Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caswell County Historical Association

The Caswell County Historical Association was organized in 1956. Headquartered in Yanceyville, North Carolina, the goals of the CCHA are to promote the study of local history and genealogy, to collect and interpret local artifacts, to preserve local historical structures, to provide as much information as possible about Caswell County online, and to assist Caswell County with heritage tourism projects.

The CCHA owns and operates the Richmond-Miles History Museum, which is located in the historic Graves-Florance-Gatewood House on The Square in Yanceyville.

In addition to its Main Website, the CCHA also operates a lively Message Board, has created an online Family Tree, offers an online Photograph Collection, has partnered with Cemetery Census to share online information about Caswell County cemeteries, and operates a Weblog.

These online projects, only begun in 2005, have been very successful. The Main Website contains hundreds of articles on various aspects of Caswell County's history and the genealogy of its people. The Message Board is approaching 350 subscribers and has had over 1800 messages posted. The Family Tree has almost 34,000 entries, while the Photograph Collection displays over 15,000 images.

CCHA members receive as benefits our Lives and Times quarterly newsletter, a Members-Only Area at our Main Website, and free access to the Richmond-Miles History Museum.

In 2008, the CCHA in partnership with the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina, established the Caswell County Historical Association Collection. The materials are housed at the Wilson Library in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This allows the CCHA to share more broadly its collection of historical materials, provides them a safe repository, and eventually will make much of the collection available online, which should greatly assist those conducting research that involves Caswell County. The centerpiece of the collection is the 1840s Tobacco and Slave Ledger the CCHA recently obtained and restored.

The CCHA has published several books over the years, including:

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

An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina, Ruth Little-Stokes (1979)

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

And, we currently are working on a photographic history of Caswell County that we hope to publish by mid-year 2009.

A major attraction at the Richmond-Miles History Museum is the Maud Gatewood Exhibit. Not only was this famous North Carolina artist born in Yanceyville, she was born in the house that now serves as the Museum. Gatewood was arguably the most important living North Carolina painter and considered by art historians, curators, museum directors and collectors as one of the most important painters in North Carolina history.

This photograph shows part of the Maud Gatewood Exhibit, including the last canvas on which she worked. Gatewood exhibited widely in the Southeastern United States and was honored with a retrospective exhibition covering 40 years of painting, organized by the Weatherspoon Gallery of Art at UNC-G in Greensboro, NC. The exhibition toured from 1994-95 in what is now the Cameron Museum of Art in Wilmington, NC as well as the Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC; Albany Museum of Art in Albany, GA and the Gallery of Art and Design at NC State University in Raleigh, NC.

CCHA President Karen Oestreicher can be reached at: