Thursday, November 20, 2008

Milton Hotel


Milton Hotel Destroyed by Fire

Fire swept through a 20-room hotel at Milton late Friday night and destroyed the structure, long a landmark in the town's business district. It was the third incident involving the old building in the past 10 days, Recently, a dynamite stick thrown into the apartment of a nonstriking textile worker rocked the building, and on Wednesday night a fire swept through a room on the rear of the ground floor. Milton firemen had to give up the fight to save the building Friday night and concentrated on protecting nearby property.

Source: The Greensboro Daily News 6 May 1951.
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Milton Mourns Memory-Filled Ancient Hotel (Scenes of Early Glamorous Life)

Milton, N. C., May 7 - The people of this historic Caswell county township remain highly indignant over the burning a few nights ago of the old Gordon Hotel. They are hopeful that ti will not be impossible to "crack" the case of arson which is generally suspected, especially since two previous efforts within ten days were made to destroy the ancient hostelry. There is, too, a sense of injury among the older Miltonians resentful that a town which peculiarly has its own placid way of life, it should have been made to suffer from the backlash of an industrial dispute in another state and many miles distant.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dr. Charles Caldwell and Nathaniel Greene



Charles Caldwell (May 14, 1772 – July 9, 1853, Nashville, Tennessee)

A noted 19th century U.S. physician who is best known for starting what would become the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Born to Irish immigrants in Caswell County, North Carolina, he earned an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1796while studying under Benjamin Rush. After graduating, he practiced medicine in Philadelphia and was a lecturer at Penn. He also edited the "Port Folio" (one of the day's primary medical magazines) and published over 200 medical publications.

In 1819, he left Philadelphia to join the fledgling medical school at Lexington, Kentucky's Transylvania University, where he quickly turned the school into the region's strongest. In 1821, he convinced the Kentucky General Assembly to purchase $10,000 worth of science and medical books from France, many of which are still held at the university.

Despite his success, his "abrasive" and "arrogant" temperament created enemies at Transylvania. The university's medical program would fold soon afterwards. The school dismissed him in 1837, and he then traveled with several colleagues to Louisville, where they created the Louisville Medical Institute. as at Transylvania, he made the new school an instant success, with its rapid growth into one of the region's best medical schools. However, he was forced out in 1849 due to a personal rivalry with Lunsford Yandell.
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Oddly, Dr. Charles Caldwell authored the book: Memoirs of the Life and Campaigns of the Hon. Nathaniel Greene, Major General in the Army of the United States, and Commander of the Southern Department, in the War of the Revolution. The book was published in 1819 when Caldwell was Professor of Natural History in the University of Pennsylvania. For images of this book go to:

Book Images

See also:

Caldwell

However, possibly it was not so odd that Dr. Caldwell would author a book on Nathaniel Greene. Caldwell was born in Caswell County, and it was through Caswell County that General Greene conducted his famous "Retreat to the Dan." Caldwell would have been a young boy at the time and may have had some personal recollection of the event or what he heard at the time.

A book on Greene's tactical retreat is available from the CCHA:

CCHA Publications

See also: The Tactical Retreat of General Nathaniel Greene, Thomas J.
Edmonds (2006).

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Azariah Graves Building (Yanceyville)


"Brown's To Get New Life As Country Store"

By Angela Evans
4 November 2008
Managing Editor
© The Caswell Messenger


Brown's Seafood will soon have new life. Charles and Christina Ward, of Anderson, recently bought the former restaurant and are planning to turn it into a country store. The Wards plan to sell coffee, gifts and bakery goods. Christina Ward said the store will sell goat's milk soap and cheese and other products the couple make on their farm like baskets, wood crafts, jewelry and pottery. "She does pottery and I do woodworking," Charles said. "But it's simpler to start off with a wholesaler and then build as we go." Christina said the store will also offer fresh-made sandwiches and some organic foods, coffees and teas.

"We have a farm, and last summer we planted vegetables, and we had an abundance," she added. Charles said the couple plans to restore Brown's to its original state. The older part of the building is about 200 years old and the newer side is about 70 years old, he said. What does restoring it entail? "Quit a bit," Charles said. "We're gonna try and blend this side with the other side a little better." The old bar top will be the new countertop for the store. "We're coming up with different ideas as we go," Charles said.

