Archibald Few, with his sister Sarah, settled in the Village of Charlotte sometime in the late 1790s. An entrepreneur, Archibald would import goods from Philadelphia to the back country,TM and in the early 1800s began amassing land near the Sugar Creek community. In 1802 Archibald married Ann Cowan, whose father was a well respected Public Servant. Sarah was also married in 1802 to William Davidson, a wealthy and influential figure in the Greater Charlotte area. William Davidson would go on to be a US Congressman.
Now, a very well connected man, Archibald Few was named post master, and by 1814 was appointed tax collector. It was in 1815 that Archibald began construction on a lavish, by Scotch-Irish standards, federal style plantation house on his land now known as Rosedale Plantation. Adjacent to the house he installed the new fashionTM of gardens, which advocated lawns interspersed with sudden random plantings of gigantic single plants and rows of identical small plants in contrasting colors. Though his home was impressive, his income could not sustain the expense. Due to his tax problems, the property was purchased by his brother-in-law William Davidson at public auction.
In 1833 William Davidson sold the property to his son-in-law Dr. David Caldwell. In 1894 a friend of the Davidson family brought a gift to Rosedale, a hand-dug swamp chestnut oak taken from the bank of the Congaree River in South Carolina. Against all odds, this small sapling grew to become a focal point of the grounds. The tree was used as shade to shod horses, and as a place to hang hogs for cleaning after slaughter.
The swamp chestnut oak, now over 120 years old, is a popular attraction at Historic Rosedale Plantation. The oak, which holds a record for size in Mecklenburg County, is an eye catcher as you pull down the driveway from North Tryon Street. After decades of neglect the house and grounds are getting the care they need. The swamp chestnut oak stands as a true piece of living Charlotte history.