Friday, March 30, 2018

Dialectic Society, University of North Carolina: Caswell County Members

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The Dialectic Society (originally known as the Debating Society) at the University of North Carolina was established in 1795, making it the oldest student organization at any public university in the United States. They adopted the motto "Virtus et Scientia" (virtue and science). The members stated as their goals: "...to promote useful Knowledge..." and "...to cultivate a lasting Friendship with each other..." It is significant that the first order of business for the Debating Society was an order for the purchase of books. Indeed, as the University had no library, the Debating Society's collection became the primary resource for the University, later becoming the core of the school's library. The Caswell County members as of 1890 are listed below.
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Catalogue of the Members of the Dialectic Society Instituted in the University of North Carolina June 3, 1795, Together With Historical Sketches (1890).
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The names of active members alone are printed. They are given by years of entrance into the Society. In the great majority of cases this corresponds with the year of entrance into the University. By year of entrance is meant the collegiate, not the calendar year. Thus the year 1877 includes the fall of '77 and the spring of '78.

After each name is given the place of residence at entrance, then the degree taken in the University, or if no degree was conferred, the year of leaving college, together with all honorary degrees. Next are placed the date of birth, the various positions of trust or honor held, profession and present residence. If dead, the last place of residence is given, and the dates of birth and death are placed last. When no State is named, North Carolina is understood, except in such cases as plainly imply what State is meant.

    The letter c. (Latin circa) before a date indicates that it is only approximately accurate.
    M. C. = Member of Congress.
    H. of C. = House of Commons.
    H. of R. = House of Representatives.
    C. S. A. = Confederate States Army.
    U. N. C. = University of North Carolina.
    The other abbreviations will be easily understood.
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Caswell County Members

Anderson, Albert Gallatin, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1834. Minister

Badgett, Thomas Jefferson, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1859. Born 1837, died 1860.
Bethell, Pinkney C., Caswell Co.: 1836. Dead.
Bracken, Julius C. S., Caswell Co.: 1834.
Brooks, Iverson L., Caswell Co.: A. B., 1819. Minister.
Brown, Bedford, Caswell Co. Memb. H. of C., 1815, '17 and '23. Speaker Senate, 1829. U. S. Senator, 1829-'41. Memb. Conventions, 1861 and 1865. Born 1795, died 1870.
Brown, James W., Caswell Co. Dead.
Brown, John E., Caswell Co. Dead.
Brown, John L., Caswell Co. Gen. Assem. Dead.
Brown, Livingston, Caswell Co.: 1836. Lawyer. Planter. Gen. Assem.
Brown, William Frederick, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1839.
Byrd, Thompson, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1827; A. M., 1831. Tutor, 1829-'31. Minister. Missionary. Dead.

Carter, Archibald Grayson, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1820. Lawyer. Planter. Mocksville. Born 1801, died 1887.
Carter, Jesse, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1825; M. D., Philadelphia Med. Coll. Mobile, Ala. Dead.
Carter, William Brown, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1834. Lawyer and Planter. Stokes Co. Born 1814, dead
Comer, Nathaniel, Caswell Co.: 1825. Dead
Currie, Shelby Swain, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1840. Physician  Son of John and Elizabeth Rainey Currie.  Elizabeth is the daughter of 1739John Rainey and Jane Mitchell.

Confederate Soldiers After the War

Pat Foster asked an interesting question a few days ago (January 2012):

Rick, do you have access to the - for lack of a better word - conditons that were set out for the Confederate soldiers after the Civil War ended. I have been told they didn't have any voting rights in elections and wonder what other "conditions" were set forth toward them. If they were considered 2nd class citizens in their home state, it appears the reason many moved westward after the war was over?
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I responded by reference to a couple of online sites that had somewhat addressed the issue, but wanted to bring the subject home to North Carolina. What was it like for those returning defeated Confederate soldiers? Here is a bit more:

Immediately after the final Confederate surrender and the effective end of the Civil War (April/May 1865), North Carolina was placed under military rule for the remainder of 1865. General John M. Schofield was the first military commander. Most Confederate soldiers returned to their homes in North Carolina, which remained primarily a land of small farmers.

On May 29, 1865, President Andrew Johnson, a native North Carolinian who had been Lincoln's Vice President, issued a proclamation pardoning those who had rebelled against the national government, except the most outstanding leaders and the men of considerale wealth; the proclamation specified an oath to be taken by those who wanted to be pardoned, and it provided that these southerners could keep all their property except their slaves.

President Johnson's second proclamation appointed William W. Holden to serve as provisional governor until a normal state government could be restored. With the fall of the Confederacy there essentially was no state or local government. Governor Zebulon Vance had been arrested 14 May 1865 and taken to a federal prison in Washington, D.C. Thus, for a while voting rights was not an issue because there were no elections.

Monday, March 26, 2018

North Carolina Law Practice History

Archibald D. Murphey

North Carolina Law Practice History

The history of law practice in North Carolina probably should be divided into two periods: the "admission to practice" period and the "licensure" period. Before a unified bar was created in 1933, those wishing to enter the legal profession in North Carolina would study law and then request admission from the NC Supreme Court. Law could be studied by attenting a law school or by "reading" law with an established lawyer. The Court would orally examine the applicant and make a decision as to admission -- essentially being authorized to appear in the courts of the state and to represent clients.

In describing the period before the Civil War historial Bill Powell provides:

"Those who sought special training to enter one of the professions could find opportunities in the state. Lawyers and judges accepted young men into their offices so they could read law and prepare themselves to be examined before the local court for licensing. A few prominent lawyers conducted law schools -- among them, William H. Battle, Leonard Henderson, James Iredell, Jr., Archibald D. Murphey, Richmond M. Pearson, and John Louis Taylor."

Source: Powell, William S. North Carolina Through Four Centuries. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1989, p. 318.

The University of North Carolina School of Law was founded in 1845.

The "license" as we know it today dates from 1933 when the unified North Carolina State Bar was established. However, before 1933, lawyers were "admitted" to practice law in North Carolina courts, and this "admission" generally was called being "licensed."
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Due to its general social and economic backwardness, which was caused partially by the obsoleteness of the Fundamental Constitutions, North Carolina was extremely slow in developing a distinct legal profession. Of the earliest lawyers practically nothing is known, except that there were some people - presumably ill qualified - who acted as attorneys for others. These conditions were aptly described in The Life and Correspondence of James Iredell:

At this period too, in what was then called the 'back country,' the gentlemen of the Bar were objects of obloquy and denunciation to a generally poor and illiterate people, and frequently experienced at their hands the grossest outrages .... The people justly complained of the burden of their taxes - a burden augmented by the extortion of illegal fees by the officers of the Courts; but with a blind prejudice, many of them only saw in the profession, those who defended their oppressors .... Uncultivated settlers ... are apt to look with suspicion upon the proprietor of the soil ... and [upon] the attorneys employed to bring ejectments or sue for use, as the venial instruments of tyranny, bandits, hired by gold to dispoil them of the fruits of their honest
industry.

