Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Caswell County School Desegregation

Jeffers v. Whitley, 309 F.2d 621 (4th Cir. 1962)

Alexander JEFFERS and Sylveen Jeffers, minors, and John L. Jeffers and Annie L. Jeffers, their parents and next friends; Nathan Brown, Lunsford Brown, and Sheliah Brown, minors, and Jasper Brown, their father and next friend; and Charlie Saunders, Jr., and Fred Saunders, minors, and C. H. Saunders, their father and next friend, Appellants,


Thomas H. WHITLEY, Superintendent of the Public Schools of Caswell County, David L. Johnson, Chairman, C. N. Barber, J. A. Hodges, N. L. Oliver and J. C. Wilkins, Members of the School Board of Caswell County, Appellees.

United States Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit

Methodist Church History in Caswell County, North Carolina

New Hope United Methodist Church

Purley United Methodist Church

(click on photograph for larger image)

M. Park Hunter (Pastor at New Hope and Purley United Methodist Churches in Caswell County, North Carolina) kindly provided (a) a paper he authored on Methodism in Caswell County, (b) his extensive research notes, and (c) New Hope and Purley church photographs. The links to these materials are set forth below:

New Hope United Methodist Church 230th Anniversary

Methodism in Microcosm, M. Park Hunter (2008)

Research Notes

New Hope Photographs

Purley Photographs

Additional materials relating to these churches will be found at:

Cemetery Census (New Hope)

Cemetery Census (Purley)

New Hope United Methodist Church 200th Anniversary

New Hope United Methodist Church Weblog Article

Caswell church marks 230 years
© Burlington Times-News
July 24, 2009
By Tristan Long

Few churches can claim they’ve been organized longer than the denomination they belong to. New Hope United Methodist Church on 679 Long’s Mill Road in Caswell County is one of those. On Sunday, the church will celebrate its 230th anniversary with a service that will include appearances by the bishop of the North Carolina United Methodist Church, Alfred Wesley Gwinn Jr., Burlington District Superintendent William H. Gattis, and former pastors and their family members. The church traces its beginnings to class meetings led by John B. Davis starting around 1779. Davis, a Maryland native, left the Methodist-influenced area in the 1770s as a teenager. Current church members can trace their lineage to Davis, said Park Hunter, the church’s student-pastor.

At these early meetings, people read scripture and listened to sermons by lay ministers under “a big ol’ oak tree,” said Hunter. Methodist pastors were not ordained ministers until after 1783. Hunter estimated that a dozen or more people would attend these events, but it would be limited to the family members and neighbors in the immediate area. Class meetings were then moved to the Davis home until a log church was built sometime in 1779 near the church’s current location. New Hope is the oldest church in the Burlington District and one of the oldest in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. The church’s foundation comes before the creation of the Methodist Episcopal Church at the Christmas Conference of 1784.

“God is good, truly,” Hunter said of the church’s longevity, “when you look at the ebb and flow of human history. We have tried to be faithful and serve God in the community.” Hunter said a luncheon will follow the service. “This church likes to cook,” said Hunter, who has been at New Hope since 2006. “It’s going to be spectacular.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Betty Lou Newman Hodges (1938-2009)

(click on photograph for larger image)

Greensboro (News-Record, 28 July 2009) — Betty Newman Hodges, a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, died peacefully at Beacon Place on Saturday, July 25, 2009, after a courageous year-long battle with cancer. She was 70 years old. Betty was born on October 31, 1938, in Roxboro, N.C., to parents William J. "Bill" Newman and Wilma Coward Newman of Leasburg, N.C. Betty attended schools in Caswell and Person counties and was a graduate of Roxboro High School, Class of 1956. She went on to study at Greensboro College and King's Business School. While attending King's she met and began dating her future husband, Charles Whitted Hodges, of Greensboro. One year later they married, on October 17, 1959, in the Leasburg Methodist Church. This year would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.

Betty's first job was with the Piedmont area Girl Scout Council, starting in the summer of 1959. She eventually was promoted to office manager, holding that position until she left in May of 1964 to await the birth of her first child, Joan. Their second child, Charles "Chuck", was born in 1969. Betty re-entered the workplace at Greensboro Day School in 1979, serving as the first Middle School secretary, a position she held until her retirement in June of 1999. After retirement, Betty enjoyed spending time with her family at home, when traveling, and at the coast and in the mountains. She was the happiest when surrounded by family on these occasions. To her family, Betty was a loving wife, Mom and Grams. To her friends, she was caring and loyal.

