Thursday, December 22, 2005

A New Voyage to Carolina, John Lawson (UNC Reprint 1967)

In his exploration of North Carolina during the early 1700s John Lawson probably did not make it to the area that now is Caswell County; but he came very close. He certainly made it just south of Caswell County, to the Haw River, Hillsborough, and Durham vicinities. He recorded fording the Haw River at Swepsonville. Do you know for whom Swepsonville is named and the Caswell County connection?

Lawson's exploration of our fair state was promoted by an acquaintance who told Lawson "that Carolina was the best country that [he] could go to."

He published his daily journal of the 1000-mile trek through Carolina, and it is a fascinating story. He then went on to help establish the North Carolina towns of Bath and New Bern.

Fortunately, the University of North Carolina Press now has available a very reasonably priced paperback version of Lawson's A New Voyage to Carolina, which includes much needed edits, an index, and an introduction and notes by noted North Carolina historian Hugh Talmadge Lefler. This is a reprint of a 1967 edition that has been unavailable for quite a while.

Here is the description by the UNC Press:

John Lawson's amazingly detailed yet lively book is easily one of the most valuable of the early histories of the Carolinas, and it is certainly one of the best travel accounts of the early eighteenth-century colonies. An inclusive account of the manners and customs of the Indian tribes of that day, it is also a minute report of the soil, climate, trees, plants, animals, and fish in the Carolinas.

Lawson's observation is keen and thorough; his style direct and vivid. He misses nothing and recounts all -- from the storms at sea to his impressions of New York in 1700, the trip down the coast to Charleston, and his travels from there into North Carolina with his Indian guides.

The first edition of this work was published in London in 1709. While various editions followed in the eighteenth century -- including two in German -- this edition is a true copy of the original and is the first to include a comprehensive index. It also contains "The Second Charter," "An Abstract of the Constitution of Carolina," Lawson's will, and several previously unpublished letters written by Lawson. A number of DeBry woodcuts of John White's drawings of Indian life, sketches of the beasts of Carolina which appeared in the original 1709 edition, and Lawson's map contribute additional interest to this volume.
The website for the UNC Press is:

Just type "Lawson" in the search box.

Monday, December 19, 2005

CCHA Officers and Directors (2005-2006)

Dear Folks:

Here are the volunteer CCHA officers and directors for 2005-2006. These are the good people who devote their time and energy to make sure that the history and heritage of Caswell County is preserved. They deserve our thanks and support. Email or telephone them with any matter you have that relates to Caswell County's history.

Elizaebeth McPherson, President
(336) 694-4450

Gordon Bendall, Vice President
(336) 694-9590

Forrest Altman, Secretary
(336) 234-8556

Mary Jo Henderson, Treasurer
(336) 694-4010

Betty Gentry, Director
(336) 694-5624

Nate Hall, Director
(336) 421-5319

Robert Neal, Director
(336) 694-1872

Leon Richmond, Director
(336) 694-4711

Gordon Satterfield, Director
(336) 388-2433

Mike Willis, Director
(336) 694-6754

Franklin Murphy, Director
(336) 562-5176

Karen Moore, Director

Karen Oestreicher, Director

W. M. Kimbro, Jr., Director
(336) 421-3584

J. C. Winstead, Jr., Director
(336) 694-5262

Contact them anytime. They welcome your inquiries and suggestions.

Best personal regards.


Richmond Stanfield Frederick, Jr.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ann of the Ku Klux Klan by Tom Henderson

Tom Henderson of Yanceyville, N.C., wrote of many subjects during his years as a journalist and free-lance practitioner. One of the little booklets that he authored was titled Ann of the Ku Klux Klan. This probably was in the 1940s.

I do not know what this book contains, but would like to read it. If you know where it might be bought or borrowed please email me ( Any copy that I obtain eventually will end up in the Gunn Memorial Public Library or the Richmond-Miles History Museum (both in Yanceyville).

Thanks and best regards.


Note: The photograph that accompanies this post is of Tom Henderson, but otherwise has nothing to do with Ann of the Ku Klux Klan. It is, however, the only image I have seen of Tom Henderson and is provided courtesy of Life magazine. If you have a photograph of Tom Henderson to share, please send it to me at Thanks.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bloody Duel on Yanceyville Square

Daily Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), 28 April 1882, Page 3.

