The De Hart Botanical Gardens is part of the former Myrtle Timberlake Plantation estate. Its colonial ancestral history is traced to a former land grant by Charles II of England. Records show that Richard Timberlake and his wife Mary owned considerable land in this area in 1789. One of their descendants was Julius P. Timberlake. He and his wife Martha acquired more than 2,000 acres and lived in the Rose Hill Plantation, a columned mansion with Georgian/Federalist design, located about one mile south of Louisburg on US 401. At Julius' death in 1901, his daugher Myrtle received 304.5 acres, mainly in the northeast of the Royal Crossroad. Foundations of the Myrtle Timberlake home remain on the De Hart Gardens' grounds and can be seen on a spur trail for the Waterfall Trail.