Friday, November 30, 2007

Star Saloon (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

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Apparently on the corner of what then would have been Main Street and Greensboro Street, facing the Square in Yanceyville, North Carolina, once stood the Star Saloon. That structure was replaced by Henry Writch Hooper when he constructed on the spot a general store. This is W. H. Hooper & Son, which is seen in the photograph above.

Note the following from Wheel Tracks (Rotary Club of Yanceyville), which was written by Tom Henderson in 1942:

In planning his new store building, to take the place of the old "Star Saloon" location, lately occuppied by The Caswell Messenger, (which building alone of all others on the public square, excepting the courthouse, has survived the ravages of fire and decay in my lifetime), he [Henry Writch Hooper] provided a Masonic Hall, which is also used by the Junior Order United American Mechanics. . . .


Rotary Club Building Newspaper Clipping

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View the image in a program such as Microsoft Photo Editor and you will be able to zoom in and out to better read the text.

For additional images go to Yanceyville Rotary Club.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fuqua Family

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The first photograph of the lady is believed to be Ettia or Etta Fuqua, daughter of Lorenzo Fuqua and Elizabeth Edwards Fuqua.

The man in the second photograph could be the brother or husband of Ettia/Etta Fuqua.

Note that both photographs apparently were taken at the same time and place. On the reverse of the first photograph is written "Greensboro, North Carolina."


Clerk of Court (Caswell County, North Carolina)

William Moore 1777-1780
Archibald Murphey 1780-1817
Azariah Graves 1817-1818
Alexander Murphey 1818-1822
Paul A. Harrelson 1822-1841
Abisha Slade 1841-1854
Thomas W. Graves 1854-1866
Henry F. Brandon 1866-1874
John H. Kerr 1874-1882
Spencer B. Adams 1882-1896
N. M. Richmond 1896-1897
Thomas H. Harrison 1897-1902
R. L. Mitchell 1902-1922
Barzillai S. Graves 1922-1926
George A. Anderson 1926-1934
H. Ralston Thompson 1934-1947
George M. Harris 1947-1970
Julian Moore 1970-1982
Janet H. Cobb 1982-2002
Penny L. Cobb 2002
John I. Satterfield 2002-

See: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977)


Clerks of Court

The voters of the county elect the clerk of superior court for a four-year term. Clerks are paid by the state, with their salaries scaled in accordance with the population of their counties. As one would expect, the clerk is responsible for all clerical and record-keeping functions of the superior court and district court. However, the clerk also has numerous judicial functions: The clerk is judge of probate - that is, the clerk handles the probate of wills (proceedings to determine if a paper writing is a valid will) and the administration of estates of decedents, minors and incompetents. The clerk also hears a variety of special proceedings such as adoptions, incompetency determinations and partitions of land and is empowered to issue arrest and search warrants and to exercise the same powers as a magistrate with respect to taking pleas of guilty to minor littering, traffic, wildlife, boating, marine fisheries, alcoholic beverage, state park recreation and worthless-check offenses.

Each clerk has a number of assistants and deputies. The number of assistants and deputies that each clerk may employ varies from county to county depending on the volume of business. Assistant and deputy clerks are paid on a salary schedule based fixed by the Administrative Office of the Courts based on education and years of service in the clerk's office; the maximum and minimum salaries within that scale are fixed by the General Assembly.

The Clerk of Superior Court is elected for four years and must be a resident of the county in which he or she is elected. Unlike clerks of court in other states, the Clerk of Superior Court in North Carolina has numerous judicial functions.

As judge of probate, the Clerk has exclusive original jurisdiction over matters relating to the probate of wills, and the administration of estates, including appointing personal representatives, auditing their accounting, and removing them from office if necessary. The Clerk also presides over many other legal matters including adoptions, incompetency proceedings, condemnation of private lands for public use, and foreclosures. The Clerk is responsible for all clerical and record-keeping functions of the district and superior court. In addition, the Clerk receives and disburses money collected each year from court fees and fines.

Source: The North Carolina Court System

Note that the above description is as of 2007. Earlier clerks may have had different terms and responsibilities. However, the job probably was generally the same. Early clerks were not elected by public ballot but were chosen by the justices who made up the Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Until 1868 North Carolina counties were governed by the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions composed of justices. This court assembled quarterly to transact county business and serve as an inferior court.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cole-Gunn Hosiery Mill Building (1959)

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While the men in the photograph have not been identified, the 1957 Buick was owned by Roy Vincent Atwater. The man closer to the building may be Owen Paschall or William Bennett (Bill) Atwater. The man to the left (in the street) could be Thomas Edward (T. E.) Steed, who was a shareholder in the hosiery mill.

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Cole Chevrolet is just across the street (to the left in this image).

The Cole-Gunn Hosiery Mill apparently was established in 1957 (Yanceyville, North Carolina) and within a year was employing twenty people in three shifts a day. It produced 1,200 dozen children's anklets each week. In 1959 it completed an addition to its building for the installation of fifty new seamless hosiery machines. While not clear, it may have changed its name to the Caswell Seamless Hosiery Mill. At some point the Royal Hosiery Mill occupied the same building as had housed the Cole-Gunn Hosiery Mill and the Caswell Seamless Hosiery Mill. In 1968, Royal began an expansion program to double both its manufacturing space and number of employees. Royal produced special hosiery for a Siler City firm that sold directly to Sears and Roebuck. After about seven years Royal closed because the style in hosiery changed to "pantyhose," which it was not equipped to produce.

Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 304-306.

"Royal Hosiery Mill" can barely be seen in this recent photograph of the building that began life as the Cole-Gunn Hosiery Mill. The building is being converted to a municipal training center:


Monday, November 26, 2007

Phelps Family Photographs

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These photographs were submitted by Mark Phelps, and the descriptions relate to him.


Monday, November 19, 2007

C. B. Rogers Store

C. B. Rogers was Clyde Banks Rogers:

Operated a general store on the first floor of the Upchurch Building on the Square in Yanceyville, North Carolina.

Birth and death data are unconfirmed. Researchers are admonished to proceed with caution.

North Carolina Birth Index, 1800-2000
Name: Clyde Banks Rogers
Date of Birth: 20 Jul 1900
Birth County: Person
Roll Number: B_C078_66001
Volume: D-5
Page: 351

World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
Name: Clyde Banks Rogers
City: Not Stated
County: Person
State: North Carolina
Birth Date: 20 Jul 1900
Race: White
Roll: 1765929
DraftBoard: 0

1930 United States Federal Census (unconfirmed record)
Name: Clyde Rogers
Home in 1930: Roxboro, Person, North Carolina
Age: 29
Estimated birth year: abt 1901
Birthplace: North Carolina
Relation to Head of House: Boarder
Race: White
Household Members: Name Age
Jadie E Harris 71
Ruth Harris 33
Clyde Rogers 29
Arch Daniel 45
Clarence Holman 25
Dan Loftis 25

North Carolina Death Collection, 1908-2004
Name: Clyde Banks Rogers
Gender: Male
Race: White
Marital Status: Married
Social Security Number: 241502662
Age: 79
Date of Birth: 20 Jul 1900
Birth Location: North Carolina
Birth State: North Carolina
Residence City: Greensboro
Residence County: Guilford
Residence State: North Carolina
Date of Death: 25 Feb 1980
Death City: Greensboro
Death County: Guilford
Death State: North Carolina
Institution: Nursing and Rest Homes
Attendant: Physician
Burial Location: Burial in state
Source Vendor: NC Department of Health. North Carolina Deaths, 1979-82

Social Security Death Index
Name: Clyde Rogers
SSN: 241-50-2662
Last Residence: 27403 Greensboro, Guilford, North Carolina, United States of America
Born: 20 Jul 1900
Died: Feb 1980
State (Year) SSN issued: North Carolina (1952)


Leahurst Family Cemetery Gravestones

Gravestones shown in the following images were found at Leahurst:


Esso Station (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

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

William LaRoy Gunn

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


Sunday, November 18, 2007

North Carolina Court History

North Carolina Court History

In 1664, William Drummond was appointed Governor of Albemarle County and government began. In 1680 the Governor established a General (or Supreme) Court for the colony. This was the beginning of the judicial system. Change and adjustment to the system occurred as the Legislative Assembly disputed with the Governor over many concerns, including the means for selection of judges and the lengths of their terms.

It was not until 1710 that the colony was divided into North and South Carolina, and not until 1712 that North Carolina had its own governor. In 1729, the Lords Proprietors sold their interest in North Carolina to the Crown and North Carolina became a Royal Colony. From that point, until 1775, all governmental and political functions of the colony were subject to the Crown.

In 1767, a more elaborate system was set forth by the Legislature and was intended to last five years. Due partly to the continuing disagreement between local and royal partisans, however, it was not renewed at the end of the five year period. Thus, there were no higher courts in North Carolina from the expiration of the courts created in 1767 until after the Revolution. Lower county court officials, such as justices of the peace, were appointed by the Royal Governor, and continued to exist throughout this period of time.

When North Carolina became a state, in 1776, the court system of Colonial America was, for the most part, retained. Justices of the Peace continued presiding over local county courts, Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, as they had since approximately 1670. The major difference was that the justices were now appointed by the governor of the state, on the recommendation of the General Assembly. The salaries of the justices of the peace were paid out of the fees collected from the parties to lawsuits. The lowest level of court - the magistrate courts - were conducted by justices of the peace when the county courts were not in session.

The new state's constitution of 1776 authorized the appointment of judges to a Supreme Court of Law and Equity. The appointed judges were to hold office during good behavior, but other than that their term was not limited. In 1777, six judicial districts were created, each with a designated "court town", a location where court was to be held twice a year. Three Superior Court Judges were appointed. Unlike the present day, where the difference between the Superior Court and the Supreme Court are distinct, in the period just after the Revolution the terms Superior and Supreme were used interchangeably. In 1782 and 1787, two additional circuits (districts) were added.

North Carolina was the twelfth of the original thirteen colonies to ratify the United States Constitution and join the federal union. In fact, North Carolina rejected the Constitution in 1788, because it was felt that there were not enough guarantees of individual liberties (which were present in the state's constitution). It was not until the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was proposed and was in the process of being adopted by all the states that North Carolina ratified the United States Constitution (in November, 1789). The Bill of Rights was ratified by North Carolina soon after, in December, 1789.

The court system that existed after the Revolution was a weak one and was plagued by many, continuing complaints. Court sessions were infrequent (usually just twice a year), with judges travelling great distances. Legal opinions varied among judges and courts and there was no means for appeal during this time. Perhaps the most serious weakness of the courts at this time was the lack of a "real" Supreme Court - one which could exercise control and guidance over the judicial system.

The forerunner of the modern North Carolina Supreme Court was created in 1779, when the Legislature required the Superior Court judges to meet in Raleigh and resolve cases on which the various districts disagreed. This court was authorized for three years in 1801 and in 1804 the Court of Conference was made permanent with the justices required to issue legal opinions (rulings) in writing. The name of the court was changed to the Supreme Court in 1805. In 1810, the Court was authorized to hear appeals.

Problems continued to exist, even within the very nature and structure of the new Supreme Court, as the judges (justices) sitting on it were now required to hear and pass judgment on appeals of their own decisions. It continued to be a hardship for the judges to travel to Raleigh, and their absence from the trial courts caused congestion and delays in those lower courts.

In 1818, the Legislature authorized the Supreme Court to take the form it now has. Three Supreme Court justices were elected by the legislature to hold court twice a year with the sessions continuing until all cases were decided. The justices, sitting as a panel, heard appeals only after the Superior Court had rendered a decision and had the power to review the entire case, not just specific questions of law. The Supreme Court had original jurisdiction only for cases "in equity." John Lewis Taylor was the first Chief Justice and served with Associate Justices John Hall and Leonard Henderson. On the lower court level, in 1806, the state was redivided into six circuits, with judges rotating and required to hold court in each county (rather than in each district or circuit) twice a year.

In 1868, a new state constitution was adopted and many changes were made in the judicial system in North Carolina. A primary holdover from older judicial systems including the English, the distinction between courts of law and equity, was abolished. Previously, separate courts and causes of action existed for equity (where the court would order specific acts to be done at the end of the case) and law (where money damages were awarded). Cases were formerly brought either "in chancery" for equitable relief, or "at law". For example, if two parties brought a lawsuit about a contract they had entered; in equity, the judge might order that the parties perform the acts they had agreed on in the contract, whereas in law, one or both parties would get money to compensate them for whatever they would have gotten under the contract. In equity courts, the court was not bound strictly by the "letter of the law" and was guided by what was fair, just and proper. In these new, combined courts, both legal and equitable remedies were available.

In the new constitution, a number of changes in the substantive law were made, the number of justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court was increased and the selection of judges and Supreme Court justices was changed from an appointment process to an electoral one. The terms of the justices and judges was set at eight years. The Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (the local county court) was eliminated, although individual justices of the peace were retained and continued to hold court (with more limited jurisdictions).

The changes in the judicial system from 1868 to the time more systematic reforms were suggested in the 1950's were done gradually and in a piecemeal manner in response to changing needs and rising demands. Amendments to the state constitution in 1876 gave the General Assembly the power to determine the jurisdiction of all courts inferior to the Supreme Court and to establish lower courts as it saw fit. The Supreme Court was reduced from five to three members, and Superior Court judges were required to rotate throughout the state. the authority to create new courts became most obvious on the local level (counties and cities), where hundreds of courts, serving a variety of functions, were created by statute.

Between 1900 and 1933, the appointment of Special Superior Court Judges was authorized by constitutional amendment. These Special Superior Court Judges were appointed by the Governor and available to preside anywhere in the state, as needed. Further changes were made between 1930 and the 1950's, also by constitutional amendments. the General Assembly was authorized to increase the size of the Supreme Court, to increase the number of Superior Court Judges, and to divide the state into judicial districts. It was not until 1965, however, that the most recent major reforms were begun.

By 1965, the North Carolina court system had four levels. The highest state court was the Supreme Court, which heard only appeals. Below the Supreme Court were the Superior Courts, which were the general trial courts; the courts of limited jurisdiction, also known as the statutory courts, were below the Superior Courts; and finally, the lowest level courts were the justice of the peace courts. The state had 30 judicial districts at the Superior Court level. The local courts were numerous. Their functions ran from recorders courts to county criminal courts to domestic relations and juvenile courts to civil courts.

