Thursday, December 31, 2009

Estelle, Caswell County, North Carolina

(click on photograph for larger image)

The following is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 20-21 ("Estelle Community" by Clyde Douglas Willis):

Estelle Community of Caswell County

Named after Virginia (Virgie) Estelle Firesheets [1881-1961], daughter of Chesley [1867-1937]and Jennie [Louisa Jane] Simmons Firesheets [1857-1947], the Post Office at Estelle was organized in 1888 and was located in the store of Chesley Firesheets, on the east side of the Milton-Yanceyville Road about three miles from Milton. Tom Rainey chose the name. The mail was delivered from Milton to each post office by buggy or cart. The Firesheets's store was later moved and made into a dwelling not many yards from the site of the store. Jennie Firesheets and her daughter [Virginia Estelle Firesheets] lived there until their deaths. The dwelling (a cabin) is now owned by Mrs. Clara Blackwell. Dr. Dodson of Milton [see below] served the Estelle community for their medical needs. He traveled by buggy in summer and sleigh in winter.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mat Edmond

John Peter Powell apparently had a great granddaughter named Mary Kathleen Powell, who married a Greenfield. She provided the following:

These copies of newspaper clippings, and the letter, and the personal note came from Mary Kathleen (Powell) Greenfield. She was the great granddaughter of John Peter Powell, the third son of Peter Powell, Sr.)

Copies of news clippings of 1956 and 1960

Madison Edmond Dies at Home in Thomas Hill.

Madison (Mat) Edmond, 73, died at 12:30 o'clock yesterday morning at his home in Thomas Hill. He had resided innThomas Hill the past 50 years. Surviving are his wife, one son Henry Allen Edmond, a sister, Mrs. Lon Nowling of Los Angeles and a brother, Joe Edmond of Des Moines. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the Thomas Hill Baptist Church by the pastor, the Rev. LeRoy Toliver. Burial will be in the adjoining cemetery. (1956)

Thomas Rainey (1824-1920) Memoir

The following is transcribed by John Douglas Storey from the original, written in pencil ca. 1901 by Thomas Rainey (1824 - 1910), son of James Glenn Rainey and Sophia Hendrick. Cousin Tom also published a small memoir of his life after running away from home titled, "Some Notes on the Life and Times of a Wanderer" . He had an adventurous life, including as school teacher, Whig activist, entrepreneur in Brazil, and moving force behind the building of the Queensboro Bridge connecting Manhattan and Long Island. "Uncle Judge" was his great-uncle, James Rainey, of Red House, Caswell County, N.C.

I have tried to render the spelling and format as I have it, but the paper is in fragile condition.

Father was about 7 yrs. old when Gr.f. was killed. My Gr.mother was living with Aunt Nancy, her sister, & he was living with his uncle Josiah Samuel, who married his cousin Sarah Samuel. His sister Bettie became Mrs. Pittard, father of cousin Dr. Pittard & Benj. P. [Pittard]

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brigadier General Robert Emmett Rodes

Brigadier General Robert Emmett Rodes

He is the grandson of Joel Yancy and Anne Burton and the 3rd great grandson of Robert Burton and Priscilla Farrar.

In May 1861, he was commissioned as Colonel with the 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment. By October 1861, he was appointed Brigadier General, and he led his brigade at Fair Oaks, Gaines's Mill, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. He was promoted to Major General in May 1863, by the dying request of General Stonewall Jackson. General Rodes commanded his division at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. He went to Shenandoah Valley in June 1864, where he served under Early and fought at Kernstown and elsewhere. He died from exploded shrapnel that struck his head at Winchester, VA, on September 19, 1864.


Gaines' Mill Civil War Battle

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Click on the start button below to hear a podcast describing the Gaines' Mill Battle.



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Asheville/Buncombe Bibliography

December 28, 2009

Asheville, North Carolina – Bibliography

In Library

A History of Buncombe County, North Carolina (Two Voumes in One), F. A. Sondley (1930) (2004 Reprint Edition).

Abstracted Wills of Buncombe County, North Carolina 1831-1872
, Frances Terry Ingmire, Compiler (1984).

Asheville: A History
, Nan K. Chase (2007).

Asheville: A Postcard History, Volume I, Sue Greenberg and Jan Kahn (1997) (Arcadia Images of America Series).

Asheville: A Postcard History, VolumeI I, Sue Greenberg and Jan Kahn (1997) (Arcadia Images of America Series). Signed by coauthor Sue Greenberg.

Asheville and Buncombe County
, F. A. Sondley; Genesis of Buncombe County, Theodore F. Davidson (1922). These two titles are in one volume. PDF on computer.

Buncombe Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Rice Reynolds
, Julian M. Pleasants (2000).

History of Buncombe County, North Carolina

The following is from Asheville and Buncombe County, F. A. Sondley; Genesis of Buncombe County, Theodore F. Davidson (1922):

Shortly after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, in 1784, or 1785, settlers from the headwaters of the Catawba and the adjacent country, whose frontier establishment was the blockhouse at Old Fort, began to cross the mountains into the Swannanoa valley. Among the first of these was Samuel Davidson, who came in with his wife and infant child and one female negro slave and settled upon Christian Creek of the Swannanoa, a short distance east of Gudger's Ford near the present railroad station called Azalea. He had been here but a short while when one morning he went out to find his horse. Soon his wife heard the report of guns, and, knowing too well what had happened, she took her child and the servant and made her way along the mountains to the Old Fort. An expedition from there at once set out to avenge the death of Davidson. They found him on the mountain near his cabin, killed and scalped, and buried his body on the spot where it was found and where his grave may still be seen. It is further said that they met and conquered the Indians in a battle fought near the Swannanoa River in that neighborhood or about Biltmore.

Newton Academy (Asheville, North Carolina)

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina

Newton Academy Cemetery
History of the Newton Academy School and Cemetery by Viola S. Stevens for Local History Class at AB Tech (Dr. Harley Jolley) 1974 (12 pages)

A History of the Newton Academy School and Cemetery

In 1737 the State of North Carolina granted to James and William Davidson a tract of land comprised of 640 acres lying along each side of the Swannanoa River, including areas now known as Biltmore, Biltmore Forest, and Kenilworth. This grant was recorded as the Savannah River Grant. William Forster, the second of the name had come into Buncombe (then known as Burke or Rutherford Counties), in 1786 from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia having served as a patriot soldier from Virginia during the Revolution. lo 1790 this same William Forster, II, purchased from the Davidson's that tract of land consisting of 640 acres -- the Savannah River Grant. For this land, William Forster, II, paid the Davidson's a sum of 200 pounds. This deed is recorded in Book 1, page 75 in the Buncombe County Deed Book. This William Forster had been born in Ireland in 1748 of Scotch ancestry. His parents were William Forster, Sr. (sometimes written Forrester] and his wife, Mary. William Forster, II, had married a Scotswoman, Elizabeth Heath about 1770. She accompanied him to North Carolina in 1786 along with two sons and four daughters. [These sons] Thomas Forster born in 1774 and William Forster, III, born in 1776, were to play an important role in the early development of Buncombe County end Asheville. "William Forster, II, built his home on the north side of the Swannanoa River on what is now the northern end of the Swannanoa Viaduct at the foot of the hill. His land adjoined that of Col. Daniel Smith and these two men were the first white men to live in what is now the City of Asheville.

Milton & Sutherlin Railroad

Caswell county voted in the affirmative on the proposition to tax itself to build the Milton & Sutherlin Narrow Gauge Railroad. This short line will connect Milton with Danville, the main market for the productions of Caswell county.

Source: Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, North Carolina), 19 April 1877.

For a history of the legal steps taken to create and eventually discontinue the Milton & Sutherlin Narrow Gauge Railroad Company see: Harrison, Fairfax. A History of the Legal Development of the Railroad System of Southern Railway Company. Washington, D.C.: The Transportation Library, 1901: 252-255. Print.


Caswell County suffered economically because it lacked adequate transportation infrastructure to attract industry. Several attempts were made at railroads. All eventually failed. One, the Milton & Sutherlin Narrow Gauge Railroad, became operational in 1877 but was out of business by 1895. It ran seven miles from Milton to Sutherlin, Virginia, which was on the Richmond & Danville Railroad. Bonds were issued to finance the railroad's construction.

