Sunday, October 13, 2019

Red House Presbyterian Church Dedication 1918

Red House Presbyterian Church (Semora, Caswell County, NC) was dedicated September 1, 1918. A pamphlet was published memorializing the event. But the pamphlet also included the "Sermon" D. I. Craig had given some five years earlier when the monument to Reverend Hugh McAden was unveiled at the church cemetery.

This "Sermon" contained biographical information on Reverend Hugh McAden and historical information on the Red House Presbyterian Church. A partial transcription is set forth at the end of this article.

Here is the "Introductory" by the minister in 1918, Numa Reid Claytor (1879-1949).

"In the Summer of 1913 a Committee of Red House Church was appointed to receive funds for the erection of a new building. And due to the diligence of the Committee and the liberality of the people, over $7,000.00 was raised. Mr. H. C. Linthicum, of Durham, N.C. submitted plans for the building which we accepted, and Mr. Henry Fields, of Roxboro, N.C. was given the contract for building. A few changes were made in original plan, which added $1,000 to the cost of the building. A number of friends gave time and labor to the getting of material and the result--the building which we today Dedicate to God as a place of worship.

"By God's Providence, for over a hundred years the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached at this Church, and may the effort of God's people in building this edifice result in the continuation of the preaching of the saving Gospel at this place for ages to come."

N. R. Claytor, Pastor
September 1, 1918

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Page Family in North Carolina 1685-1850

Page, Jesse M.. The Page Family in North Carolina, 1685-1850: A Compilation of Primary Records. Raleigh (North Carolina): J.M. Page, Jr., 1987.

The book is available at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Library (Greensboro, NC). Pages 369-441 cover Caswell County. A sample page is set forth below.

PREFACE  ....................... ................. .  vi
EXPLANATORY NOTES..................................vii
ALBEMARLE  COUNTY................................. . 1
ALEXANDER COUNTY...................................750
ASHE  COUNTY......... .............................. 757
BERTIE  COUNTY................................ ........ 2-58
BLADEN  COUNTY..................................... 719-720
BUNCOMBE  COUNTY ................................... 584-588
BURKE COUNTY ............................ ........... 556-569
CABARRUS COUNTY................................... 589-597
CALDWELL COUNTY...... ............................. 570-574
CASWELL COUNTY ....................................369-441
CHATHAM COUNTY.........................  ........... 340-357
CHEROKEE COUNTY ...................................751
CHOWAN COUNTY.................................. .707-716
CRAVEN COUNTY..................... ............... 97-99
CUMBERLAND COUNTY................................. 238-259
DUPLIN  COUNTY..................................... 224-237
EDGECOMBE COUNTY ................................. 59-96
FORSYTH COUNTY.....................................749
GUILFORD  COUNTY .....................................748
GRANVILLE  COUNTY ..................................   726-729
HALIFAX COUNTY ................. ................. 753
HENDERSON  COUNTY................................ . 752
IREDELL COUNTY.................................... 756
JOHNSTON  COUNTY................................... 100-139
LINCOLN COUNTY..................................... 575-583
MARTIN  COUNTY ....................................  730-747
MONTGOMERY COUNTY.................................260-262
MECKLENBURG  COUNTY................................718
MOORE COUNTY.......................................263
NEW  HANOVER  COUNTY................................699-705
NORTHAMPTON COUNTY................................ 264-265
ORANGE COUNTY.....................................755
PERSON  COUNTY.....................................  717
PITT  COUNNTY ...................................... 614-672
RANDOLPH COUNTY ..................................266-339
ROBESON  COUNTY .................................... 673-698
ROCKINGHAM  COUNTY................................. 725
ROWAN COUNTY ......................................722-724
SAMPSON COUNTY.....................................152-223
STANLY  COUNTY  ..................................... 598-613
STOKES COUNTY......................................721
SURRY  COUNTY...................................... 754
WAKE  COUNTY. .....................................   442-555
WAYNE  COUNTY ..................................... .140-151
PAGE  SURNAME  INDEX................................760-784
GENERAL  SURNAME  INDEX.............................785-849

Monday, September 30, 2019

Siomara Clotilde Savio Morales de Balmori

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DANVILLE, Va. - Siomara Clotilde Savio Morales de Balmori, 87 of Danville, Virginia, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 7, 2013, while a patient in Danville Regional Medical Center. She was born in Havana, Cuba on June 3, 1925, to the late Amador Savio Perez and Evangelina Morales Montiel de Savio.
In 1950 she married her high school sweetheart, Enrique Balmori Osorio, who preceded her in death in 1984. They had one daughter, Evangelina Balmori, who survives to remember and cherish her memory.

Mrs. Balmori graduated from high school in 1946 and attended the University of Havana, where she was a student in the school of law, the school of education, and the school of social work. She graduated from the University of Havana in 1953. She served as the administrator of a school for boys and worked in the family law firm. Mrs. Balmori and her family left Cuba for the United States on February 5, 1962 as a result of the Cuban Revolution of Fidel Castro, resulting in a communist government of the island.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

John T. Burton 1875 Letter

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Caswell County N.C. May 12th 1875

Mr. J. M. Merritt

My Dear Nephew, I saw a letter you wrote your Aunt Shanks and she requested me to write you a few lines. Her health is tolerable though she is very much distressed. She intends staying at her home. Mr. Shanks left her all he had real and personal during her life, and at her death it is to go to your mother and myself if we should out live her, if not to our children.

Mr. Shanks had been suffering several years from disease of the bladder, and for some time before he died severely. He was not confined but ten days, he was ready. Two nights before his death he called his wife and some friends that were sitting up with him, and told them he was almost over the river and saw the walls of Jerusalem, told them to meet him in heaven. I was there when he died. I think he was conscious, but he was in a stupor all day and had nothing to say. I go down there every two weeks to attend to the hands that are working the land. They seem to be doing tolerable well so far, but I don't know how they will hold out.

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I got one of William Murray's daughters to come and live with your Aunt Shanks and she appeared very well satisfied. The last time I was there one of Miss Murray's sisters had died and she was gone to her brother Robert's and had not returned when I last heard from there.

We are all well and hope this will find you all the same. We had a cold bad _____ spring. Everything is late. Great scarcity of Tobacco plants. I don't think there can be a crop planted in this section.

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Warren Morgan's family are all well and Rainy is married he was twenty one. He is living with his father.

I should be glad to see you but it is so far. I don't expect I shall ever see you at your house, though I may. You said you thought you would come and see your relatives next summer. I hope you will. If you can't come, write and let us hear from you.

Your Affectionate Uncle

John T. Burton

Transcriber's Note: Paragraph breaks were added to enhance readability.

John T. Burton is a son of Benjamin Burton and Rebecca Pass. A sister of John T. Burton, Nancy P. Burton, married James Shanks, and most likely is the "Aunt Shanks" referenced in the 1875 letter from John T. Burton to his nephew Capt. J. M. Merritt.

Thus, it appears that another sister of John T. Burton had married a Merritt. However, note the following from Anne Burton Washburn:

John T. Burton was Daniel T. Merritt's wife's half brother. Fannie Ellis Gann was half sister to John T. Burton and Nancy Burton, Nancy Burton married James Shanks. Daniel T. Merritt's wife's mother was twice married - Gann 1st and Burton 2nd - 3 children in all.

Thus, J. M. Merritt (addressee in the letter) is Jefferson Monroe Merritt (1820-1896). His mother is Frances Ellis (Fannie) Gann Merritt (1798-1895), half-sister of the letter's author, John T. Burton.

Friday, September 27, 2019

R. A. Cox Farm Auction: 1910

R. A. Cox Farm Auction

Note reference to Slade's School House and McIver R.F.D. 1.