Subsequently, these practices brought about popular uprisings, known as
Regulations, which were put down in 1768 and, again, in 1771 when the
Regulators were crushed by punitive military expeditions to the "back
country."

After the year 1702, the practice of law was officially recognized in
North Carolina, provided the practitioner had been licensed by the chief
justice and the two associate judges who constituted the General Court of
Judicature. The admission to practice was to be controlled by two English
statutes, namely, the Statute of Westminster the First, c. 29 (of 1275) and 3 James I, c. 7 (of 1605), which were considered to be in force in North Carolina. 62 The latter statute provided:

. . . .
. . . .

After the revision of the laws of North Carolina had been carried out in the year 1746, attornies were admitted (or appointed) by the Royal Governor, usually upon the recommendation of the court. This was done in order to retain a more efficient control over the gradually emerging legal profession. There existed, however, nothing resembling an organized bar. The first known English barrister in North Carolina was William Smith

In some colonies (Virginia, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina) the principle of centralized admission was observed, where either the highest court or the governor, usually upon recommendation by the bench, admitted the candidate to practice in any and all courts of the colony.

On the eve of the Amercan Revolution each of the colonies, with the exception perhaps of Georgia, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, had substantially developed a trained and capable native bar . . . .

Source: Chroust, Anton-Hermann. "Legal Profession in Colonial America," Notre Dame Law Review, Volume 34, Issue 1, 1 Deceeber 1958.
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The North Carolina State Bar was created in 1933 by the North Carolina General Assembly as the government agency responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in North Carolina. The State Bar currently regulates over 28,000 licensed lawyers. Protection of the public and protection of our system of justice are the objectives of regulation.

The late William L. Storey, who served as executive vice president and secretary of the NCBA for 26 years, provided the following historical insight into the establishment of the N.C. State Bar and what is now known as the N.C. Board of Law Examiners:

“In 1903 the Association requested the General Assembly to grant to the lawyers of the State the responsibility for examining, licensing and disbarring members of the profession. By 1915 the Association was successful in securing from the General Assembly authorization to create a board of legal examiners which consisted of the Chief Justice and two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court – thus relieving the Association from the burden of attempting to handle the admission matters. By 1932, the Association had agreed that an incorporated bar established by legislative enactment was necessary to control the examination, licensing and disbarment of attorneys and to prevent the unauthorized practice of the law. A bill was drawn by the North Carolina Bar Association and the 1933 General Assembly enacted Chapter 210 of the public laws. It was ratified on April 3, 1933, creating the North Carolina State Bar.”
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Courts in Caswell County, North Carolina: District Court

The North Carolina 9A Judicial District Court is one of fifty district courts in North Carolina. It has jurisdiction in the counties of Person and Caswell.

John Stultz III is a judge for the 9A Judicial District in North Carolina. He was elected in the general election on November 8, 2016.

Mark E. Galloway is the chief district court judge for the 9A Judicial District, which presides over Person and Caswell counties of North Carolina. Galloway was re-elected to the 9A Judicial District in 2014, winning a new term that expires on December 31, 2018.

District court judges are elected officials. Voters in the district court district in which the judge is to serve vote for district court judges in general election years. District court judges serve four-year terms, which begin on the first day in January following their election.

District Court judges are attorneys elected for each district for four-year terms and must reside in the district in which they are elected. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina designates one of the judges as Chief District Court Judge, and this judge has administrative duties, including assigning the judges to sessions of court.

Both civil and criminal cases are heard in District Court. The civil district court handles matters dealing with domestic issues such as custody, child support, equitable distribution and divorce actions. For the trial of all civil actions in which the amount in controversy is $25,000 or less district court would be the proper division. Domestic relations cases involving alimony, child support, child custody, divorce, equitable distribution, and juvenile matters are also heard in this court. In criminal cases, District Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over misdemeanor cases and most traffic offenses.

Tuttle-Kerr Wedding 1970

For the Women

Miss LaVonne Tuttle Becomes Bride of Graves Kerr in Episcopal Rites

The wedding of Miss Joan LaVonne Tuttle and Barzillai Graves Kerr III was solemnized Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter with the Rev. L. Bartine Sherman officiating. Mrs. Joyce Mitchell rendered a program of music.

The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bynum R. Tuttle Sr. of Route 5. She is a graduate of Eastern Alamance High School and Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing. She is employed as a staff nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. B. Graves Kerr Jr. of Greensboro, the bridegroom was graduated from Jamestown High School in Jamestown and Guilford College and teaches at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte.

Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore an empire gown of satin overlaid with daisy appliqued organdy featuring a Watteau train. Her elbow-length veil of silk illusion was attached to a headpiece of daisy appliques, and she carried a bouquet of white stephanotis and roses.

Miss Linda Ritchie of Charlotte, maid of honor, wore an empire gown of maize dotted sis and carried a bouquet of daisies. Miss Jacinta Fitterer of Baltimore, Md., and Mrs. Roland Kerr of Greensboro were bridesmaids, dressed the same as the honor attendants.

Mr. Kerr was his son's best man, and ushers were James Lee Kerr of New York City, Thomas Jackson Kerr and Roland Torrence Kerr of Greensboro and Bynum Roscoe Tuttle Jr.

Following the wedding, a reception was held in the church parlor. Guests were registered by Mrs. William Branham of Greensboro and Miss Pamela Tuttle, sister of the bride.

Mrs. William Copeland of Lynchburg, Va., aunt of the bridegroom, presided at the punch bowl and Mrs. James Taylor, another aunt, served cake. Mrs. Daniel Norris of Graham assisted.

The bride's table was covered with a lace cloth accented by lighted green tapers in silver candelabra. Fruit punch, cheese daisies, mixed nuts and mints were served with the wedding cake.

After a trip to Williamsburg, Va., the couple will reside in Charlotte.

The Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina), 15 June 1970, Monday, Page 12.
William W. Holden
$500 Reward: 1870

A Proclamation, By His Excellency, the Governor of North Carolina

Executive Department,
Raleigh, June 6th, 1870

I, William W. Holden, Governor of the State of North Carolina, do issue this my proclamation, offering a reward of FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for the arrest of each of the:

Murderers of the wife and children of Daniel Blue;

Murderers of Wyatt Outlaw;

Murders of John W. Stephens;

Murderers of Robin Jacobs;

Persons who committed rape on the bodies of the colored women;

Persons who murdered Puryear; and

Persons who murdered Neill McLeod and Daniel McLeod, and robbed the family of the said Neill McLeod,

Together with evidence as will lead to the conviction of the persons thus arrested; those who planned, advised or counselled the commission of the act; those who participated in the acts or acts; or those who conspired to conceal the bodies of the murdered, or aided in the concealment and escape of the felons.

Done at our city of Raleigh, this 6th day of June, A.D., 1870, and in the 94th year of our Independence.

W. W. Holden, Governor

By the Governor:
W. R. Richardson, Private Secretary

The Daily Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina), 24 June 1870, Friday, Page 3.