In 1965, by constitutional amendment, the Court of Appeals was created, between the Supreme Court and Superior Court levels, with jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Superior Court. In November of 1962, general court reform was adopted and by the end of 1970, all courts and counties were incorporated into a new unified system, which remains to this day. The new courts were all divisions of what is now known as the General Court of Justice -- a single state-wide court with components for various levels and types of cases.

The highest court remains the Supreme Court. This court has a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices who sit as a body in Raleigh and hear arguments in cases appealed from lower courts. The Supreme Court has no jury, and it makes no determinations of fact; rather, it considers errors in legal procedures or in judicial interpretation of the law and hears arguments on the written record from the trial below.

The next court beneath the Supreme Court is the Court of Appeals, an intermediate appellate court which has jurisdiction to review on appeal decisions made by lower courts.

The Superior Court is the highest of the general trial courts and is over the District Court, which was created in the court reform acts. It has limited jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, domestic relations and juvenile cases, as well as exercising supervision over the Magistrates Court.

Source: North Carolina Courts


North Carolina County Government History

Counties and Their Governments

In pre-Revolutionary North Carolina, the county was the primary political and geographical unit. The colony relied heavily upon the county for the administration of local government. Justices of the peace, as a body or court, administered the affairs of the county. The justices were usually chosen from the ranks of the county’s wealthiest leaders. Independence from the British crown brought no major changes in this system. In the early days of statehood, the governor appointed justices. In making his appointments, however, the governor often relied on recommendations from the General Assembly. Members of the legislature had a powerful voice in the selection of justices of the peace for their county, a voice that also gave legislators a good deal of influence in the government at the county level.

Justices of the peace in each county formed a Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Any three justices, sitting together, constituted a quorum for the transaction of business. Justices typically met each January to select a chairman and five of their members to hold regular court session for the year. During their early existence, Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions appointed county sheriffs, coroners and constables. These offices later became elective positions with the sheriff and coroner elected from the county at large and constables from captain’s militia muster districts. Justices of the peace also appointed clerks of court, registers of deeds, county attorneys, county trustees or treasurer, county surveyors and wardens of the poor. Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions undertook judicial, as well as administrative, functions. The administrative duties included assessing and levying taxes; establishing and maintaining roads, bridges, and ferries; granting licenses to taverns and controlling food prices; and erecting and controlling mills. Through their power of appointment, justices supervised the work of law enforcement officers, administrative officers of the court, surveyors and the wardens of the poor. Sheriffs typically collected taxes. In their judicial capacity, Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions heard all civil cases except those assigned by law to a single justice or to a higher court. Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions adjudicated probate, dower and guardianship cases and administered estates. They had jurisdiction in criminal cases in which the punishment did not extend to life, limb or member.

The county itself was a single political unit. There were no townships and Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, through their appointive and administrative powers, exerted strong control over county affairs. Voters effectively had no direct control over these courts, which meant they had no direct control over county government. This rather undemocratic arrangement continued until the end of the Civil War.

When the Constitution of North Carolina was rewritten in 1868, the drafters, many of whom were acquainted with local government systems in other parts of the country, devised a new and more democratic plan of organization for the counties. The position of justice of the peace was retained, but their powers were substantially reduced and the old Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions were eliminated. Judicial responsibilities were distributed between the justices and the North Carolina Superior Court, while the administrative powers justices had once exercised were assigned to county commissions composed of five members elected at large by each county’s voters. County commissions managed public buildings, schools, roads and bridges, and all county financial affairs, including taxation and collection. The wide appointive powers of the Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions were not transferred to the county commissions. Voters in each county now elected the sheriff, coroner, clerk of court, register of deeds, surveyor and treasurer. Sheriffs continued to serve as tax collector. Each county was divided into townships, a distinct innovation in North Carolina, and the voters of each township elected two justices of the peace and a clerk who served as the governing body of the township. The township board, under the direct supervision of its county commission, managed road and bridge construction, maintenance and repair. The township boards also conducted property assessments for taxation purposes. Each township had a constable and a school committee. The post-war changes in county government were designed initially to favor the Republican Party. The party’s base in North Carolina consisted at first of newly enfranchised blacks who had been slaves just three years before, as well as of poorer whites who had opposed secession and remained loyal to the Union throughout the Civil War. Ending the ability of justices of the peace to dominate county governments was meant to destroy forever the political power of the landowners, professional people and merchants who had dominated state government before the war and, in many cases, had led the secession movement. Most of the former ruling class had been disenfranchised by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States because they had "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof" by actively supporting the Confederacy. These elites formed a new political party called the Conservative Party devoted to restoring as much of the pre-war social and governmental system as was possible under the circumstances. One of their primary targets was the new system of county government contained in the Constitution of 1868. Seven years after the signing of the Constitution of 1868 established county commissions and townships, political control of state government shifted back to the antebellum ruling class. They wasted little time in re-arranging the system of country government to retain that control permanently. A constitutional convention in 1875 amended the Constitution of North Carolina to allow the General Assembly to modify the plan of county government established in 1868.

The legislature was quick to exercise its newly-won authority. County commissions were not abolished outright, but their members would now be selected by each county’s justices of the peace rather than by vote of the people. And, while county commissions retained most of the administrative responsibilities entrusted to them in the 1868 constitution, their decisions on matters of substance required approval of the majority of county justices, all of whom were elected by the legislature. Justices of the peace administered all elections. In many counties, the board of commissioners was appointed by the state legislative. This troubling arrangement lasted for twenty years. The right of the people to elect county commissioners was restored in most counties in 1895. At the same time, the requirement that county commissions gain the approval of a majority of the county’s justices of the peace before their administrative decisions could be implemented was repealed. Townships were stripped of their powers, but they were retained as convenient administrative subdivisions, primarily for road building and maintenance purposes. Finally, in 1905 the people of all 100 counties in North Carolina regained direct control of their respective county commissions through the ballot box.

Counties remain a fundamental unit of local government in North Carolina to this day. They are not, however, completely independent entities. Nearly 50 years ago, a majority of the North Carolina Supreme Court had this to say about the relationship between counties and state government:

In the exercise of ordinary government functions, [counties] are simply agencies of the State, constituted for the convenience of local administration in certain portions of the State’s territory, and in the exercise of such functions they are subject to almost unlimited legislative control, except when the power is restricted by constitutional provisions.

This statement still adequately sums up the balance of power between counties and the state in North Carolina. If the General Assembly decides to assign counties any given power or responsibility and the state constitution does not specifically prohibit it, county administrations must accept the legislature’s decisions. The role counties play in administering policies set by the General Assembly, however, shifts almost constantly as successive generations of legislators adopt different policies and implementation strategies.

Financial emergency and stress have often led state legislators to re-examine of the allocation of governmental responsibilities between state and local governments. Until Governor Angus W. McLean’s administration (1925-1929), the state allowed counties, cities and other local units almost unlimited freedom to borrow money and issue bonds for various local purposes. Many counties, their commissions unsophisticated in matters of governmental finance, issued too much debt and saw their credit ratings drop to the point where they had to pay crippling rates of interest.

Some counties even faced bankruptcy because of their fiscal imprudence. Based on this experience and recognizing a statewide concern with excessive local debt, the legislature in 1927 established the County Government Advisory Commission, giving it the statutory authority necessary to correct the situation. This commission worked hard to reform local government financing throughout the state and its successor, the Local Government Commission, remains one of the bulwarks of North Carolina government today.