Rolling stock: One locomotive called "The Little Janie" after Maj. W. T. Sutherlin's daughter, four freight cars and one passenger car. In 1880, the Milton and Sutherlin traveled 6,000 miles, hauling 1,535 passengers and earned $2,700 after expenses.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thomas Rainey (1824-1910)

The following was posted to the Caswell County Historical Association Message Board 29 March 2009:
Tomorrow, 30 March 2009, marks the 100th anniversary of the day the first cars officially crossed the Queensboro Bridge in New York, New York. One might ask: "So what does this have to do with Caswell County?" Now for the rest of the story.
Thomas Rainey was born 9 December 1824 in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina, one of the many children of James Glenn Rainey and Sophia Hendrick Rainey. Apparently schooled in engineering and eventually becoming Dr. Thomas Rainey, he led a colorful life. Rainey taught school, wrote a book, became involved in Republican party politics, and studied steam navigation in Europe. At one time he owned a fleet of sixteen steam ferry boats in Brazil, and his brother Dabney Rainey is buried there. His fortune was made in Brazil, but it was a bridge that became his life's passion. This is the bridge being celebrated tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Martha Ann "Annie" Harrelson Letter (30 December 1940)

Martha Ann "Annie" Harrelson Letter (30 December 1940)

(This letter was probably written to Sallie Gertrude (Crutchfield) Gunn. The 1900 US Census lists her given name as "Gertrude". Her husband, Perley Ovid Gunn was a grandson of Barzillia Powell. Barzillia's daughter, Louvenia Frances Powell, married a John Allen Gunn.)

Source: Elvin Meyers ( 16 December 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Buncombe County Courthouse

The following recollections of incidents and members of the bar are taken from Dr. J. S. T. Baird's sparkling "Reminiscences" [about 1840] published in the Asheville Saturday Register in 1905.


"The court house was a brick building two stories high and about thirty- six by twenty-four feet in dimensions. The upper room was used for court purposes and was reached by a flight of stone steps about eight feet wide, and on the front outside of the building, commencing at the corners at the ground and rising gradually till they formed a wide landing in front of and on a level with the door of the court room. The judge's bench or pulpit, as some called it, was a sort of box open at the top and one side, with plank in front for the judge to lay his "specks" on. He entered it from the open space in the rear and sat on an old stool-bottom chair, which raised his head barely above the board.' There was room enough in this little box for such slim men as Judge J. L. Bailey, David Caldwell, David Settle and others of their build, but when such men as Judge Romulus M. Saunders came along he filled it plumb 'up.' Most of the lower story was without floors or door shutters and furnished comfortable quarters for Mr. James M. Smith's hogs and occasionally a few straggling cattle that could not find shelter elsewhere.

Western North Carolina: A History from 1730-1913, John Preston Arthur (1914) at 389.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Tobacco Packbarn at Hycotee 1964

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Tobacco Packhouse at the Smith Family Hycotee Farm in Caswell County, North Carolina (1964)

Left to Right: Thelma, Anthony, Walter (Buster), Bobby Royster

© Yancey Moorefield Smith


Monday, December 07, 2009

James McConnell Smith (1787-1856) Will Litigation

Litigation and Legislation. James McConnell Smith [purportedly] was the first white child born west of the Blue Ridge, in Buncombe county, but he will be remembered longer than many because of his will. He died December 11, 1853 [18 May 1856], leaving a will by which he devised to his daughter, Elizabeth A., wife of J. H. Gudger certain real estate in Asheville, "to her sole and separate use and benefit for and during her natural life, with remainder to such children as she may leave surviving her, and those representing the interest of any that may die leaving children."[1] A petition was filed in the Superior court asking for an order to sell this property, and such an order was made and several lots were sold with partial payments made of the purchase money, when a question was raised as to the power of the court to order the sale of the property so devised. In Miller, ex parte (90 N. C. Reports, p.625), the Supreme court held that land so devised could "not be sold for partition during the continuance of the estate of the life tenant; for, until the death of the life tenant, those in remainder cannot be ascertained." The sales so made, were, therefore, void.

But years passed and some of the property became quite valuable, while another part of it, being unimproved, was nonproductive, and a charge upon the productive portion. But there seemed to be no remedy till the city of Asheville condemned a portion of the productive part for the widening of College Street. The question then arose as to how the money paid by the city for the land so appropriated to public use should be applied. On this question the Supreme court decided in Miller V. Asheville (112 N. C. Reports, 759), that the money so paid by way of damages should be substituted for the realty, and upon the happening of the contingency (death of the life tenant) be divided among the parties entitled in the same manner as the realty would have been if left intact.

Upon this hint, on the petition of the life tenant and the remaindermen, a special act was passed by the legislature (Private Laws of N. C., 1897, Ch. 152, p.286) appointing C. H. Miller a commissioner of the General Assembly to sell the land, the proceeds to become a trust fund to be applied as the will directs.

This was done; but the Supreme court (Miller V. Alexander, 122 N. C., 718) held this was in effect an attempted judicial act and therefore unconstitutional. The legislature afterwards passed a general act, which is embodied in section 1590 of the Revisal, for the sale of estates similarly situated, and under this authority some of the land was sold and the proceeds were applied to the construction of a hotel on another part. The proceeds, however, proved insufficient to complete the hotel, and in an action brought to sell still more of this land for the purpose of completing the hotel, the Supreme court held in Smith V. Miller (151 N. C., p.620), that, while the purchasers of the land already sold had received valid title to the same, still as the hotel, when completed, would not be a desirable investment, the decree for the sale of the other land, in order to provide funds for its completion, was void because it did not meet the statutory requirements that the interests involved be properly safeguarded.


1. Mrs. Elizabeth Smith Gudger died in October, 1912 [1 November 1912].

Source: History of Western North Carolina, John Preston Arthur (1914).


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Fannie Holt

No one knows for sure if Fannie Holt is the oldest person in Alamance County. But at 107, she’s a strong contender. Holt, who lives at Springview Assisted Living in Burlington, celebrated her most recent birthday Thursday. An early afternoon party included flowers, balloons, cake and ice cream, and a rousing version of “Happy Birthday.” Holt’s daughter, Ophelia Evans, said Holt lived in Mebane most of her life before moving to Springview in 1996. She was born and grew up in Caswell County and moved to Mebane after getting married. “She had a green thumb and she loved flowers,” Evans said while describing her mother’s interests. “Her thing was gladiolas.” Sometimes her flowers would be displayed in Mebane United Methodist Church, where she is still a member.

Janice Worth, resident care coordinator of Springview’s Burlington facility, said Holt is loved by the staff and other residents there. Evans said the staff has done a great job looking after her mother and has told her she is easy to care for. Holt had four children and a foster son, and Evans is one of three who are still living. Holt’s son, C.J. Holt, lives in Tennessee and her foster son, Kenneth Freshwater, lives in Siler City. Evans said her mother was a homemaker whose life was centered on family, friends and her faith. She tried hard to be a good neighbor, loved reading the Bible and lived for her children and grandchildren. “She’s just a lovely person,” Evans said. “She loves everybody.”

An informal survey of local government and service agencies turned up no one aware of anyone older in the county, though it also did not confirm for certain Holt is the oldest. Brenda Porter is program director of Alamance ElderCare, which helps senior citizens get services they need. She said the oldest people the agency has helped in the last few years have been around 103 or 104. “A hundred and seven might be hard to beat,” she said. In September, an Associated Press story said Gertrude Baines of Los Angeles had been the oldest person in the world at 115 when she died that month. That meant Kama Chinen, a 114-year-old woman in Japan, became the oldest person alive. The Associated Press said an organization called the Gerontology Research Group looks into “claims of extreme age.” The group says the oldest person it has been aware of was Jeanne-Louise Calment, who died in France in 1997 at the age of 122.


Red House Community Sign

Red House Community Back on the Map
© The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

(click on photograph for larger image)

Red House community member Jim Long stands proud with DOT employees Michael Melton and Tim Pruitt after erecting the new Red House sign.

The Red House Community near Semora is back on the map, more than 100 years after it became a forgotten destination. The name of the community came from a noted inn constructed there before the American Revolution. The inn was painted red and was a popular state coach stopping place between Hillsborough and points north in Virginia and beyond. Referred to by locals and travelers as Red House or Old Red House, the inn provided many social opportunities including parties, weddings and horse racing. History indicates the inn existed as early as 1740 or 1750 when great numbers of Scotch Irish immigrants followed the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania through Virginia and entered North Carolina north of modem day Winston-Salem. Although most of those immigrants continued into the Yadkin and Catawba valleys of western North Carolina. a few families turned eastward and traveled as far as "the old Red House."

By 1755, a number of families had settled near Red House and formed a church, which was first called Hico Church. Later its name was changed to Red House Church. In researching the history of Red House Church for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, retired Superior Court Judge lames M. Long learned of the great importance of the Red House community in colonial frontier days. It was a landmark on travel maps. He has old correspondence addressed to his ancestors at Red House, North Carolina. Although there is no record of a post office at Red House, mail was delivered by stage coach or horseback before the days of a national postal system.

On Monday, April 24, 2006 workers of the NC Department of Transportation erected a new highway sign at Red House, giving recognition to the community, which was such an important place before the American colonies gained their independence from England. According to Long, some neighbors are asking why the sign is located in a vacant field where there are no houses. "The answer is simple," he said. "The sign is located where our research indicates the Red House Inn stood near an important intersection of roads which no longer exist." He said he hopes the new sign will remind community residents of the important history of the area and renew their interest in community affairs.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Debra Little Mills (1956-2009)

Debra Little Mills

DANVILLE, VA - Debra Little Mills, 53, of 1456 Myrtle Avenue, Danville, died Thursday evening, Nov. 26, 2009, at Riverside Health Care Center, where she had been a patient for one week. She had been a patient at Duke University Hospital for one week prior. She had been in declining health for seven years.

