Thursday, July 24, 2008

Charles Iverson Graves (1838-1896)

Charles Iverson Graves (1838-1896) was the son of John Williams (1792-1847) and Martha Hinton Graves (1798-1862) of North Carolina. Sometime before his birth, his parents joined relatives living in Newton County, Georgia, among them John Graves's cousin, Iverson Lewis Graves and Martha's brother John Hinton. John Graves's brother, Calvin Graves remained at Locust Hill in Caswell County, N.C., near Yanceyville. Calvin often advised his nephew Charles after the death of John Graves.

Charles attended the U.S. Naval Academy; served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy until 1861 when he became an officer in the Confederate Navy; taught school and operated a vegetable farm near Rome, Ga.; spent three years in Egypt as a lieutenant-colonel in the Egyptian army, 1875-1878; and worked as a civil engineer on construction of the Georgia Pacific, and Memphis & Vicksburg railroads, 1881-1884. He married Margaret Rockwell Lea in November 1862. They had five children: Charles Iverson, Jr., William Lea, Mary Hinton, Robert William, and Anne Parke.


John Bentley Page (1896-1959)

John Bentley Page was born near Yanceyville on March 14, 1896. His father, Ludolphus B. Page of Caswell, married Miss Parthenia Hodnett of Mt. Airy, Virginia. His grandfather, James Bentley Page, was a soldier in the Confederate Army. This grandsire did valiant service during the War between the States, and fought with much bravery for the Southern cause until he was taken prisoner in one of the fierce battles around Richmond and was sent to Point Lookout. Here he was held a prisoner of war until Lee's surrender. His grandfather, John Hodnett, was a Confederate soldier who went into the army from the state of Virginia.

It will be interesting to record that our young soldier was a great, great, great grandson of Starling Gunn, who fired the first gun at York, Pennsylvania, in the Revolutionary War, and who also had the very remarkable experience of being an eye witness to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. It will perhaps be of further interest to record that this same ancestor lies buried in the family burying ground near the present home of J. L. Murray, about two miles north of Yanceyville. Our young soldier attended the public schools of Caswell County, doing high school work at Yanceyville, after which he did work in the farm life school near Asheville, after which he was a student at Mt. Hermon, Mass, and also at Lincoln Memorial University.

On April 28, 1918, he was called by his local board, and sent to Camp Jackson, South Carolina, later transferred to Camp Greenleaf, Georgia, and still later to Camp Greene at Charlotte, North Carolina. He was a member of Motor Company No. 10, and Battalion No. 4, of the Motor Group in the Medical Corps of the Army. He remained in service from April 27, 1918, until January 10, 1919. The armistice putting an end to military activities, he did not go overseas. However, he remained in service until January 10, 1919, on which date, from Camp Greene, he was discharged from Military Service.

Source: Caswell County in the World War, 1917-1918: Service Records of Caswell County Men, George A. Anderson, Compiler (1921) at 129-130.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Caswell County World War II Deaths


Will of Zenas Bush (1776-1836)

WILL OF ZENAS BUSH, Montgomery Co., Tennessee

I, Zenas Bush of the County of Montgomery and State of Tennessee being of sound mind and having the due exercise of my rational powers, but knowing the uncertainty of human events, and of human life do ordain and make this my last will and testament in form following viz,

Item 1st It is my will that all my just [debt] be paid.

Item 2nd It is my will that all the property that I give shall be kept together for the benefit and use of my wife and children and that my executor shall in no case be compeled to sell my property what ever unless in his judgment it may be to the interest of my heirs to do so.

Item 3rd It is my wish that my wife Martha Bush shall have the direction and control of my property so far as it respects the use she may make of it in supporting herself and in supporting and educating my children during her widowhood but should she marry it is my wish that she shall have a life estate in one-fourth part of all my property of every description whatever.

Item 4th It is my wish that my executor shall have the power to sell or dispose of in any way any lands or other property belonging to my estate whenever in his estimation the interest of my wife or heirs may be promoted thereby -- and that he shall have power to purchase any lands or property which may benefit Him and he shall have powers to make or receive deeds for the same

Item 5th It is my wish that at the death or marriage of my wife that the property shall be equally divided among my children

Item 6th It is my wish that my son Howard B. Bush be my executor.