Experience with various local arrangements for road building and maintenance had a comparable effect on state policy. It is not accidental that North Carolina counties are no longer responsible for this work. Reflecting the concern of the people of the state, the General Assembly recognized that the state’s future economic interests dictated a coordinated transportation planning and construction effort on a scale far greater than any single county could undertake on its own. The legislators defined state policy on roads accordingly and the impetus for transportation planning and construction passed to the state.

Comparable re-definitions of the proper balance of responsibilities between state and county governments have become commonplace in the latter part of the 20th century. Responsibility for operating schools, conducting elections, housing the state’s system of lower courts and their records, maintaining property ownership and mortgage records, enforcing much of the state’s criminal law, administering public health and public welfare programs, and carrying on state programs designed to promote the development of agriculture has shifted, in large measure, between the county and the state level for much of this century. Some of these functions are the responsibility of county commissions, others are assigned to other county government boards that have varying relationships with their respective county commission. It appears clear, however, that North Carolina will continue to depend on its county governments to carry out a large number of essential governmental operations for the foreseeable future.

Source: The North Carolina Manual


James Lea of Caswell County

That the Bankston and Lea families were early on the scene in that part of North Carolina that became Caswell County is supported by the following excerpt from the 1810 letter to the editor written by Bartlett Yancey, Jr.:
This county was first settled about the year 1750; from that time until 1754 or 5, there were about 8 or 10 families in that part of the county, now known by the name of Caswell: A family by the name of Reynolds, and two others by the name of D[page edge worn] and Bankston were among the first settlers; not one of the family are now in county, and it is believed not one of their descendants: The Lea's, Graves', Patersons, & Kimbros came to this County about 1753, 54 & 55: they came from Orange and Culpepper in Virginia: Several hundred of there families and their descendants are now living in the County: The object of the first settlers, was to possess themselves of fertile land, and good pasture: I am told by the first settlers, that cane was so plenty, at that time, that their cattle [smudged] fat all thru winter without feeding.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Slave Cohabitation Records (North Carolina)

Although there was no legal recognition of their unions and, in some cases, laws strictly forbade it, slaves married. Like the whites who lived about them, they chose their partners from among their fellow workers on their own plantation or from a local farm. On rare occasions, owners would choose the partners for their slaves. It has been estimated that one out of ten slave marriages were arranged in this fashion. And, in an even more rare-- although not unheard of--situation, some masters actually treated their slaves like breeding stock.

Those Slaves who were allowed their own choice in the matter usually chose a husband or wife when they were in their mid to late teens. The owners, as well as the parents, had to approve of the choice. Even though owners frowned upon their slaves taking a partner from a nearby farm, the practice was fairly common. Male slaves had "'broad" wives. That is, they had wives who lived "abroad," or on another plantation. The men would work and live on their owner's farm but would visit their wives once or twice a week, usually Wednesdays and Saturdays after work. During these visits, the husband might bring a gift to his wife and family: a few extra vegetables, a possum, or a mess of fish, and the wife would fix a large meal, mend her husband's clothing, and generally make a fuss over him. In some cases, owners were known to purchase a slave so that families such as these might live together. After all, slaves who stayed on the place and who were not slipping off to attend to family business on a nearby farm were,

The marriage ceremonies for most slaves involved a simple exchange of vows at a prayer meeting followed by the couple jumping over a broom. Some slaves located on larger plantations (usually the house servants) could expect a bit more. There were owners who would dress up the bride and groom, throw a feast, and invite the neighbors white and black. Often these "special" slave marriages would occur at Christmas when the work had been stopped and the master's extended family would be visiting. But very few slaves could expect such treatment.

Most slave wedding ceremonies were performed by the master or by one of the slaves who served as the preacher in the slave quarters. Only rarely did a white minister marry slaves, although this seems to have been more common in North Carolina than in other slave states. Most owners were, perhaps, uneasy at the prospect of having one of their own ministers create a bond that economics might force them to break. The great sticking point for slave marriages were found in the vows, themselves. A Christian ceremony that had no status in law and that created a bond that could easily be broken by a third party could not contain the words "till death do you part." They were absent in a slave marriage ceremony or were replaced by phrases such as "till death or distance do you part."

Whether they had jumped over a broom in the quarters or had taken vows in a suit and dress on the verandah of the big house, following the Civil War many of the newly freed men and women wished to have their unions recognized by the state. In 1866, the General Assembly passed "An Act Concerning Negroes and Persons of Color Or of Mixed Blood." This act called for blacks and those with mixed blood who had been living as husband and wife to appear before the Clerk of the County Court or a Justice of the Peace to have this fact recorded. They were expected to have their cohabitation registered before September 1, 1866, if they were to be recognized as married.

Found in the offices of the various county Registers of Deeds or in the State Archives are bound volumes attesting to the strength of the human heart. They bear such titles as "Negro Cohabitation Certificates," "Record of Marriage and Cohabitation," and "Record of Marriages by Freedmen."

In a great many cases, cohabitation bonds are the only extant record that reveal the husband or wife of a slave or, for that matter, the owner of a particular slave. For these reasons, they are extremely valuable to genealogists interested in African American families. And for those of us who sometimes need reassurance about the resilience of a human heart in a hostile world, they are equally important.

In Cohabitation Bonds for Rowan County, NC published by the Genealogical Society of Rowan County, June Watson transcribes and indexes the approximately 350 cohabitation bonds that exist for Rowan County, North Carolina. The original bonds are held by Rowan County's Register of Deeds. The transcriptions presented here were made from microfilm prepared by the North Carolina State Archives.

The History Room holds an index to all cohabitation bonds for the state of North Carolina. For more information about slave marriage customs, please consult: Eugene D. Genovese. Roll, Jordan Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974).

Source: Rowan Public Library

Here is an example of such a slave cohabitation record from Person County, North Carolina:


While the above slave wedding dress did not originate in North Carolina, it is indicative of the importance placed on the relationship. Here is background information on this image:

This hand-sewn, white, plain-woven cotton homespun wedding dress was made for slave Sarah Tate around 1845 by her young mistress. It is touching evidence of the rapport that existed between some mistresses and their slaves. Sarah treasured the dress until the day she died at nearly one hundred years of age. Sarah had been brought to Texas with her daughter by the Edgar family of Concrete, DeWitt County. (San Antonio Museum Association, San Antonio, Texas)

From the book Stitched from the Soul - Slave Quilts from the Antebellum South

By Gladys-Marie Fry

The University of North Carolina Press

Copyright 1990 by Gladys-Marie Fry


Friday, November 16, 2007

Obituary of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix (1846-1931)

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The Caswell Messenger Newspaper 6 Aug 1931

Two Thousand People Attend the
Funeral of Dr. J. A. Pinnix Thursday

Beloved Physician and Proud Veteran of the Confederacy is Laid to Rest at Bethel Church in the Presence of What Was Estimated to be the Largest Concourse of People Ever Gathered at a Funeral in Caswell. Rev. J.S. Carden of Durham and Rev. J.S. Jones of Cross Roads Church Officiate.

