Friday, November 16, 2007

Obituary of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix (1846-1931)

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The Caswell Messenger Newspaper 6 Aug 1931

Two Thousand People Attend the
Funeral of Dr. J. A. Pinnix Thursday

Beloved Physician and Proud Veteran of the Confederacy is Laid to Rest at Bethel Church in the Presence of What Was Estimated to be the Largest Concourse of People Ever Gathered at a Funeral in Caswell. Rev. J.S. Carden of Durham and Rev. J.S. Jones of Cross Roads Church Officiate.

The finest character created by any writer of the 19th century was the good Scotch physician, Doctor McClure, (Dr. John Watson) in Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush, according to Bishop William McDowell's opinion. One cannot read of great unselfish services rendered to scattered people of the extensive parish in the rugged highlands of Scotland by Dr. McClure without realizing that he is in the presence of one of the really great men of the earth.

On last Thursday the family and numerous friends of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix of Caswell County laid to rest in the quite country church yard at Baynes Store the mortal remains of a similar character, who had spent his long and useful life in devoted and unselfish service to mankind. It was estimated that there were two thousand people present at the funeral. Twelve ministers were there, two of whom officiated. These were Rev J.S. Carden, pastor of the Christian Church in Durham and the Rev. J.S. Jones, pastor of the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church.

The aged physician had been a loyal Mason and was buried with Masonic honors by the Caswell Lodge No. 539, assisted by the Yanceyville, Burlington and Mebane lodges, Dr. Patton of Elon College acted as master of ceremonies. Dr. Pinnix had long been the chairman of the Oxford Orphanage committee in his lodge. He loved Masonry devotedly, it is said.

Dr. John Alexander Pinnix, son of John Calvin and Barbara Pinnix was born in Caswell county on Oct. 8 1846, and died at his home in Caswell County at Baynes Store on July 29th, 1931, which made the days of his life to be 84 years, nine months and 21 days.

As a young man he read medicine at The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore and under the direction of Dr. Yancey of Yanceyville. He began the practice of medicine in 1875 while living at his birthplace in the Stoney Creek township. Thirty-five years ago he moved to Corbett, where he has lived and labored ever since. In August of 1894 Dr. Pinnix was married to Miss Ester Walker, daughter of Lieut. L.H. Walker of Caswell, who survives her husband. This union was blessed with one child, Mrs. A. Clay Murray, of Corbett, who, with her husband, resides with her mother. A foster daughter, Mrs. Clyde Fuqua of Hightowers also survives.

Dr. Pinnix was the last of his father's family. Some cousins of his now living are, W.B. Pinnix of Danville, Mrs. Virginia Hatchett of Ruffin and J. Charles Pinnix, a lawyer in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. W. B. Pinnix of Danville is the son of Alexander Kerr Pinnix. He says the name of "Alexander " in Dr. Pinnix's name was placed there in honor of Alexander K. Pinnix, who mas a magistrate at Pelham for 50 years.

Dr. Pinnix had a honorable war record, as a follow of Lee and Jackson, and is said to have been a gallant soldier. He entered the Confederate Army at the age of 16 and served continuously from then to the close of the war, being paroled as a lieutenant at Appomattox following the surrender. He kept his parole which is said to be the only one now known to be in the county. He was a member of company E, Eleventh North Carolina Regiment.

Mrs. Pinnix said that the Doctor accepted the Christian faith many years ago, but did not make a public profession of his faith until about ten years ago. She said the good Doctor assured her, before his death, that he was ready to go. When Kirk's army marched to Caswell to avenge the death of Stevens, some of Kirk's men captured Dr. Pinnix at Slade's Mill, and were marching with him towards Yanceyville. On the march Dr. Pinnix, then but a young man, escaped and hastened ahead to warn the people of Yanceyville that Kirk was coming.

No one but the Recording Angel knows how many people Dr. Pinnix has helped, during the half century of his active practice as a physician. It is said that he practiced medicine for love not money. He was never known to ask if the patient was able to pay, before responding to a call, and he never failed to go when called, even by a pauper.

Dr. John Pinnix has helped many people to purchase a farm or a home and was never known to foreclose on any one. He always gave his debtors all the time needed.

In the death of Caswell's veteran physician many have lost a wise counsellor. He would write a deed or a will for anyone and would never take a cent of pay. In his latter years when his trembling hand made writing difficult for him, he would ask his daughter, Mrs. Murray, to serve as his amanuensis.

Those who knew Dr. Pinnix well say that he lived only to help his fellow-men, as a tender hearted, skillful physician, as a wise counsellor, as a generous benefactor and as a patriotic citizen Dr. Pinnix was a zealous Confederate. But when the war was over he emulated Robert E. Lee and gave ardent and sincere devotion to the Union.

Such a man deserves a fitting memorial. The Messenger suggest that the proper steps be taken to secure and establish a fitting memorial to the high character and beneficent service of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix.

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