Friday, December 26, 2008

Thomas Richmond McPherson (1929-2008)

(click on photograph for larger image)

Thomas Richmond McPherson (1929-2008)

Yanceyville (Greensboro News Record, 26 December 2008) — Thomas Richmond McPherson, Sr., 79, formerly of Yanceyville, died on Tuesday, December 23, 2008, in the Coble Health Center of Twin Lakes Community in Burlington after several years of declining health. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, December 27, at the Yanceyville Presbyterian Church with burial in the church cemetery. A memorial service will be held in Foley Chapel at Twin Lakes at a later date. He was born on May 30, 1929, in Mebane, N.C., to the late William Edgar and Irene Richmond McPherson and was a grandson of the late William King and Elizabeth Slaughter McPherson and the late Thomas Bethel and Margaret Murray Richmond, all of Mebane.

In 1951, he graduated from North Carolina State with a degree in Animal Industry and an ROTC commission. He was a member of Alpha Zeta honor fraternity and Alpha Gamma Rho social fraternity, the Ag Club, the NCSU Collegiate 4H Club and was a member of the NCSU Dairy Judging Team. He was an Infantry Officer during the Korean War and spent the last year of the war on the front lines in the Punch Bowl area of Korea. His agricultural heritage and his love of the land and farming were major factors in his life's journey. From his early teens he was actively involved in the operation of McPherson Farms with its herd of registered Guernseys. Following his military service he was a partner in the family dairy operation for 10 years. In 1959, he was 1st runner up for NC's Young Farmer of the Year. In 1963, he became county supervisor of USDA's Farmers Home Administration program in Caswell County, N.C. from which he retired in 1989. In retirement he was able to pursue his love of trees and landscaping and spent many hours root pruning and nurturing trees from the woods to be planted in his large yard or to contribute to the Caswell Horticulture Club for the Community Arboretum.

He joined Mebane Presbyterian Church as a youth and faithfully served his Lord for all of his life. In Mebane he was ordained as a deacon and served as chair of the church's Board of Deacons. In the Yanceyville Presbyterian Church he was ordained as an Elder and served two terms as Clerk of Session and was chair of the Cemetery Trustees. He was a member of the Yanceyville Rotary Club for 45 years, served as Rotary president twice, and was a Paul Harris Fellow in International Rotary. An avid golfer, he and his golfing partner and friend, Will Woodard, were faithful members of the Eno Seniors Golfers, and also spent many days enjoying the local golf course.

He had a special passion for NCSU basketball, for the legendary Everett Case brought big time basketball to North Carolina during his campus caperer days, but was truly a Wolfpack fan for other sports, too. His family's enthusiasm for baseball led him to follow the St. Louis Cardinals and the prowess of a distant cousin, Enos Slaughter at an early age. In recent years he faithfully cheered for the Atlanta Braves.

With his wife and son, Davis, he restored historic Woodside (c. 1836) in Milton, N.C., in 1986 and operated Woodside Inn, a country inn and bed and breakfast for eight years. Woodside Inn was one of two public facilities where the woodwork of the famous free black cabinet and furniture craftsman could be seen. For this restoration the family received the top award of the NC Chapter of the Victorian Society of America. Robert E. Lee's legendary general, Stephen Dodson Ramseur, the youngest West Point graduate to be a Major General in the Confederate Army, married his first cousin in the parlor at Woodside and their only child was born there. This connection stoked his passion for history, and he became a member of the NC Civil War Roundtable leading to the accumulation of a large collection of some of the best books about the war all of which were read.

On March 8, 1952, he married Elizabeth P. Parker of Raeford, N.C., who survives. They met in 1950 at an NCSU/ WCUNC Collegiate 4H Club gathering at the Woman's College of UNC.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Thomas Richmond McPherson, Jr. and wife, Kathy Simmons McPherson of Pinehurst, N.C.; his son, Edgar Davis McPherson and wife, Lise Wurzbacher of Silver Spring, Md.; his daughter, Elizabeth McPherson Mollica and husband, Michael Mollica of Charlottesville, Va.; six grandchildren, Thomas Richmond McPherson, III and wife, Janet of Winston- Salem, N.C., Katherine Miles McPherson of New York City, Mariah McPherson and Marlee McPherson of Silver Spring, Md., Brittany Mollica and Elise Mollica of Charlottesville, Va.; one brother, William Edgar McPherson, Jr. of Mebane; brother- in-law, D.B. Parker and wife, Sylvia; sister-in-law, Ellen K. Parker, all of Fayetteville; 12 nieces and nephews; and many great-nieces and nephews; an uncle, Ernest Richmond and wife, Ruth of Mebane; an aunt, Alice McPherson Patisaul of Augusta, Ga. A loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and cousin, he was always happy when there were family gatherings to enjoy.

