Thursday, July 02, 2020

"The Charleston" House (Milton, NC)

Watkins House Site. c. 1921. Built on the site of an early 1800's dwelling. Although an example of later construction, the home has the distinction of being an Aladdin Kit House ("The Charleston" model). Restored and privately owned.

Photograph courtesy Derek Allen

View from the house when it had a fence. Girls not identified. Union Tavern/Thomas Day House in background. Photograph courtesy Derek Allen. Date: October 1958

Below are pages from the 1917 Aladdin Catalogue showing "The Charleston."

Before Latest Restoration. Courtesy Angela Daniel-Upchurch

Saturday, June 27, 2020

State of Emergency: Caswell County and Town of Yanceyville


WHEREAS, current social unrest that was brought to our County and Town recently by individuals from outside the County and Town seeking to cause both political and social unrest in our communities; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the above-described disaster, I have determined  that there is an imminent threat of, or existing conditions have caused or will cause, widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property, and public safety authorities will be unable to maintain public order or afford adequate protection for lives or property; and

WHEREAS, declaring a State of Emergency and imposing the restrictions and prohibitions ordered herein is necessary to maintain order and protect public health, safety, and welfare, and to secure property.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in the Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Caswell County & the Mayor of the Town of Yanceyville under Article  IA of Chapter 166A of  the North Carolina General Statutes and The Caswell County Emergency Management Ordinance:

Section 1. A State of Emergency is hereby declared within the jurisdiction of Caswell County.

Section 2.  The emergency area covered by this state of emergency shall be the entire jurisdiction of the County which includes the Town of Yanceyville;

Section 3. The following restrictions and prohibitions are imposed:

Curfew: (As described in illustration attachment)

Effective immediately from 8:00pm until 6:00am daily rescinded July 9th at 12:00pm.

Section 4. I hereby order all Caswell County law enforcement officers and employees and all other emergency management Personnel subject to our control to cooperate in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of this Declaration, all applicable local ordinances, state and federal laws, and the Caswell County Emergency Operations Plan.

Section 5. I hereby order this declaration: (a) to be distributed to the news media and other organizations calculated  to bring its contents to the attention of the general public; (b) to be filed with Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners and the Clerk to the Yanceyville Town Council; and (c) to be distributed  to others as necessary to ensure proper implementation of this declaration.

Section 6. This declaration shall take effect on 6/26/2020 at 5:00 pm and shall remain in effect until modified or rescinded.

DECLARED this the 26th day of June, 2020) at 5:00pm.

Rick McVey
Chair, Caswell County Board of Commissioners

Bryan Miller, County Manager

Alvin Foster
Mayor, Town of Yanceyville

Brian Collie, Town Manager

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Bedford Brown Envelope

Click to See a Larger Image
Envelope Addressed to Bedford Brown (1795-1870)

Honorable Bedford Brown
Locust Hill P.O.
Caswell County
North Carolina

Bedford Brown (1795-1870): Not one North Carolinian in a thousand, perhaps, can identify Bedford Brown, though he was one of the most widely known Southern politicians of his day. It remained for Caswell County's Dr. H. G. Jones, North Carolina Archivist, to rescue Brown from oblivion through a thorough monograph of the "state's rights unionist." Brown, a well-to-do planter, was twelve times elected to the legislature, twice to the U. S. Senate, and served in other public posts. He was a friend of the Democratic leaders of his day, including Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.

The distinctive feature of his life, however, was his strenuous and unsuccessful efforts to preserve both states' rights and the union. Of the influential men of his time, he was one of the few who risked his political future by advising a course so repugnant to partisans in the ante-bellum crises. There was little room left for a man like Brown in those days, and his greatness lies not in what he accomplished, but in a philosophy that time may yet prove pointed to the only way out.

Those interested in an account of this neglected Tar Heel are directed to Jones, Houston G. Bedford Brown: State Rights Unionist. Carrollton, Georgia: West Georgia College, 1955.

Source: A New Geography of North Carolina, Volume IV, Bill Sharpe (1965).

Monday, June 08, 2020

1850 Milton, NC, Red Circular Date Stamp

1850 stampless folded letter from Milton, NC, to Rockingham, NC.  Red circular date stamp and 10 rate handstamp; docketing at left; short business content.

James Peterson Revolutionary War Pension Application Record

James Peterson (c.1758-1838)

County of Caswell & State of North Carolina

On __ day of July 1830 Personally appeared in the County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions for the County of Caswell the same being a Court of Record expressly so constituted by an act of the General Assembly passed in the year 1777 and possessing all the attributes belonging to such court in & for the County aforesaid James Peterson a resident in said County aged about seventy-two years who being first duly sworn on the Holy Gospel of God doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the provision made by the Acts of Congress of the 18th March 1818 and the 1st of May 1820.

That the said James Peterson enlisted for the term of 2 years & 6 months on or about the first of March 1776 in the County of Caswell [sic, then Orange County] & State of North Carolina, the company commanded by Captain Archibald Lytle in the Regiment commanded by Colonel __ Taylor in the Line of North Carolina on Continental establishment. That he continued to serve in the said Corps until about the month of September 1778 when he was discharged from the service at Wilmington in the State of North Carolina.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Caswell County Veterans Memorial (Yanceyville, NC)

Caswell County Veterans Memorial

The following appeared in a recent issue of The Caswell Messenger. It is a list of the names to be "etched" on the Caswell County Veterans Memorial. Send comments to Fred Smith: (336) 514-1521.