Mrs. Mills was born July 2, 1956, in Reidsville, a daughter of Russell Little and Louise Robertson Little. She had lived her entire life in the Pelham and Danville area. She was a graduate of Bartlett Yancey High School and Danville Community College. She was a customer service representative for Gamewood Data until her retirement due to her disability. She was a member of the American Legion Post 325 Ladies Auxiliary. She was a member of the Lively Stones Baptist Church. On Oct. 29, 1982, she was married to Daryl Ray Mills, who survives.

In addition to her parents of Pelham, and her husband, of the residence, she is survived by one sister, Brenda Berry, of Burlington; two brothers, Harvey Little and wife, Bonnie Little, of Pelham, and Wayne Little, of Richmond, Va.; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will held at 2 p.m. today, Nov. 29, 2009, from Wrenn-Yeatts Funeral Home, North Main Chapel by the Rev. Michael Kent. Interment will follow in Highland Burial Park.

The family received friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009, at Wrenn-Yeatts Funeral Home, North Main Chapel. At other times the family will be at the residence of her parents, Russell Little and Louise R. Little, 225 Elvin Durham Road, Pelham.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 120 Wall St., 19th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005

Wrenn-Yeatts Funeral Home, North Main Chapel, is respectfully serving the Mills family.

Online condolences can be made at and


Kerr House (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

The following article on the history of the Kerr House in Yanceyville, North Carolina appeared in The Caswell Messenger 22 March 1973.

House Enjoys Long History as Home and Hotel

The brick house was built on the Rice Tavern lot, suggesting that Mr. Izban Rice might have once operated a tavern at that location after he purchased the property. The small white building which stands to the right as one faces the Kerr House once stood behind the main house, was connected to it by a porch, and served as the dining room. There is some speculation that the small building also served as the dining room for the Rice Tavern. Behind the dining room was a brick, rock-floored kitchen where servants prepared the food for the boarders in the hotel. The old kitchen was torn down in 1927 when Mrs. Yancey Kerr took over the operation of the home and hotel and added a more conveniently located dining room and kitchen to the west side of the house.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Orange Presbytery 173rd Session (1856)

Minutes of the One Hundred and Seventy-Third Session of Orange Presbytery, Held at Bethesda Church, Caswell County, North Carolina, 1856

For the complete text go to Minutes.

November 5, 1856 through November 8, 1856
J. [Jacob] Doll, Stated Clerk

Names Mentioned:


J. H. Pickard
Thomas Lynch
Edward Hines
A. G. Hughes
C. K. Caldwell
T. U. Faucette
J. J. Smyth (from Philadelphia)
J. [John] W. Montgomery
Thomas R. Owen (not present)
S. A. [Steven Addison] Stanfield
J. [Jacob] Doll
William N. Mebane
William P. Wharton (deceased)
Alexander Wilson, D.D.
J. Phillips, D.D.
E. Mitchell, D.D.
E. W. Caruthers, D.D.
John S. Grasty
J. M. Kirkpatrick
C. H. Wiley
Archibald Currie
J. M. Sherwood
J. M. Atkinson
Joseph M. Atkinson
N. Z. Graves
F. N. Whaley
R. Burwell
J. I. Boozer

Ruling Elders

Thomas Moore
H. T. Watkins
E. C. Forest
Dr. Robert H. Scales
D. Craig
E. Donnell
William H. Cummings
W. L. Owen
Jesse H. Lindsay
Alfred M. Scales
William K. Mebane
Dr. Payne
William L. Owen
J. H. Lindsay

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tennessee Connections to Caswell County, North Carolina

(click on photograph for larger image)

The foregoing was published in the Fall 1987 issue of The Tennessee Genealogical Magazine, "Ansearchin" News," Vol. 34, No.3.


John Johnston House

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John Johnston (1778-1860)

Johnston, John, House (added 1997 - Building - #97000238)
1325 NC 62, N., Yanceyville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: unknown
Architectural Style: Federal
Area of Significance: Architecture
Period of Significance: 1825-1849
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Agriculture/Subsistence, Agriculture/Subsistence, Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Agricultural Outbuildings, Processing, Single Dwelling
Current Function: Domestic
Current Sub-function: Single Dwelling
Location: West side NC HWY 62 North at junction w/SR 1595 (1325 NC Highway 62 North), in the vicinity of Yanceyville, North Carolina

The following is the summary from the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the John Johnston House, Caswell County, North Carolina (3 January 1997):

The John Johnston House is significant under Criterion C for Design/Construction in the category of Architecture and meets Criteria Consideration B: Moved Properties. The house derives local architectural significance as an excellent example of one of the most prevalent house forms in early nineteenth century Caswell County: the one-and-one-half-story frame Federal style house with hall-and-parlor plan and end chimneys. Today [1997], only about forty examples of this once common house-type survive from the first half of the nineteenth century, though most are considerably altered or deteriorated. The John Johnston House is exemplary among these because it most closely conveys its original form, style, structure and plan. The painstakingly academic restoration of this house was undertaken with great care to retain features that are indicative of the original design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. Despite replacement materials, the result is a house that possesses a greater degree of significance and integrity as an early nineteenth century residence than does any other of its type in the county. The house in its pristine pastoral setting also evokes the agrarian roots of the Northern Piedmont region of North Carolina. The bright-leaf tobacco curing process was invented in this region where the rural landscape retains several grand antebellum plantation seats, many of which are in a good state of repair. Many of the more humble early nineteenth century Federal style houses of small planters, however, have disappeared from the landscape or have become severely deteriorated. Thus, the restoration of the Johnston House has rendered it a rare example of a rapidly vanishing house-type in the region.

The John Johnston House was probably built early in the second quarter of the nineteenth century on a plantation of 375 acres that Johnston assembled at that time "on the main road leading from Yanceyville to Milton." A member of a prominent Caswell county family, John Johnston (ca. 1778-1860) was a son of Scottish immigrant Dr. Lancelot Johnston, who served with distinction as a surgeon with the American forces during the Revolution. John Johnston's son by his first marriage to Mary Frances Donoho, Thomas Donoho Johnston (1800-1883), rose to prominence as a businessman in the late antebellum period and built Clarendon Hall in Yanceyville, one of the county's finest antebellum residences. Following John Johnston's death in 1860 and the death of his second wife, Nancy, in 1872, the property had a long succession of owners, one of which, probably either G. T. Hubbard or J. E. Zimmerman, moved the house in the first quarter of the twentieth century some 150 yards southwest to a corner of the property where it served as a tenant house. In the late 1980s it was restored by local resident and historian, Hilda Broda, who received a 1995 Award of Merit from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina for this project. The John Johnston House now provides the observer with a rare glimpse of rural life in nineteenth-century Caswell County.

When Ruth Little and Tony Wrenn published An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina, Ruth Little-Stokes and Tony P. Wrenn (1979), the Johnston House may not have been identified as such. It had not been restored and was not on the National Register of Historic Places. On page 111 (Photo 131) of the Little-Wrenn book is a description and photograph of the Zimmerman House:

"Photo 131. Zimmerman House. ca. 1820. 1.5-story frame Federal style house, now stuccoed, with exterior end stone chimneys. Interior almost completely unaltered, with inventive vernacular classical mantel." Note the J. E. Zimmerman referred to in the National Register summary above. This probably was Junius Ellard Zimmerman (1908-1969). Note also that a Zimmerman Road (SR #1595) runs northeast from Route 62 N (the "main road leading from Yanceyville to Milton").

John Johnston House

(for larger image, click on photograph, then click "All Sizes")

The G. T. Hubbard referred to above may be Grattan T. Hubbard, the first postmaster at Hamer, Caswell County, North Carolina.


Dewey Glenn Hooper (1919-1942)

Left to right: Capt Honchul, HQ 5th AF/PA; Col Sargeant, 8th Fighter Wing Commander; Brig Gen Stevenson, Deputy 5th AF Commander; C.W. Hooper, co-pilot's brother of the Texas Terror; Carl H. Silber, Jr.; Diane Jackson; Tom Hasebe, Gen Stevenson's Special Assistant; Lt Col Jackson, US Embassy; Lt Col Robinson, US Embassy; & Carl Wall (C.W. Hooper's nephew).