She is survived by her husband of nearly 50 years, Charles Whitted Hodges; daughter, Joan H. Machanic of Summerfield and husband, David; son, Charles "Chuck" Newman Hodges of Durham and wife, Elina; grandson, Stephen H. Machanic and granddaughter, Catherine Marie Machanic, both of Summerfield. She is also survived by a brother, John G. Newman of Greensboro; nephew, Will Newman; niece, Beth Newman; mother-in-law, Marie D. Hodges; sister-in- law, Irma W. Hodges; and, a special first cousin, Ann Gunn Everitt of Yanceyvillle. The family will receive friends from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28 at Forbis and Dick, North Elm Street Chapel. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29, at Greensboro Day School- Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lake Brandt Campus. A second memorial will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 8, at Leasburg United Methodist Church, Leasburg, N.C. Remains will be interred in the Leasburg Community Cemetery. The family would like to thank the physicians and staff at Moses Cone Regional Cancer Center for their care and concern. They would also like to thank the wonderful people at Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro and their Beacon Place facility. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405, or to the charity of one's choice.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yanceyville, North Carolina Post Office History

The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 78 ("Yanceyville Post Office" by Jeannine D. Whitlow):

The post office at Yanceyville was first called Caswell Courthouse or Caswell. The name was changed to Yancey, no date given, and finally to Yanceyville March 2, 1835 while Thomas Graves was postmaster.

As near as can be determined at this time, Thomas Bouldin, appointed March 8, 1798, was Yanceyville's first postmaster. Succeeding postmasters in order of their appointment dates are:

Henry Atkinson, March 17, 1800
Richard E. Matthews, January 23, 1802
Thomas Graves, May 10, 1804
Thomas Graves, April 22, 1819
Abner Miles, September 16, 1839
Edmund R. Fowler, February 10, 1854
William B. Graves, April 30, 1856
William Brown, June 13, 1856
Alexander McAlpin, October 5, 1867
(Mrs. Mary O. Kerr lists Lazarus Fels next with comment, Confederate period?)
M. V. Paylor, April 1, 1868 (shown on Mrs. Mary O. Kerr's research as Mrs. Mary B. Paylor)
Wilson Carey, August 21, 1869
Thomas J. Brown, November 23, 1869
James L. Roberts, December 9, 1872
Robert Bigelow, October 22, 1873
Thomas J. Brown, June 7, 1875
Allen Gunn, December 19, 1876
Felix Roan, June 22, 1881
Jerry [Jeremiah] Graves, November 12, 1884
Jeremiah Graves, November 19, 1884
W. H. Thompson, July 16, 1885
Jeremiah Graves, March 26, 1889
James B. Poteat, May 31, 1893
Eliza C. Kerr, December 26, 1894
Drury F. McKinney, January 8, 1898
Archie C. Lindsey, December 17, 1910
Henry W. Perry, April 15, 1914
Sallie W. G. [Willie Graves] Perry, May 2, 1916
Albert Y. Kerr, May 29, 1918
Addie Slade, March 2, 1923
Thomas J. Henderson, June 11, 1923
Thomas D. Boswell, May 8, 1933
Garnett C. Cooper, September 30, 1953
Hugh Dorsey Bradner, June 16, 1955
James R. Graves, Jr., October 1, 1983
[Fred A. Smith, January 9, 1993]
[Dinah L. Marshall (January 25, 2003 - July 31,2012)]

Sources: Arthur Hecht's Postal History of N.C. 1789-1795, Mrs. Mary O. Kerr's research from William S. Powell's book, When the Past Refused to Die, A History of Caswell County, 1777-1977, and research of James R. Graves, Jr., Postmaster, Yanceyville, N.C.

----- Jeanine D. Whitlow



Anderson, Caswell County Post Office History

Anderson Postmasters

Name, Date Appointed

Quintin Anderson, 8 August 1818
Anderson B. Walker, 22 December 1854
Mary A. McNutt, 27 May 1867
George Anderson, 29 April 1892

The Anderson Postoffice was discontinued 1906.