World War I Killed in Action

Neal, Algernon Sidney
Simpson, Ed
Smith, Gurney Matthew
Warren George Thomas

Died Non-Battle

Brooks, Benjamin Franklin
Evans, John
Fuller, Byrd Edward
Jeffreys, Moses
Lea, John Junius
Lea, Ruffin
Pattillo, Roy Annison
Phelps, Tom Abner
Warren, William Earnest

World War II Killed in Action

Bowes, Robert Henry
Bradner, Claude
Bradsher, James Franklin
Cobb, Wesley Lindsey
Dabbs, Julius Lemuel
Dabbs, Lawrence Ralston
Farrar, Ethen Allen
Farrar, James Alfred
Fowlkes, Jr., Charlie Jennings
Garrett, Elmo Love
George, Marshall Lee
Harris, Baine
Hooper, Dewey Glenn
Jones, Cecil Owen
Jordan, Perry Robert
Lea, Jr., William Thomas
Loftis, Bryant Monroe
McMillan, John Clarence
Moore, George Herman
Pointer, James Cecil
Shotwell, William Bradsher
Swanson, James Warren
Ware, Ralph David
Warren, Ray Denny
Wilkins, Owen Mitchell
Wilson, Jr., George William
Wrenn, Joseph Earl

Vietnam War Killed in Action

Mitchell, Ralph
Richards, James Michael
Wade, Kenneth Earl
Webster, John Thomas

Died Non-Battle

Blackwell, John Willie
Snipes, Billy Lee

Korean War Killed in Action

Ford, Alvis Layton
Moore, Benny Allen
Owen, Claud

War on Terror - Afghanistan

Killed in Action

Richmond, Colby Lee

Lost at Sea

Johnston, Julius III

Prisoners of War

Brandon, Dudley Wilson
Gregory, Paul Allen
Grubbs, Joseph Elliot
Harrelson, Jr., James Basley
Payne, Ralph Leon
Whitlow, Evelyn Barbara
Yeatts, Leslie Clarence

Died Non-Battle

Gammons, Levi Drewey
Harrison, John Edwin
Holley, Earlie Clement
Matkins, John Norris
Neal, Henry Thomas
Robertson, Johnnie Wesley
Smith, Walter Lee
Stephens, Ivory Lee
Travis, John Wesley
Turner, Walter Edward

Photograph: Monument on the Square (Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina)

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Aquilla Wilson Day: 1830 NC Statute

North Carolina General Assembly

An Act to authorise Aquilla Day, otherwise called Aquilla Wilson, a free person of colour to reside in this State. 1830-1831 79 (1830).

A Bill to Authorize Aquilla Day, A Free Person of Color to Reside in This State After Her Marriage to Thomas Day, the Furniture Maker from Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, 23 December 1831. Location: North Carolina State Archives.

Petition 11283003 Details
Location: Caswell, North Carolina
Salutation: To the Honourable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina
Filing Court and Date: Legislative, 1830-December-1
Ending Court and Date: Legislative, 1830-December-30
General Petition Information

Abstract: Sixty-eight citizens of the town of Milton ask that Aquilla Wilson, a free woman of color of Halifax, Virginia, be exempted from an 1826 North Carolina law "entitled 'An act to prevent free persons of Colour from migrating into this state, for the good government of such persons resident in the State, and for other purposes.'" They state that Aquilla married Thomas Day, a free man of color whom they describe as a "Cabinet maker by trade, a first rate workman, a remarkably sober, steady and industrious man--, a highminded, good and valuable Citizen." They therefore pray that an act be passed "giving said Aquilla, the priviledge of migrating to this state." In his affidavit, R. M. Saunders avers that said Day is "of very fair character -- an excellent mechanic, industrious, honest and sober in his habits and in the event of any disturbance amongst the blacks I should rely with confidence upon a disclosure from him as he is the owner of Slaves as well as of real estate."
Result: granted

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Ration Coupons Stolen at Yanceyville, NC: June 1945

Ration Coupons Stolen at Yanceyville

Caswell County History: In June 1945 "safecrackers" blew open the safe at the Caswell County Rationing Board in Yanceyville, NC, and stole a quantity of ration coupons (primarily gasoline and sugar). The thieves drilled the safe, wired it for a "nitro" charge then "blew it wide open." The early morning blast occurred during a rainstorm and was mistaken for thunder.

Source: The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), 9 June 1945.

Ration Coupon

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Holder House (Milton, NC)

Holder House (Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina)

House Sold on 7/23/2018: $40,000

Photo 356. Holder House. ca. 1830. 1.5 story frame Federal style house with exterior end chimneys with double stepped shoulders, beaded weatherboard. Considerably altered, with replacement front door, porch, and added shed dormers. Fieldstone retaining wall and large cedars.

Source: Little-Stokes, Ruth. An Inventory of Historic Architecture Caswell County, North Carolina. Waynesville (North Carolina): Don Mills, Inc., 1979, p.221.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Caswell Farmers Hen Profits 1943

Caswell County Farmers 1943 Hen Profits. The J. S. Shelton mentioned most likely is James Spencer Shelton (1895-1983). The Agricultural Extension Agent is Junius Ellard Zimmerman (1908-1969).

The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) · 27 Dec 1943, Mon · Page 8

Leasburg, NC, Glider Landing: World War II

Waco Glider
Leasburg Glider Encounter

During World War II a glider apparently separated prematurely from the tow airplane. The glider was "full of soldiers" and landed in a field in Leasburg near the Frogsboro Road. The soldiers were welcomed into local homes until another airplane came to rescue them. This rescue tow airplane purportedly had a device that looked like a "football goal" connected to a long tether. It swooped in low, hooked onto the glider, and it was gone.

Photograph: Waco CG-4A (typical glider).

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Seattle's Black Victorians 1852-1901

Sally Johnson Day (third wife of Thomas Day, Jr.) apparently was mentioned as a Seattle seamstress in the following book:

Mumford, Esther Hall. Seattle's Black Victorians 1852-1901. Seattle: Ananse Press, 1980.

Book Review

This book is not easy to find, but it's worth seeking out. It's an exhaustive study of every scrap of information the author-historian could find about blacks who lived in Seattle during the last half of the 19th century. She did interviews with elderly black residents and she combed through every newspaper of the time for any mention of black or "colored" people.

This book isn't a rollicking good time, but it is a thorough distillation of everything known about the black communities in a city during an era when not much was recorded about them. It's clear that so, so much about these people had already been lost to history when Mumford wrote this work in the late 1970's (it was published in 1980). I'm so happy that she took on this subject.

Overall, I found the book fascinating, but it's definitely a scholarly work. Mumford makes sure to mention the name of every black person she comes across in her research, and about most there is very little information, so there are sections where your appetite is whetted with the barest of details about people or families, but it can sometimes seem like a catalog listing: Something like "so-and-so practiced law at this address from 1888 -1892, and so-and-so practiced law there from 1890-1893. Nothing more is known about them."

