Saturday, July 30, 2022

Order of the Long Leaf Pine: Members from Caswell County, North Carolina

Order of the Long Leaf Pine: Members from Caswell County, North Carolina (listed by award date)

John Reid Blackwell: February 1970
Millard Quentin Plumblee: November 1984
Maud Florance Gatewood: December 1984
Samuel Ryland Farmer: December 1984
Stuart Neal Watlington: December 1984

Dr. Houston Gwynn (HG) Jones, Ph.D.: July 1996
Lawrence Clem (Larry) Snead: March 2003
George Malloy Shelton, Jr.: August 2006
Gladys Alma Fowler Graves: September 2008
James Monroe Long III: December 2010

Robert Ross Blackwell: December 2010
William Billy Hodges: January 2011
Baron Lee Terrell: June 2012
William Bennett Atwater, Jr.: January 2013 
Bernard Lawrence Satterfield: September 2013

Fred Allen Smith: November 2014*
Larry Neal Stogner: February 2015
Raymond Armstead Hodges: May 2017
Michael Lee Welch: August 2017
Marlene Pyrant Watlington: November 2020
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* Received the award on November 11, 2014, Veterans Day
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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Caswell County Bright Leaf Hoedown

 Bright-Leaf Hoedown

With the next Hoedown approaching (2022), it is fun to look back.


In 1983, the event featured an annual Farmers' Olympics. Events included cow-chip throwing, tobacco spitting, corn shucking, tobacco gum ball balling, and an obstacle course where the runners had to carry two full buckets of water.

Edgar Harges [Hargis/} of Alamance County won the tobacco spitting even with 19 feet, 1 inch. Don Swann came in second.

W. D. Pleasant of Purley won the cow-chip throwing contest, which attracted ten contestants. He also took first place overall in the Olympics. David Brandon of Burlington came in second overall.

The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 27 September 1983.

The knife photograph is not associated with the newspaper article. Click image to see a larger version.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

North Carolina's Most Dangerous Rural Intersection: 1971

 


Caswell County Trivia

In 1971 the North Carolina Highway Commission designated the intersection of Highway 86 and the Park Springs Road in Caswell County as the most dangerous rural intersection in North Carolina.

The Park Springs intersection with Highway 86 achieved its "most dangerous" rating on the basis of 21 accidents in a three-year period (with 11 of those crashes occurring in 1970) and "a very, very low traffic volume."

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 6 October 1971.























































Friday, June 17, 2022

Highway 86 South of Yanceyville to Be Improved: 1965

 Highway 86 South of Yanceyville to Be Improved


In November 1965, North Carolina voters approved a $300 million road bond issue. This will provide funding for rebuilding Highway 86 between Yanceyville and Prospect Hill to the same standards as Highway 86 between Yanceyville and Danville, Virginia.

A total of $9,721,000 will be made available for primary roads in the highway district in which Caswell County is located. Caswell's Board of Commissioners has been told Caswell's share should be enough to complete the long-sought Highway 86 project.

The Commissioners earlier this year asked the NC State Highway Department to assign first priority to the stretch of road from Yanceyville to Prospect Hill. The road is extremely crooked, and shoulders on it are narrow. The road is heavily used by motorists traveling to Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.

Since the consolidation this year of both Prospect Hill elementary and high schools with Bartlett Yancey in Yanceyville, the need for improving the highway has increased, according to the Commissioners.

Irvin Aldridge, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said he is hopeful sufficient funds will remain to begin reconstruction of US Highway 158. He also stated the Park Springs Road would be given high priority as school consolidation has increased traffic on that road. The old Providence Elementary School was closed last year and its enrollment transferred to Cobb Memorial on the Park Springs Road several miles from Providence.

The Danville Register (Danville, Virginia), 5 November 1965.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Uneven Yoke by Lela McDowell Blankenship (1962)


The Uneven Yoke
by Lela McDowell Blankenship (1962)

The author stated: "The book tells the story of three young families who moved to White County, Tennessee, from Caswell County, North Carolina, in 1823, seeking cheaper land and a better chance to live a good life. They were average people, but many of us are in reality and practically all of us are average in the reach of a few generations. I have checked each incident, each statement, looked up deeds and wills in Tennessee, and in Yanceyville, North Carolina, where the wagons began their journey.

"The three young families were the Rascoes, the Swindells, and the Knowles. One of the more memorable characters in the story is Patsy Pleasant Rascoe, whose vivacity, energy, and enjoyment of life and red dresses provides several hilarious episodes, such as the one with the circuit rider who forgot himself and tried to get her to go off to Texas with him. He appears later in the story as a Bishop!

"In the early spring of 1865, good John Rascoe falls in the furrow, but he will be succeeded as head of the family by his son Christopher, and Christopher has the traits of gentle firmness, steadiness, and thorough work that are necessary. We end the book happy that the three young families have established themselves in the new country of Tennessee."

