Monday, December 05, 2011

Thomas Day Tour

Museum Receives Day-Era Workbench

By Gerri Hunt, Assistant Editor, The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 21 November 2011

Downtown Milton was full of activity Saturday, as the Thomas Day House was open as part of the Fall Foliage Homes Tour. Shops and restaurants were open, and several tables were set up on the Broad Street sidewalk, with merchants peddling wares. And proceeds from a chili cook-off benefited Friends of Milton. At 9:30 a.m., Ed Hobbs, of the Mid-West Tools Association, donated a Thomas Day-era cabinetmaker's workbench and more than two dozen tools to the Thomas Day House/Union Tavern, for permanent display in the museum. Hobbs later explained that a member of his group, who is in Old Salem, researched and designed the workbench. Then Roy Underhill, of the PBS TV show "The Woodwright's Shop," built it by hand, just as it would have been constructed in Day's time. The workbench and more than a dozen tools were presented to the museum. Saturday monring, for permanent display.

"We're really thrilled to death with [the donation]," said Marion Thomas, past-president of TDH/UT, who was on hand for the donation ceremony, and greeted visitors to the museum. She said the tool association had previously made donations to Mount Vernon and Monticello. She added that Nancy Mangum also gave TDH/UT a lot of tools. Throughout the day, Hobbs demonstrated the use of the tools and the workbench, and talked a lot about Day himself. "If Thomas Day walked in here right now, he'd probably say, 'Yes, this is what my shop looked like'," said Hobbs. "He was a good cabinet maker, and he was really smart," he continued. "He was very much into veneering; he would offer a client a pine piece for one price, then offer veneered pieces for higher prices... but it was the same piece of furniture, just with different veneers."

Hobbs showed off many woodworking planes, and a toothing plane, which has a serrated blade and is used to roughen up the wood surface so the glue and veneer could stick to it. He demonstrated a holdfast, an old clamp shaped like a crowbar, which slipped into a hole on the workbench. The short curved end was flattened, and sat on a piece of wood to be worked on. The holdfast was secured by hitting it with a mallet, essentially wedging it into the tabletop hole and keeping the wood still. Hobbs made sure visitors took a look at a large wooden screw vise attached to the backside of the workbench, to hold large pieces of wood. The Mid-West Tools Association is not a stranger to the TDH/UT, as members come to the museum periodically for demonstrations. The museum is open by appointment only. Signs are displayed in Milton with contact information for locals who have keys to the museum.

Some local merchants took advantage of the crowds in town for the Fall Foliage Tour. Across the street from the museum under the overhang that covers the entrances to several small shops, tables lined the sidewalk. Joetta Mabe was selling handmade soaps, a preview for the retail shop she will open next to the tire store in the next month or so. Michele Thomas, who now sells antiques at The White Owl, battled against Lawrence "Taco" Smith in a chili cook-off. Milton resident Bobby Pearson was all smiles as he dug into a bowl of chili with a corn cake. "The chili is what brought me out today," he said.

Friday, November 04, 2011

North Carolina Railroad

"North Carolina Railroad Has Proved Profitable Investment--It Lent Money to Confederacy and Has Returned State and Individual Stockholders Profit of More Than $14,000,000 in 94 Years"

Raleigh, Feb 9, 1944--(AP)--A $4,000,000 investment which survived and lent money heavily to the Confederate States in the Civil War, has returned the State of North Carolina and hundreds of individual stockholders a profit of more than $14,000,000 in 94 years. The investment is the North Carolina railroad, now owned by the North Carolina railroad company -- or the State and its hundreds of co-partners. Chartered in 1849, it now is under lease to the Southern Railway company for 99 years at a net annual rent of 7.15 percent of the owners net capital stock -- or $214,007 a year. Add to that the revenues derived from special dividends from the sale of special rights and property along the line itself. Taken over a period of 47 years since the lease was signed, the operating company now has paid to the owners something like $10,058,294 in rental percentage payments alone. At the end of the 99 years a new lease must be signed or the property goes back to the owners.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Danville, Virginia: Early History

"Wynne's Falls Provided Site For City To Grow" by John H. Brubaker III

As if the place just grew, like Harriet Beecher Stowe's Topsy, the origins of Danville are frustratingly vague because its first settlers did not keep written records of life on the south side of the Dan. It is known from early land records that the first man to ask the Commonwealth for land of his own within what has become the City of Danville was William Wynne, a justice of Brunswick County. He received 200 acres on the south side of the Dan in 1738, at which time Danville, Pittsylvania County and all the land around them in Virginia were a part of Brunswick. Later he moved his family to this area and settled at the falls on the river.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pistols and Politics in Caswell County

"Lively Politics and Pistols: A Republican Rumpus in Caswell County -- Adams Painfully Wounded"

Danville, Va., October 24. -- There was a lively political row at Miner's store, in Caswell county, on Saturday last. The particulars, as far as can be learned, are as follows: S. P. Womack [actually T. P. Womack] announced himself as Republican candidate for sheriff, and in the course of his remarks said that there was a Republican traitor in the camp who was trying to injure him. Reference was had to A. B. Adams [actually S. B. Adams], a well-known Republican and clerk of the Superior Court for that county. After Womack had left the stand Adams denounced him, and Womack struck Adams in the face. B. Y. Womack, brother of the other Womack, then came up and Adams drew a pistol and shot at him. B. Y. Womack then drew his pistol and shot Adams in the arm inflicting a painful but not fatal wound.

Source: The Richmond Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), 25 October 1892.

The S. P. Womack [T. P. Womack] of the above article is believed to be Thomas Pancoast Womack (1861-1916), who already was Caswell County sheriff at the time, and apparently was announcing his intention to run for the office again. He was successful and served as sheriff 1891 to 1894. His pistol-brandishing brother is Bartlett Yancey Womack (1856-1897).

The brothers are sons of Thomas Jefferson Womack and Ann Elizabeth Yancey Womack, thus being grandsons of Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828).

The A. B. Adams referred to in the article is S. B. Adams (Spencer B. Adams), who served as Caswell County Clerk of Court 1882-1896.