Semora, North Carolina Post Office History

The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina
, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 65 ("Semora Post Office" by Mary McAden Satterfield):

The post office at Semora was established June 25, 1877. The first postmaster was James Morrison McAden. He had served as postmaster at Cunningham Store, N.C. in Person County in 1855 and in 1859. He served the Semora office until his death in 1891.

His son, John Henry McAden, was appointed postmaster July 1, 1891 and served until 1913. Mrs. Mary S. Pointer was appointed April 23, 1913, and served until 1917. her son, John L. Pointer, was appointed postmaster February 3, 1917 and served until 1920. Mrs. Ella Y. McAden, wife of John Henry McAden, was appointed postmaster November 16, 1920 and served until her retirement in 1941. Her daughter, Mrs. Caroline M. Winstead, was appointed July 8, 1942 and served until her retirement in 1972. Mrs. Vernell B. Allen was appointed October 1972 and served until her retirement in 1982. Mr. A. I. Andrews of Greensboro was appointed October 1982 and is presently postmaster.

Rural carriers have been W. H. Scott, W. S. Taylor, Jr., John F. Pointer, and the present carrier, Joe F. Scott.

Providence, North Carolina Post Office History

The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 58 ("Providence Post Office" by J.Louie Oakley):

The Providence Post Office is located in north central Caswell County on County Road #1500. It was established September 1, 1953. The one rural route now served from this office was part of Route #4, Danville, Virginia. This route was originally 36 miles. At the present time, the route is 52 miles and has grown from 208 boxes to 596 boxes.

The delivery area of the Providence Post Office has grown from about 850 customers to over 2,000 in the thirty years of existence. Since the Providence Post Office has been established, the revenue has increased from $11,550 in 1954 to over $21,000 in 1983. J. Louie Oakley is the present and the only postmaster to serve at Providence. he was installed as acting postmaster in September of 1953. He served as acting postmaster until March 1955. At that time, he was appointed postmaster by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Courtesy J. Louie Oakley
Providence Post Office has one part-time clerk. Connie Oakley, Hazel P. Poteat, Catherine Jenkins, Betty M. Collie and Inez S. Hart have served in this position over the years.

The route is served by William H. Carroll, Sr. who has been in that position since the beginning of the post office in September, 1953. William Carroll, Jr., J. C. Powell, Herbert L. McDowell, Sr. and Garnie Jones have served as substitute mail carriers over the years.

----- J. Louie Oakley

Name Title Date Appointed

James Louie Oakley Acting Postmaster 09/01/1953
James Louie Oakley Postmaster 03/24/1955
Ronald B. Bullock Officer-In-Charge 03/16/1985
Joseph H. "Sandy" Warren Jr Postmaster 04/27/1985
Jo Ann G. Slayton Officer-In-Charge 08/08/1992
Kenneth L. Huggins Postmaster 03/20/1993
Jo Ann G. Slayton Officer-In-Charge 07/02/1998
JoAn W. Dean Postmaster 09/26/1998
Jo Ann G. Slayton Officer-In-Charge 03/29/1999
Clara E. Sheene Postmaster 07/17/1999



Pelham, North Carolina Post Office History

The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 51 (, "Pelham Post Office" by Adele Walton Morris):

A fourth-class Post Office at Pelham was established on July 1, 1887, and John Archer Pierce, agent for the Southern Railroad Company, was appointed the first Postmaster. The office was located in the depot, and the Post Office equipment consisted of a section of homemade pigeon holes. For some time the quarterly sales of postage amounted to no more than $5.00. Mr. Pierce held this office until May 23, 1893, when James Obediah Fitzgerald was appointed Postmaster and the office was moved across the railroad into his store. Mr. Fitzgerald held the office until his death, a period of forty-seven years. Paul Vincent Fitzgerald was appointed Postmaster to succeed his father on February 1, 1940.

The Post Office advanced from fourth class to third class at this time. Mr. Fitzgerald remained Post Master until his retirement in 1956. On September 5, 1958, Charlie N. Morris was appointed Postmaster to succeed Mr. Fitzgerald. The office was still located in the Fitzgerald store building. On July 29, 1961, the new Post Office building was dedicated. The new building was located across highway 29 from the store building. This is the same building that the Post Office is located in today.