Owning a country store has long been a dream for Christina; and when her mother died, Christina knew it was time to act. "When my mom passed away in 2002 that's when I stopped doing computer work; so I decided I wanted something more," Christina said. "Because my mom passed away a year after she realized her dream." Christina explained that her mother had always wanted to have a large building built. Having realized that accomplishment with the construction of a three-story office building in 2001, her mother died only a year later of colon cancer. Christina said shortly after her mother's death she also lost a brother to colon cancer and another brother is currently in remission. The illness and death in her family served as a wakeup call to Christina, who wants to be able to live her dream for as long as possible.

"Instead of sitting in a cubicle I decided I'd do what I always wanted to do," Christina said. "I still sit in a cubicle," Charles interjected, laughing. Charles works for fidelity investments as a software engineer, so, he said, Christina will mainly be the one running the store. The couple has started cleaning the old restaurant and with the help of a contractor and the Historic Preservation Society in Raleigh, hopes to have the store open in February. "We're going to get some tips from them to try and make sure we stick to the historic," Charles said. "We're going to upgrade some of the restaurant equipment, get newer stuff as we need it."

Work will begin on the roof next week, but the plumbing and electrical have already been upgraded. "All the hard stuff, in my opinion, has been done," Charles said. The Wards say former owner Jimmy Watkins is excited to see the couple opening the business and he's happy with the name they have chosen. "We're going to call it Azariah's Old Storehouse," Charles said, explaining that Azariah Graves was the original builder and that Watkins had always wanted to call the building by Graves' name, but that the restaurant had already been named Brown's when Watkins acquired it. The Wards say they are nervous and excited about the store, and hope the community will get excited too.

Christina has contacted Piedmont Community College about the possibility of having students in art classes participate in a period re-enactment with art and costumes for the store's opening. "We're excited to maybe get the square back up and going too," Charles added. The first time the Wards looked at the building, there was a tour bus parked across the street. "We said 'Let's buy it,'" Christina said with a huge anticipatory smile. The couple also has plans for growth on their farm, where they have dairy goats and miniature donkeys. They plan to add alpacas. The miniature donkeys act as security for the goats, Christina explains, and they plan to start breeding them, Charles adds. "They run after dogs or coyotes," she said. "We're working on it now. We started with infrastructure had fencing put in got a few animals," Charles said. "We'll get more animals." Sometime next summer, he said, the farm will open up to tours for school children.
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More Photographs

Azariah Graves (1776-1837)

Azariah Graves died in 1837 after many years as a business man in what was then called "Caswell Courthouse". The upper floor of his office building in Yanceyville (Azariah Graves Store House) formed his living quarters, and the establishment may have been one of those mentioned by Bartlett Yancey in his 1810 letter describing Caswell County. Fuel for the two big fireplaces was stored in the full basement, and the store's window shutters had bars. The building later was a newspaper office.

Source: Yanceyville Walking Tour

Caswell County Family Tree


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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oddfellows Lodge

John Grasty's diary mentioned an Oddfellow's Lodge in Yanceyville in September 1849. On the 28th he attended a meeting at which some kind of anniversary was observed and John Kerr made the primary address. On October 10, 1850, Grasty attended another meeting of the Oddfellows and saw several new members initiated.

Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 426.

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Sons of Temperance

John Grasty's diary for 1849 and 1850 contains scattered references to the Sons of Temperance and he mentioned the constitution on one occasion and some speeches delivered before the society on another. On February 1, 1850, he wrote: "After tea went to Fuller's office, spoke of his intention to withdraw from Sons of Temperance--I attended a meeting of the sons, etc."

Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 426.

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Yanceyville Grand United Order of Benelovence

The North Carolina General Assembly in March 1883 incorporated the Yanceyville Grand United Order of Benelovence, Number Ten. Those named in the charter were A. L. Johnson, W. H. Mebane, J. B. Graves, Frank Brandon, James Johnson, and Marshall Louis Graves. The purpose of the Order was described in the charter as being "to secure relief for the sick and distressed, to provide for the widow and fatherless in their afflictions, to bury the dead and elevate the living, and to spread the true spirit of charity and love to all within its healing influence."

Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 426.

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Masonic Lodges (Caswell County)

The fraternal society of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons was one of the earliest such organizations in Caswell County. The first lodge was chartered on November 20, 1788, as Caswell Brotherhood Lodge, No. 11, A.F. and A.M. it held its meetings in Leasburg, then the county seat. The Lodge ceased to function late in 1799; perhaps the formation of Person County in 1792 from the western half of old Caswell weakened the membership.

A Lodge was organized at Milton in 1818 and in 1820 Golden Fleece Lodge, No. 74, was chartered. In 1824 the General Assembly authorized the lodge to raise $3,000 by one or more lotteries. The earliest members are unknown, but in 1830 the following were active: Thomas L. Stevens, W. M. Malbon, Stephen Dodson, Samuel Watkins, M. P. Huntington, Samuel Holden, Josiah Dixon, Samuel A. Douglas, John E. Lewis, George W. Kent, Mumford Stanfield, Isaac Jones, Henry I. Foster, James M. Gunn, Nathaniel M. Roan, James H. White, Bennett Lea, Richard A. Yarborough, William B. Graves, and Charles D. Donoho. The original charter was revoked in 1837, but the lodge was rechartered in 1848 and continued its work until 1918, when the charter was arrested.

Clinton Lodge, No. 107, meeting in Yanceyville, was chartered in December, 1842, and among its members were Junius Dillworth, Richard Ferguson, James L. Graves, William P. Womack, William A. Lea, Henry Willis, James H. Atkinson, William R. Neal, James Clark, Moses Clark, N. M. Roan, Virgil M. Rainey, John A. Graves, Alfred A. Mitchell, and Alfred M. Ellington. Roan had previously been a member of the Golden Fleece in Milton and he was soon joined in the Yanceyville Lodge by Franklin A. Liley who had also belonged to the Golden Fleece. The charter of the Lodge was surrendered in 1896 or 1897 and a new Lodge, John A. Graves Lodge, No 494, was chartered in 1898. B. S. Graves presided at the initial meeting of the new lodge. On May 20, 1935, this lodge ceased to function when the local Masons resumed the original name and number of the first Yanceyville lodge: Caswell Brotherhood Lodge, No. 11. This was the only lodge in the county in 1977.

Yanceyville Kiwanis Club

In November 1948, the Yanceyville Kiwanis Club was formally launched. Ralph Aldridge was president and other officers included John S. Dailey, vice president, Fred L. Stuck, secretary-treasurer, and J. C. Alexander, J. Bradley Cook, Ralph W. Holmes, V. Frazier Williams, John A. Woods, James W. White, and Edward H. Wilson, directors.

Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 427.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Connally United Methodist Church

History of Connally United Methodist Church
Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina

First Connally Church

"On October 1, 1821 one and one-third acres of land was purchased from John Pass of the County of Caswell and the state of North Carolina of the one part and Thomas Connally, William Connally, John McCain, Samuel Smith, John Smith, Newman Durham, William Chiles and Merry Maynard; trustees appointed by the Methodist Society of the other part witnesseth that the said John Pass for and in considertion of the desire he waspromoting the worship of God and further considerationof one dollar to him in hand paid by the trustees aforesaid hath given, granted, bargained, and sold this land." This parcel of land was on the road leading from the Red House in Samora, N.C. to Milton, N.C. A nearby spring provided water for the church. Witness: Samuel Dunnaway and John H. McAdin (see book V, page 286 in the Register of Deeds Office in Caswell Courthouse.) According to other information obtained from the Register of Deeds Office in the Courthouse "one-fifth of an acre of land was purchased on June 28, 1824, form Charles Wilson and Jeremiah Dixon by John McAden, Jr., and John Giles, Merry Maynard, and Samuel H. Smith to add on to the land on which Connally Meeting House alread stood." (See Book W, page 42 in Register of Deeds Office. The first church is remembered as a long log structure on the left side of the road near Alec Cobb's home on what was once Linsey Moore land. This information has been passed down by Connalley Church members from one generation to another.