The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina), 15 July 1910, Friday, Page 2.

Thomas Day Furniture Auction: John Wilson Cunningham

Sideboard with Cabinet

Description   Caswell County, North Carolina, mid-19th century, yellow pine and poplar secondary, three-part form, shaped and applied front crest, supported by a flared cornice, above a frieze with applied valance with drop acorn pendants, above a central upper hinged cabinet door with two shaped window lights above an open interior, with marble top workspace, flanked by two hinged cabinet doors, each with two window panes and shelved interior, applied stiles with scrolled capitals and stylized fleur de lis at base of stile, lower cabinet with two side-by-side ogee drawers, above two central bowfront cabinet doors, flanked by two paneled cabinet doors with applied ribbon molding, applied scrolled stiles, paneled sides, distinctive relief carved front feet, straight rear legs.

Size   93 x 75 x 22 in.

Note   Reference: Patricia Phillips Marshall & Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, page 111, fig. 5.62 and 5.63.

Provenance    From the Estate of the late John Wilson Cuningham, Semora, North Carolina; by family descent to current consignor. These items were received from Waverly Plantation in Person County, North Carolina, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built circa 1830, the interior of the plantation features Thomas Day millwork.
Condition   As-is condition; will need some repair and restoration; veneer chips and losses; some veneer chips present in bag.

Estimate   $2,000 - $4,000

Center Table

Description   Caswell County, North Carolina, mid-19th century, rosewood veneer, white pine, shaped and molded turtle top, skirt with relief carved floral motif, four cabriole legs with relief carved knee, carved and shaped stretcher base with central finial, cut and shaped feet.

Size   28.5 x 40 x 26 in.

Provenance    From the Estate of the late John Wilson Cuningham, Semora, North Carolina; by family descent to current consignor. These items were received from Waverly Plantation in Person County, North Carolina, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built circa 1830, the interior of the plantation features Thomas Day millwork.
Reference: Patricia Phillips Marshall & Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, page 64, fig. 4.3.
Condition   Two old but stable breaks and repairs to interior frame; five areas of wood and veneer loss including capital of one leg; break and repair at stretcher joint; top with light staining and wear.

Estimate   $600 - $900

Card Table

Description   Caswell County, North Carolina, mid-19th century, mahogany veneer, yellow pine and poplar secondary, rectangular hinged lid swivels to reveal an open game compartment, ogee skirt, raised on a square shaped and tapered standard, quadruped shaped base, on casters.

Size   30 x 36.5 x 18.25 in.

Provenance    From the Estate of the late John Wilson Cuningham, Semora, North Carolina; by family descent to current consignor. These items were received from Waverly Plantation in Person County, North Carolina, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built circa 1830, the interior of the plantation features Thomas Day millwork.
Condition   Sun fading; chip to front edge; some small veneer chips and losses; good as is estate condition.

Estimate   $600 - $900


Description   Caswell County, North Carolina, circa 1850, mahogany veneer, poplar, yellow pine secondary, in six parts, central swivel rectangular mirror supported by two rectangular plinths with stepped bases, above a central hinged lid document box and inset marble, flanked by two glove drawers, upper projecting ogee drawer above three long drawers, each with mirrored mahogany veneers, applied scrolled stiles, scrolled front feet, paneled sides, straight rear feet, back panel reads in black ink "C.H. Richmond / Milton NC / Hillsboro".

Size   83 x 44 x 21.75 in.

Provenance    From the Estate of the late John Wilson Cuningham, Semora, North Carolina; by family descent to current consignor. These items were received from Waverly Plantation in Person County, North Carolina, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built circa 1830, the interior of the plantation features Thomas Day millwork.
Reference: Patricia Phillips Marshall & Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, page 92, fig. 5.29.
Condition   Good estate condition; staining to marble; some shrinkage splits to mahogany veneer; lower drawer missing lock; shrinkage split to right side panel; silver loss to mirror.

Estimate   $2,000 - $3,000

Bureau #2

Description   Caswell County, North Carolina, mid-19th century, mahogany veneers, poplar and white pine secondary, central hinged rectangular mirror with distinctive stylized carved and shaped mirror supports, above a central inset marble top and flanked by two upper glove drawers with rounded corners, the case with two upper side-by-side ogee drawers above four long drawers, all with mirrored veneers, the lower being a secret base drawer, rounded corners, shaped foot brackets.

Size   71 x 44 x 20 in.

Note   Drawers and case with white chalk numbers.

Condition   Later mirror; later pulls with plug holes to upper glove drawers; expected small veneer chips throughout; shrinkage separation to right side of case; upper right drawer with three inch chip and loss to lower left molded edge.

Estimate   $800 - $1,200

Thursday, September 26, 2019

United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946

World War II Service Records Confusion

Many conducting genealogical research use a database called:

"United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946"

Access to this resource is available through various online services.

Unfortunately, the index contains categories of information that may be misleading to users.

One data category is "Enlistment Date." Also possibly shown are "Enlistment State" and "Enlistment City." Some equate "enlistment" with volunteering. For purposes of this database that is incorrect. The proper way to view "enlistment" as used in this database is "entered service."

The database will contain another data category called "Component." Most entries in this database are for those who were drafted (they did not volunteer). The "Component" for drafted non-officers will be seen as "Selectees (Enlisted Men)." A "Selectee" is one chosen pursuant to the Selective Service System (that is, drafted). The designation "Enlisted Men" is to distinguish from officers.

The index is described as:

"Name index to Army Serial Number Enlistment Card Records, excluding officers, in the United States Army including the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and the Enlisted Reserve Corps circa 1938-1946. The index is part of Record Group 64: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration. This index is not complete and may contain scanning errors. Database courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration. In August of 2013, the National Archives replaced the ARC – Archival Research Catalog - with the OPA – Online Public Access. ARC identifiers will still work to access the collections in OPA."

About U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
This database contains information on about 8.3 million men and women who enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. While this database contains information on the majority of the men and women who served in the Army during this war, it is not complete and does not represent the entirety of the U.S. Army servicemen. Information found in this database comes from the WD AGO Form 317 (used from 1941-45), WD AGO Form 372 (used from 1945-46), and Enlisted Reserve Corps Statistical cards.

Information included in this database about includes:

Name of enlistee
Army serial number
Residence (county and state)
Place of enlistment
Enlistment date
Army branch
Term of enlistment
Year of birth
Race and citizenship
Height and weight*
Marital status
Box and reel number of the microfilmed records

"The Last Full Measure of Devotion"

"The Last Full Measure of Devotion"

In the May 8, 1945, edition of The Bee newspaper (Danville, Virginia), Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills, Inc., published a full page tribute to the GOLD STAR men of Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills who died in World War II. Victory had been won in Europe, but the Pacific war continued.

"On this page, as in the hearts of those for whom they fought, are inscribed the names of men who will not come back.

"These are the men who have given the last full measure of devotion . . . the GOLD STAR men of Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills . . . men who left their homes, their work, their security, and their future, to fight for the cause of freedom.

"Each name is a reminder of the awful cost of Victory. Each name should also be a reminder that we owe these men more than honor and glory, more than words of praise . . . a reminder that Victory in Europe is only part of the cause for which they died.

"Read each name carefully. You knew many of these men well. They were your fellow citizens . . . your fellow workers. If their sacrifice means anything at all, it means that we must work still harder, in the days ahead . . . that we must dedicate ourselves to a renewal of effort . . . that we, too, must give the last full measure of devotion until final Victory and peace are won."

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Here is the list enlarged:

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Elizabeth Thompson's Third-Grade Reindeer

"My mother took this picture and one of each of the groups that appeared in the play. The hidden reindeer may have been Earl Smith, Jr. There was a group of reindeer, elves, snowmen. and chimney sweeps.