Mr. Morris continued serving as Postmaster until his retirement in 1976. On December 17, 1977, Adele Walton Morris was appointed Postmaster. She had served as clerk of the office since 1958. Besides being clerk she worked at the Greensboro Post Office for four years and served as Officer-In-Charge at Milton, N.C. Post Office for three months.

Serving as Rural Carriers at Pelham have been the following:

1904 Louis Stokes Gatewood
1909 Marlow Park, Ben Fitzgerald
1924-1957 James H. Fowlkes
1937-1976 J. Neal McGee (subcarrier)
1976-1982 J. Neal McGee (regular carrier)
1957-1983 Fred E. Cox
1983-present J. C. Powell (Route #1)
1982-present Arnie Chilton (Route #2)
1983 Mrs. Glenda Porter (relief carrier Route #1)
1983 Mrs. Leslie Cline (relief carrier Route #2)
1983 Mrs. Loretta Moon (Postmaster leave replacement)

Mrs. Morris is still serving as Postmaster. Until 1983 the Post Office building was still owned by the Fitzgerald family. It was purchased in 1983 by Mr. Hugh Pryor of Pelham.

Sources: Post Office records, personal knowledge.

----- Adele Walton Morris

Name Title Date Appointed

Mrs. Merial Adele Morris Postmaster 12/17/1977
Marchia A. Wells Officer-In-Charge
Rose Creed Officer-In-Charge 10/01/1992
Marchia A. Wells Officer-In-Charge
Charles C. Massey Jr. Officer-In-Charge 01/20/1993
Charles C. Massey Jr. Postmaster 03/20/1993
Kathy Van Sutphin Officer-In-Charge 10/14/1994
Donna T. Vaughn Postmaster 04/01/1995
William Chris Johnson Officer-In-Charge 02/01/1996
William Chris Johnson Postmaster 04/27/1996



Milton, North Carolina Post Office History

The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 44 ("Milton Post Office" by Jean Bradsher Scott, Postmaster):

The earliest record of a post office at Milton is the appointment of Henry Hooper as postmaster on April 25, 1818. Although the town of Milton was incorporated in 1796 and has remained so since then, there is no available record of a post office as such. Mail was generally taken from one tavern to the next by stagecoach in the keeping of the stagecoach driver. Thus it might have been delivered to the Yellow Tavern from Red House Tavern and on to Lea's Tavern.

Leasburg, North Carolina Post Office History

Leasburg Post Office

The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 36 ("Leasburg Post Office" by Jeannine D. Whitlow):

With the passing of time, federal records have been lost, making it necessary to depend on existing records of accounts submitted by deputy postmasters and letters written to them to fix the approximate date a post office was established. The earliest available records show that the post office at Leasburg was established Oct. 1, 1794 as Caswell Old Courthouse, with Lawrence Lea its Deputy Postmaster. It is the oldest post office in Caswell County in continuous operation. When Vincent Lea became its second postmaster Apr. 13, 1809 it was called Leasburgh. On April 25, 1893 the "h" on the end was dropped and it became simply Leasburg.

Following Vincent Lea, subsequent postmasters and their appointment dates are:

Garbiel B. Lea, Feb 9, 1815
John C. Vanhook, Nov. 3, 1818
Joseph S. Thompson, Apr. 4, 1837
Addison Lea, Oct. 2, 1849
William Lea, Feb. 14, 1851
John A. Harrison, Jan. 28, 1856
William Paylor, Jr., Jan 10, 1859
Jefferson Whitfield, Jan. 14, 1859
Mrs. Susan B. Paylor, Sept. 4, 1865
Benjamin F. Stanfield, Feb. 14, 1870
William Paylor, Aug.6, 1873
William R. Hambrick, Jan. 30, 1882
Josephine Hambrick, Apr. 25, 1893
Josephine Hambrick Stanfield, Feb. 3, 1898
Walter L. Thomas, July 20, 1900
Samuel P. Newman, Sept. 28, 1912
Mattie L. Pulliam, Aug. 10, 1927
Jerry W. Dixon, Jr, (acting) April 1, 1940
Mattie L. Pulliam, Sept. 1, 1945
Mrs. Mary Stanfield Rittenbury (acting), May 31, 1959
Mrs. Mary Stanfield Rittenbury, Aug. 31, 1960
Mrs. Helen Carr Knight (Fox) (acting), Sept. 16, 1965
Jeannine D. Whitlow (acting), Sept. 2, 1966
Jeannine D. Whitlow, May 8, 1967

