Dempsey Essick is a self taught, self expressed realist watercolor artist. He is known as the Hummingbird Bird Artist; not only for the hummingbirds he paints but for the hidden hummingbirds he hides in his paintings.
Like a voice from the past, the old Riley Everhart Home Place on Center Church Road in the Welcome, NC Community has long been a landmark in Davidson County, NC. Built in 1885 with brick manufactured on the site the beautiful old home literally grew out of the land it dominates.
Back in 1885, when Riley and Molly Everhart bought the land from Lewis Berrier and then proceeded to build their two-story brick home, they weren't thinking of landmarks. They were thinking of a secure home where they could raise their growing family. Just a year later their security was rocked when the great Charleston Earthquake of 1886 reached all the way into North Carolina and cracked one of the walls upstairs in the new home. The crack is still there. It has never been repaired.
The Everhart Homeplace was in the hub of activity of the Arnold Triangle between 1890 and 1915.
Welcome Resident Ann Clodfelter, a granddaughter of Riley and Molly, remembers, in 1951, she and Reid passed the old earthquake crack as they started their descent of the stairs to their wedding in the living room on the ground floor. Ann can also tell about cutting wood for the fires and how a piece of heart pine was always saved to start the fire in the kitchen stove each morning. There were eight rooms and each room had its own fireplace. In cold weather, they would rake hot embers out onto the hearth and set a pan of water on the coals to heat for a bath. Everyone slept in just one of the big bedrooms until the girls were older as they were afraid to sleep upstairs. The most frightening thing was when someone would yell "The chimney's on fire!" Flames would shoot out the top of the chimney and hot coals would fall back and roll out on the floor and would have to be swept back onto the hearth so the house wouldn't catch on fire. A tin roof was a clear necessity in those days to avoid the danger of the home burning down.
Dempsey has captured, as only he can, the rustic beauty of a 19th century, Italianate brick farmhouse built of hand made brick with a lovely red tin roof and with decoratively buttressed eaves, arched windows, and end chimneys rising through pedimented gable ends typical for the era. The home was stylish in its day and is still stylish over a century later. The generous lawn and abundant shade trees along with wide porches add to the compelling lure of the old home.
The well dressed snowman adds a colorful touch to the winter scene and bird lovers will notice an Eastern Bluebird resting atop the snowman's broom.
"As a young boy I passed the Riley Everhart home each day as I rode the school bus to and from Welcome Elementary School. It was the memory of those school days that inspired me to do the painting. One thing that I associate with the house is that it is on a hill high enough that when I passed by on the bus, I could look to the left and see Pilot Mountain in the distance."
"The house is an architectural masterpiece with all kinds of unique carpentry work throughout it. My dad, being the fine carpenter he was, would have appreciated the fine workmanship in this classic old home."