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Annie Day Robinson Letter 1895

Set forth below is the text of a letter written to Annie Day Robinson concerning the death of her father Thomas Day, Jr. (1835-1895):

Franklin Washington
Oct 13th 1895

Mrs. Annie D. Robinson
#146 Fayettvill [sic] St
Durham, N C

Dear Madam

It is quite a sad affair which has happened here in our little town for the last two weeks.

I presume Mr. R. M. Gibson [Romulus Monroe Gibson] wrote you something concerning your father's death (or rather about the murder of him) which happened on Sunday night Sept. 22nd. But before Mr. Gibson could receive an answer from you he laid cold in the clay himself and his wife asked me to answer this letter and explain as near as possible the sad knews [sic] of both their deaths.

Mr. (or Bro) Day was firing a set of boilers which ran a fan which furnished air for the miners. It was situated about 1/2 mile from any ones house upon the mountain.

Some one, God only knows sneaked upon him and killed him while he was at his work late in the night. He was found by his Relief Monday morning. I swore out a complaint against the man who was living with Mrs. Day and arrested him, placed him in Jail. But wait, I am ahead of my story. Mr. Gibson and I found tracks leading away from where your Father layed. We measured the track and supposed them to be David Bannister's.

I swore out a warrant against him, arrested him, and put him in Jail after holding him until the sheriff and prosecuting attorney came and took the shoes from off his feet and found them to fit the track. I think it is a clear case against him. The Brethren are doing all in the power to find out who did do the Cowardly Crime. Tho it is the supposition of every body here in the Camp that David Bannister did kill him and he is now in the County Jail awaiting trial without Bail.

I am allmost [sic] certain he will be convicted of murder in the first degree, which means death to him also.

Do not worry, for if there is any way in the world for your Father's death to be avenged it will be did, for there is men here who would do anything almost to satisfy their minds about the way he was so brutaly [sic] murdered.

Now concerning Mr. R. M. Gibson's death, which happened Friday morning Oct the 4th. He was watchman here at one of the plants -- the Boilers Exploded and scalled him to death. He lived until Saturday morning the 5th and died. He was buried Sunday the 6th. He was looking after the Old Man's business. He had all of the papers and things and all of his wearing appearals [sic].

Some of the Brethren was thinking of having an administrator appointed to look after his business and also after the little child. From what I can learn he has some land down in what is called the Yackama Valley. I can't say how it stands. I know he bought land down their about  2 or 3 years ago.

If I was you I would look after this matter and not let her (his wife) get her hands on a cent of his money or his yearning [earning?]. The little Girl is still living and is well.

If there is anything I can do towards helping you out in this matter let me know.

I am Respectfully yours.

G. A. Whitney

Black Diamond Fan ("Fan on the Hill")

Black Diamond Fan
Black Diamond Fan

The structure is the fan at the Black Diamond Coal Mining Company in King County, Washington (east of Tacoma). The fan provided fresh air to the mine shafts. It was steam-driven and operated continuously. Thus an operator was required 24 hours. Thomas Day, Jr. (1835-1895) was one of these operators. Due to a marital dispute he purportedly was killed by David Bannister. Day was maintaining the fan when bludgeoned. Bannister apparently was acquitted.

Here is how we described it in 2017. We posted the comment to the Black Diamond History Facebook Page:

This is the "fan on the hill" in which Thomas Day, Jr., was killed September 23, 1895. The fan apparently provided ventilation to shafts at the coal mine in Franklin, King County, Washington. The fan may have been powered by a steam engine, as a fireman was on duty at all times to operate the boiler. This was the job of Thomas Day, Jr., when he was killed. As the photograph was taken in 1894, it is possible that Day is one of the men in this image. Day was born c.1837 in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, son of famous cabinet maker Thomas Day.

Franklin, Sept. 24.--Special--This afternoon Coroner Askam and J. J. Smith held an autopsy on the body of Thomas Day and found that he came to his death from a fractured skull. The skull was horribly fractured from the right ear to the left across the top of the head. Shortly after the autopsy a coroner's jury was impaneled and Coroner Askam and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Morris conducted the examination. The jury returned a verdict that deceased came to his death from blows willfully and feloniously inflicted by a blunt instrument in the hands of David Bannister. Shortly after the coroner's jury returned its verdict, Day was buried in Franklin cemetery.


Black Diamond History Facebook Page

Caswell County Genealogy

Killing of Thomas Day, Jr.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Salzman Jewelry (Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina)

 The two  houses east of the Union Tavern/Thomas Day House in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, have been confusing. The one that remains generally is called the Friou-Hurdle House.

It apparently was built around 1860 by Jarvis Friou (1806-1896), a shoe manufacturer and later the owner of the Milton Hotel. However, some reports indicate that Dr. James Augustus Hurdle, D.D.S. (1849-1925) was a subsequent owner.

If Dr. Hurdle lived in the house that no longer stands, query when he purchased the house next door (that still stands). And what happened to the house that no longer stands? When was it demolished, burned, etc.? This was before the early 1970s when Ruth Little and Tony Wrenn began taking photographs for the Caswell County architectural book (published 1979).

The house that no longer stands has been referred to as:

"Salzman Jewelry/Town Hall"


Friou-Hurdle House
Otto Howard Salzman (1841-1916): Jeweler in Milton, North Carolina c.1880. Note that a building that housed Salzman Jewelry once stood in Milton -- on the south side of Broad Street between the Union Tavern and the Friou House. Apparently the Milton Town Hall also once stood on the same site (or was the same building).

Note that Otto Howard Salzman married Fannie Malinda Hines (1842-1979), daughter of prominent Milton tailor Benjamin Hines (1808-1887). Census records (1880) indicate that Otto and his three daughters lived in the Benjamin Hines household (see below). Thus, it is possible the building that no longer stands was just used as the Salzman jewelry business and not as a residence.

Current Configuration
But, this is not a certainty. Fannie Hines Salzman died in 1879 as a result of giving birth to her third child: Josephine Salzman. Thus, it is possible that Otto Salzman moved his remaining family (three young daughters) to live with his father-in-law. While the mother-in-law had died, remaining in the Hines household at the time of the 1880  US Census were two unmarried sisters of the deceased Fannie Hines Salzman. They could have assisted with the three Salzman daughters.

The 1870 US Census is not instructive as Otto and Fannie were married in 1872. Otto Salzman arrived in the US from Hamburg, Germany, 27 June 1865. At some point after Fannie died Otto apparently moved to Danville, Virginia, where he owned and operated a retail jewelry business. He died 1816 and rests at Green Hill Cemetery (Danville, Virginia). Otto apparently was Swiss, which is appropriate for a jeweler.