Some of the buildings Leasburg's post office was housed in are: William R. Hambrick's home adjoining the Leasburg Community Cemetery driveway. W. J. Pulliam's Store (now Martin's Store), W. J. Pulliam's small office building adjoining his home, and S. P. Newman's Store, which was torn down in the 1940s. The present building was completed in 1966 and occupancy taken May 1, of that year.

When the post office was located in S. P. Newman's Store, in Mr. Newman's absence Solomon Lea's son, Ed, tended store and post office. My mother said it was useless to call for mail when Ed Lea was there if he had just received his New York times. Without looking up from his newspaper, he always said, "You don't have any." In those days there were no lock boxes for customers to get their own mail.

Leasburg's rural carriers have been few and served long terms. Edwin Featherston was a horse-and-buggy carrier. John W. Stephens, Sr. replaced him by 1924. When he first began he used a horse and buggy also and delivered mail only three times a week. He was the rural carrier for 34 years, retiring about 1960. Voss Stephens, John's brother, was his substitute. After John's retirement, Charlie Wayne Coleman was substitute rural carrier until Charles N. Briggs was appointed rural carrier Jan 1963.

Alex Denny was a star route carrier for a while. His transportation then was horse and buggy. He picked up the mail at Semora and brought it to Leasburg. He served the rural boxes along his line of travel. Later Mr. Christenbury was the star route carrier and brought the mail to Leasburg from Yanceyville. After him there was Marvin Pleasant until star routes were changed about 1968. Lacy Daniel of Pelham is the present star route contractor.

Some of the clerks employed by the Leasburg Post Office in the last 35 years are: Mrs. Nancy Newman Stephens, Mrs. Wilma Coward Newman, Mrs. Helen Carr Knight (Fox), Mrs. Sally Harris Winstead, now deceased, Mary Arnold Stephens, a descendant of the first Postmaster, Lawrence Lea, and Mrs. Shirley Lassiter Winstead.

Sources: Archives records and microfilm reels of Postmaster Appointments from 1789, Arthur Hecht's Postal History of N.C., 1789-1795, and personal knowledge.

----- Jeannine D. Whitlow

Name Title Date Appointed

Vincent Lea Postmaster 04/13/1809
Gabriel B. Lea Postmaster 02/09/1815
John C. Vanhook Postmaster 11/03/1818
Joseph S. Thompson Postmaster 04/04/1837
Addison Lea Postmaster 10/02/1849
William Lea Postmaster 02/14/1851
John A. Harrison Postmaster 01/28/1856
Jefferson Whitfield Postmaster 01/14/1859
Mrs. Susan B. Paylor Postmaster 09/04/1865
Benjamin F. Stanfield Postmaster 02/14/1870
William Paylor Postmaster 08/06/1873
William R. Hambrick Postmaster 01/30/1882
Josephine Hambrick Postmaster 04/25/1893
Josephine H. Stanfield Postmaster 02/03/1898
Walter L. Thomas Postmaster 07/20/1900
Samuel P. Newman Postmaster 09/28/1912
Miss Mattie L. Pulliam Acting Postmaster 08/10/1927
Miss Mattie L. Pulliam Postmaster 11/05/1927
Jerry W. Dixon Jr. Acting Postmaster 04/01/1940
Miss Mattie L. Pulliam Postmaster 09/19/1940
Mrs. Mary S. Rittenbury Acting Postmaster 05/31/1959
Mrs. Mary S. Rittenbury Postmaster 09/02/1960
Mrs. Helen C. Knight Acting Postmaster 09/16/1965
Mrs. Jeannine D. Winstead Acting Postmaster 09/02/1966
Mrs. Jeannine D. Whitlow Postmaster 05/08/1967
( formerly Mrs. Jeannine D. Winstead )
Marylene McCain Officer-In-Charge 10/01/1992
Deborah Cox Fox Postmaster 03/20/1993
Barbara Duncan Davis Officer-In-Charge 08/15/1995
Robert L. Harbison Jr. Postmaster 04/27/1996
Pamela Hatchett Officer-In-Charge 08/08/2008


Friday, July 24, 2009

Esther True Moorefield Lea (1906-1999)

(click on photograph for larger image)

------------ Esther Lea --------------

Poet Laureate Lauds An Art Exhibition

By Vincent Godfrey Burns
Poet Laureate of Maryland

Lovers of the fine arts should visit the Cinema Theatre at Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie. In the foyer of the theatre, they will find an exhibition of 13 beautiful paintings by Esther Lea of Linthicum.