"Harriet Johnston was Mrs. Claus and John Webster was Santa.

"The story line also included a set of figures that Santa's elves had made. Dolls were personified by Linda Gunn as a china doll (geisha?), Linda Cook as a ballerina, Judy Buchannan as a baby doll. Sarah Sykes and Linda Durham were also dolls but I don't remember what they were.

"There were four cowboys: Carroll Aldridge, Robert Crumpton, Charles McMullin and Richard Rogers. Patsy Chistenbury played the magic fairy that introduced each group. Every group performed a little skit and/or song. My mother gave every member a photograph of his/her group. I used to have an entire set but it was lost somewhere along the way.

"I think Doris Potter England narrated the play. I remember Paul Goforth was one of the elves. Many names are lost to my memory because I don't have the set of pictures to refer to. Elizabeth. Thompson made sure that every member of the class had a part in the play and it was a big hit for the elementary classes and I think we may have performed it more than once."

Source: Carroll Aldridge 25 September 2019 Post to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page.

The mother of Carroll Lee Aldridge is Luetta Carroll Aldridge (1914-1997). The photograph was taken in 1956. At some point it was reprinted in The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina) as part of that newspaper's "OUt of the Past" series.

"Alabama" in Yanceyville: 1981

On Sunday, 3 May 1981, the musical group "Alabama" gave two performances at the Caswell County Civic Center in Yanceyville, North Carolina.

Below are memories of that event posted to the Facebook Page of the Caswell County Historical Association in September 2019:

"I think they won a big award that weekend. They laughed and said that we were getting their last performance for a fee that small. Our CC Chamber lucked up on that one." Katherine Finch Watlington

"I was working the civic center that day. Got to hang out with them. The country cousins opened up for them. They had just won their first big award. Randy was a little distant. I later found out his dad had just passed away and he couldn't attend the funeral because of commitments with the newly found fame. He did both shows just like there was nothing wrong." Gregory Kyle Solomon

"I was working for the band then. The story you just told was a very big deal to Randy. I had forgotten about that." Kevin P. O'Keefe

"I was there. Small audience..... afterwards you could go talk to them like they were your next door neighbor. Spring 1981." Nancy Fowlkes Dailey

"I was there. I think it was 1981 and their wives were in the lobby selling tapes and t-shirts." Jane Poteat

"They also played st the Camp Springs Bluegrass Park in the early 80s. Lee Greenwood was there too and they put on a great show!! I was there!" Judy Mansfield Smith Jenkins

"My wife and I were there..Definitely early 80’s.I remember a very young girl gave the band a poster she made for them.Then a few months later during the Country Music Award Show Alabama won a Award and they had the poster from the young girl at the award show..." Tim Smith

"My younger brother was with us and we walked by the buses, Randy and Ted were pitching a baseball back and forwards to each other. Randy missed and my brother got the ball and gave it to him, this was before the show. I really thought that Lee Greenwood did better than they show wise but they were great!" Judy Mansfield Smith Jenkins

"I remember the venue was unusually small for AL at that time. It was a personal favor for a friend that recruited events for the CCCC. It was told up front it would be the first and last time they appeared there. A favor paid up in full. My step-father Richmond S. Frederick, Sr. told me this." Steven Dale Broome

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bartlett Yancey School Fire: 1970

"I believe that was Bartlett Yancey elementary at the time. Most of the Volunteers from Yanceyville FD had put in good nights work before battling a church fire. Both fires caused by lightning."

Source: R. Neal Spivey 18 September 2019 Post to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page.

"Mom taught Earth Science there. I remember that she lost some personal items that she had left in the classroom as she had expected to return for the next school year."

Source: Robert Neal 18 September 2019 Post to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page.

Before the fire.

Contract granted to build new Bartlett Yancey High School.

Source: The Bee (Danville, VA), Friday, 13 December 1935.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bartlett Yancey High School Senior Class 1948

Bartlett Yancey High School Senior Class 1948

Lila Bradner
Madelyn Butts
Hallie Carter
Thacker Carter
Gypsy Davis

W. E. Farthing
Charles Fowlkes
Richard Gwynn
Virginia Hodges
Darlene Holt

Billy Hunt
Claude Hyler, Jr.
Annie Ruth King
Hunter Lunsford
Wilma Lunsford

Earl Poteat
June Poteat
Cordelia Slade
Max Smith
Nina Smith

Wyomie Smith
Evelyn Stephens
Nancy Totten
J. T. Terrell
Charles Walters

Doris Watlington
Jacksie Watlington
Jeanne Whitlow

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Ray Denny Warren (1925-1945)

Ray Denny Warren (1925-1945)

Sunday, September 15, would have been Ray Denny Warren's 94th birthday. But he never made his 20th.

He was born in Caswell County's Hightowers community September 15, 1925, a son of Floyd Doak Warren (1888-1926) and Mabel Beatrice Murphy Warren (1894-1965). The young Warren never knew his father, who died of heart disease in 1926 when Ray was not two years old. His mother was left to raise nine children. Ray was one child removed from being the youngest.

A few days before his 18th birthday Ray enlisted to fight in World War II. He chose the United States Naval Reserve and eventually served aboard the Destroyer "U.S.S. Bowers" as a Seaman First Class. Ray was killed in action April 16, 1945.

While operating near Okinawa the Destroyer "Bowers" was assigned to anti-submarine screen duty. At dawn on April 16, the destroyer escort shot down one attacking Japanese plane. Then at 09:30, two more planes came in, flying low and fast. "Bowers" maneuvered radically to avoid the planes as they split to attack the escort. The first came in dead ahead, but the "Bowers" guns brought it down.

The second passed over the ship as her port guns came to bear. Despite the heavy gunfire, the kamikaze regained altitude, turned, and came in from a 45-degree angle forward. It crashed into the warship's flying bridge, spraying high octane gasoline over the bridge and pilot house. The plane's bomb penetrated the pilot house and continued down through the ship for 20 feet before it exploded and sprayed the deck with fragments. Fire-fighting parties brought the flames under control in about 45 minutes; but 37 men from the ship were killed, 11 were reported missing, and many of her 56 wounded died later.

Whether Ray's body was recovered is not known. However, in the Alamance Memorial Park Cemetery a bronze marker pays tribute to his life and service.

The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Bowers (DE-637) arriving in the Kerama Retto, Ryukyu Islands, under her own power after being hit by a Kamikaze on 16 April 1945. Wreckage of the plane, a Nakajima Ki-43 (Allied code name "Oscar"), can be seen embedded in the the ship's bridge face. Note Bowers' very unusual paint, with traces of Camouflage Measure 31 or 32, Design 16D, showing through Camouflage Measure 22. The ship may have been undergoing repainting at the time she received this damage.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Milton Mills

Large Trust Sale

By Virtue of a Deed of Trust Executed to me on the 7th day of November last, by James D. Newsom, for certain purposes therein mentioned, I shall sell to the highest bidder, on the 20th day of December next, at the Court House door in the City of Raleigh, the following valuable property, to wit:
. . . .

Also, in the town of Milton, Caswell county, on Tuesday, the 1st day of January, 1856, the Milton Cotton Factory and Mills, and about 15 comfortable dwelling houses, with lots and gardens attached to each, embracing about 16 or 17 acres of land in all.

The Cotton Factory building is of brick, 46 x 80 feet, four stories high, covered with a zinc roof, and contains nearly two thousand spindles, 14 cards, 2 drawing frames, 20 looms, with all the necessary gearing and machinery for operating the same, with two water wheels and a steam engine attached. A part of the above machinery is new, having been lately purchased; the balance but little worn and capable of doing first-rate work.