The location of Miner's Store is unknown.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baynes Store (Gordonton, Person County, North Carolina)

Raney Currie Baynes (1891-1942) owned this country store in Gordonton, Person County, North Carolina, and is seen standing in the doorway. Note that some claim that the store was owned by Ivey Baynes, brother of Raney Currie Baynes. The photograph dates from the late 1930s.

All rights in the image are reserved by the painter, Dave Wright.

(click on photograph for larger image)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Zachariah and Elizabeth Raimey Hooper Family Bible Records (1745-1964)

Zachariah and Elizabeth Raimey Hooper Family Bible Records (1745-1964)

Elezabeth Hooper Died 23 of June 18[page torn] wife of Zachariah Hooper

FAMILY RECORD. MARRIAGES. Asariah Hooper and his wife Elizr was maried on the 4th day of may 1825 _____ _____ William Hooper and his wife Delila Lee Tainey was Married on the 21st of Novemr 1835 _____ _____ [Next entry is too faint to transcribe.] [column 2] MARRIAGES. Mahely D Hooper Mary to Betsy pinto [sic] 27 of July 1848 Ider Hooper [illegible] [illegible] T Hooper died the 22 of november Ma[?] 1885 [illegible] Hooper died the 22 of november 1885 [Next entry is too faint to transcribe.]

FAMILY RECORD. MARRIAGES. Miss Betty Black Hill deceast march the 6 1888[?] Thomas R [illegible] and kin non was mared august the 4 1820 ___________________ indie minlis [?] died sept the 11 188[illegible] adeline dases died september the 10 1886 Mr George W Barnett and Miss Caiylon Steel was married may 23, 1960 [column 2] MARRIAGES. Thos. B. Powel & Marijane Comes Wars maried Jan the 19th 1956 __________________ [Next entry is illegible.] James Hunter Barnette marriage June 1, 1962 to Margie Nenton __________________ [Next line is illegible.] John A hensly Dunley [illegible] was married January 2, 1887 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bartlett Yancey Hight School 1962

(click on photograph for larger image)


Left to Right: Lytt Stamps, Ronnie Fitch, Johnny Lewis, Jack Pointer, Richard Rogers (head only), Ricky Frederick, Buck Page (head only), Ronald Aldridge, Larry Stogner, Earl Smith, Roger Coley, J. C. Winstead, Wayne Cross, Russell Watlington, Jimmy Foster. Possibly Pete McFarling in school bus door. Outing may be to a college football game. Bartlett Yancey High School (Yanceyville, North Carolina) in background.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Albert A. Mitchell and Alfred A. Mitchell

Two men lived in Caswell County, North Carolina, called A. A. Mitchell: Albert A. Mitchell; and Alfred A. Mitchell. Little is known about them, and there is much confusion because both were referred to in many records as A. A. Mitchell.

The index to Historical Abstracts of Minutes of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1877, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1976) states that the following items are with respect to A. A. or Albert Mitchell (as differentiated from Alfred A. Mitchell). However, it is certainly possible that the A. A. Mitchell entries have been confused:

April 1854: A. A. Mitchell appointed Ranger.

April 1861: A. A. Mitchell licensed to retail liquor.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Portrait of a Tough Guy: Yank Stewart

Following is a transcript of a newspaper article that appeared in The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) on November 25, 1962. The old newspaper clipping was provided by a relative of Charles Willis (Yank) Stewart (1906-1985) and was in very poor condition, with small, but important, sections of text missing along a fold line. The images that accompanied the article were barely legible. However, click on them to see a larger version. The photograph to the left appeared many years later.

"Portrait of a Tough Guy--Last In a Series: The Escape From an Escape-Proof Prison -- The Life of Prisoner Yank Stewart" by Gene Roberts Jr. The News and Observer, Raleigh, N.C., Sunday Morning, November 25, 1962, Section III, Page 2.

Prisoner Yank Stewart, who in 1959 already had six escapes on his record, swore he would boost the number to seven.

"Damn you," he told the deputy sheriff who recaptured him after his sixth flight from confinement, "I'll escape again the first chance I get."

Prison officials responded to Stewart's threat by shipping him immediately to Ivy Bluff, an "escape-proof" penitentiary which bore no resemblance to its name. Concertina wire, not ivy, was entwined around its outer wall of heavy gauge steel.

Newspapers labeled the prison "Little Alcatraz," and in the three years since its construction it had lived up to its reputation. It took only the toughest 30 or 40 prisoners from a State prison population of more than 10,000 and housed them securely. Not one had escaped.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yanceyville Female Academy (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

The Yanceyville Female Academy apparently dates from the early 1830s (but Katherine K. Kendall says late 1820s) and existed in some form until at least 1900 (and possibly beyond). It seems to have offered classes in one or more buildings. See the excerpts below. It appears that several of the early Yanceyville schools were somewhat distant from the town center.

Part of the Yanceyville United Methodist Church cemetery apparently was the site of the Yanceyville Female Academy. The property was sold to Julius Johnston in 1909 (Caswell County Deed Book 64, pg. 7). The parcel subsequently was sold to H. F. Brandon and his wife, who in 1920 sold it to B. S. Graves. In 1941, B. S. Graves sold it to the Yanceyville Methodist Church trustees (with an agreement that the church move a pack barn that would be  on the property line). From information in those deeds, and another referenced when the land was purchased for the Yanceyville Female Academy (Caswell County Deed Book CC, pg 119), the Yanceyville Female Academy parcel appears to have been adjacent to (and possibly surrounded by the Yanceyville United Methodist Church property). The lot in question was originally sold by Paul A. Harralson to Azariah Graves, Dr. Allen Gunn, and Dr. Nathanial Roan Commissioners of the Yanceyville Female Institute.

Piedmont Railroad

Piedmont Railroad

As early as 1848 a bill was introduced in the state legislature to construct a rail line northward into Virginia. Again and again it failed for lack of support, many lawmakers fearing that such a route would shift commerce bound for western North Carolina out of state. In the meantime the North Carolina Railroad connection between Greensboro and Charlotte opened in 1856. At the outset of the Civil War it was apparent that completion of the forty-mile gap between Danville and Greensboro was a vital military need. In a message to the Confederate Congress on November 19, 1861, President Jefferson Davis stressed the importance of the connection.

