The “Surrender House” was purchased for $1,250 by Nathaniel Ragland in 1875. His widow sold the property for $10,000 in 1891 to Captain Myron Dunlap of Niagara Falls New York. Dunlap purchased the property planning to make money off the history of the house. Among the ideas, were to take the house apart and move it to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition as an exhibit, or to Washington DC and charge fees to see the home. Detailed drawing were made, the house was dismantled, and packed to be shipped, but Dunlap ran out of money, and the house was left forgotten for fifty years.
The United States Congress created the Appomattox Court House National Historical Monument in 1940. The archaeological work began on the 970 acre property in February 1941. The site was cleaned of years of brush and honeysuckle, and a meticulous reconstruction began. The bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 brought everything to a halt. Work was begun again in 1947.