Grier's Presbyterian Church

Caswell County, North Carolina Churches
Upper Hyco/Griers Presbyterian Church
National Register of Historic Places

Upper Hyco Church, the first organized church still in existence in Caswell County was organized in 1753 near the headwaters of North Hyco Creek. Samuel Bell, and his brothers removed from Pennsylvania and settled on the forks of Hyco Creek. They were staunch Presbyterians. The first church services were held under bush arbors and homes of the members. During the ministry of Rev. William Mooe (1789), the members built a church on lands of James Richmond and Jim Grier. Jim Grier may have died before the deed was registered. This may be the reason that the change was made from Upper Hyco to Grier's.

A rusted out and falling down iron fence surrounds a cemetery containing about 75 graves. The earliest date being 1820, the newest grave 1903. The newer cemetery (present) oldest marker has the date of 1890.

Some of the earlier ministers were: Henry Pattillo 1760; Hugh McAden 1768; William Moore 1789; James H. Bowman 1810; Ezekial B. Curry 1811; William B. Maroney 1814; Samuel Paisley 1829; Thomas Lynch 1836; John S. Grasty 1856; Jacob Doll 1857-1862; James L. Currie 1877-1883; W. R. Coppedge 1889; and William Campnell 1891.

Source: Caswell County NC GenWeb Archives

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Monday, November 03, 2008

1936 Caswell County Highway Map

(click on photograph for larger image)
A larger version of this map may be found online at:

Caswell County Photograph Collection

At the Caswell County Photograph Collection click on "All Sizes," which will be a menu pick above the image. This will allow you to select the size to view and, if you wish, download.

Caswell County Maps

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1908 Caswell County Soil Map

(click on photograph for larger image)

A larger version of this map may be found online at:

Caswell County Photograph Collection

At the Caswell County Photograph Collection click on "All Sizes," which will be a menu pick above the image. This will allow you to select the size to view and, if you wish, download.

Caswell County Maps

To see the text that accompanied this map go to:

1908 Caswell County Soil Survey

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1868 Caswell County School Districts Map


(click on photograph for larger image)

A larger version of this map may be found online at:

Caswell County Photograph Collection


Caswell County Maps
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This map is divided into thirty-six rectangular sections. Below is a partial transcription of the information found in the map's sections. They appear from top left to top right, then drop down one row and again are listed left to right (like reading the days on a calendar):


1.

Wolf Island Creek
A. K. Pennix
W. Harrison
W. Patterson
Kennon
Daniel
W. Swann
Pelham Depo
H. R________
Pied Mont Railroad

2008 Caswell County Planning Map

(click on photograph for larger image)


A larger version of this map may be found online at:

Caswell County Photograph Collection

At the Caswell County Photograph Collection click on "All Sizes," which will be a menu pick above the image. This will allow you to select the size to view and, if you wish, download.

Caswell County Maps

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Pattillo v. Harralson (1878)




(click on photograph for larger image)

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The above document also may be found online at the Caswell County Photograph Collection.

In the Probate Court
Caswell County

A.H.W. Pattillo, as admin of Thos Bigalow
vs.
W__ C. Harralson as admin of Brice Harralson }

The undersigned agree and bind themselves to refer to this Probate Judge of Caswell County the question:

1st What amount of commission is due estate of Brice Harralson from the estate of Thomas Bigalow and

2nd and amount of interest due from the estate of Brice Harralson to the estate Thomas Bigalow and thus this award upon this question shall be final and conclusive believes the parties.

W__ Harralson
A.H.W. Pattillo

The above matter being heard by _____ both parties being present for the ____ ______ to be ______ ______ ____ hundred forty two dollars ____ to B. Harralson's estate as the amount of interest due from B. Harralson estate to _____ three hundred dollars & ____ that W__ Harralson, adm is advanced in ____ of forty two dollars bring the _____ of commission of the ___ and that A.H.W. Pattillo, Adm. is to have the same as a ____ which shows this day the balance due from B. Harralson estate to Thos Bigalow estate to be Fifteen hundred dollars.