Bartlett Yancey School to Open September 14th (1925)

Bartlett Yancey School to Open September 14th (1925)

Yanceyville N.C. Sept 2 -- The Bartlett Yancey High [sic] School will open on Monday September 14th with twelve teachers for the academic subjects and one music teacher. Eight of these teachers are new to the school and five have been in the work before.

The list of teachers follows:

S. H. Abell principal Richland Ga., A. B. Elon College

E. M. Wells science teacher, Teacheys, N.C., B.S. State University

Mrs. Alma Griffin, history teacher, Raleigh, N.C., Meredith College

Mrs. Giles Mebane, Blanch, N.C., mathematics teacher, Louisburg College

Miss Fannie Lea, Ringgold, Va., seventh grade, Randolph Macon College

Miss Sarah Fogleman, Burlington, N.C., sixth grade, Blackstone College

Mrs. Alice Goodson, Danville, R.F.D. 5, fifth grade, State College, Greensboro

Miss Ruth Everett, Edenton, N.C., fourth grade

Miss Eva Walker, Yanceyville, N.C., third grade, E.C.T. College, Greenville, N.C.

Mrs. Florence F. Taylor, Milton, N.C., second grade

Miss Annie H. Murray, Danville, Va., higher first grade, Randolph Macon

Miss Myrtle Lea, Blanche, N.C., first grade, N.C.C. Women College, Greensboro, N.C.

Miss Mary L. Stacy, Ruffin, N.C., music, N.C. College Women, Greensboro

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 2 September 1925, Wednesday, Page 2.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Zeb Vance found his value in Reems Creek

Zebulon Baird Vance
"Zeb Vance found his value in Reems Creek" by Rob Neufeld (Asheville Citizen-Times, 1 July 2019)

When David Vance, grandfather of future governor Zebulon Vance, moved to Reems Creek in the late 1780s, he was one of several settlers with Revolutionary War pasts who were looking to be part of what he considered an ideal community. That involved a large family, a working farm, a nearby church, a water powered mill, and some kind of school and slaves.

The condition of slaves lives and of the lives of freedmen, before and after Emancipation, varied greatly. The Vances perpetrated a big family model, which involved kindness and love as well as paternalism and bondage.

When David Vance was dying in 1813 he expressed in his will the desire that his two families of slaves, headed by Richard and Aggy and Jo and Leah, be given "full liberty." "Full liberty" meant, in that time and place, freedom to choose their households, to travel, and to not worry about losing their children. The State slave code required approval by a county court for emancipating the slaves. It also required that freedmen carry and present documents when they were away from their homes. The Vance's "liberated" slaves had to have tickets from their owners as permission to travel. All slaves and freedmen had to fear white men who were given license to shoot runaways.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Smith-McDowell House: "Twists and Turns"

c.1875 Click for Larger Image
"Twists and Turns"

In 1881, Alexander Garrett and wife Elizabeth purchased the Smith-McDowell House (purportedly then called "Buck House") from William Wallace McDowell and wife Sarah Lucinda Smith McDowell (daughter of James McConnell Smith, who built the house).

The Garretts, along with their son Robert Urey Garrett, his wife Mary Frances Tarr Garrett, and six-year-old granddaughter Alexandra, moved from St. Louis to Asheville. The family had emigrated from Ireland in 1847. Alexander Garrett had amassed a sizable fortune as a businessman in the Midwest. He retired to Asheville to enjoy the climate and to engage in land speculation. The elder Garrett sold the Buck House for $1 to his son Robert Urey Garrett (who owned the property until 1898).

The first wife of son Robert Urey Garrett, Mary Frances Tarr Garrett, died in 1884. A few years later the widower remarried (1887): Myra Adeline Gash, daughter of Leander Sams Gash and Margaret Adeline McClain. Her grandmother, Nancy Cordelia Gudger (1777-1851) is a sister of Joseph Henry Gudger (1826-1859), who married Elizabeth Adaline Smith (1829-1912), sister of Sarah Lucinda Smith (1826-1905) -- wife of William Wallace McDowell. After the death of James McConnell Smith in 1856, Joseph Henry Gudger purchased the Buck Hotel in Asheville.

Thus, a Gudger owned the Buck Hotel and a Gudger descendant owned (or at least was married to the owner of) the Buck House (now called the Smith-McDowell House).

And, it gets better, even if more confusing:

The first child of Robert Urey Garrett (by his first wife, Mary Frances Tarr Garrett), Alexandra Garrett, married Robert Pulliam Johnston (1870-1924), who apparently is referenced in the following --

"Johnston Estate is Given to Smith Heirs: Superior Court Verdict for Mrs. Miller and Others -- Construction of Ante-Bellum Will Recalls Interesting Facts of Asheville's Early History"

By virtue of the fact that the jury answered all issues in favor of the plaintiffs in Superior court yesterday morning in the case of Lula R. Miller and others against Robert P. Johnston and others, property located on Broadway, Spruce and Walnut streets valued at $100,000 is awarded to Lulu R. Miller, Jacob F. Weaver and the heirs of [Joseph] Henry Gudger. The plaintiffs in the foregoing suit are the heirs of Mrs. Elizabeth A. Smith [Gudger], daughter of James M. Smith, the construction of whose will made in 1856, was one of the chief points at issue in the case. In the course of the trial of the case, which was hotly contested by counsel on both sides and took up more than two days of the court's time, much interesting data relating to distinguished citizens of Asheville before and after the Civil war was unearthed.

The property which is now the site of many of the most valuable and important businesses in the city, in 1856, the date of Mr. Smith's will, was entirely given over to the use of the Buck hotel, one of the most noted of the ante-bellum taverns and frequented as a resort by the famous and distinguished men of the Civil war period.

As the will was made before the war and the testator willed slaves to his children, the reading thereof awakened many interesting memories in the minds of the older men in the court room.

It was the contention of the plaintiffs that this famous property was __________ Elizabeth A. Smith, the daughter of James M. Smith, the jury so held.

The Johnstons came into possession of the property under the provisions of a deed made by E Sluder [possibly wealthy Asheville banker/businessman Erwin Sluder who often went by E. Sluder], who had come into the possession of it in 1860.

It is an interesting fact that one of the corners called for in the Smith will was the old law office of Senator Zebulon Vance. One of the deeds in the chain proving title in the property was executed by Henry Grady, grandfather of Henry W. Grady, the famous orator. One of the executors named in the will was David L. Swain, at one time governor of the state and for thirty years president of the university, while a witness to the instrument was Nicholas W. Woodfin, one of the most prominent lawyers of his day in Western Carolina.

The property now has located on it the residence of Mark W. Brown, which faces Spruce street; the Annandale creamery, the large boarding house formerly used by the Elks as a temporary home and the building occupied by the Shaw Motor company.

The plaintiffs in the foregoing case were represented by Jones and Williams, while Mark W. Brown, W. R. Whitson and J. Sneed Adams appeared for the defendants.
. . . .

Source: The Asheville Citizen (Asheville, North Carolina), Friday, 29 October 1915.

Source: Some of the foregoing comes from the history of the Smith-McDowell House assembled by the Western North Carolina Historical Association.

When his father-in-law, James McConnell Smith, died in 1856, Joseph Henry Gudger purchased the Buck Hotel in Asheville (also called the Smith Hotel). Gudger acquired the hotel furniture from Smith's estate for $595.29. He quickly refitted the building and advertised it in the April 9, 1857, issue of the Asheville News (newspaper) as having "Good rooms, attentive servants, table supplied with luxury -- Sulphur and Chalybeate Water has been discovered within two or three minutes walk of the Hotel." By October, 1858, the Southern, Eastern, and Murphy stages were stopping at Gudger's Hotel, as it came to be called, and business was flourishing. Unfortunately, Gudger died at the age of 38 in October, 1859, as a result of "whiskey." The hotel soon passed out of the Smith family. However, Elizabeth Adaline Smith and her second husband, Winslow W. Smith, did operate the hotel for a time.