Dewey Glenn Hooper Collection

Crash of the "Texas Terror"

Dewey Glenn Hooper died in an airplane crash in the mountains of Australia during World War II. The wreckage was not found until 1959. A 1940 Elon College class ring was found at the site bearing his initials. Elon College was notified, investigated, and identified the owner of the ring as Dewey Glenn Hooper. The dead co-pilot's brother, Charlie Woodrow Hooper, who operated a gas station in Anderson Township (Caswell County, North Carolina) called Hooper's Store, was notified of the find. In 1999, Charlie Woodrow Hooper flew to Australia to the site of the crash. The class ring, other artifacts, and photographs are on display at Elon College.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bartlett Yancey High School Class of 1959

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The Bartlett Yancey High School Class of 1959 had its 50th reunion Oct. 24, 2009, at the Central Caswell Ruritan Club. Attending members were, (front row) Dorothy Oakes, (first row, left to right) Frances Slade Robinson, Wayland Loftis, Ernest Gray, Faye Briggs, Kaye Briggs Rich, Mary J. Fuquay Richmond, Annie Fuqua Compton, Mabel Knight Dixon, Teacher Margaret Dixon, (second row, left to right) Linda Bradshaw Seidle, Helen Coley Adkins, Lorraine Carter Dove, Nancy Gunn Bush, Jim Powell, Tommy Hodges, John Bradner, Jack Satterfield, Zeb Cope, Kenneth Rowland, Gwen Brewer Duncan and Jerry Richmond.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Leola Williamson Watlington (1950-2009)

Leola Williamson Watlington

Yanceyville, NC – It is with profound sorrow we announce the death of Mrs. Leola Williamson Watlington 59, of 520 Dillard School Dr., who died Wednesday, October 28, 2009 in the Kindred Hospital Greensboro, NC. She was a native of Caswell County, NC the daughter of the late Robert Williamson and Earline Kimber Williamson, born July 3, 1950. She was a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC. Leola received her formal education at Caswell County High School, graduating in 1968. She late attended Piedmont Technical College, where she earned a degree in Cosmetology. She was a self-employed beautician with her own salon located in her home, until her health began to fail. She was also a volunteered her services for several years as a receptionist at WYNC radio station 1540. She was preceded in death by one brother, Harvey Williamson; one foster brother, William (June) Dillard, one foster sister, Margaret Oliver; her best friend, Dianna (Lynn) Jeffries. Her survivors are Husband, Arthur Watlington (Spote) Watlington of the home; one son, Darrell Watlington (Virginia) of Eden, NC; 0ne daughter, Alexia K. Watlington of the home; one brother, David L Williamson (Lois) of Yanceyville, NC; three foster sisters, Hattie Wilson, Shirley Dillard, and Anne Terry all of Danville, Va.; three grandsons, Derrill Watlington of Burlington, Kevin Casey of Eden, NC and Donnell Casey (Angel) of Reidsville, NC; Also close to her heart, her soul sisters, Anita Woods and Rebecca Graves; a host of great grandchildren; aunts; uncles; cousins, nieces; nephews; and other relatives and friends. Funeral service for Mrs. Leola W. Watlington was Saturday, October 31, 2009 2:00 PM at Ebenezer Baptist Church 2700 West Vandalia Rd. Greensboro, NC. Pastor Howard Woods Jr. will deliver the eulogy. Interment was in the church cemetery. A viewing was Friday evening from 2 to 8 pm at Fulton Funeral Home Chapel. The family was contacted at her residence 520 Dillard School Dr. Yanceyville, NC. All arrangements for Mrs. Leola Williamson Watlington were entrusted
to Fulton Funeral Home.


Caswell County Courthouses

1. First Courthouse. Located in Leasburg. A commission composed of James Sanders, William Moore, John Payne, Thomas Harrison, and John Atkinson was appointed by the Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions to find and lay off the place where the courthouse, prison, and stocks would be built and then to see that they were built. The sheriff was directed to collect the taxes levied for this purpose and turn the funds over to the commissioners, less his commission for collecting them.

With work apparently underway on the courthouse, Thomas Combs on October 19, 1784, petitioned for authorization "to build a Shop on the Court House Lot," but the court postponed action for future "Consideration of the Commissioners Hereafter to be appointed." Finally, after nearly eight years without a proper building, the minutes of the Caswell County court for January 17, 1785, recorded that the justices "Adjourned to the New Court House." Until then, the court met in the house of Thomas Douglass. Perhaps in the interval the county had acquired the Douglass house. At any rate, the April court granted permission to "the subscribers of the old Court House" to remove "the said House off the public Lott."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Caswell County Sheriff Officers

Ray McGuire of Yanceyville identified three of the four officers pictured in last week’s photo, above, as Lacey Smith, James “Snake” Ashby and George Hodges. Share your old photos with your Caswell neighbors. Bring them by The Caswell Messenger for publication. Photos can be scanned and returned immediately.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards

Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards is living the example of her own advice to local students, “you are limited only by your imagination.” Edwards, a Yanceyville native, represents Maryland’s 4th Congressional District comprising portions of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Edwards was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 110th Congress in June 2008, when Rep. Albert Wynn resigned his office, and began her first full-term in the 111th Congress in 2009. Edwards grandparents and mother are from Caswell, and many of her relatives still live here. The congresswoman says she doesn’t get out of Maryland as much as she used to, but does come to Caswell for family reunions. When she’s here, Edwards said she loves to visit the church founded and named for her grandfather Henry Albert Graves, Graves Chapel Baptist Church. Edwards said she didn’t stay in Yanceyville long after she was born, since her father was serving in the Air Force, the family moved around a lot. But, in what she calls “a sort of round trip,” Edwards came back to North Carolina to attend Wake Forest University, where she graduated in 1980. After working a stint at NASA, she decided to go to law school in New Hampshire at Franklin Pierce Law Center. Edwards then did a lot of non-profit work, centered mostly around issues of domestic violence and founded the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

When her son was graduating high school in 2006, Edwards said, she decided to run for congress. That attempt failed, as she took on a seven-term incumbent. Edwards continued to work hard and tried again, defeating Rep. Albert Wynn in 2008. Wynn resigned, so Edwards took over in the middle of a congress, and then won her first full term in Nov. of that year. Edwards said spending a summer working on her great uncle Willie Frank Phillips’ farm in Mebane was an experience she will never forget. “It’s where I learned to become a gardener,” she said. “My mother was always a gardener but it’s because of her farm roots.” Edwards said her mother, Mary Edwards, and an aunt now live near her, having migrated to the Washington D.C. area. Edwards said of all her accomplishments, she is most proud of being a mother. For those who, like her, hail from Caswell, Edwards says, “They have to stretch their imaginations.” “They have to imagine themselves where they want to be. I come from really humble beginnings ... I studied a lot in school ... I read a ton ... if you work really hard, it doesn’t matter how you start; it matters how you finish.”

Source: The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 11 November 2009

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards of Fort Washington represents Maryland’s 4th Congressional District comprising portions of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. She was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 110th Congress in June 2008, and began her first full-term in the 111th Congress in 2009.

She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where she sits on:

• Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
• Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
• Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management

She serves on the Science and Technology Committee where she sits on:

• The Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation
• The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment
• The Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

She also serves as a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Rep. Edwards has enjoyed a diverse career as a nonprofit public interest and in the private sector on NASA’s Spacelab project. Just prior to serving in Congress, she was the executive director of the Arca Foundation in Washington, DC. During her time at Arca, she gained national prominence in her efforts to:

• Secure a "living wage" for working people.
• Ensure the independence of the federal judiciary.
• End capital punishment.
• Protect Social Security, and
• Promote labor and human rights both nationally and internationally.

Rep. Edwards was the co-founder and executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence where she led the effort to pass The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Rep. Edwards completed undergraduate studies at Wake Forest University and received her Juris Doctor from Franklin Pierce Law Center. She is the proud mother of her son who is currently attending college.


Beatrice Foster Gwynn (1917-2009)

Beatrice Foster Gwynn

Nov 17, 2009 - 06:26:15 pm CST (The Caswell Messenger)

Yanceyville, NC - Mrs. Beatrice Foster Gwynn of 1044 Foster Rd., died Sunday, November 15, 2009 in the Brian Center Nursing Facility in Yanceyville, NC. She was a native of Caswell County, NC the daughter of the late James Madison Foster and Lillie McKinley Foster, born January 30, 1917. She was a member of Mineral Springs Baptist Church, where she was mother of the church and a member of the missionary circle. She was also a former member of the senior choir, Pastors Aid, and Sunday school. She was a member of the Order Of Eastern Star #624. She was a homemaker.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Nolden Gwynn; one son, Robert Gwynn; one foster son, Walter Totten; six brothers, Edgar, Jack, Bill, Dorsey, and Jody Foster; five sisters, Anna Watlington, Honey Totten; Maggie Turner, Rebecca Watlington and Nannie Simpson. Her survivors are one daughter, Barbara Gwynn Brown of Yanceyville, NC; one daughter-in-law, Mrs. Louise Gwynn of Blanch, NC; 6 grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren; 2 great great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be Thursday, November 19, 2009 2:00 PM in the Mineral Springs Baptist Church. Pastor Everett Dickerson will deliver the words of comfort. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. A viewing will be Wednesday from 2 to 8 pm at Fulton Funeral Home Chapel. The family may be contacted at her residence 1044 Foster Rd. Yanceyville, NC. All arrangements are entrusted to Fulton Funeral Home.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Watlington Reunion 1928