THE PICTURES are as striking as their names. "Family Pet" is a small picture of a horse. "Pink Ocean" is a lovely seascape. "Lombardies" is a painting of a garden which shows two tall Lombardy populars. "Grecian Columns" is a beautifully drawn painting of a formal garden aglow with color. "Serenity" is a vista of a peaceful valley. "Fury of the Sea" shows great breakers beating on a red reef. "The Firebird" is the only one of her pictures which leans toward the abstract. It is a painting of a wild bird in flight. "Ocean" shows a long stretch of beach with breakers under a waning moon. "Horizons" is a view of the western Rockies. "Laguna Beach" reveals the blue waters of a cove on a California beach. "Sound and Silence" is an ethereal reproduction of one of nature's many moods. 'Spring" brings to life the burgeoning colors and rich tints of the Springtime.

Esther Moorefield was born in North Carolina. Her father and mother had nine girls, all of whom are now married. She spent her early life in Yanceyville, N.C., where she graduated from Bartlett Yancey High School and from the Hughes Memorial School of Nursing. She moved to Maryland after her marriage to Earl Lea of Danville, Va., and she continued her professional career as a nurse at the Fort Meade Hospital.

HER FATHER, a native Virginian, was born in the Shenandoah Valley and some of his ancestry included the Moorefields, the Redds and the Throckmortons. Her mother was born in Roxboro, N.C., and her ancestry included the Jameses and the Crabtrees of Roxboro and the Dukes of Durham, N.C.

The artist says of herself, "I love to paint. I get ideas and I try to get them down on canvas. If I wait long enough the ideas come. It is as though a little door opens and a picture comes out. I keep working at it until it speaks to me. My husband doesn't understand. he says 'How can a picture speak to you?' I tell him I can hear them speak. And when they speak to me I know they're finished."

ESTHER is a true artist. She is not only a painter but a poet too. She is a dreamer and a lover of beauty. Her life is beautiful too. She is a very warm and radiant personality.

Of her poetry she says, "I have always been a writer of verse. I've always been a nonconformist and a dreamer.

It is said that a place of seclusion is lonely. Such is the inner-most recesses of my heart. i thank both my father and my mother for instilling in me an undying search for beauty. My mother loved beauty so she would kneel in wonder beside a little wayside flower. My father, who taught me the wonders of the woods and streams and compassion for its little wild creatures, was an outdoorsman who was in love with all of life. As a child I walked with him hand in hand to watch the sky and the sea and to drink in all the beauty in this wonderful universe. I longed to hold that beauty until my heart would finally break. I suppose that longing is the source of any talent I may have."

AS A POET Esther Lea has had many poems in anthologies and her book, "The Heart Whispers," is selling like hot-cakes in the bookstores of Maryland. She has painted more than 50 beautiful paintings, although only 13 are on exhibition at the Cinema theatre. She says she is mainly self-taught, but has taken a few lessons with Anne Schuler.

Her book of poems is redolent with glimpses of beauty deeply sensed and with mystic experiences warmly expressed. Here is a verse of seeking and longing for the lovely things of life, a reaching up to the ideal and the beautiful. The world today needs persons like Esther Lea. Here is a lovely person, a loyal citizen and a devoted wife. Her husband is Samuel Earl Lea whom she met in Danville, Va., when she was a nurse at the Hughes Memorial Hospital.

ESTHER is a prominent member of the Maryland State Poetry Society, a member of the Board of Directors and chairman of the Social Affairs Committee. She recently staged a delightful dance and evening of entertainment at Glen Burnie at the Harundale Mall for Valentine's Day. A recent poem of hers is called "Flight" --

Lift me up . . . and let my searching eyes
Behold Garden there . . . beyond the stars
That hold such beauty . . . my heart can not contain its splendor.