Source: The Smith-McDowell House: A History, Dr. Richard W. Iobst (1998) at 13.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Jesse Siler Smith (1821-1870): "Left Behind"

Jesse Siler Smith (1821-1870): "Left Behind"

Click Photo to See Larger Image
This photograph of my second-great grandfather, Jesse Siler Smith, was kindly was provided by cousin Jesse Gerald Smith, Jr., also a second-great grandson of Jesse Siler Smith.

I asked cousin Jesse if he knew where our second-great grandfather was buried. Here is his sad answer:

Good question. We have agonized over this for many years. Here is the long version. Jesse died in 1870 under less than ideal circumstances.

First, the war had wiped out most of the family's means. I believe (by conjecture) that even though the McDowell family (i.e. Jesse's sister with WW McDowell) was living in the brick house [Smith-McDowell House], they like everyone were under financial duress. It is inconceivable to me that Jesse would not have been buried with the family up at the original graveyard where present day Fernihurst stands [on the A-B Tech campus behind the Smith-McDowell House].

I believe Jesse was buried "on the cheap" meaning there was no money at the time for a nice headstone. Maybe owing to the manner in which he died also might have played a part in his "unnoticed" passing. But lack of financial resource is the most likely reason.

Secondly, there may have been a plan to eventually place a headstone when it was feasible, however the sale of the [Fernihurst] property with the graveyard in 1875 and subsequent moving of the family remains to Newton Academy Cemetery left it undone.

Putting it simply, Jesse is still up at the old site near Daniel Smith's original cabin. I recently discussed with a local historian in Asheville that she was told that during the construction of Fernihurst, after the removal of the remains of the Smith family, that it was reported that the remains of at least two other bodies were unearthed at the site of the old graveyard. These remains were quietly put back in the ground and not commonly referred to, for various reasons, not the least that they did not know who they were for sure. This analysis is the only rational one I can come up with.

Jesse was "left behind."

Posted By: Richmond Stanfield Frederick, Jr.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Elijah Johnson Moorefield Family (c. 1910)

Elijah Johnson Moorefield Family (c. 1910 and c. 1940)

Click Photo to See a Larger Image
Location and exact date unknown. Only the parents and the younger male are identified: Elijah Johnson Moorefield (1868-1937) (father); Ada Belle James Moorefield (1870-1955) (mother); and son Arthur William Moorefield (1893-1976).

The older-appearing daughter (to Arthur William Moorefield's right) may be Minnie B. Moorefield (1891-1987). Other daughters may include: Leona; Lula; Virginia; Violet; Esther; and Verna. The younger daughters probably not born are: Alice; and Naomi.

As Verna was born in 1908 and Alice in 1911, these years may bracket the date of the photo. Here is the 1910 census record (when the family was living in Person County, North Carolina):

1910 US Census
Name: Eliza J Moorefield [Elijah J Moorefield]
Age in 1910: 43
Estimated birth year: abt 1867
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1910: Olive Hill, Person, North Carolina
Race: White
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Married
Relation to Head of House: Head
Occupation: Farmer (General Farming), Employee
Mother's Birth Place: North Carolina [Virginia]
Father's Birth Place: North Carolina [Virginia]
Household Members: Name Age
Eliza J Moorefield 43 [Elijah J. Moorefield]
Ada B Moorefield 40
Minnie B Moorefield 18
Arther [Arthur] W Moorefield 16
Leoner [Leona] Moorefield 15
Lula M Moorefield 12
Jennie [Virginia] L [I] Moorefield 8
Violet B Moorefield 6
Ester [Esther] L [T] Moorefield 4
Sadie Moorefield 2 [nickname for Verna or census taker error]

Photograph courtesy Jesse Gerald Smith, Jr.

Compare the above family photograph from c. 1910 to the following, which was take c. 1940:

Click Photograph to See a Larger Image
Elijah Johnson Moorefield Family at Purley, Caswell County, North Carolina (c.1940). Left-to-Right:

Back Row: Alice Velma Moorefield, Lula May Moorefield, Elijah Johnson Moorefield (father), Ada Belle James Moorefield (mother), Minnie B. Moorefield, Leona Moorefield, Verna Brent Moorefield.

Front Row: Violet Bye Moorefield, Arthur William Moorefield, Virginia Inez Moorefield, Naomi Ethel Moorefield, Esther True Moorefield

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Jesse William James (1837-1901)

Jesse William James (1837-1901)

Ada Belle James (1870-1955) married Elijah Johnson Moorefield (1868-1937). Her father, Jesse William James (1837-1901), served as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War.

On December 15, 1861, in Orange County, North Carolina he enlisted as a private for a term of three years in Company A, 13th Battalion, North Carolina Infantry (called Wright's Battalion). On October 2, 1863, this unit was consolidated with others to become Company A ("Orange Boys"), 66th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry (State Troops). The unit was stationed in Wilmington, North Carolina, but moved to Virginia in May 1864. It fought at Cold Harbor, was placed in the trenches of Petersburg.

The details of his service between enlistment December 16, 1861, and May 20, 1864, are not known. However, on this latter date he was "[w]ounded in action at Howlett's Farm" and furloughed. He apparently never returned to active duty and mustered out as a private October 2, 1864.

Click map to see a larger image
The reference to Howlett's Farm is an area between Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, that was involved in the Battle of Ware Bottom Church, a one day encounter on May 20, 1964. See the map. On that date eight Confederate brigades under General Beauregard attacked General Butler’s advance picket lines near Ware Bottom Church. Approximately 10,000 soldiers clashed near the church, resulting in 1,400 casualties. After the battle, the Confederates built the Howlett Line, a series of strong defensive works (including trenches) from the James River to the Appomattox River, effectively trapping Butler's army on the Bermuda Hundred peninsula.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Caswell County Dog Catcher

Caswell County's First Dog Catcher

In 1956 the Caswell County Board of Commissioners approved the position of a full-time "dog warden" with a salary of $225 per month. The Board also voted $2,000 to erect a dog pound and $200 "for food, water and electricity and other needed supplies for operation of the dog pound." The Board also was to purchase a truck equipped for use by the dog warden in catching stray dogs and taking them to the pound.

Men who applied for the dog warden job: Vance Wrenn, John W. Newnam, Jr., F. A. Williamson, Nathaniel Willis, Jr., and J. H. Wilkins.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 24 May 1956, Thursday, Page 22.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Solomon Debow Land Sale 1812

Lands and Mills For Sale

The Subscriber, wishing to remove to his possessions in Danville, offers for sale his Lands, Mills and Distillery in Caswell county. His Lands consist of sundry tracts, adjoining or near to each other, containing in the whole about eleven hundred acres. They lie about 2 1/2 miles from Caswell Court-House, on the waters of Country-Line Creek. These Lands are well watered and well timbered; a great part consist of good Tobacco Land, and all well adapted to the culture of wheat and corn. The Plantation is in good repair and a considerable Crop of Wheat is sowed on it.

The Dwelling House is new, large and commodious; it is 58 feet long, 38 feet wide, contains ten rooms, besides two large apartments in the cellar; 7 of the rooms are neatly plaistered, and one elegantly papered. It is situated on an eminence which commands a view of the court house and the surrounding country. There is a good framed Kitchen and other convenient Out Houses.