"The Yanceyville Tragedy"

The Fatal Encounter Between Felix Roan, and Messrs. George Williamson, Jr., and Nat Johnston.

We published a dispatch yesterday announcing the killing of Mr. Nat Johnston and the dangerous if not fatal wounding of George Williamson, Jr. by Felix Roan, at Yanceyville, Caswell county. The following particulars we gather from a dispatch to the Lynchburg News, which will be read with interest as the families of the young men are very prominent in this State.

Danville, Va., April 26 [1882]. -- A shocking homicide at Yanceyville, N.C., sixteen miles south of Danville, today, resulted in the instant killing of Nat Johnston and probably fatal wounding of George Williamson, Jr., besides the wounding of Felix Roan, postmaster at Yanceyville. The affair originated Saturday between Postmaster Roan and Colonel George Williamson, late member of the North Carolina State Senate.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mack Ingram Trial (1951-1953)

While I certainly am not attempting to open old wounds, I believe the trial of Matt Ingram deserves coverage on the CCHA website. If you feel differently, please let me know why. Historian William S. Powell provided some information on the matter in his history of Caswell County (When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977 at 537).

Note that Matt Ingram consistently was called Mack (and even Mark).

This Mack/Matt naming issue has been around for a while. Mack/Matt Ingram was born June 6, 1910. Thus, he was counted in three US censuses (1920, 1930, and 1940). On all three he was enumerated as Mat or Matt. However, this was the census taker ascribing the name.

The name Mack first shows up in his World War II Draft Registration Card (October 1940), and he signed this card as "Mack."

His Virginia death certificate shows: "James Mack Ingram" and this name is on his grave marker at the Sassafras Grove Baptist Church. The informant on the death certificate is his daughter Mattie.
Several who have researched this matter have arrived at different conclusions:

"Ebony" magazine published extensively on the case, including spending considerable time with the family. That magazine used: "Matt"

However, "Time" magazine called him "Mack"

Mary Frances Berry in her article published in "The Journal of African American History" referred to him as Matt.

The African American Intellectual History Society uses "Mack"

Of course it is possible that he went by both names, with one being a nickname.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Walter Sanders Photographs

In the fall of 1941 Life Magazine photographer Walter Sanders spent time in Caswell County taking photographs for an upcoming article that used the Yanceyville Card Players as a theme to showcase the village of Yanceyville and surrounding Caswell County. He captured over 200 images.

The article ran in the 8 December 1941 Life Magazine, but the events of 7 December 1941 forced the Life editors to cut the Yanceyville story short.

I am looking for these 200 images. Can you help? The CCHA would very much like to post these images to the website.

I have researched the obvious places, but no luck so far.

Thanks and best regards.


PS The Life Magazine article that was published, although shortened, is excellent. If permission can be obtained it will be reprinted on the CCHA website. General Douglas MacArthur is on the cover.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

W. H. Hatchett Store

Many families in Caswell County operated a store. It seems that every crossroad community of any size had its own. See the CCHA article on community stores at: Community Stores

(click on photograph for larger image)

W. H. Hatchett Store: This store in Caswell County's Locust Hill Community (Allison Road) is believed to have been owned and operated c. 1930-1950 by William Harrelson Hatchett (1903-1970). He married Florence Duke and had at least one child, William Harrelson Hatchett, Jr.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Caswell County Publications by Katharine Kerr Kendall

Court Minutes

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

Compiled by Katharine Kerr Kendall. Index by Mary Frances Kerr
Donaldson. (Reprint, 1977). Abstracts containing references to county
buildings, courthouses, jails, poor houses, and the public well;
names of county officials and road overseers; references to wars or
veterans of wars; samples of tax rates, tavern rates, and salaries;
and county expenditures. Dedication, foreword, conclusion, index. Pp.
v, 182.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

William Woods Holden (1818-1892)

North Carolina Governor William Woods Holden (1818-1892) is well-known to those interested in the history of Caswell County. Holden was a Republican governor in 1870 when Senator John W. Stephens was murdered in the Caswell County Courthouse, and took steps to restore order that precipitated the Kirk-Holden War. Governor Holden eventually was impeached and removed from office.