In 1862 the route was surveyed and stock offered in the Piedmont Railroad, with a Virginia line, the Richmond and Danville, acquiring ninety-nine per cent of the interest. The work proceeded slowly. Engineers needed a labor force of 2,500, but had only a fraction of the number. Included in the force were a small group of slaves, a number which would have been larger had Governor Zebulon B. Vance not refused to impress them into service. Iron was difficult to come by. Eventually rails were ripped up from other lines to build the Piedmont. Even before it was finished, it was already a primary supply route, its gaps bridged by wagons. On completion in May 1864, its value to the Confederacy was incalculable. One writer has estimated that it “added months to the length of the Civil War.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Toliver Florance House

Toliver Florance (1785-1875)

This picture was taken for An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina, Ruth Little-Stokes and Tony P. Wrenn (1979). Litle-stokes apparently thought the structure dated from c.1895, but it was built much earlier. William Junius Florance (1859-1930) actually remodeled the house in 1896 when he added the ornate woodwork to the front of the house. A catalog from which was ordered the fancy sawnwork and turnings from a company in Ohio was found in a trunk belonging to William Junius Florance. He also ordered stained glass windows to go in the center gable. Florance also built a wing on the back of the house for a new kitchen. Before this, a log kitchen stood some twenty feet from the house.

"They Used To Kill 'em Quick Out Here."

"They Used To Kill 'em Quick Out Here."

The Quick Community east of Ruffin used to be known as Kill Quick because "They used to kill 'em quick out here." Hester Womack, left, and her sister, Willie Womack, are Quick natives with a lot of knowledge about the community's history. Staff Photo by Ted Nelson.

The Old Quick Store (first store photo above) still stands at the heart of the Quick community in Caswell County. The run-down building (second store photo above) was once known as the Row Town Store, but today is used only as a storage building. Staff photos by Ted Nelson.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ivy Bluff Prison Break 1959

UPI News Press Wire Photo (8 December 1959): Ivy Bluff N.C: Prison guards, their shoes in one hand and weapons in the other, chase through the swamps and hills surrounding the Ivy Bluff prison camp and the town of Yanceyville (Caswell County, North Carolina) in an effort to round up the 20 hardened criminals who escaped from the maximum security prison early December 8, 1959. This is part of a collection of a former UPI employee.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dr. Bedford Brown, Jr., M.D. (1823-1897)

Bedford Brown, Tar Heel HealerLittle known today, one of North Carolina's most distinguished sons was a physician, Bedford Brown, born January 17, 185, in Caswell County, the son of Senator Bedford Brown who represented the state from 1825 to 1841 and Mary L. Glenn. When he was twenty he had already made a decision to be a physician, and in 1845 was sent to Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he took two series of lectures in the medical department of the university, and graduated from that institution as well.

After graduation he spent three or four years as a practicing physician establishing a fine reputation in Virginia, but like so many North Carolinians, wanted to live his life in his home state. In 1852 he married Mary E. Simpson of Washington, D.C. and that marriage produced three children, two sons and a daughter. One son, William Bedford Brown who practiced as a physician in New York. In 1855 he returned to Yanceyville where he practiced until the outbreak of the Civil War.

In the spring of 1861 he was appointed chief surgeon for the Confederate States training camp at Weldon, and after a period there was appointed inspector of hospitals and camps in the Confederate Army, a job he held until the end of the war. Bedford Brown after the Civil War returned to Alexandria, Virginia, and had a large and successful practice. He was a distinguished member of the Southern Surgical and Gynecological Association, and a member of the Virginia Board of Medical Examiners. He was elected president of the Virginia Medical Society in 1896.

He was a prolific writer, preparing papers on diseases and his techniques and methods of healing, including works on diphtheria, meningitis, pneumonia and a host of others as well. He died in 1897 after unsuccessful surgery, on September 13, at his home in Alexandria, Virginia.

Krochmal, Connie, "Bedford Brown, Tar Heel Healer." The State: Down Home in North Carolina January 1986: 29. Print.

Click on photographs to see a larger image.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Kill Quick and Other Caswell County Communities

(click on photograph for larger image)

Article courtesy The State, 18 October 1952.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Bartlett Yancey High School 1954: Public Speaking Club

(click on photograph for larger image)


Left to Right

Front Row: Dr. Holden, Camilla Sue Stuck, Janice Marie Powell, Eunice Lea Thompson, Mattie Jean Slaughter, Patsy Earp, Isabelle Crook.

Back Row: John Paschall Page, Dawson Emerson Scarborough, Jr., James Monroe Long III, Graham Allison Page (possibly), Leon Faidherbee Lyday III, Wilson Allen Slaughter, Jr., Norman Stroupe Upchurch.

Photograph courtesy The Caswell Messenger.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bartlett Yancey JV Football Team 1960s


Bottom Row: #14 Drew Chandler; #15 Brad Webster; #10 Jimmy White; #12 Jeff Reynolds; #33 Frank Moorefield, Jr.

Middle Row: Logan Denton (Coach); #21 Al Lassiter; #34 Unidentified; #11 Harold Williamson; #20 Keith Barts; #23 Kent Cobb.

Top Row: Coach Unidentified; #26 William Tatum; #24 Charles Walker; #22 Donnie Carter; #35 Abner Hall; #36 Unknown Gosney.

To see a larger version of the photograph click Here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Caswell County (North Carolina) Civil War Groups

"The Caswell Boys," Company H, 6th Regiment N.C. State Troops

"The Caswell Rangers," Company C, 41st Regiment N.C. Troops (3rd Regiment N.C. Cavalry)

"The Caswell Rifles," Company G, 22nd Regiment N.C. Troops (12th Regiment N.C. Volunteers)

"The Leasburg Grays," Company D, 13th Regiment N.C. Troops (3rd Regiment N.C. Volunteers)

"The Leasburg Guards," Company D, 13th Regiment N.C. Troops (3rd Regiment N.C. Volunteers): Possibly the same as the Leasburg Grays.