Briggs BBQ (Yanceyville, NC)

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In this photograph the building to the left was the original service station and sandwich shop operated by Jeter Arnold Fuqua (1892-1971). However, the building may have been owned by John Abner Massey (1881-1956).








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When Alvis Nathaniel Briggs (1921-1990)(in photo to left) purchased the property is not known; but the building to the right was built as a restaurant, and the service station building was demolished. Today (2018), the property remains in the Briggs family but is leased.















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Alvis Briggs BBQ Business Being Sold

So, what is being sold is the business. Presumably Carolyn Gentry Chambers leased the building from the Alvis Briggs daughters. However, that lease apparently did not include a clause restricting the name used for the business. Note that Carolyn Gentry Chambers stated that thirteen years ago when she assumed operation of the restaurant she intended to change the name:

“When I first came here I was going to change the name and everyone said no. They said you have got to keep the Briggs name. I had no idea how much it meant. This place has been Briggs forever."

If the new operator, Sharon Crabtree, merely assumes this lease she apparently also would be free to change the name, but, for obvious reasons, would be unwise to do so. If the Briggs daughters want the right to control the name of the business, the lease agreement should be modified.

The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 14 March 2018.
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Briggs BBQ and Cafe

It was Jeff Earp (who passed away January 28, 2018) who told me in 2005 that Briggs BBQ in Yanceyville was for rent. I learned this at Mickey's BBQ in Milton (run by my brother, now deceased). So, I got in touch with Bea Briggs -- the best lady I ever met and a wonderful landlord. Ms. Bea passed away March 2, 2013. I miss her every day.

It always made my day to see her coming throught that door. Always a hoot. Many of the kids (now adults) still come in and tell me that they worked or ate there when in high school. Ms. Bea knew everybody. Her daughters, Debbie Truitt and Beverly Dodson took over as owners when we lost Ms. Bea. When I came to Yanceyville, it took the people a while to accept me. But, I learned about the name. Briggs had been there forever, and Ms. Bea told me that I could not change the name; but she did allow me to add "Cafe." Now, I am proud to have been the person behind Briggs BBQ & Cafe for the past thirteen years and eight months. So, if Sharon Crabtree comes in she will keep the Briggs BBQ & Cafe name with one small change. Cafe will be changed to grill: Briggs BBQ & Grill. I understand this is for tax reasons.

Alvis Briggs in Navy
I wish I had met Mr. Briggs, having heard nothing bad about him or Mrs. Bea until Rick Frederick criticized the BBQ late in his life. Well, everybody is going to get some gristle or bones in the BBQ every once in a while.

The Caswell Messenger needs to print a correction. They have me with two husbands! If you have more questions, just ask. Or, even better -- come to Briggs BBQ and Cafe.

Source: Carolyn Gentry Chambers March 2018 Post to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page.
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My dad, Garnett Cooper worked part-time there [Alvis Briggs BBQ in Yanceyville] for a few years preparing the BBQ. He would get off work on his full-time job on Friday afternoons and go straight to Alvis's where he would fire up the pits and put the shoulders on. He would tend the shoulders all night. The first thing Saturday morning he would mix up the sauce. I particularly remember the large number of lemons he would slice and add to the recipe. He finished by chopping up the meat. The resulting BBQ would last Alvis until the next Friday. Then repeat. Source: Jerry Parks Cooper Post to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page 14 March 2018.
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Caswell County Elections 1962

Big Election Field in Caswell As Republican Candidates File

"Yanceyville, N.C. -- A last-minute deluge of Republican candidates produced Friday Caswell County's biggest election field in years. The Republicans, all of them from Stony Creek, even appeared to have clinched one election by offering a candidate for a minor position that Democrats usually ignore.

"And even experienced observers were predicting they'd win another office despite Democratic opposition.

"Sheriff Frank Daniel will have three opponents in the Democratic primary. Ralph O. Vernon, judge of Recorder's Court, also has three Democratic opponents. Two Democrats are in the race for Solicitor and two are seeking the House of Representatives seat.

"In the sheriff race with Daniel are W. A. Aldridge, Jack E. Watson and William L. Boone. The primary winner will take on J. Lester Cox, Republican, in the general election.

"Running against Vernon are the Rev. L. W. Smith, J. O. Evans, and Samuel Shaw. The GOP entry is Joseph F. Matkins.

"Clerk of Court George Harris is running unopposed in the primary, and has no Republican opposition in the November general election.

"Mrs. Ann Gatewood Poteat will try to unseat veteran Representative Ed Wilson in the Democratic primary. H. O. Davis filed for the office as a Republican.

"Three candidates for the Board of Education are unopposed, either in the Democratic primary or general election. They are C. N. Barker, running for the Milton-Dan River seat, Earl J. Smith of Yanceyville and David W. Wright, Jr., of Pelham Township. Barker and Smith are incumbents.

"Two Democrats, J. C. Wilkinson and Gilbert R. Lunsford, will contest for the Hightowers-Leesburg seat while Democrat incumbent N. L. Oliver will be opposed in Anderson-Stony Creek by Republican James F. Wyrick.

"W. Robert Briggs and Robert M. Fleetwood, Democrats, filed for the Leesburg-Milton seat on the Board of County Commissioners and Oscar B. Watlington and Bill R. Murphy, Democrats, are seeking the Yanceyville Township seat.

"Other Democratic County Commissioner candidates are James Y. Blackwell, Locust-Stony Creek; G. Irvin Aldridge, Hightowers-Anderson; and A. D. Swann, Dan River-Pelham.

"Three Republicans will vie for the right to challenge Blackwell in November. They are Otis E. Simmons, Robert E. Somers and Carl W. Perkins.

"The Republican who is assured of victory, barring a write-in upset, is Scott Gwynn, who is offering for Stony Creek Justice of the Peace. This is the only township with a Jaypee candidate. Normally Democrats don't run for Justice of the Peace. When this occurs, a Superior Court judge fills the office by appointment.

"Two Republicans have filed for Stony Creek Constable. They are Brodie James Terrell and John A. Strader. The winner in the Republican primary will take on Democrat John Howard Talley.

"Informed sources here were predicting Friday that the GOP candidate will win. While more Democrats are registered in Stony Creek township than Republicans, the township in the past several elections has been solidly in the Republican camp.

"There will be constable contests in five other townships but, in each of these, the race will be strictly Democratic.

"In Dan River, it will be Maynard S. Collie versus Teddy Willis. In Pelham L. H. Hamlett and Jim Adams are the opponents, while Locust Hill has three candidates, Walker Hodges, Kenneth Hodges and Benny E. McKinney.

"W. B. Totten and L. S. Massey are running for constable in Anderson township and Raymond Wilson and Leon Foster are vying for Yanceyville constable.

"Unopposed are James Webster in Leesburg and Ben H. Blaylock in Hightowers.

"A total of 54 candidates completed the filing procedures before the deadline. It's the biggest field since he became chairman of the County Board of Elections in 1954, W. D. McMullen said. Neither McMullen nor anyone else could recall when a Republican last held an office in this solidly Democratic county."