Under my hand and seal the 26th of December 1829

Zenas Bush (Seal)


L. C. Taylor ___ April Term 1830

Copy of will made at the Tennessee Library & Archives, Nashville, TN, and transcribed by me (Cathy Palm). Zenas Bush was my brother-in-law's ancestor.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Russell Carter Watlington

By Leigh Carter

Leigh Carter/Caswell Messenger Caswell County artist
Russell C. Watlington shows his latest work, framed and
displayed for visitors in his Yanceyville home. Each of
Watlington's pieces are done from Caswell County subject
matter including rural scenes and portraits.

Jul 08, 2008 - 11:24:23 pm CDT
Staff Writer

Rows and rows of pen and ink, charcoal and watercolor pictures line the walls of Caswell County artist Russell C. Watlington's home, many pieces displayed representing more than 220 hours of hard work.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Robert Lindsey Watlington, Jr. (1924-2003)

The following by Lucindy Willis appeared July 2008 in the Yancey House Restaurant online newsletter:

Letter from the Chef

At 6 a.m. a few mornings ago, Michael & I headed out the door to work. Instead of the wall of hot humidity that has greeted us every morning for the last month (reminding me why I do not miss living in Louisiana), we found the air cool & crisp. A bit begrudgingly, I drove to the restaurant, whipped up a dessert & a few sauces & wrote notes to the day crew. Two hours later, however, I found myself driving back home, & spending the next few hours checking the tomatoes, peppers, & blackberry plants, putting a few more Better Boys into the ground, & weeding a bit. It was a perfect morning, one that offered the hope of future veggies & wonderful memories of a gentleman farmer.

Michael & I bought our property on Farmer Lake in 1991. The next few years were spent clearing a place for a house & putting in a road to the lake. Although never having put my hand to the plough, I knew the moment I stepped onto the land that I wanted to farm.

In search of a mentor, I stopped by a small white house on Hwy. 158 with a sign -- "TOMATOES" -- in the front yard. Around back, a gentleman w/ honest blue eyes & a shock of white hair sat next to a tower of tomatoes & cantaloupes. R.L. (Bob) Watlington weighed my selection of tomatoes but, before doing so, guessed the weight & guessed it exactly. I was impressed. Was this a magic trick? Had he tampered with the scales?

The next day & the days following, I stopped by to chat & watch in amazement as R.L. continued to guess the correct weight of my purchases. It took some time for me to soldier my courage, but finally I confessed the reason why I had been dropping by every day: "I want to be a farmer. Would you be willing to mentor me?" He studied me with bemusement & then asked what I did for a living. Fearing he would not take me seriously if I revealed that I taught English at NCSU, I instead told him I was a carpenter's helper. Not exactly a lie . . . not exactly the truth. Michael & I were finishing the inside of the house. Guessing (correctly) I might not have been forthright, he asked to see my palms. With trepidation, I turned my palms up. He looked at them closely . . . examining the splinters & calluses. Although I kept my head down, I felt those steely blue eyes taking me in, knowing the truth, but understanding the dream. Suddenly, he smiled & said, "Yes."

Before he died a few years later, I had the pleasure of his guidance in putting in my raised beds & in occasionally helping him in his garden. Every moment was pure joy. At the end of that first summer, I had to confess my true vocation. He understood, but after that he repeatedly took pleasure in telling me that I might have had to go to school 8 -- 10 years to get a Ph.D. but it took 20 -- 30 years to become a farmer. How true.

Lucindy Willis, Ph.D.
Chef / Co-Owner Yancey House Restaurant


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Alfred Dunreath Moorefield (1945-2008)

Alfred Dunnreath Moorefield

Chatham, Virginia - Alfred Dunnreath Moorefield 63, of 311 Spruce Hill, died Thursday June 26, 2008 at Danville Regional Medical Center.

He was born in Caswell County, N.C. March 6, 1945 to J. Frank Moorefield and Evelyn Bradner Moorefield. He attended Bartlett-Yancey High School and graduated from VPI

Extension. He was employed as finance manager at a car dealership and was a U. S. Army veteran, receiving his basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He served as a Military Policeman at Fort Benning, Georgia. The remainder of his service, he served at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

Graveside Service will be Sunday 2 pm at Moorefield Family Cemetery 9715 N.C. Highway 62 North, Milton, North Carolina conducted by Rev. Bruce Wheeler. Military Rites will be given by American Legion Post # 89.