(click on photograph for larger image)


Above are two photographs taken at a 1928 reunion of Watlington and related families. The location is the Caswell County, North Carolina, home of Otis Oscar Watlington (1872-1929) and Martha Elizabeth Page Watlington (1876-1965). The first photograph is a separate view of the younger people. The second photograph includes all attendees. To the extent known, the identities of those in the larger group photograph are set forth below:

First Row

1. Clarence Wright Watlington (1904-1979)
2. Not Identified [initially thought to be Wilbur Jones Page (1913-2009)]
3. Marion Arnold Nethery (1906-1990)
4. Albert Edgar Rice (1904-1967)
5. Virginia W. Dix (c.1918) (daughter of Felix Dix and Gertie V. Dix)
6. Bedford Page Dix (born c.1919) (son of Felix Dix and Gertie V. Dix)
7. James A. Dix (c.1915) (son of Felix Dix and Gertie V. Dix)
8. Mary Catherine Gunn (Jones) (1916-2003)
9. Margaret L. Shelton (born c.1918) (daughter of George Henry Shelton and Elizabeth Nethery Shelton)
10. Mary Lou Shelton (born c.1918) (daughter of George Henry Shelton and Elizabeth Nethery Shelton)
11. Barbara Ann Roberts (born c.1928) (believed to be a daughter of Hilliard Woods Roberts and Rosa Shelton Roberts)
12. Ruby H. Roberts (born c.1919) (believed to be a daughter of Hilliard Woods Roberts and Rosa Shelton Roberts)
13. Dorothy Mae Watlington (Stogner) (1924-1993)
14. Anna Elizabeth Watlington (Odell) (1923-2007)
15. Oscar Bryan Watlington, Jr. (1921-1990)
16. Julius Neal Watlington (born 1922)
17. Margaret Susan Watlington (1915-1997) (Hodges, Brown)
18. James Irvin Watlington (1924-2003)
19. Harvey Wilson Watlington (born 1917)
20. Nannie Mae Allison (believed to be the daughter of John Samuel Allison and Martha Ollie Shelton Allison)

Second Row

21. Herman Gunn Page (1904-1979)
22. Robert H. Jones
23. Josie Rudd
24. Betty F. Walters (Rudd) (daughter of Robert F. Walters and Emma Page Walters)
25. Emma Page Walters (1857-1933) (wife of Robert F. Walters)
26. Nettie Alice Page Dix or Gertie Dix (who may be the same person and the wife of Felix Dix)
27. Effie Lenora Page (Gunn) (1882-1954)
28. Sterling Page Gunn (1923-2006)
29. Not Identified
30. Mamie Page
31. Elizabeth Wilson Gunn (1847-1931)
32. Nancy Elizabeth (Nannie) Rudd (Gunn) (wife of Richard Griffin Gunn)
33. Maniza Ann Page (Rice) 1870-1959)
34. Hattie Wilson Page (Vaughn) (1880-1968)
35. Mary Mamie Page (Nethery) (1878-1967) (wife of Joseph Enoch Nethery)
36. Martha Elizabeth (Mattie) Page (Watlington) (1876-1965) (wife of Oscar Otis Watlington)
37. Otis Oscar Watlington (1872-1929) (son of James William Watlington and Laura Ann Jones)
38. Caroline Wimbish Bennett (1872-1952) (Jones) (wife of Robert Henry Jones)

Third Row

39. William Edwin (Willie) Gunn (1910-1987) (son of Thomas Edwin Gunn and Effie Lenora Page Gunn)
40. Bedford Allen Gunn (1906-1994) (son of Thomas Edwin Gunn and Effie Lenora Page Gunn)
41a. Benjamin Franklin McKinney, Jr. (1905-1967) (husband of Annie Belle Watlington)
41b. Adolphus (Doth) Page
42. Annie Bell Watlington (McKinney) (wife of Benjamin Franklin McKinney, Jr.)
43. Willard Holderby (this may be the husband of Zettie May Dix Holderby)
44. John Henry Gunn (1882-1962)
45. Zettie Holderby (this may be Zettie May Dix, daughter of Felix Dix and Nettie Alice Page Dix)
46. Louis Oscar Daniel (1904-1973) (husband of Martha Ann Gunn)
47. Felix Dix (born c.1881) (believed to be the husband of Nettie Alice Page Dix)
48. Thomas Earl Gunn (1914-2004)
49. Bill Dix
50. Martha Nethery (possibly the daughter of Joseph Enoch Nethery and Mary Mamie Page Nethery)

Fourth Row

51. Pattie Griffin Gunn (1895-1956)
52. Mary Lucinda Dix (possibly daughter of Felix Dix and Nettie Alice Page Dix)
53. Elizabeth Rice
54. Willard Jackson Page (1874-1962)
55. Robert Hayes Vaughn (1885-1957) (husband of Hattie Wilson Page)
56. Joseph Enoch Nethery (1874-1959) (husband of Mary Mamie (Nannie) Page)
57. Julius Spencer Watlington (1895-1972) (husband of Laura Mae Jones Watlington)
58. Laura Mae Jones (Watlington) (1903-1989)
58. Sara Lou Watlington (Gunter) (born 1926) (being held by her mother Laura Mae Jones Watlington)
59. Fannie Sue Roberts (Watlington) (1897-1981) (wife of Oscar Bryan Watlington)
59. Thomas Earl Watlington (born 1927) (being held by his mother Fannie Sue Roberts Watlington)
60. Oscar Bryan Watlington (1897-1973)

Fifth Row

61. Hubert Hodnet Page (1897-1974)
62. Eugene Rice (1895-1974) or William Gunn
63. Clyde Philip Page (1910-1982)
64. Ludolphus Graham Page (1902-1970)
65. John Oliver Gunn (1892-1992)
66. Not Identified
67. Rosa Shelton Roberts (1893-1972) (wife of Hilliard Woods (Hill) Roberts)
68. Hilliard Woods (Hill) Roberts (1897-1969) (husband of Rosa Shelton Roberts)
69. Martha Ann (Marnie) Gunn (Daniel) (1904-1985) (against post; wife of Lewis Oscar Daniel)
70. Annie Gunn (possibly Annie Elizabeth Gunn, daughter of John Henry Gunn and Hattie Florance Smith Gunn)
71. Hattie Gunn (possibly Hattie Florance Smith Gunn, wife of John Henry Gunn)
72. Janie Page (possibly daughter of Willard Jackson Page and Mary E. Gwynn Page)
73. Louise Page (possibly daughter of Willard Jackson Page and Mary E. Gwynn Page)
74. Virginia W. Dix (believed to be the daughter of Felix Dix and Nettie Alice Page Dix)
75. Elizabeth Page
76. Annie Nethery (possibly Annie Elizabeth Nethery, daughter of Joseph Enoch Nethery and Mary Mamie Page)
77. Marnie Page (possibly Martha Ann Gunn, daughter of Thomas Edwin Gunn and Effie Lenora Page Gunn)
78. Ella Shelton
79. Martha Dix
80. Emma Rice or Eva Page
81. Mamie Roberts
82. Annie Page or Mamie Roberts (against post)
83. Mrs. Adolphus (Doth) Page
84. Katie Shelton
85. Bentley Page (possibly John Bentley Page, son of Ludolphus Brown Page and Parthenia Phillip Hodnett Page)
86. Nettie Shelton (possibly Nettie Malloy Shelton, daughter of William Thomas Shelton and Martha Elizabeth Page Shelton)
87. Nettie Rice (possibly Nettie Page Rice, daughter of Albert Edgar Rice and Maniza Ann Page Rice)
88. Lillie Frances Jones (Fowlkes) (born 1910; wife of Robert Jennings Fowlkes)
89. Naomi Jones (1911-1943) (daughter of Robert Henry Jones and Caroline Wimbish Bennett Jones)
90. Percy McKinney
91. Nellie Althea Jones (Hodges) (born 1913; daughter of Robert Henry Jones and Caroline Wimbish Bennett Jones)


Saturday, October 31, 2009

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 1840-1841

The University of Pennsylvania is the oldest and one of the finest medical schools in the United States. Penn is rich in tradition and heritage and at the same time consistently at the forefront of new developments and innovations in medical education and research. Since its founding in 1765 the School has been a strong presence in the community and prides itself on educating the leaders of tomorrow in patient care, biomedical research, and medical education.

Included in the 1840-1841 University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine class were eight students from Caswell County, North Carolina.


Name County State
Anderson, John Q. Caswell, North Carolina.
Collins, Allen T. Caswell, North Carolina.
Currie, Shelby S. Caswell, North Carolina.
Price, James A. Caswell, North Carolina.
Walker, James C. Caswell, North Carolina.
Watt, William M. Caswell, North Carolina.
Wright, Weldon E. Caswell, North Carolina.
Yancey, Albert G. Yanceyville, North Carolina.