Visitation will be held from 5 until 6:30 p.m. Friday, December 26, at Harrelson Funeral Home in Yanceyville. Memorials may be made to the Richmond-Miles Museum, Box 278, Yanceyville, NC 27379 or to the Caswell Parish, Yanceyville, NC 27379. Harrelson Funeral Service is assisting the family with arrangements. Offer condolences at

 You probably do not know that my family bought Woodside in the early 1980's and then asked ourselves "What will we do with it?" A friend said, "You may know as much about what you will do with it as if my dog would catch the cars he loves to chase. What would he do with the car?" We really hadn't give thought to that. When we moved to Yanceyville, my husband's mother told us: "My grandfather Richmond was born in Caswell County. I want you to find the Richmond home where he was born." This was the first Richmond home posted we found, but we didn't know whether it was the right one. A few days later it was posted "For Sale" and my husband was anxious not to miss purchasing it in case it was his Richmond family home place. He called me and said, "I'm going to buy it! I can get it for $16,000. That's a good buy!" SO, We bought it! We sold it ca. 1994 and I won't get into what we spent, but it wasn't cheap!

Rick, I maintained careful records - photos before and after - with many written pages. I later gave the records to CCHA after we sold Woodside. I would love to hear that CCHA published the details to benefit CCHA. Maybe we could contribute something to the cost. Woodside was owned by Caleb Hazard Richmond and his descendants until ca. 1903. Two families followed each other until ca. 1940 (can't remember their names). All 3 families re-located away from Caswell county and after they left. Bo, who ID'd himself to us as a grandson of a Richmond's slave cook moved into the house. We often said, Bo did as much as we did by keeping Woodside from vandalism for more than 40 years. The pictures will show the improvements we achieved. Even with furnishings I sought to preserve the Richmond heritage period by always buying appropriate details.

Later owners made many improvements but felt free to abandon the emphasize of its heritage. My daughter (an NCSU grad professional designer) designed a sign post to hang at the driveway entrance which she carefully reproduced to scale the beautiful newel post. When things liked this happened, we just reminded us, "We just sold it! Forget details like that"

One more thing for accuracy - the Caswell County Architectural book lists Woodside as being built ca. 1856. This is incorrect. The Richmond descendants documented that Woodside's Federal style home facing east was built ca. 1825 when Caleb Richmond married a local woman who died after their third child was born. He remarried in mid 1830s - another local woman - six children were born to them. He enlarged his home to enable the home to care for his family. Via this addition Woodside became purely Greek Revival style facing south. An architectural specialist for ID'ing change in old homes came with a group see older homes in Caswell County. When they came to Woodside for lunch, he questioned my belief that Woodside was built at one time (vs. at 2 or more times of adding). He led me around the exterior to show the proof outside then a walk through the interior to show additional proof. When you have an opportunity to look carefully, take this list with you.

Exterior: Rear of Woodside - Federal style roof line; on east side of Woodside - evidence of eliminating window adjoining chimney in east front room; Front (South) Greek Revival style roof line including change of front east side from original Federal style to Greek Revival style etc.

Interior:  Small room between large rooms (east front room and east back
room) was original hall; evidence of stairwell especially visible in upstairs floor where fireplaces upstairs and downstairs added later; both downstairs and downstairs had pegs for hanging up boots and extra chairs; addition of fireplaces in this area included a narrow closet in the hall exactly the right size for the rack built by Thomas Day to store the additional space used to increase the size of the dining room table (can change the dining table from size 4-6 to 12-14) and on the other side of the fireplaces (in the dining room) a floor to ceiling cabinet store; etc.

Source: Lib McPherson Email ( 8 January 2014.