In his 1919 statement given to the North Carolina Historical Commission, Ku Klux Klan leader John G. Lea stated that Governor Holden was born in Caswell County. However, I have found nothing to substantiate that claim.

In W. W. Holden: A Political Biography, Edgar E. Folk and Bynum Shaw(1982) the authors state that Holden was born November 1818 in a cabin "probably not far from the mill" operated by his father five miles east of Hillsborough. This mill would not have been in Caswell County.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tom Henderson

I am writing a piece on Tom Henderson for the Caswell County Historical Association website.

Tom Henderson, son of Archibald Erskine ("Baldy") Henderson, was a newspaper person, writer, raconteur, and quite a unique character. He started a newspaper at the age of 13 (in 1895) and seemed to know all that was going on in Caswell County and surrounding areas his entire lifetime.

Attached is the cover of a little pamphlet he published in 1942. It claims to be "Book One." However, I have been unable to find subsequent volumes.

I would appreciate anything you are able to provide on Tom Henderson, his family, and his writings. A photograph of him would be a real plus.

Thanks and best regards.

Rick Frederick
CCHA Webmaster

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Terrell Chairs

The CCHA is preparing an article on the Terrell family of Caswell County and the famous "Terrell Chair." The long-term goal is to have a Terrell chair on display at the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville and to provide an online reference for those interested in the family and their craft.

Whitlow Leasburg Video Tape (1992)

In 1992 Jeannine Dare Whitlow produced a VHS tape of the architecture of Leasburg, North Carolina. This documentary, narrated by Jeannine, covers the homes of many of Caswell County's earliest families. It is both an historical and a genealogical treasure.

I am seeking an "original" (or as close to it as possible) copy of this video tape for use by the Caswell County Historical Association (on its website) and for possible reproduction so others may benefit from Jeannine's work.

Jeannine was the editor of The Heritage of Caswell County (1985) and no longer is with us.

Any leads will be most welcome.

Rick Frederick

Friday, November 18, 2005

William Anderson Roberts (1837-1899)

The following was posted to the Caswell County Message Board. I have an interest as well because I am writing an article on William Anderson Roberts for the CCHA website. Bill Powell in his History of Caswell County has a couple of paragraphs on this artist and several photographs of portraits done by him.

Rick Frederick

Message Board Post:

Do any paintings survive in Caswell, CO. by this artist? He married 1859 Mary Catherine Watlington. He served in the Civil War. He was the son of Elijah Roberts and Rebecca Davis. Rebecca Davis is the daughter of John B. [Boswell] and Sarah Hill Davis.
A known portrait is of Annie Elizaabeth Yancey, [daughter of Bartlett Yancey] and her husband, Thomas Jefferson Womack circa 1857.

Does anyone know where any of his work can be found?

Paintings by William Anderson Roberts of Caswell County, North Carolina, recorded in his little book, which is housed at the Duke University Library (Durham, North Carolina). Some pages are missing.

First Page

Painted at Elm Grove (Rockingham County, North Carolina)
1. John Lesuenne
2. Nancy Lesuenne -----------both $75
3. Augustine Timberlake
4. Mary Timberlake-----------both $50
5. Rev. Nelson Mebane--------$25
6. Annie Scales---------$20

Painted at Madison, North Carolina
7. Louisa Scales
8. James Scales----------both $60
9. Pinkney Scales--------$30
10. Dupree Watkins--------$40
11. Cornelia Scales-------$30
12. Gen. Thomas-----------$40

Next Page

Painted at Greenwood (Rockingham Conty, North Carolina) (1858)
13. Pinkney Montgomery-------$30
14. Jacob Montgomery--------$30
15. Lizzie Montgomery-------$30

1860 James N. Montgomery $30
Robt. S. Montgomery-$30

Painted at Ingleside (Rockingham County, North Carolina)
16. Robert Scales----------?
17. Yola Scales----------?
55. 4 Portraits of Col. PH Dilliard painted at his house in Henry Co. Va.-------$25 each
59. Mr. DH Ghmcus ------------$30
Mrs. D H Ghmcus----------$33
Mrs. Sally Ghmcus---------$30
63. Mrs. Annie-----------$25
64. Mrs. Sallie------------$25

Next Page

Painted in Madison, North Carolina
Mrs. W. Cartis-------
Thomas A. Scales
Dr. Staples
Mr. James Cardwell & wife

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Poteat School

This is a photograph of the old Poteat School (1913-1922). It was restored by the Bartlett Yancey FFA (Cyrus Vernon, Advisor) during 1987-1988, and is now located near the Old Jail behind the Historic Caswell County Courthouse.