I stand . . . earth-worn, but restless soul
Yearns upward . . . like a bird in flight
Seeking . . . searching . . . unfurling shimmering wings.

And my soul's bird-eyes are rose . . . I think
That looked into the dawn of fairest-day
Sheltering lights first drops of shining dew.

I think my soul's hair . . . dusky . . . cloud-soft after rain
And lifting softly . . . by a gentle wind.

My soul's mouth . . . compassionate and parted lips
To smile at God.

O' lift me up . . . through blue-night-sky
To walk into Garden . . . never known.

In the 1960s, Earl and Esther Moorefield Lea purchased the Purley Methodist Church building shown below, restored it, and converted it into their Purley residence.

(click on photograph for larger image)


Jill Heather Lancaster (1974-2009)

Jill H. Lancaster

Jill Heather Lancaster, 34, of Yanceyville, died Sunday, March 8, 2009 in her home. She had fought courageously with melanoma. Jill was born on September 6, 1974 in Yanceyville where she had lived most of her life. Jill was a kind, compassionate and thoughtful person and a nature lover. She loved her Sajo and loved taking walks with her Sajo and her son David. She worked at Person County Group Homes and also at LabCorps. Her grandfathers, David Quick and William L. Lancaster Sr., both of Raeford, preceded her in death.

The funeral was held at First Baptist Church in Yanceyville. Burial was in Caswell Memorial Cemetery in Burlington. Survivors are her mother, Beverly Quick Lancaster of Yanceyville and her father, Bill Lancaster of Chancellor, Alabama; one brother, Will Lancaster; her husband, Kent Hawkins; one son, David Grey Hawkins; one stepson, Dillon Hawkins; her grandmothers, Margaret Quick of Raeford and Mary Ruth Lancaster of Chancellor, Alabama. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Caswell-Alamance County, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215. Harrelson Funeral Home of Yanceyville served the family.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Caswell County Courthouse Gardens

(click on photograph for larger image)

The Caswell Horticulture Club (Caswell County, North Carolina) designed, planted, and maintains the gardens at the historic Caswell County Courthouse in Yanceyville, North Carolina. These include the Courthouse Square, the Memorial Garden and Path, the Veterans' Walk, the Courtyard Garden, and the magnificent Arboretum.

To see images of the results of the Caswell Horticulture Club's efforts go to:

Gardens of the Historic Courthouse

Even more images are available at:

Caswell Courthouse Gardens

For an excellent brochure to use when visiting the gardens go to:

Courthouse Gardens Walking Tour

This professionally appearing brochure was created by Caswell County resident John Swann as part of his Eagle Scout requirements. The Caswell Horticulture Club recognized the dedication and skills of this young man, and the text of that recognition can be read at:

John Swann, Eagle Scout

The Caswell County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at the Historic Courthouse in Yanceyville, North Carolina at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 2, 2009. Members present: George W. Ward, Jr., Vice-Chairman, Eric D. Battle, William E. Carter, Nathaniel Hall, and Kenneth D. Travis. Absent: Jeremiah Jefferies and Gordon G. Satterfield. Also present: Kevin B. Howard, County Manager, Michael R. Ferrell, County Attorney, and Angela Evans representing The Caswell Messenger. Wanda P. Smith, Clerk to the Board, recorded the minutes.