"The Milton Blues," Company C, 13th Regiment N.C. Troops (3rd Regiment N.C. Volunteers)

The North Carolina 45th Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, 3 miles west of Raleigh, North Carolina, in April, 1862. The various companies that became part of the regiment were raised mostly in Rockingham with 1 company being raised in Caswell, 2 in Guilford and one in Forsyth County. In May 1862 the 45th was brigaded with the 43rd and 50th N. C. under Col. Junius Daniel who until that time had commanded the 45th. The 45th fought throughout the war in Virginia and surrendered at Appomattox. Companies of the North Carolina 45th Infantry Regiment Co. A, Rockingham Zollicoffers Co. B, Capt. Chas. E. Shober's Co. Co. C, The Guilford Light Infantry Co. D, Madison Greys Co. E, Troublesome Boys Co. F, Dan River Rangers Co. G, Rockingham Rebels Co. H, Rockingham Guards Co. I, Border Rangers Co. K, North State Boys

45th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry was organized at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, North Carolina, in April, 1862. It surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, 9 April, 1865, with 7 officers and 88 men.

Thomas Day: Architecture and Furniture

Houses and Other Structures Mentioned in Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll (2010) (partial list):

1. Aspen Hall Plantation

Aspen Hall near Pittsboro, Chatham County, North Carolina was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Alston family of Chatham County, North Carolina; at least one furniture item, a mahogany rocking chair.

2. Badgett-Gatewood House

Badgett-Gatewood House (built c. 1855): Photo 270. Badgett House (Pelham Township, Caswell County, North Carolina). Early 19th century, ca. 1855. 1.5-story frame Federal style house with exterior-end stuccoed chimney, 9/9 sash, built for William Badgett. Overbuilt with addition of Greek Revival Boom Era House ca. 1855 by Henry Badgett. This section has a hip roof, exterior end chimneys, a double door with a fretwork surround and a pedimented Doric entrance porch. Front and side stone steps have scroll ornament at corner of bottom step which is unique to this section of county. Fine Federal-style dairy. An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina, Ruth Little-Stokes and Tony P. Wrenn (1979).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sarah L. Smith Portrait

North Carolina Portrait of a Lady with Exaggerated Puffy Sleeves

Oil on canvas, wearing a large lace bonnet with blue ribbon, prominent gold and jet jewelry, and holding a red book, inscribed "Mrs. Sarah L. Smith / March 1836 / W(?) B Chapin Pinxit" on canvas verso. Original mahogany frame with brass hanger. 1836. 31 1/2" x 26 1/2" sight, 38 1/2" x 33 1/2" overall. Painting in excellent visual condition, no apparent punctures or tears, professional restoration including new stretchers and in-painting. Frame in excellent condition.

Provenance: Property of a Smith/Graves family descendent.

By descent: Sarah L. Smith (born c. 1800); to her sister-in-law Susan F. Smith Thornton (b. 1818); to her daughter Donna R. Thornton, married Jeremiah Graves, Jr. (b. 1835) in Caswell County, North Carolina, on June 13, 1860; to her son Robert Sterling Graves (b. 1870) and daughter Sallie W. Graves (b. 1880); to the current owner.

Catalogue Note: Sarah L. Smith (born c. 1800), widow of Samuel C. Smith, inherited 131 acres of land from her husband's estate in 1834. The land was located in Caswell County, North Carolina "on the road from Red House to Milton" which is near the Virginia state line. Samuel Smith also bequeathed part of his land holdings to his sister, Susan F. Smith Thornton, wife of Dr. Robert B. Thornton of Milton, North Carolina. The 1850 Federal census recorded the Thorntons as close neighbors of African-American cabinetmaker Thomas Day.

Beginning around 1860 this portrait hung in "Dongola," the circa 1835 Antebellum brick mansion built by tobacco planter Jeremiah Graves in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina. The current owner remembers the portrait hanging in the home prior to it coming into her possession.

Sales Price: $1,995
Sales Date: 25 June 2011
Auction House: Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates (2177 Green Valley Lane, Mt. Crawford, Virginia).

Photograph courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Valentine Wedding: Alberta Lunsford and William Satterwhite

Valentine Wedding Planned for Elderly Leasburg Couple
By Cyndy Webster, Staff Writer
The Caswell Messenger, February 1993

Love cures people--both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. February 14, marks a day for expressing one's love for one another. A day for giving cards, candy, and memorable moments. Alberta "Bert" Lunsford and William "Bill" Satterwhite have chosen this special day, like many do, to exchange wedding vows. What makes them special you ask? Well, Bert is 83 and Bill is 78. Yes, it's a love story. You could even find it in True Romance.

Bert married Gilbert Lunsford when she was sixteen. They had four daughters and one son, and lived happily in the Leasburg Community for 56 years. During this time their children grew, married, moved, and had children of their own (and their children had children). Gilbert died, leaving Bert to carry on with her life.

Bill married Louise, Bert's niece, and they had a wonderful life together for 36 years in McLean, Virginia. As they grew older, Louise's health began failing, and Bill cared for her until her death. They had no children. After Louise died, Bill decided to visit Bert in Leasburg. While he was there he told her of a secret he had kept for 35 years. Bill said, "I've always loved you. I've loved you since the first time I saw you." After all of these years he never told anyone because he was married and because Bert was married and had children.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Locust Hill United Methodist Church

Locust Hill United Methodist Church is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Mrs. Lelia Williamson, a charter member, wrote a history for The Caswell Messenger in 1935:

Rev. Rowe was a Methodist circuit rider who, after the death of his wife, decided to go back to is native home in Missouri. He left a deed to Dr. James Williamson for one acre of land, which he owned near the Bethesda Presbyterian Church (at the time called Jack’s Fork) to be used as a site upon which to build a Methodist church. In 1884, a group of Methodists living in Locust Hill, to whom the property was given, decided this was not the proper location for a church. After cutting off the timber on the land, they sold the lot to Stephen Siddle for $100. This money was used to buy materials for the new Locust Hill Church. Sunday School was then being held in the old Stephen Neal storehouse, which was owned by J. B. Worsham (and later by Herbert White in 1946). There was a large oak tree under which an arbor was erected, and slabs brought in to make seats.

