Sunday, October 28, 2007

Connally United Methodist Church

Milton, North Carolina


"On October 1, 1821 one and one-third acres of land was purchased from John Pass of the County of Caswell and the state of North Carolina of the one part and Thomas Connally, William Connally, John McCain, Samuel Smith, John Smith, Newman Durham, William Chiles and Merry Maynard; trustees appointed by the Methodist Society of the other part witnesseth that the said John Pass for and in consideration of the desire he was promoting the worship of God and further consideration of one dollar to him in hand paid by the trustees aforesaid hath given, granted, bargained, and sold this land."

This parcel of land was on the road leading from the Red House in Semora, N.C. to Milton, N.C. A nearby spring provided water for the church.

Witness: Samuel Dunnaway and John H. McAden (see book V, page 286 in the Register of Deeds Office in Caswell Courthouse.)

According to other information obtained from the Register of Deeds Office in the Courthouse "one-fifth of an acre of land was purchased on June 28, 1824, form Charles Wilson and Jeremiah Dixon by John McAden, Jr., and John Giles, Merry Maynard, and Samuel H. Smith to add on to the land on which Connally Meeting House already stood." (See Book W, page 42 in Register of Deeds Office.)

The first church is remembered as a long log structure on the left side of the road near Alec Cobb's home on what was once Linsey Moore land. This information has been passed down by Connally Church members from one generation to another.


From records in the Courthouse, "one and one-half acres of land was purchased from Caleb Richmond by William Connally, David Elliott and others on March 29, 1855" on which to build the second Connally Church. (see Book ll, page 102 in Register of Deeds Office.) It was said Mr.
Buck Connally built the second Connally Church. It was located between the first church and what later was the third church. Two known members of this second church were Mrs. Mamie Worsham Gillespie and Mrs John McCann.

After a railroad was built so near this second church that the trains frightened the horses and caused them to break loose, the members decided they needed to move the church again. The second church as later used as a tobacco barn and burned.


On December 1, 1890 onE and one-half acres of land was exchanged with Mr. Nat Richmond and his wife Lizzie and Mrs. Ellen A Ramseur, all of Caswell County, to Mr. William Connally, David T. Elliott, James E Barker, H.T. Barker, Jasper Fleming and Sidney Stephens, trustees of Connally Church, for two acres of land on which the Third Connally Church was built. (See
Book W, page 546 in Register of Deeds Office.)

The third and present Connally Church was completed in 1888. We have been told the third church was built by Nat Richmond and William Nichols. Thirty babies were christened the day of the first Sunday in August 1888 by Rev. J. H. Shore. Among the babies were George Evan, Lewis Gee, Robert Nichols and Ora Reagan There is a rather large cemetery at the present Connally church which at this time (1998) is kept in good condition.

As far as information is available following is a list of the early Ministers who have served Connally Church:

James R. Nicholson 1845
Soloman Lea 1865
Rev Foggs
Rev Earnhart John H. Shore 1888
L.L. Nash 1890
John H. Shore 1890-94
E.E. Rose 1894-95
W.M. Moore 1890-96
E.W. Fox 1896-98
N.C. Yearly 1900-02
J.A. Dailey 1902-06
T.S. Ellers 1911-12
S.F. Nicks 1912-15
J.E. Blalock 1915-19


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sheek Family

The following is from: Genealogy of Sheek/Shick Family of
Rowan and Davie Counties, North Carolina

Christian SCHICK/SHEEK living 14 Aug. 1797;1 married
Catharina Rosina2 who was living 1824 Wayne Co., KY3
They had children:

1. Christian SHICK b. 24 Apr. 1756 PA;4 m. Mary4
(BACHMAN)5 SHAFER6; d. 9 Feb. 1829;4 bur. Christ
Church Cem., Stone Church, Upper Mt. Bethel Twp.,
Northampton Co., PA4
2. Johan Adam SHEEK b. 9 Mar. 17617 Richmond Twp.,
Berks Co., PA;2 m. Susanna7 MOULDER/MOLER;8
d. 28 June 18327,17 Rowan (now Davie) Co., NC
3. Magadelena SCHICK b. 11 Feb. 1765 Richmond Twp.,
Berks Co., PA2
4. Maria SHEEKS b. 24 May 1767 Richmond Twp.,
Berks Co., PA;2
4 Feb. 17869 Martin BRIDGEFARMER9 (BRÜCKBAUER)10;
d. 3 Oct. 185811 KY? or IN?
5. Georg David SHEEKS b. 11 Aug. 1769 Richmond Twp.,
Berks Co., PA;2 Elizabeth HOWARD
18 Jan. 1790;9 died between 9 July 1836 and
4 Sep. 1837 Obion Co., TN12
6. Fridrich SCHICK b. 1 Mar. 1772 Richmond Twp.,
Berks Co., PA2
7. George3 SHEEKS b. 113/2132 [calculated]
June 1774;13 m. Elizabeth CANOTE 6 Feb. 1800;13
d. 30 Jan. 184313,32 Sheeks Cem.,32 near
Mitchell, Lawrence Co., Indiana14
8. Catherine3 SHEEKS b. say 1776; m.1 Henry
BUTLER;15 John TURNER15,28 9 Sep. 1805;16
living 1835 Williamson Co., TN15

The descendants of Christian, Jr. generally use
the surname SHICK, those of Adam usually use SHEEK,
and those of David and George usually SHEEKS.

Adam SHEEK and Susanna MOULDER had children born
in Rowan (now) Davie Co., NC:
1. Sarah "Sally" SHEEK b. 12 Nov. 1785;7,17
m. William SAUNDERS;19 d. 21 Sep. 186717 Davie Co.,
2. George SHEEK b. 26 Oct. 1787;7,17,18
1 Margaret "Peggy" CALL 22 Nov. 1809;21
m.2 Mary22,35 "Polly"30 (MOCK)21,30,35 RIDDLE22,35
3 Apr. 1841;22
m.3. Elizabeth (-?-) CARVER 8 Nov. 1848;22
widow of Joseph CARVER31
d. 1218/1317 Mar. 1867 bur. Macedonia Moravian
Church Cem., Davie Co., NC18
3. Christian SHEEK b. 15 Jan. 1790;7,17 Caty JONES 1 May 1811;21
m.2. Elizbeth ALLEN 23 May 1849;22 Elizabeth PENDRY 12 Jan. 1860;24
d. 23 Nov. 186817 Yadkin Co., NC23
4. John SHEEK b. 47,17/610 Sep. 1792;
m.1. prior to 1822 Nancy;25 Winney HARRISON 14 Feb. 1829;21
d. 11 Oct. 186917 or 1872 (year only given);18
bur. Smith Grove United Methodist Church Cem.,
Davie Co., NC18
5. Jacob SHEEK b. 4 June 1795;7,17,18,34 Sarah SAIN 8 Oct. 1817;21
d. 13 June 1884;17,18,34
bur. Smith Grove United Methodist Church Cem.,
Davie Co., NC18,34
6. William SHEEK b. 3 Mar. 1798;7,17,18,33 never married;
d. 17 Feb. 1840;17,18,33
bur. Whitaker Meeting House Church Cem.,
Davie Co., NC18,33
7. Adam SHEEK b. 24 Oct. 1801;7,17 Jemima (nee SPARKS)21 FULTS21
12 Sep. 1823;21
14 Dec. 1852;26
d. 1895/6 TX29
8. Mary "Polly"7,17 SHEEK b. 1 June 1804;7,17 Solomon M. WINCHELL 17 Mar. 1821;21
d. 25 Jan. 1864;27 bur. Foutch Cem.,
Isabel Twp., Fulton Co., IL27
9. Daniel SHEEK b. 12 June 1807;7,17
d. Feb. 182217 [now] Davie Co., NC

1. Surry Co., NC deeds G:91-92, FHL microfilm 0,019,960.
2. Moselem Zions Lutheran Church Churchbook,
Richmond Twp., Berks Co., PA, unpaginated,
FHL microfilm 0,021,546.
Note: Published records incorrectly list her name as Martha Rosina for
the baptism of Magdalena in 1765. The original church book [in German]
gives her name as Catharina Rosina. The only other listing of her first
name is in 1768 as a sponsor, also Catharina Rosina. All other records
list her only by her "call name" Rosina.
3. Letter "David Sheeks and Elizabeth Sheeks and family," Wayne Co., TN to
John Sheeks, Mocksville, Rowan Co., NC, 1 June 1824, Jacob Sheek and
Jonathan Smith Papers, Collection #4765, Manuscript Department, Perkins
Library, Duke University, Durham, NC.
4. John T. Humphrey, Pennsylvania Grave Stones Northampton County For
People Born Before 1800,
(Washington, D. C.: Larjon & Co., Inc, 2000).
5. John Bachman will, Northampton Co., PA wills 5:88-89, FHL microfilm
6. Christian Shick will, Northampton Co., PA wills 5:195-196, FHL microfilm
0,946,458. Names "step-son" Samuel Shafer.
7. Sheek Family Record, Sheek and Smith Papers, Durham, NC. Entries through
1798 appear to have been written at the same time. Following entries appear
to have been written at different times. If you would a scan of that document,
e-mail me.
8. Letter Jacob Moulder, Orange Co., IN to "Adam Sheeks or sons," "Mauksville
or Mauks Old Fields, Roan [Rowan], Co.," NC, 2 Oct. 1836. Salutation
is "Dear Brother and Sister." Mentioned deaths of "mother" and of "Brother
Valentine," ["Felty"] and Letter Jacob Sheek written while visting
relatives from "Cammel" [Campbell] Co., TN to [wife] "Sary Sheek,"
"Smithgrove, Davie Co., N.C.," 9 Sep. 1838 mentioned "uncle Felty Molder,"
and "Uncle Henry Molder," Sheek and Smith Papers, Durham, NC.
9. Surry Co., NC marriage bonds.
Bridgefarmer-Sheak, FHL microfilm 0,546,468.
Sheeks-Howard, FHL microfilm 0,546,473.
10. Jo White Linn, "Records of Heidelberg Evangelical Lutheran (Old
Dutchmans Creek) Church," Rowan County Register, 4 (August 1989):865.
11. Letter Debbie Welborn Curtis, Fenton, MO to Fredric Z. Saunders,
17 June 1986. Curtis cites Bible of Martin and Maria's grandson Dr.
George Washington Bridgefarmer, (1856-1926) in possession of Mrs.
Merle Tamplin, Gainsville, TX.
12. David Sheeks will and testamentary bond, Obion Co., TN 1834-1838
will book:261-262, 270-274, FHL microfilm 1,007,256.
13. David L. Sheeks, Genealogy of the Sheeks Family from 1774,
1894, later supplemented by his daughter Mrs. George Fields.
14. George Sheek administration, Lawrence Co., IN probate order book
B:424, FHL microfilm 1,317,597.
15. Louise Gillespie Lynch, Miscellaneous Records, Williamson County,
, (Franklin TN: by author, 1978), 2:41-42. Note:
spelled Cheeks. See #28 which confirms this is actually Sheeks.
16. Wayne Co., KY 1801-1813 marriage bonds:105, FHL microfilm 0,591,550.
17. Adam Sheek Bible Transcription, McCubbin's Collection, Sheek File,
Rowan Public Libraray, Salisbury, NC, FHL microfilm 0,019,891.
Bible [publication not given] was owned by John Wiley Sheek (1863-1949)
of Smith Grove, NC.
18. Davie County Historical and Genealogical Society, Davie County
(Mocksville, NC: by author, 1998). Note: John listed
as 1872 is not found in the 1870 census.
19. Rowan Co., NC deeds 32:487-488, FHL microfilm 0,313,555.
20. Sallie Saunders estate file, Davie County, NC loose estate papers,
NC State Archives, FHL microfilm 1,954,913, frames 1072-1076.
21. Rowan Co., NC marriage bonds.
Sheek-Call, FHL microfilm 0,500,956.
Riddle, John - Mock, Polly, 28 Nov. 1820, FHL microfilm 0,500,955.
Sheek-Jones, FHL microfilm 0,500,956
Sheek-Harrison, FHL microfilm 0,500,956.
Sheek-Sain, FHL microfilm 0,500,956.
Sheek-Fults, FHL microfilm 0,500,956.
Fults-Sparks, FHL microfilm 0,500,952.
Winchell-Sheek, FHL microfilm 0,500,957.
22. Nancy K. Murphy, Davie County Marriages 1836-1900, (Mocksville, NC:
Davie County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1998).
23. Christian Sheek will, Yadkin Co., NC original wills, NC State Archives,
FHL microfilm 1,605,076, frames 155-159.
24. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, An Index to Marriage
Bonds Filed in the North Carolina State Archives,
, FHL microfiche
25. Rowan Co., NC deeds 27:346-347, FHL microfilm 0,019,807.
26. McLennan Co., TX marriage record 1:4, FHL microfilm 0,987,554.
27. Fulton County Historical-Genealogical Society, Cemetery Inscriptions
of Fulton County, Illinois
, (Peoria, IL: Rapid Print, 1974), 2:13.
28. Letter Adam Sheek, [Jr.], Henry Co., TN to "brother" William Sheek,
Mocksville, Rowan Co., NC, 15 Apr. 1832, Sheek and Smith Papers, Durham,
NC. "Mr. Thomas Butler told me that Uncle John Turner has removed to
Tennessee near town of Franklin and that his negr fellow has kiled
him with an axe about eight or ten months ago." [Note: actually died
6 Oct. 1830. See #15.]
29. J. Evetts Haley notes, [biographer of Charles Goodnight] with Silas
Sheek [son of Adam, Jr. and Charlotte] was that Adam died at age 94.
30. Henry Mock file, Davie County, North Carolina estate files, North
Carolina State Archives, FHL microfilm 1,954,909, frames 672-721.
[frame 698 for heir Mary Sheeks] Note: Henry Mock is the husband of
Catherine BLACK
31. Joseph Carver file, Stokes County, North Carolina estate files, North
Carolina State Archives, FHL microfilm 2,200,498, frames 1106-1138.
32. Mary Virginia Schilt Giera, Sheeks Cemetery (Lawrence Co., Indiana GenWeb: 2003)
33. William Sheek headstone, Whitaker Meeting House Church Cemetery, Davie Co., NC.
34. Jacob Sheek headstone, Smith Grove Methodist Church Cemetery, Davie Co., NC.
35. Davie Co., NC Deed Book 1:354, FHL microfilm 0,572,593.
In April 1841 George Sheek and wife Mary sold to Wiley (J.?) Riddle, all
their right in the estate of John Riddle, deceased, Mary being the former
wife of said John Riddle and now the wife of George Sheek. The sale also
included their interest in a Negro girl Mary and her increase, advanced to
said Mary Riddle, now Sheek, by her father Henry Mock.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bartlett Yancey High School Class of 1947

(click on photograph for larger image)

The Bartlett Yancey High School Class of 1947 held its sixtieth reunion on 22 September 2007 at the Yancey House Restaurant in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina.

Pictured from left-to-right:

First Row: Leona Powell Youngs, Nancy Russell Mise Rudd, Darrell Fuquay Hawkins (blue blouse), Gretchen Webster Briggs (teacher) (yellow suit)

Second Row: Shirley Olena Oakes Burney, Nettie Blanche Foster Page, Janie Frances Pleasant Hall (red suit)

Third Row: Mildred Walker Thomas, Florence Anne Taylor Daniel, Mary Jane Shelton Mosher (green blouse), Margaret Ann Regan Lunsford (white blouse), Charles Riddell Swicegood

Fourth Row: Barbara Roberts Neal, Thorburn Meeler, Joseph Yarbrough, John C. McLaughlin

Not Pictured: Mary Lou Day Harris

Photograph Courtesy of The Caswell Messenger.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Caswell County Kerosene Street Lamps

(click photograph for larger image)

In the above Yanceyville, North Carolina, photograph, behind the people (up and a bit to the left), is a street lamp. This was identified as a Dietz "Pioneer" Street Lamp, which also was used in Milton, North Carolina. Below is a photograph of a Dietz "Pioneer" Street Lamp that once illuminated a street in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. It is owned by a Milton historian who graciously shared this photograph.

(click photograph for larger image)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Connally General Store (Leasburg, North Carolina)

(click photograph for larger image)

The above caption (from 1985) indicates that many of store's contents ended up in a "Greensboro Museum." This is the Greensboro Historical Museum, which acquired the Connally Store items around 1961. Here is a statement from the Curator of Collections at the Greensboro Historical Museum:
The Connally General Store was on display at the Greensboro Historical Museum from 1961 to 2005. Last year [2006], we completed a major renovation of the 2nd floor of the Summit Building and several of the previous displays including the General Store were removed and put in storage. Several of the wall cabinets and counters are rather large. . . .
The Greensboro Historical Museum was most kind to share the following Connally General Store photographs:

(click photograph for larger image)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Jacob Franklin Somers (1848-1936)

Jacob Franklin Somers (1848-1936) and Mary Alice Whitt

Jacob Franklin Somers (son of Jacob Somers who is the son of Jacob Somers)
Born: 20 Dec 1848, Alamance County, North Carolina
Died: 7 March 1936
Buried: Camp Springs United Methodist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)
Married Mary Alice Whitt on 4 Nov 1873


1850 U.S. Census (North District, Alamance County, North Carolina)

1860 U.S. Census
Alamance County, North Carolina

1870 U.S. Census
Morton, Alamance County, North Carolina, with parents Jacob and Mary

1880 U.S. Census
Morton, Alamance County, North Carolina
Household Members (Name/Age)
Franklin Somers/31
Mary A. Somers/27
Samuel (Jacob) Somers/6 (died in 1937)
John H. Somers/4
Debidon Somers/3
James R. Somers/1

1900 U.S. Census
Williamsburg, Rockingham County, North Carolina
Household Members: Name/Age
Frank Somers/51 (married 27 years) [gravestone + wife Mary Alice at Camp Springs UMC in Caswell Co NC]
Mary Alice Somers/47 (11 of 11 children living) [gravestone + husband Jacob F at Camp Springs UMC in Caswell Co NC]
Zeb V Somers/22 [gravestone Camp Springs UMC in Caswell Co NC]
Robert L Somers/21 [gravestone + wife Margaret M. at Camp Springs UMC in Caswell Co NC]
Martha C Somers/19
Marrie E Somers/17
Lula M Somers/15
Willie F Somers/12 [gravestone + first wife Lula M. Standfield at Camp Springs UMC in Caswell Co NC]
Fred Somers/11 [gravestone + wife Eunice at Camp Springs UMC in Caswell Co NC]
Lester Somers/9 [gravestone at Camp Springs UMC in Caswell Co NC]
Ira L Somers/6

1910 U.S. Census
Williamsburg, Rockingham County, North Carolina
Household Members: Name/Age
Jas F Somers/61
Mary H Somers/57
Zeb V Somers/31
William Somers/21
Lester Somers/18
Ira Somers/15
Fred Somers/20
Eunice Somers/17

1920 U.S. Census
Williamsburg, Rockingham County, North Carolina
Home Owned
Household Members: Name/Age
Frank J Somers/71
Mary A Somers/65
Lester S Somers/28
Annie J Somers/21

1930 U.S. Census
Boone Station, Alamance County, North Carolina
Household Members: Name/Age
Will F Somers/42
Bessie S Somers/30 (Bessie Saunders-second wife of William Frank Somers)
J Frank Somers/81

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Yancey County, North Carolina

In December, 1833, the N.C. General Assembly established a new western county to be named in honor of one of North Carolina's most distinguished statesmen, Bartlett Yancey, of north-central Caswell County. As U.S. Congressman (1813-1817) and as speaker of the N.C. Senate (1817-1827) he was instrumental in many accomplishments that benefited the state, including the creation of an education fund that was the beginning of the N.C. Public School System. He was an advocate of correcting the inequality in representation in the General Assembly by the creation of new western counties; but he passed away on August 30, 1828, over five years before the General Assembly created a new county, named Yancey, from sections of Burke and Buncombe Counties. In Yancey's boundries looms Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in Eastern U.S.. at 6,684 feet above sea level.

Source: Yancey County


Richard Caswell's Grave

Searching For Richard Caswell's Grave:
The Evidence

By Ted Sampley
Olde Kinston Gazette
March 1999 Issue

Spokesmen for Betty McCain, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, say that because there is "insufficient evidence" to prove the location of Governor Richard Caswell's grave, the state has no intention of doing any excavation in the historic graveyard at Caswell Memorial Park in Kinston.

CSS Neuse Barn

"Even if we did the excavation, we wouldn't find anything to confirm anything," Jackie Ogburn, one of the agency's spokesmen, told the Kinston Free Press February 25. "We feel it would be a waste of money."

Ogburn was responding to information sent with supporting documentation to the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources in Raleigh on February 17. The packet included data sent by four other individuals responding to a $1,000 reward offer.

The reward is being offered to any individual, group or organization that identifies the exact location of Gov. Caswell's grave. Sponsors are Christopher's Restaurant, Johnson Music, Waller Printing, Neuse River Antiques & Pottery and the Last Firebase Veterans Archives Project, a non profit veteran's organization, all located in Kinston, N.C.

It is the opinion of many historians that the cemetery in which Gov. Richard Caswell was buried after his death in 1789 is directly related to one of his plantations known as the "Red House," the location of which has been the subject of much debate.

Caswell, one of Kinston's most important historic figures, helped settle the town for England's royal colonial government and had it incorporated in 1762 as "Kingston," honoring young King George III who had just ascended to the throne.

Before the Revolutionary War, Caswell traveled to Philadelphia and participated in the Continental Congress, helping draft the American Constitution. During the war, he played an instrumental roll in kicking the British out of North Carolina, thus becoming one of the state's most famous war veterans.

After the war, the people chose him to serve as North Carolina's first constitutional governor. Before he died in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he had served six terms as governor.

Caswell was a Grand Master of the North Carolina Masonic Order, so the rites of the Order were observed at funeral services for him first in Fayetteville, then in Kinston and New Bern.

Gov. Caswell's Will of July 2, 1789, states: "First, I reserve for the use of a burying ground for all those of my family and Connections who may choose to bury their relations and friends there, one half acre of land where the bones of my dear father and mother be, at a place called the Hill, to be laid out east, west, north and south so, as to have those bones near the center of the said half acre of ground; and I also reserve in like manner one half acre of land where the bones of my beloved wife and, son William now lies near the red house to be laid out in the same manner and for the same purpose as the above half acre is directed, and these two half acres to be reserved for the purposes aforesaid for ever. And its likewise my will that them who wish to bury their dead at either of the said places and coming within this meaning of the description above shall always have liberty of Egress, Ingress and Regress to, at and from the said respective burying ground to bury the dead or repair or raise an enclosure to the same."

In his will, Richard Caswell very clearly laid aside two one-half acre tracts of his land to forever be used as Caswell family cemeteries.

Lura May Bell, a 14 year-old student who in 1935 wrote a history of persons and places in Lenoir County, placed the Red House "about two miles west of Kinston."

Caswell monument before 1908

Bell wrote that Gov. Caswell referred to his house as the "Red House" because it was painted red. She stated that Gov. Caswell was "buried across the road from his home and a very beautiful marker marks the resting place of such a great man."

The "beautiful marker" Ms. Bell was referring to was the remnants of the first Caswell memorial monument erected in the center of Kinston's Caswell and Queen Streets intersection in 1881. It was seriously damaged by a fire in 1895 that destroyed two blocks of Kinston's central business district. Heat from the fire was so intense that the obelisk and other parts of the memorial were cracked.

When it was replaced in 1908, members of Kinston's Masonic Lodge placed the damaged parts of the memorial on what they believed to be the grave of Gov. Caswell.

Those broken parts are clearly shown in a 1929 picture of a ceremony where the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) dedicated a fence around "the Richard Caswell cemetery."

The second memorial, also erected in the middle of Caswell and Queen streets, was accidentally knocked over in 1934 by city workers who were paving over Kinston's brick streets. City workers hauled that broken memorial off to the dump, parts of which were found and recovered 50 years later by Kinstonian Jake West.

Staff writer Roy Parker, Jr. wrote about Caswell's Masonic funeral in Fayetteville in a recent Fayetteville Observer article headlined Military rites a city tradition: "Prominent among the mourners were members of the Masonic Grand Lodge of North Carolina, of which organization Caswell was Grand Master at the time of his death.

"While there were no military units, members of the fraternal order were nearly all Revolutionary War veterans, and the Masonic ceremony, with its lined procession, colorfully draped coffin and marching mourners mimicked the traditional rites for military funerals.

"As soon as the ceremonies ended, Caswell's coffin was placed in a wagon, and with an escort of mounted mourners, departed for the two-day journey to Red House."

If Parker's sources are correct, then it is very clear that Gov. Caswell's body was returned to Kinston and buried in the Red House plantation cemetery.

Division of Archives and History researcher Jerry Cross, in a June 1990 report titled The Peebles House in Kinston A Research Report for the Structure Restored as `Harmony Hall,' stated that the "Red House" was "a plantation northwest of the original town and believed to have included the present CSS Neuse State Historic Site and Caswell Memorial Park. Susan Caswell's Grave

A chapter from The Masonic Governors of North Carolina, a book published in 1937, lists Gov. Caswell as the second Grand Master of the North Carolina Masons, and described his funeral service as steeped in Masonic traditions. The book cites a newspaper article from October 1877:

"On the banks of the Neuse near the town of Kinston, in the midst of a cotton field, without fence or enclosure, with no slab or stone to mark the spot, is the grave of Governor Caswell. Not a hundred yards from either the railway or public highway, yet of the many wayfarers passing daily few know of our first patriot Governor, or can point out his resting place.

"From the middle of the grave, or what is said to be the grave, springs a handsome red-oak tree about 18 inches in diameter, which is Caswell's only monument and the sole means of knowing his exact place of burial. ... Nearby is the grave of his daughter Susan, which at least is marked by a neat headstone. Around are buried several of the Desmond family."

The tree mentioned in the book no longer stands at the site, but is shown in the 1929 photo of the DAR's dedication of a fence around the cemetery. That photo also confirms the location of Susan Caswell Gatlin's grave.

An 1862 Civil War map marked Gov. Caswell's grave site in the same location as described by Lura Bell, Jerry Cross and the 1877 newspaper article. Caswell Cemetery in 1929

A Dec. 4, 1958 Kinston Free Press article printed a list of people buried in the Caswell cemetery. The list had been received from Sue Bond, Gov. Caswell's great-granddaughter, and made public in 1914.

Included in the list were Gov. Richard Caswell, his daughter Susan Caswell Gatlin, John Gatlin, Sarah C. Reaves (daughter of Susan Caswell Gatlin), Lewis C. Desmond, Joshua Desmond, (Here lies a good man.), Eliza W., wife of Lewis Desmond, Mary E. Fonvile, Walter Davenport, Mary Catherine (great granddaughter of Richard Caswell), wife of J. Chestnut, Several children - unmarked graves, Mary McIlwain (first wife of Richard Caswell), Sarah Heritage (second wife of Richard Caswell), William Caswell, Dallam Caswell, William B. West, Holland Caswell West (granddaughter of Richard Caswell), wife of William B. West.

A 1936 state historical marker (on highway 70 by the railroad in front of Gov. Caswell Memorial Park ) says Gov. Caswell's grave is 166 yards to the south, and the same claim is inscribed on a granite monument erected in 1919 by the N.C. Historical Commission.

According to Eugene Brown, curator of the CSS Neuse State Historical Site and Caswell Memorial Park, North Carolina conducted scientific studies of the Caswell Cemetery in the 1960s which indicated that "there were some masses" underneath the headstones and scattered throughout the Caswell Cemetery including areas where no headstones existed.

Also, "an archeological survey done a few decades ago" on a house north of the Caswell Cemetery suggested that portions of the foundation "could have belonged to Caswell's home."

Scientific excavation in the Caswell Cemetery of the graves in close proximity to the grave of Gov. Caswell's daughter, Susan Caswell Gatlin, will prove that Gov. Richard Caswell's remains are interred in the Caswell Memorial Park Cemetery .

DNA testing could be a useful tool in the identification process, but it could also prove to be inconclusive.

If, however, with the remains of a male, Masonic Badges are found such as those of a Grand Master, it could be reasonably assumed that the remains are those of Gov. Richard Caswell.

Locating the grave of Richard Caswell is important in reporting an accurate history of Kinston and North Carolina. It will determine where the red house really was, whether it was in downtown Kinston or on the hill at Vernon Heights or directly in front of the CSS Neuse Historic Site and Caswell Memorial. It will fill a lot of holes in Kinston's history as it pertains to North Carolina's first governor. Many old questions will be solved, uncertainties cleared up and rumors laid to rest.

The location of Richard Caswell's grave will also protect from development and desecration the two one-half acre tracts our famous governor had willed to be Caswell family cemeteries.

The state's plans to construct a $4 million Civil War Museum to house the remains of the CSS Neuse ironclad adjacent to the Caswell family cemetery may be a criminal violation of laws written to protect graveyards.

The hull of the artifact was moved into the middle of the Caswell Memorial Park last year, costing the state approximately $400,000. The shelter that was built to house the ironclad may have been erected on the half-acre tract that Gov. Caswell designated as one of his family cemeteries.

According to a general statute, it is a felony to "take away, vandalize, destroy or deface any tombstone. . . shrubbery, flowers, plants within any cemetery erected or placed to designate the place where any dead body is interred."

Ogburn said she could not comment on the legalities of the grave site or any possibilities where the future museum would be located.

North Carolina has more than four centuries of history to document, but the research staff's time and the state's money is limited, Ogburn said.

Ogburn's response was curt and appeared to indicate that Sec. McCain was incensed that private individuals would take it upon themselves to find the lost grave of the state's first constitutional governor.

"Mr. Sampley started this contest, and put in the rules of the contest, and then appointed us judge, without any of us knowing," Ogburn had told the Free Press three days earlier.

"They set it all up without consulting anybody here. They didn't check whether we thought it was worth spending time and taxpayers' money on," Ogburn said.

Ogburn's statement was incorrect. Olde Kinston Gazette Senior Editor Jan Barwick had contacted John Taylor, Stan Little and a Mr. Langford, all of Archives and History at the Department of Cultural Resources, in early January.

She informed them that a reward was being offered for information that would identify the exact location of Richard Caswell's grave and that the resulting information would be sent to Archives and History for review.

Betty McCain's office was not asked to judge a contest. The request was simply for the state to determine whether any of the information pointed to the grave of Gov. Caswell .

It's a question the state should have answered long ago.

Source: Olde Kinston Gazette (March 1999)

Unsuccessful Search For Lost Governor's Grave Spawns New Mystery
By Patsy Williams
Olde Kinston Gazette
November 2000

Who lies here? - an appropriate epitaph for the outcome of the latest venture to locate the grave of Richard Caswell, North Carolina's first Revolutionary War hero and constitutional governor.

The much anticipated archaeological dig in Kinston by students of East Carolina University's Professor Charles Ewen led to the conclusion that the graves in question did not contain Gov. Caswell or his parents.

Who then occupies the mysterious graves hidden in the bamboo thicket off Herritage Street, between the Kinston Clinic North and the Bentley Bed & Breakfast?

The trail of clues which led to the dig began when local historians Ted Sampley and Jan Barwick started to question the actual whereabouts of Caswell's grave in mid 1998.

The pair felt that Caswell deserved to be honored properly for his role in history and as North Carolina's first constitutional governor. The Richard Caswell Memorial Park on Vernon Avenue (now The CSS Neuse and Governor Caswell Memorial Park) was compromised by the state two years ago when it built a large barn in the middle of the Revolutionary War park to house the remains of the Civil War Confederate ironclad CSS Neuse.

Sampley decided to kick off a search for Gov. Caswell's grave with a contest to draw interest in the project. He and two other local businessmen chipped in to offer a $1000.00 reward to whomever could provide proof of the exact location of the grave of Richard Caswell. Sampley then sent the entries received along with his own research and conclusions to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, asking them in February 1999 to review the information and investigate.

Sampley and Barwick had concluded after gleaning all the information they had received that the grave of Gov. Caswell was adjacent to that of his daughter, Susan Caswell Gatlin, buried in the Caswell Cemetery in the Gov. Caswell Memorial Park.

Jackie Ogburn, spokesman for the Department of Cultural Resources, told the Kinston Free Press, "Mr. Sampley started this contest, and put in the rules of the contest, and then appointed us judge, without any of us knowing."

Ogburn said the state had no intention of searching for the grave of the Lost Governor. She said, "we feel it would be a waste of money."

Sampley insists the state should be concerned as to where the missing governor lies. "Locating the grave of Gov. Caswell is important if we are ever to have an accurate history of Kinston and North Carolina," he said.

As a young surveyor, Caswell helped incorporate Kingston in 1762 in honor of King George III, but would later become England's enemy and a champion for American independence. He became a Revolutionary War hero in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in 1776, when his troops defeated the Tories crushing a planned Redcoat invasion of North Carolina.

Caswell was soon appointed a brigadier general, commanding North Carolina's militia. He would later serve six terms as governor before his death in 1789.

Caswell lived in the house (built in 1747) on Hill Plantation until he built the Red House a few years later just "outside of town." The land where the house on Hill Plantation stood is near the Kinston Clinic North on Herritage Street. Gov. Caswell's parents continued to live on Hill Plantation until Gov. Caswell's father died in 1755 and his mother in 1787.

According to Gov. Caswell's will they are both buried somewhere in the cemetery Dr. Ewen's class excavated. Gov. Caswell died in 1789, just two years after his mother, in Fayetteville.

Sampley says, that despite claims by state historians to the contrary, there is evidence that a funeral procession left Fayetteville for Kinston shortly after Gov. Caswell died.

Most local historians agree that Gov. Caswell is buried in Kinston, and narrow his burial place down to being near either the Hill Plantation or near where the Red House once stood..

The Red House, Sampley believes, was built somewhere near the Caswell Cemetery in the Memorial Park off Vernon Avenue. There is a house near the park that sits on an 18th century foundation. This location corroborates research which indicates the Red House was in the same area. (For further reading on this evidence, see the March 1999 issue of the Olde Kinston Gazette).

During the Revolutionary War, Gov. Caswell accumulated enormous debts helping to finance the Continental Army. Because of those debts, when he died his estate was in serious financial trouble forcing his children to sell most of his land. His daughter, Susan Caswell Gatlin, sold the Hill Plantation to a General William Croom.

In 1806, Croom conveyed ownership to John Washington, who renamed it Vernon Plantation after Mount Vernon, the home his relative President George Washington.

Historians have long believed that Washington's son, John Cobb Washington, an influential Kinstonian during the Civil War is buried on the Hill along with other prominent members of the Washington family.

Gov. Caswell stated in his will that his mother and father and brother Samuel are buried at the cemetery on the Hill. The will also reserved forever a half-acre of grounds centered on their graves to be kept forever as the Caswell family cemetery.

Long time local historian, Dr. Charles R. Holloman wrote a letter February 16, 1971 to Attorney Marion Parrott of Kinston detailing the historical importance of the cemetery on the Hill. At that time, owners of Kinston Clinic North were attempting to have the cemetery moved so they could continue to expand the clinic's parking lot. During the expansion they had accidentally disturbed several ancient crypts forcing a halt to the expansion.

Holloman explained that the graves in the cemetery were unique in that they were vaulted brick underground graves. The removal of the cemetery would have meant destroying the vaulted bricks. He wrote that "these tombs go back to the eighteenth century and as early as 1755 when Gov. Caswell's father was buried on the premises. It is quite likely that Gov. Caswell's brother-in-law, Dr. Francis Stringer, was buried on this site in 1753. We know positively that the governor's father was buried there (Richard Caswell, Sr.) in 1755 and his mother and brother Samuel were later. Samuel Caswell was the Commander of the State Regiment (bodyguard of the Governor and the government offices and officials during most of the period of the Revolution.)"

Gov. Caswell's will, according to Holloman, is ultimately the deciding factor: "It is my opinion that the land comprising these grave sites has not been conveyed to the present owners of Vernon [the former Vernon Hall, now the Bentley] or the Clinic or to any other owners, inasmuch as the reservation made by Gov. Caswell has never been revoked in any way, shape or form; but, even if it is found deficient, the reservation by the heirs of Eliza Heritage Washington Knox in Deed Book 14, page 527, is effective and subsisting."

The Hill Plantation graveyard came to Dr. Ewen's attention after Stephanie Bourdas Smith wrote a letter to the Kinston Free Press recalling an incident taht took place in 1962 or 1963 while she and her brother and cousin played in the thick bamboo behind Kinston Clinic.

During a hurricane, Smith wrote, an oak tree was uprooted revealing a hole and what appeared to be a brick tunnel.

Smith said that she and her playmates crawled inside the tunnel she described as "very long." In the tunnel, Smith said she saw a full skeleton and a crumbling wood casket.

"It scared us so bad we jumped out," Smith said.

She said she was reminded of the incident after the Kinston Free Press ran and article detailing Sampley's search for Gov. Caswell. She wondered if she had accidentally found Gov. Caswell's grave nearly 40 years-ago.

Credence was given to the possibility that Gov. Caswell himself rested on the Hill when Dr. Ewen's archaeology class quickly uncovered two vaulted crypts using ground penetrating radar.

After opening the crypts, Ewen concluded that the cast iron coffins in the graves were not old enough to be those of Gov. Caswell or his parents because the irons and bolts used to make the coffins dated them to the 19th century sometime around 1850 to 1880.

Caswell relative Susan Burgess Hoffman of Williamsburg, Va., a fifth generation descendant, was present for the excavation. She watched eagerly as the events unfolded in the search for her famous ancestor. "I would like to see an actual tombstone, an actual marker, instead of crumbling stone where he might be," Hoffman said. "I want my family, and my brand new grandson, to be able to visit where he is buried."

Echoing Gov. Caswell's instructions in his will, she adds "even if he's not there [on the Hill Plantation land], it is where a prominent family lived. If they can find where the cemetery is, we can fence it off and preserve it forever."

Hoffman agrees with Sampley's belief that Gov. Caswell is probably buried in the Memorial Park near his daughter.

However, the conclusion reached in the dig only deepens the mystery surrounding Gov. Caswell. Who is buried in those two graves and where are Gov. Caswell"s parents buried?

Sampley says he Sampley says he believes the caskets contain the remains of some of the Washington family, possibly John Cobb Washington and his wife. He said he has found evidence of several more underground crypts near the two Dr. Ewen's class uncovered.

Adding to the buzz around the mystery is the fact that the Smithsonian Institute has expressed interest in the partially excavated graves. Sampley says it helps to keep the project alive, which will keep the search for Gov. Caswell going.

In November, Sampley filled the graves with builder's sand to protect them from the elements and vandalism until it is decided just what will be done next.

Olde Kinston Gazette (November 2000)


Caswell Airpark

Caswell Airpark (6W4), Yanceyville, NC
36.4 North / 79.39 West (Northwest of Raleigh, NC)

Yanceyville Municipal Airport
Yanceyville has big plans for airport
The Town of Yanceyville announced Tuesday morning that it has completed acquisition of the former Caswell Airport and four adjacent properties totaling 41.00 acres located in West Yanceyville. The Town is planning to re-develop and improve the property which will be known as the Yanceyville Municipal Airport.
Engineering and construction plans are in the process of being developed with a future extended runway of approximately 4,000 feet and the construction of an all-weather helipad for use by public safety agencies.
The Town believes that the re-development of the airport will encourage additional economic development in the Town and Caswell County.
For further information, contact the Office of the Town Manager at 336-694-5431.
Source: The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC), 24 February 2021.
Caswell Airpark, as depicted on the October 1948 Winston-Salem Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
This little public-use airport was apparently established at some point between 1945-48, as it was not depicted on the March 1945 Winston-Salem Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy). The earliest depiction of Caswell Airpark which has been located was on the October 1948 Winston-Salem Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy). It described the field as having a 2,000' unpaved runway.
Graham Page recalled, “That airstrip was built by my grandfather, Dr. Ludolphus Graham Page and was designed to spec by the Army Corps of Engineers.My grandfather owned several light military planes that were purchased after WWII, and both of his sons - my father and uncle - were pilots as well.”
The field was equipped with a former Civil Defense tower. According to Graham Page, “The civil air tower was purchased in the 1960s - I believe it was surplus military.” The 1962 AOPA Airport Directory described Caswell as having a single 2,100' sod Runway 4/22, and said that the airport provided fuel, hangars, and tie-downs.

Caswell Airport was depicted on the November 1976 CG-21 World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) as having a 2,100' unpaved runway.
Graham Page recalled, “The airport was still active up until the late 1980s and had 4-6 'resident' planes – Cessna 152s, a Cessna 180, and a couple of Piper Tri-Pacers. Then the local pilots starting getting older and quit flying - I think the declining local economy also meant that there were not many people with the resources to continue using the airport.”
Caswell Airpark was depicted as an active public-use airport on the 1996 NC Aeronautical Chart.
USGS aerial photo 1998.

Caswell Airpark was listed in the 2000 AOPA Airport Directory, and as having a single 2,050' sod Runway 4/22.

Evelyn Barbara Whitlow (1916-1994)

(click on photograph for larger image)

Evelyn B. Whitlow, Nurse and POW

The Whitlow family of Leasburg in Caswell County saw six (four sons and two daughters) of their twelve children in military service during World War II. Evelyn B. Whitlow was the first of the family to join the military. In May 1940 she joined the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) as a second lieutenant. Whitlow was serving as a nurse in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. She was among the eighty-one army and navy nurses captured following the fall of the Philippines on May 7, 1942. Known as the Angels of Bataan and Corregidor, these nurses were the first group of American women taken as prisoners of war. For three years she remained in Santo Thomas, a Japanese internment camp outside Manila, until being liberated on February 3, 1945. After the war she left the ANC, married a fellow POW from Santo Thomas, and moved to California. Whitlow died at the age of 78 in 1994.

Source: North Carolina Museum of History

For more on Evelyn Barbara Whitlow and her family visit the Caswell County Family Tree.

Sheriffs of Caswell County, North Carolina

From 1777 until the adoption of the new constitution in 1868, the Sheriff's were elected by the justices. Many times appointment by the governor followed.

David Shelton 1777-1779 Thomas L. Lea 1832-1842
Thomas Rice 1779-1780 John K. Brooks 1842-1850
John Atkinson 1780 Frank A. Wiley 1850-1856
James Rice 1780 Jesse C. Griffith 1856
David Shelton 1780-1783 Christian Strader 1856-1860
John Douglas 1783-1785 Jesse C. Griffith 1860-1879
James Saunders 1785-1787 Barzillai Graves 1879-1891
Robert Parks 1787-1789 T.P. Womack 1891-1894
Spillsby Coleman 1789-1790 John T. Donoho 1894-1900
Thomas Brooks 1790-1792 Abner Fitch 1900-1907
William Swift 1792-1793 Thomas N. Fitch 1907-1919
Adam Sanders 1793-1795 Will Burton 1919-1920
Azariah Graves 1795-1797 John H. Gunn 1920-1929
James Williamson 1797-1799 John Y. Gatewood 1929-1936
William Muzzle 1799-1801 John H. Gunn 1936-1950
Gabriel Lea 1801-1802 John Y. Gatewood 1950-1951
William Rainey 1802-1804 J. Whitt Powell 1951-1953
Samuel Johnson 1804-1805 Lynn Williamson 1953-1958
Archibald Samuel 1805-1806 Frank B. Daniel 1958-1966
John Stamps 1806-1814 Bobby E. Poteat 1966-1978
Nathan Williams 1814-1815 James I. Smith, Jr. 1978-2002
George Williamson 1815-1832 Michael L. Welch 2002-Present


Monday, October 08, 2007

Bartlett Yancey High School Basketball Team (1963-1964)

Left to Right:

Bottom Row: Ricky Frederick; Roger Nelson; Larry Stogner; Durwood Matkins
Middle Row: Jimmy Foster; Gilbert Simmons; Keith Stogner; Lytt Stamps; Wayne King
Top Row: Tommy Cooper; Johnny Lewis; Bryant Hinson; Lindsey Page

(click on photographs for larger image)

VIR: 1957 Newspaper Article

(click on article for larger image)

This article originally ran in the 12 September 1957 edition of The Halifax Gazette and was republished 26 September 2007 as part of that newspaper’s “Flashback” series.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pinnix Documents

Pleasant Family Research


Pinnix Family Research

The following items were found by a Pinnix family descendant in the files of the Caswell County Historical Association:

1. Almeda Pinnix D 1897 Sept 20th or 27th

2. B.E. Pinnix B 1821 D Unknown

3. Barbara J. Pinnix

4. Betsy Pinnix Unknown dates buried in Pinnix cemetery

5. Cora Frances Pinnix B Oct 21, 1863 D March 17, 1924 buried in Bethel Cemetery;
Married to Benjamin F. Walker

6. Mary Elizabeth Pinnix B May 2, 1834 D Oct 12, 1903 buried in cemetery at Yanceville Methodist Church. Married Joseph G. Pinnix.

7. Ella Joe Pinnix -2nd daughter of Joseph G. and Mary Elizabeth. B July 19,1858 D 1858. Buried at Yanceyville Methodist Cemetary.

8. J.C. Pinnix B 1820 D 1866

9 . James Marshall Pinnix –son of Joseph G. and Mary Elizabeth. D Aug 29, 1858 at 2 months and 5 days old.

10. John C. Pinnix killed son and drowned self on May 20, 1885.

11. Mrs. Esther Walker- married to Dr. John A. Pinnix. B 1874 D 1949 buried at Bethel Cemetary.

12. Mrs. Eugenia Swift- married to Charlie (Charles) Pinnix. She was the daughter of J.M. Swift and B. Lownes. Charles Pinnix was a lawyer in Arkansas.

13. Pinnix family cemetery located on Hassel Byrd farm 2 miles east of Kerr's chapel missionary Baptist church.

14. George Knox Pinnix – unknown dates

15. George W. Pinnix (Penix) –Pd. 50 cents for land for Bush Arbour Meetinghouse.

16.Ida May Pinnix B Nov 1967 D 1895 in Caswell County. Married to A Clay Murray.

17. Dr. John Alexander Pinnix- 2,000 people attended his funeral. His parents were John Calvin and Barbara Pinnix. He married Esther Hattie Walker. Her parents were L.A. Walker and Mrs. A Clay. B 1846 D 1931. At the age of 80, he attended the confederate reunion in 1926. Esther was from Baynes Store, NC, Anderson Township, Caswell County.

18. J.C. Pinnix- Published in the Caswell Messenger in 1926 on Methodism. B 1820. D 1866. Buried in Pinnix Cemetary.

19. John Brooks Pinnix- son of John G. and Hannah S. Pinnix. B Sept 7, 1880 D May 20 1885. Buried in Kerr's Chapel Cemetary.

20. John G. Pinnix- B April 9, 1845 D May 20, 1885. Buried in Kerr's Chapel Cemetary.

21. Joseph Pinnix (pennix) married Betsy Kerr daughter of John and Mary Graves Kerr.

22. Capt. Joseph C. Pinnix of N.C. militia married Mary Elizabeth. Buried in Yanceyville Meth. Cemetary. B Sept 2, 1826 D April 12, 1908

23. Lillie Mae Pinnix- daughter of Col. Joseph C. and Mrs. Cary Howard King. She married Cary King of Caswell County. B Oct 7, 1867

24. Mary A. Pinnix D 1898

25. W.B. Pinnix – Cousin of Dr. J.A. Pinnix of Danville also of Mrs. Hatchett of Ruffin, NC and J. Charles Pinnix a lawyer in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. W.B. is the son of Alexander Kerr Pinnix. The name of Alexander was given to him in honor of Alexander of Pelham who was magistrate for 50 years.

26. Mrs. Willie Mae Pinnix- daughter of Mrs. Annie McCullock Eastwood.

27. Capt. Thomas Graves married Katherine. Born in England in 1608. Came over on the Mary and Margarett. D Aug 9, 1637. Settled on the James River.

28. Mary Graves B Jan 26, 1754 in James City County, Va D Feb 22,1831 . Married John Kerr

    • Their children were:
    • Rev. John Kerr Married Elizabeth Williams
    • Polly Kerr
    • Isabella Kerr married Christopher Brooks
    • Betsy Kerr married Joseph Pinnix
    • Nancy Kerr married Benjamin Lea
    • James Kerr married Frances McNeil

  1. Siblings of Graves:

John Herndon, Barzillai, Ann, Solomon, James, Azariah, Thomas, Isabella.


South Bend: Virginia International Raceway Farm House

In the southwest corner of Halifax County, close to Milton, North Carolina, stands a home with connections to the wealthy Bruce family. Scholars come to Southside Virginia from across the nation to study the Bruce homes at Berry Hill and Staunton Hill. Local historians have worked through the records of Tarover and Morotock. South Bend goes unnoticed and may soon disappear. While the home. has been vacant for many years and has suffered some damage, the solid timbers of the framing are still strong.

During the Bruce years, South Bend was remodeled into a fashionable home. The frame house was built in three stages. The earliest part was a story and a half house with three rooms in a line. Later owners heard that this section was moved to its present site from an earlier location. The front section which rises to a full two stories was the second stage. A center hall with matching rooms on each side was its basic plan.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Caswell County Folk Art


This image was found on EBay.

Thomas Harrison Will (1790)

Caswell County, North Carolina

July Court 1790

In the Name of God, Amen

I, Thomas Harrison, Sr. being sick of body but of sound mind and memory, praise be to God for the same, but calling to mind the uncertainty of life and knowing that all men are mortal, do make and constitute this to be my last will and testament, revoking and undoing all other will or wills heretofore made or caused to be made by me or any other person in my name or manner, the following:

That is to say: Item, It is my will and desire that all my perishable estate be sold and my just debts paid with the money arising by such sale and the balance if any, to be equally divided between my two daughters, Anney Fuqua and Magdalene Harrison to them and their heirs forever.

Item: I give and bequeath all my lands and tenements contained in a old plot entered in Lord Granville’s Office and surveyed by John Lea, with all the benefits of the entrys of land made in the County of Caswell contained in the bounds of the said plot before mentioned, except such parcels as I have sold and received payment or bonds for the payment thereof. Viz: To James Sanders Esquire, two hundred acres lying on Mayo’s Old Line. To William Stephens three hundred and sixty five acres lying on the head waters of Little Creek surveyed by Hearndon Haralson. To Thomas Jeffreys a certain quantity lying on Bradley’s line, his own and the waters of Little Creek; also a entry of one hundred and seventy acres transferred to William Stephens on order that out of the land he may be entitled to make a deed of conveyance to Jeffreys as he stands my surety for the performance thereof. Which lands before mentioned except such as has been excepted I desire may be laid off in two equal parcels according to quantity and quality which lands so divided I desire that it may be divided in two equal parts which I give unto my two daughters, Anney Fuqua, wife of John Fuqua and Magdalin McDugal to them and their heirs forever. The other half according to the first division I give and bequeath unto my trust friend David Shelton to him and his heirs forever.

Item: It is my will and desire that my executors hereafter mentioned shall make a deed of conveyance of a certain piece of land to Thomas Jeffreys which is bounded as follows: Viz: by the creek, by his own line, by Bradleys line and Cockrans spring branch.

I hereby constitute and my good friend David Shelton of Caswell County my lawful executor to see this my last will and testament duly performed. In witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty third day of May A.D. 1790.

Signed sealed and published in presence of William Draper, Bowler Stephens and Samuel Pittard.

Signed: Thomas Hararison Sr.

The execution of this will was duly proved in open court by the oaths of William Draper, Bowler Stephens and Samuel Pittard, the subscribing witnesses thereto and on motion order to be recorded at the same time. David Shelton qualified as Executor.


Graves Street (Mount Airy, North Carolina)

Graves Street Name to Remain Intact

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2007 11:05 PM CDT
Tom Joyce

Staff Reporter

When considering a street-name change Thursday night, Mount Airy officials decided not to mess with history.

The board was faced with a proposal to rename Dixie and Graves streets to Willow Street in connection with a recent realignment of Dixie and Willow streets.

The possible change arose from concerns that the realignment has created a confusing situation with the multiple street names.

Motorists traveling north from the police station toward Independence Boulevard, for example, travel on three different-named streets, although they never make a turn.

This presents problems in trying to give directions to those unfamiliar with Mount Airy, officials said.

Before Thursday night, the city Planning Board already had voted unanimously to recommend that Dixie and Graves streets be known as Willow Street.

Though the commissioners supported the change involving the Dixie Street portion of the proposal, they stopped short Thursday night of changing the Graves Street segment. Board members explained that they wanted to preserve an important name in Mount Airy's history.

A resulting amendment to the proposal was led by commissioners Todd Harris and David Beal.

“I have no problem renaming Dixie Street to Willow Street,” said Harris, “but I would not be in favor of renaming Graves Street” out of respect for the Graves heritage.

Beal pointed out that he had researched local history and found that B.Y. Graves was Mount Airy's first mayor after the city was incorporated in 1885. A man named B.F. Graves also held that position in the 1890s. Other prominent Mount Airy citizens have included S.P. Graves and Jesse Franklin Graves, whose homes were in the vicinity of present-day Graves Street, according to Beal.

He added that when another project arose several years ago affecting Graves Street, members of that family contacted him in an effort to leave the name intact because of “the heritage they have in the city.”

“I don't see any good reason to change the name of Graves Street,” Beal said. He added that officials should retain that name “if we have any sensitivity to history at all.”

Commissioner Tom Bagnal also lent his support to that stand, and a board vote on the amended proposal was unanimous.

With the move, Dixie Street officially will become Willow Street and Graves Street will remain.

No street or mailing addresses will be affected, officials say.

Contact Tom Joyce at, or at 719-1924.

The foregoing article is courtesy of The Mount Airy News, which retains all rights.

This article and the decision reported therein with respect to Graves Street in Mount Airy, North Carolina, are of interest to Caswell County because the Graves family for which the street was named originated in Caswell County.

B. F. Graves = Bernard Franklin Graves (mayor of Mount Airy)

S. P. Graves = Stephen Porter Graves
B. Y Graves = Barzillai Yancey Graves (mayor of Mount Airy)
Jesse Franklin Graves
Solomon Graves
Reverend Barzillai Graves

Bernard Franklin Graves and Stephen Porter Graves are sons of Jesse Franklin Graves
, born 1829, who served in the North Carolina House of Representatives, and was later Judge of the NC Superior Court. His brother, Barzillai Yancey Graves was a mayor of Mount Airy (possibly its first mayor). The father of Jesse Franklin Graves and Barzillai Yancey Graves was Solomon Graves, born 1784, who was NC State Senator. Solomon married Mary Cleveland Franklin, whose father Jesse Franklin was a U.S. Senator and Governor of NC. The father of Solomon Graves was Reverend Barzillai Graves, born 1759, who lived and died near Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina, and was said to be the most prominent Baptist clergyman of his time in VA, NC, and TN.

To see more on the Caswell County Graves family go to the Caswell County Family Tree.

To see more on the broader Graves family go to the Graves Family Association.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Anderson Family Photograph (c. 1928)

(click on photograph for larger image)

Anderson Family of Caswell County North Carolina, About 1928

Bottom Row L to R: James Ezekiel Anderson, Ruth Byrd Anderson Howze, George Andrew Anderson Jr

Top Row L to R: John Quintin Anderson, George Andrew Anderson, Mary Elizabeth Slade Anderson,

Kenneth Gordon Anderson, Myrtle Lee Smith Anderson, Mary Slade Anderson Horton, William Banks Horton

Note that this photograph includes George Andrew Anderson, his wife Mary Elizabeth Slade Anderson, and their six children:

Kenneth Gordon Anderson (married Sarah Myrtle Lee Smith)
Mary Slade Anderson (married William Banks Horton)
John Quinton Anderson
Ruth Byrd Anderson (married
James Ezekiel Anderson
George Andrew Anderson, Jr.

The Anderson family was very prominent in the south part of Caswell County, so much so that the township covering that area was named Anderson Township. The schools also were named Anderson.

George A. Anderson was born into a family that has lived in Caswell County for over 200 years. He was reared on the family plantation at Anderson in the southern part of Caswell County. Anderson Township was named for his grandfather, Quinton Anderson, a merchant, legislator, and businessman who built large agricultural holdings. George A. Anderson was Caswell County Superintendent of Schools for seventeen years, a newspaper editor, and Clerk of Superior Court for eight years. His published books include a history of Caswell County in World War I and biographies of Caswell statesmen Bartlett Yancey and Bedford Brown. Anderson School was named for him. His father was Dr. John Q. Anderson who practiced medicine in Caswell County for fifty years.

In 1905 George A. Anderson purchased the Paul A. Haralson House in Yanceyville, which remains in the Anderson family today. See Paul A. Haralson for more on the man who built this house, locally known for many years as the Clerk's House.