Of interest is the mother of Fannie Malinda Hines Salzman: Sarah Price Holder (1810-1853). Yes, she is the daughter of the James Holder (1774-1836) who built the Holder House now owned by Danny and Kimberly Cash!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Caswell County Courthouse Fire 1916

Caswell County Courthouse Fire 1916

Photograph of Courthouse is in 1920, four years after the fire. It appears that all repairs had been completed. Note the absence of a formal square. Reports of the day described it as horribly dusty when dry and a muddy mess when wet.

"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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Wooding Place (Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina)

Wooding Place
The Weekly Review (Reidsville, Rockingham County, North Carolina) April 10, 1889 - Col. John E. Wooding, a native of Halifax county, Va., but who had for at least thirty years made his home in Milton, died quietly at the home of his son, Mr. R. S. Wooding, last Friday evening at the age of seventy-nine years. Col. Wooding was a quite remarkable man, he possessed a fine intellect, had an almost perfect memory, kept well posted on all topics of current interest, was well read, and we think one of the most interesting conversationalists to whom we ever listened.

Wooding Place (Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina). Built around 1840. One of a group of raised-basement houses built in the mid-19th century in Milton. Built by John Wooding who operated the Milton brickyard. Flemish bond brick basement, exterior end brick chimneys, pedimented gable ends, Greek Revival trim and Italianate bracketed porch which may be a replacement. At the rear are two unusual square brick dairies with pyramidal roofs which recall the outbuildings of 18th century Williamsburg.

Source: Little-Stokes, Ruth and Wrenn, Tony P., An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County North Carolina -- The built environment of a burley and bright-leaf tobacco economy. Waynesville (North Carolina): Don Mills, Inc., 1979, p. 216.

Hyco Lake — Vol 2, 2013

The Wooding Place

The Past Meets the Present in a Serene Country Setting

Residents, visitors, and preservationists alike cherish the rich historical heritage of Milton. The quiet town of around 130 people, located along the Dan River in northern Caswell County, holds fast to its motto: "the museum without walls, where preserving the past is our future". This motto rings loud and true, displayed in the number of National Historic Landmarks throughout Milton, along with charming antique shops, a general store, and stately 19th-century homes. The town's history is deeply rooted in the prosperity of the tobacco warehouses and mills that dotted the Dan River during the 1800's, when most of the town's buildings and homes were constructed. Many of the homes also exhibit the exquisitely detailed millwork of Thomas Day, the Milton-native and well known African-American craftsman whose signature work can be found throughout the Tar Heel State.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Pelham (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Pelham (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Townships Established

In 1868 North Carolina adopted a new state constitution that enacted a system of county townships, thus abandoning the district structure is use for almost a century. Caswell County's four districts were replaced by the following nine townships:

1. Pelham
2. Dan River
3. Milton
4. Locust Hill
5. Yanceyville

6. Leasburg
7. Stoney Creek
8. Anderson
9. Hightowers

Post Office and Weather Station

Pelham, a community in the northwestern corner of the county, was established during the Civil War as a station on the Piedmont Railroad and was named for 25-year-old Major John Pelham of Alabama, a gallant soldier who was killed in battle on March 17, 1863. His mother was a McGehee from Person County. Young Pelham had almost finished the course of study at West Point when he left in 1861 to serve the Confederacy. He commanded a battery of horse-drawn 

field artillery and served under Generals Joseph E. Johnston and J. E. B. Stuart.

By 1865 a post office was serving the community and in 1872 it had the services of two doctors and a wheelwright; a general store and two churches also served Pelham.

William Byrd's famed "Land of Eden" included this area, and it is now farming land of importance and contains the rural homes of many people who work in Danville. In 1888 a Pelham Croquet Club met every Saturday afternoon and the Caswell News reported that "the lads and lassies say they have enjoyed those meetings and games hugely." Today a large commercial stone quarry sometimes mars the otherwise quiet days at Pelham.

Source: Powell, William S. When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977. Durham: Moore Publishing Company, 1977, pp. 335-336.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Danville, Virginia: Not Last Confederate Capitol/Capital

Not Last Confederate Capitol Nor Capital

This historical marker, erected in 1939 on the grounds of the Sutherlin Mansion in Danville, Virginia, incorrectly claims the former home of Major W. T. Sutherlin is "regarded" as the last capitol of the Confederacy. At least serious historians do not "regard" it as such.

It appears that CSA President Jefferson Davis did stay there, but it was not the site of the last "full cabinet meeting."

While Jefferson Davis "roomed" at the Sutherlin Mansion, it appears that the last meeting with his cabinet did not occur there:

"The final Confederate Cabinet meeting was held at the Benedict House (since destroyed) in Danville."

Thus, the most that can be claimed with respect to the Sutherlin Mansion is: "Jeff Davis slept here."

"The executive offices for the president, the secretary of state and, I believe, some other departments of the government had by this time been established in a large brick building on Wilson Street."

This is a statement by William Pinkney Graves describing his return to Danville to report that Lee had surrendered.

Thus, the executive offices of the so-called last capitol of the Confederacy were not at the Sutherlin Mansion. It appears that the only connection the Sutherlin Mansion had to the "last capitol" was that CSA President Jefferson Davis slept there. The CSA executive offices were elsewhere, members of the cabinet slept elsewhere, and the last meeting of the CSA cabinet in Danville was elsewhere.

So, how can the Sutherlin Mansion fairly be described as the "last capitol of the Confederacy"? It cannot.

Source: Cozzens, Peter and Giraldi, Robert I., Editors. New Annals of the Civil War. Mechanicsburg (Pennsylvania): Stackpole Books, 2004.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

The Caswell Messenger Circulation Contest Results May 4, 1929

The Caswell Messenger Circulation Contest Results May 4, 1929

While the numbers are not totally understood, the overall winner was Mrs. Dewey Swicegood (1904-1937) [Margaret Lee Staley]. The Swicegoods operated a funeral home in Yanceyville, NC.

The second prize of a Ford car went to Mrs. Henry Hooper. This is Katherine Gertrude Everett Hooper (1908-1982), wife of Yanceyville merchant Henry Writch Hooper (1905-1981).

