Last week’s article ended with the Godfreys selling the historic Godfrey-Barnette house on South Broad Street to the Stokes family in 1929. This week will include house history to modern times. Dr. Robert L. Stokes & Hazel Scott Stokes moved to Brevard in 1921. Prior to purchasing the Godfrey-Barnette house, the Stokes rented in Henderson County. In 1922 Robert and others were the driving force behind creating the first hospital in Transylvania County called the Riverside Sanitarium. In 1927 he sold his interest in the hospital and went into private practice instead.
With the purchase of Godfrey-Barnette house, Stokes was able to create an office for his medical practice. Stokes met with patients and at times allowed convalescent recovery on the second floor of the home. Architectural survey pictures taken in 1990 show one side of the house with a seemingly floating door on the second-floor level. Reports state that at one time a fire escape led from the door to the ground for patient safety. One may wonder if it also allowed discrete visitors to enter the second floor without disturbing the entire household.
Hazel seems to have assisted Robert with the medical practice. Her occupation was listed as “nursing” on Census records, and at one point another employee lived and worked in the house too – a nurse named Edith Nations from South Carolina. In 1938, the Stokes defaulted on their mortgage loan and the house was put up for public auction. The Stokes moved to a smaller house on Broad Street and Robert began working part-time for the Ecusta Medical Center and continued his private medical practice as well. The Stokes stayed in the community for the duration of Robert’s life (he passed in 1958), with Hazel staying in the area for several years before moving to various locations, eventually remaining in California near her family until her death in 1966.
On September 12, 1939, members of the Barnette family bought the Godfrey-Barnette house at public auction. Although the entire family consisted of eight daughters and one son, the four siblings listed on the real estate transaction records are Eva Barnette Jones & husband Charles Aycock Jones, Ethel Barnette Owen, Samuel Stevens Barnette, and Myrtle Barnette. Their parents, Adgar Washington Barnette (1876-1929) and Mary Altee Hollingsworth Barnette (1875-1953), came from Henderson County to Brevard in 1921 when Adgar became the Brevard Chief of Police. He served in this position until late 1928 when he became the jailer and deputy sheriff of Transylvania County. Only months after accepting his new position, Adgar suddenly died at the age of 53 after an asthma attack on April 6, 1929. Mary headed the household and kept the family together within the house they had all purchased together.
The Barnette family lived in the house for the next 28 years. The family’s only son to survive beyond toddlerhood, Sam, was lost at sea near the end of World War II. He had prepared for this eventuality, however, because prior to his military service, he had deeded his share of the home to his sister Ethel. The Barnettes did not change the house very much during their residency there other than a couple of home improvement projects in 1945 that included paneling the attic to expand livable space and adding a stone barbecue to the backyard. On December 20, 1967, the Barnettes sold the house to architect Robert Lemuel Daniels (1922-2008) and wife Rachel Cathey Daniels (1927-2022).
Daniels was an architect and kept an office in the McMinn building in downtown Brevard. The couple occupied the house for nearly 20 years and completed minor interior improvements during that time, including updating the kitchen, adding a ground floor bathroom, and constructing a framed garage. The Daniels owned the home until they sold it in 1987, and it remains in the ownership of those owners.
Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article was written by Local History Librarian Laura Sperry. Sources available upon request. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.