Yanceyville Presbyterian Church Homecoming

The Rev. Dr. Robert S. Ledbetter of Murrells Inlet, SC, will be guest preacher at a Homecoming service at Yanceyville Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 30, 2007, at 10:30 AM. His sermon is entitled The Ponce de Leon Anxiety. the same sermon he preached on his first Sunday in Yanceyville in 1966. His wife, Julia K. Ledbetter, will be soloist at the service. Members, former members, and friends are invited to the gathering at Yanceyville Presbyterian. A luncheon will be served in Bason Fellowship Hall following the worship service which begins at 10:30 am. For additional information, phone 694-4145.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Preservation North Carolina Historic Architecture Slide Collection, 1965-2005

Preservation North Carolina

1. Caswell County, NC; Bartlett Yancey House (Yanceyville) (PNC) 110 slides, 1977-2004    [PNC01 Box 4, Folder 25]

2. Caswell County, NC; Caswell County Motor Building (Yanceyville) (PNC) 47 slides, 1995-2001    [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 1]

3. Caswell County, NC; Martin-Herndon House/Sally Martin House (Yanceyville) (PNC) 20 slides, 1985-2001     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 2]

4. Caswell County, NC; Clarendon Hall (PNC) 112 slides, 1981-1998     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 3]

5. Caswell County, NC; Dongola (Yanceyville) (PNC) 32 slides, 1978-1996     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 4]

6. Caswell County, NC; King House (PNC) 49 slides, 1996-1998     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 5]

7. Caswell County, NC; Gatewood House (Yanceyville) (PNC) 18 slides, 1996     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 6]

8. Caswell County, NC; Kerr House (Yanceyville) (PNC) 8 slides, 1988-1993     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 7]

9. Caswell County, NC; Moore Gwynn House (Yanceyville) (PNC) 101 slides, 1993-2000     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 8]

10. Caswell County, NC; Thomas Day House / Yellow Tavern / Union Tavern (PNC) 43 slides, 1990-2001     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 9]

11. Caswell County, NC; Oliver House (Milton) (PNC) 1 slide, undated     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 10]

12. Caswell County, NC; Zimmerman Cottage (PNC) 23 slides, 1994-1995     [PNC01 Box 5, Folder 11]

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Poteat One-Room School (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

Located a little way off the County Home Road near the junction with the Hamer Road (Slade Road), Poteat's old field school is the only one-room public schoolhouse in the vicinity of Yanceyville available for preservation. It is one of the last of the breed left in the County. Currently, the Caswell County Historical Association has plans for the moving and restoration of this old house, relocation to be in the Yanceyville Historic District at the rear of the Old Courthouse. Contributions were being received at the Old Jail Restoration on Hoedown Days with a good response. Enough more dollars contributed between now and the next Hoedown might see another visitor attraction added.

Many Caswell citizens began their education at one of several small neighborhood schoolhouses scattered about the County, Poteat's being typical. When sufficient need arose, a small plot of land would he deeded to the County Board of Education for minimal consideration, the possession to revert to the grantor if the educational use should ever be discontinued. On the appointed day, prospective patrons and their helpers would gather at the site and put up a building in a surprisingly short time. The County would then contract and pay a teacher from some time in October until late February for the "free school." If the term should be extended, patrons paid the salary for the "subscription school."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Concord Christian Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Concord Congregational Christian Church in the southwestern part of the county near Milesville was established in 1814 perhaps by the Rev. Benjamin Rainey. On December 15, 1814, Abraham Simmons and Elisha Barton deeded an acre and a half to the church for the modest sum of one-quarter of a dollar. The first church, a log structure, had one room in the shape of a cross with twelve corners; one section was reserved for blacks. Among the family names represented in the records for 1842 are: Williamson, Barton, Donoho, Miles, Anderson, Terrell, Walker, Pinnix, Saunders, Rudd, Simmons, Garrison, and Turner. The second church was erected in 1883, while the present attractive brick structure was occupied first on June 25, 1955.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Black Codes

Black Codes

“Black Codes” were laws and constitutional amendments passed by former Confederate states after the Civil War as a way of maintaining white supremacy — the unquestioned rule of the South by whites. With these laws, whites tried to keep a system as close to actual slavery as possible. North Carolina adopted such legislation in 1866, when former Confederates had returned to power, before Federal military reconstruction forced them out. Public Laws of North Carolina, session of 1866, p. 99; and Senate Ex. Doc. no. 26, 39 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 197. March 10, 1866.

The first section of this act defined who was “a person of color.” The second section brought forward all of the laws from the antebellum period that had limited the rights of free blacks, and imposed these laws on all “people of color” in North Carolina.

These “black codes” also limited the rights of African Americans in new ways. For example, a black person could testify in court only if the case involved African Americans; if the case involved two white people, then both had to agree to allow a black person to testify. If one black person sold property to another black person and the value of the property was more than ten dollars, the transaction had to be witnessed by a white person who could read or write.

First Civil Rights Act

Congress responded to the black codes by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which invalidated these laws. This act declared freed people to be citizens of the United States who could make and enforce contracts, sue and be sued, give evidence in court, and inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real estate and personal property. Anyone denying these rights to former slaves would be guilty of a misdemeanor and face a fine or prison. President Johnson vetoed the law, but Congress passed it over his veto.

Some people questioned Congress’ power to make such a law. Republicans responded by passing the two more amendments to the Constitution that, once ratified by the states, would become the fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments.

But the civil rights of former slaves had to be protected not only by laws but by federal power — military power. Military reconstruction was the result, but when that ended in the 1870s, white southerners quickly found ways around the Constitution, passing “Jim Crow” laws that would again limit the freedoms of African Americans. Northern States reacted to the Black Codes with disgust and riots. Black Codes did not entirely go away until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Confederate States of America

Confederate States of America

In 1861 the United States contained 34 states.