THE Medical Department is under the immediate government of the Medical Professors, who constitute the Faculty of Medicine, subject to the rules and statutes of the Board of Trustees. It includes:

A Professorship of ANATOMY,
A Professorship Of CHEMISTRY,
A Professorship of SURGERY,
A Professorship of the INSTITUTES OF MEDICINE.

The Medical Faculty hold meetings for the purpose of arranging and conducting the business of their department, and establishing proper rules and regulations for the preservation of order and decorum among the medical students. They appoint one of their own members to act as Dean, whose duty it is to keep the Minutes of the Faculty, to arrange the business of examining the candidates for medical degrees, to conduct the business of the Faculty at their meetings, and to attend to correspondence. The Session for the Medical Lectures begins annually on the first Monday of November, and ends in March.

The Commencement for conferring Medical Degrees is held by a special mandamus of the Board of Trustees, early in April, and within as short a time as possible after the examinations of candidates are over.

The following are the regulations at present in force in relation to the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

1. Every candidate for this degree must have attained the age of twenty-one years, have applied himself to the study of Medicine for three years, and have been, during that time, the private pupil, for two years at least, of a respectable practitioner of Medicine.

2. The candidate must have attended two complete courses of the following lectures in this Institution:

Practice of Physic and Clinical Medicine,
Materia Medica and Pharmacy,
Obstetrics and the Diseases of Women and Children,
Institutes of Medicine.

3. He must also have attended one course of Clinical Instruction in the Philadelphia Hospital, (Blockley) or the Pennsylvania Hospital, or some other Institution approved of by the Faculty of Medicine.

4. Medical students who have attended one complete course in a respectable Medical School, where the attendance on two complete courses is necessary to a degree, where the same branches are taught as in this, and which is placed upon the ad Eundem
of this school, are permitted to become candidates by attendance here for one full course.

5. When candidates for a Medical Degree apply to the Dean for admission, they must exhibit their tickets to prove that the above regulations have been complied with.

6. Each candidate, at the time of his application, which should be on or before the first day of February, must deliver to the Dean of the Medical Faculty, a Thesis, composed by himself, on some medical subject. This Thesis* is referred to one of the
Professors who shall examine the candidate upon it and must be written uniformly on paper of the same size, the alternate pages being left blank.

10. General bad spelling in a Thesis, or general inattention to the rules of grammar, will preclude a candidate from examination for a degree.

11. A Thesis may be published by the candidate if he desire it, the permission of the Professor by whom he was examined thereon being first obtained; but no alteration shall be made therein without the consent of the Professor.

12. The voting on the case of each candidate is by private ballot, and three negative votes reject him.

13. Each candidate shall pay the fees of graduation, at the time of his examination, or before receiving notice of his success; and before his name can be entered on the Register of passed candidates, for the purpose of being reported to the Board of Trustees and included in the mandamus for a degree.

14. Candidates who have passed their examination, and in other respects complied with the regulations, are to be reported by the Dean to the Provost, who will communicate such report to the Board of Trustees, in order that, if approved of by them, their mandamus be issued for conferring the degree.

15. The degree will not be conferred upon a candidate who absents himself from the public commencement, except by special permission of the Medical Faculty.

16. Graduates of Medical Schools, on the ad Eundem list, by attending one complete course in this Institution, are put upon the same footing with students who have attended two complete courses here.

*The Essay must be written on Thesis paper, which can be procured at the Medical bookstores; this is for the purpose of convenient binding together into volumes.
The following form of the title page is to be observed:

An Essay on Medicine in the University of Pennsylvania, by
(name in full) of Town
Residence in City,
Duration of studies,
Presented (date;
for the Degree of Doctor of
County, State of

Rule of Examinations for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine.

The names and essays of the candidates are to be presented to the Dean on or before the first day of February in each year. The candidates are then to be divided, either by their own arrangement or by that of the Dean, into classes of eight persons
each. These classes will be designated numerically and according to lot. The examinations will begin on the last Monday in February or the first Monday in March, and be so conducted as to have the commencement early in April. No person's name will be received on a class unless his essay is in possession of the Dean-neither is his name to be attached to a class by any other than the Dean, except he has signified his desire to that effect.

The classes are to call at the houses of the several Professors, or at some other place designated by the latter; and when in attendance, each of the individuals composing a class is to be examined separately, and in the order of his name on the list of his class.

Each Professor is to keep a list of those examined by him, and opposite to the name of each individual examined is to note the result, so as, on consulting his paper, to be able to vote in the affirmative or negative as to the qualifications for a degree. As the examinations of each group of classes shall be completed, the Faculty is to meet-the names of the candidates examined are to be read by the Dean-and as each name is called off, the Professors are to consult their memoranda, and if no remarks be made, are to proceed to vote by ballot. If there shouldnot be three negative votes, the candidate is to be considered as having passed, and is to be entitled to his degree. Should three black balls be cast against any individual, he is not to be considered as absolutely rejected, but is to have the privilege of another examination before the whole Faculty in general session.

If, upon the name of a candidate being called out, one or more of the Faculty have any remarks to make in relation to his gualifications, they are to be heard before the vote is taken.

At the close of each meeting, the Dean is to make known the result of the ballot, by note, to each of the successful candidates, who is to pay his graduation fees before the note referred to will be delivered by the Janitor.

The candidates in classes being thus disposed of, the Faculty is then to proceed to the examination of those who may have preferred the old plan, and afterwards of those who, having received three negative votes, may still choose to avail themselves
of the opportunity of a final examination offered by the Faculty.

If any candidate who may not have succeeded in the first ballot, shall decline an examination before the Faculty in general session, he is to have the privilege of withdrawing his Thesis, without being considered as rejected.

If a Thesis be found remarkable for any good quality, the fact is to be reported by the Professor possessing it to the Faculty at their meeting, who may take upon it such action as they may deem advisable.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thomas Taylor Boswell

(click on photograph for larger image)

Forceful, sagacious and resourceful, Thomas Taylor Boswell, president of the Big Vein Pocahontas Coal Company, is recognized as one of those who are closest to the business concerns and financial interests of Baltimore. Prominently identified for nearly forty years with the social and commercial life of our city, he has proved himself to be possessed of those sterling traits of character which are needed and are sure to be appreciated in every community. Mr. Boswell comes of ancient Virginia stock, being descended on both sides from leading families of the Old Dominion. His maternal line can be traced back to Major Lewis Burwell, who settled about 1640 on Carter's creek, in Gloucester county, Virginia. He was descended from Edward Burwell, of Harlington, Bedfordshire, whose father was also Edward. Robert Walpole, Earl of Oxford, premier of England, and Horatio, Lord Nelson, were descendants of the Burwells through female lines. Lewis Burwell, the immigrant, owned the great plantation of Fairfield, the mansion being one of the most unusual in Virginia. It was like some medieval castle, or fortress, standing staunch and timeworn until a few years ago, when it was burned to the ground. After the Burwells had left it, which was about the beginning of the nineteenth century, it passed through many successive hands and came to be called Carter's Creek. The tombs are fit for princes, but are now, unhappily, crumbling to decay.

The Burwells, who went from Gloucester county, established handsome seats in other parts of Virginia, notably "The Grove", near Williamsburg, "Carter Hall", in Clarke county, "Stoneland", in Mecklenburg, and "King's Creek". The communion service now used at Old Abingdon, the parish church of Fairfield, on Carter's creek, was presented by Lewis Burwell, and has "L. B." inscribed upon it. Lewis Burwell was a member of the deputation sent to invite Charles II. to come to Virginia, which remained loyal throughout the period of the civil wars and the protectorate. He married Lucy, daughter of the "valiant Captain Higginson, one of the first commanders who subdued the country of Virginia from the power of the heathen". Lewis Burwell died November 19, 1658, and was buried at his seat, "Fairfield", where his tomb and that of his wife are still to be seen. Their son, also Lewis Burwell, married Abigail Smith, niece and heiress of the Hon. Nathaniel Bacon Sr., president of the council, whose whole estate, which had been intended for his nephew, Nathaniel Bacon, the rebel, was bequeathed to her and her descendants. The Burwells are thus shown to have been one of the richest as well as one of the oldest families in Virginia. Their arms are as follows : A saltire between four griffins' heads, erased ; crest, a griffin's claw with three talons grasping a twig with four leaves.

