of his privateering venture. It is believed he moved to New Bern but by the 1790 census was living in Baltimore County, Maryland. Subsequent owners included Col. Reuben Grant, Solomon Eliot Grant, Isaac Lipsey, Brice Bender, William P. Ferrand, Daniel A. Hargett, Sr., and J.M. Jones. Ultimately, James and Eleanor Tudor bought the house and saved it from destruction, living in the house until ca. 2010.

The house is a two story structure with a full basement and attic, a chimney on each end, and built with ballast stone foundatons. The primary original portion of the house is 20 x 35 feet. Most of the exterior weather-boarding has been replaced with replicated material. The most significant changes to the house took place in early 1800. Archeologist Stanley South, during his extensive research and excavation believed the front porch was smaller, though still two story and the rear porch one story. The front porches were rebuilt to be larger and the rear porch changed to two stories with the upper story enclosed. Also two windows were added in the southwest end of the house.

The dating of different work was partly the handmade nails used in the original and cut nails of a specific design used in the additions. Excavations in the basement showed a lime/mortar floor about 1” thick over a wooden floor secured to timbers embedded in the earth. There is a fireplace of stone at one end and a closed over opening at the central stairway indicating the possibility that the stairs extended to the basement, possibly serving a kitchen in the basement. There was also a one story wing built along Elm Street in line with the end of the house, which was probably a kitchen to replace the one in the basement when it was abandoned. Not only was this structure removed in the mid 20th century but the rest of the back porch was closed in and a kitchen installed in that location.

The house is currently being painstakingly restored as information permits by its new owner, Samantha Grillo.