Seven states declared their secession from the United States before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861:

 1. South Carolina (December 20, 1860)
 2. Mississippi (January 9, 1861)
 3. Florida (January 10, 1861)
 4. Alabama (January 11, 1861)
 5. Georgia (January 19, 1861)
 6. Louisiana (January 26, 1861)
 7. Texas (February 1, 1861)

After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter April 12, 1861, and Lincoln's subsequent call for troops on April 15, four more states declared their secession:

  8. Virginia (April 17, 1861; ratified by voters May 23, 1861)
  9. Arkansas (May 6, 1861)
10. Tennessee (May 7, 1861; ratified by voters June 8, 1861)
11. North Carolina (May 20, 1861)

Thus, of the 34 states, 23 remained loyal to the Union, and 11 seceded to form the Confederates States of America (which was dissolved May 5, 1865).

North Carolina Civil War Flag

Legislative records show that a "state flag" was not established or recognized until 1861. The constitutional convention of 1861, which passed the ordinance of secession, adopted a state flag. On May 20, 1861, the day the secession resolution was adopted, Col. John D. Whitford, a member of the convention from Craven County, introduced an ordinance. The law as it appears in the ordinance and resolutions passed by the convention is as follows:

An Ordinance in Relation to a State Flag: Be it ordained by this Convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That the Flag of North Carolina shall consist of a red field with a white star in the center, and with the inscription, above the star, in a semi-circular form, of "May 20th, 1775," and below the star, in a semi-circular form, of "May 20th, 1861." That there shall be two bars of equal width, and the length of the field shall be equal to the bar, the width of the field being equal to both bars: the first bar shall be blue, and second shall be white: and the length of the flag shall be one-third more than its width. [Ratified the 22nd day of June, 1861.]

This state flag, adopted in 1861, is said to have been issued to North Carolina regiments of state troops during the summer of 1861 and borne by them throughout the war. It was the only flag, except the national and Confederate colors, used by North Carolina troops during the Civil War. This flag existed until 1885, when the Legislature adopted a new model.

Slavery Laws

Slavery in the U. S. Constitution

Slavery is seen in the Constitution in a few key places. The first is in the Enumeration Clause, where representatives are apportioned. Each state is given a number of representatives based on its population - in that population, slaves, called "other persons," are counted as three-fifths of a whole person. This compromise was hard-fought, with Northerners wishing that slaves, legally property, be uncounted, much as mules and horses are uncounted. Southerners, however, well aware of the high proportion of slaves to the total population in their states, wanted them counted as whole persons despite their legal status. The three-fifths number was a ratio used by the Congress in contemporary legislation and was agreed upon with little debate.

In Article 1, Section 9, Congress is limited, expressly, from prohibiting the "Importation" of slaves, before 1808. The slave trade was a bone of contention for many, with some who supported slavery abhorring the slave trade. The 1808 date, a compromise of 20 years, allowed the slave trade to continue, but placed a date-certain on its survival. Congress eventually passed a law outlawing the slave trade that became effective on January 1, 1808.

Slavery Imports Outlawed 1808

An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves into any Port or Place Within the Jurisdiction of the United States, From and After the First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, it shall not be lawful to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, as a slave, or to be held to service or labour.

