Site of former farm on Fort Bragg to get marker
The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. (MCT)
For decades, descendants of Henry Jackson Kivett sought to have the site of his pre-World War I farm designated as a historical site on Fort Bragg.
The farm was known as Mont View. Kivett was one of many property owners whose land was bought by the federal government to make way for Camp Bragg.
His farm of more than 200 acres was near Bragg Boulevard and Randolph Street and Fort Bragg's Main Post Cemetery. The surrounding area was known as Manchester.
Kivett's granddaughter, Dolores Samons Harvell of Rockledge, Fla., says a marker on Mont View Vineyard will be dedicated this month at an informal, private family gathering in the area near the cemetery and the Battle Command Training Center.
"Not only does this marker commemorate the beginning history of Camp Bragg, now Fort Bragg," Harvell said. "It is closure to a project that was begun by my mother more than 60 years ago. It is closure to a project I have worked on for more than 10 years in conjunction with the officials of Fort Bragg."
Fort Bragg does not officially commemorate the installation of historic markers on post, said Fort Bragg spokesman Ben Abel.
"The marker was placed on the site because the construction of the Brigade Complex removed any remains of the homestead," Abel said. "The site was declared ineligible as a historic property."
Kivett's story represents the first chapter in the continuing saga of Fort Bragg's acquisition of land from surrounding property owners. In the 1950s, the government bought up dairy farms on its southern boundary near Cliffdale Road for land for an ammunition supply point, now the site of the Patriot Point project. In the 1990s, the government purchased land on its northern boundary on the Overhills estate from the Rockefeller family.
Kivett's property also included a winery, orchards, a large vineyard and a small variety store on Plank Road, which is now Bragg Boulevard.
Harvell said the government appraiser's report, dated Jan. 29, 1919, stated: "This farm is over improved. Much labor and money was expended in the construction of buildings and fences." The value was listed as $3,650.
A fire destroyed the first home of Kivett, who was also a carpenter and wine maker, his granddaughter wrote.
"With the loss of his first home and the government-forced buyout, Henry was a broken man at 60 years of age," Harvell wrote. "He suffered the first of two strokes before moving to Hope Mills in 1918 and was unable to work again."
The family had not moved away from Fort Bragg when the government brought in workers from Puerto Rico to help build the Army camp, Harvell wrote. Many died in the national influenza epidemic that ravaged the country during World War I.
"They would come at night to bury their dead on our grandfather's property, now the site of the Main Post Cemetery," Harvell wrote. " 'Grannie' would go out on the porch and fire her trusty rifle in the air to scare them off. It was to no avail. They continued to come every night for a long time."
According to family legend, the grandmother returned to the property to harvest crops planted before they moved.
"She was stopped at the gate by a young sentry, who informed her she could not enter government property," Harvell wrote. "Grannie quickly informed the young man, 'The government may have bought my property, but it has not bought my garden!' Whereupon, she smartly marched through the gate to successfully retrieve her vegetables. Further, what the young guard did not know was Grannie carried a pistol in the deep recesses of her apron pocket at all times and under her pillow at night."
Fort Bragg continued to play a role in the lives of Kivett's descendants.
Harvell was born on Fort Bragg while her father was in the Army, she said. She came into the world in USA Station Hospital One, now headquarters of the 18th Airborne Corps.