Friday, June 09, 2006

Blanche Moore Wedding Invitation

Here is a wonderful old wedding invitation submitted to the CCHA by a Caswellian who is very interested in the history of Blanche, North Carolina.

The wedding of Blanche Lydia Moore and Alexander (Sandy) Banks Moore did indeed take place at the Blanche Baptist Church on June 22, 1910.

Blanche Lydia Moore (1882-early 1960's) was the daughter of James Byrd Moore (1848-1900) and Bettie Margaret Powell (1851-1938). As James Byrd Moore had died, his wife was left alone to announce the wedding of their daughter in 1910. Note that Blanche Lydia did not need to change her surname.

Alexander Banks Moore (1879-1958) was known his entire life as Sandy. He was the son of Luther Thomas Moore (1852-1947) and Sarah Elizabeth Ferrell (1854-1892).

Blanche and Sandy Moore lived in the Blanche, North Carolina, community for many years before moving to Yanceyville, North Carolina. Their Blanche property was sold to Herman A. Smith and remains in the Smith family to this day. Blanche and Sandy had three children.

However, the community in which Sandy and Blanche first lived must have had another name (probably Rattlesnake). This is because the name was changed to Blanche, North Carolina, in honor of Blanche Lydia Moore. This name was bestowed either by Blanche's father (the first Blanche Postmaster) or by her uncle Daniel G. Watkins (the second Blanche Postmaster). Traditions differ on this.

Blanche attended Meredith College. Sandy was considered an excellent farmer and a great sportsman. According to family members, he took great pride in his bird dogs and riding horses.

They were members of the Blanche Baptist Church, which was built on land deeded by Bettie Margaret Moore, Blanche's mother.

Here is what William Powell has to say about Blanch (his spelling) in When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North Carolina, 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 319:

"Blanch, in the north central part of the county at the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek on the Dan River, as well as on the Norfolk, Franklin & Danville Railway, has been a post office since 1890. It is one of three neighborhoods in the area identified in 1940 as the Dan River community, but each of the three (Providence and Purley being the other two) was noted even then for its independence. There was a ferry across the Dan at Blanch and this, plus its country and local church, contribute to its 'village identity.' The community traditionally was named for Miss Blanche Moore, niece of D. G. Watkins who owned the land on which it developed beginning about 1875."

Here is a photograph of the Blanche Post Office in the early days.

Note that the ferry at Blanche across the Dan River was operated by John Monroe Walters (1879-1962) until it washed away one night in a storm. He lived on a farm in the Mountain Hill community in Virginia and ran the ferry from the Virginia side. The family has great stories about this ferry, including when a Model-A Ford missed the ferry and ended up in the Dan River!

When the Blanche Post Office initially was threatened with closure The Caswell Messenger ran an article (date not certain but in or after 1985) that contained interesting background information:

"The history of the Blanch Post Office was written up by Marvin Farmer who presently owns the Blanch Post Office building. Mr. John F. Walters had Major Steadman to establish a post office on Rattlesnake Creek where it empties into the Dan River in 1887, beside the Norfolk-Franklin-Danville Railway between Danville and Milton. According to records, the name of Rattlesnake was changed to Blanch on November 18, 1890 by the first appointed postmaster, Mr. James B. Moore. He named the rural community for his daughter, Blanch Moore.

Blanch was a rural area in which Bright Leaf tobacco was discovered. Known for quality tobacco, dairy, grain and cattle farms, farming provided the main income for its citizens. At one time there were more dairy farms on Blanch Road than any other area of Caswell County.

The Blanch Post Office is now in its sixth location since it was established. The present location, the 1,000 square foot brick building, was occupied on November 22, 1964 and is leased to the U. S. Postal Service.

Postmasters and starting dates include:

James B. Moore, 1887
Daniel G. Watkins, 1901
Robert Lea Harrison, 1906
Joel B. Walters, 1914
Elizabeth King Watkins, 1934
Eugenia Woody Walters, 1934
Marvin Nathaniel Farmer, 1961
Annie Roberts Rowland, 1985"

Note that some people spell the community "Blanch" and others use "Blanche". However, if the community indeed was named for Blanche Lydia Moore, the wedding invitation shown above would instruct that the proper spelling is Blanche. Surely, Mrs. Moore knew how to spell her daughter's name!

Please share your Blanche stories and photographs.


The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985)

When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977)

The Caswell Messenger

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