Blankenship, Lela McDowell. The Uneven Yoke. Nashville: Tennessee Book Company, 1962. The author is a Rascoe family descendant.

Latest sales price: $246.00 (June 2022)

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Editor's Comment: One aspect I find interesting is these families moved from Caswell County in 1823 in search of "cheaper land." Had Caswell County land become so expensive in the early 1800s? Factors to consider: large families with adult male members seeking land of their own; how land was depleted and forests cleared for access to new arable land; and the influx of families from other states (such as Virginia) that placed additional pressure on land prices.


 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Blanch or Blanche (Caswell County, North Carolina)

 Blanch, Caswell County, North Carolina

Earlier, we had a lively discussion about the name of a community in northern Caswell County now called "Blanch." Apparently, the spelling initially was "Blanche."

Some believe the community took the name "Blanche" because the first postmaster there named the post office for his daughter. The postmaster was James Byrd Moore (1848-1900), and his daughter is Blanche Lydia Moore (1882-1960).

However, we found no evidence the post office was named "Blanche." After additional research here is what we did find:

Daniel Gunn Watkins (1857-1937) was a substantial land owner in the area now called "Blanch." When the area began to develop he named it: "Blanche." This was in honor of his niece, the above-mentioned Blanche Lydia Moore.

She was his niece by virtue of being a daughter of his wife's sister, Bettie Margaret Powell (1851-1938). Below is a photograph of his store. Note the name: "D. G. Watkins & Son Blanche, NC."

It appears that in 1890 the United States Postal Service designated the post office in this community as "Blanch." Thus, spelling of the name eventually shifted from "Blanche" to "Blanch."

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Ivy Bluff Prisoner Captured in Caswell County 1859: Charles Edwards

 Caswell County Quiz Answer


Caswell County Quiz Answer

Question: How many of the twenty 1959 Ivy Bluff Prison escapees were captured in Caswell County?

Answer: One -- Charles Edwards, who did not leave with the main group, but decided to walk out some time after the initial break. He was on foot and made it about eight miles south of the prison. From Gastonia, North Carolina, he was serving a life sentence (for burglary and attempted rape).

He was spotted from a private airplane the owner of which had joined in the hunt. Edwards was lying in a field some three miles south of Yanceyville. A posse, following a bloodhound, captured Edwards, who provided no resistance. The escaped prisoner purportedly had been seen in Yanceyville earlier in the day. 

Edwards said he left the prison on foot about two hours after the others escaped. "I just wanted to make sure the coast was clear," he said.

Photograph: The Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina) · Wed, Dec 9, 1959

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Charles Edwards, 28-year-old Negro convict, serving life for rape at Gastonia, mush have had fox blood in his veins, some of his pursuers decided. Edwards, clad in dungaree trousers and a white tee-shirt was spotted "three or four times" in Yanceyville. Bloodhounds were rushed to the scene and the chase began.


Edwards wore "wore out" three sets of bloodhounds before he was finally captured eight miles south of here. For 6.5 hours, the fleet-footed escapee led a posse through woods, creeks and swamps. Once during the hunt, he was spotted by Highway Patrolman D. B. King. King said he fired a warning shot and called on Edwards to halt. He never saw him again. Edwards went like a streak through the woods.

Searchers, aided by two airplanes borrowed from the Wildlife Resources Commission, finally found Edwards lying face down near a creek. "He was plumb tuckered out," said a member of the posse.

The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 9 December 1959, Wednesday, Page 2

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Ivy Bluff Prisoner Captured in Caswell County

While I have no desire to be repetitive, several in Yanceyville after the 1959 Ivy Bluff prison break stated they saw one of the escaped prisoners. This probably was Charles Edwards. The others were long gone.

Edwards (28) did not leave with the main group, but decided to walk out some time after the initial break. He was on foot. From Gastonia, North Carolina, Edwards was serving a life sentence (for burglary and rape or attempted rape). He said "I just wanted to make sure the coast was clear."

He must have had fox blood in his veins, some of his pursuers decided. Edwards, clad in dungaree trousers and a white tee-shirt was spotted "three or four times" in Yanceyville. 

Bloodhounds were rushed to the scene and the chase began. Edwards "wore out" three sets of bloodhounds before he was finally captured eight miles south of Yanceyville. For 6.5 hours, the fleet-footed escapee led a posse through woods, creeks and swamps. Once during the hunt, he was spotted by Highway Patrolman D. B. King. King said he fired a warning shot and called on Edwards to halt. He never saw him again. Edwards went like a streak through the woods.

Searchers, aided by two airplanes borrowed from the Wildlife Resources Commission, finally found Edwards lying face down near a creek. "He was plumb tuckered out," said a member of the posse. He provided no resistance.

The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 9 December 1959, Wednesday, Page 2