Construction on the main house began around 1842 by either Charles L. Vines or his father Charles, Sr. as a wedding gift to his son. The Vines family had enjoyed wealth and prominence in Beaufort County since the early 1700's, when Charles Vines' great, great grandfather, Capt. Samuel Vines (b. 1686, d. 1741) came over from England and settled near Bath, North Carolina. By the time construction on Myrtle Grove began, the Vines family had acquired large amounts of land throughout Beaufort, Pitt and Edgecombe counties.
Charles (later known as C.L.) married Martha Ann Williams and they made their home here at Myrtle Grove. The rich Edgecombe soil was well suited for cotton and made C.L. a very wealthy man. He and Martha had seven children, three girls and four boy, who lived to adulthood. All married except two of his sons; John, a lawyer, and William, a doctor. Both practiced in the Falkland area, and both died at a young age.
C.L. had an older brother, John Vines, who built Vinedale a few miles north near Pinetops. Combined, the two brothers owned over 2000 acres. The Vines family had their own sawmill and a school as well, called Vinesville Male and Female Seminary.
Martha died in 1882 of pneumonia at the age of 61. C.L., then being alone at Myrtle Grove, sold the house and most of the land soon afterwards to Joseph Hearn of the Farmville area. C.L. gave some of his land to his fourth son, also named Charles, and even with substantially reduced land holdings from what his father once owned, in the August 12, 1885 issue of The Eastern Reflector, he was listed as one of the largest and most successful farmers in Pitt county, having a “15 horse farm”.
The Hearns began a new chapter in the life of Myrtle Grove. They “modernized” the house by altering the Greek Revival porches and transforming it into a Victorian style home.
When Joseph Hearn died, the house and most of the land was acquired by his son, William Hearn. William married Nannie Parker from the Farmville area. “Miss Nannie”, as she was affectionately called, took over the operation of the estate when her husband died at a young age. Miss Nannie had a great love for gardening and was one of the charter members of the Edgecombe County Garden Club. People would travel from as far as Raleigh in the spring just to drive through the grounds at Myrtle Grove to see Miss Nannie's beautiful gardens.