The Danville Register (Danville, Virginia), 14 April 1962.

Caswell County's Bad Roads in 1913

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In 1913, Caswell County was faced with a problem. Its roads were a mess. Some farmers and businesses wanted better roads. However, this was before the State of North Carolina paid for road improvements. Thus, better roads required higher county taxes. Petitions were submitted to the Caswell County Board of Commissioners to place on the ballot a bond issue to finance road improvements. However, the Commissioners ignored the petitions.

Source: Webster's Weekly (Reidsville, NC), 16 May 1913, Friday, Page 1

Yanceyville Lawyers 1913 and 1877

"They Once Practiced In Rockingham County"

Many of our older citizens will recall that Caswell at one time had in numbers and ability the equal, if not the superior, of any bar in the State -- we have reference to the practitioners of the court bar, not to sordid things. We chanced recently to run a cross a printed copy of "Minimum Fees of Caswell County Bar." This document is signed by Dillard and Ruffin, M. McGehee, Watt and Withers, Samuel P. Hill, A. M. Scales, James T. Morehead, John W. Graham, George N. Thompson, John Kerr, J. T. Morehead, Jr., L. L. M. Totten, Walker J. Jones, and R. Y. McAden. All of these lawyers practiced at the Rockingham bar also, and we believe most of them regularly attended Guilford courts. It will be news to many that the lawyers had in those halcyon days a formidable "trust." It is interesting to note that while the scale of fees seems very reasonable, those old lawyers charged for everything from an unwritten opinion up to a "motion for license to retail spiritous liquor." -- Yanceyville Sentinel.

Source: The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina), 25 March 1913, Tuesday, Page 1.

The [Yanceyville] Bar, Colonel Thomas Ruffin says, is as usual, more weighty in numbers than in ability, abounding in briefs, and as hungry for fees as wolves. The resident lawyers are: R. B. Watt, J. A. Long, J. F. Terry, A. E. Henderson. Visitors: Geo. N. Thompson, Leasburg; John R. Winston, Caswell county, J. H. Dillard, Rockingham; Thomas Ruffin, J. W. Graham and F. N. Strudwidk, Hillsboro; Jas. A. Graham, Graham; P. B. Johnson, A. J. Boyd and R. B. Glenn, Wentworth; E. B. Withers and Thos. Hamlin, Danville, Va.

The last two gentlemen are natives of North Carolina, and have settled in Virginia, and as they have license to practice in the courts of both States, parties having business in either State in the border counteies will find it to their interest to consult them.

Source: "Caswell County Letter," R. A. Leigh (Correspondence of The Observer, Yanceyville, October 8, 1877). The Weekly Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 16 October 1877, Tuesday, Page 1.

Caswell County Courthouse (Yanceyville, North Carolina) 1877

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Caswell County Courthouse 1877

The Court House is one of the finest buildings of the kind in the South. It is 90 by 50 feet, with a spacious passage running through the entire length. The various offices are on the lower floor. The court room is on the second floor and is well arranged. The style of architecture is "Romanesque." It is enclosed by a substantial iron railing, resting on a granite wall. It was completed in 1860 and cost $28,000. Kirk and his horde of tramps quartered in the court house and defaced the building very much. I visited the room in which J. W. Stevens [sic] was so mysteriously murdered; some signs of blood are still to be seen on the walls.

"Caswell County Letter," Leigh, R. A. The Weekly Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 16 October 1877, Tuesday, Page 1.

At one time, the historic Caswell County Courthouse in Yanceyville was surrounded by a wrought-iron fence. In 1977, Caswell County educator and historian Millard Quentin Plumblee (1906-1987) reported:

"An iron railing like that around the jury seats was all around the lawn walls at one time. It was made in Caswell County.

"The outside fencing was taken down and the commissioners sold it for scrap iron during World War II. The fencing was made in Caswell County by a Mr. Yarbrough at his foundry, near Milton."

Richard Caswell

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Richard Caswell, his name is worth of such a country. His example is left to urge us to follow his acts of honor and patriotism.

Like Washington, Caswell was true and loyal to the government under which he lived. But as soon as the Colonies threw off the British yoke, so soon did he renounce his allegiance to King George and cast his destiny with the colonies. In their struggle for independence, and as early as 1774, we see his name in the first public meeting held in North Carolina.

He was a patriotic statesman, a courageous, vigilant, successful soldier, a parallel to Washington. Nathaniel Macon said of him: "Governor Caswell was one of the most powerful men that ever lived in this or any other country." I said his name was worthy of such a country. What has North Carolina done to perpetuate his memory save to name a county for him? For the three years he was Governor of this Commonwealth he did not receive ONE Dollar. Had such a statesman and patriot lived in Virginia, or anywhere else except in North Carolina, his last resting place would have been marked with a monument worthy the man.

How is it with Governor Richard Caswell? His remains lie buried in a private graveyard near the banks of the Neuse River, two miles west of Kinston, in Lenoir county, with nothing to mark their last resting place save what nature has supplied -- that is a monument in the shape of an oak tree, which has grown up just over his breast. The grave is not even enclosed, but is open to the ravages of hogs, cattle and other stock. Shame on the Masonic Fraternity, shame on us North Carolinians, that we have so long left undone a duty that we owe to the memory of Richard Caswell!

Now, Messrs. Editors, as the State which he served so faithfully as soldier, statesman and Governor, and for which services the State paid him nothing; as the Masonic fraternity over which he presided as Grand Master, and which annually appropriates fifty to seventy-five dollars for painting the portraits of living Grand and Past Grand Masters, have up to this time taken no step towards erecting even a marble slab to mark his grave: I hope I may be pardoned for suggesting to THE PEOPLE OF CASWELL that this being the centennial year of the existence of the county, and November being the month, they have a celebration of some kind, at which time let steps be taken to raise a small amount to place a monument of some kind, if no more than a granite shaft, to mark the grave of him for whose honor the county was named, and as THE WOMEN OF NORTH CAROLINA are ever ready to lend a helping hand in all laudable enterprises, and the fair daughters of Caswell county being no less so, I call upon them to move in the matter, for so surely as they take it in hand, so surely will it be accomplished. Will they do it?

"Caswell County Letter," Leigh, R. A. The Weekly Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 16 October 1877, Tuesday, Page 1.
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Richard Caswell Burial?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Dr. Robert B. Thornton, M.D. Wallet

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Pictured here is the personal leather wallet of Dr. Robert B. Thornton, M.D. (c.1811-1875).

Dr. Thornton practiced medicine both in Milton and Yanceyville, North Carolina. Where he lived in Milton is not known. However, in Yanceyville he owned and lived in the Thornton House, where he also had his office. The house is on the south side of West Main Street at the corner of Cooper-Rodgers Road. See When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 339. Also see Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1843-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1986) at 7.

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The wallet  is inscribed:

Dr.
Rob. B Thornton
Milton Caswell County NC
January 20th 1873



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Here is the wallet in the open position. Note that Dr. Thornton inscribed the wallet twice (at different locations) with essentially the same information.