The finest character created by any writer of the 19th century was the good Scotch physician, Doctor McClure, (Dr. John Watson) in Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush, according to Bishop William McDowell's opinion. One cannot read of great unselfish services rendered to scattered people of the extensive parish in the rugged highlands of Scotland by Dr. McClure without realizing that he is in the presence of one of the really great men of the earth.

On last Thursday the family and numerous friends of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix of Caswell County laid to rest in the quite country church yard at Baynes Store the mortal remains of a similar character, who had spent his long and useful life in devoted and unselfish service to mankind. It was estimated that there were two thousand people present at the funeral. Twelve ministers were there, two of whom officiated. These were Rev J.S. Carden, pastor of the Christian Church in Durham and the Rev. J.S. Jones, pastor of the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church.

The aged physician had been a loyal Mason and was buried with Masonic honors by the Caswell Lodge No. 539, assisted by the Yanceyville, Burlington and Mebane lodges, Dr. Patton of Elon College acted as master of ceremonies. Dr. Pinnix had long been the chairman of the Oxford Orphanage committee in his lodge. He loved Masonry devotedly, it is said.

Dr. John Alexander Pinnix, son of John Calvin and Barbara Pinnix was born in Caswell county on Oct. 8 1846, and died at his home in Caswell County at Baynes Store on July 29th, 1931, which made the days of his life to be 84 years, nine months and 21 days.

As a young man he read medicine at The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore and under the direction of Dr. Yancey of Yanceyville. He began the practice of medicine in 1875 while living at his birthplace in the Stoney Creek township. Thirty-five years ago he moved to Corbett, where he has lived and labored ever since. In August of 1894 Dr. Pinnix was married to Miss Ester Walker, daughter of Lieut. L.H. Walker of Caswell, who survives her husband. This union was blessed with one child, Mrs. A. Clay Murray, of Corbett, who, with her husband, resides with her mother. A foster daughter, Mrs. Clyde Fuqua of Hightowers also survives.

Dr. Pinnix was the last of his father's family. Some cousins of his now living are, W.B. Pinnix of Danville, Mrs. Virginia Hatchett of Ruffin and J. Charles Pinnix, a lawyer in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. W. B. Pinnix of Danville is the son of Alexander Kerr Pinnix. He says the name of "Alexander " in Dr. Pinnix's name was placed there in honor of Alexander K. Pinnix, who mas a magistrate at Pelham for 50 years.

Dr. Pinnix had a honorable war record, as a follow of Lee and Jackson, and is said to have been a gallant soldier. He entered the Confederate Army at the age of 16 and served continuously from then to the close of the war, being paroled as a lieutenant at Appomattox following the surrender. He kept his parole which is said to be the only one now known to be in the county. He was a member of company E, Eleventh North Carolina Regiment.

Mrs. Pinnix said that the Doctor accepted the Christian faith many years ago, but did not make a public profession of his faith until about ten years ago. She said the good Doctor assured her, before his death, that he was ready to go. When Kirk's army marched to Caswell to avenge the death of Stevens, some of Kirk's men captured Dr. Pinnix at Slade's Mill, and were marching with him towards Yanceyville. On the march Dr. Pinnix, then but a young man, escaped and hastened ahead to warn the people of Yanceyville that Kirk was coming.

No one but the Recording Angel knows how many people Dr. Pinnix has helped, during the half century of his active practice as a physician. It is said that he practiced medicine for love not money. He was never known to ask if the patient was able to pay, before responding to a call, and he never failed to go when called, even by a pauper.

Dr. John Pinnix has helped many people to purchase a farm or a home and was never known to foreclose on any one. He always gave his debtors all the time needed.

In the death of Caswell's veteran physician many have lost a wise counsellor. He would write a deed or a will for anyone and would never take a cent of pay. In his latter years when his trembling hand made writing difficult for him, he would ask his daughter, Mrs. Murray, to serve as his amanuensis.

Those who knew Dr. Pinnix well say that he lived only to help his fellow-men, as a tender hearted, skillful physician, as a wise counsellor, as a generous benefactor and as a patriotic citizen Dr. Pinnix was a zealous Confederate. But when the war was over he emulated Robert E. Lee and gave ardent and sincere devotion to the Union.

Such a man deserves a fitting memorial. The Messenger suggest that the proper steps be taken to secure and establish a fitting memorial to the high character and beneficent service of Dr. John Alexander Pinnix.

(click photograph for larger image)


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Caswell County Courthouse Fire

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(click on photograph for larger image)

In 1951, the Caswell County Courthouse had a fire in the attic/roof area. Above are two photographs of that event. A long-time Yanceyville resident and friend of the Caswell County Historical Association took these photographs and kindly allowed them to be shown here. That person, through the Caswell County Historical Association, does retain all rights to these images, which cannot be reproduced elsewhere without written consent.

In the photograph taken on the court house roof, the person second from the left is Roy Irvin ("Jiggs") Hodges (1918-1992). He was the son of Claude Henry Hodges (1894-1960) and Addie Linnie Poteat Hodges (1892-1970). Jiggs Hodges married Helen Powell.


Caswell Artists League

Caswell Artists League Hosts Studio Tour

With a spate of new orange and red foliage having appeared and clear, crisp weather predicted, this weekend should be perfect for traversing Caswell County to take part in the Caswell Artists League First Annual Studio Tour.

The tour will be held Saturday, November 10 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday, November 11 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Stretching about 25 miles diagonally across the county, tour stops will include the studios of artists Shirley Cadmus, Mike Stanley, Louellen Vernon-White, Russell Watlington and Pat Ewalt.

"Caswell Artists League members featured on the tour will have their studios open and fine art and craft will be on view and available for purchase," Caswell Artists League tour literature states.

"Some of the artists will be demonstrating their art or craft. All will be available to answers questions and share their time and expertise."

Tour Artists

Shirley Cadmus produces raku vessels that are more meditative than functional. The luminous glazes complement the sophisticate forms. Shirley's pottery is sought after by those who appreciate fine art pottery.

Pat Ewalt captures light and shadow in her oil paintings to create landscapes and still lifes that encourage the viewer to appreciate their everyday surroundings. Commonplace subjects are elevated by their treatment on the canvas and our appreciation for how the artists sees and interprets the world is renewed by Pat's work.

Mike Stanley begins with a rough block of reclaimed tree and creates an array of forms that are beautiful and functional. Mike's woodwork ranges from cutting boards, bows, utensils and vessels to furniture reproductions. Mike's studio and adjoining Woodhinge Gallery features his work and the work of other Caswell Artists League members.

Louellen Vernon-White creates detailed etchings depicting guardian angel dogs and cats of various breeds. Louellen's guardian angel etchings are intended to offer comfort to pet owners who have pets that need a guardian angel and for those who have lost beloved pets.

Russell Watlington renders meticulous pen and ink drawings and vibrant watercolor paintings which capture rural scenes in Caswell County. His work is widely appreciated and collected in Caswell and surrounding counties.

The Caswell Artists League

"The newly formed League has emerged from the artists' desire to find new ways to promote awareness and appreciation for fine art and fine craft," League literature continues. "With this primary vision, the artists have decided to invite the public into their studios. All of the artists reside in rural settings with farm life visible outside their windows and doorways. The artists gain inspiration from these natural environments. Some of these extraordinary treasures are known nationally and internationally.