Thomas Taylor Boswell, son of William C. and Mary Armistead (Burwell) Boswell, was born October 13, 1856, in Henry county, Virginia. Mrs. Boswell was a daughter of Peyton Randolph Burwell, of Chase City, Virginia. Mr. Boswell died June 21, 1906. Thomas Taylor was the oldest of four sons, the others being John L., living in Wheeling, West Virginia ; Dr. H. H., living in Buffalo, New York, and William C., deceased. There were also three daughters : Nannie R. ; Lucy S., who married N. R. Edwards, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, formerly of Kentucky; and Mary A., who is the wife of James Burgess, of Roland Park, Baltimore. Thomas Taylor Boswell was educated in the public and private schools of his native place, and in 1874 came to Baltimore, which has ever since been his home and the scene of his business career. On his arrival he became clerk for A. Schumacher & Company, and through his own individual efforts, strict application and hard work, rose to the position of superintendent of lines. Later, in connection with H. G. Hilken and W. G. Atkinson, he formed the Elbarge Transfer Company, which became extinct in 1906. He was also instrumental in organizing the Chesapeake and Lighterage Towing Company, which is still in existence. With these two companies he was connected for ten years.

In 1893, while still associated with A. Schumacher & Company, he founded and organized the Merchants' Coal Company, becoming its president, an office which he retained until two years ago, when the business was purchased by J. S. and W. S. Kuhns, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Boswell then organized, in April, 1909, the Big Vein Pocahontas Coal Company, with mines at Pocahontas, Virginia. Of this organization he is still president. He is a typical business man. quick to see an emergency and equally quick in devising a plan to meet it ; decisive in his methods, keenly alive to any business proposition and its possibilities, and finding that pleasure in the solution of a difficult business problem without which there can be no real success, as otherwise there is indicated a lack of that intense interest which must be the foundation of all progress in commercial and industrial lines. In addition to his presidency of the company, Mr. Boswell is also president of the Bear Run Coal & Coke Company, a new enterprise, which has recently moved its offices to Baltimore.

The welfare of his adopted city is always an object of his solicitude and an appeal in behalf of any institution or project designed to further that end never fails to secure an interested hearing and the utmost aid which it is in his power to bestow. He has been personally associated as trustee with St. Mary's Industrial School and other charitable and benevolent institutions. He contributes to the coffers of different societies, notwithstanding the fact that he is a member of none. In politics he is a staunch Democrat, taking great interest in public affairs, but has never been induced to accept office.

Mr. Boswell married, April 6, 1881, in Baltimore, Sallie E., daughter of Andrew and Jane (Stewart) Brown. Mr. Brown, who is now deceased, was a well-known contractor. Mr. and Mrs. Boswell have one son: Edward T., born August 13, 1882 ; he is a member of the Baltimore Athletic Club. He married, April 6, 1903, Winifred H. Dillinger, and they are the parents of two children : Winifred Dillinger and Sarah Catherine.

Mr. Boswell Sr. is the owner of a stock farm of one thousand and sixty acres, in Long Green valley, seventeen miles from Baltimore, and there he and his family spend the summer months. He is extremely fond of animals and finds in the management of this farm congenial recreation after the unremitting cares and strenuous toils of business. Mr. Boswell is a man of serious aims, far-sighted in business, broad in views, cherishing generous ideals, entertaining in society, and finding his friends among the young and old, rich and poor, conscious of the dignity of life, these are traits which shine in his character and make him an object of universal esteem and a representative of those interests which have most largely conserved the growth and progress of the Monumental City.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Herndon Haralson 15 April 1843 Letter

This is a transcript of a letter from Herndon Haralson in Brownsville, Tennessee to his son Paul A. Haralson in Yanceyville, N.C. At that time Herndon and his wife were living with their son William Henry Haralson.

Transcribed October 26, 2001 from original letter by Tommy Booker. Paragraph breaks were not in the original, but are added to aid readability. All rights reserved.

Oliver - Page Deed (14 January 1857)

(click on photograph for larger image)


William P. Womack
Matilda Womack

Henry F. Adkins
Frances Adkins

John F. Wagstaff
Elizabeth Caroline Wagstaff

Henderson House
Linsey Oliver
John G. Oliver
W. W. Oliver

Property Description

Louis H. Love
Black Jack McKenny
Potash Page

The transferors listed appear to be the children (and husbands of daughters) of Durett Oliver and Matilda Lea Oliver.

1. Matilda Oliver m. William Peeples Womack
2. Frances Oliver m. Henry F. Adkins
3. Ann C. Oliver m. Henderson House
4. Elizabeth Caroline Oliver m. John F. Wagstaff
5. John G. Oliver (son of Durett Oliver)
6. Linsey/Lindsay Oliver (son of Durett Oliver)
7. W. W. Oliver could be William Oliver (son of Durett Oliver)


Zachariah Page


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tobacco Thieves in Caswell County (1926)

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Thomas v. Palmer (1854)

Lucy Thomas and Others against Nathaniel J. Palmer
North Carolina Supreme Court
54 N.C. 249 (1954)

Emancipation, followed by immediate removal from the State, is not forbidden by our laws. But where it is provided in a will, that certain slaves shall have their own time, and may work or not, as they see proper, having the care and protection of a nominal master, and a fund for their support and maintainance, such a state of qualified slavery is regarded by the Court as unlawful, and the bequests void.

Cause removed from the Court of Equity of Caswell county, at the Spring Term, 1854.

Nathaniel P. Thomas, among other things, devised and bequeathed as follows:

"My mill tract of land, situate in Caswell county, containing eighty-five acres, on the waters of Pumpkin Creek, adjoining the lands of Carter Powell, and others, and the Crowder tract of land, containing about sixty-six acres, adjoining the same. I do hereby devise to my executor, to be sold on a liberal credit, and the proceeds of the said sale to be placed at interest, after investing a portion of the same in purchasing a suitable home for my mulatto woman, Lucy, and children, purchased of the trustees of Robert A. Crowder; the interest in the said two tracts to be appropriated towards their support, and until the amount of said sale becomes due, I direct my executor to appropriate a sufficient amount out of the proceeds of my estate generally, for their maintainance and support.

3rd. My mulatto woman, Lucy, as aforesaid, I do hereby devise and bequeath, to Nathaniel J. Palmer, together with her children, Mary Jane, James and Newton, and any other children that she may have, in trust and confidence, nevertheless, that he will provide for them a suitable home, as aforesaid, and for her support, and that of her children, until they are able to support themselves, out of the proceeds of the real estate aforesaid. And in the event of the death of the said Nathaniel J. Palmer, the said woman, and children are to be held by my friend, William Bryant, of Pittsylvania county, Virginia, as trustee aforesaid, and in the event of his death, they are to be held by such trustee as he may select, and the County Court of Caswell approve and appoint, it being understood that the said woman and children are not to be removed from the county of Caswell, without her free will and consent, and a copy of this will recorded in the clerk's office of the county, to which she may remove."

In a codicil to this will the testator provides as follows: "In the event that the laws of North Carolina, or the policy of the same, as construed by the Supreme Court, shall present any obstacle to the fulfillment of the trust mentioned in the foregoing will in relation to my mulatto woman, Lucy, and her children, I do hereby authorise and direct my executor, to send them to such State, territory or country as she may select, and he may think best, and I do hereby charge my estate with a sum sufficient to provide for their removal to such State, territory, and country, and for their comfortable settlement there; it being my will and desire, that she shall not be continued in slavery."

The woman Lucy, being advised that the policy of the laws of the State forbade her remaining in the State, and obtaining any of the advantages proposed in this will or codicil removed with her children to the State of Ohio, where they are now domiciled, and are, by the laws of that State, free persons.

The plaintiffs (the woman Lucy and her children) in their bill, allege that by their own exertions, and by the partial aid of Mr. Palmer, the executor, they were enabled to get to Ohio, but that they have not been provided with a home or settlement as the will directs, and that they are in want, and destitution, and that the children being small, the mother is unable to support herself and them, without the assistance of the fund provided in the will. They insist that the codicil of the will, above recited, made good and valid, the provision made for them in the will, and that they are entitled to the proceeds of the sale of the two tracts of land, which amounts to some $1,500; but besides this, they are entitled to the expenses of their removal, and to a comfortable settlement out of the estate of the testator. And accordingly such is the prayer of the bill as well as for general relief.

The answer of the executor, Palmer, objects to the construction insisted on by the plaintiffs, but says that he is advised, that there is nothing in the codicil to validate, and set up the deficient and illegal devises in the body of the will, so that the plaintiffs are not entitled to any thing but the expenses of their removal, and a comfortable settlement in the land to which they have gone; that he has already advanced funds to them to assist in removing them to Ohio, and that as soon as the condition of the estate will allow, he intends to provide for a comfortable settlement of them in Ohio. But he submits to the advice and direction of this Court in the premises.

The cause was set for hearing on bill, answer, and exhibit, and sent to this Court by consent.

Morehead for plaintiffs.

Norwood for defendants.

Thomas and others v. Palmer.

Pearson, J. Emancipation is not forbidden by our laws; but a negro, who is set free, is required forthwith to leave the State; for it is against public policy to have the number of free negroes increased, or to allow negroes to remain among us in a qualified state of slavery.