This 23rd day January AD 1878
J. H. Kerr
Probate Judge

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Major Thomas J. Brown

Major Thomas J. Brown, the pioneer wholesale tobacco dealer of Winston, N. C., and one of the most extensive dealers in the state, was born in Caswell county, N. C., in August, 1833. The family is one of the oldest and most prominent in the state, and its members have at different times held high offices in both the commonwealth and national government. Maj. Brown was prepared for college at the Dan River institute. His mother then removed with her family to Davie county, in the Yadkin valley, where he engaged in agriculture until the breaking out of the Civil war, when he enlisted in Capt. Kelley's company as a private, but was at once elected lieutenant. This company was organized in Davie county, and afterward assigned to the Fourth North Carolina volunteer infantry. Lieut. Brown served with this command until prior to the battle of Culpeper Court House, and while the same was in camp at that point he was given a permit to return home and raise a new company, which he did, and of which he was elected captain. This company was assigned to the Forty-second regiment North Carolina volunteer infantry. The close of hostilities found him still in the field as a member of the last mentioned regiment with the rank of major, which office he had won by his faithfulness and valor on the following battle-fields: Cold Harbor, all the fights around Petersburg, Fort Fisher, two battles below Kinston, and at Bentonsville, and various skirmishes and engagements of minor importance.

Major Brown returned to North Carolina after the war and was engaged in the manufacture of tobacco for a short time, subsequently removing to Winston, where he established the first tobacco warehouse, and where he sold the first tobacco ever brought to that market, in February, 1872. This industry has since grown to enormous proportions in Winston, and forms one of its most important enterprises, the sales from Major Brown's establishment alone amounting to between four and five million pounds annually. This progressive gentleman is also a member of the extensive hardware firm of Brown, Rogers & Co., of Winston; is a partner in one of the largest dry goods houses in the city; is also a director in the First National bank of Winston, largely interested in three different land companies, and a stockholder in the Roanoke & Southern railroad company. Major Brown has been an elder in the Presbyterian church for a number of years, as well as superintendent of the Sunday-school. Major Brown was happily married in 1868 to Miss Delphine Hall, of Mobile, Ala. This estimable lady died on the 8th of August, 1889, leaving no children. Her father was Daniel Emerson Hall, a native of Middle Granville, N. Y., who graduated at Yale in the class of 1834. Subsequently he read law with his brother, Willis Hall, a prominent lawyer and politician and at one time attorney-general of New York state, and then removed to Mobile, Ala., where he soon rose to eminence in his profession, and married a descendant of Louis D'Olive, a French officer sent out by his government.

Major Brown is the son of John E. Brown, M. D., who was born in Caswell county, N. C., in 1800 and died in 1846. He was an eminent physician of his day, having prepared for his professional career in the old University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia. He served as a member of the legislature of his state, and for many years was chairman of the county board in Caswell county. In 1826 he married Miss Elizabeth B., daughter of Mr. Jesse Carter, and five children blessed their union, the four surviving ones being Col. John Edmunds Brown, of Charlotte, N. C., a prominent lawyer and an elder in the Presbyterian church; Major Thomas J. Brown, Sallie C., widow of Mr. W. E. Hall, and Miss Jessie E. Brown. The eldest child was William Carter Brown, M. D., who was a surgeon in the Confederate service and died from illness contracted in camp in 1862.

The Hon. Bedford Brown, who served as United States senator for many years, was an elder brother of John E. Brown, and they were sons of Jethro Brown, a Virginian, who spent his active life in Caswell county, N. C., as a planter and merchant. When a young man he removed to North Carolina, where, for several terms, he served as chairman of the county court of Caswell county, N. C., and died leaving the family name stainless. His father was John Brown, who was born in Virginia, and came to North Carolina during the Revolutionary war, and died in this state. This branch of the Brown family originated in Bedfordshire, England, having emigrated to America many years prior to the Revolution. Elizabeth Brown Carter, who became the wife of the Hon. John E. Brown, M. D., was a descendant of the Shirley Carter family, of Virginia. This proud old family furnished one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Creation of Caswell County - 1777

Three counties share the distinction of having been formed by the earliest North Carolina state government. Burke and Caswell counties were authorized by the 1777 General Assembly (the first to convene under the new constitution of 1776) to be laid out effective 1 June 1777. The act concerning Caswell is Chapter XVII, ratified on May 9, while Chapters XVIII and XIX pertain to Camden and Burke counties, respectively, ratified on the same date, but the act creating Caswell appears first in the sessionlaws. Caswell County, therefore, was the first county created by the new State of North Carolina at the first session of its first legislature, and its court convened a month before either of the others.