"Join the free self-guided tour and discover where and how the artists work. Some studios will be open to the public for the first time and all will offer unequaled access to the workplaces in which highly refined art and craft is created. You will meet the artists and be rewarded with fresh insights and an understanding of the creative process."

The Caswell Artists League First Annual Studio Tour has been made possible, in part, by a grant from the Caswell Council for the Arts, with funding from the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina State Legislature and the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.

For more information, including a tour map, and to see examples of the works of Caswell Artists League members, go to the group's web site at

Article courtesy of The Caswell Messenger.


Orange School Bus

The following Yanceyville "memory" kindly was shared by its author, Ann Newman Gunn Everitt:


The bus was on old one, derelict from the School Bus Garage across the back yard from the Courthouse, no good because it had no engine. But all the windows were there, and it made a place we could store our things and meet, even if it was raining (but not in cold weather--with no engine, no heat). Of course we hadn't always met in a bus. Before we got the bus, we met in the basement of the Agriculture Building (the “Ag” building) but that wasn't really OURS. Not like the bus. We had to share the “Ag” with Tuesday night Rotary Club meetings, canning workshops, and community suppers of all kinds (that was about the only place in town to meet, except for some church basements).

One side of the basement was the local library, a place where I spent a lot of time. I always liked the shaded brick steps that came down from the front lawn on the library side of the building. Sitting there on a hot summer day with a book just-gotten from the library was bliss. It was cool and always slightly damp, there between the brick of the building and the stone wall penning in the courthouse lawn, and nobody could see you, unless someone else came to the library which didn't happen too often. Even on the hottest day that stone wall was cool, and the moss was always green and soft, and there was enough moisture for other things to grow, sometimes strange wild flowers, sometimes just dandelions.

At times when we had Girl Scouts, we would play there, or just sit on the steps, especially when it was real hot, waiting for our leader, Miss Patty, to come across the square from the Ford place where she worked. Eventually, when we got the bus to meet in, it was parked just behind the Ag building, so we still had the steps and the courthouse wall, and the courthouse itself towering above us. Its a good thing, too, because the bus was mostly in the sun, and those windows wouldn't all open so it got hot--hot and dry and dusty so you couldn't stand it, and we would go hold our meeting on those cool steps.

The courthouse was always a sort of challenge, a place you were afraid of but curious about, all at the same time. Sometimes we would go exploring, when we could. The first floor wasn't much, just offices, down a long dim hall with big heavy doors at either end, but it smelled old; the smell of old paper and old furniture and the old ink that you had to dip your pen into. But I liked Mr. Blaylock's office, with all the BIG old books, but then I liked books anyway.

The basement was really spooky. It was dim, and the ceiling was low. The stone walls had rounded openings from one room to the next, some of them boarded up, with doors in the board walls. You could imagine anything being there--things left from years and years ago, especially ghosts. It looked like a place where Poe stories really happened. They really did have almost everything there (maybe the ghosts, too), from stacks of schoolbooks, to the moonshine still waiting for court upstairs.

The courtroom was upstairs. You went up twisty stairs on either side of the front porch (even the porch had an upstairs!) or up a long straight steps down at the back end of the hall. But mostly you couldn't use the back steps because it came out in the judge's room, and the door at the bottom was kept locked. That was the stairway Chicken Stephens came down to get murdered. At least that's what they said.

You could go up the front steps though, so sometimes we would go up when there wasn't any court (I went when there was court, too, but not with the Girl Scouts) and we could go in and walk around the big courtroom. There wasn’t much of anything there, just the benches and some tables in front with a fancy railing around them, and the place up in front where the judge sat. When we felt daring, we would go up and sit in his chair, but you always felt someone was going to come and tell you not to. And sometimes the judge's door would be left unlocked, and we could look in there. There wasn't much there, but you could see where the steps when down, and think about Chicken Stephens, and get prickles down your back.

When we were REALLY daring, and could talk Miss Patty into it, we would go right on up the stairs past the courtroom level and into the attic. There was a door at the top of the steps, not a regular door, short, and made out of boards with cross pieces inside. Inside, in the part of the attic over the stairways and the porch, it was dark so you had to wait till your eyes got used to it to be able to see at all. After a while, you could see an opening in a wall, and once you got to it you could see pretty good because you were in the big attic over the whole rest of the building, and there was light coming in from the tower up in the middle. There was a walkway through the rafters from that doorway up to the middle, with railings on either side. Everybody who went up there must have had to hold on to the railings because they were polished smooth from wear. We had to hold on because Miss Patty made us, and besides, we probably would have anyway, because we were way up above even the ceiling of the courtroom, and you could look down through the openings in the middle and see all the way down to the benches. But you had to be careful about looking down, because if you didn't look up, you could run into some of the rafters that were all over the place. There was always someone who was afraid to walk out on that walkway (it was almost like a bridge), but when everyone else went, they would be just as afraid to stay by themselves in the dark room, so they would finally decide to come on with the rest of us.

Out in the middle, at the end of the walk, was the place at the bottom of the tower, and the weight from the clock, going back and forth. That was a big box-shaped thing on the end of a long iron rod, and you had to dodge it as you went by. Then you went up a short, steep set of steps to a landing that was level with the roof. You could either go out a little door at the top of the steps, on the back of the tower, or you could go on up even steeper steps to where the clock was. You could see all the works from the clock, all sorts of gears and things, in the middle of the tower, with rods going out the the clock faces on the sides of the tower, and up above that the bell that rang the hours and you could hear all over town. You didn't want to be in there when it rang.

The best fun was to go out the little door onto the roof. I think Miss Patty must have been very brave to let us go out there. She even when out with us. It was like Yanceyville was a whole different place when you saw it from up there. Everything looked different when you could look down on its roof, and you could see how all the roads went and where things were, things you couldn't see from the ground. If you went up to the edge of the roof it made you feel like jelly inside and you would get prickles in your legs so you would back off and go and sit down close to the tower. But after a while it would wear off, and you could walk around without it bothering you. Sometimes we would even take picnic lunches up there, just sandwiches I guess, or maybe leftover Girl Scout Cookies, and something to drink.

That was fun, to be way up above everyone else, eating and drinking on the roof, and watching what went on down below. You could watch everybody walking around the square, and they wouldn’t even know you were up there watching, but sometimes someone would look up and see you, and wave. And if you did get brave, you could go to the edge, and look down and see the orange bus.

Ann Gunn Everitt

(click on photograph for larger image)

While this photograph was taken almost a half a century before Ann Gunn Everitt wrote her memory, it does show the popularity of excursions on the courthouse roof.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Susan Jane Butler Sampler (1834)

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Susan Jane Butler Sampler (12 June 1834)
Caswell County, North Carolina

The sampler pictured above will be auctioned at Mebane Antique Auction Gallery's December Americana Sale on Friday 14 December 2007. Set forth below is some information on Susan Jane Butler and her family.

Susan Jane Butler 1834 Sampler
Caswell County, North Carolina

Susan Jane Butler was born about 1822 in Caswell County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Joshua Butler and Susan Lovelace Butler of the Locust Hill Township of Caswell County. Susan never married and lived at home with her parents. Her oldest brother, William, married Keturah Brown* about 1845 in Caswell County. Her youngest brother, Joshua, died in 1862 (age 28) while serving during the Civil War in Company D of the 13th North Carolina Infantry Regiment.