Mr. Eddie Davis, of Durham, NC came before the Board and stated that he is a retired school teacher and for the past few months has been working with a group called Inclusive North Carolina. Mr. Davis added that the group has been looking at several different aspects of inclusion in the State and one area has to do with Memorials on Courthouse Squares. Mr. Davis informed the Board that in some counties in the State there are listings of those who have been involved in the supreme sacrifice for their country, unfortunately in some of these cases, there is not a total inclusion of all ethnic groups. Mr. Davis stated that Caswell County is not guilty of this, however, the Lest We Forget statue on the Courthouse Square does segregate the races who were involved with the World War. Mr. Davis added that he recognizes that the Memorial was probably placed there at a time when separation of the races was what one would expect and there is something to be said for maintaining the historic integrity of that period of time. Mr. Davis suggested to the County Commissioners and other organizations in the County that they look at the possibility of using the next Veterans Day to have some kind of alphabetical listing of those troops who made that supreme sacrifice during the World War. Mr. Davis stated that there may be some that take issue that there is another Memorial right beside it that pays tribute to all of the men and women in Caswell County that have given their services to their country, however, there is an issue about trying to make sure that in the 21st Century perhaps there could be a way to have an alphabetical listing of those troops who are on the Lest We Forget Memorial. Mr. Davis noted that the alphabetical listing could be attached to the opposite side of the current memorial and then the integrity and historical significance of the plaque originally placed there would be preserved, as well as in the 21st century having an alphabetical listing so that there would not be segregation of those troops. Mr. Davis added that he did not think such a plaque would be an exorbitant cost and that there are probably organizations or individuals in Caswell County that would be more than glad to contribute to such a plaque. Mr. Davis stated that Caswell County should be applauded for having such a Memorial and that all people that were involved were included. Mr. Davis stated that he felt that the people of Caswell County would appreciate the fact that the County Commissioners would lead the way in trying to make sure that the inclusion and diversity that we have in the 21st Century would deal with the freedom, democracy, and equity that is expected of such a great County.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Dr. Willard B. Gatewood, Jr.

(click on photograph for larger image)

Willard Badgett Gatewood, Jr., the son of Willard B. and Bessie Pryor Gatewood, was born on February 23, 1931, on a tobacco farm in the community of Blackwell on the Park Springs Road in Caswell County, North Carolina. He attended elementary grades at Cobb Memorial School and in 1949 graduated from George Washington High School in Danville, Virginia. He entered Duke University that fall and received the Bachelor of Arts degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1953. Remaining at Duke for graduate study, he received the Master of Arts degree the following year and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1957, both in the field of United States history.

Dr. Gatewood began his college teaching career at East Tennessee State University in 1957, followed by appointments to the history faculties of East Carolina University, North Carolina Wesleyan College, and the University of Georgia. At Georgia he received the Michael Research Award and the Joseph Parks Award for Excellence in Teaching. He directed ten Ph.D. dissertations while at Georgia.

In 1970 Dr. Gatewood was appointed the first Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, a chair endowed by the Arkansas Alumni Association that he occupied until his retirement in 1998. During his tenure there, he served as a member and/or chair of numerous departmental, college, and university committees; was the co-founder of the University of Arkansas Press; served as Chancellor of the University in 1984-85; taught hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students; and supervised twenty-five Ph.D. dissertations and numerous master's theses. He received the ODK Teacher of the Year Award in 1978-79, the university's Distinguished Research Award in 1980, and the Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Service in 1994. During his tenure at Arkansas he was elected president of the Southern Historical Association; served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the Arkansas Humanities Council; directed two NEH summer seminars; was a member of nine annual NEH Review panels; and was consultant for five documentary films.

During his academic career, Dr. Gatewood was the author, co-author, or editor of fourteen books, including a two-volume college level American history textbook, as well as more than 75 articles in historical journals. His works received a number of awards and prizes, and his Aristocrats of Color: The Black Elite, 1880-1920 was nominated for the National Book Award.

Dr. Gatewood lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with his wife, the former Mary Lu Brown, a native of Elizabethton, Tennessee. They have two children -- Willard III (Bill) and Elizabeth Ellis Stroud -- and five grandchildren.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

1823 Archibald Murphey Letter to Bartlett Yancey

(click on photograph for larger image)

Archibald Debow Murphey was born near Red House Presbyterian Church in what now is the Semora Community of Caswell County. He attended the University of North Carolina, was a lawyer, served in the North Carolina Senate, and was interested in improving the state's infrastructure and educational system. Murphey also advocated efforts to preserve the history of North Carolina. He proposed to author such a work, but lacked the necessary funds. In 1823 Murphey sent a letter to Bartlett Yancey, then Speaker of the North Carolina Senate, requesting state funding for the project. Bartlett Yancey (1785-1828), a colleague and friend of Murphey, was born (and died) in Caswell County. The letter from Murphey to Yancey (and the proposed legislative resolution) can be seen above and at:

1823 Archibald Debow Murphey Letter

No funding was authorized, and Murphey did not undertake the project.

For more on these two men see:

Archibald Debow Murphey

Bartlett Yancey