If you have information about this structure (history, photographs, students, teachers, etc.) please send them to me.


Rick Frederick

Blogs Explained

For a great explanation of blogs go to:

Rick Frederick

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Red House Presbyterian Church

The following is from Mary McAden Satterfield's History of Red House Presbyterian Church:

"Dr. Nehemiah Henry Harding, whose pastorate ran from 1838, until 1840, was a man who was similar in character to Hugh McAden. He was at one time captain of a trading vessel, which shipped out of New Bern. Later he entered the ministry and served at Oxford for a number of years. He became stated supply pastor at Red House for three years and remained at Milton much longer. It was during his pastorate at Milton that he helped organize the Presbyterian Church at Yanceyville. He was pastor at Milton until his death in 1849. He was buried at Milton and a monument was erected for him by the Milton and Yanceyville churches."

I am looking for information on this grave and monument to include on the Caswell County Historical Association website.

Thanks and best regards.

Richmond Stanfield Frederick, Jr.
CCHA Webmaster

See: for an article on the Red House Presbyterian Church. Any information on the history of this church is welcomed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yanceyville Mystery House

Many years ago a wooden frame house stood on West Main Street in Yanceyville. It was beside the row of buildings that included the Caswell Theatre, Richardson's Barbershop, Pemberton/Blackwell Law Office, and at one time, Watlington's Grocery Store.

It was between these buildings and the "new" Post Office (which now no longer functions as a post office). A parking lot is where this mystery house once stood. It would have been across the street from the building that once housed the Houston Gwynn medical practice and, later, the Confederate Memorial Library.

I have heard that it was the Swicegood House and was used as a funeral home.

Any information would be appreciated. A photograph would be grand!



Saturday, November 05, 2005

Authors Needed

The CCHA Website is in need of authors. Take a look at the list of notable people, places, and events at: Is there a subject listed about which you would like to write an article?

Do you have primary source materials (wills, deeds, etc.), secondary source materials, photographs, correspondence, or other materials that would assist the CCHA in creating an article?

Your help is needed. It is the history of your county. If you want the CCHA to succeed and be a credit to Caswell County, get off your hands! The world is looking at the CCHA Website. In only four months of existence the website has had 2800 visits!

How the county looks to the internet community is up to you. The CCHA cannot do it alone.

Best regards.


Richmond Stanfield Frederick, Jr.
CCHA Webmaster

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

For information on the Phelps family DNA project go to

Monday, October 31, 2005

Banns and Bonds

From Lucinda (Lucinda []):

I thought I would post the info about banns and bonds for those of you who are new to genealogy, as I get questions weekly on the differences:

Marriage Banns, an announcement to marry was read before the church congregatoin for 3 consecutive Sundays, and if no objections arose, a certificate to marry was issued at the end of the 3 weeks. authorizing the the marriage to take place. The fee in NC for banns was 1 shilling and 6 pence compared to 20 shillings paid to the Governor for each bond issued plus 5 shillings to the Clerk of Court for issuing the bond and recording it. Marriage by banns eliminated the time and expense of traveling to the county seat to post bond. The problem for genealogist is that few of these banns exist today outside the Quaker or Church of England records. Even though the law did require the marriage be filed with the county clerk it was rarely done.

Marriage bonds required travel to the county seat to secure the bond, the groom and his bondsman usually a male relative or close friend would sign the bond. The name of the bride would also be recorded. Parents names were not recorded unless the bride was under age. The bond was for the sum of 50 pounds then raised to 50pounds under the Act of 1778. It was not until after 1868 that marriage records became more complete and included parents names. However some counties were still slow to include names of parents. NC did away with marriage bonds after 1868.

It has been estimated that 2/3 of nc marriages were by banns and have been lost to time.

(Source: General Statutes of NC, Chaper 51; Dr. Norman E Wright of History Department of Brigham Young University; Liahona Research, Inc)


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Senator John W. Stephens who was murdered by Ku Klux Klan members at the old Caswell County Courthouse in 1870 is said to have had a house that was within site of the Courthouse. Does anyone know where this house was located? I would like to add a description of the house (and a photograph if available) to the CCHA website. The house eventually became a school for black children.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I am looking for a copy of A History of Leasburg, Ella Graves Thompson (1960).

All leads will be appreciated. The book eventually will be donated to the Caswell County Historical Association reference library. It is that library that CCHA volunteers use when replying to queries from the public.


There is a beautiful old house in Yanceyville, N.C., named Clarendon Hall. It was built by Thomas Donoho Johnston (President of the Bank of Yanceyville) in 1842. See the accompanying photograph that I took September 2005.

I am looking for all the subsequent owners of this property, and especially whether it was once owned by William B. (Billy Hickory) Graves (who married Mary Elizabeth Shuford). Their son was Barzillai Shuford Graves.

At one time the Jones family owned the property, and it now is owned by the Williams family.
The article on Thomas Donoho Johnston (#387) at pages 314-315 of The Heritage of Caswell County states that a son of Thomas Donoho Johnston, Nathaniel Lea Johnston (1846-1882), was shot by Felix Roan in 1882. I have never heard this story, which might be an interesting addition to the CCHA website. Does anyone know anything about it?

For Whom Was Yanceyville Named?

For whom was the Town of Yanceyville named?

Does it matter?

Some have concluded that it was named for Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828). William Powell in his History of Caswell County (1977) concludes that the weight of the evidence supports Bartlett Yancey, Jr. See pages 341-343 of his history.

However, other prominent historians, including some with much better connections to Caswell County than William Powell, believe that Yanceyville was named for James Yancey, the older brother of Bartlett Yancey, Jr. Supporters of James Yancey include Mrs A. Yancey Kerr and Katharine Kerr Kendall.

Do you have inside information? Is this a tempest looking for a pot? What about those who believe that Yanceyville honored the entire Yancey family? Were that the case, should the name have not been Gravesburg in honor of the family that owned all the land that became Yanceyville?

Bartlett Yancey, Jr. Portrait

Here is an image that generally is accepted as Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828). For a similar image see page 142 of William Powell's History of Caswell County.

Please compare this image to the images in the earlier posts: (1) the portrait that hangs in the Richmond-Miles Museum; and (2) the photograph of a portrait purportedly of Azariah Graves (1768-1850).

Bartlett Yancey, Jr. Portrait (?)

Here is a photograph of the portrait that hangs in the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, N.C. It is labelled Bartlett Yancey, Jr.

Please see the earlier post with respect to the possible mislabelling of this portrait.

Can anyone identify this person?


PS For a larger image, click on the photograph.
Can anyone positively identify this person? He is believed to be Azariah Graves (1768-1850). However, he looks exactly like the portrait in the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, N.C., that is labelled as Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828).

However, several now question whether the portrait in the museum labelled as Bartlett Yancey, Jr., is actually an image of that most famous Caswell County citizen.

Any help on this will be most appreciated.

If you would like to see the portrait in the Museum, please send a message to me at Also, for a larger image click on the photo that accompanies this post.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here is an interesting post card picture of the Hotel Caswell in Milton, N.C. Does anyone know anything about it? See the Milton, N.C., article on the CCHA Website. Does this building still stand? If not, where was it? What is its history?


Many of the articles posted to CCHA website would be improved greatly by the addition of photographs.

For example, we have biographical sketches of Dr. Charles Caldwell, John Blackwell Cobb, Nicholas Longworth Dillard, Oscar Penn Fitzgerald, Robert Thomas Fuller, Reverend Barzillai Graves, Captain John Herndon Graves, John Kerr, Romulus Mitchell Saunders, and others, but we have no photograph of these people.

I ask that those interested in improving the CCHA website review the various articles (including but not limited to the biographies) and help find photographs. Surely, you or someone that you know has a cache of old Caswell County photographs.

It is your heritage that is being memorialized and published for the world to see. Do you not believe it deserves photographs to accompany the stories?

For assistance with the technical aspects of having photographs posted to the CCHA website contact the CCHA Webmaster at:

Thanks for your help.