Susan’s younger sister, Emiline (“Emily“), married Joseph W. Nance June 4, 1853, in Caswell County. Joseph Nance was a “tobacconist” from Yadkin County, North Carolina. They had at least three children, Mildred born in 1855, Cora born in 1858, and Bettie born in 1861. Joseph Nance died October 25, 1864, of disease while being held as a prisoner of war at Elmira, New York. He was a full Corporal serving during the Civil War in Company F, 28th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Emily Butler Nance brought her three daughters back home to Caswell County after the Civil War.

Susan’s youngest sister Mariah was not married by 1870 and still lived at home.

Joshua Butler, father of Susan Jane Butler, was born c.1797 in Guilford County, North Carolina. He was the son of Zachariah Gray Taylor and Elizabeth Driskill Butler. He served in the 11th Company, Caswell County Regiment in 1812. Joshua Butler married Susan Lovelace about 1818 in North Carolina. Susan Lovelace was born in Virginia, the daughter of James and Violet Webster Lovelace. Joshua Butler farmed in the Locust Hill area of Caswell County. He is listed as a “tobacconist” in the 1850 Census. Joshua and Susan Lovelace Butler had at least 5 children:

1. William F. Butler (born 1820) married Keturah Brown.* William is listed as a “tobacconist” in the 1850 Census. In the 1860 census, he was listed as a “teacher.”

2. Susan Jane Butler (born 1822) did not marry and lived with her parents.

3. Emiline D. Butler (born 1832) married Joseph W. Nance 4 June 1853 in Caswell County, North Carolina. Joseph W. Nance enlisted as a private on 18 June 1861 in Yadkin County, North Carolina. He served in Company F, 28TH North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to full Corporal. He died of disease at the Elmira, New York, prisoner of war camp. Joseph W. Nance is buried at Woodlawn National Cemetery, CSA section, site 851.

4. Joshua H. Butler (born 1835) served in Company D, 13th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He enlisted as a private on 1 May 1861 in Caswell County, North Carolina (age 27). He died 14 October 1862 in Caswell County, North Carolina.

5. Mariah G. Butler (born 1837) did not marry and lived at home.

William F. Butler Family

William F. Butler married Keturah Brown* (born 1824 in Virginia). William and Keturah had at least seven children. William and Keturah lived in the Locust Hill Township and were neighbors of William’s parents, Joshua and Susan Butler.

1. Elizabeth Butler (born 1849)
2. Susan Butler (born 1853)
3. Preston Butler (born 1855)
4. Martha Butler(born 1857)
5. John Butler (born 1858)
6. James Butler (born 1860)
7. Jefferson Butler (born 1862)


1840 US Federal Census, Caswell County, North Carolina
1850 US Federal Census, Locust Hill Township, Caswell County, North Carolina
1860 US Federal Census, Locust Hill Township, Caswell County, North Carolina
1870 US Federal Census, Locust Hill Township, Caswell County, North Carolina
1860 US Federal Census, East End Township, Yadkin County, North Carolina
NC Muster Rolls 1812-1814
American Civil War Soldiers Records
Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865
US Veterans Gravesites, 1775-2006
Family Sources, Provo, Utah

* The basis for ascribing the Brown surname to the wife of William Butler is the following, which is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 138 (Article #99, "Family of Jefferson Davis Butler" by Iola B. Murphy):
Jefferson Davis Butler was born Oct. 12, 1861. His parents were William R. and Katurah Brown Butler. William Butler was born in Pittsylvania Co., Va. As a young man, he went to visit relatives who lived near St. Louis, Mo. While there, he met and fell in love with Katurah Brown, After much letter-writing and a train trip or two, they were married. After marrying, they lived in Caswell Co. They had eight children: Susan, Mattie, Bettie, Preston, John, James, Jefferson Davis "Jeff" and a young son who died early in life.

Jeff Butler, so called as a young man, went to visit his sister Susan one day. Susan had married Richard Graham and lived between Griers Presbyterian Church and Frogsboro. While there, he met Floretta Smith, a daughter of William Hill and Mary Dameron Smith. She was born Jan. 7, 1871. Jeff courted her for over two years before the were married. The settled in the community and had four children: Hurley Oscar, Elwood Marvin, Bertha Lea and Iola Dalice Butler.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lunsford Family Photographs

For larger images click on the following photographs:


The first photograph may be of Peyton Lee and Margaret Peggy Fuqua Lunsford.

The second photograph most likely is John Lunsford (seated) and Walter Lunsford (standing).

The third photograph may be Robert Fuqua Lunsford (seated) James Lunsford (standing).

The fourth photograph probably is George Washington Lunsford,.

The fifth photograph is George Washington Lunsford and Annie Belle Edwards Lunsford.

The sixth photograph is Annie Belle Edwards Lunsford.

Some of these images were tintype.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Monroe Long Postal Card (1896)

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(click on postal card for larger image)

The above Postal Card was addressed to Mr. Monroe Long (and Mrs. Long), Hycote, Caswell Co, NC. The name of the sender is uncertain, but could be P. G. Newton. The text is believed to be as follows (some punctuation added):

Home June 18

Dear Bro

I saw the boys
at Loch L-- last
night at preaching.
OK & happy they [expect] to return
Sat. I preach
again tomorrow.
Tell Mrs L. they are well. I [expect]
to go to Boston. There
you can send me
something to Roxboro.
Do [rush/push] the/my Ctail
[deer] dog. Love to all.
Yours frat. PG Newton

Given the date of the postal card, 18 June 1896, the addressee Monroe Long could be James Monroe Long (1843-1919), who married Winnie Taylor ( 1868-1940). However, the "boys" to whom reference was made probably were not children of Monroe Long and Winnie Taylor Long, because their oldest was born in 1893.

The address, "Hycote, Caswell Co NC" certainly is consistent with the postal card's being addressed to James Monroe Long (1843-1919), because his property was located on the Hyco/Hycote Creek. Today this is in the Hyco Lake area of Caswell/Person County.

Also, query whether the "Boston" reference is to South Boston, Virginia, which is just north of Roxboro, North Carolina.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Gabriel Lea (1758-1834) Will

Gabriel Lea's Will
Caswell County Court - October Term 1834 - Book M Page 433

In the name of God Amen. I Gabriel Lea of Caswell County and State of North Carolina being of sound in perfect mind and memory blessed be God, do this 17th day November in the year of our Lord, Eighteen hundred and twenty-six, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in the manner following:

That is to say I first will and bequeath to my beloved wife Elizabeth during her lifetime such property as she and mine son's William and James may think proper to appropriate to her for her maintenance and support.

2nd after the first appropriation is made as pointed out in the 1st clause. It is further my Will and desire that the whole of property and estate of every description whatsoever be divided and appropriated in the manner herein, after pointed out, To Wit: I first will and bequeath to my son James that partial or part of my land of which he has made his improvements on so much there of as in here in specified here in to say, beginning at the corner near a large white oak at the east in of my peach orchard and running from there due north until it intersects William A. Lea's land. All my land east of said line be it more or less I will give and bequeath to him as in the article herein specified.

It is furthermore my Will and desire in the settlement of my estate that my daughter Mary Morton shall be charged with five hundred dollars as a part of my estate which she has already received that being the estimated value of the tract of land on which she now lives and for which I have made her husband Elijah Morton a deed to the same without having received any equivalent value for the same.

It is furthermore my Will and desire that the remainder of my estate of every description whatsoever be divided in the following manner To Wit: I will and bequeath to my beloved children as follows:

To my son William two equal shares of my estate

To my son Vincent nothing saving my love and affection

To my son Gabriel B. one equal part

To my daughter Elizabeth one equal part

To my daughter Mary one equal part

To my son James one equal part

To my daughter Phoebe one equal part

To my daughter Barbara one equal part

Making in the whole eight parts, and I hereby make and ordain my son's William and James my executors this my last Will and Testament in witness where of I the said Gabriel Lea have to this my last Will and Testament have set my hand and seal this day and year above written.

In the presence of: Gabriel Lea (Signed)

James Darby
James M. Lea
Willis M. Lea

Transcribed by Latham Mark Phelps


Jacob Thompson (1810-1885)

(click on photograph for larger image)

This portrait of Jacob Thompson is from Mississippi, As a Province, Territory, and State: With Biographical Notices of Eminent Citizens, Volume I, J. F. H. Claiborne (1880) at 446a.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Will of Thomas Kimbrough (1777)

Following is the will of Thomas Kimbrough, signed 25 September 1777, from Red Book A, page 25, Caswell County, North Carolina: December Court, 1777.

In the name of God amen I Thomas Kimbrow of Caswell County and State of North Carolina being Sick and Weak in Body, but of Sound Mind Memory and Understanding, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following. First of all I recommend my Soul to God who gave it,trusting that the same will receive happiness in the World to come through the Merits of our blessed Redeemer Jesus Christ; and my Body to be buried in a Christian like manner at the discretion of my Executors; And as to my Worldly

Estate with which it has pleased Almighty God to bless me in this Life, I dispose of the same in the following manner to wit:

IMPRIMIS, I lend to my beloved Wife Ellianah during her natural Life my Plantation whereon I now live together with the following Negroes to wit, Sam, George, Cate, Lucey and Phebe; also all my Household Furniture, Working Tools, one horse called Sorrel, and Mare called Bonney, one mare called Fly, Eight Cows & Calves, four Ewes & Lambs, three Sows & piggs and Pork out of my Stock to support her and the abovementioned Negroes one year; and after the demise of my said Wife I Will that the Plantation and Land belonging thereto abovementioned be Sold by my Executors hereafter named or the Survivor of them

and the Money arising from such Sale to be equally divided between my Sons John, William, Robert, Thomas & my Daughter Suckey Nowel, to them their heirs and assigns forever. And it is likewise my Will, after the Decease of my said Wife, that the Negroes hereby lent to my Wife and their increase if any (except

one Child Hereafter Will'd to my Son Robert & his Children) together with all the Furniture working tools & Stock which may then remain belonging to my Estate, be equally divided between my Sons John, William, Thomas, Robert and my Daughter Suckey Nowel; to them their Heirs and Assigns forever; But in case my Son Thomas should die without any Heir lawfully begotten of his Body, then my Will is that all such Estate which is or may be divided to him in this Will, be equally divided amongst my several Children abovenamed, to them their heirs and Assigns forever, I hereby empower my said Executors to sell the abovementioned Horse & Mares, & furnish others in their stead, if necessary or required by my said wife.

ITEM, I give to my Son John one hundred & eight acres of Land be the same more or less, Beginning at a Beach on the North side of the South fork of Country line Creek, running thence E. 114 poles to a black Oak, thence South 154 Poles to a poplar, thence W. 114 poles to a White Oak, thence North 154 Poles to the

begining; also one Negro Boy called Britain to him, his Heirs & Assigns forever and it is my Will that he be paid the sum of Fifty three pounds six Shillings & eight pence Proclaim Money out of my Estate which I justly owe him.

ITEM, I give to my Son William one Negroe Boy called Gabe and Eighty pounds Proclamation Money to him his Heirs & Assigns forever.

ITEM, I lend to my Son Robert during his natural Life the Negroe Woman called Lydda, and the first Child which be born of any of the Negroes lent to my Wife, which may live to be Eighteen months old; and after the Decease of my said Son Robert, I Will the said two Negroes Lydda & the Child, together with their increase, to be equally divided amongst my said Son Robert's Children.

ITEM, I Will that the Tract of Land whereon my Son Robert now lives may be saved at the Expense of my Estate & that my Executors furnish my said Son Robert with Money sufficient for that purpose whenever the Land Office shall be opened; and it is further my Will that the said Tract of Land be divided as follows to wit; that twenty five acres adjoining my Son Thomases Land on the North side, be laid off & confirmed to my said Son Thomas his Heirs & Assigns forever; That the remaining part be divided by Michaels Branch, That the Land

on the South side, to belong to my Son Robert, and that, on the North side, to belong to my Son Graves, to them their Heirs & Assigns forever.

ITEM, I give to my Daughter Sarah Brown one Negroe Boy called Ben & Ten pounds proclamation Money to her her Heirs & Assigns Forever.

ITEM, I give to my Daughter Mary Bryant one Negroe Boy called Joe; Five pounds proclamation Money and all the Stock, Household furniture -- now in possession of her and Her husband for which I have a Bill of Sale.

ITEM, I give to my Daughter Betty Bruce one Negroe Girl called Daphney now in her possession, also the sum of Ten pounds proclamation Money to her her Heirs & Assigns forever.

ITEM, I give to my Daughter Nancy Turner one Negroe Boy called Sam and Ten pounds proclamation Money, to her her Heirs and Assigns forever,

ITEM, I give to my Daughter Frankey Carmon during her natural life, one Negroe Girl called Agg which She has now in possession and one Negroe Boy called Davey and after her Demise I will that the said Negroe Girl Agg & her increase (if any) and the said Negroe Boy Davey be equally divided amongst the Children of my said Daughter Frankey Carmon.

ITEM, I give for the support & maintenance of my Son Graves one Negroe Boy called Daniel and one hundred Pounds proc: Money to be placed in the hands of my Son John, which said Negroe & Money, (after the Decease of my son Graves) I Will to my said Son John his Heirs & Assigns forever.

ITEM, I give to my Sons John, William & Thomas all that Estate due to me for my Wifes Legacy or portion, from the Estate of my said Wifes deceas'd Father Thomas Graves, to be equally divided betwixt them.

ITEM, I Will that the remainder part of my Negroes and Stock which is not given & devised in this Will, be sold by my Executors and the Money arising from such Sale be applied towards paying off the several Legacies and other purposes given by this Will.

AND lastly I do Nominate, Constitute & appoint my Sons John and William, whole & Sole Executors of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking, and making void all other and former Will and Wills by me heretofore made,

IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & Affixed my Seal this 25 Day of Sept. 1777.

20 Sep 1777

Signed, Sealed, published, pronounced His and declared by the Testator to be & contain Thomas T Kimbroughhis last Will & Testament, in the presence of us


who in his presence & in the presence of each other hath subscribed our names as Witnesses

Willliam Gooch The Execution of the above Will ...

Jesse Benton (?) was proved by oaths of William Gooch

and Jesse Benton the witnesses .....

and ... to be recorded.

End if Will