The Mills are on Country Line Creek, which is the best stream in the county. The Grist Mills are double geared, running 3 pair of large stones; and one fixed with all the necessary machinery for manufacturing flour, and with excellent bolting cloths. The Flour Mills are equal to any in North Carolina. The Saw Mill is constructed upon the most appropriate plan, and the surrounding country abounds with good timber. These Mills have been lately built and are in perfect repair.

The Distillery contains 3 large Stills; the house is large and well fixed.

These Mills and the Distillery, exclusive of the Plantation and other Improvements, are now rented for $1000 per year -- Some idea of their value may be formed from the amount of their rent.

I will sell this property in whole or in part, to suit the purchaser. Good bargains will be given for Cash or for Negroes -- or for good Bonds, payable at some early period.

The Lands are situated in a wealthy, genteel and flourishing neighborhood.

Solomon Debow
Sept. 27, 1812

Weekly Raleigh Register (Raleigh, North Carolina), 23 October 1812, Friday, Page 1.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

NC Highway 86 (Caswell County, NC)

NC Highway 14 South
Today's NC Highway 86 started life as NC Highway 14. It became 86 as part of the 1940-41 NC/Virginia highway renumbering program. Virginia 86 was there first, so the North Carolina highway was given a new number..

The photograph location is just east/southeast of Yanceyville, NC. To the right is the farm road that became part of South Gatewood Road (S.R.-1780). The view is down the hill to the Country Line Creek bridge. Click photograph to see a larger image. first.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) 18 October 1926 (Page 1)

Hundreds of Danville motorists tried out the new concrete road linking the Virginia line with Caswell county courthouse. This highway known as Route No. 14 is now a 16-foot causeway well finished with the "herring bone" design and well pitched, especially at the numerous
curves in the road. Motorists yesterday had to make the 200 yard detour paralleling the unopened stretch from Gatewood to the state line but the entire stretch is due to be opened today.

The road does not appear to be as wide as the Reidsville road, but it is a great improvement over the old dirt road, which at places developed the "corduroy" finish. Workmen will now finish building up the dirt shoulders to this road making it wider than is now the case. The stretch is 15 miles in length and will be a great benefit to the farmers coming to Danville from the fertile tobacco counties lying
beyond Yanceyville.

The road from Yanceyville to Hillsboro has been given oil treatment as an experiment. The gravel has packed down well and the road has the appearance of being asphalt and rides as smoothly as a hard surfaced road.

In the mid-1950s an 18-wheeler with a trailer full of peanuts lost its brakes going down the hill to Country Line Creek and overturned. The unharmed driver encouraged those who came to observe the wreck to take all the peanuts they wanted! Many did.

NC Highway 14 North
NC Highway 14 (became NC Highway 86 N) between Yanceyville and Purley (in the Covington community: just past Budge Hatchett's Tree).

N.C. 86 (and N.C. 14 before it) originally had its southern terminus in Carrboro, not Chapel Hill. Between Carrboro and Hillsborough the highway ran over today's Old N.C. 86 (of course it did, you say, that's why it's called Old N.C. 86). The Old 86 south of Hillsborough was 86'd in the mid-1950s in favor of today's alignment south to Chapel Hill.

Length: 55 miles.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Spanish-American War (Caswell County, NC)

Spanish-American War

On May 22, 1898, the 1st North Carolina Regiment was dispatched to Camp Cuba Libre in Jacksonville, Florida, for service in the Spanish-American War.

Three regiments were raised in North Carolina to participate in the Spanish-American War. The following Caswell County men have been identified: John M. Dyle [Doyle?]; Walter S. Green; Donald L. Oliver; W. Banks Horton; John A. Mebane; and Edgar Calvin Yarbrough. Only the last is known to have been in Cuba. See photograph.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Obediah Florance (1740-1816)

Obediah Florance Family (Caswell County, NC)

The story of a family is recorded here as an example to show where most of the settlers came from, how land was obtained, kind of homes built, and the disappearance of all the descendants from Anderson township. The place from whence this family came is the same as most other settlers, Virginia.

Obediah Florance (1740-1816) was born in Prince William County, Virginia, and on land that his great grandfather, William, received by grant. It was located on Ocaequan Creek, now Lake Jackson. The family later moved from there to Fauquier County, and then to Culpepper, Virginia, where Obediah's mother, Littice, daughter of German immigrants, Tilman and Anna Margaret (Cuntz) Whitescarver, lived and whose occupation was that of blacksmith. From that shop came the only long fish-tail hinges made in America. Obediah Florance served in the Revolutionary War, the Militia, and was assigned to the Border Patrol. From a book, "House of Hill" by Katheryn Hill Arbogast, a descendant of Obediah Florance's brother, Elder William Florance, Jr. we quote:

"Every non-commissioned officer who enlised for duration would receive a 400 acre land grant (Hennings Statute, Vol. IX, page 179 and Vol. X, page 161.)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

White Eagle Service Station (Caswell County, NC)

White Eagle Service Station

Around 1926, B. B. and C. R. Vaughn built "White Eagle" service station and store in front of the Anderson School. Rufus A. Hooper operated it for many years. Other operators were W. F. Hurdle and Doc Hudgins, June M. Hurdle, Raymond Vinson. For many years it was closed until Jimmy Simmons reopened it in 1982. Presently Billy Simmons is the operator.

Plumblee, Millard Quentin. From Rabbit Shuffle to Collins Hill: Stories of Southern Caswell County, North Carolina. Burlington (North Carolina): Full Service Printing, 1984, p. 22.

Photograph courtesy Tyler James Chandler. Click to see a larger image.

Southern Caswell Ruritan Club (Caswell County, NC)

Civic Clubs

The only civic organization in the township is the Southern Caswell Ruritan Club, organized in 1962 at Anderson High School. Richard Byrd was elected as first president. Meetings were later held at "The Hut" of Bethel United Church of Christ. In 1972 the club erected a modern air conditioned building with money on hand. It is valued at more than $150,000. The charter shows forty-nine members, but many soon fell by the wayside. By 1965 the membership leveled off at about twenty-five. Membership gradually increased to fifty-one in 1983. Young men are presently taking the lead.

The club serves the community and special needs of individuals and families. An average annual expenditure on behalf of the community is about $7,000. The club is truly a community service organization.

The building became a community center for family reunions, high school class reunions, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, "Little League" baseball teams, wedding receptions, showers, farmer's meetings, benefit programs, county fire departments meetings, educational center for technical college classes, voting place for Dabbs precinct, etc. The number of weekly meetings average from four to six. No charge is made by the club for community use.

Club members who have served as Zone Governor were Nathan Simpson, Ervin Miles. J. O. Gregory, Harvey Tate, Brodie Simmons, Wayne Dabbs and Lynn Massey. District Governors have been Ervin Miles, Nathan Simpson. Hassel A. Byrd served as District Secretary.

Ervin Miles served as National Director from 1978 to 1980, Vice President of Ruritan National in 1983, and was elected President of Ruritan National in 1984.

From 1972 to 1983 the club has an unbroken perfect attendance record. Ervin Miles, Nathan Simpson, W. R. Simmons, Jr. and William Simmons have 100% attendance records since the club was organized in 1962. The 1983 roster of members is given here and symbols indicate charter members (#) and past presidents (*).