Laws of North Carolina - 1777

At a General Assembly, begun and held at New Bern, on the Eighth Day of April, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Seven, and in the First Year of the Independence of the said State: Being the first Session of this Assembly. Richard, Caswell, Esq., Governor.

CHAPTER XVII [Ratified 9 May 1777].

An Act for establishing a new County between Hillsborough and the Virginia Line, by erecting the Northern Part of Orange County into a distinct County, by the Name of Caswell.

I. Whereas the large Extent of the County of Orange renders the Attendance of the inhabitants of the Northern Part to do Public Duties extremely difficult and expensive: For Remedy whereof.

II. Be it Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and by the Authority of the same. That from and after the First Day of June next, the inhabitants of the County of Orange lying to the North of a Point Twelve Miles due North of Hillsborough, and bounded as follows, to-wit, Beginning at the aforesaid Point, running thence due East to Granville County Line, thence North along Granville County Line to the Virginia Line, thence West along the Virginia Line to Guilford County Line, thence South along Guilford County Line to a Point due West of the Beginning, thence due East to the Beginning, be erected into a distinct County, by the Name of Caswell County.

III. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That John Butler, John Lee, and James Sanders, Esquires, be, and they are hereby appointed Commissioners, and they are hereby impowered and required to run the said dividing Lines, agreeable to the Directions of this Act; which said Lines when run by the Commissioners, or a Majority of them, shall be by them entered on Record in the Court of each of the said Counties, and shall hereafter be deemed and taken to be the dividing lines between the said Counties of Orange and Caswell; which said Commissioners shall be paid for their Trouble and necessary Expences for running the said Lines, to be paid out of the County Tax.

IV. And for the due Administration of Justice, Be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That Justices of the Peace shall be nominated and commissioned and Courts held, in the said County of Caswell, in the same Manner, and with the same Powers and Jurisdiction, as Justices and Courts in the other Counties of this State; and the Courts of the said County of Caswell shall be held on the second Tuesday in June, September, December, and March, in every Year.

V. And be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Justices to be appointed for the County of Caswell aforesaid, are hereby directed to meet on the second Tuesday in June next at the House of Thomas Douglass, and take the Oaths appointed for their Qualification; and the Justices for the said County of Caswell, or any Three of them, after being so qualified, shall hold a Court at the Place and Times before appointed; and every of them, at all Times during their Continuance in Office, as well within their Courts as without, shall have and exercise the same Power and Authority, and be subject to the same Forfeitures and Penalties, as other Justices of the Peace within the several Counties in this State are liable to.

VI. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That a Poll Tax of Two Shillings be laid on each taxable Person in the said County of Caswell for Two Years, for building a Court-House, Prison and Stocks, therein; which Tax shall be collected by the Sheriff of the County aforesaid, at such Times, and in the same Manner as other Taxes are collected, and shall be paid to the Person or Persons who shall be impowered to receive the same; and if any Surplus should arise from the said Tax, that it shall be paid by the said Commissioners to the Court of the said County, to be by them applied towards defraying the contingent Charges of the said County.

VII. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to debar the Sheriff of Orange County, as the said County stands undivided, to make Distress for any Taxes, Levies, Fees, or other Dues, that shall be due from the Inhabitants of the said County on the First Day of June next, in the same Maner as by Law the said Sheriff might or could do if the said Counties had remained undivided, and the said Taxes shall be collected and accounted for in the same Manner as if this Act had never been made; any Thing herein contained to the contrary, notwithstanding.

VIII. And to the End that no Action commenced in Orange County be defeated by the Division aforesaid, Be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid. That where any Action is already commenced in Orange County, and the Parties or Evidences shall be Inhabitants of Caswell County, all subsequent Process against such Parties or Witnesses shall be directed to be executed by the Sheriff of Caswell County, to the End and final Determination of said Causes; any Law, Usage or Custom, to the contrary, notwithstanding.

