Monday, November 12, 2018

"Lea's Bridge"

"Lea's Bridge"

Drive east today from Leasburg, North Carolina, on U.S. Highway 158 (Leasburg Road) toward Roxboro and you will cross South Hyco Creek just before reaching Lea's Chapel United Methodist Church. A bridge apparently has been on or near that location for centuries.

When the area became Person County in 1792, it fell to the people thereof to maintain the bridge, located on the road to the commercially important town of Leasburg.

In 1806, the Person County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions appointed Nathaniel Norfleet, Moses Bradsher, John McMurry, and Reuben Walton commissioners for the purpose of letting to the lowest bidder the building of a bridge across "South Hico" where the old Lea's bridge stood.

In 1807 these commissioners reported to the court that the contract had been awarded to Edmund Shelton for the sum of £104.10.0, for which he was to construct a new bridge and keep in repair for seven years.

Shelton was to be paid upon completion of the bridge or "so soon as the County funds will admit."

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Given the location of "Lea's Bridge," two of the commissioners appointed by the court most likely are: Moses Bradsher (c.1755-1820); Reuben Walton (c.1777-1860). A daughter of Moses Bradsher, Elizabeth Bradsher (1780-1827), married Reuben Walton.

The bridge probably was called "Lea's Bridge" because it was on or very near property owned by Captain William (South Hico) Lea (c.1715-1804). He was granted land on South Hico in 1755.

Leasburg Road

Leasburg Road

Even after Person County was split from Caswell County in 1792 and the seat of Caswell County government moved from Leasburg to what would become Yanceyville, it appears that Leasburg for some time remained a commercial center for the area surrounding it, including into the newly formed Person County.

In February 1799, the Person County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions was petitioned for a road from Paine's Tavern to the Caswell County line (somewhat inartfully drafted):

"We your petitioners do humbly pray your worships to grant us an order for a road from the county line dividing Caswell and Person beginning at the line between Capt. John McMullin and Phillip Sneed, running the nearest and best way to Paine's Tavern as it is extended through Caswell County to the line, it is the desire of the inhabitants of said county that it may be continued to Paines Tavern or as far as may be convenient for going to market. . . ."

Some of the Petition Signers

Andy Woods
Clayton Jones
James Eubank
George Burch
Thompson McKissack
Thomas Wilkerson
John Malone
Abraham Johnson
Edmund Burch

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Person County: 1792

North Carolina Statutes Adopted in 1791

Laws of North Carolina

At a General Assembly, begun and held at Newbern, on the Fifth Day of December, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-One, and in the Sixteenth Year of the Independence of the said State: Being the First Session of Said Assembly. 1791. Alexander Martin, Esq., Governor.

CHAP. LIII. An Act for Dividing Caswell County.

I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of February next, the county of Caswell shall be equally divided by a line already run, beginning on the Virginia line, and running from thence forth to the line of Orange county.

II. And be it further enacted, That all that part of said county lying west of the line aforesaid, including the four western districts, shall continue and remain a distinct county by the name of Caswell; and that all that part lying east of said line including the four eastern districts, shall be erected into another distinct county by the name of Person.

III. And for the due administration of Justice, Be it enacted, That the courts for the county of Caswell shall be constantly held on the fourth Mondays in March, June, September and December, in each and every year; and the courts for the county of Prson shall be constantly held on the third Mondays in March, June, September and December, in each and every year; and the court for the county of Caswell, after the first day of February next, shall be held at Joseph Smith's, on the fourth Monday in March next; and the first court for the county of Person shall be held at the house of John Paine, on the third Monday in March next; and the Justices for each of the said counties of Caswell and Person are hereby authorized to adjourn to such places in their respective counties as they shall think most convenient, to hold all subsequent courts, until court houses, prisons and stocks shall be built in each respective county.

IV. And be it further enacted, That the court houses in the said counties shall respectively be as nearly central as possible, regard being had to springs and situation.

V. And be it further enacted, That David Hart, Wyatt Stubblefield, David Shelton, Solomon Parks, John Graves and William Muzzle, be appointed Commissioners for the county of Caswell; and James Jones, Goodly Warrell, Samuel Woods, John Womack and Stephen Moore, be appointed Commissioners for the county of Person; which said Commissioners, or a majority of the, slall in their respective counties fix on the places where the buildings of said county shall be erected.