Survivors are children Michelle Moorefield Goddard, of Meridianville, Alabama, Ashley Cassidy and Dunn Moorefield Jr., both of New Market, Al. Virginia Moorefield of Huntsville, Al. Lucas Moorefield of Grant, Al, Also surviving are sisters Amelia Moorefield Walton of Blacksburg, Va., Cornelia Moorefield Henderson of Kilmarnock, Va. Elizabeth Moorefield Ellison of Bryson City, North Carolina, Harriet Moorefield Carr, of Smithville, Va., Katherine Moorefield Wampler of Homestead, Fl., Yancey Moorefield Smith of Semora, North Carolina, and one brother James Franklin Moorefield II of Danville, Virginia, and a special friend Doris Strader.

In addition to his parents he was predeceased by sisters, Alice Virginia Moorefield and Nancy Moorefield Bradsher, and brother William Conway Moorefield.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Caswell 21st Century Development Cooperation for the Caswell Community Arboretum c/o George Daniel Attorney at Law, Yanceyville, North Carolina 27379.

Harrelson Funeral Service of Yanceyville, N.C. is assisting the Moorefield family with arrangments.


Gladys Totten England

Gladys Totten England

Ruffin - Ms. Gladys Totten England of 3039 Quick Road died Thursday at the Annie Penn Hospital. As a native and lifelong resident of Caswell County, she was a faithful member of New Ephesus Baptist Church. Survivors are: five daughters, Marion Evans and spouse, Anthony of Yanceyville, Colene Holloway and spouse, Marvin of Pelham, Shirdean Graves and spouse, Lindsay of the home, Angel Allen and spouse, Kenneth, Naiokia England, all of Reidsville; four sons, Eddie Badgett, Joe England and spouse, Sandra, Mitchell England and spouse, Debbie, all of Yanceyville, George England, Jr. of Winston-Salem; 21 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; three sisters, Yvonne Holloway of Pelham, Christine King of Ruffin, Darlene Clark and spouse, Alvis of Yanceyville; one brother, James Totten and spouse, Mildred of Reidsville; special friend, Sharon Harris; other relatives and a multitude of cherished friends. Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Tuesday from the New Ephesus Baptist Church, 8939 Highway 158. Rev. William E. Lee will preside and interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family visitation will be Tuesday from 1:30 until 2:00 p.m. at the church. Funeral arrangements are by Johnson & Sons.


Harold/Harrell Wells Barker (1924-2008)

Harold Wells Barker

Milton - Harold Wells Barker, age 84, of 10977 Hwy. 62 North, Milton, NC, died Thursday, June 26, 2008 in Carteret General Hospital, Morehead City, North Carolina.

He was born on June 13, 1924 in Caswell County, North Carolina, a son of Harvey and Lucille Wells Barker.

He was married to Virginia Ward Barker of the home, who survives. Mr. Barker was a World War 11 veteran, having served in the United States Army. He was a retired dairy farmer and cattle dealer and a member of Milton United Methodist Church.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Wells Barker of Beaufort NC and Mike Barker of Arapahoe, NC; two brothers, William Barker of Milton, NC and Wayne Barker of Semora, NC; four sisters, Sue Chattin of Danville, VA, Frances Kirby of Semora, NC, Ann Gravitte of Surfside Beach, SC and Dailey Hardee of Greenville, NC; three grandchildren, Kyle Barker of Roxboro, NC, Jason Barker of Marietta, Georgia and Troie Barker of Carrboro, NC, and one great grandchild, Kylie Jean Barker of Roxboro, NC.

Including his parents, he was predeceased by a son, David Barker; two sisters, Margaret Hepler and Laura Brendle and one brother, James Barker.

Graveside services were held at 3:00 pm Sunday, June 29, 2008 at Cedars Cemetery, Milton, NC with the Reverend Clarence Garner and Reverend John Upton officiating. The family will be at the residence.

Memorials may be made to Milton United Methodist Church.

Townes Funeral Home, 215 West Main Street, is in charge of arrangements.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Children of Josiah Morton

The Children of Josiah Morton

Are We Missing Six Children of Josiah Morton?

