Friday, February 27, 2009

Yanceyville Public Well

Remember the public well that stood on the northwest corner of the public square? In the 1920s and 1930s it had a green pump for drawing water. A trough was nearby for dogs and horses to get a sip. The well also has a history. At the 1852 October meeting of the county court it was ordered that a committee be appointed to receive propositions and contract for sinking a public well on the public square.

In April 1853 the justices ordered the committee to contract for a metallic pump for said well and the contract given to William Lockhart to dig the well was altered. In October 1853 Lockhart was paid $195 for digging the well. Also it included pay for building a house over the well. Apparently the pump was not satisfactory for in July 1855 Joseph J. Yarbro offered to give another pump. In July 1856 Thomas B. Atkins was paid $51 for replacing the pump. More trouble? In 1860 Atkins was ordered again to contract for repairing the well and enclosing it. Lastly in 1869 A. A. Mitchell was allowed $65 by the County Commissioners to put a new pump in the well in Yanceyville and he contracted to keep same in good order.

The pump is now gone -- the old well covered with ground and grass. One must remember that before 1920 the entire public square in Yanceyville was dirt -- no pavement -- one could ride straight through the public land. It was not until 1921 that the streets were paved -- the public square enclosed with cement and the Confederate Memorial Monument erected.

Katharine Kerr Kendall

Watering Trough

Dr. Houston G. Jones

H. G. Jones grew up in a house without books to become one of the most prolific writers and distinguished archivists in North Carolina. He has dedicated his life to forging a vision for the state’s future by collecting and preserving every scrap of its past. For his relentless pursuit of North Carolina history, H.G. Jones receives the 2002 North Carolina Award for Public Service.Jones was born in 1924 on a tenant farm in the Caswell County community of Kill Quick and endured the Great Depression under tough circumstances. Undeterred, he headed to Lees-McRae College; however, with the onset of World War II, he soon moved from the classroom to a U.S. Navy ship.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Somerville Female Institute

(click on photograph for larger image)

The Somerville Female Institute was established in Leasburg, North Carolina, by Reverend Solomon Lea (1807-1897) in 1848. It remained in operation until 1892. The school was named in honor of astronomer Mary Somerville whose work Solomon Lea admired. Beside himself, other teachers in the school were his daughters, his wife, Sophia Ainger Lea, Miss Sarah Stanfield, Miss Margaret Harrison, and Miss French.

The school attracted scores of young ladies from North Carolina, Virginia, and other southern states. Subjects taught included grammar, arithmetic, algebra, Latin, French, diction, philosophy, botany, chemistry, geography, astronomy, rhetoric, moral science, and music. Students were provided with slates, pen holders, inkwells, envelopes, and fine paper.

A school account book survives from the 1856-1859 period and is part of the Caswell County Historical Association Collection in the Southern Historical Collection at the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, North Carolina):

Somerville Female Institute

To see a list of the names found in this account book see:

Somerville Female Institute Account Book Index

Many of the accounts were settled by a load or two of wood, a sack of flour or potatoes, or the use of a team of horses. The school closed in 1892 as a result of Solomon Lea's declining health.

Solomon Lea graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1833 and was the first president of Greensboro College. For more on him go to:

Solomon Lea


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Caswell County Photographic History

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


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Etta Lunsford Bush (1912-2009)

(click on photograph for larger image)

Etta Lunsford (1912-2009)

Jan 27, 2009 - 07:34:41 pm CST Yanceyville, NC - Etta Lunsford Bush, 96, of 2526 US Hwy. 158 E., Yanceyville, NC died Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at Alamance County Health Care, Burlington, NC. She was born July 14, 1912 to the late Walter Thomas Lunsford and Mattie Cook Lunsford in Caswell County, NC. She was married to Garland Bush who died in 1969. She was a homemaker and a life long member of Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church.

She is survived by a daughter-in-law, Mary Ellen Bush of Burlington, NC; three granddaughters, Tiffany Jeffreys and husband, Michael, Michelle Bush and Jennifer Bush; two great grandchildren, Amber Rylee and Mikey Jeffreys; sister-in-law, Margaret Lunsford, Danville, VA; numbers of nieces and nephews and special friends at Ruddridge Family Care Home. She was predeceased by one son, Ronald Bush.