VI. And be it further enacted, That the Sheriffs and Collectors of the county of Caswell shall have full power and authority to collect, agreeable to law, all such taxes and arrears of taxes, and other dues, that may be due and owning from the inhabitants of said county at the time of dividing the same, in the same manner as if the said county had remained undivided.

VII. And be it further enacted, That the Justices of the county courts of Caswell and Person shall each appoint four freeholders, to serve as jurors at the superior curts for the district of Hillsborough; and the said counties shall compose part of said district.

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Friday, November 09, 2018

Byrd Edward Fuller

World War I Soldier
Private 895-1Byrd Edward Fuller (1918), died serving his country in World War I. No he was not in combat, as few black soldiers were. He was assigned to Company D, 344th Quartermaster Labor Battalion, and provided critical support services to US troops and allies.
In September 1918, young Fuller sailed for France. Where he landed is not known. Nor do we know where he died. We do know that he died October 5, 1918, of pneumonia, and his life and service are memorialized on the tablets at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial just outside Paris, France.
Byrd Edward Fuller was born March 20, 1895, in Caswell County, North Carolina, the son of Mollie Fuller. He was a stout man of medium height, with grey eyes and black hair. When he registered for military service June 5, 1917, Byrd was living in, Guilford County, North Carolina, where he worked at Proximity Cotton Mill (part of Cone Mills that produced denim cloth). On his World War I Registration Card, Byrd listed no physical disability and was shown as single. He apparently never married.
However, he had his mother and many siblings to honor his memory.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Lea's Chapel

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Rose, Ben Lacy and Satterfield, Preston III. Chapel on South Hyco: The story of Lea's Chapel United Methodist Church, Person County, North Carolina: 1750-2000 AD. Richmond: B. L. Rose, 2000.

The Sharecropper's Wife: A Memoir

Daniel, Lucille. The Sharecropper's Wife: A Memoir. Morrisville (North Carolina): Lulu Press, Inc., 2015.

Growing up in rural Person County, North Carolina, during the Great Depression, Lucille Daniel learned how to work at a very early age. Like most sharecroppers, her family moved almost every year, enduring harsh conditions and dishonest landowners.

She attended a one-room school house through the eighth grade, and married a sharecropper at age 19. Being a sharecropper's wife meant uprooting her family every spring and moving to a different tobacco farm. It meant using every ounce of creativity and resourcefulness to turn a shack into a home. It meant using her faith to make something out of nothing.

Through it all, she kept one dream in her heart: her children would get the education that she was denied. They would have a better life than she did. They would not be forced to work someone else's land. And they would leave the tobacco fields forever.



Wilhelmina is a feminine given name, the Dutch and German form of Wilhelm or William, which is derived from the Germanic wil, meaning "will, desire" and helm, meaning "helmet, protection."

The name is not often associated with Caswell County. As of this posting, the Caswell County Family Tree contains 75,138 people, and the name Wilhelmina is found only five times. Except for one person, the name is associated with the Lea family:

1. Wilhelmina Lea (1843-1936)
2. Cara Wilhelmina Lea (1890-1976)
3. Wilhelmina Shirley Lea (1897-1977)
4. Wilhelmina Lea Thomas (1897-1966)
5. Wilhelmina Ethel Rahner (1918-bef.2009)

Only two of these people actually lived in Caswell County:

Wilhelmina Lea (1843-1936), is a daughter of Reverend Solomon Lea (1807-1897) of Leasburg. Reverend Lea's father is William Lea (1776-1873), and this may account for his naming a daughter Wilhelmina. She never married and rests at the Leasburg Community Cemetery.

Wilhelmina Lea Thomas (1897-1966), born in Leasburg, is a great granddaughter of Reverend Solomon Lea and may be named in honor of her grandaunt Wilhelmina Lea. In 1920, Wilhelmina Lea Thomas married Frank Dixon Upchurch (1895-1968). She rests at Maplewood Cemetery in Durham, North Carolina.