SEC 2. And be it further enacted, That no citizen or citizens of the United States, or any other person, shall, from arid after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eight, for himself, or themselves, or any other person whatsoever, either as master, factor, or owner, build, fit, equip, load or otherwise prepare any ship or vessel, in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, nor shall cause any ship or vessel to sail from any port or place within the same, for the purpose of procuring any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, to be transported to any port or place whatsoever, within the jurisdiction of the United States, to be held, sold, or disposed of as slaves, or to be held to service or labour: and if any ship or vessel shall be so fitted out for the purpose aforesaid, or shall be caused to sail so as aforesaid, every such ship or vessel, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, shall be forfeited to the United States, and shall be liable to be seized, prosecuted, and condemned in any of the circuit courts or district courts, for the district where the said ship or vessel may be found or seized.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That all and every person so building, fitting out, equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing or sending away, any ship or vessel, knowing or intending that the same shall be employed in such trade or business, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, or any ways aiding or abetting therein, shall severally forfeit and pay twenty thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the use of the United States, and the other moiety to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, If any citizen or citizens of the United States, or any person resident within the jurisdiction of the same, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, take on board, receive or transport from any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or from any other foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, in any ship or vessel, for the purpose of selling them in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States as slaves, or to be held to service or labour, or shall be in any ways aiding or abetting therein, such citizen or citizens, or person, shall severally forfeit and pay five thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect; and every such ship or vessel in which such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, shall have been taken on board, received, or transported as aforesaid, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods and effects which shall be found on board the same, shall be forfeited to the United States, and shall be liable to be seized, prosecuted, and condemned in any of the circuit courts or district courts in the district where the said ship or vessel may be found or seized. And neither the importer, nor any person or persons claiming from or under him, shall hold any right or title whatsoever to any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, nor to the service or labour thereof, who may be imported or brought within the United States, or territories thereof, in violation of this law, but the same shall remain subject to any regulations not contravening the provisions of this act, which the legislatures of the several states or territories at any time hereafter may make, for disposing of any such negro, mulatto, or person of colour.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That if any citizen or citizens of the United States, or any other person resident within the jurisdiction of the same, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, take on board any ship or vessel from any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or from any other foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to sell him, her, or them, for a slave, or slaves, or to be held to service or labour, and shall transport the same to any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, and there sell such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, so transported as aforesaid, for a slave, or to be held to service or labour, every such offender shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and being thereof convicted before any court having competent jurisdiction, shall suffer imprisonment for not more than ten years nor less than five years, and be fined not exceeding ten thousand dollars, nor less than one thousand dollars.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That if any person or persons whatsoever, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, purchase or sell any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, for a slave, or to be held to service or labour, who shall have been imported, or brought from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, or from the dominions of any foreign state, immediately adjoining to the United States, into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, after the last day of December, one thousand eight hundred and seven, knowing at the time of such purchase or sale, such negro, mulatto or person of colour, was so brought within the jurisdiction of the Unified States, as aforesaid, such purchaser and seller shall severally forfeit and pay for every negro, mulatto, or person of colour, so purchased or sold as aforesaid, eight hundred dollars; one moiety thereof to the United States, and the other moiety to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect: Provided, that the aforesaid forfeiture shall not extend to the seller or purchaser of any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, who may be sold or disposed of in virtue of any regulation which may hereafter be made by any of the legislatures of the several states in that respect, in pursuance of this act, and the constitution of the United States.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That if any ship or vessel shall be found, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, in any river, port, bay, or harbor, or on the high seas, within the jurisdictional limits of the United States, or hovering on the coast thereof, having on board any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, for the purpose of selling them as slaves, or with intent to land the same, in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, contrary to the prohibition of this act, every such ship or vessel, together with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods or effects which shall be found on board the same, shall be forfeited to the use of the United States, and may be seized, prosecuted, and condemned, in any court of the United States, having jurisdiction thereof And it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, and he is hereby authorized, should he deem it expedient, to cause any of the armed vessels of the United States to be manned and employed to cruise on any part of the coast of the United States, or territories thereof, where he may judge attempts will be made to violate the provisions of this act, and to instruct and direct the commanders of armed vessels of the United States, to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United States all such ships or vessels, and moreover to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United States all ships or vessels of the United States, wheresoever found on the high seas, contravening the provisions of this act, to be proceeded against according to law, and the captain, master, or commander of every such ship or vessel, so found and seized as aforesaid, shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall be liable to be prosecuted before any court of the United States, having jurisdiction thereof; and being thereof convicted, shall be fined not exceeding ten thousand dollars, and be imprisoned not less than two years, and not exceeding four years. And the proceeds of all ships and vessels, their tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods and effects on board of them, which shall be so seized, prosecuted and condemned, shall be divided equally between the United States and the officers and men who shall make such seizure, take, or bring the same into port for condemnation, whether such seizure be made by an armed vessel of the United States, or revenue cutters "hereof, and the same shall be distributed in like manner, as is provided by law, for the distribution of prizes taken from an enemy: Provided, that the officers and men, to be entitled to one half of the proceeds aforesaid, shall safe keep every negro, mulatto, or person of colour, found on board of any ship or vessel so by them seized, taken, or brought into port for condemnation, and shall deliver every such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, to such person or persons as shall be appointed by the respective states, to receive the same, and if no such person or persons shall be appointed by the respective states, they shall deliver every such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, to the overseers of the poor of the port or place where such ship or vessel may be brought or found, and shall immediately transmit to the governor or chief magistrate of the state, an account of their proceedings, together with the number of such Negroes, mulattoes, or persons of colour, and a descriptive list of the same, that he may give directions respecting such Negroes, mulattoes, or persons of colour.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That no captain, master or commander of any ship or vessel, of less burthen than forty tons, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, take on board and transport any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, to any port or place whatsoever, for the purpose of selling or disposing of the same as a slave, or with intent that the same may be sold or disposed of to be held to service or labour, on penalty of forfeiting for every such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, so taken on board and transported, as aforesaid, the sum of eight hundred dollars; one moiety thereof to the use of the United States, and the other moiety to any person or persons who shall sue for, and prosecute the same to effect: Provided however, That nothing in this section shall extend to prohibit the taking on board or transporting on any river, or inland bay of the sea, within the jurisdiction of the United States, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, (not imported contrary to the provisions of this act) in any vessel or species of craft whatever.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the captain, master, or commander of any ship or vessel of the burthen of forty tons or more, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, sailing coastwise, from any port in the United States, to any port or place within the jurisdiction of the same, having on board any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, for the purpose of transporting them to be sold or disposed of as slaves, or to be held to service or labour, shall, previous to the departure of such ship or vessel, make out and subscribe duplicate manifests of every such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, on board such ship or vessel, therein specifying the name and sex of each person, their age and stature, as near as may be, and the class to which they respectively belong, whether negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with the name and place of residence of every owner or shipper of the same, and shall deliver such manifests to the collector of the port, if there be one, otherwise to the surveyor, before whom the captain, master, or commander, together with the owner or shipper, shall severally swear or affirm to the best of their knowledge and belief, that the persons therein specified were not imported or brought into the United States, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, and that under the laws of the state, they are held to service or labour; whereupon the said collector or surveyor shall certify the same on the said manifests, one of which he shall return to the said captain, master, or commander, with a permit, specifying thereon the number, names, and general description of such persons, and authorizing him to proceed to the port of his destination. And if any ship or vessel, being laden and destined as aforesaid, shall depart from the port where she may then be, without the captain, master, or commander having first made out and subscribed duplicate manifests, of every negro, mulatto, and person of colour, on board such ship or vessel, as aforesaid, and without having previously delivered the same to the said collector or surveyor, and obtained a permit, in manner as herein required, or shall, previous to her arrival at the port of her destination, take on board any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, other than those specified in the manifests, as aforesaid, every such ship or vessel, together with her tackle, apparel and furniture, shall be forfeited to the use of the United States, and may be seized, prosecuted and condemned in any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof; and the captain, master, or commander of every such ship or vessel, shall moreover forfeit, for every such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, so transported, or taken on board, contrary to the provisions of this act, the sum of one thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the United States, and the other moiety to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect.

SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That the captain, master, or commander of every ship or vessel, of the burthen of forty tons or more, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, sailing coastwise, and having on board any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, to sell or dispose of as slaves, or to be held to service or labour, and arriving in any port within the jurisdiction of the United States, from any other port within the same, shall, previous to the unlading or putting on shore any of the persons aforesaid, or suffering them to go on shore, deliver to the collector, if there be one, or if not, to the surveyor residing at the port of her arrival, the manifest certified by the collector or surveyor of the port from whence she sailed, as is herein before directed, to the truth of which, before such officer, he shall swear or affirm, and if the collector or surveyor shall be satisfied therewith, he shall thereupon grant a permit for unlading or suffering such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, to be put on shore, and if the captain, master, or commander of any such ship or vessel being laden as aforesaid, shall neglect or refuse to deliver the manifest at the time and im the manner herein directed, or shall land or put on shore any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, for the purpose aforesaid, before he shall have delivered his manifest as aforesaid, and obtained a permit for that purpose, every such captain, master, or commander, shall forfeit and pay ten thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the United States, the other moiety to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect.

