Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thomas Jefferson Florance (1858-1926) Obituary

(click photograph for larger image)

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) 29 December 1926 (Page 9)

Thomas Florance Was Caswell County Road Champion

Yanceyville, N.C. Dec. 29 (1926) - In the passing of Thomas J. Florance, who was laid to rest in the cemetery of the Yanceyville Presbyterian church Sunday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock death removed one of the most widely-known citizens of Caswell county. The burial service, beautiful in its simplicity, was conducted by Rev. W . W. McMorries, pastor of the Yanceyville Presbyterian fold. Death came to Mr. Florance at Edmunds hospital in Danville, where he had been carried for remedial treatment. The funeral services were largely attended, many people from all sections of Caswell gathering to pay their last tribute. A number of friends from Danville attended the obsequies.

The pall-bearers were Dr. S. A. Malloy, Julius Johnston, George A. Anderson, S. M. Bason, R. L. Mitchelle, and A. Yancey Kerr. Floral designs of rare beauty were borne by more than 30 friends.

Deceased for 30-odd years had been in the mercantile business at this place, and was everywhere respected for his integrity and open fairness of manner. A member of the Presbyterian church, for many years he had given service as superintendent of the Sunday school. He took a live interest in all the activities in Caswell which meant a larger life for the county.

Mr. Florance was chairman of the Caswell county highway commission at the time the great road building program of the county began. He was the prime mover in the adoption of the Yanceyville-Danville road as a state project, and his first official act was to secure a county allocation of funds, which was used in building the Caswell section of highway No. 10 between Pelham and Danville. He also championed the construction of road No. 62, which project opened up a section of the county that has made great strides.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Nannie Lea Florance, and the following children: A. L. Florance, county treasurer, Mrs. F. G. Harrelson, Mrs. H. L. Gwynn, and Miss Mary Lea Florance; also one grandchild, Thomas Carter Florance, and two brothers, A. B. and S. Y. Florance of Anderson township.

Thomas Jefferson Florance (1858-1926) was the son of Empson Florance (1820-1888) and Eliza Boswell (1823-1877). On 30 November 1887 he married Nancy Kerr Lea (1869-1939), daughter of Jeremiah A. Lea (1841-1916) and Mary Elizabeth Lindsey (1847-1869).

Thomas Jefference Florance and Nancy Kerr (Nannie) Lea Florance had four children:

1. Alvis Lea Florance (1889-1964) m. Rose Lee Carter (1902-1998)

2. Maud Florance (1894-1982) m. Frederick Graves Harrelson (1888-1956)

3. Helen Tom Florance (1898-1977) m. Dr. Houston Lafayette Gwynn, M.D.

4. Mary Lea Florance (1903-1995) m. (1) John Yancey Gatewood (1893-1954), (2) John Richard Nicks (1904-1976)

Those who served as pall bearers at the funeral of Thomas Jefferson Florance are remarkable for their positions of importance in the community:

Dr. S. A. Malloy (1872-1944) is probably the most-beloved family physician ever to practice in the Yanceyville area of Caswell County. Dozens, if not more, baby boys were given the middle name Malloy.

Julius Johnston, Jr. (1890-1931) was a prominent local lawyer, as was his father of the same name before him.

George A. Anderson (1869-1945) was Caswell County Clerk of Court 1926-1934.

Samuel Murphy Bason (1894-1986), among other things, was President of the Bank of Yanceyville for fifty-two years.

Robert Lee Mitchelle (1865-1939), Clerk of the Caswell County Superior Court 1902-1922, President of the Bank of Yanceyville (trained his successor, Samuel Murphy Bason).

Albert Yancey Kerr (1878-1942), editor and publisher of the Caswell County Democrat newspaper, served in the 1927 North Carolina General Assembly, and was Judge of the County Recorder's Court.

Note that various parts of this family used Florance, others used Florence or Flourance. It makes research difficult.


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