Josiah Morton (1760 - 1844) appears to have been the father of at least 12 children, probably by two wives, though so far only six have been positively or tentatively identified. Of course it is possible that one or more of these 12 children died quite young, never lived to marry, and disappeared early from all known records. Or one or more of the sons might have left the Caswell County, NC area to seek greater advantages elsewhere before becoming old enough to be listed for tax purposes or marry. But a careful look at both the 1800 and 1810 Census enumerations for Josiah Morton suggests that five still unknown sons and a still unknown daughter survived childhood but remain yet unidentified.

One fact that will complicate the search for these missing children of Josiah Morton is that all indications are that as Josiah Morton grew older, his economic circumstances took a turn for the worse. This might have meant that Josiah Morton had little to hand over to each of his sons in order to set them up in life. The two daughters who married first both went to Tennessee with their husbands, and the third daughter became part of the core Azariah Graves Morton household after her husband's death. The sons were perhaps left to fend for themselves. Or the weakening economic circumstances of Josiah Morton may be evidence that all of the sons were being provided for with money or animals as they left Caswell County, NC to seek greater fortunes elsewhere, eliminating the need for Josiah Morton to execute a will and distribute his small amount of remaining property among widely scattered children.

Will of Royal Boman (1791)

Will of Royal Boman, 1791
Caswell County NC Wills 1777-1800
C.020.80001 Vol B Page 407

In the Name of God Amen this Twentieth day of June in the year of Our Lord one thousand and ninety one I Royal Boman of Caswell County and state of North Carolina being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind & memory Thanks be Given unto God therefore calling unto mind the Mortallity of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men (?) to die do make and Ordain this my Last Will and Testament, that is to say, Principally and first of all I Give and recomend my Soul into the hands of God that first gave it and for my body I recomend it to the Earth to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the Discressions of my Executors hoping that at the Genl. Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Mighty Power of God and as Touching such Worldy Estate, wherewith it hath Pleased God to bless me with in this life, I Give and Devise and Dispose of the same in the following manner and forms. Impromis I Give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Boman my Dearly beloved wife My Mannor Plantation and all the utentials belonging thereunto and one Black Mare and one Negro Fellow Jack and all my stock of Cattle and Hogs and two Feather Beds and furniture and one Hair Trunk and one Wooden Chest and all my sitting chairs and all my pewter and Earthen Ware and all my Iron Potts & Dutch Oven and frying pann During her life and at her Decease the plantation with Seventy-five Acres of Land Beginning on the Creek at Sanders line and so running to include the same unto my son Siah Boman & the feather bed and furniture and one Cow when she sees cause to give it or at her Decease

Item I give and bequeath unto my son Thomas Boman Seventy-five acres of Land Beginning on Sanders line to Joyn the first land given to my son Siah and to run with Sanders line East to the Back line and then to make complement not runing nigher upon Simon Roberts than a notc’d Beech Between my son Thomas & Roberts on the Branch

Item I give unto my son in law Simon Roberts Seventy five acres of land Beginning on the back line with my son Thomas and runing North to make Complement Joyning my son Siah and one Lame

Item I give unto my son Joseph Royal Boman Seventy-five Acres of land Beginning on the back line with Simon Roberts and runing North for Compliment and one Cow out of my stock.

Item I give unto my son Samuel Boman one Hundred Acres of Land lying and being in Virginia and Charlotte County and the above Negro Jack at my wife's Decease and one Bed & furniture and one Cow when my Wife sees cause or at her Decease & one Horse Coult,

Item I give unto my son Leonard Boman one Cow when my wife sees cause or at her decease,

Item I give unto my son Robert Boman One Iron Pott rack and two Flatt Irons,

And I desire the just Debt I owe Jesse Carter to be the first paid and then all other Debts that is made to appear Just And Now Constitute John Zachary Thomas Boman and Simon Roberts my Only and Sole Executors and I do hereby utterly disallow unmake and disavowal all and every Other former Testaments Wills & Legacys bequeaths & Executors by me in any ways before this time Named Willed and bequeathed Rattifying and Conforming this and no Other to be my Last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have set my hand and seal this and year above written Royal X Boman (seal)

