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.