IX. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That James Sanders, William Moore, John Payne, Thomas Harrison, and John Atkinson, Esquires, or a Majority of them, be, and they are hereby appointed Commissioners, to lay off and appoint the Place where the Court House, Prison, and Stocks, for the Use of the said County of Caswell, shall be built, and there to erect, or cause the same to be erected.

X. And be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That the Sheriff of the said County of Caswell is hereby impowered and directed to account for and pay the Money by him collected for the Purpose of building the aforesaid Court House, Prison, and Stocks, to the Commissioners aforesaid, after deducting his Commissions for collecting the same.

XI. And be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That from and after the passing of this Act, the said County of Caswell shall continue to be considered as Part of the District of Hillsborough.

XII. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That the Commissioners, or a Majority of them, herein before appointed, are hereby impowered and directed to employ Workmen to build the Court House, Prison, and Stocks, in the said County, for the Use thereof; and the said Court, and all Causes, Matters, and Things, in the same depending, after such Court House shall be built, shall stand adjourned from the Place where the Court shall have been held to the said Court House.
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Until 1868, the counties of North Carolina were governed by the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions composed of justices. In accordance with the act set forth above, three justices constituted a quorum for purposes of conducting the business of the county. The court made up of these justices was to meet four times annually, with sessions beginning "on the second Tuesday in June, September, December, and March, in every Year." Thus, for some ninety years Caswell County was administered in all respects by the Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. A new North Carolina constitution transferred these powers to a board of county commissioners in 1868.

Pursuant to the act creating Caswell County and the power vested in the governor, North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell appointed the initial Justices of the Caswell County of Pleas and Quarter Sessions: James Saunders; John Payne; Thomas Rice; George Moore; James Scarlet; William Moore; John Atkinson; Robert Parks; James Rice; William Hubbard; George Foote; Jeremiah Poston; John Douglas; Thomas Harrison; Robert Dickens; Stephen Moore; John Moore, Jr., Archibald Murphey; and Jesse Benton.

In accordance with the requirements of the act quoted above, these Justices did indeed meet at the house of Thomas Douglass on Tuesday 10 June 1777 to begin administering the affairs of the newly created county of Caswell. Among their first acts was to appoint one Johe Lea to open court. Once open, the Justices elected William Moore as Clerk of Court, and appointed David Shelton as the first Caswell County Sherrif. The Court instructed Sherrif Shelton "to take all possible care of Prisoners that may be put in his custody as he objects to the sufficiency of the gaol in this county."

Archibald Murphey was elected Register of Deeds. John Payne was appointed Ranger.

The first will probated in Caswell County was that of Edward Bumpass. Others "proved" during this first session were the wills of Robert Barnette, Alexander Gillespie, and John Moore.

Apparently, Caswell County was required to send jurors to the "Court of Oyer" at Hillsborough because Caswell County remained part of the Hillsborough District. This may have been the court of general jurisdiction for the district. Selected as jurors were William Rankin, Gabriel Davy, Major Lea, henry Cobb, Charles Caldwell, James Curry, Montgord McGee [probably McGehee], and Robert Payne.

The Court also appointed guardians for Jane, Elizabeth, Robert, and Andrew Barnette, orphan children of Robert Barnette.

The first commercial act by the Court was to grant "leave" to John Riley to build a mill on Country Line Creek. The first military action was to acknowledge the commission from the North Carolina Governor produced by John Graves, appointing him Captain. This was Captain John Herndon Graves. The Court also recognized that James Saunders had been appointed Colonel by the North Carolina Governor. And, Thomas Neely was recognized as Ensign; George Oldham was recognized as Lieutentna; Major Lea was recognized as Lieutenant [thus becoming Lieutenant Major Lea, which must have caused some confusion]; and Samuel Johnston was recognized as Lieutenant.

Roads also were on the agenda: Wyatt Stubblefield, Oliver Terry, and Abraham Miles were appoint overseer of certain roads. Also, Thomas Barnette was to oversee the road from Hico to Mill's Creek; and Benjamin Hubbard was to oversee the road from Widow Boren's to Country Line [Creek].