The latter is, if any thing, the worse evil of the two. Free negroes constitute a distinct class; and the poor creatures seldom prosper so well as to become objects of envy. Whereas, slaves, who have the care and protection of a master, have houses provided for them, and a fund set apart for their support and maintenance, so that they can have the control of their own time, and may work or not, as they see proper, necessarily become objects of envy to those who continue to look upon them as fellow slaves. So that nothing can be more calculated to make our slaves discontented; accordingly such a state of things is expressly forbidden by statute. It follows that the provision in the will by which Lucy and her children were to remain in this State under the care and protection of one, who was to act nominally as master, but was to provide a house for them to live in, and apply the interest of a certain fund for their support and maintenance, so as to let them have the control of their own time, is void. Fortunately for the complainants, the testator became aware of this in time to make provision by a codicil for their emancipation and removal to another country, and "for their comfortable settlement there."

The complainants insist, that the codicil has the further effect of making valid the provision that is made for them in the will, and that they are now entitled as well to the provision which the testator intended to make for them by the will, as that which he did make for them by the codicil. In other words, that besides having the expenses of their removal and comfortable settlement in another country paid out of the estate of the testator, they are entitled to the fund produced by the sale of the two tracts of land. We do not think so.

The provision made by the codicil is intended as a substitute for that made by the will — "in the event" that the latter cannot be carried into effect. The intention is clearly this: If the negroes can be kept in this State, they are to be provided for as directed by the will. If they cannot remain here and be so provided for, then, they are to be provided for as directed by the codicil. There is not the slightest intimation that the two modes of providing for them are in any degree, or to any extent, to be cumulative.

Decree accordingly.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bible of Solomon Graves (1784-1861)

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Bible Record of Solomon Graves: Discussing Brothers Joseph Graves and Thomas Graves of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and the Family of Thomas Graves

The following information was previously published on pages 114, 118-119, 1981 Graves Family Newsletter.

Mr. William T. Graves came across a record from the Bible of Solomon Graves, son of Rev. Barzillai Graves (who died 14 July 1827 in Caswell Co., NC). The Bible belonged to Mrs. Elizabeth Burke (nee Graves) of Yanceyville, NC, and was copied by the N.C. Archives in 1971. Although it is not certain, the record (at least in part) appears to be Solomon Graves’s attempt to recall his ancestry as of 1817. Someone has added notes concerning family births and deaths occurring after 1817. Mr. William T. Graves prepared the following transcription of the Bible record (with a few minor punctuation changes). There are probably errors in this record. For example, the record states that Joseph and Thomas Graves came to Virginia from England around 1700; that is unlikely.

Ancestry, family, particulars -- according to the best information that can be at present collected --- Anno D. 1817

It seems that about the year 1700, Joseph[1] and Thomas[2] Graves emigrated to America from England. Being brothers, they both settled in the State of Virginia in the County of Spotsylvania. Each of them married in that State and from them a numerous [necessary] connection has descended. Thos intermarried with one Mary Perkins and had by this marriage only three children, two daughters and a son, and his wife died. He then married a second time and by this marriage he had many sons. John Graves, his son by the first marriage, removed into the State of North Carolina about the year A.D. 1755. He married a daughter of James Lea, formerly of Virginia, whose name was Isabell Lea. James Lea, her father, married a Herndon. From the marriage of John Graves and his wife has sprung an extensive family connection in the State of North Carolina. Barzillai Graves, their fifth son, intermarried with one Ursula Wright, the daughter of one William Wright the son of John Wright who intermarried one Miss ------ Parsons and who emigrated to the United States about beginning of the Seventeenth Century. William Wright intermarried with one Margaret Johnston, the daughter of a Mr. [Wm] Johnston who also emigrated to this Country from England. From the marriage of B. Graves and his wife there has descended three sons and four daughters, Solomon Graves, Jeremiah Graves, and Barzillai Graves, Jun., who died without issue. The daughters were named Isabella Graves, Elizabeth Graves, Margaret Graves and Mary Graves. Isabell, the eldest daughter, intermarried with one Hosea McNeill. Elizabeth, the second daughter, intermarried with one James Lea. Mary, the fourth daughter, intermarried with one Thomas W. Graves. Solomon Graves, the eldest son, intermarried with one Mary C. Franklin who was the daughter of Jesse Franklin, late a Governor of the State of North Carolina. Jeremiah Graves intermarried with one Delilah Lea, a daughter of John Lea, called Cainbrake (sic, Canebrake) John Lea. [NOTE: The handwriting for the following is different from the handwriting for the preceding. The archivist at the N.C. Archives believes that the following text was written at a later date by someone other than the author of the preceding notes.] Margaret Graves married William Lipscomb. Her descendants are all dead. James Lea removed to West Tennessee where their descendants now reside (in 1864).

Register of Ages and Deaths

S. [Solomon] Graves born 14th July 1784

Mary C. [Franklin] Graves born the 24 Feby. 1794

They were married 10th April 1817

1. Micky (?) Ann Graves their first daughter born March 23th, 1819

2. Sarah Emily their second daughter born the 10th March 1821

3. Mary Ursula their third daughter born 6th April 1823

4. Elizabeth Franklin Graves their fourth daughter born 16th June 1825

5. J. Franklin their first son born the 31st day of August 1829

6. Margaret Isabella their fifth daughter born 30th day of May 1832

7. Barzillai Yancy Graves born the 10th October 1835

Mary U. who intermarried with H. M. Waugh died the 24th of June 1851

Jesse Franklin, father of Mary C. Graves, born March 24th 1760, died in August 28th 1824 in the 64th year of his age.

Meeky Franklin, mother of Mary C. Graves, born 1765. She died the 20th of Feby. 1835 in her 69th year.

Barzillai Graves, father of S. Graves, born 1755, died 14th July 1827 in the 67th year of his age.


[1] This is the Joseph Graves whose daughter Mary Graves married Benjamin Cleveland.

[2] This is the Thomas Graves who married Ann Davenport.


Cobb Memorial High School Class 1955

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Members of the Cobb Memorial High School Class of 1955 are (front row, left to right) Margaret Crumpton Shumate, Peggy Daniel James, Annie Laurie Daniel Robertson, Frances Boswell Barbour (second row) Nancy Stroud McGee, Ruth Giles Caudle, Betty Green Myers, Adean Kendrick Harris, Betty Harrelson Regan, Jeannie Ware Dix, J.T. Goodson (back row) Wayne Yarbrough, Bobby Dove, Reid Thompson, William Irvin Regan, Richard Cook, Odell Dalton, Lelia Apple McKinney.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Loftin Brandon Scott (1845-1920)

Loftin Brandon Scott (1845-1920)

On October 24, 2009, a Confederate headstone dedication ceremony will held at the grave site of Loftin Brandon Scott (1845-1920):

From Scott family member Mrs. Roberta Hanna - The Dedication will be at Lebanon Church on Cunningham Road in Semora at 1 PM October 24th. Afterwards we will go to the Methodist Church on Hwy 119 for a covered dish meal. Only request is to bring a covered dish and join us for some social time and visit with family and friends.

Loftin Brandon Scott descends from a John Scott, who died 1781 in Caswell County, North Carolina. This John Scott is the father-in-law of the famous Rev. Hugh McAden, who also died in 1781. In 1762, Rev. Hugh McAden married John Scott's daughter Catherine Scott.

John Scott - Will - written 16 June 1781. Sons Robert, John, and deceased son William; daughters Cathrine McAden, Mary McFarland; son in law Samuel Cunningham; son in law David Logan; daughter in law Rebecca Scott; Grandchildren: John and Hannah Cunningham; David, Cathrine, and Mary Hannah Logan; Sarah, Rebecca, Cathrine, Eamy ,Elizabeth, Loften, and John Graham Scott. Executors: sons Robert and John. Witnesses: Archibald Murphey, Fed Debo, Jno. McAden.

Source: Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1777-1814 and 1814-1843 (Two Volumes In One), Katharine Kerr Kendall (1979 and 1983) (Volume I at 8.

John Scott (d. 1781, Caswell County, North Carolina) had seven children. The name of his wife is unknown:

1. Robert Scott married Rachel Burton
2. John Scott, Jr., married Dicey Moon
3. William Scott married Rebecca Brown
4. Mary Scott married Unknown McFarland
5. Catherine Scott married Rev. Hugh McAden
6. Jean Scott married Samuel Cunningham
7. Unknown Scott married David Logan.

Following is the ancestral outline for Loftin Brandon Scott:

John Scott (d. 1871, Caswell County, North Carolina)
William Scott m. Rebecca Brown
John Graham Scott m. Jinny Turner
John Berryman Scott m. Nancy Daniel Brandon
Loftin Brandon Scott

William Scott left a will in Halifax County, Virginia (Will Book 1, p. 288) in which he mentions his two sons (including John "Gryms" Scott) and several daughters. A Brandon is a witness or surety.

Note that John Graham Scott had a brother named Loften/Loftin Scott, who may be the namesake of Loftin Brandon Scott (1845-1920).