Friday, June 30, 2006

Blackwell School (1908)

Photograph courtesy The Caswell Messenger. Click on photograph for larger image.

Recognize any of these wonderful people? Have a story or a photograph to share? If so, do it!

Florance Harrelson Store

Photograph courtesy The Caswell Messenger. Click on photograph for larger image.

Click Here for another image.

Caswell County Courthouse (1907)

Photograph courtesy The Caswell Messneger. Click on photograph for a larger image.

Yanceyville, North Carolina (1931)

Courtesy The Caswell Messenger. Click on photograph for larger image.

Milton Covered Bridge

Photograph courtesy The Caswell Messenger. Click on photograph for a larger image.

For a grayscale version that may render a bit clearer on some web browsers go to Milton Covered Bridge.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Photograph Identification Project Entry #4

The Little Rascals of Jones School is the fourth installment in the CCHA Photograph Identification Project. Click on the photograph for a larger image.

All that we know is that these are Jones School students in the 1920's, possibly the entire student body.

Can you help identify more of these children? Do you have a photograph that you would like to submit? Leave comments here or contact the CCHA.

Don't forget the other photographs in this series:

1. Kids on a Rock

2. Old Tractors

3. Lady and Barefoot Boy

As with respect to all the images that have been posted as part of the CCHA Photograph Identification Project, the owner of the photograph, through the Caswell County Historical Association, retains all rights. Accordingly, copying, posting, publishing, and any other manner of distribution or use is prohibited without first obtaining the express written authorization of the copyright holder. Contact the CCHA if you have questions.

To see the solution to this puzzle go to Little Rascals of Jones School (Solution).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Photograph Identification Project Entry #3

Here is another photograph in the Caswell County Photograph Identification Project series, the third entry.

The image is probably around one hundred years old and originated in the Prospect Methodist Church/Allison community of Caswell County, North Carolina.

Any ideas?

Don't forget:

Entry #1: Kids on a Rock

Entry #2: Old Tractors

Have your own mystery Caswell photos to submit? Please do.

Leave a comment here or send a message to the CCHA.

As with respect to all the images that have been posted as part of the CCHA Photograph Identification Project, the owner of the photograph, through the Caswell County Historical Association, retains all rights. Accordingly, copying, posting, publishing, and any other manner of distribution or use is prohibited without first obtaining the express written authorization of the copyright holder. Contact the CCHA if you have questions.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Beulah Thompson's Third Grade Class 1954-1955

This is a darling photograph of the 1954-1955 Bartlett Yancey Elementary School third grade class taught by Mrs. Beulah Thompson. Some of the students can be identified; please help with the others. Click on the photograph for a larger image.

Front Row: Phil Allen, Carolyn Payne, Willie Belton (?), David Shatterly, Diane Odell, Emaly Pemberton, Jessica Moorefield

Second Row: Unk, Jim Rice, Unk, Edward Matthews, Unk, Unk, Larry Gibson

The other rows are a bit jumbled, but include: Mrs. Thompson, Brenda Webster, Mary Garrison, Ernie Fuller, Javon Wright, Skippy Rowland, and Mary O. Vernon.

Please help identify all these wonderful children. Leave comments here or send them to the CCHA.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Eighth Grade Class (1908-1909)

This photograph was taken of a Person County eighth grade class 1908-1909. The two tall male students at the right rear are Charlie Louis Foushee and James Rountree Foushee. Click on the photograph for a larger image.

Can you identify other students?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

John Burch Blaylock (1909-1995)

Caswell County Register of Deeds from December 1934 to June 1976. In addition to his formal duties as Register of Deeds, Burch Blaylock assembled Caswell County genealogical and historical records into what is known as the Burch Blaylock collection, which is housed in the Caswell County Register of Deeds Office at the new courthouse in Yanceyville, North Carolina. The materials in the collection can be searched by the person's name in the card catalogue. Copies can be made for a reasonable charge.

This photograph is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 624.

Click on these photographs for a larger image.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Yanceyville Stores (1960's)

Yanceyville Stores (1960's)

[click on photo for larger image]

Here are three well-known Yanceyville business establishments that no longer are in operation. From left to right: Yanceyville Drug Company (the "Drug Store"); Pope's Five-Cent Store (the "Dime Store"); and Caswell Motor Company (the "Ford Dealership").

Only the Caswell Motor Company building remains standing. The Drug Store and Dime store (along with the Bank of Yanceyville building) were demolished to make way for a modern bank.

Thomas Ham

Dr. Thomas Ham built the Drug Store, which included a second-floor apartment in which he and Mrs. Ham lived for many years.

The following if from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 641:

Born in Richmond, Va., Aug. 22, 1896, son of Thomas Jones and Ida Virginia Cogbill Ham, Thomas Jones Ham, Jr., was educated at John Marshall High, University of Richmond, and the Medical College of Virginia, where he took his degree in pharmacy.

Tom Ham, afterwards to be known as "Dr." Ham, came to Yanceyville in 1922 and took over the drug stock and trade of the late Nat Brandon. He built the brick Yanceyville Drug Store adjoining the now-razed Florance building soon after his marriage in 1926 to Miss Margaret Dawson, formerly of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and late a successful business woman in Durham, N.C. The Hams lived above the drugstore and Yanceyville will remember as a landmark the graceful iron balcony of their apartment. When their adopted son, Robert, had graduated from U.N.C. in pharmacy and married, "Dr." and Mrs. Ham turned over their apartment to the newly-weds and moved to a two-story brick home which they built in east Yanceyville. Several years ago, the drugstore was torn down to make room for the Wachovia Bank and the Yanceyville Drug Store was moved to its spacious quarters on the corner of Main and Greensboro St. by "Dr.' Ham's successors, Tom and Joe Davis who continue to serve the community.

The Hams are remembered for their leadership and support of Yanceyville United Methodist Church and many other community activities. T. J. Ham was also an officer in the State Pharmaceutical Association and served on many boards and committes until his death May 21, 1967; his wife succumbed July 28, 1971 and both are buried in the Methodist Church Cemetery here.

Sally Reagan

For years Popes Dime Store was operated by Sally Pyron Reagan (1909-1999).

Johnnie Gunn

And, of course the Caswell Motor Company Ford dealership was owned by John Oliver (Johnnie) Gunn:

John Oliver Gunn was born in Pelham, NC he was a son of Richard Griffin Gunn and Nannie Rudd. He was a farmer and an auntomobile dealer for 46 years and spent four terms in the N.C. House of representative from Caswell in 1945-1957, 1965 and 1967. He was the chairman of the Caswell County, Democratic Executive Committee from 1942-1945 and served as trasurer for Caswell County from 1936-1940. He also served on a number of other committees in Caswell County. He was a charter member of the N.C. Automobile Dealer's Association and the yanceyville Rotary Club, where he served as president.

He served as secretary of the Caswell Development Company as director and secretary of the Royal Hosiery Mills, and vice president and member of the executive committee of the Bank of Yanceyville. He was also a member of the Caswell Brotherhood Lodge No 11 of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Oasis Temple Shrine, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemansonry, the Order of the Eastern Star No 239 and the junior Order United American Mechanics. He was also active in the Boy Scouts and was a national and regional representative. He was a member of the Yanceyville Methodist Church.

Please share what you know about these businesses, buildings, and the people associated with them.

Bartlett Yancey House

Bartlett Yancey House [click on photo for larger image] The date of this great photograph is unknown, but the location and the people are:
Mrs. Patricia Ayres of New York City, with the Bartlett Yancey House in the background, accepts the deed to the property from James A. Gray, Executive Director of the Historic Preservation Fund of North Carolina. Looking on are (left) Warren Ayres and (right) Millard Quentin Plumblee, President of the Caswell County Historical Association.
Can you add to our knowledge about this photograph, the people, and the location? For more on Bartlett Yancey and the Bartlett Yancey House go to Bartlett Yancey. The following photographs of the Bartlett Yancey House are without date or author: _______________ 

 Bartlett Yancey House Owners

1. Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (built the original section)
2. Ann Graves Yancey (widow of Bartlett Yancey, Jr.)
3. Ann Elizabeth Yancey (daughter of Ann Graves Yancey) and husband Thomas Jefferson Womack (built the rear addition)
4. Thomas Pancoast Womack and wife Martha Allen (Mattie) Hatchett Womack
5. Allen Hatchett Gwynn (nephew of Mattie Hatchett Womack)

6. Janie Johnston Gwynn (widow of Allen Hatchett Gwynn)*
7. Historic Preservation Fund of North Carolina
8. Warren and Patricia Ayers (were from New York)[purchased c.1978)
9. Charles Clinton Lindley, Jr.(2001)**
10. Timothy Richard and Suzanne Doyle (deed recorded 5/30/03)***

11. Michael Willis (purchased from widow Suzanne Doyle)
12. BY House Acquisition, LLC (deed from Michael Willis recorded August 31, 2004)
13. Yancey House Property LLC (deed from BY House Acquisition, LLC, recorded May 22, 2006)**** 

*Owner when the National Register of Historic Places nomination form was submitted in 1973.

**His ownership may be out of order. He purchased the Bartlett Yancey House in the spring of 2001 and was living there when he died in June 12, 2002. The property then was sold at auction and purchased by Mike and Lucindy Willis. Charles Clinton Kindley, Jr., residence, 2001, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina, United States. Clint and Erich moved to Yanceyville, purchasing the Bartlett Yancey house.

YANCEYVILLE - Charles Clin­ton Lindley, Jr., a well known art and antiques dealer specializing in American art, died unexpectedly, Wednesday, June 12, 2002, at his home, the historic Bartlett Yancey House, In Yanceyville, North Carolina.

***Probably purchased at the auction held April 22, 2003.

****The owners of BY House Acquisition, LLC, and Yancey House Property, LLC, are not known, but are believed to include Michael and Lucindy Willis. George and Karen Daniel apparently now have some sort of interest in the property.

Cobb Memorial School

Cobb Memorial School (1962-1963)

[Click on photo for a larger image]

Here is another addition to the CCHA Photograph Identification Project. This one should be easier than the first two.

Do you recognize anyone?

The teacher identified is Mary V. Daniel. The principal was Julius Lee Clayton. Principal Clayton is the son of George Lee Clayton and Leona Moorefield.

Any Williamsons or Cobbs in this picture?

Was it the next year or the one following that saw the high school consolidation in Caswell County? Most of these students eventually would attend Bartlett Yancey High School in Yanceyville. They undboubtedly were sad to leave their beloved Cobb Memorial.

Cobb Memorial School was named for John Blackwell Cobb (1857-1923). A tobacconist and capitalist, he was born in Caswell County, the son of Henry Wellington and Mary Howard Cobb. He was educated in the private schools in his native county, and at the age of nineteen, with a borrowed five hundred dollars, he engaged in the leaf tobacco business as a pinhooker in Danville, Virginia. His initial profits were lost, but he eventually recovered and set out on a significant business career. To learn the rest of the story go to John Blackwell Cobb.

Please note that the CCHA is seeking a photograph of John Blackwell Cobb to accompany his online biography.

Cole Chevrolet (1947)

Cole Chevrolet (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

Above is a fun photograph for those who grew up in and around Yanceyville, North Carolina, in the 1940's - 1970's. For a larger image click on the photo.

Clyde Caviness Cole (1903-1969) came to Yanceyville, North Carolina, May 28, 1928, to open a Chevrolet dealership. The grand opening was held June 5 and 6, 1928 in the "old Tom Lea" building. Mr. Cole secured the first Chevrolet franchise ever granted to Caswell County.

In 1947 he constructed a new Chevrolet dealership building on Hooper Street in Yanceyville (now Cole Street). This new structure was 75' by 136' and totalled 12,775 square feet including the mezzanine. Construction was brick and steel, with no posts to hinder work flow. The floor was five inches of concrete, and the roof was 20-year built-up bonded. Ceilings were thirteen feet (eight feet on the mezzanine).

The new building included two large steel roll-up doors and two large plate glass windows in the show room. Heat was oil-fired steam with nine unit heaters individually thermostatically controlled. The boiler, which had 6,080 square feet of radiation, burned sixteen gallons per hour. There was a used car lot to the right and an alley to the left.

The people in the photograph above are: Clyde Cole, Irving Reagan, Wallace Burke, Billy Oakley, Steve Poteat, Billy Aldridge, Jim Aldridge, and Bessie Shaw (in front).

The grand opening of the new building was 6 September 1947.

On August 10, 1930, Clyde Caviness Cole married Elsie Lea Hooper (1910-1994). She was the daughter of William M. (Wid) Hooper (1876-1968) and Erna Wrenn (1883-1966). The 1930 US Census (Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina) shows Clyde Cole as a boarder in the household of William M. and Erna Hooper. There were four other borders. The Hoopers also had two daughters living in the house: Elsie (age 20) and Clara (14). Was this Elsie Hooper the future Elsie Cole? Yes it was.

The following photographs are not as much fun, even though the old building looks in pretty good shape. It shows the old Cole Chevrolet building April 2006.

Do you know more about this building, the old Tom Lea building, the Cole Chevrolet dealership operations, or the people shown in the 1947 photograph? If so, please share either by leaving a comment here or by sending a message to the CCHA. Photographs are always appreciated and will be placed online.

Justice Chevrolet Company (Yanceyville, NC)

Clyde Caviness Cole (1903-1969) came to Yanceyville, North Carolina, May 28, 1928, to open a Chevrolet dealership. The grand opening of Justice Chevrolet was held June 5 and 6, 1928, in the "old Tom Lea" building on the Square. Mr. Cole secured the first Chevrolet franchise ever granted to Caswell County. Whether he was the sole owner is not known, but it is believed that he had one or more investors (possibly T. E. Steed).

In January 1932, the Tom Lea Building burned, damaging the A. H. Motz Building and threatening the entire east end of the Square. Lost were Lea's Garage (Justice Chevrolet), Richardson's Barber Shop, and Swicegood Funeral Home. Lea apparently leased the building to Justice Chevrolet and began rebuilding immediately. The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC), January 7, 1932.

Justice Chevrolet Company reopened, having been closed since the fire of January 1932. The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC), May 11, 1933.

In 1936, Justice Chevrolet occupied a new building constructed by T. E. Steed. Where this new building was located is not known. Nor is it known when the name of the dealership was changed to Cole Chevrolet. The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC), June 4, 1936.

In 1947 Clyde Cole constructed a new Chevrolet dealership building on Hooper Street in Yanceyville (now Cole Street). This new structure was 75' by 136' and totaled 12,775 square feet including the mezzanine. Construction was brick and steel, with no posts to hinder work flow. This building was demolished a few years back.

January 19, 2018

Photograph Identification Project

Photograph Identification Project

In May 2006 the CCHA launched the Photograph Identification Project with a wonderful photograph of a group of children on a large rock: Kids on a Rock

Above is the second photograph submitted for identification. It came from the files of John Oliver (Johnnie) Gunn (1892-1992), who owned the Ford dealership in Yanceyville, North Carolina, for many years. He also sold Fordson (and later Ford) tractors.

This photograph (click on photo for larger image) is believed to be a dealer demonstration of a Fordson tractor to local farmers. Note the metal wheels (no tires). See the old cars in the background to the right and the farm buildings in the background to the left.

Can you identify any of these people, the tractor, the cars, or the location?

To help, here is another photograph believed to be of the same event (click on photo for larger image):

Leave your comments here or send them to the CCHA.

As with respect to all the images that have been posted as part of the CCHA Photograph Identification Project, the owner of the photograph, through the Caswell County Historical Association, retains all rights. Accordingly, copying, posting, publishing, and any other manner of distribution or use is prohibited without first obtaining the express written authorization of the copyright holder. Contact the CCHA if you have questions.

Caswell County Training School

These fine ladies were heroes to a generation of CCTS students.

Click on the photograph for a larger image.

Caswell County Board of Education

Recognize these good people? [Click on the photograph for a larger image.]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Blanche Post Office

This photograph of the Blanch (Blanche) Post Office in Caswell County, North Carolina, is thought to have been taken just after the turn of the century (c. 1900). The men relaxing on the porch are identified as: Berkley Allen; Jimmy Gordon; Junie Walters; Giles Mebane; Bill Lea; and Elijah Graves.

See the earlier article on Blanche Lydia Moore for additional background information on this old post office, including how the Blanche community obtained its name. The post office is believed to date from 1887, so this could be the first building dedicated as the Blanche Post Office.

However, the purpose of this article is to explore the identities of the men on the porch.

Berkley Allen

Berkley Allen is Berkley Felix Allen (1895-1959). He owned and operated a country store and garage in Blanche. He purchased the store from his cousin, John Monroe Walters, and added the garage. The Allen name is of course well known in Blanche. The son of Berkley Felix Allen and Isma Vanhook married Katherine Wilkinson. For a great 1941 photograph of Felix and Katherine Allen at the Blanche Railroad Depot go to 1941 Photograph. To see a photograph of four generations (Eliza Kate Walters, Berkley Felix Allen, Felix Walters Allen, and Philip Walters Allen) go to Allen Family. The daughter of Berkley Felix Allen and Isma Vanhook, Martha Elizabeth Allen married Patrick Dowd Lassiter, another well-known Caswell County family.

Jimmy Gordon

Nothing is known about Jimmy Gordon. Can you help?

Junie Walters

Junie Walters is Joel Brown Walters, Jr. (1857-1934). He was the Blanche Postmaster 1914-1934 and may have occupied that position at the time of the photograph. Joel Brown Walters, Jr. married Emmaline Pleasants Mebane, granddaughter of Giles Mebane (1809-1899) and Mary Catherine Yancey (1817-1905) (and great granddaughter of Bartlett Yancey, Jr.). A daughter of Junie Walters and Emmaline Pleasants Mebane, Evalyn Walters, married Royal Polk Gordon. Whether this Gordon was related to the Jimmy Gordon also shown on the post office porch is not known. It is known, however, that another daughter of Junie and Emmaline, Katherine Yancey Walters, married Frank Wright Lea. He was the son of John Green Lea, head of the Ku Klux Klan when Senator John W. Stephens was murdered in the Caswell County Courthouse.

Giles Mebane

This is not the Giles Mebane mentioned above, but it is his grandson and namesake. This younger Giles Mebane (1880-1969) was at one time a rural mail carrier for the Blanche Post Office (by horse between Blanche and Yanceyville), and that might be the reason for his presence when the above photograph was taken. He did marry the daughter of the second Blanche postmaster, Daniel G. Watkins. She was Edna Earl Watkins (1885-1988), who lived for more than 103 years. She taught school for many years (Yanceyville and Cobb) and tutored students after she retired. Note that the 1950 Yan Tat (Bartlett Yancey High School Yearbook) has a photograph of Mrs. Edna W. Mebane. Giles Mebane was once the station master at the Blanche Railroad Depot, was a deputy sheriff and jailor under Caswell County Sheriff John Yancey Gatewood (father of Maud Gatewood), was Caswell County Tax Collector, served on the Caswell County Board of Education, and launched a dry cleaning business in Yanceyville.

Bill Lea

This undoubtedly was a William Lea, of which there were many in and around Caswell County. There is a William Lea buried in the Blanche Baptist Church Cemetery, but the identity has not been confirmed as the person on the porch of the Blanche Post Office. The 1910 US Census shows a William Lea, 55, living on the Blanche Road with his family: Mary A. (wife/55); Pearl (daughter/23); Willie (son/21); Myrtle (daughter/19); and Ruby (daughter/16). Note that this family is thought to have produced several school teachers who taught in Caswell County. Given the age of this Bill Lea and the fact that he lived on the Blanche Road gives support to him being the person on the post office porch.

Elijah Graves

Also living in the area at the time of the 1910 US Census was 56-year-old Elijah Graves, single and shown as a "Sewing Machine Agent". He was a boarder in the household of John D. Owens on the "Blanche and Milton Road". This places him in the right area to be the person identified as Elijah Graves in the post office photograph, but the identification is unconfirmed. However, a review of the census records a few years earlier suggests this was Elijah Graves, Jr., son of Elijah Graves and Mary E. Crump. The grandparents of Elijah Graves, Jr. would have been Captain William and Isabella Graves (also her maiden surname). His great grandparents would have been John Herndon Graves and Ann (Nancy) Talbot Slade.

Here is a sad photograph of the Blanche Post Office many years after it was abandoned for a newer building. There were six sites for this post office through the years. The "Blanch" Post Office opened 19 December 1890 and closed 28 February 2004. Service had been suspended 16 November 1991. What happened between 1991 and 2004 is unknown. The last postmaster was Annie R. Rowland, preceded by Marvin Farmer, who served for many years:

Marvin N. Farmer Postmaster 06/19/1963
Annie R. Rowland Postmaster 06/22/1985
Jeffrey G. Bullins Officer-In-Charge 07/31/1990
Ivonia L. Patrick Officer-In-Charge 03/13/1991
Glenn E. Lewis Officer-In-Charge 06/13/1991
Service suspended on November 16, 1991
Discontinued on February 28, 2004; mail to Yanceyville
(Postal Bulletin 22156)


Blanch Post Office History

The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 6 ("Blanch Post Office History" by Marvin N. Farmer)

In 1887, Mr. John F. Walters had Major Steadman establish a post office on Rattle Snake Creek, where it empties into the Dan River, beside the Norfolk-Franklin and Danville, Va. Railway, between Danville and Milton, N.C. According to records, the name Rattle Snake was changed to Blanch on Nov. 18, 1890, by the first appointed postmaster Mr. James B. Moore. He named the rural community for his daughter, a Miss Blanch Moore.

Blanch was a rural area in which bright leaf tobacco was discovered by accident on the Abisha Slade plantation by a slave named Stephen in 1839. The slave had overslept during the curing process. Upon awakening, he put hot coals into the barn, quickly causing the heat to rise which created a golden colored type of tobacco. This bright golden colored tobacco was then in great demand and has been since that time.

Blanch is known for its quality tobacco, grain and cattle farms which were the main sources of income for most of the citizens. At one time, it is said, there were more dairy farms located on the Blanch rural route than any other area of Caswell County.

The Blanch Post Office is now in its sixth location since it was established. The present location is a 1,000 square foot, brick building, built according to postal regulations in 1964. It was officially occupied on Sept. 25, 1964. The dedication ceremony was held on Sunday, Nov. 22, 1964 with the Honorable Ralph J. Scott, the 5th District Congressman, and the Postal Service Officer, Mr. Tommy O. Howell of the Greensboro, N.C. District. The building is locally owned and is leased to the United States Postal Service.

Past and present Postmasters and their date of appointments are: James B. Moore, Dec. 18, 1890; Daniel G. Watkins, Feb. 14, 1901; Robert L. Harrison, Nov. 2, 1906; Joel B. Walters, Jan 7, 1914, e died in office Mar. 18, 1934; Mrs. Elizabeth K. Watkins, acting, approx. Mar. 18, 1934; Mrs. Eugenia W. Walters, Mar. 26, 1934; Marvin N. Farmer, Dec. 31, 1961 to date, with Mrs. Annie R. Rowland, Assistant, July 1, 1952 to date.

Rural Carriers for Route 1 were Giles Mebane, Jim McCary, Roy Slade and Mr. Ross. Carriers for Route 2 were Bob Moore, Robert Powell, Harvey VanHook and E. G. Hardison. The two routes were consolidated into one route in October, 1934. The route is now 85 miles long and serves approximately 550 families. Rural Carriers since 1934 are: E. G. Hardison, M. N. Farmer, temporary, Mrs. Florance F. Taylor, temporary, Edwin W. Thompson, World War II appointment, James C. Cook, appointed May 23, 1949, J. Emerson Chandler, appointed Nov. 15, 1980 and Joseph B. Graves, appointed Oct. 1, 1983 to date.

Sources: Post Office Records and personal knowledge.

______ Marvin N. Farmer

"Blanch Post Office Future Looks Dim"
The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), Undated
Author: Gordon Bendall

Talk of closing the Blanch Post Office has residents of that community stirred up. "It's a cornerstone of the community, a landmark, they are closing the community schools, now the post offices, what's next?" asked one Caswell resident resisting the change.

Postal customers of  Blanch have been informed by the Director of Field Operations in Greensboro, Frank Kremner, that, "the reduced workload (at Blanch) suggests that the maintenance of an independent office at Blanch may not be warranted."

A review of the business activities of the post office revealed that the office workload had dropped, and the office qualifies for service only one hour per day with an average of eight daily retain window transactions.

The Providence Post Office will apparently assist if and when the service is phased out.

A representative of the United States Postal Service was present at the Caswell County Civic Center, Tuesday evening, February 12. Questions were answered and objections from residents of Blanch were noted.

The history of the Blanch Post Office was written up by Marvin Farmer who presently owns the Blanch Post Office building. Mr. John F. Walters had Major Steadman to establish a post office on Rattlesnake Creek where it empties into the Dan River in 1887, beside the Norfolk-Franklin-Danville Railway between Danville and Milton. According to records, the name of Rattlesnake was changed to Blanch on November 18, 1890 by the first appointed postmaster, Mr. James B. Moore. He named the rural community for his daughter, Blanch Moore.

Blanch was a rural area in which Bright Leaf tobacco was discovered. Known for quality tobacco, dairy, grain and cattle farms, farming provided the main income for its citizens. At one time there were more dairy farms on Blanch Road than any other area of Caswell County.

The Blanch Post Office is now in its sixth location since it was established. The present location, the 1,000 square foot brick building, was occupied on November 22, 1964 and is leased to the U.S. Postal Service.

Postmasters and starting dates include.

James B. Moore, 1887/1890
Daniel G. Watkins, 1901
Robert Lea Harrison, 1906
Joel B. Walters, 1914
Elizabeth King Watkins, 1934
Eugenia Woody Walters, 1934
Marvin Nathaniel Farmer, 1961
Annie Roberts Rowland, 1985

Friday, June 09, 2006

Walters Mill

Blanche Moore Wedding Invitation

Here is a wonderful old wedding invitation submitted to the CCHA by a Caswellian who is very interested in the history of Blanche, North Carolina.

The wedding of Blanche Lydia Moore and Alexander (Sandy) Banks Moore did indeed take place at the Blanche Baptist Church on June 22, 1910.

Blanche Lydia Moore (1882-early 1960's) was the daughter of James Byrd Moore (1848-1900) and Bettie Margaret Powell (1851-1938). As James Byrd Moore had died, his wife was left alone to announce the wedding of their daughter in 1910. Note that Blanche Lydia did not need to change her surname.

Alexander Banks Moore (1879-1958) was known his entire life as Sandy. He was the son of Luther Thomas Moore (1852-1947) and Sarah Elizabeth Ferrell (1854-1892).

Blanche and Sandy Moore lived in the Blanche, North Carolina, community for many years before moving to Yanceyville, North Carolina. Their Blanche property was sold to Herman A. Smith and remains in the Smith family to this day. Blanche and Sandy had three children.

However, the community in which Sandy and Blanche first lived must have had another name (probably Rattlesnake). This is because the name was changed to Blanche, North Carolina, in honor of Blanche Lydia Moore. This name was bestowed either by Blanche's father (the first Blanche Postmaster) or by her uncle Daniel G. Watkins (the second Blanche Postmaster). Traditions differ on this.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Caswell County Jail

Caswell County Jail

One of the most interesting buildings in Caswell County is the old Caswell County Jail. Built in the first decade of the 1900's, the Jail served the county's prisoner housing needs until 1973, when a new jail was constructed.

After 1973, the old jail was used for a variety of short-term purposes, but by and large, the building stood unused, neglected, and empty. The ravages of time, weather, and lack of maintenance began to tell on the old structure, which soon developed symptoms of severe deterioration.

In 1985, the Caswell County Historical Association negotiated a 25-year lease on the building from the County Commissioners. The Bartlett Yancey Future Farmers of America Chapter was enlisted to renovate the structure, repair damage, and restore the building as near as possible to its original condition. One hundred and thirty members of the Chapter volunteered over 6,300 person-hours to the project, with donations of time, equipment, and materials by a number of Caswell County businesses and residents.

Buster Payne Store (?)

The CCHA Website has a section devoted to the old stores of Caswell County. The purpose of the series is to identify and document (hopefully with old photographs) the stores throughout the county that were so important to the commercial and social life of our ancestors (and many of us as well)!

Above is a store belived to be on the Park Spring Road.

Anyone know the history of this store?

Just add a comment here or email the CCHA.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Yanceyville Square Scene

Here is a great old photograph of the house in which Maud Gatewood grew up (left) and the Poteat Hotel (center). To the far right is Yanceyville Motor Company, with a gasoline pump on the corner. In the background is the familiar Yanceyville water tower. Note: Click on the photograph for a larger image. You also may go to Square Photograph for a larger view.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Another Milton Mill Site May Have Been Found

Historic Milton Mill Site

Two Caswellians with very deep Milton roots recently have been exploring the creek around Milton (Country Line Creek) searching for the ruins of the railroad and any mills that operated in the area. That the Thomas Mill once operated in Milton is well-documented. However, these investigators discovered on a 1940 map of Milton (copied from a 1840 map) a reference to another mill site that was located on Country Line Creek near the end of East Street in Milton.

These intrepid historians believe they may have located the site of this mill, which would be a separate mill from the better-known Thomas Mill. An archelogist from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is interested in the discovery and plans to visit the site. Hopefully, she will be able to date the structure.

The accompanying photographs are of what was known as the Milton Roller Mill. Whether it is the same as the Thomas Mill is unknown.

Thomas Mill

One of the earliest references to the Thomas Mill is in a 1796 act of the North Carolina Legislature authorizing an inspection warehouse and the laying out of a town at the site of the warehouse. It was to be located near the mouth of the Country Line Creek at the Dan River on the property of Asa Thomas. Commissioners Thomas Jeffrey, Archibald Murphy, William Rainey, Archibald Samuel, and James Saunders were empowered to lay off thirty acres at or near the Thomas Mill into half acre lots and to establish a town to be named Milton. See When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 100.

Powell goes on to observe that Asa Thomas had a mill at the site where the town of Milton was established before the town was formed, "but he soon was joined by others. Milton was indeed a mill town, as its name apparently was intended to suggest." Powell at 326.

It appears that the Thomas Mill had been in existence well before 1796. British General Cornwallis and his troops are believed to have "taken advantage of several mills such as Thomas's near Milton and Rainey's south of Semora." See The Tactical Rereat of General Nathanael Greene, Thomas J. Edmonds (2006) at 10.

And, it is possible that the mill that came to be known as the Thomas Mill was in operation as early as 1757. Note the following from Caswell County Historical Association Newsletter VOL. XXVI, Number 2, April 2003 at page 2:

"[Benjamin Merritt] came down from New York and secured a Granville Grant of many acres on both sides of the Dan River in two colonies. Benjamin built a mill which he sold to Mrs. Anne Smith ca.1757 with acreage over 50 in the tract, more than enough to start a flourishing frontier town."

And, the daughter of this Mrs. Anne Smith is believed to have sold this mill to William Thomas, Sr. in 1779. Asa Thomas was a son of William Thomas, Sr. For more on this go to the Will of Anne Smith, which indicates that she obtained her property in Milton by way of a Granville Land Grant in 1760.

For more background on the historic town go to Milton.

For additional photographs of the subject mill site go to Photgraph Two and Photograph Three.

The information provided here is for those interested in the history of Milton. However, please note that the structures shown reside on private property, and trespassers will not be tolerated.

Please submit any comments to the CCHA.