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Dr. Thornton/Tom P. Hunter House. Early 19th century. Tiny 1.5-story frame Federal house that is apparently the oldest structure in Yanceyville. Interesting compressed arrangement of front door and flanking windows. Interior is two rooms, equal in size, with corner fireplaces and an enclosed corner stair. Retains original woodwork. See An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina, Ruth Little-Stokes (1979) at 201.

Wallet photographs courtesy Jerry Parks Cooper.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Yanceyville Square July 1955


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Yanceyville Square: July 1955

Left-to-Right: Gunn Tractor Dealership; empty lot on which once stood John Abner Massey's Yanceyville Motor Company; Upchurch Building; Motz Building; the Sportsman Bar and Pool Hall; Tom Lea's Garage; a small grocery store.

Photograph courtesy Claude Price

Yanceyville East Main Street (South Side)

East Main Street, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina

The purpose of this article is to explore the buildings that once stood on the south side of East Main Street in Yanceyville, North Carolina, between Little's Service Station and Yanceyville Motor Company on the Square. This primarily was an African-American area of businesses and private residences. It ran from the corner of what now is Dillard School Drive and East Main Street to the Square.

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Little's Esso Service Station anchors the east end of the buildings being discussed here. This is an undated photograph provided by Helen Haith Little.

Martha Louise Lea Little (1904-1983) and her husband Roy Charles Little (c.1893-1938) owned Little Service Station in Yanceyville, one of the early successful local black businesses. It began operation in the 1920s as a Standard agency, purchasing its gasoline from Standard Oil of New Jersey. When the photograph was taken the building was fairly new. Note the gravity-feed gasoline pumps.

Around 1928 the brand had become Esso. The father of Martha Louise Lea Little, Thomas Sidney Lea (1873-1963), provided financial support for local black educational efforts, including participating in the purchase of a building in 1906 that was used as the first black school in Yanceyville.




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Proceeding westerly, the next building was the one that housed Joe's Cafe and Irvin's Barber Shop. Here, Irvin Williamson is seen standing in the shop's doorway. Presumably, the other door is the cafe entrance. And, other businesses may have operated from this fairly large building. Photograph courtesy Glenna W. Graves.







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The Joe of Joe's Cafe is Joseph Rascoe Williamson (1911-1953). There were two cafe's on the street [East Main Street in Yanceyville]. The smaller one with Joe behind the counter is shown in this photograph. He was in the process of building the larger cafe shown below. When he finished building the larger cafe, he rented out the smaller building. Joe Williamson and his brother Walter Williamson built both cafe buildings and Walter's garage that stood across the street. Photograph courtesy Grace Turner.












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The next building as you head toward the Square in Yanceyville was the home of Ms. Gennie Bett Bigelow, then the larger Joe's Cafe that eventually became Claude's Cafe.

Mary Ellen Paschal in her Yanceyville front yard. Photograph courtesy Carl Paschal. Note Joe's Cafe in the background. Date: Early 1950s.

So, right-to-left, this photo shows: Joe's Cafe (became Claude's Cafe), home of Ms. Gennie Bett Bigelow, and building that housed the original Joe's Cafe and Irvin's Barber Shop.

West of the larger Joe's Cafe building (shown above with two cars parked in front) were two houses. Mr. Vern and Fannie Hill Penn lived in the first (proceeding westerly); and Thomas Sidney Lea (1873-1963) and Julia Long Hill Lea (1880-1978) lived in the other. It was their daughter, Martha Louise Lea (1904-1983) who, along with her husband Roy Charles Little (1893-1938), owned and operated the Little Service Station discussed above.

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Next, just east of the Square was the Gunn Tractor Dealership, one of the buildings that stands today (2018).

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Finally, came Yanceyville Motor Company.

Standing in front of Yanceyville Motor Company is owner John Abner Massey (1881-1956). Massey is believed to have owned the first automobile in Caswell County. The building later became a general store and then the Willys-Knight Auto Agency. (Courtesy Ann McGuire Harvey.) House at right is one he built for his family; prior to that he boarded at the Poteat House.

While the angle may be deceptive, query whether the the house Massey built as his home became the residence of Thomas Sidney Lea (1873-1963) and Julia Long Hill Lea (1880-1978).

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This 1979 aerial view of Yanceyville shows the site on which once stood Yanceyville Motor Company, the Gunn Tractor Dealership building, and the two houses discussed above: Lea residence; and Penn residence. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

James Elwood Guthrie (1923-2018)

James Elwood Guthrie, 94, of 234 Guthrie Road, Blanch, N.C., went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at SOVAH Health of Danville after a decline in health for the past six months. Mr. Guthrie was born on December 10, 1923, in Caswell County, N.C., a son of the late James Harvey Guthrie and Ruth Mise Guthrie. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Yanceyville, N.C., where he served as past Deacon and former choir member. Mr. Guthrie was a founding member of the Central Caswell Ruritan Club. He retired from Caswell County Soil Conservation as Soil Conservation Technician with more than 25 years of service on May 3, 1986. On December 23, 1944, he married Emily Arvin Guthrie, who died on March 2, 2013.

Mr. Guthrie is survived by three sons, Kenneth Guthrie (Connie), Mitchell Guthrie, and James Guthrie; a daughter, Linda Palmer (Marty), all of Blanch, N.C.; two sisters, Dorothy G. Williamson, of Leasburg, N.C., and Mabel G. Foster, of Lynchburg, Va.; two grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and a number of nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two brothers, Malcom Guthrie and Earl Guthrie; and a sister, Velma Jean Richmond. Funeral services for Mr. Guthrie will be conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24, 2018, from the First Baptist Church of Yanceyville by the Reverend Ricky Foster and the Reverend Stanley Hare. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends after the service at the First Baptist Church, 378 Church Street, Yanceyville, NC, 27379. At other times, the family will be at the residence of his son, Kenneth and Connie Guthrie, 67 Guthrie Road, Blanch, NC 27212. Wrenn-Yeatts Memorial Funeral Home, Yanceyville, N.C., is respectfully serving the Guthrie family. Online condolences at www.wrenn-yeatts.com

Caswell County Courthouse Fire 1916

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The belfry of the Caswell County Courthouse is not original. It was destroyed by fire in 1916.

"Caswell's Historic Court House Is Hit By Bolt"

For a while Friday afternoon the courthouse of Caswell county, at Yanceyville, was menaced with destruction by fire, which was started when a lightning bolt struck the pinnacle of the belfry. Happily the persistent efforts of Yanceyville citizens, who prize the substantial structure with a sentimental value which knows no computation, succeeded in quenching the flames with a bucket brigade. The belfry was ruined. The courthouse is heavily insured and there will be no monetary loss.

An hour after the lightning struck the courthouse the Danville fire department was asked to make the 18-mile run with one of the automobile engines. Two large chemical extinguishers were sent, but the man carrying the extinguishers when about half way to the Caswell capitol was flagged down and told that the flames had been subdued. The bucket brigade had proved effective after strenuous efforts.

