Sunday, January 31, 2010

Western North Carolina Transportation

"Until 1880, the visitor to Asheville was compelled to travel the last leg of his journey by stage-coach, private horse-drawn vehicle or horseback. Travelers from considerable distances proceeded as far as they could on existing railroads and then moved from these railroads by horse-drawn transportation to Asheville.

The North Carolina Railroad, running from Goldsboro through Raleigh, Greensboro and Salisbury to Charlotte, was chartered in 1849, started in 1851 and completed in January,1856. At Goldsboro, the N. C. Railroad connected with the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. 1858, the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, connecting Goldsboro with Newbern and Morehead City was completed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bright Leaf Tobacco Process

Flue-Cured Tobacco Originates in Caswell County
Burlington (North Carolina) Times-News, Sunday 7 August 1977

Purley - Ordinarily, Stephen Slade would have been skinned alive for a mistake like that. Or worse yet, he would have been sold to chop cotton in Louisiana or Mississippi. But instead, the slave and headman for Abisha Slade of Caswell County, earned a place of prominence for himself in the history of flue-cured tobacco production. Although discovered by accident, his use of charcoal helped establish the historic Old Belt counties of North Carolina and Virginia as the predominant "bright leaf tobacco" producing region from the 1850s through the post-Reconstruction Civil War period.

His discovery laid the foundation for the tobacco industry that was later to be built by the Reynolds and Dukes, according to one modern historian. Experiments with charcoal for curing tobacco had been carried out from Virginia through Ohio since the early 1800s. Yet, Stephen Slade's use of tobacco, combined with mid-19th century soil research, proved to consistently produce what growers had been trying to achieve since John Rolfe imported the first West Indies tobacco seed in 1612.

Caswell Horticulture Club 2010 Spring Seminar

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"Getting the Best from Your Garden Investment" is the focus of the Caswell Horticulture Club's third biennial Spring Seminar to be held 8:30 am - 3:00 pm on Saturday, 24 April 2010, at the Yancey House Pavilion in Yanceyville, North Carolina. Presenters for the seminar are Karen Neill (Guilford County Extension Agent), who will share ideas for water-wise gardening; Sybil Mays (former owner of Paradise Nursery in Virginia Beach, Virginia), who will speak on beautiful edible gardens; and Dr. Lucindy Willis (owner of the Yancey House), who will offer strategies for growing heart-healthy herbs.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fort Davidson

01/01/1776 Josiah BRANDON entered service/ Capt. Samuel DAVIDSON at Davidson's Fort aka Upper Fort or Fort Royal

04/12/1776 North Carolina assembly empowers delegates to vote for independence

06/01/1776 Robert Burchfield served at Davidson's Fort as a ranger under Maj William Davidson, Cpt Samuel Davidson

06/01/1776 Belfield Wood pention statement #W44992 Marched to Davidson's Fort and were driven out by Indians to Cathey

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bryant M. Loftis (1920-1943)

Bryant M. Loftis (1920-1943)

Jan 12, 2010 - 06:36:15 pm CST, The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina)
Grateful to Meet: Wall Brings Researcher, Family Together

By Angela Evans (Managing Editor)

Memories. Pain. Closure. Pride.

News from long ago and far away brought mixed emotions to a family of Caswell natives gathered at Stratford House in Danville on Thursday. Members of the Loftis family, Kodell Loftis, Agnes Patterson, and Elree Loftis, along with a niece, Sandra Creighton (whose mother is the Loftis' sister), originally from Shady Grove Road, met with a student from the Netherlands to learn details of the death of their uncle Bryant Loftis, who died in a plane crash in 1943, during WWII. Elger Abbink, 28, of Groningen, in the Netherlands, explained the unusual circumstances spanning decades and thousands of miles that brought the group together. "I've always been interested in the second World War and history and before I came to visit Danville this week, I was browsing through a history book and saw a picture of the wreckage of a plane that crashed during the second World War," Abbink said. That plane, he later learned, crashed only about 15 miles from his home, and carried a crew member from Danville, Va.