Bobby Aldridge
L. B. Aldridge, Jr.
Boyd Byrd
Hassel A. Byrd #*
Lindey J. Byrd

Roy Byrd #
Jeffrey Campbell
D. O. Chandler, Jr. #
Dwight Chandler *
Wilbur Chandler *

Leo Dabbs
O. M. Dabbs, Jr. #
Tony Dabbs
Wayne Dabbs *
Melvin Dollar

Morris Fuqua #**
Larry Fuquay
J. O. Gregory #*
Bob Hillman
Harvey Holden

W. M. Kimbro, Jr. *
Alvis King
Buddy King
Lewis King #*
George Lea

Eugene Massey
Lynn Massey *
Monroe Massey
Ervin Miles #*
Graham Miles #

Jimmy Nixon *
Tommy Pattillo #
M. Q. Plumblee #*
Gilmer Rascoe *
Charlie Rice

William Ribelin
Herman Roberts *
Brodie Simmons *
W. R. Simmons, Jr. #*
William Simmons #

Nathan Simpson #**
Tommie Smith
Herbert Stanfield
Steve Stanfield *
Harvey Tate *

George Terrell
William Travis
Lawrence Walker #
Michael Walker
Aaron Wright #

Plumblee, Millard Quentin. From Rabbit Shuffle to Collins Hill: Stories of Southern Caswell County, North Carolina. Burlington (North Carolina): Full Service Printing, 1984, pp. 80-82.
The Caswell Messenger Newspaper 6 Aug 1931

Two Thousand People Attend the Funeral of Dr. J. A. Pinnix Thursday

Beloved Physician and Proud Veteran of the Confederacy is Laid to Rest at Bethel Church in the Presence of What Was Estimated to be the Largest Concourse of People Ever Gathered at a Funeral in Caswell. Rev. J.S. Carden of Durham and Rev. J.S. Jones of Cross Roads Church Officiate. The finest character created by any writer of the 19th century was the good Scotch physician, Doctor McClure, (Dr. John Watson) in Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush, according to Bishop William McDowell's opinion. One cannot read of great unselfish services rendered to scattered people of the extensive parish in the rugged highlands of Scotland by Dr. McClure without realizing that he is in the presence of one of the really great men of the earth.

On last Thursday the family and numerous friends of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix of Caswell County laid to rest in the quiet country church yard at Baynes Store the mortal remains of a similar character, who had spent his long and useful life in devoted and unselfish service to mankind. It was estimated that there were two thousand people present at the funeral. Twelve ministers were there, two of whom officiated.  These were Rev J.S. Carden, pastor of the Christian Church in Durham and the Rev. J.S. Jones, pastor of the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church.

The aged physician had been a loyal Mason and was buried with Masonic honors by the Cas-Lodge No. 539, assisted by the Yanceyville, Burlington and Mebane lodges, Dr. Patton of Elon College acted as master of ceremonies. Dr. Pinnix had long been the chairman of the Oxford Orphanage committee in his lodge.  He loved Masonry devotedly, it is said.

Dr. John Alexander Pinnix, son of John Calvin and Barbara Pinnix was born in Caswell county on Oct. 8 1846, and died at his home in Caswell County at Baynes Store on July 29th, 1931, which made the days of his life to be 84 years, nine months and 21 days.

As a young man he read medicine at The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore and under the direction of Dr. Yancey of Yanceyville.  He began the practice of medicine in 1875 while living at his birthplace in the Stoney Creek township.  Thirty-five years ago he moved to Corbett, where he has lived and labored ever since. In August of 1894 Dr. Pinnix was married to Miss Ester Walker, daughter of Lieut. L.H. Walker of Caswell, who survives her husband. This union was blessed with one child, Mrs. A. Clay Murray, of Corbett, who, with her husband, resides with her mother. A foster daughter, Mrs. Clyde Fuqua of Hightowers also survives.

Dr. Pinnix was the last of his father's family.  Some cousins of his now living are, W.B. Pinnix of Danville, Mrs. Virginia Hatchett of Ruffin and J. Charles Pinnix, a lawyer in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  W. B. Pinnix of Danville is the son of Alexander Kerr Pinnix.  He says the name of "Alexander " in Dr. Pinnix's name was placed there in honor of Alexander K. Pinnix, who mas a magistrate at Pelham for 50 years.

Dr. Pinnix had a honorable war record, as a follow of Lee and Jackson, and is said to have been a gallant soldier.  He entered the Confederate Army at the age of 16 and served continuously from then to the close of the war, being paroled as a lieutenant at Appomattox following the surrender.  He kept his parole which is said to be the only one now known to be in the county. He was a member of company E, Eleventh North Carolina Regiment.

Mrs. Pinnix said that the Doctor accepted the Christian faith many years ago, but did not make a public profession of his faith until about ten years ago.  She said the good Doctor assured her, before his death, that he was ready to go. When Kirk's army marched to Caswell to avenge the death of Stevens, some of Kirk's men captured Dr. Pinnix at Slade's Mill, and were marching with him towards Yanceyville. On the march Dr. Pinnix, then but a young man, escaped and hastened ahead to warn the people of Yanceyville that Kirk was coming.

No one but the Recording Angel knows how many people Dr. Pinnix has helped, during the half century of his active practice as a physician.  It is said that he practiced medicine for love not money.  He was never known to ask if the patient was able to pay, before responding to a call, and he never failed to go when called, even by a pauper.

Dr. John Pinnix has helped many people to purchase a farm or a home and was never known to foreclose on any one. He always gave his debtors all the time needed.

In the death of Caswell's veteran physician many have lost a wise counsellor.  He would write a deed or a will for anyone and would never take a cent of pay.  In his latter years when his trembling hand made writing difficult for him, he would ask his daughter, Mrs. Murray, to serve as his amanuensis.

Those who knew Dr. Pinnix well say that he lived only to help his fellow-men, as a tender hearted, skillful physician, as a wise counsellor, as a generous benefactor and as a patriotic citizen Dr. Pinnix was a zealous Confederate.  But when the war was over he emulated Robert E. Lee and gave ardent and sincere devotion to the Union.

Such a man deserves a fitting memorial.  The Messenger suggest that the proper steps be taken to secure and establish a fitting memorial to the high character and beneficent service of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Pinnix and Hurdle Institute (Caswell County, NC)

Click to See Larger Image

Pinnix and Hurdle Institute

Pinnix and Hurdle Institute, an elementary and high school near Baynes Store. Dr. J. A. Pinnix gave the land and neighbors gave logs and timber to erect this building in 1905. The upstairs was used as a Masonic Lodge. The Tony post office was nearby.1

Pinnix and Hurdle Institute (The Academy) was located on the east side of Highway 119 near Dr. Pinnix's home.2
Powell, William S. When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977. Durham (North Carolina): Moore Publishing Company, 1977, p. 396.
Plumblee, Millard Quentin. From Rabbit Shuffle to Collins Hill: Stories of Southern Caswell County, North Carolina. Burlington (North Carolina): Full Service Printing, 1984, p. 71.

Gunn Memorial Public Library History

History of the Gunn Memorial Public Library

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On May 1, 2019, a ribbon cutting celebrated opening of the expanded Gunn Memorial Public Library in Yanceyville, North Carolina. This significant expansion (almost doubling the library size) was made possible by grants totaling $2,369,178. Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation provided $995,000 to help launch the project.

The Gunn Memorial Public Library has been an important Caswell County institution for decades, assisting in the education and entertainment of its residents, and providing a repository for valuable historical materials. Local newspapers show that early county libraries were in schools. No public library existed until 1937 when the Caswell County Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) assembled books from various sources and opened a library in the basement of the Agriculture Building in Yanceyville, naming it the Confederate Memorial Library. The organizing UDC committee members were, Mrs. Mary Oliver Kerr, Mrs. Helen Florance Gwynn, and Mrs. Emily Doughty Seagrove.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Fitch School (Anderson Township, Caswell County)

Fitch School (Anderson Township, Caswell County)

This was one of the small (often one-room) rural schools in Caswell County, North Carolina, used before school consolidation in the 1920s.