At about 4:30 a heavy thunder story passed over Yanceyville, doing considerable damage. During its height, a thunderbolt struck the top of the courthouse and within a few minutes flames were seen to be emerging from the belfry which crowns the two-story, stuccoed brick building. For an hour the flames gradually gained and began to eat their way down towards the main building. While the fire was burning a corps of men began removing the furniture from the courthouse, also books and records of great value. The storm was one of particular violence, and several residences were struck by lightning and set on fire. Mrs. Cora Slade was knocked senseless by a bolt, but recovered consciousness some time later. Lightning set fire to a quantity of feed and tore some fences to pieces.

The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina), 12 September 1916, Tuesday, Page 1.
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Roof Fire in 1952

Caswell County Lawyers

Caswell County, North Carolina, Lawyers

Yanceyville Bar 1877: More Weighty in Numbers than Ability

The Yanceyville Bar, Colonel Thomas Ruffin says, is as usual, more weighty in numbers than in ability, abounding in briefs, and as hungry for fees as wolves. The resident lawyers are: R. B. Watt, J. A. Long, J. F. Terry, A. E. Henderson. Visitors: Geo. N. Thompson, Leasburg; John R. Winston, Caswell county, J. H. Dillard, Rockingham; Thomas Ruffin, J. W. Graham and F. N. Strudwidk, Hillsboro; Jas. A. Graham, Graham; P. B. Johnson, A. J. Boyd and R. B. Glenn, Wentworth; E. B. Withers and Thos. Hamlin, Danville, Va.

The last two gentlemen are natives of North Carolina, and have settled in Virginia, and as they have license to practice in the courts of both States, parties having business in either State in the border counteies will find it to their interest to consult them.

Source: "Caswell County Letter," R. A. Leigh (Correspondence of The Observer, Yanceyville, October 8, 1877). The Weekly Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 16 October 1877, Tuesday, Page 1.
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"They Once Practiced In Rockingham County"

Many of our older citizens will recall that Caswell at one time had in numbers and ability the equal, if not the superior, of any bar in the State -- we have reference to the practitioners of the court bar, not to sordid things. We chanced recently to run a cross a printed copy of "Minimum Fees of Caswell County Bar." This document is signed by Dillard and Ruffin, M. McGehee, Watt and Withers, Samuel P. Hill, A. M. Scales, James T. Morehead, John W. Graham, George N. Thompson, John Kerr, J. T. Morehead, Jr., L. L. M. Totten, Walker J. Jones, and R. Y. McAden. All of these lawyers practiced at the Rockingham bar also, and we believe most of them regularly attended Guilford courts. It will be news to many that the lawyers had in those halcyon days a formidable "trust." It is interesting to note that while the scale of fees seems very reasonable, those old lawyers charged for everything from an unwritten opinion up to a "motion for license to retail spiritous liquor." -- Yanceyville Sentinel.

Source: The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina), 25 March 1913, Tuesday, Page 1.

Bill Daniel
Wanda Hammock
George Daniel
Phil Allen
Stuart Watlington

Lee Farmer
Ronald Bradsher
David Powell
John Thomas
Clarence Pemberton

Banks Horton
Bob Blackwell
Osmond Smith
Ernest Frederick Upchurch
Ernest Frederick Upchurch, Jr.

Bartlett Yancey
Emerson Scarborough
Robert Watt
John A. Graves
Elijah Benton Withers

Calvin Graves
Archibald E. Henderson
Jake Long
Mike Gentry
Julius Johnston

Julius Johnston, Jr.
Robert Thomas Wilson
Samuel P. Hill
Jacob Thompson
Jim Long
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Caswell County Residents Who Practiced Elsewhere

Frederick, Richmond Stanfield, Jr.
Neal, Brent

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Caswell County Elections 1962

Big Election Field in Caswell As Republican Candidates File

"Yanceyville, N.C. -- A last-minute deluge of Republican candidates produced Friday Caswell County's biggest election field in years. The Republicans, all of them from Stony Creek, even appeared to have clinched one election by offering a candidate for a minor position that Democrats usually ignore.

"And even experienced observers were predicting they'd win another office despite Democratic opposition.

"Sheriff Frank Daniel will have three opponents in the Democratic primary. Ralph O. Vernon, judge of Recorder's Court, also has three Democratic opponents. Two Democrats are in the race for Solicitor and two are seeking the House of Representatives seat.

"In the sheriff race with Daniel are W. A. Aldridge, Jack E. Watson and William L. Boone. The primary winner will take on J. Lester Cox, Republican, in the general election.

"Running against Vernon are the Rev. L. W. Smith, J. O. Evans, and Samuel Shaw. The GOP entry is Joseph F. Matkins.

"Clerk of Court George Harris is running unopposed in the primary, and has no Republican opposition in the November general election.

"Mrs. Ann Gatewood Poteat will try to unseat veteran Representative Ed Wilson in the Democratic primary. H. O. Davis filed for the office as a Republican.

"Three candidates for the Board of Education are unopposed, either in the Democratic primary or general election. They are C. N. Barker, running for the Milton-Dan River seat, Earl J. Smith of Yanceyville and David W. Wright, Jr., of Pelham Township. Barker and Smith are incumbents.

"Two Democrats, J. C. Wilkinson and Gilbert R. Lunsford, will contest for the Hightowers-Leesburg seat while Democrat incumbent N. L. Oliver will be opposed in Anderson-Stony Creek by Republican James F. Wyrick.

"W. Robert Briggs and Robert M. Fleetwood, Democrats, filed for the Leesburg-Milton seat on the Board of County Commissioners and Oscar B. Watlington and Bill R. Murphy, Democrats, are seeking the Yanceyville Township seat.

"Other Democratic County Commissioner candidates are James Y. Blackwell, Locust-Stony Creek; G. Irvin Aldridge, Hightowers-Anderson; and A. D. Swann, Dan River-Pelham.

"Three Republicans will vie for the right to challenge Blackwell in November. They are Otis E. Simmons, Robert E. Somers and Carl W. Perkins.

"The Republican who is assured of victory, barring a write-in upset, is Scott Gwynn, who is offering for Stony Creek Justice of the Peace. This is the only township with a Jaypee candidate. Normally Democrats don't run for Justice of the Peace. When this occurs, a Superior Court judge fills the office by appointment.

"Two Republicans have filed for Stony Creek Constable. They are Brodie James Terrell and John A. Strader. The winner in the Republican primary will take on Democrat John Howard Talley.

"Informed sources here were predicting Friday that the GOP candidate will win. While more Democrats are registered in Stony Creek township than Republicans, the township in the past several elections has been solidly in the Republican camp.

"There will be constable contests in five other townships but, in each of these, the race will be strictly Democratic.

"In Dan River, it will be Maynard S. Collie versus Teddy Willis. In Pelham L. H. Hamlett and Jim Adams are the opponents, while Locust Hill has three candidates, Walker Hodges, Kenneth Hodges and Benny E. McKinney.