While not required by the act that formed Caswell County, it was divided into internal districts, which later evolved into townships. These were: Dunmore, Gloucester, Richmond, St. David's, St. James, St. Lawrence, St. Lukes, and St. Martins. At the first meeting of the Court, Dunmore was renamed Nash

Finally, the Court acknowledged and recorded a deed of gift from Hosea Tapley to John Pryor Tapley and Hosea Tapley.

With these actions, the business of Caswell County was launched in June 1777.
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Two references are helpful in understanding the early years of Caswell County:

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

Historical Abstracts of Minutes of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1877, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1976)

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American Indian Heritage

(click on photograph for larger image)


The photograph above is of the American Indian Artifacts display in the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, North Carolina. For more about the Museum and its hours of operation contact the Caswell County Historical Association.

For more on Caswell County American Indian artifacts see Early American Artifacts In Caswell County.

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

The Eno, the Shackori, and the Occaneechi tribes were the most numerous in the neighborhood of Caswell County, but there were two other tribes which may have been in the vicinity briefly. The Cheraw, also known as Saraw, Sara, or Saura, were found in what is not South Carolina by De Soto in 1540 and by Pardo in 1566. John Lederer in 1670 found them along the Yadkin River, but by 1700 they had settled on the south side of the Dan River west of the Caswell County area. In their wanderings, however, they undoubtedly followed the course of the river this far east, but by 1710, because of attachs by Iroquois enemies, they had departed and were living along the Pee Dee River to the south. But the Saura Indians were not forgotten; the court minutes of Caswell County for April 20, 1785, refer to land in the county "below the Sorrow Town road."

Even less is known of the Sissipahaw Indians whose name is perpetuated in the Haw River. They were found by Pardo to be living along the Santee River, but Lawson 135 years later heard of their settlement just west of the route he was following through the Piedmont. Lawson, however, did not see this tribe and it was suggested by later observers that they may have been affiliated with the Shackori. it seens clear that the Sissipahaw left the region in company with other small tribes and eventually joined forces with the Catawba.

Evidence of Indian activity is abundant in many parts of Caswell County. Bits of pottery, arrowheads, birds points, and other stone objects have been found in widely scattered areas, and in many fields, freshly plowed each spring, a pocketful of artifacts may be picked up in a brief time. About three miles northwest of Yanceyville on a small tributary of Moon's Creek there is a natural formation identified as "The Indian Rock" and traditionally said to have been used as a fortress by the Indians. The entrance to this small cave faces the branch just fifteen feet away. From the security of this spot projectiles could be fired at an approaching enemy. Nearby countless arrowheads have been found as well as stone blades and scrapers, and an occasional round stone such as would have been used in the games described by Lederer and Lawson.

The dating of Indian presence at a particular site has never been very precise, but in recent years more sophisticated methods have been developed. The Carbon-14 process is perhaps accurate to within several hundred years. An axe unearthed a few years ago at West Yanceyville by David Hopkins, Soil Conservationist, has been described as a Guilford axe. Sites occupied at this same period have been excavaated along the Roanoke River, and one of these has been tentatively dated as prior to 3500 B.C. Other sites in Piedmont North Carolina have been dated: (1) 5000 B>C>; (2( 2000 B.C.; (3) the beginning of the Christian Era; (4) 500 A.D.; and (5) 1700 A.D.

It seems evident that the native Indian quietly withdrew from the Caswell County area when white men began to appear.
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North Carolina Museum of History

13th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration
Saturday, November 22
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Celebrate North Carolina’s American Indian heritage at this exciting festival! The Museum of History and Bicentennial Plaza will overflow with music, dancing, storytelling, hands-on activities, and food.

Come to the museum and help commemorate American Indian Heritage month and the museum’s 13th annual American Indian Heritage Celebration! See artists demonstrate their skills at pottery, basketry, beadwork, stone carving, and other crafts. Watch dancers perform traditional dances to the rhythms of northern- and southern-style drum groups. Make crafts, plays games, and listen to stories and legends presented by Indian storytellers. Learn about members of the eight state-recognized tribes: Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan. It’s fun for the entire family!

To learn more, visit:

http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/aihc08/index.html

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