Kivett Building

History of the Quilt


Project Description

Evaluations of Accomplishments

Future Plans for the Project

Proposal Letter

Request to Commissioners

Biographies by Homemakers Clubs

Biographies by Friends of the Library


The Kivett Building, School of Law Campbell University Buies Creek, N. C.


The 102 year history of Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, contains many dramatic incidents but none of them is as fascinating as the story of its first brick building.

James Archibald Campbell began his school in a one room church house in 1887. Thirteen years later his Buies Creek Academy was housed in a large two story building and enrolled almost 400 students. Then, tragedy struck! On December 20, 1900, a fire completely consumed the building. Mr. Campbell, who had worked day and night for thirteen years was distraught. He had no money and could see no way to rebuild the institution.

Mr. Zachary Taylor Kivett had encouraged Campbell to open the school, had helped to build a "Tabernacle" on campus, and had enrolled some of his children in the Academy. On the day of the fire "Z.T." found Campbell lying in his bed, completely convinced that the Buies Creek Academy would close its doors forever. Holding James Archibald Campbell's hand, Zachary Taylor Kivett pledged himself, his family, and his plantation, if so required, to rebuild, in brick, a more suitable building.

Z. T. and his three eldest sons, Stewart, Herndon, and Hendricks, with the help of some student volunteers, remodeled the Tabernacle so that classes could be held there. With little money, but tremendous courage and faith, Z. T. designed a two story stone and brick building 92 by 70 feet, with a 50 by 32 foot wing. On the front was a 20 by 20 bell tower of four stories containing rooms for telegraphy, band music, etc. On the rear was a similar tower of three stories.

Hundreds of people helped to build this remarkable building that will be used well into the 22nd century. Students cut 25 cords of wood, one boy sold his gun for $7 and contributed it to the building fund. Mr. Campbell worked hard to raise construction funds. Money was raised and labor was contributed but the building could not have been built without one man, Mr. Zachary Taylor Kivett.

Z. T. and his three oldest sons built a one room "shack" on the site and the four of them and sister Virginia, 14 years old, moved in. Virginia cooked, cleaned, and attended classes at the Academy while Z. T. and the boys worked on the building. Z. T. never charged for his architectural or engineering work or for the first 25 days that he and his three sons worked on the building. It is a matter of record that money was seldom available when it was needed and Z. T. often used his own funds to purchase construction supplies. Before the building was completed he had sold 100 acres of his farm, and three crops had gone unplanted. For the 28 months he and his sons lived in the "shanty" they received less than $1,000.

A brick machine (including a kiln) and a sawmill were needed to build the large building Kivett had designed. In February, 1901, Z. T. ordered a brick machine, but the price was $380 and no money was available so he canceled the order.

When a brick making machine was acquired the three boys were put in charge. The kilns had to be tended day and night. The work was hot, dirty, and perpetual. In the meantime, Z. T. was supervising the work of the masons and the carpenters. Whenever help was needed he pitched in.

This handsome building that now houses the Campbell University Law School was completed on November 2, 1903. It is, above all, a monument to Zachary Taylor Kivett, an unusual man, with an unusual family. He had a large dream and he possessed the ability, tenacity, and courage to make that dream real.


Written By: Glen R. Rasmussen

For: The Friendly Extension Homemakers Club Buies Creek, North Carolina

Quilt Square: The only square on quilt in counted cross stitches Row 5, Number 28

Embroidery and Applique by: Jane McKinney

Member of Friends of The Library