"W. B. Totten and L. S. Massey are running for constable in Anderson township and Raymond Wilson and Leon Foster are vying for Yanceyville constable.

"Unopposed are James Webster in Leesburg and Ben H. Blaylock in Hightowers.

"A total of 54 candidates completed the filing procedures before the deadline. It's the biggest field since he became chairman of the County Board of Elections in 1954, W. D. McMullen said. Neither McMullen nor anyone else could recall when a Republican last held an office in this solidly Democratic county."

The Danville Register (Danville, Virginia), 14 April 1962.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Joel Watson Booth (1882-1967)

Booths Shoe Shop in Yanceyville
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Joel Watson Booth (1882-1967)

The man to the left in the photograph (without hat) is Joel Watson Booth (1882-1967). The man with the hat has not been identified.

The location is Booth's leather/shoe-repair shop on the north side of the Square in Yanceyville, North Carolina.

The photograph was taken in September 1939 by Marion Post Wolcott as part of her Farm Security Administration assignment, and is titled: "Saturday Afternoon in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina."

At some point, Booth moved his business from this location to a small stand-alone building just a short distance west on Greensboro Street in Yanceyville. The location in this photograph became the jewelry/watch-repair shop of Walter Daniel McMullen (1901-1988).
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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Tobacco Warehouses: North Carolina

As Tobacco Slumps, Warehouses Close: The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), 3 August 2000

This year, another 15 tobacco warehouses have closed in North Carolina, bringing the number of active warehouses down to 89 - the lowest number in 50 years - and leaving the rural landscape littered with empty buildings where growers once celebrated or mourned the annual market season.

W. L. Hopkins Jr. kept the Piedmont Tobacco Warehouse in Mebane open for as long as he could; but this year, he and his wife, Lou, who kept the books, called it quits. Two years ago, he was down to two sales a week. Last year, his growers could produce only enough tobacco for one sale a week, and this year, he would have had one every three weeks. That's not enough to pay the workers it would take to run the warehouse.

His wife says she will miss the fellowship of the farmers and their families she used to see at the warehouse every year. "What I enjoyed about it, you'd meet all kinds of people, really nice people who worked hard," she says. "That's not an easy job. I enjoyed being around them."

Hopkins, 72, still raises tobacco with his son on the family farm in Alamance County. For now, he will continue to rent space in his warehouse for local manufacturers to store finished goods until customers are ready for delivery.

Warehouse operators have long relied on second incomes to supplement their tobacco earnings, which come mostly from a 2.5 percent commission on every sale. That rate, set by the General Assembly in the 1890s and unchanged since, may be part of the problem, Dunkley says. Though the costs of running a warehouse have steadily increased, warehouse owners have not been allowed to negotiate a more profitable cut.

Warehouses Close

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Deed of Trust: Historical View

Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser, 31 July 1830
Deed of Trust: Historical View

Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser, 31 July 1830.1

Here, a "deed in trust" (deed of trust/trust deed) was used to secure a debt created by a promissory note. By virtue of the promissory note, the borrower contractually was obligated to repay to the lender the amount borrowed (and interest if applicable). Without the deed of trust, the lender would be forced to sue the borrower in the event of a default on the note. However, the deed of trust provided a means of recovery by selling certain assets pledged under the deed of trust. And, often this was not real estate.

Here is how it worked. The borrower/debtor conveyed legal title to certain assets (including slaves in this instance) to the trustee (third party) to hold for the beneficiary (the lender) until the debt was satisfied. The trustee was able to sell the property if the borrower/debtor defaulted on the underlying promissory note. Of course, the borrower/debtor had the right to demand the return of the legal title when the debt was paid. Note, legal title to the trustee gave the lender a beneficial (equitable) interest in the property without right of possession.

You also will see in these older documents the creditor/lender/beneficiary referred to as the "cestui que trust" -- the person for whose benefit a trust is created. Although legal title of the trust was vested in the trustee, the cestui que trust was the beneficiary who was entitled to all benefits from the trust. Thus, "cestui que trust" = "beneficiary" = "lender".
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While both a mortgage and a deed of trust were used to provide security for a debt, they were different. A mortgage did not involve the third-party trustee, and usually was enforced through judicial process in a court of law. A deed of trust involved the third-party trustee and could be enforced outside the judicial process. See the newspaper notice below where the trustee advertised sale of the property securing the debt. No court need be involved. Simply, a mortgage created a lien on the pledged property that must be enforced, while a deed of trust actually transferred title to the property.

"Looking Back" The Caswell Messenger, 7 March 2018

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"Looking Back"

The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 7 March 2018.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Clay-Lewis-Irvine House (Milton, NC)

The Clay-Lewis-Irvine Place House

When the Town of Milton was incorporated in 1786, Henry M. Clay bought lot number thirteen. The white clapboard house, which he built in 1820 [c.1815], is tall and steeply gabled; its portico is simple and well proportioned.

The house was bought in 1830 by Nicholas Meriwether Lewis and his wife, Lucy Bullock, of Granville County. There was another Lucy, Nicholas' [sic] sister, and it was she who loved the large square garden with its borders of box. It is said that the garden was laid out by the garden designer of Mount Vernon. Be that as it may, the box was arranged in a similar fashion, and for many years this was one of the noted gardens of North Carolina. A high brick [actually stone] retaining wall topped by a magnificent hedge of English boxwood separates the garden from the street, and behind this hedge grow iris and tulips, heartsease and forget-me-nots, violets and roses. Because she loved and tended it, to this day it is called "Aunt Lucy's garden."

In 1886, after the death of his wife and sister, Mr. Lewis sold the place to his nephew, John Lewis Irvine. Today it is the home of his two daughters, Miss Anne Irvine and Mrs. N. R. Claytor.

Henderson, Archibald. Old Homes and Gardens of North Carolina. Photographs by Bayard Wootten. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1939.
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Caswell County Tobacco Season 1929

Tobacco Curing Begins: 1929

A mighty slashing of the superlative bright leaf is on in every section of Caswell this week. In every nook and corner of the county the fires are brightly burning under thousands of barns, and from reports coming in the leaf is being dried in matchless beauty.

While just a little too soon to correctly appraise the 1929 crop, it is indicated that the crop will be a good one, and the dried leaf will fill the demands of the buying eye.

The rain which fell all over the county last week came at a most opportune time, producing a blanket of moisture and just the right sort of a condition to hurry on the graining and maturing period.

Farmers believe, should the rains run true for the next few weeks and the nights grow a little colder, that you may watch out for Caswell to keep alive its reputation of years for the growing of the ultimate leaf.

In the Country Line hills many barns of the matchless Caswell county cutter have been dried, while the news comes from the Pea Ridge section that the Caswell county sunburst wrappers are likely to abound. Excellent cures have been reported from the Gentleman's Ridge section, the high grounds around Pelham, from Semora and other bright areas.

The crop, while likely to be below normal in poundage, is believed will be one of the most saleable in years. Next week the real slashing will be on and it is generally believed that the cures will prove satisfactory.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 14 August 1929, Wednesday, Page 3.