Third place went to Mrs. W. A. McKinney, who most likely is Maude Ellen Boswell (1889-1938), wife of Caswell County farmer William Andrew McKinney (1884-1939).

The fourth prize was won by Mrs. John Stephens, who remains unidentified.

Fifth prize went to Miss Mary Neighbors, who may be Mary Leigh Neighbors (1908-2001), sister of the much-loved school teacher Ruby Neighbors Hodges (1911-2006).

Thanks to Teresa Hooper for sharing this item.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

John Watt Montgomery (1835-1904)

Reverend John Watt Montgomery (1835-1904)

Born in Caswell County, N.C., on October 24, 1825, J. W. Montgomery was the son of David M. and Jane Watt Montgomery. His childhood was spent at the old Montgomery homeplace near Blanch. The nearest Presbyterian Church apparently was Gilead, and it was this church that his family probably attended. He served as Bethesda Presbyterian Church pastor 1855-1865), not all of it being full-time.

Source: Lytch, W. E. History of Bethesda Presbyterian Church Caswell County, N.C. 1765-1965. Yanceyville (North Carolina): The Caswell Messenger, 1965.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Bayard Wooten: Caswell County, North Carolina

Bayard Morgan Wooten: Caswell County Photographs

Mary Bayard Morgan Wootten was independent. As Bayard Wootten, she become a pioneering female photographer, crisscrossing North Carolina and parts of the South for nearly 50 years. Wootten's photos of old houses and gardens won praise. Her lifestyle, though, often generated chuckles and occasional criticism from those who thought her unladylike in dress and manner.Wootten stayed active until 1954, working in a Chapel Hill studio above Julian's and the Varsity men shops on Franklin Street. She then moved back to New Bern to the big house on Front Street where she grew up. She died in 1959 at age 82. On assignment, she took command. "I would shoo the family out and take the picture," she said of a visit to Rose Hill, a 19th-century estate in Caswell County that she photographed inside and out. Frances Benjamin Johnston and Wootten photographed many of the same fine old houses. Both did Rose Hill.

"She was a character, an absolute character," says Greensboro photographer S. Lane Atkinson, who worked for Wootten in the 1940s. "She was a chain smoker and she dressed in pants, wore her hair combed straight back. She wore a hearing aid. If she didn't want to hear something or just didn't want to be bothered, she cut it off."

"She would wear the same suit for weeks at a time," says Celia Eudy of Kinston, Wootten's niece. "She had a good sense of humor. She enjoyed conversation with men folks more than tea-type ladies."

Wootten motored about the state and the South in a yellow Buick, chaffeur-driven and loaded down with heavy camera gear. Atkinson says Wootten always insisted that cars be yellow. "That way she could walk out of a building and find her car without having to look for it," Atkinson says.

Wootten loved photographing old homes and beautiful gardens, but she was open to all photographic possibilities. She published postcards. She did portraits. She had the contract for yearbooks at UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, The Citadel and other schools. She also had an agreement with the Playmakers Theatre at UNC-Chapel Hill to photograph productions there. She did one in which lanky student Thomas Wolfe acted. She even photographed some football and basketball games in Chapel Hill, where she lived from 1928 to 1954.

She was equally at ease with erudite academicians and salty-talking soldiers. During World War II, she had the photographic concession at old Camp Butner, a World War II army base near Durham, and operated a atudio outside the gate at Fort Bragg.

She took up photography in 1904. Before that she painted and is credited with designing the trademark for Pepsi-Cola. The soft drink was invented in New Bern. She also taught school in Georgia, where she met and married a lawyer. They had two children before divorcing. Wootten returned to North Carolina and soon began a photography career that kept her traveling all over the Eastern seaboard, many times to Charleston, S.C., a city she loved. She also traveled nationally, giving lectures illustrated by slides of her work.

She would take risks for a photo. Jerry Cotten, photo archivist at UNC-Chapel Hill's North Carolina Collection, believes Wootten was the first woman ever to shoot from an airplane. She took her camera aloft in a Wright bi-plane in 1914 and took aerials of New Bern.

With her half-brother, George Moulton, she operated Wootten-Moulton Studios. At one time or another, the studio had branches in New Bern, Chapel Hill, Camp Butner, Fort Bragg and, in 1925 and 1926, Greensboro, at 215 1/2 S. Elm Street. Here, she was close friends with Maude Latham, who like Wootten grew up in New Bern.


1. Bayard Wooten: Shooting for Posterity by Jim Schlosser, Staff Writer, February 11, 1995, Greensboro News & Record.




1. Bethesda Presbyterian Church (Locust Hill)
2. Milton Presbyterian Church (Milton)
3. James Poteat House (Forest Home)
4. Bedford Brown House (Rose Hill)(Locust Hill)
5. Melrose (Williamson House)

6. Romulus Saunders House (Longwood)
7. Calvin Graves House (Locust Hill)
8. Red House Presbyterian Church (Semora)
9. Clay-Lewis-Irvine-Upchurch House (Milton)

1. Flat Box 09: Bethesda Presbyterian Church
Black and White Photographic Print P0011/1_1_0091
Miscellaneous photographs attributed to Wootten-Moulton Studios: Caswell County: Locust Hill: Churches: Bethesda Presbyterian, circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Photographic Print: 1 image

2. Flat Box 09: Milton Presbyterian Church
Black and White Photographic Print P0011/1_1_0092
Miscellaneous photographs attributed to Wootten-Moulton Studios: Caswell County: Milton: Churches: Presbyterian, circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Photographic Print: 1 image

3. Flat Box 09: James Poteat House (Forest Home)
Black and White Photographic Print P0011/1_1_0093
Miscellaneous photographs attributed to Wootten-Moulton Studios: Caswell County: Yanceyville: Houses: Poteat (James), circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Photographic Print: 1 image

4. Black and White Film Box 02: Bedford Brown House (Rose Hill)
Black and White Sheet Film P0011/C338_023
Old Homes of North Carolina: Bedford Brown House, Caswell County, circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Sheet Film (8x10): 1 image
Wootten negative number: 2444.

On assignment, she took command. "I would shoo the family out and take the picture," she said of a visit to Rose Hill, a 19th-century estate in Caswell County that she photographed inside and out. Frances Benjamin Johnston and Wootten photographed many of the same fine old houses. Both did Rose Hill.