APPROVED, March 2, 1807.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Frances Wetmore Broadfoot Civil War Letter (1865)

Letter written by Frances Rebecca Wetmore Broadfoot (1825-1892) to her husband William Gillies Broadfoot (1806-1872) in 1865 during General William Tecumseh Sherman's occupation of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina. The house shown beside the letter is the Broadfoot House built by William Gillies Broadfoot 1852 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

My Dear Husband,

Your letter dated the 23rd and received tonight is the greatest comfort, and I hope before this that you have received Mr. Lilly's letter and some of mine.... If you have received any letters you have learned that our loss was comparatively small. Many of our friends have lost everything. Thanks to our kind brother S. I got, the night before the enemy, came a barrel of flour and four or five bushels of meal. They only took part of the flour and five pieces of meat when an officer came and placed a guard for our protection. I treated the guard as well as I could and they did me good services especially during the burning of the arsenal dwelling houses.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thomas Gunn, Jr. (c.1738-1800) Ancestry

Thomas Gunn, Jr. (ca. 1738 VA - 1800 NC), James B. Kerner (2007)

Thomas2 Gunn, Jr. (Thomas Gunn, Sr.1) was born in or near Amelia County, VA circa 1738.18 Amelia County, VA was formed from Brunswick and Prince George Counties in 1734. Nottoway Co., VA was formed from Amelia County in 1788. Before Nottoway County established its own government, it was known as Nottoway Parish, a district of Amelia County. Thomas served in the Virginia Colonial Militia during the French and Indian War. He was paid five pounds, six shillings for militia service in 1756, During the French and Indian War, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed an act for the defense of the frontier of the colony on September 14, 1758. Thomas Gunn was among those soldiers mentioned in the schedules attached to that act. Thomas was listed in the Amelia County unit.

Thomas Gunn (or his father) was mentioned in court records in Lunenburg Co., VA in 1758. Note: Lunenburg Co., VA was formed from Brunswick Co., VA in 1746. On April 4, 1758, Thomas Gunn of Amelia Co., VA purchased 300 acres near his sister, Edith Hogan, on the north side of the Roanoke River in Lunenburg Co., VA, (present-day Mecklenburg Co., VA). Note: Mecklenburg Co., VA was formed from part of Lunenburg Co., VA in 1765.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stephen Dodson Ramseur

Stephen Dodson Ramseur served with distinction in 1862 and 1863, received a promotion to brigadier general, and suffered wounds three times. He also fell in love with his cousin Ellen Richmond of Caswell County, and they married in October 1863. During their months of separation, the couple wrote many loving letters to each other. Ramseur earned a promotion to major general for leading an attack that saved the Confederate army at Spotsylvania Courthouse in May 1864. While he was fighting in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley in the summer and fall of 1864, Ellen was at home awaiting the birth of their first child. On October 16, Ramseur received news that his wife had given birth and that all was well. But the message did not say whether the baby was a boy or a girl. Three days later, Ramseur was mortally wounded in the Battle of Cedar Creek, without knowing that he had a daughter.

Stephen Dodson Ramseur died of battle wounds on October 20, 1864, after sending his love to his family and requesting that a lock of his hair go to his wife. Federal troops returned his body to a boyhood friend, Confederate major general Robert F. Hoke. Ramseur's body lay in state briefly in the capitol at Richmond, then went by train home to Lincolnton. Ramseur's family was crushed by the news of his death. His widow, Ellen, and three-week-old daughter, Mary, could not travel from Caswell County for the funeral. Ellen Ramseur never remarried and wore black mourning clothing for the rest of her life. She remained with her family in Caswell County until she died in 1900 at the age of fifty-nine. Mary Ramseur never married and died at the age of seventy-one in 1935.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

North Carolina Land Grants

North Carolina Land Grants

North Carolina Land Grant Procedure 1777-1800

Land Entries, Land Warrants, Land Surveys, & Land Grants in North Carolina (1777-1800):

In 1777 the legislature of the "new" state of North Carolina passed an act allowing the state to take over the title to all "vacant" land within its borders. This land had formerly been the property of the King or the Earl of Granville. In the same year, the legislature also passed an act creating a procedure for selling the land to almost anyone who had the money to pay the required fees. These "instruments" were called grants, but that does not imply the free gift of land.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Hamer Missionary Baptist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

The following is from In the Beginning . . . The Churches of Caswell County, Jean B. Scott, Compiler (2000), and authored by Katie Lipscomb Williams and Elaine Jefferies Cunningham (December 1997):

In the year of 1870 under a big oak tree a small group of concerned and devout Christian men and women based the beginning of the Hamer Missionary Baptist Church. 1870-1881 has been characterized as a sluggish period in Caswell County's history, so it was not until 1881 that the first church was actually organized and built of logs. It was known as the Hames Chapel Baptist Church.

Unidentified Wrenn Family Photograph

This photograph was found in the the belongings of a Wrenn family from the Caswell County/Person County area of North Carolina. If you can help identify the person please email me at: Thanks. Rick Frederick

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Milton Photograph c.1948/1949

(click on photograph for larger image)


Front Row: Martha Ann Bradsher; Evangeline (Van) Newman.

Second Row: Unidentified Woman (light dress); Unidentified Woman (dark dress with light collar); Unidentified Woman (necklace); Unidentified Woman (wearing hat); Mother of Evangeline (Van) Newman (light dress with flower; maiden surname Glidewell); Newman Brother (suit and cigarette; father of Evangeline (Van) Newman).

Third Row: Unidentified Man (partial head only); