Thursday, March 29, 2007

Isaac Hunter's Tavern

Most have heard the story of Isaacc Hunter's Tavern. It was the scene of horse races and frequented by political figures in the late 1700's.

John Rainey's wife Elizabeth Hunter Rainey of Caswell County was the daughter of an Isaac Hunter and she had a brother named Isaac Hunter. How can we determine which Isaac Hunter became so popular that the City of Raleigh was laid off near his tavern, in the forest, with nothing close by, to become the capital city of North Carolina?

Elizabeth's father, Isaac Hunter, apparently had twelve children and left a will in Chowan County, North Carolina, which named his children. And, any one of the sons could have named a son Isaac.

The old Isaac Hunter's Tavern building apparently still exists just north of Raleigh and may be called the Sawmill Tap Room.

See, however, An Archaeolgical Evolution.

The city of Raleigh was laid out in 1792, following a resolution by the 1788 North Carolina General Assembly that an "unalterable seat of government" should be established within ten miles of Isaac Hunter's tavern. The founders were able to find a site belonging to a Mr. Lane just four miles from the tavern in Wake County.

Isaac Hunter's Tavern was apparently popular with the legislators of the time. No city or town existed on the site before it was chosen to house the capital. Raleigh is one of the few cities in the United States planned and built specifically to serve as a state capital.

The following is from the Raleigh City Guide:

Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County, actually began as a tiny crossroads hamlet named Bloomsbury. A planter named Joel Lane purchased several thousand acres in the area during the late 1760s, and constructed his home there. As a major land owner, Lane was naturally drawn into politics and soon found himself a part of the North Carolina General Assembly. And so, when the legislature decided in 1792 that the new state capital should be established within 10 miles of Isaac Hunter's tavern (a popular drinking spot), Lane was only too happy to sell them a thousand-acre plot in the recently formed Wake County. Named for Sir Walter Raleigh, the new capital was modeled after Philadelphia, the nation's capital at the time, and was financed by selling off lots for residences.

The question of a new capital had troubled North Carolina politics since 1777. Unable to decide the matter, the legislature referred it to the state's Ratifying Convention of 1788, which rejected the United States Constitution. On 2 Aug. 1788 the convention voted to fix the seat of government within ten miles of Isaac Hunter's tavern in Wake County near the falls of the Neuse, but to let the legislature determine the exact spot within that radius. In 1792 land was purchased and the city of Raleigh was laid out in Wake County; by the end of 1794 a small brick statehouse was erected there (N.C. STATE REC., 22:26--29, 33; LEFLER AND NEWSOME, 243--45).







Whereas, between 1777 and 1790, members of the General Assembly introduced without success several bills to establish a permanent seat of government; and

Whereas, the Constitutional Convention of 1788 addressed this issue and adopted an ordinance providing that the location of the capital be established within 10 miles of the Isaac Hunter Plantation in Wake County; and

Whereas, on January 5, 1792, the General Assembly ratified the action of the Constitutional Convention and permanently established the seat of government for the State of North Carolina in Wake County; and

Whereas, a legislative commission, consisting of eight members representing the eight judicial districts of the State and one at-large member, was assigned to select a site in Wake County for a State capital, survey and lay off a town, sell lots to prospective citizens, and determine a particular site for a State house; and

Whereas, on March 20, 1792, five of the nine commissioners met at Isaac Hunter's Tavern in Wake County to begin their task; and

Whereas, the commission viewed several sites and, on April 2, 1792, purchased 1,000 acres of the Joel Lane Plantation and later completed its mission; and

Whereas, the General Assembly ratified the actions of the commission and named the city Raleigh on December 31, 1792; and

Whereas, 1992 will mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the City of Raleigh as the capital of North Carolina; and

Whereas, a planning committee has been actively preparing a year-long celebration to mark the significance of this historic occasion;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:

Section 1. The General Assembly honors the memory of the members of the 1792 General Assembly, the nine Capital Commissioners, and Isaac Hunter on the 200th anniversary of the founding of the City of Raleigh as the capital of North Carolina.

Sec. 2. The General Assembly encourages the citizens of this State to participate in all of the activities planned for this historic occasion.

Sec. 3. This resolution is effective upon ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 15th day of July, 1991.


James C. Gardner

President of the Senate


Daniel Blue, Jr.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Obituary of James Henry Yancey (1935-2007)

James Henry Yancey
Mar 27, 2007 - 11:47:19 pm CDT

Pelham, NC - It is with profound sorrow we announce the death of Mr. James Henry Yancey of 5048 Allison Rd. Pelham, NC, who died Monday, March 19, 2007 in the Danville Regional Medical Center, Danville, VA. He was a native of Caswell County, NC, the son of the late Odie Yancey and Mary Graves Yancey, born August 26, 1935. He was educated in the Caswell County Schools. He was a member of Red Hill Baptist Church and was an employee of Caswell Tire before retirement. He was married to Annie Yancey.

His survivors are: wife, Mrs. Annie Yancey of the home; two sons, James Henry Yancey, Jr. of Pelham and Master Sgt. Michael Earl Yancey (Terry) of US Air Force Iraq; three daughters, Mrs. Sharon Yancey Holloway (Rev. David) of Danville, Mrs. Angel Yancey Patrick (George of Pelham, and Mrs. Annie Yancey Sellars (Edward) of Burlington; three brothers, Mr. Franklin R. Yancey (Lillie) of Pelham, Mr. Clarence P. Yancey (Marjorie) of Eden, and Mr. Willard D. Yancey of Yanceyville; one sister, Mrs. Mary V. Brock (Wayne) of Baltimore, MD; five grandchildren; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral Services for Mr. James Henry Yancey, Sr. were Saturday, March 24, 2007 at 1:00 pm at Red Hill Baptist Church. Interment was in the church cemetery. Pastor Gregory Hopkins delivered the eulogy. All arrangements for Mr. James Henry Yancey were entrusted to Fulton Funeral Home, 219 Dillard School Dr. Yanceyville, NC.

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 27 March 2007.

Obituary of Samuel Freemon Gwynn (c.1949 - 2007)

Samuel Freemon Gwynn
Mar 27, 2007 - 11:47:19 pm CDT

Elon, NC- Samuel Freemon Gwynn, 58, of 1079 Pagetown Rd. died Tuesday, March 20,2007. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, March 23, 2007 at First United Methodist Church in Reidsville and burial will follow in Gilliam's Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery. A native of Caswell Co., he was a son of the late Sam and Edna King Gwynn and had lived in the Pagetown Community most of his life. He was a US Army Veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and was an employee of Harrelson Logging Co.

Freemon was an avid outdoorsman and he guided horse-back bird hunts in Ellerbe and in Oklahoma. Surviving is his Wife of 28 years: Faye Boone Gwynn of the homeSon: Jesse Gwynn and wife: Susan of Burlington Brother: Pete Gwynn of Elon Sister: Margaret G. Massey and husband: Richard of ElonGranddaughter: Sadler GwynnNiece: Sharon Hensley Nephew: Randy Massey Great Nieces: Emily and Victoria Hensley.

The family will see friends from 7 till 9 p.m. Thursday, March 22, 2007 at Citty Funeral Home in Reidsville and at other times, they will be at the residence.

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 27 March 2007.

Obituary of Fannie Hazel Shouff Bullock (c.1938 - 2007)

Fannie Hazel Shouff Bullock
Mar 27, 2007 - 11:47:18 pm CDT

Yanceyville, nc - Fannie Hazel Shouff Bullock age 69 of Yanceyville died Tuesday, March 27, 2007 in Danville Regional Hospital. She was born in Patrick County, VA to the late Ross and Hattie Mae Clark Shouff. Mrs. Bullock was preceded in death by her son, Bobby Lee Bullock. She was a member of Clement Baptist Church, active with the Yanceyville Sr. Citizens and she enjoyed bowling with her league in Danville, VA.

Surviving are her husband James Junior Bullock of Roxboro, six children, Faye Pendell of South Boston, VA, Cathie Evans of Haw River, Ronnie Bullock of Hurdle Mills, Nelson Bullock of Prospect Hill, Shirley Bullock of Burlington, and Charles Bullock of Prospect Hill; 6 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren; one brother, Reed Shouff of Hurdle Mills, four sisters, Jean Rudder of Cedar Grove, Kathleen Barnwell and Sallie Mae Snead both of Yanceyville, and Wanda Culler Fuquay Varina.

The family will receive friends Wednesday, 6PM to 8:30 PM at Brooks & White Funeral Home. A private service will be held Thursday.

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 27 March 2007.

Obituary of Clara McCain Richmond (1921-2007)

Clara McCain Richmond
Mar 27, 2007 - 11:47:18 pm CDT

Blanch, NC - It is with profound sorrow we announce the death of Evangelist Clara McCain Richmond, 85, of 1693 Slade Rd. Blanch, NC, who departed this life Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at her residence. She was a native of Blanch, NC the daughter of the late Lantry McCain and Lula McCain, born May 26, 1921. She joined Mt. Olive Baptist Church at the age of 12, where she remained a faithful member. She was a Homemaker.

She was married to Leroy Richmond who preceded her in death. She was also preceded in death by one daughter, Shirley Ann Richmond Walker. She was a true prayer warrior who visited the sick and shut-in and over the years held healing services throughout the community. She leaves to cherish her memories her beloved children, two daughters, Rosa R. Harrell (spouse George) of Landover, Md. and Betty R. Thaxton (Spouse George) of Blanch, NC; six sons, Robert Richmond (spouse Mary) of Hyattsville, MD, William Richmond (spouse Jurine) of Springdale, MD, Nathaniel Richmond (spouse Melinda) of Waldolf, MD, Harvey Richmond (spouse Carolyn) of Milton, NC, Tom Richmond (spouse Fay) of Greensboro, NC and Donnell Richmond (spouse Andrea) of Greensboro, NC; three sisters, Ms. Ethel McCain of Danville, VA, Mrs. Lois Blaine of Washington, DC and Mrs. Dorothy Slade of Blanch, NC; three brothers, George McCain of Milton, NC, Lantry McCain (spouse Mary) of Milton, NC and Melvin McCain of Burlington, NC; twenty two grandchildren; twenty one great grandchildren; two great great grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Home going service for Evangelist Clara McCain Richmond was Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 2:00 pm at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Semora, NC. Interment was in the church cemetery. Pastor P. D. Medley delivered the eulogy. All arrangements for Mr. James Henry Yancey were entrusted to Fulton Funeral Home 219 Dillard School Dr. Yanceyville, NC.

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 27 March 2007.

Obituary of Jerry Ray Anderson (c.1944 - 2007)

Jerry Ray Anderson
Mar 27, 2007 - 11:47:17 pm CDT

Yanceyville, NC - Jerry Ray Anderson, 63, passed away Sunday, March 25, 2007, at Morehead Hospital in Eden. He was the son of the late Ray and Catherine Anderson. He was a member of Lea Bethel Baptist Church. He is survived by two sisters, Shelby Oakley (Wilbur) of Cedar Grove, NC and Betty Lou Long (A.C.) of Prospect Hill; nieces Cynthia Daniel of Blanch, NC, Karen Cates, of Efland, NC, Pam Dodson, of Hillsborough, NC, Lisa Wilkerson, of Hurdle Mills, NC; nephews, Stevie Long, of Prospect Hill, NC, Stacey Todd Long, of Hillsborough, Joel Oakley, of Burlington; eight great-nieces, six great-nephews, two great-great-nieces and three great-great-nephews.

Graveside services will be held 2PM Tuesday, March 27, at Lea Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery by Joe Jackson. Visitation will follow in the church fellowship hall and at other times at the home of Stevie and Jane Long, 2924 John Oakley Rd., Prospect Hill, NC, 27314. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Caswell County Mental Health Center, c/o Sandy Thompson, Vocational Trade St., Yanceyville, NC, 27379.

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 27 March 2007.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Photograph Identification Project Entry #11

Set forth below are a number of old photographs that are being grouped together as CCHA Photograph Identification Project Entry #11. The reasons for the grouping are that the photographs are believed to be from the same family (or related families) and from same geographic area of Caswell County.

The families are Bowes, Cobb, Oakley, Shaw, Simpson, Miles/Smith, and close relations. The geographic area is southwest Caswell County (Camp Springs, Milesville, along Cherry Grove Road).

Most are tintypes (not the buggy photograph).

Don't forget the other photographs in this series:

1. Kids on a Rock

2. Old Tractors

3. Lady and Barefoot Boy

4. Little Rascals of Cobb School

5. Girl Scouts on Square in Yanceyville

6. Girl Scouts at Bartlett Yancey Elementary School

7. Three Girls at Esso Pump

8. Cobb Elementary School Marching Band

9. Carolyn Daniel's Cobb Memorial Elementary School Class

10. Cobb Memorial School

Saturday, March 24, 2007

UNC Dialectic Society (Caswell County Members)

Catalogue of the Members of the Dialectic Society Instituted in the University of North Carolina June 3, 1795, Together With Historical Sketches

The names of active members alone are printed. They are given by years of entrance into the Society. In the great majority of cases this corresponds with the year of entrance into the University. By year of entrance is meant the collegiate, not the calendar year. Thus the year 1877 includes the fall of '77 and the spring of '78.

After each name is given the place of residence at entrance, then the degree taken in the University, or if no degree was conferred, the year of leaving college, together with all honorary degrees. Next are placed the date of birth, the various positions of trust or honor held, profession and present residence. If dead, the last place of residence is given, and the dates of birth and death are placed last. When no State is named, North Carolina is understood, except in such cases as plainly imply what State is meant.

The letter c. (Latin circa) before a date indicates that it is only approximately accurate.

M. C. = Member of Congress.
H. of C. = House of Commons.
H. of R. = House of Representatives.
C. S. A. = Confederate States Army.
U. N. C. = University of North Carolina.
The other abbreviations will be easily understood.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yanceyville Esso Station

(Click on Photograph for Larger Image)
(Click on Photograph for Larger Image)

This Esso Service Station on South Main Street in Yanceyville, North Carolina, was built and owned by William Laroy Gunn (1910-1984). He sold the business to Robert Pleasant, who eventually sold it to Samuel Wilson Shaw (1925-1980). Note the Bartlett Yancey Elementary School in the background of the first photograph.

Samuel Wilson Shaw's first wife was Bessie Lea Bowes (1927-1977). Bessie Lea Bowes Shaw worked at Cole Chevrolet in 1947 when the dealership moved into the new building in Yanceyville. For a great photograph of Bessie Shaw, see Cole Chevrolet.

After Bessie died, Sam married Elsie Mae Hines.

Many young boys spent time "hanging around" the Esso Station (under various owners). There was a preferred seat on the soft drink box, usually reserved for the older boys of the neighborhood. Gasoline was around thirty cents a gallon and the strongest drink available was a Coca-Cola.

To see more on the Shaw and Bowes family go to the Caswell County Family Tree.

For photographs of these families go to the Caswell County Photograph Collection.

William LaRoy Gunn (1910-1984)

Yanceyville - William Laroy Gunn, 73, died Friday at Duke Medical Center, Durham. Funeral will be 2 p.m. Sunday at Yanceyville United Methodist Church, where he was a member. Masonic graveside rites will be in the church cemetery. He was a retired superintendent of Yanceyville Water Works, a member and past master of Caswell Masonic Brotherhood Lodge 11 and a member and a past president of Yanceyville Rotary Club and a member of Paul Harris Award. Surviving are wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Foster Gunn; son, William Gunn of Danville, Va.; daughter, Mrs. Nancy Bush of Phoenix, Ariz.; brother, Henry Gunn of Yanceyville; five grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the church building fund. The family will be at the home. Hooper Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Greensboro News & Record, Greensboro, NC Sat. 1-28-1984.

Public Works Superintendent of the Yanceyville Sanitary District for thirty-eight years.

1930 US Census
Name: William Gunn
Age: 19
Estimated birth year: abt 1911
Relation to head-of-house: Son
Father's Name: John E Gunn
Mother's Name: Hattie F Gunn
Home in 1930: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Inez Blackwell Day

The Caswell County Senior Center was filled to capacity Thursday with well-wishers and admirers as Ms. Inez Blackwell was chauffeured to the center's front door in a shiny, white limousine. Locally, March 15 has been dubbed "Inez Blackwell Day" in honor of the Caswell County woman who has given of herself in so many ways to so many people over the course of her life. Mementos quickly began to pile up on the table where Ms. Inez' family sat at the senior center. Spoken accolades filled up the room and spilled out through the door opened to let in the fresh air and sunshine.

Ms. Inez' granddaughter, Michael Vivienne Pemberton, read a poem she had written for her grandmother:

"You are being honored by your family, friends and community," Michael read aloud. "You are the best and we all love thee. This is our way, We hope and pray, To honor and cherish you on 'Inez Blackwell Day.'"

Granddaughter Cheryl Allen sang a song she had written for Blackwell. Charlie Blackwell Sr., her husband, and five of her six surviving children sat close to Ms. Inez, who beamed from her wheelchair, wearing a fresh corsage and a peaceful smile. Two memorial candles were lit for children Vivian and Michael, who have passed away.

Caswell County Commissioner Jeremiah Jefferies was one of the first to speak and offered Ms. Inez a plaque commemorating her service to the community. "You've been like a mama," he said affectionately, as he gave her a hug. Yanceyville Mayor Dan Printz read a proclamation honoring Blackwell, saying she'd earned the town's respect through her wisdom and community spirit. Sabrina Lea of the Piedmont Triad Council Area Agency on Aging also offered up praise. We've decided that you are a phenomenal woman," Lea said, as she commented on Blackwell's "capacity to care for this wonderful and beautiful" family and her "diligence in caring for the community." "You set an example for folks of what it's like to be a woman, a mom, a sister and an advocate for us all," Lea concluded.

Blackwell also received a plaque from her Yanceyville Missionary Baptist Church, where she has served over the years as a deaconess, choir secretary, Mother of the Church, pastor's aide and missionaries and program committee member. Edith Gentry read two congratulatory letters sent to Blackwell. The first was from Gov. Mike Easley, who wrote, "This is a momentous occasion that deserves much celebration.... I thank you for a job well done." Next was a letter from Sen. Richard Burr, "Enjoy the special attention and best wishes for many more years," Burr's letter read in part.

Senior Center Director Donna Pointer, who moderated Thursday's program, recalled many happy times seniors there had spent with Ms. Inez, including the time she danced the hula at the senior games. Pointer showed Blackwell a copy of "Dead-End Road," Deborah Brown's book about her family's struggle to get the family a quality education, which will be donated to Gunn Memorial Library in her name. Pointer also gave Ms. Inez two ceramic angels.

Others added in their two cents as well. Said Paul Robinson, "That lady sitting there is a unique person - a person sent by God. You know they say, 'It takes a village.' She was part of that village." Jean Vernon said, "Now that you are retired, get to work on that book!" And Virginia Totten: "She is a woman of her word. If she says she is going to do something, you'd better believe it's going to get done."

Inez Blackwell thanked all those who attended the party in honor, adding she appreciated the bouquet of flowers presented to her by The Caswell Messenger. "I have had my flowers while I live," she said with a quiet smile.

Ms. Inez has shared her love and wisdom with the community through her weekly column in The Caswell Messenger for more than 30 years.

Inez Elizabeth Graves was born and raised in Caswell County, the daughter of William and Carrie Graves. She attended the Caswell County Training School in Yanceyville. She received a two-year degree in Early Childhood Education from Alamance Community College. She married Charlie Blackwell Sr. in 1952 and the couple raised eight children: Betsy, Charlie, Jr., Vickie, Carol, Derek, Bobby, Vivian and Michael. Over the years, Ms. Inez has served as president of four PTSA organizations. Gov. Jim Hunt presented her with a certificate for her work with Community Watch and she has received awards for her volunteer work with the Boy Scouts and the Senior Center Golden Friends. She received the Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 2003.

Ms. Inez counts cooking as one of her favorite hobbies. Her favorite hymns are "Amazing Grace" and "May the Work I Have Done."

Mrs. Inez Blackwell was honored on March 15 for her service to the community. She is pictured above with her husband, Charlie Blackwell, Sr., daughter Betsy Poteat, son Charlie Blackwell, Jr., daughter Vickie Morrow, son-in-law David Morrow and grandson David Morrow II, daughter Carol Blackwell, granddaughters Michael Pemberton and Cheryl Allen and grandson-in-law Ellis Allen, son Bobby Blackwell, great-granddaughter VeCara Lipscomb and great-great-grandson Ashanti Lipscomb.

Source: The Caswell Messenger (which retains all rights)

Anderson High School Basketball Team 1962

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pine Forest School (1914)

Photograph and list of people submitted to The Caswell Messenger in 1972 by Minnie Ethel Miles Simmons (1900-1996) (Mrs. W. R. Simmons, Sr.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Obituary of Nannie Spranzie Harley (1921-2007)

Nannie Spranzie Harley

Mar 13, 2007 - 09:39:01 pm CDT

Burlington, Nc - Nannie Spranzie Harley, 85, of 2331 James Boswell Road, Burlington, North Carolina died Saturday, March 10, 2007 at her residence.

Born October 9, 1921 in Caswell County, North Carolina she was the daughter of the late William B. Johnson and the late Alice Slade Johnson. She was a past Worthy Matron member of the Eastern Stars. She was married to the late Mitchell Payne who predeceased her and later married Hersel Lee Harley. She is also predeceased by two sisters, Ethel Rhodes, Mary Johnson Watlington and two brothers, Waymond Johnson and James Johnson.

Survivors include one brother William Abbot Johnson of Mebane, North Carolina and a host of other relatives and friends.

The family will receive friends at the residence, 2331 James Boswell Road, Burlington, North Carolina.

Funeral Services for Nannie Spranzie Harley will be conducted on Friday, March 16, 2007 at 2 p.m. from Sassafras Grove Baptist Church with Rev. Carl Bigelow officiating. Interment will follow in Sassafras Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.

Fisher and Watkins Funeral Home are in charge of all arrangements for Nannie Spranzie Harley.

Source: Obituary of Nannie Spranzie Harley (1921-2007) (The Caswell Messenger, 13 March 2007)

Obituary of Fannie Terrell Littell Overman (c.1914-2007)

Fannie Littell Overman

Mar 13, 2007 - 09:39:00 pm CDT

Burlington, NC - Mrs. Fannie Littell Overman, 93, of 1503 Harriet Drive, Burlington died at Edgewood Place on Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. following three months of failing health.

A native of Caswell County, she was the wife of the late Emil Overton Littell and the late Bennie Overman, and the daughter of William Wesley Terrell and Fannie Bet Underwood Terrell, both deceased. She taught for 15 years at Anderson Elementary School in Caswell County and later finished her career serving in several schools in the Burlington City School System. For 81 years, she was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Burlington. She was a member of the Fidelis Sunday School Class and taught several different Sunday School classes. Mrs. Overman was a member of the teaching sorority, Delta Kappa Gamma, and several local and national educational associations.

Survivors include one son, Dennis D. Littell, of Crescent Springs, KY; two granddaughters, Stacey Littell Grimm and husband, David, of Burlington and Kristi Littell and husband, Greg Giuliano, of Philadelphia, PA; two great-grandsons, Jacob Grimm and Idris Littell Giuliano; two sisters, Eva Webster and Cora Mae Lackey, both of Burlington; and many nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be conducted at the First Baptist Church of Burlington on Monday, March 12, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. by Dr. Terry E. Peele. Burial will follow in Pine Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Rich & Thompson Mortuary in Burlington on Sunday, March 11, 2007 from 5 until 7 p.m. Other times they will be at the residence. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Fannie Littell Overman Divinity School Endowed Scholarship Fund of Campbell University, P.O. Drawer 4050, Buies Creek, NC 27506. This was established in honor of Fannie Littell Overman for her devotion to Campbell University and her commitment to excellence in education. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Source: Obituary of Fannie Terrell Littell Overman (c.1914-2007) (The Caswell Messenger, 13 March 2007)

Obituary of John R. (Skip) Slade (1937-2007)

Mr. John R. (Skip) Slade

Mar 13, 2007 - 09:39:00 pm CDT

Yanceyville, NC - It is with profound sorrow we announce the death of Mr. John R. (Skip) Slade, Sr. 69, of 1525 S. Main St., Suncrest Apt. 103, who died Monday, March 5, 2007 at his residence.

John was a native of Caswell County, NC. He was born to the late Willie Slade and Mary Gunn Slade April 13, 1937. He was a member of Blackwell Baptist Church.

Before retirement, John worked with Doggett Construction in Summerfield, NC as a contractor.

He was preceded in death by five brothers, Willie O. Slade, Theotis Slade, Willie Slade, Jr. Detroy Slade, Julius Brack, and one sister Adell Graves.

His survivors are : one son, Dr. John R. Slade, Jr. (Pamela) of Winston Salem, NC; one daughter, Mrs. Pamela Douglas (Edgar) of Yanceyville, NC; two brothers, Mr. Ervin Slade (Viola) of Greensboro, NC, and Roy Slade (Dorothy) of Yanceyville, NC; three sisters, Mrs. Virginia S. Watkins of Danville, Va. Mrs. Maggie S. Graves (Freddie) of Yanceyville, NC, and Mrs. Clayren Saunds (Vincent) of New York; one special grandson, Jon Christopher Slade of Winston Salem; a special care giver, Mrs. Evon Russell; a close friend, Isaiah Long; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

A funeral services for Mr. John R. Slade, Sr. was held Friday, March 9, 2007 at 2:00 pm at Blackwell Missionary Baptist Church with interment in the church cemetery. Pastor Everett Dickerson, presided and Minister James Graves delivered the Eulogy.

Funeral arrangements for Mr. John R. Slade, Sr. were entrusted to Fulton Funeral Home, 219 Dillard School Dr. Yanceyville, NC.

Source: Obituary of John R. (Skip) Slade (1937-2007) (The Caswell Messenger, 13 March 2007).

John R. Slade had the nickname "Skip." His brother Roy went by the nickname "Scoot." Another brother was called "Snap."

Dudley Gatewood House

(click on article for larger image)

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) 12 December 1924 (Page 12)

(Click on Photograph for a Larger Image)

Above is a photograph of the Dudley Gatewood house as it appeared around 1938. The image and map were kindly provided by Pittsylvania County, Virginia, historian Robert D. "Danny" Ricketts. While the image dates from 1938 the sketch represents an 1890 survey of the 760-acre Gatewood tract of land. In 1938 the house was occupied by R. J. Cheek.

The house was located less than a mile south of the North Carolina/Virginia state line and to the east of what was then the Yanceyville Plank Road. The house was on the Dix Ferry Road, which today is called the Walters' Mill Road.

Note that the survey shows at the top right "Walters and others." Azariah Graves Walters owned 1,269 acres in that area. Walters built a mill on Hogan's Creek near its confluence with the Dan River.

In 1791, President George Washington spent the night in the Dudley Gatewood house, which now resides in Hillsborough, North Carolina. See Missing Gatewood House. At one time the George Carter family owned the farm on which the old Gatewood house was located. The Carter family has substantial holdings in the Gatewood/Shady Grove area of Caswell County, North Carolina.

The Dudley Gatewood house on the Dix Ferry Road apparently was only a couple of miles from the Dix Ferry, according to the following excerpt from the journal kept by President Washington during his Southern Tour:

one Gatewoods within two miles of Dix's ferry over the Dan

The Dix Ferry apparently was located on a portion of the Dan River that flowed through Virginia.

Note the waterway labeled "Branch" that has an arrow pointing northeast. This is thought to be Andrews Branch which flows into Virginia and runs near the old Thomas Fearn house. Azariah Graves Walters owned land in both Caswell County, North Carolina, and Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The tract in Pittsylvania County adjoining the Caswell Co tract was 1,050 1/2 acres and contained the old "Broadnax House". This house may have been the 18th century house of Thomas Fearn, who died in 1805.

This photograph of the Dudley Gatewood (then called the Whit Gatewood House) appeared in the 23 June 1976 edition of The Caswell Messenger newspaper. Whit Gatewood is Robert Whitfield (Whit) Gatewood (1855-1918), great grandson of Dudley Gatewood. Whit Gatewood is believed to be the last member of the Gatewood family to own the house built by Dudley Gatewood.

Above is a sketch by Robert D. "Danny" Rickets of President George Washington leaving Philadelphia on his 1791 Southern Tour. This is based upon a print Danny found in the National Archives. The six horses pulling the carriage traveled the entire 1,800 miles of the journey.

Some publications refer to the famous Dudley Gatewood house as the Whit Gatewood house. Whit Gatewood is believed to be a descendant of Dudley Gatewood (possibly a great grandson) and may have owned the house at one time.

(Click on Photograph for a Larger Image)

To obtain a poster showing that portion of Washington's trip in Caswell County, North Carolina, and Pittsylvania County, Virginia, go to Southside Books.

For more photographs go to Dudley Gatewood House.

The following photographs are courtesy of Robert D. "Danny" Ricketts. This the Dudley Gatewood house as it now stands in Hillsborough, North Carolina, as a Mexican Restaurant, Casa Ibarra. For more on the history of the house go to Dudley Gatewood.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Caswell County Slave Traders

North Carolina Tobacco Planter & Slave Dealer Archive

Estmated Value $8000 - $12000
Minimum Bid $4000
Next Bid $4750

Archive of slave dealing and tobacco planting documents and letters of Dr. George Robertson (1808-1855) & family of Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina, dated 1837-1865, including Dr. Robertson's ledger book in which he records his tobacco and slave sales. Dr. Robertson and his associates acquired funds from New York, The Bank of Raleigh, and the Bank of North Carolina at Milton to buy slaves on speculation. According to the ledger they bought slaves in Hillsboro, Raleigh, and Fayetteville, and then these slaves were transported as far south as Alabama to be sold for profit. Over one million enslaved men, women, and children were sold by American slave dealers and traders from the Signing of the Constitution to the eve of the Civil War as the demand for American slaves shifted from the tobacco plantations of North Carolina and Virginia to the cotton & rice fields of the Deep South. It was men like Dr. Robertson who were riding this wave of migration and making a profit in the sale of human flesh. In addition to buying and selling slaves, Dr. Robertson operated a tobacco warehouse and prizery. It appears from the records that slave prices are directly related to the current market prices of tobacco and cotton. It is known that Caswell County, North Carolina, from where Dr. Robertson operated, was one of the five wealthiest counties in the state, and saw over a million dollars expended in 1836 on slave speculation. This collection is an important record of the southern plantation economy and the transformation of the interstate slave trade. This lot includes: Slave & Tobacco ledger book kept by Dr. Robertson, 132p. folio, 1837-1845, with his notes and figures on the purchase and sale of his goods. Mentions many prominent central North Carolina citizens, who sold tobacco to Dr. Robertson including Abisha Slade, on whose plantation in 1839, a slave named Stephen accidentally cured the first bright leaf tobacco. There are several references to 'bright' or 'yellow' tobacco, being sold for top prices in the ledger. The sales of tobacco are recorded by weight and at where he sold it. Also noted are different investors or clients of his as well as Dr. Robertson selling his own crop. The slave sales and purchases are recorded as "3 Negroes (boys) at Richmond $25254Girls at Oxford 25001 boy5002 Negroes at Raleigh (Jim & Dina) 1400$6925. Paid Thos. McGeher in cash $2040.25. premium on gold 21.75 debt all settled 2062.002 negroes at Durham $1192" As well as profits being accounted for as this entry under title of Debits of Dr. R.J. Gryn " Profit $130 on Holcomb & Girl100 on Jas Johnston Girl148.60 on J.e. Brown65.00 on J. King350 on Susan & Children150 on the sale to Lea150 on Alvis to S. Moore ( Alvis swap for Carter) $1093" and under Credits of by Richard Gwyn "Check on N. York $500premium on same 10check on N. York 700pr. 28Recd of Jas Lea $371525We (Robertson & Gwyn) own A. Flack $450Robertson pd & sent out by Gwyn 2 women of his own Sylva & Esther value $1100. Robertson pd for Nuty & her 2 children for himself & Gwyn $529.50 & Violet $600owe for of Anderson & Zach L. Hooper the other at $550 $275$6500" In 1841 Robertson writes "Profits made by Me & Gwyn on Brown $150 lossOn Alvis 150on First trip 722" Dozens of slave entries appear throughout, the operation appears to increase in size as Dr. Robertson later notes "Cost of 10 Negroes $3499.50". Also recorded are expenses for traveling and purchased slaves by name and price under the titles "First Trip"; "Second Trip"; and 3d Trip." Other entries read "Profit on Mary & 4 chdn. 200made on Julia 30$1208.06 due from Willis 2 Dec. 1843 & sent out 6 negroes not partnershipCash for Runaways 69Jail Fees on Runaways $9.80" and much more. Leaves are loose, shows it has traveled and also been used later to keep recipes as some pages have newspapers clippings pasted in, else a nice and scarce accounting of a slave dealer during the 1840'; Autograph Letter Signed, "Saml. T. Hill, 1p. quarto, Greensboro, North Carolina, September 22, 1842, addressed to Dr. Robertson, "Mr. Rm. Sloan wishes to purchase the girl you bought of John Graves, Julia; and he wishes to drop him a line to know what you would take for her: and on what terms you would trade her off - he wishes you to let him know immediately as he wants a girl of character"; Autograph Document Signed, "Abner Miles" 1p. octavo, "Recd. Of Robertson & Willis six hundred dl. For Abraham a slave for life aged some 25 yrs old which boy I warrant sound & healthy in body & mindthis 28th day Dec. 1847"; Slave bill of Sale signed by "James Miles", 1p. quarto, January 25, 1837, "This day Received of Granderson M. Sharp six hundred dollars in full pay for a negro boy named Henry aged about nine years the said boy I do warrant sound in body and mind and free from the claim or claims of myself or any other person and is slave for life" with added manuscript "Henry was born 10th October 1827." Fineplus; Autograph Document Signed, "John Cobb" 1p. quarto, August 1, 1840 and reads "Where as by virtue of a decree of the court of pleas & quarter sessions of the county of Caswell & state of North Carolina I have this day proceeded to sell at Blackwell's store to the highest & best bidder the negro slave mentioned in the petition after having give Twenty days publick notice by advertisements at he court house door and then other publick places in the county of Caswell which said petition was filed and the decree obtained at June term 1840 and Whereas George B. Robertson became the highest and best bidder for the negro girl betty she was accordingly cried and to the said Robertson at the price of Two Hundred & sixty dollars" Fineplus; Autograph Document Signed "Tho. L. Lea" as Sheriff, 1p. quarto, January 3rd, 1842, "Received of George Robertson Six Hundred and one Dollars in full payment for a Negro man Alvis this day sold by me as Sheriff of Caswell County by virtue of a write of executionReceived of George Robertson one Hundred and three Dollars and 50 cents in full payment for a Negro man Archer this day sold by me as Sheriff of Caswell County by virtue of a write of Execution" VGplus; ADS, "W.P. Taylor" as Sheriff, 1p. oblong octavo, May 9, 1842, "Rec'd of George B. Robertson nine hundred & ninety six dollars which I acknowledge in full payment to the following Negroes to wit - Mary Eliza & Adaline" VGplus; ADS, "William Yancey" 1p. oblong octavo, July 8, 1843, "Received of Robertson & Gwyn three hundred dollars in full payment for a certain negro woman by the name of Molly which woman I warrant to be sound and healthy" ADS. "H.G. Hampton" sherrif, 1p. folio, January 8, 1844, Surry County, North Carolina, "Whereas by virtue of sundry executions in my hand against H.M. & J.A. Waugh, I haveduly sold at auction at the court house door in Rockford on the 8th day of January AD 1844 a negro boy Sandy, a Negro girl Nancy & a Negro woman Mary & her three children. When & where Robertson & Wooden became the last & highest bidders for the same at the following sums to wit for Sandy $506, for Nancy $399, for Mary and her three children $1071 Making the sum of $1916Sandy the age of twenty three, Nancy the age of fourteen, & Mary of the [age] of Twenty six & her children about 5 years is the oldest, about four & then youngest about 18 months of age" Fineplus; Slave bill of sale, 1p. octavo, August 31, 1844, Caswell Co., North Carolina, "Received of George Robertson & Willis four hundred & fifty dollars in full payment for one negro girl by the name of Mariah about sixteen or seventeen years old" Poorplus; Slave bill of Sale, 1p. quarto, May 10, 1848, "Received of Robertson & Willis five hundred dollars in full pay for a negro man named Ben aged some twenty years old"; Slave bill of sale, 1p. oblong octavo, May 8, 1854, "Received of George Robertson eleven hundred & sixty dollars in full pay for a girl named Roxanna aged some 16 or 17 years old" Goodplus; Autograph Letter Signed by Dr. Robertson's son Joab, 2p. quarto, Montery Butler CO. Alabama, December 26, 1854, "My dear Pa and all I wrote last that we sold but two above twelve hundred and fifty dollars Draft payable 15th Feby. Oliver 900 hundred dollars sight draft. Tom Anderson sold I expect a woman and two children for 1500 dollars. They are on trial times very dull here. Farmers wont pay as much as they did last year. I think I will collect nearly all the debts without much trouble but none of them will pay the 1st of January for River low and freight so high they cant and wont send their cotton off. Lee that bought Jackson and Jo I am fearful will bother me. James Thigpen paid me sight draft for $800 doll and draft on 1st day of January for 200 doll making $1000 dollars and said he would try to collect or borrow balance. I think traders will have a hard time judging from this section of country. Knight offered me $3000 dollars for Lucy and children and Monroe. I also offered 900 dollars for Ann. I heard that Fred Hall had collected the Pool DraftMr. Anderson says that the Farmers wont pay more than 1100 to 1200 for good fellows and good girls 900 to 1000 but rather things they will do better in spring. All well but Polly Luck with cold and Mr. Arden boy Edmon sick with cold" VGplus; Autograph Letter Signed "Joab Robertson" 2p. quarto, Athens, Alabama, January 10, 1855, "Dear Pa and alla man speaks of taking Henry and Polly at 2200 I wont know until tomorrow. I will be in Mobile by the 21st of this month and send you what funds I have and the men all promised to pay last of this month and 1st of Feby. I will go there from Mobile and collect. I will leave Negroes with J.H. Anderson until I come back which will be but few days. I would not buy any more negroes unless they should fall. I am asking 1300 and will take 1250 for best boys. Times very dull duller than last year. I was offered three first rate girls at 900 each, offered them todaycotton continues lowRice, Walkers, and Watson all in Montgomery sold none a week agoI just sold Henry and Polly at $2150 dollars in cash. Poly sold Henry no man would pick on Henry and Polly would strike the fancy of nearly all it wont do to buy negroes that has any affect at all. He had one leg smaller and shorter than the other" VGplus; Pair of partly printed slave bills of slave, sold to "Geo. Robertson & Son" for John and Susan. VGplus; Articles of Agreement where BJ Johnson & James T. Alexander purchase several negroes and the plantation of Joseph Morris, in Lincoln County, North Carolina, VGplus; Receipt dated 1861 for shoes for negroesplus; Manuscript document, 1p. folio, pencil "[N]ames of our Negroes wh[o] were freed in 1865." And lists the names and ages of forty-seven (47) enslaved men, women, and children who were freed by the Union forces. They are noted as "All were good looking, sound & healthy. 1865." Fairplus; A few miscellaneous business documents. A fine representation of the financial workings of a well know southern slave trader.

Source: Raynors' Historical Collectible Auctions

Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford has authored more than a dozen children’s books, including Jazz Baby, Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins, and A Negro League Scrapbook. A minister’s wife, Ms. Weatherford makes her home in North Carolina and has roots in the same Maryland county where Harriet Tubman was born, the subject of her latest book: Moses: When Harriett Tubman Led Her People to Freedom.

For a review see the Winston-Salem Journal.

To visit her website use the following link: Weatherford Website

The mother-in-law of Carole Boston Weatherford was from Caswell County, North Carolina, and attended the Rosenwald School for colored children. For more on the history of black education in Caswell County read:

Their Highest Potential: An African American School Community in the Segregated South, Vanessa Siddle Walker (1996).

Who was the most important black educator in Caswell County? Many believe it was Nicholas Longworth Dillard.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Obituary of Daniel Poindexter

Daniel Poindexter

Mar 07, 2007 - 02:01:27 am CST

Reidsville, NC - Daniel Poindexter, 34, of 1223 Crescent Drive, died on Monday, March 5, 2007 at his home. Funeral services will be held at 4:00 pm, Thursday, March 8, 2007 at Woodmont United Methodist Church with Reverend Michael Jordan and Reverend Mark Tolodziecki officiating. Pallbearers are Tim Daniel, Shawn Pleasant, Bobby Mann, Kenneth Stokes, Chris Ingram and Rudy Valentino.

Daniel was born in Danville, VA. He was a mail carrier for the US Postal Service and of the Baptist faith. He was an avid Virginia Cavalier fan and loved the outdoors. He loved golfing, his dogs and mostly his wife and daughter. He never met a stranger and was always kind to everyone. He attended Caswell County Schools and was a graduate of Bartlett Yancey High School where he participated in sports. Daniel was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Raymond L. Worley.

Daniel is survived by his wife, Ashley Huffstetler Poindexter and his daughter, Emily Paige Poindexter of the home; his mother, Linda Worley Harlow and husband, Edward of Pelham; his father, Clyde Daniel Poindexter and wife, Fay B. Poindexter of Reidsville; sister, Gay P. Carricato and husband, Mike of Clover, SC; maternal grandmother, Evelyn W. Worley of Pelham and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family will receive friends at Woodmont United Methodist Church from 6:00-8:00 pm on Wednesday, March 7th and other times the family will be at the residence. Memorial contributions may be made to the Emily Poindexter Medical Fund, Ashley Poindexter, Trustee, C/O Bank of America, 507 South Main Street, Reidsville, NC 27320. Condolences may be made to the family at

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 7 March 2007).

Obituary of Rolfe (Wayne) Bailey (1918-2007)

Wildlife Biologist Wayne Bailey Passes
By Lauren Eakin
Messenger Staff Writer 7 March 2007

Wildlife biologist Wayne Bailey, formerly of Milton, died February 27 [2007] in Danville [Virginia] after a long battle with cancer, his daughter Cheryl Hardy said. Mike Seamster of Providence [Caswell County, North Carolina], who continued the work Bailey started during his career as an upland game bird biologist with the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission, said, "Wayne was not only a friend of mine and a mentor, but he was the person responsible for turning around the wild turkey population in North Carolina. I credit him with laying out the road map that we've [been] able to follow since then to restore turkeys across the state."

The National Wild Turkey Foundation state on its web site, "It was Bailey who began the process of live-trapping wild turkeys in the 1950s and relocating them elsewhere to restore populations." Bailey used his methods to turn a declining turkey population around in North Carolina from 1970 through 1980 . . . . As a biologist, Bailey used science to help the wild turkey, but even after death he continues to help others through science. Bailey donated his body to be used in studies at the Science of Anatomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cheryl Hardy said a memorial service celebrating her father's life would be held the afternoon of April 1 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.

Source: The Caswell Messenger. All rights reserved.

Rolfe (Wayne) Bailey

Mar 07, 2007 - 02:01:27 am CST

MILTON, N.C. - Rolfe "Wayne" Bailey, 89, of 59 Broad St., Milton, died Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007, at Piney Forest Health Care Center in Danville. Born Jan. 23, 1918, in Rock, W.Va., he was the son of the late Leonard Bailey and the late Hattie Mae Bailey Bailey. Mr. Bailey was the last surviving member of his generation. He was a graduate of Concord College in Athens, W.Va., and retired as a biologist for the states of West Virginia and North Carolina. An avid hunter and fisherman, he was widely known for his work in wildlife management, and particularly for his expertise in wild turkey management and restoration.

He was involved in research and wrote numerous articles, and was the author of "Wayne's Turkey World (Sixty years of hunting)." Throughout his long successful career, Mr. Bailey was the recipient of many state and national conservation awards and was inducted into the Wildlife/Turkey Hunter's Hall of Fame for Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. He was a founding member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and received the National Wild Turkey Federation Lifetime Service Award from the West Virginia Chapter and, most recently, the 2006 D.A.R. Conservation Award for Virginia.

He was married to the late Florence Manley Bailey, who died in 1998. He is survived by a son, Emmett G. Bailey, of LaGrande, Ore.; two daughters, Janice B. Nicowski, of Key West, Fla. and Cheryl B. Hardy, of Danville; three grandchildren, Michael E. McDuffie, of Charlotte, N.C., Rebecca Chappelear Harris, of Goochland, and Demian Alfred Wayne Bailey, of Seattle, Wash.; and five great-grandchildren. Mr. Bailey is also survived by his special friend, Nancy Woods, of Chapel Hill, N.C.

A celebration of Mr. Bailey's life will be held at a later date. The family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers, donations go to The National Wild Turkey Federation, ATTN: Mark Olis, P.O. Box 530, Edgefield, SC 29824. Barker Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 7 March 2007.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held the afternoon of 1 April 2007 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia:

Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
150 Slayton Avenue
Danville, Virginia 24540 Phone: 434-766-6700
Fax: 434-791-3279

Driving Directions

Danville is located approximately 85 miles southeast of Roanoke, 27 miles from Martinsville, 60 miles south of Lynchburg, 45 miles north of Greensboro, and 150 miles southwest of Richmond.

Coming From:
North -- Take 29 South Bypass. Exit right onto Highway 58 East towards South Boston. Take first right onto River Point Road. Turn left onto Slayton Avenue at the Cyber Park sign. The IALR is on the hill.

South -- Take 29 North Bypass. Exit right onto Highway 58 East towards South Boston. Turn right onto River Point Road (across from Wendy's). Turn left onto Slayton Avenue at the Cyber Park sign. The IALR is on the hill.

East -- From South Boston on Highway 58 West, take a left at the Wendy's before you get to Danville. This is River Point Drive. Take another left onto Slayton Avenue at the Cyber Park sign.

West -- Take Highway 58 East. Stay on Highway 58 East towards Greensboro/South Boston. This will take you around Danville. Stay on Highway 58 East / Highway 29 North towards South Boston / Lynchburg. Exit right onto Highway 58 East towards South Boston. Take first right onto River Point Road. Turn left onto Slayton Avenue at the Cyber Park sign. The IALR is on the hill.

Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro -- Take Interstate 40 East. Exit onto Highway 29 North towards Reidsville. Stay on Highway 29 North / Highway 58 East towards South Boston / Lynchburg. Exit at River Park Drive / Dan Daniel Memorial Park exit. Turn right at the top of the ramp, then left on River Point Drive. Turn Right onto Slayton Avenue at the Cyber Park sign.

Raleigh Durham International Airport -- Take I-40 West to Highway 147 (Durham Freeway). Stay on 147 until it merges onto I-85 South. Take Exit #170 on US-70 toward Hillsboro. Stay straight on US-70. Turn right onto Highway 86 North in Hillsboro. Take a right onto Highway 29 North. Exit at River Park Drive / Dan Daniel Memorial Park exit. Turn right at the top of the ramp, then left on River Point Drive. Turn Right onto Slayton Avenue at the Cyber Park sign.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Missing Gatewood House

This historical marker* commemorates the visit of President George Washington to Caswell County, North Carolina, where he spent the night in the home of Dudley Gatewood (1747-1836). Where is that house now? Is it still in Caswell County? Did it burn? Was it demolished? More on the Gatewood House later; first, here is historian William Powell's description of Washington's Caswell County visit:
In the year that Caswell County was divided an event that should have been of considerable interest occurred although no local comment seems to have survived. George Washington had been on a tour of the South in the spring of 1791 for the purpose of becoming better acquainted with the character of the states and their problems and to gather information from well-informed persons who might provide information and advice on political matters. He went down the seaboard and returned through the backcountry.

The morning of June 3 at 4 o'clock, as was his custom, he set out from Guilford Court House on the way home. He had breakfast at Troublesome Ironworks in that part of Guilford County which is now Rockingham County. Washington's journal indicates that he was not well informed concerning the route he was to follow and he was obliged to ride twelve miles farther than he had intended. It must have been late in the day when he arrived at "one Gatewoods within two miles of Dix's ferry over the Dan at least 30 Miles from the Ironworks." He observed that "the Lands over which I passed this day were of various qualities and as I approached the Dan, were a good deal covered with pine."

One of the reasons for Washington's tour was to try to unite the country behind the young and struggling Federal government. Washington's personal charm and his acceptance as a national hero contributed greatly toward this end. In talking with Governor Alexander Martin, Washington noted in his journal: "I learnt with pleasure that opposition to the General Government, & the discontent of the people were subsiding fast--and that he [Governor Martin] should, so soon as he had received the Laws which he had written to the Secretary of State, issue his proclamation requiring all Officers & Members of the Government to take the Oaths prescribed by Law." This the governor must have done because before the Caswell County court on March 27, 1792, newly designated county officers appeared "and Took the Oaths appointed for Public Officers and also took the Federal Oath." Prior to that time only the state oath had been administered.

Having spent the night of June 3-4, 1791, in Caswell County, the north-western corner of which he had crossed, Washington noted that he "left Mr. Gatewoods about half after Six oclock--and between his house & the Ferry passed the line which divides the States of Virginia and No. Carolina." Safely across the line in his native state, the President dined at Nathanael Wilson's and then went on to Halifax to spend the night.
See: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 104-106.

What happened to the Gatewood House in which George Washington spent the night in 1791? Presumably, if it remained in Caswell County the historical marker shown above would mark the spot. However, this marker is on Highway 86 just south of the Virginia state line and far from any residential structure of historical importance.

It appears that this famous Gatewood House was moved to Hillsborough, North Carolina, which is the county seat of Orange County! How did the people of Caswell County let this happen? That question remains unanswered; however following is some information on the Gatewood House in Hillsborough, which now operates as a restaurant!
The Gatewood House

George Washington slept at the Whit Gatewood House near Yanceyville on June 3, 1791, but if he returned to the site now, he would not find the frame dwelling. Instead, he would have to travel to Hillsborough, where the old house--now restored--has stood since 1978 (moved and renovated by James Freeland).

Washington's brief stop came during his famous "southern tour," which began in Philadelphia on March 21, 1791, and ended in mid-June after a visit to Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. His visit to Gatewood is documented in a diary he kept during a sixty-eight-day, 1,700-mile trip through the South, where the president hoped to get acquainted with his constituents throughout the nation. He had announced his plans to visit every part of the country following his inauguration in 1789, and the Caswell County visit was his last stop in North Carolina before he crossed the line into Virginia.

The first president traveled in an ivory and gilt coach drawn by four horses, with the Washington coat of arms decorating the quarter panels. Accompanied by Governor Alexander Martin, he had visited Salem and Guilford, and it was raining when he breakfasted at the Troublesome ironworks, seventeen miles from Guilford. He suffered from rheumatism, and, because his information was incorrect, he had traveled on June 3 twelve miles further than he had intended "to one Gatewood within two miles of Dix' ferry over the Dan at least 30 miles from the Iron works." On Saturday, June 4, 1791, he breakfasted there, and, tradition says, picked a rose and stuck it in his buttonhole. That day's entry in his diary states: "Left Mr. Gatewood's about half after six o'clock--and between his house and the ferry passed the line which divides the States of No. Carolina and Virginia . . . ."

There is no marker in front of the restored house, and George Washington could not have slept at all the places he allegedly stayed. However, according to his diary, an entry written by his own hand states that he was at the Gatewood House June 3-4, 1791, and the item is included in the handwritten copy on file in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

South Churton Street Extension.
Source: The Pelican Guide to Hillsborough: Historic Orange County, North Carolina, Lucile Noell Dula (1979) at 106-107.

The Whit Gatewood referred to in the above article is Robert Whitfield (Whit) Gatewood (1855-1918), a great grandson of Dudley Gatewood who is believed to be the last member of the Gatewood family to own the famous house.

Who was this James Freeland who moved this important structure from Caswell County? How did the people of Caswell County allow such an important structure to be moved in 1978?

Here is information on the restaurant, which indicates that Hillsborough thought enough of Mr. Freeland (or his ancestors) to name a street for him:

Gatewood House Restaurant 919-732-1733 107 James J Freeland Mem Dr Hillsborough NC 27278

However, the old house may now be a Mexican restaurant called Casa Ibarra. Note the following:

The phrase “George Washington slept here” is frequently heard in connection with pre-1800 houses. Those claims often prove to be false but in the case of the Gatewood House, it is a fact documented in Washington’s own diary. In June of 1791, while on his tour of the South, he spent the night at the farm of Whit Gatewood. At that time, however, the house was located some miles to the north near Yanceyville. Moved to Hillsborough by James Freeland and restored in 1978, the house is now home to Casa Ibarra, a Mexican restaurant. (Photo by Bitsy McKee)

Source: Holaday, J. C. (2002). Hillsborough. Images of America. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia at 22.

Ibarra is a Mexican chocolate and a town in Ecuador. What this chocolate house has to do with George Washington has not been determined.

Casa Ibarra
107 James J Freeland Memorial Dr, Boone Village
Hillsborough (Hillsborough)
(919) 732-3480
Dining Guide

Mexican appetizers, salads, lunch specials and combination dinners. Chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetarian dishes. Dine inside or on the patio.

Hours: Lunch & dinner: Daily
Features: Patio Dining, Vegetarian Friendly

Casa Ibarra

107 Freeland Memorial Dr (Daniel Boone Village) (919) 732-3480.
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Open Mon-Fri, 11am-2:30pm & 5-10pm; Sat, noon-10pm; Sun, noon-9pm.

Authentic Mexican food. Specializes in flavorful south-of-the-border cuisine and offers traditional Mexican beverages. Entertainment: Live music on the weekend. Smoke-free.

You will be pleased to learn, as I am sure would President George Washington, that Casa Ibarra earned a 93.5 score when inspected by the North Carolina Health Department 31 October 2006. The Manager is George Ibarra, which may have more to do with the name of the restaurant than Mexican chocolate or towns in South America. The restaurant telephone number is (919) 732-3480. To call the office for information on the building use (919) 732-2361.

Casa Ibarra
107 James J. Freeland Memorial Dr., Boone Village, Hillsborough 919-732-3480
Lunch and dinner: Daily

Offering wonderful Mexican appetizers, salads, lunch specials and combination dinners, Casa Ibarra makes you feel instantly welcome. Their Especialidades de la Casa are indeed special and delicious. Huge variety of chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetarian dishes. Dine inside or on the patio.

Note that the Gatewood House Restaurant and Casa Ibarra share the same address in Hillsborough: 107 James J. Freeland Memorial Drive. Was this historic building first the Gatewood House Restaurant and Tavern and then turned into Casa Ibarra. The CCHA can vouch for the fact that Casa Ibarra was indeed open for business on 3 March 2007 and provided the following telephone number to find out more on the history of the building: (919) 732-2361. From here, you are on your own. May Dudley Gatewood and George Washington rest in peace.

* G-110 WASHINGTON'S SOUTHERN TOUR: George Washington's last overnight stop in N.C., June 3, 1791, was at the home of Dudley Gatewood, which stood 1 mi. N.E. NC 86 and SR 1503 (Walters Mill Road) at Gatewood/1992.

(click on article for larger image)

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) 12 December 1924 (Page 12)


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Caswell County Poetry

Here the CCHA will post work by Caswell County poets, which retain all rights to their poetry. Set forth below are:

1. Going Back to Caswell by A. A. Allison
2. Home at Last by Betty Myers
3. To Mary by A Subscriber to the Milton Intelligencer (1819)
4. Little Village 'Mong the Hills by Wilhelmina Lea (1843-1936)

1. Going Back to Caswell by A. A. Allison

I'm going back to Caswell
The city's not for me.
I want the red dust in my britches
Like it used to be.

Summer nights, ploughed land,
Moonlight on the scene.
No one but a Caswell man
Can know just what I mean.

The Old Oaken Bucket
Bumping in the well,
Bringing up a sparklin' drink
To cool the magic spell.

No Chlorene or chemicals.
Just plain ol Country Water
But by Golly it was good
And tasted like it aughta.

I'm going back to Caswell
Where I can sleep at nights.
I'm tired of all the noise
And all the city lights.

Trains coming, whistles blowing
Fire trucks on a round.
When I lay down in Caswell
There ain't a single sound.

Here, the got me all steamheated.
Weatherstripped my door.
It's nice but (cough) I keep a cold
I never did before.

When I lived in Caswell
The snow blowed through thesill
But we never got the sniffles
It was healthy in them hills.

I'm going back to Caswell,
I've been bragging--but you see,
That bunch O'Plain Old Hills
Is Home Sweet Home to me.

A. A. Allison was a pseudonym. The actual author of the poem was Hugh Jack Johnson (1924-1993). Here is how he explained the origins of his poem:
Miss Bessie [his mother] now teaching in Rockingham County left many memories in Caswell, both happy and sad. She cherished them all. Years later she would tell her two sons over and over about her life in Caswell. Her stories inspired her son Hugh Jack Johnson to write a poem titled "Going Back to Caswell." This poem was later published under a pen name A. A. Allison in When the Past Refused to Die, A History of Caswell County N.C. – 1777-1977. Her son chose the pen name "Allison" because "Mama was forever going to Allisons.”
Source: The Heritage of Caswell County North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 310-311 (Article #381 "Bessie Rice Johnson" by Hugh Jack Johnson). This article includes a wonderful photograph of “Hugh and Bessie Rice Johnson with twin sons, left – Hugh Joe, right – Hugh Jack at Pennington Plantation in Rockingham County N.C. 1928.

The mother of Hugh Jack Johnson (and his twin brother Hugh Joe Johnson was Bessie Virginia Rice Johnson (1887-1977). On June 8, 1922, Bessie Virginia Rice married Hugh Johnson. He died in 1956. To see more on the family of Hugh Jack Johnson go to the Caswell County Family Tree.

2. Home at Last by Betty Myers

Caswell County held me close, I could not get away.
She wrapped her arms around me, and bade me not to stray.
I pined for deeper rivers, and yearned for higher hills.
I dreamed of meadows lush and green, thick with daffodils.

A pleasant mountain valley had sweetly beckoned me.
On each side the Smokies rose, what a sight to see!
But Caswell drew me tighter, and would not let me go.
And though I promised I'd return, her answer still was "no!

The ocean sang her siren song and I was tempted sore
To sail to sandy beaches, and stay were "her" no more.
But then she drew my bonds so tight that I could hardly breathe.
"You are my child," she whispered, "I will not let you leave.

Long and sweet she wooed me till I could not resist,
And I surrendered to her plea to dwell here in her midst.
'Twas then my eyes were opened, I saw her sharp and clear.
And everything I needed was waiting for me here.

Fertile fields and golden leaf and cattle fat with grain,
Rustic barns and piney woods and neighbors, true and plain.
A doe's soft lair, a fishing hole, might lie around the bend.
And strolling down a country lane, I'm sure to meet a friend.

Friends and land, hearth and home, these things make me glad.
I'd cast my eyes afar so long, I knew not what I had.
A friendly shore, a harbor safe, to rest at close of day.
I'm coming home to Caswell, though I never went away.

3. To Mary by A Subscriber to the Milton Intelligencer (1819)

I beheld and was doom'd to admire,
I knew, and was destined to love --
'T was a psssion too pure to expire,
'T was chaste as an angel's above.

But since hope will no longer deceive,
Why should I forever repine?
Why eternally thus should I grieve,
For that I'm obliged to resign?

Fare thee well then, dear cold-hearted maid,
May happiness ever be thine --
True affection time never will fade,
But silence henceforth shall be mine.

May thy home be Contentment's abode,
Thy husband the best upon earth --
And may life's unavoidable load;
Be eased by his kindness and worth.

And whenever you think of that friend,
Who loved you so long and true;
From your heart animosity send,
Unworthy of him and you.

Here is a description of the foregoing poem, To Mary, from When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 410:

An anonymous poet, a rejected suitor who bore only kindly feelings toward the object of his affection and her new husband, submitted a poem to Editor John H. Perkins of the Milton Intelligencer. Over the pseudonym "A Subscriber" it was printed in the issue of April 2, 1819:


4. Little Village 'Mong the Hills by Wilhelmina Lea (1843-1936) (fifth and final verse only)

I love this village 'mong the hills-
My good fore fathers' home-
And oh, I'm never satisfied,
When far from it I roam.
I yearn so for familiar sights,
I can't contented be,
Until I get back home again,
These hills once more to see.

Here are comments on the foregoing poem, Little Village 'Mong the Hills, from When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 413:
. . . . Miss Wilhelminia [sic] Lea, daughter of the Rev. Solomon Lea and a teacher herself in Leasburg, turned her talent to composing "Little Village 'Mong the Hills," a poem widely circulated at the time and reprinted frequently since. Her poem laments the deserted little village of Leasburg, but in the fifth and final verse she concludes [with the excerpt shown above].


Obituary of Edna Massey Smith (1910-2007)

Edna Massey Smith (1910-2007)

Feb 27, 2007 - 11:57:32 pm CST

Yanceyville, North Carolina - Edna Massey Smith, 97, died Wednesday,
February 21, 2007, at Danville Regional Medical Center. Born February
19, 1910, in Yanceyville, she was the daughter of the late John Abner
Massey and the late Mary Elizabeth Rudd. She was a member of
Yanceyville First Baptist Church and a graduate of Bartlett Yancey
High School. Employed by the Department of Agriculture, she retired as
the longest working member of the social service department. Edna
Massey Rudd was married to the late Earl Jones Smith, who died
December 30, 1985. She is survived by one son, Earl Jones Smith, Jr.,
of Yanceyville and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by: two sisters, Mary
M. Hailsip and Thelma M. Rice; and four brothers, Raleigh Massey, E.
Ralph Massey, Levi P. Massey, and John A. Massey, Jr.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 23 at
the Yanceyville Presbyterian Church, with Pastor Phillip Kelley
officiating. The family will receive friends directly after the
service in the fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church, c/o
Mrs. Billie Briggs, 216 Murray Road, Yanceyville, North Carolina
27379. Marley Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Source: The Caswell Messenger, 27 February 2007

Obituary of Lucy Coe House (c.1941-2007)

Lucy Coe House (c.1941-2007)

Feb 27, 2007 - 11:57:33 pm CST

Burlington, NC - Lucy Coe House, 66, died Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at her sister's residence in Blanch, NC. She was born in Lee Co., NC, was a member of Glen Raven Baptist Church and was retired from Ametek.

She is survived by her son, Joseph Todd House and wife, Cindy, of Mebane, NC; grandchildren, Siera Logan House and Joseph Tanner House of Mebane, NC; sister, Shelby Spivey and husband, James, of Blanch, NC, and brothers, Sandy Coe and wife, Johnnie of Burlington, NC, Roger Coe of Tramway, NC and Larry Coe, and wife, Linda of Austin, Texas.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Leonard House; parents, James Oscar and Ida Holder Coe; sisters, Geneva Rice and Ruth Wade; brothers, Roland Coe, Bill Coe and Steve Coe

The funeral will be held at 2:00 pm Sunday, February 25, 2007 at Glen Raven Baptist Church with Reverend Bobby Fann and Reverend James Rosser conducting the service. . Burial will be at Alamance Memorial Park.

The family will receive friends at McClure Funeral Home in Graham from 6 until 8 Saturday evening. Other times they will be at the residence. Memorials may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Alamance/Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Rd. Burlington, NC 27215.

Source: Obituary of Lucy Coe House (c.1941-2007) (The Caswell Messenger, 27 February 2007)

Obituary of Samantha Marie Wilson Purnell (c.1956-2007)

Samantha Marie Wilson Purnell (c.1956-2007)

Feb 27, 2007 - 11:57:33 pm CST

Reidsville, NC - Samantha Marie Wilson Purnell, 21 of 300 Rice Road, died on Sunday, February 11, 2007 at Alamance Regional Medical Center.

Funeral services were held at 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1401 Rascoe Dameron Road, Burlington, NC with Bishop Lindsey Page and Bishop Scott Oakley officiating. Pallbearers were Jonathan Purnell, Dean Busick, Shane Jenkins, James Branch, Brad Dew, Jason Lewis, C.H. Wilson and Darryl Miller. Honorary pallbearers were Donald Purnell and Tyler Wilson. Interment followed in the church cemetery.

Samantha was born in Reidsville and was a 2004 graduate of Bartlett Yancey High School and was currently enrolled in the Rockingham Community College Nursing Program. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Ann Marie Purnell and grandparents, Floyd and Doris Hardin.

She is survived by her husband, Donald Wayne Purnell, Jr. of the home; father, Bryant Wilson and wife, Billie of Burlington; mother, Donna Hardin Stanley and husband, Gerald of Reidsville; brother, Brian Tyler Wilson of Reidsville; half sister, Melinda Smith; step sisters, Christina and Makayla Martin, all of Burlington; grandparents, Mack and Marenda Wilson of Elon; great grandmother, Nina Ryan of Reidsville; and step grandparents, Raymond and Katherine Stanley.

The family received friends at Wilkerson Funeral Home on Tuesday, February 13th from 7:00-9:00 pm. Other times the family was at the residence of Gerald and Donna Stanley, 355 Rice Road, Reidsville.

Memorials may be made to the Children's Miracle Network 4525 South 2300 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84117.

Source: Obituary of Samantha Marie Wilson Purnell (c.1956-2007) (The Caswell Messenger, 27 February 2007)