5. Black and White Film Box 02: Melrose
Black and White Sheet Film P0011/C338_024
Old Homes of North Carolina: Melrose, Caswell County, circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Sheet Film (8x10): 4 images
Wootten negative numbers: 2446, 2446-1, 2446-2, 2446-3.

6. Black and White Film Box 02: Romulus Saunders House (Longwood)
Black and White Sheet Film P0011/C338_025
Old Homes of North Carolina: Romulus Saunders House, Caswell County, circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Sheet Film (8x10): 1 image
Wootten negative number: 2441.

7. Black and White Film Box 02: Calvin Graves House
Black and White Sheet Film P0011/C338_026
Old Homes of North Carolina: Jethro Brown House (also Calvin Graves), Caswell County, circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Sheet Film (8x10): 1 image
Wootten negative number: 2442.

8. Black and White Film Box 03: Red House Presbyterian Church
Black and White Sheet Film P0011/C340_014
Churches of North Carolina: Red House Church built in 1781, Caswell County, circa 1904-1954
Black-and-White Sheet Film (8x10): 1 image
Negative has deteriorated

9. Henderson, Archibald. Old Homes and Gardens of North Carolina. Photographs by Bayard Wootten. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1939.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Negroes for Sale: 1861 Milton, North Carolina

Negroes for Sale! I will sell at auction, in the town of Milton, on Saturday the 27th day of April, 1861, a very likely Negro Boy about 17 years old, also a Girl Ten years of age. Terms made known on the day of Sale.

Martha R. Hamlett, Admr'x of J. E. Hamlett.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Cecil Clarence Callis (1923-2014)

Biography of the Reverend Cecil Clarence Callis (1923-2014)

Mr. Callis was born at Willow Springs, Wake County, N. C, on May 13, 1923, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Royal Callis. After two years at Presbyterian Junior College, Maxton, N. C, he attended Presbyterian College, Clinton, S. C, where he received his degree in 1914. He was awarded his B.D. degree by Union Seminary, Richmond, Va., in 1947; and ordination was by Winston-Salem Presbytery on May 4, 1947.

He spent his first two and one-half years following ordination in Home Mission work in Ashe County, N. C; and from 1949-1952, he was pastor of the Mallows Presbyterian Church, Covington, Va. He was married to Miss Julia Sullivan of Raleigh, N. C, in August, 1946. They have three daughters: Julia Cecile, born July 17, 1947; Mary Robin, born June 20, 1951; and Chris Sullivan, born Nov. 17, 1957.

During his six years in Caswell County, Mr. Callis was active in civic and educational as well as religious affairs. As a member of the Yanceyville Rotary Club he served one term as secretary and treasurer; and when he left the county, he was the club's president. He was a member of the executive committee of the local P.T.A. and served as a member of the County Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was Dean of several very successful Area Leadership Schools held at Bethesda, and was faithful in attending summer camps and conferences as a director or counselor.

In August of 1955, Mr. Callis was given a new automobile by the Bethesda and Yanceyville Congregations as an expression of their appreciation for his faithfulness in carrying out his pastoral duties.

Lytch, W. E. History of Bethesda Presbyterian Church Caswell County, N.C. 1765-1965. Yanceyville (North Carolina): The Caswell Messenger, 1965.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Stage Coach History: Caswell County, North Carolina

Stage Coach History: Caswell County, NC


The history of stagecoach lines and routes is Caswell County, North Carolina, is incomplete. Few records are known. Here we share what has been found. Research continues.

New Stage Line - 1857

The public are respectfully informed that a new line of tri-weekly stages is now running from Hillsboro, N.C., to Ringold's depot on the R. and D.R.R., via Cedar Grove, Prospect Hill, Leasburg and Milton. This line leaves Hillsboro every Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, at 12 1/2 o'clock P.M., after the arrival of the cars, and arrives at Milton same evening to supper, and at Barksdales depot next morning in time for passengers to take cars, either for Richmond or Danville, as both trains meet at this point.

Returning stages leave Barksdales depot every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1 P.M., lodges at Milton and arrive at Hillsboro Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in time for passengers to take cars on either train. This line runs daily from Barksdales depot to Milton. Fare through from Hillsboro to Barksdales depot $4.

P. Flagg, Agent
For the Proprietor.

Source: The Milton Chronicle (Milton, North Carolina), 12 February 1857, Thursday, Page 4.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Gus Dowdy Conviction Reversed

A. S. (Gus) Dowdy of Dowdytown, Caswell County, NC: Convicted in 1929 for conspiracy to violate the national prohibition (liquor) law with John S. Funk, formerly NC prohibition inspector. Dowdy purportedly bribed Funk, who allegedly accepted bribes from other bootleggers. Conviction was reversed on appeal, possibly on jurisdictional grounds. No more is known.

Source: The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 14 January 1931, Wednesday, Page 1.

Dowdytown Shooting 1931

Dowdytown Was a Rough Place Back in the Day

Dowdytown Negro Dies of Old Wound: Injury Inflicted by John Dowdy Proves Fatal: 1931

Police today were investigating the death of Alexander Henderson, a 24-year-old negro who succumbed yesterday morning in Providence Hospital to a gun shot wound in the leg inflicted September 26th, the injury becoming progressively worse until a final operation for the amputation of the leg proved fatal.

The negro dies without making an ante mortem statement, but police today were in possession of the name of the man who, the negro is said to have stated, shot him one night in Dowdytown. City Coroner J. E. Taylor was also pursuing an inquiry today. The only reference to the man who shot Henderson was made to hospital attendants whose word now is relied upon to form the basis of whatever process follows. He was quoted as saying he was shot at Dowdytown. The case was not reported to the authorities chiefly because of the intermittent visits which Henderson made to the hospital.

The wounded man was brought to the hospital on the night of September 26th with a bullet wound above the knee. The bullet had ranged down, however, and was removed from the muscles of the calf. Henderson seemed to make progress and left the institution on September 30.

On October 21st he was again brought to the hospital for treatment. The leg did not appear to be mending and he was suffering hemorrhages from the wound. He continued to take treatment until October 26th. Then he left the institution to be brought back on December 1st, this time in serious condition. He was in weakened condition and there were symptoms of gangrene. The immediate effort was to build him up for the shock of an operation for the removal of the limb. This was undertaken on Sunday evening by Dr. Julian Robinson who was called in the last desperate resort to save his life with small chance of his recovery because of his general weakness and the condition of his system.