Hosea McNeill (1785-1859)

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The above portrait is of Hosea McNeill (1785-1859) and Isabella Graves McNeill (1788-1861). The photograph is by Jim Muse, who retains all rights.

Born in Caswell County the part that later became Person County in 1785, Hosea McNeill was son of John McNeill merchant of Leasburg and Annis Lea McNeill. His grandfathers were Thomas McNeill and Capt. William Lea of South Hyco, both living in the area that became Person County. John McNeill died before March 1792 when Hosea was only 7 years old. His mother remarried James Cochran on January 14, 1793 and Cochran served as guardian to the 6 children of his wife namely Hosea, William, John Hubbard, George, Frances, and Sarah McNeill.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Settlement of Buncombe County, North Carolina


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.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wortham Family Bible


File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:


Charles T. Wortham and Mary Jane Hutchison were married on the 18th day of
July 1842.

John A. Sloan and Mary Martin Wortham were married on the 30th of April 1865.

Charles T. Wortham and Anne C. Peatross were married on the 17th of Oct 1865.

Jennie H. Wortham and G. Percy Haris were married on the 8th of April 1875.

Coleman Wortham and Mary Marshall Gilliam were married on Nov 21, 1901

Garrett B. Wall, Jr. and Mary Hoge Wortham married April 13, 1929.

Coleman Wortham, Jr. and Mary Virginia Wood married Feb 10, 1945.

Daniel Spencer Jackson and Nancy Scott Wortham married April 14, 1951

Sunday, January 03, 2010

High Rock Baptist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

High Rock Baptist Church History

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Matthew 7:24-25.

For years, this church has stood as a sentinel pointing men and women, boys and girls to the Heavenly way. In the midst of world turmoil, in the face of strife and war and when world ideas are crumbling, this church has ever held high the banner of Christ who said, "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18). One hundred years ago, God created a desire for spiritual worship and brotherly fellowship in the fore parents of the High Rock Baptist Church. The original worship assembly/church was known as the "Old Field Church" and is believed to have been located on the north end of what is presently the Stephentown Road. Then, just as today, the time came when the worshippers realized the need for improvements; although not forgetting nor failing to thank God for His blessings thus far. These improvements were made in the form of the relocation and building of another church on a tract of land on the Stephens’ property. Accounts by the late Sister Lula Stephens Allen indicated that a site on this property was donated for use as a church site by her late grandfather, Mr. Harrison Stephens, Sr. Since county tax records do not show/record said property as being deeded to High Rock Baptist Church, it is concluded that the site was retained in ownership by the original owner. The site, which borders on the northeast side of what is now the John Miles property, led to the present name for our church.

O. B. Watlington & Son Store (Caswell County, North Carolina)

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The 1906 store built by Otis Oscar Watlington in Caswell County, North Carolina (west of Yanceyville) recently suffered major damage.

At the time of the 1900 census, Otis Oscar Watlington and Martha Elizabeth Page Watlington were living in Tunstall, Virginia. His occupation was "merchant." In 1906, Otis Oscar Watlington built a store on NC 158 west of Yanceyville, North Carolina, known as "O. O. Watlington's Store." The following description of the store by a son of Otis Oscar Watlington is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 562-563 (Article #769, "H. Wilson Watlington" by H. Wilson Watlington):

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Helen Marie Haith Little (1929-2009)

Dec 29, 2009 - 02:37:26 pm CST Yanceyville, NC (The Caswell Messenger) - It is with profound sorrow we announce the death of Mrs. Helen Marie Haith Little of 121 Main St. who died Thursday, December 24, 2009 in the Caswell Home Nursing Facility, Yanceyville, NC. Helen Little is a native of Alamance County, North Carolina. She was born Helen Marie Haith on October 12, 1929, the youngest of seven children, born to her parents, Jasper and Lollie Haith. She was the last surviving of the Haith children. She attended school in Alamance County and graduated high school at the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedelia, North Carolina. She attended one year of College at Hampton University and one year at the North Carolina Central University at Durham.