Funeral services were held Saturday at 11:00 am at Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church. Visitation was at 10:00 am until time of service. Interment was in the church cemetery. Marley Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Prospect Hill, North Carolina Post Office

(click on photograph for larger image)

Prospect Hill Post Office

The post office at Prospect Hill, North Carolina, was established 15 August 1823. On the adjoining lot of the current post office is the building that housed it for more than one-hundred years, Warren's Store. Built in the 1850s, this old store building still has a corner set aside by Mrs. Geneva Warren that contains the Prospect Hill Postal Museum. In this fascinating corner are the old call letter boxes, letter scales, receipts, records, ancient postal manuals, and other post office memorabilia. One manual issued 1 April 1859 lists alphabetically every post office in operation that year along with the name of its postmaster. Another section of this manual lists every county of every state in the United States and gives the name of every post office located in each of the counties. Another portion of it has the postal rules and regulations in force at that time. Among the many interesting documents on display is a copy of a pardon given to Franklin Link Warren, postmaster 1842-1865. The pardon was for having operated the Prospect Hill Post Office under the Confederacy during the Civil War. [Note that the foregoing speaks as of 1985.]

Stephen E. Massengill, researcher for the North Carolina Archives and History Division of Cultural Resources, complied a history of the Prospect Hill Post Office.

Robert D. Satterfield, postmaster 1969-1988, related that his uncle B. C. Satterfield carried the mail by horse and buggy for more than thirty years. Irving Warren was also a rural carrier. James Rudolph Nelson resigned as postmaster in 1968 to take the rural carrier appointment and served until his retirement in 1978. At that time the Greensboro Sectional Center realigned some of the rural routes of its association offices. Since then most of Prospect Hill's rural route has been served by Charles N. Briggs, the rural carrier out of the Leasburg Post Office. The remainder is served by Eddie Jones, the rural carrier out of the Hurdle Mills Post Office. [Note that the foregoing speaks as of 1985.]

In 1975 a new modern brick post office was built and was occupied 29 December 1975. It stands at the corner of S.R. 1702, Ridgeville Road, and S.R. 1771, Main Street. Through every change of every administration when postmasters were changed by the Democratic or Republican part in power at the time, up through the permanent postmaster appointments of the present day, Robert D. Satterfield believes that Prospect Hill's Post Office has always been located on this same corner, although not always in the same building, since it was first established 15 August 1823.

Where no description is given of the office held it was postmaster.

1823 - 1831 William Anderson
1831 - 1842 William Corbett
1842 - 1865 Franklin L. Warren
1865 - 1867 Mrs. Franklin L. Warren (Mary Ann Wells Warren)
1867 - 1968 Mrs. Henrietta A. Gordon
1868 - 1869 Post office closed and mail sent to Yanceyville
1869 - 1874 Mrs. Henrietta A. Gordon
1874 - 1882 Franklin L. Warren
1882 - 1888 Julius B. Warren
1888 - 1910 Franklin R. Warren
1910 - 1914 Charles B. Smith
1914 - 1940 Franklin R. Warren
1940 - 1968 James Rudolph Nelson
1968 - 1969 Robert D. Satterfield (acting postmaster)
1969 - 1988 Robert D. Satterfield
1988 Beverly S. Anderson (officer-in-charge)
1989 - 1991 Kyle Tobin Carver
1991 Rene J. Brown (officer-in-charge)
1992 Barbara D. Davis (officer in-charge)
1992 Turnede Chestnut (officer-in-charge)
1992 - 2000 Joseph H. (Sandy) Warren
2000 Eva Kirby Crisp (officer-in-charge)
2000 Marylene S. McCain (officer-in-charge)
2000 - 2005 Marylene S. McCain
2005 Wayne Frazier (officer-in-charge)
2005 - 2006 Tammy Harvey (officer-in-charge)
2006 Patricia S. Brewer
2006 - 2008 Belinda Kirby (officer-in-charge)
2008 - Laurie H. Hunt

From 1836 to 1971, postmasters at the larger Post Offices were appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate. Postmasters earning less than $1,000 per year were appointed by the Postmaster General, generally upon the advice of the local congressman or townspeople. Regulations required that postmasters execute a valid bond and take an oath of office. Minors were ineligible, and U.S. citizenship was required for appointment to all but the smallest Post Offices. Prior to 1971, it was also required that postmasters live in the delivery area of their Post Office. Since 1971, postmasters have been selected on the merit system.


1823 - 1968: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 56-57 ("Prospect Hill Post Office" by Jeannine D. Whitlow). Thus the 1985 date is the last year reported.

1969 - Present: United States Postal Service website:

The following is from the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper 10 November 1963:

Each morning, except on days of rain, sleet or snow, the postmistress or postmaster of the rural station raises the flag. Recently at the Prospect Hill post office the flag stood out briskly in the November wind. The post office is in a front corner of a general merchandise store which was built in 1857. Four or five senior citizens in their 80s sat around the store and discussed the tobacco market. James R. Nelson, who has been postmaster of the Prospect Hill post office since 1940, was sorting out the letters and magazines. "Yes, this post office was established in 1823," he said. "And my family has operated it over 100 years. My great-grandfather was made postmaster on November 25, 1842. Nelson's grandfather over the job in 1888 and ran it until 1940 when Nelson took charge.