Dr. J. A. Pinnix, M.D. Home
According to historian M. Q. Plumblee the Fitch School was located behind the Dr. J. A. Pinnix home. See photograph.

This is Dr. John Alexander Pinnix, M.D. (1846-1931)

McCauley's Store (Anderson Township, Caswell County, NC)

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McCauley's Store (Anderson Township, Caswell County, NC)

"Another early store was McCauley's. The first known reference to it by this author was as of October 2, 1818. (See chapter on 'Schools' herein.). Recently James L. Florance, Jr. of Route #1, Mebane, N.C. and grandson of Effie (Boswell) Florance (Mrs. John), born 1895, questioned his grandmother about the store. She well remembered and described it as about 20' X 40'. The location according to her, was on the west side of present highway number 119 and about six tenths mile north of the Alamance-Caswell County line. She also stated that there were no trees surrounding it. At that time the old road was slightly east of the present highway.

"On December 9, 1983, the same James L. Florance, Jr. visited this writer and stated that he had conferred with Eugene 'Genie' Murray, about age 90, concerning the same store. Following his interview with Murray, this writer made a visit to the home of Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Hall, with whom Murray resides with his sister on the Union Ridge road at the old Fletcher O'Ferrell homestead. The story which Murray told both parties coincided as described here.

Tony Post Office (Caswell County, North Carolina_

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Tony Post Office

Another US Post Office in Anderson Township was Tony. It opened February 1, 1890, with James E. Hensley as postmaster, and closed in 1908 (with mail service transferred to Watson in Alamance County).

Postmasters: James E. Hensley; John D. Whitted; John Mc. Smith; Benanna Walker; Thompson N. Smith; and Brown V. Vaughn.

M. Q. Plumblee provided the following:

"Official records show that a post office was operated at 'Tony, N.C.' from 1890 until 1908. Therefore all the mail received and distributed was at McCauley's Store. In conclusion, the original location of the store and post office was across the pond from the present John W. Huffines residence. The back part of the store projected out over a part of the slope leading down to the pond. The front part faced directly east.

"The building continued to be known even today as 'Old Tony.' While the building was located at the second and third sites it was operated by Lorenzo Smith, partners Moss W. Miles and Thomas E. Smith, Bill Fitch, Jim Kimbro, Silas Kimbro, and others. The third and present location is on the west side of highway #119.

"Tradition says that a 'man of color' carried mail from Tony, N.C. post office on mule back to Pinson's Store on Pinson Creek, and while enroute some of the citizens along the way asked for their mail. Reports indicate that the carrier agreeably complied."

Plumblee, Millard Quentin. From Rabbit Shuffle to Collins Hill: Stories of Southern Caswell County, North Carolina. Burlington (North Carolina): Full Service Printing, 1984, pp. 20-21, and 28.

Anderson Post Office (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Anderson Post Office

The first US Post Office at Anderson was named Anderson's Store. It opened December 13, 1814, with Quinton Anderson (1783-1854) as postmaster. In 1892 the name was simplified to Anderson, with George Anderson [probably George Andrew Anderson (1869-1945)) as postmaster. The post office closed in 1906, with mail service transferred to Union Ridge in Alamance County.

M. Q. Plumblee stated that this post office (and the store in which it was housed) was located at or near the intersection of what now is Highway 62 and Baynes Road (S.R.-1001).

"Anderson's Store was one of the early ones built in Anderson Township. It was located across the road from the Quinton Anderson residence. The west end of the present James W. Tate's residence is located over a part of the old store site."

Source: Plumblee, Millard Quentin. From Rabbit Shuffle to Collins Hill: Stories of Southern Caswell County, North Carolina. Burlington (North Carolina): Full Service Printing, 1984, p.20.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Oakview Presbyterian Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

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Oakview Presbyterian Church

Oakview Presbyterian Church south of Yanceyville began as a chapel and Sunday School sponsored by the Yanceyville Presbyterian Church and led by Mr. C. D. Covington and Mrs. Mary Oliver Kerr. Many members have served on boards and committees of Orange Presbytery and now Salem Presbytery. Both home and global missions have been supported over the years. In 2005 the church was recognized by Salem Presbytery for having missions of all the 151 churches in the presbytery. Caswell Parish has been the primary home mission ministry of the church from the beginning of the parish and continues to be. Beyond the regular benevolent giving for missions, the church has strongly supported Pennies for Hunger, a ministry that provides crisis support and long-term efforts to alleviate the root causes of hunger at home and abroad. Beginning in 2006 the church provides food for a dozen homeless orphans in North Korea.

Source: Program of Yanceyville Presbyterian Church (Yanceyville, North Carolina) Homecoming 2007.

Fitch (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Fitch's Store/Fitch

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From 1876 until 1926 a US Post Office operated in the Fitch community between Anderson and Yanceyville on or near what now is NC Highway 62. In 1876 it was named "Fitch's Store." In 1892 the name was changed to "Fitch."

Postmasters: Hannibal A. Adams; Anderson A. Fitch; Anderson N. Fitch; Livingston L. Blackwell; Joseph L. Dabbs; Yancey I. Chandler; Rufus B. Dabbs.

Exactly where is Fitch? Before some changes were made in the area, Old Highway 62 directly intersected New Highway 62. Very near here was/is Fitch, which was there long before new Highway 62 was built in the 1950s.

Actually, part of Oakview Loop Road was the end of Old Highway 62 (now named Badgett Sisters Parkway). Some place Fitch at the intersection of Oakview Loop Road and Alvis Boswell Road. Find the site of the old Fitch's Store, and you have located Fitch.

"Post offices in Anderson township with opening and closing dates were: Fitch's Store, 1876-1892, which later became Fitch, 1896-1911. The location was on present old highway number 62 immediately south of intersection of country road number 1120. The North Carolina Department of Transportation map improperly places the site at intersection of county road number 1119 and old highway number 62."

Thus, according to historian M. Q. Plumblee, Fitch's Store was located on old Highway 62 immediately south of its intersection with Marshall Graves Road (S.R.-1120), and not at the intersection with Alvis Boswell Road (S.R.-1119).

Source: Plumblee, Millard Quentin. From Rabbit Shuffle to Collins Hill: Stories of Southern Caswell County, North Carolina. Burlington (North Carolina): Full Service Printing, 1984, p. 28.

Fitch's Store (Caswell County, NC): Newspaper Items

Presidential Campaign.

Messrs. J. H. Dobson and J. T. Strayhorn, the respective Democratic and Republican Electors for the 5th District of N.C., will address the people upon the national issues at the following places [only Caswell County locations shown]:

Fitch's Store, Caswell County, Saturday, Oct. 27th.

Milton, Caswell County, Monday, Oct 29th.

The Daily Evening Patriot (Greensboro, North Carolina), 22 October 1888, Monday, Page 1.

"Commissions have been sent to the following 4th class post masters: Annie R. Tapp, Dort; Joseph L. Dobbs [Dabbs], Fitch's Store; Mattie E. Phillips, Yadkin College."

Weekly Transcript and Messenger (Goldsboro, North Carolina), 22 July 1886, Friday, Page 1.

"The dead body of a colored man named George Oliver, was found near Fitch's Store in Caswell county, a day or two since. He is supposed to have been foully dealt with."

The Biblical Recorder (Raleigh, North Carolina), 18 April 1888, Wednesday, Page 3.

"Revenue Collector Simmons to-day received a report from Deputy Collector Moffit of the capture of a 50-gallon illicit distillery, near Fitch's Store, Caswell County. The operators escaped."

The Wilmington Messenger (Wilmington, North Carolina), 29 July 1894, Sunday, Page 1.