While local hospitals have been more prompt of recent weeks in reporting all violent injury admissions to the police, the local authorities today still pointed to any mandatory provision in the city ordinances which would compel such action by the hospitals.

Chief of Police J. H. Martin said today that there had been no mystery about the shooting and that it had been investigated promptly at the time by Sheriff Gatewood, of Caswell County, also by local police. The version at the time is that he had a quarrel with John Dowdy on the night of the shooting, that the negro left the scene and returned later with a shot gun whereupon Dowdy fearing that the negro was about to shoot him, fired and wounded him in the leg. Dowdy is said to have given this explanation of the shooting at the time.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 8 December 1931, Tuesday, Page 2.

Role of the Historian

What is Historical?

Not all Caswell County history is pleasant. Do we ignore facts because some deem them offensive? What is the job of the historian? Should not all aspects of Caswell County's history be available for analysis, critique, and review? Is this not what historians do? Are not today's news events tomorrow's history? Where should the line be drawn? Who draws that line?

Shooting at Lucky's

Edward Lee said he had no sooner stepped out of the bathroom at Lucky's than he saw a man hitting a woman in the face. A regular patron of the bar — located just across the state line in Providence, North Carolina — Lee recognized many of the faces there. But not this pair.

"It was some people out of town," he said, pointing at the bar — a dark brown wooden structure with multiple doors and windows along 268 Gatewood Road — from a corner of its gravel parking lot Wednesday morning. "I told him he needed to leave."

The man then followed him across the bar. It was shortly before 1:30 a.m. and Lee had just walked past the bar and was near the kitchen when a pool cue smashed into his head. The man then grabbed a beer bottle and slammed it into Lee and several others. That's when the man's three friends jumped in, Lee said, and a brawl broke out.

Shots soon rang out, Lee said, with a bullet hitting him and others. At some point, Lee added, more shots rang out. He is unsure how much time passed between the two rounds of gunfire. But he does know the man he blamed for starting the fight dropped to the floor next to the pool tables.

The Caswell County Sheriff's Office has since charged Damon Dewayne Lee, 42, of Danville, with second-degree murder in relation to the Lucky's shooting incident. He is being held in the Caswell County Detention Center without bond.

The sheriff's office would not return repeated requests by the Register & Bee to confirm whether other people had been shot. Lee said said he and another man had also been shot, with the other man being flown by helicopter to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. "Look," Lee said, pulling up his shirt to show a bloody wound on his lower back. "He shot me!" By late Wednesday morning, Lucky's had reopened and an employee was clearing the floor of crime scene tape and glass shards from broken beer bottles. He did not want to be named for this story. "I've been here 20 years, this is the first time someone was shooting like this," he said.

Source: Go Dan River, 11 March 2020.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Azariah Graves (1776-1837) Estate Records

Will of Azariah Graves (1776-1837)

Click Text to See Larger Image

Source: Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1777-1814 and 1814-1843, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1983) at 132 [abstract of the will of Azariah Graves, written 15 February 1837 and proved during the July 1837 term of the Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions].

Click Text to See Larger Image

George Williamson was appointed by the court to administer the estate of Azariah Graves. The above notice was published in The Rubicon (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 16 May 1840, Saturday, Page 3.

It appears that James Sheppard died indebted to Azariah Graves and/or his estate. This James Sheppard apparently died before the debt was paid. Suit was brought by George Williamson as administrator of the estate of Azariah Graves against the heirs of James Sheppard to collect the debt. Certain lands of James Sheppard in Caswell County had been attached and were to levied upon (sold) to satisfy the debt.

One heir of James Sheppard, Nancy Sheppard, did not live in North Carolina and was beyond the jurisdiction of the court. This required the notice that was published in The Rubicon newspaper multiple times. After complying with the statutory notice requirements the court would have the authority to adjudicate the rights of Nancey Sheppard in absentia (without her making a court appearance).

While the administrator of the Azariah Graves estate is thought to be George (Royal George) Williamson (1788-1856) this has not been confirmed. However, Azariah Graves is a first cousin of the first wife of George (Royal George) Williamson, Rebecca Slade Lea (1798-1837).

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Tribute to John Allen McKinney (1877-1937)


Click to See Larger Image
John McKinney was born August 4, 1877, Caswell County, North Carolina, at the farm on which he lived when he died, Jul 30, 1937, age 80, lacking 3 days.

Mr. McKinney leaves a good wife and eight fine boys and girls: Mrs. James Smith, Greensboro; Mrs. Nathaniel Rudd, Burlington; Vergil and Raleigh McKinney of Burlington; Maloy, Luther, Hassel, and Pauline at home.

Two children preceded Mr. McKinney to the grave. Mr. McKinney is also survived by one brother, Bill McKinney, and three sisters: Mrs. A. H. Oakley, Yanceyville; Mrs. W. E. Byrd, Yanceyville; and Mrs. Mack Blalock of Gibsonville, N. C.

John went to the hospital on July 20. From his conversations with folks and friends he did not believe he would live through the operation.

I helped him thresh wheat the day before he went to the hospital and he told me the wheat would never do him any good, and I felt that it wouldn't at the time. (How awful is the shock of loosing [sic] a good neighbor.)

Click to See Larger Image

I went to see him Sunday before he died on Friday. He was feeling good, I thought. Little did I think I had bade his good-bye for the last time.

I was working near his home when the word came that John could not live much longer. I looked out at his good home with tears in my eyes and said: "Oh John, how can we live without you"? I hurried to his bedside and found his good family around his bed crying and praying, I imagine for his recovery.

page #2

John was never united with any church but believed only in Salvation by Grace as preached by the Primitive Baptist Church.

I lived less than a mile of John all my live [sic], 49 years; and I never lived by a better neighbor and friend. I can't recall of ever hearing his use an oath and neither one of his children.

John had a good family for which we give him and his wife credit.


J. Y. Chandler
Yanceyville, N. C.
R. F. D.

The foregoing was found in the Chandler Family Bible and shared by Tyler James Chandler. The subject is John Allen McKinney (1877-1937), who married Minnie Alice Rudd (1887-1965), and had at least ten children. The author is James Yancey Chandler (1887-1938), who died the next year in a tragic motor vehicle accident near Hogan's Creek bridge on the road between Yanceyville, NC, and Danville, VA.


The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 378 (Article #481, "Peter Allen McKinney Story" by David B. Byrd).

1920 United States Federal Census
Name: John H Mc Kinney [John A Mckinney]
Age: 41 [42]
Birth Year: abt 1879 [abt 1878]
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1920: Anderson, Caswell, North Carolina
Street: Yanceyville Road
House Number: Farm
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Minnie McKinney
Father's Birthplace: North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina
Occupation: Farmer
Industry: General Farm
Employment Field: Employer
Home Free or Mortgaged: Free
Household Members
Name Age
John H Mc Kinney 41 [42]
Minnie Mc Kinney 31
Virger A Mc Kinney 12
Eva M Mc Kinney 9
Beula V Mc Kinney 7
Raleigh T Mc Kinney 5
Maloy Mc Kinney 1 [1 6/12]

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Kirk Holden War (Alamance County, NC)

North Carolina Historical Marker

The lynching of Wyatt Outlaw on the courthouse square in Graham in 1870 continues to reverberate across the generations. The consequences for North Carolina were profound, leading to the first impeachment of a governor in U.S. history. Outlaw’s death, like that of State Sen. J. W. (Chicken) Stephens in the Caswell County courthouse, in part precipitated the “Kirk-Holden War.”

Carole Troxler, Elon University professor, has examined the historical record concerning Outlaw. Biographical details, gleaned from Congressional investigations into the 1870-71 Ku Klux Klan “outrages” and transcript of the impeachment trial of Gov. W. W. Holden, are sparse. Outlaw, likely the offspring of white merchant Chesley Faucett and Jemimah Phillips, a free black, served in the Union army, in the 2nd Regiment U.S. Colored Cavalry, first in Virginia with a later posting in Texas along the Rio Grande. On his return home, he opened a woodworking shop on North Main Street in Graham, repairing wagons and making coffins, in addition to specialty trimwork. (Troxler believes it likely that he trained with Thomas Day of Caswell County.) In 1866 he attended the second freedmen’s convention in Raleigh and soon after organized the Union League in Alamance as well as a school and church. Gov. Holden in 1868 appointed him as a town commissioner in Graham and he was elected to the post the following year. That board in 1869 organized an armed night patrol in response to the activities of the Klan.

On Feb. 26, 1870, Outlaw became the target for a Klan mob of 70-100, selected because he was an effective leader, able to work with both races. Seized in his house (over the cries of his young son), Outlaw was hanged from the limb of an elm tree which pointed to the courthouse. His mouth was slashed and a note pinned to his body: “Beware you guilty both white and black.” Another target of intimidation left town that night. Gov. Holden, acting on authority of the Shoffner Act, declared Alamance and Caswell to be in a state of insurrection, setting in motion a sequence of events leading to his impeachment and removal in 1871. In 1873 eighteen men were charged with the murder but ex-Gov. Holden, among others, pleaded for their release and charges were dropped. Albion Tourgee used details from Outlaw’s life in composite characters in his Reconstruction novels.


Jim D. Brisson, "'Civil Government Was Crumbling Around Me': The Kirk-Holden War of 1870," North Carolina Historical Review (April 2011): 123-163

Carole Watterson Troxler, “’To look more closely at the man: Wyatt Outlaw, a Nexus of National, Local, and Personal History,” North Carolina Historical Review (October 2000): 403-433

Otto H. Olsen, Carpetbagger’s Crusade (1965)

Horace W. Raper, William W. Holden (1985)

On this Day in History

On February 26, 1870, Graham town commissioner Wyatt Outlaw, an African American, was lynched by a band of Ku Klux Klansmen.

Outlaw served in the 2nd Regiment United States Colored Cavalry during the Civil War. In 1866, he attended the second freedmen’s convention in Raleigh and soon after organized the Union League, an organization that aimed to promote loyalty to the United States after the Civil War, in Alamance County, as well as a school and church. Outlaw became the target for a Klan mob because he was an effective leader, able to work with both races.

With Klan violence mounting following Outlaw’s murder, Governor William Woods Holden declared a state of insurrection in Alamance and Caswell counties in July 1870. A militia force under George W. Kirk of Tennessee suppressed the Klan in those counties.

Nearly 100 Klan suspects were arrested during the “Kirk-Holden War,” but most were released on technicalities and none were ever tried. White supremacists gained control of the General Assembly in elections that November and impeached Holden for using the militia against the Klan. He was cast out of office in March 1871.

Superior Court judge Albion Tourgee indicted 18 Klansmen for Outlaw’s murder, but an amnesty bill from the legislature resulted in their never going to trial.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Green Mill Dance Hall (Pelham, Caswell County, North Carolina)

Green Mill Dance Hall

In the 1930s and early 1940s a beer joint named the "Green Mill Dance Hall" operated on what now is old US Hwy 29 near the intersection with Holland Road in Pelham, Caswell County, NC. It was across the railroad tracks road from the quarry. At one time the building housed Sheldon Baptist Church.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Stokesland Baptist Church (Danville, VA)

Stokesland Baptist Church, formerly known as State Line Baptist Church, was the outgrowth of a bush arbor revival held by C. C. Chaplin at a school house not far from the site of the first church building located near the rock quarry at Pelham, Caswell County, NC, on old Route 29 South. A congregation was constituted October 18, 1874, through the ministry of the First Baptist Church of Danville. The land for the church and a one-room building was donated by William D. Coleman, granduncle of Kenneth, Herbert, Grace, and Bertie Coleman. State Line Baptist Church joined the association with other Baptist churches in 1876.

Fifty years after the church was founded a stone company began blasting at the quarry. As this was a great risk to the church, in 1924 the membership decided to move to what then was known as "Stokesland Village" and changed the name to Stokesland Baptist Church. The two lots used for the church remain in use today. One lot was purchased, and the other was donated to the church by Mrs. Ella Coleman Gatewood, aunt of the Coleman's in 1925. A frame building of one large room and two small rooms (at the rear of the pulpit) were built. The current church dates from 1956. A fellowship building was erected in 1978.

Source: Stokesland Baptist Church History (1993), which was written as part of the 200th anniversary of churches in Danville, VA.