Signed Sealed & Delivered in presence of us (Teste)

William Sawyer (Jurat) Jonathan Starkey (Jurat)

Caswell County

The Execution of this Will was duly proved in Open Court by the Oath of William Sawyer and Jonathan Starkey Two of the subscribing witness thereto & on Motion Ordered to be recorded At the same time John Zachary & Simon Roberts Qualify as Executors Teste AE Murphy CoC


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

James Malone House (Leasburg, North Carolina)

Caswell Couple Breathes New Life into Old House
By Angela Evans

Leigh Carter/Caswell Messenger The James Malone
House on U.S. 158 has recently been added to the
National Register of Historic Places.

Jun 24, 2008 - 11:09:31 pm CDT
Managing Editor

The original, beautiful golden hardwood floor was hidden beneath two layers of plywood, and a layers of acoustic tile and drywall covered the original bead board ceiling in the kitchen. The living room was pink, and blue, and green.

"It was pretty ugly," Chris Holaday says, of the James Malone House he owns with his wife Sue.

The Holadays bought the home in October 2003, and after four years of giving up weekends to scrape, paint and renovate, their labor of love has paid off.

The home became the 21st in Caswell County to be added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 30.

Chris said he and his wife moved to Caswell from Durham, and both work at Sports Endeavors in Hillsborough, he as lead writer and she as human resources manager.

They had been interested in owning an older home for a restoration project when a friend from work told them the James Malone House was for sale.

The home was built about 1860 for a then-prominent tobacco farmer, James Malone. Much of the interior woodwork including trim and mantelwork was done by Thomas Day.

Chris attributes the listing on the national register to the architectural significance of the home and its Thomas Day features.

The home will also be featured in an upcoming book on interior architecture by Thomas Day to be written by UNCG Professor Jo Leimenstoll. The book will be available in 2009.

Chris said the couple have made every effort to keep all the Thomas Day details, restoring the old, while adding just a touch of modern comforts.

The heat in the home is provided by a gas pack, and Chris says, they hope to replace the water heater with an on-demand system very soon. The kitchen, which was originally "who knows what" according to Chris, is now the pride of the home.

"It feels like a whole new house to have a nice kitchen," he said.

Despite its new features, Chris says he found some of the homes original features to be the most fascinating, and at the same time the most tedious to restore.

One mantel and a staircase had been painted to look like marble. Layers of paint covered the original design, but once he discovered it, Chris said he has spent several hours carefully scraping away the layers to reveal the marbled look.

"Everything takes a lot longer than you think it's going to take," he said. "You think it's going to take a weekend; it takes two."

The work, back and knee aches may not be worth it in the end financially, he says, but "in terms of rewarding to us, yes, it is."

None of the furnishings in the home are original, but the couple have shopped auctions and ebay and done lots of research to try to keep the home's decor in the correct period. Now, with items they've acquired at the ready, it's just a matter of figuring out where it all should go, Chris says.

The home is 95 percent finished, Chris says, and the couple has already entertained family at Christmastime.

Chris says they look forward to the possibility of an open house or joining a homes tour once the work is complete. They would also enjoy seeing any old photos Caswell residents may have of the home through the years.

Meanwhile, Chris says, there are always little projects to be done and the couple would like to thank several neighbors who have pitched in on the effort including:

Jeff Nidle and George Henderson of Leasburg, and Lloyd Blalock of Prospect Hill.

Preservation specialist Noah Read of Glencoe

Sara Lachenman of Durham, who researched the house and submitted the documentation for review.

The above article is courtesy of The Caswell Messenger, which retains all rights.

May 9, 2008

The Director of the National Park Service is pleased to send you the following announcements and actions on properties for the National Register of Historic Places. For further information or if you would like to receive this list weekly via e-mail, contact Edson Beall via voice (202) 354-2255 or E-mail:


KEY: State, County, Property Name, Address/Boundary, City, Vicinity, Reference Number, NHL, Action, Date, Multiple Name

Malone, James, House,
7374 US 158,
Leasburg, 08000367,
LISTED, 4/30/08

To see the National Register of Historic Places application form to to National Register.

More photographs are in the Caswell County Photograph Collection.

For more on James Malone and his family to to the Caswell County Family Tree.