Merchants and Planters Bank (Milton, North Carolina)

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Merchants and Planters Bank (Milton, North Carolina)

Check/Note No. 48 drawn by on Merchants and Planters Bank (Milton, N.C.) in the amount of $17.58 for 1900 taxes, payable to John Tabb Donoho (1860-1937).

While the payee is known, the drawer of the check is not known. The first initial may be "T" or "J" or "L". The middle initial may be "M" or "W".

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Thus, one possibility is Thomas Moore Allen (1859-1926), who lived in the Semora Community of Caswell County, North Carolina.

Merchants and Planters Bank of Milton

In 1889, the Merchants and Planters Bank of Milton was chartered for operation, with up to $200,000 authorized in capital. This bank was given the option of establishing branches or agencies as its president and directors so designated. Among the incorporators were several men from Danville, Virginia, as well as the following from Milton: H. T. Riggs; W. M. Watkins; R. L. Walker; E. Hunt; George W. Thompson; J. S. Cunningham; John L. Irvine; W. T. Farley; W. W. Luck; and J. A. Hurdle.

According to Professor Powell: “The Merchants and Planters Bank flourished into the next century under the presidency of J. A. Hurdle and with J. L. Walker as cashier.” Whether this bank flourished or not is unknown; however, it apparently did exist as a banking entity until at least September 6, 1904. That is the date of the North Carolina Bank Annual Report for 1904, which included information on the Merchants and Planters Bank, Milton, as the only bank operating in Caswell County (which also was the status for 1903). However, the Report for 1905 contained no information of this bank, which presumably had shut its doors. The following from a newspaper of the time may provide the answer:

"The Merchants’ and Farmers Bank at Milton, Caswell county, a State bank, has failed. The assets in sight are about $31,000, $27,000 of this being in notes. The capital stock of the bank was $3,000."

However, unclear is the bank identified in the newspaper item. Milton had a Farmers Bank. It had a Merchants and Planters Bank. But, it did not have a Merchants and Farmers Bank; at least no record of such a bank has been found. The failure of a Milton bank around November 1904 would be consistent with the history of the Merchants and Planters Bank discussed above. Based upon the annual bank reports for 1903 - 1905, the bank was in business at the time of the 1904 report (September 6), but not when the 1905 report was prepared on May 29. Also, the Farmers Bank of Milton apparently discontinued business before 9 April 1903. Query whether the Merchants and Farmers Bank was a successor to the Farmers Bank.

An 1893 map of Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, identifies the building generally known as the “Milton State Bank” building as housing the “Merchants & Planters Bank.” This would be reasonable as the Bank of North Carolina succumbed to bankruptcy in 1868, thus ending the use of the Milton bank building as a branch of that bank. With its builtin vault and dedicated public areas, this building continued suitable for banking activity.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Leasburg Tavern (Leasburg, North Carolina)


After this photograph was taken, Carolyn Moore Upchurch Thomas repaired the roof. Eventally, the Tavern was purchased from a later owner by a lady in Virginia. Her plan was to reconstruct it as a home. She purportedly took everything, including the bricks from the chimneys. So, the old tavern may still be "standing" somewhere in Virginia.

Photograph courtesy James B. Upchurch, Jr.

Nicholas Thompson House (Leasburg, North Carolina)


Photographs courtesy James B. Upchurch, Jr.

Nicholas Thompson House, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina. The rear portion (1 1/2 story house) possibly dates to c.1810. The house was enlarged c.1860 by Nicholas Thompson's son, George Nicholas Thompson, to include the Greek Revival two-story front section. The Leasburg Tavern is in the left background. The last Thompson to live in the house was Ella Graves Thompson, daughter of George Nicholas Thompson and his third wife, Ella W. Graves Thompson.

The first Caswell County Courthouse was built near the current structure. Ella Graves Thompson stated that as a child she remembered playing on the old courthouse foundation; however, no trace of the foundation has been found. The house faces south toward the old Leasburg Road, which went by the house and then turned right toward the Tavern and then left through the town. Highway 158 was cut through the rear of the property in the 1900s. In 1960, Ella Graves Thompson wrote a wonderful history of Leasburg: "A History of Leasburg with Personal Recollections."

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Dale Carnegie Class No. 586



Dale Carnegie Class c.1962
Photograph Courtesy James B. Upchurch, Jr.

Click photograph to see a larger image.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Caswell County in the World War 1917-1918

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Anderson, George A., Compiler. Caswell County in the World War 1917-1918: Service Records of Caswell County [White] Men. Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton Printing Co., 1921.

After World War I concluded, the Caswell County Commissioners asked George A. Anderson (then Superintendent of Education) to write character sketches of the Caswell County soldiers who served during World War I. Unfortunately, either this request was limited to white soldiers or Anderson so interpreted the request.

The book is dedicated to four white Caswell County soldiers known to have died: Benjamin Franklin Brooks; Algernon Sidney Neal; Roy Patillo; and George Thomas Warren. There were more, but Anderson apparently did not have adequate documentation. See the photograph of the 1929 World War I memorial, which itself is incomplete

Anderson also described the efforts of the American Red Cross (Caswell County Chapter), the registration of men for the draft, the contributions of Robert L. Mitchelle, Robert Thomas Wilson, the Legal Advisory Board, E. F. Upchurch, those who helped with occupational cards, the Y.M.C.A., Cary H. King, J. F. Walters, Franklin Rudolph Warren, Dr. Stephen Arnold Malloy, and Dr. Robert Franklin Warren.

The book also describes the Caswell County Militia and lists its members.

To see this book online go to Caswell County in the World War. It is a large PDF file and may take a while to load.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

John Junius Lea (1895-1918)

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John Junius Lea (1895-1918)

When John Junius Lea registered June 5, 1917, for the World War I draft, he was single, and living with with his parents in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. He was described as a tall negro of medium build, with black eyes and hair. He was not bald and had no disability.

Registrant Lea was born August 1, 1895, in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, to John Lea and Maria Bell Scott Lea, who he listed as dependents on his draft registration form (but this may have been an error). John Junius Lea, who went by Johnnie, apparently could not write as he signed the registration form with his mark. He claimed no exemption from service. He had at least eight siblings.

Johnnie Lea was inducted into military service July 18, 1918, at Yanceyville, North Carolina, when his age was described as 22 11/12 years. From July 18, 1918, to August 25, 1918, he served as a private in "38 Co 154 Dep' Brig." From August 25, 1918, until his death November 6, 1918, he was assigned to Company D, 545th Engineers Service Battalion. He died overseas (possibly in France), where he had served since September 23, 1918. He received no injury or wound as a result of combat, and died from pneumonia. His father, John Lea (Route 1, Box 30, Caswell County, N.C.) was informed of Johnnie's death. Whether pneumonia was secondary to influenza is not documented.

Where Johnnie is buried is not known. However, his service and sacrifice apparently is recognized on the World War I memorial on the Square in Yanceyville, North Carolina.
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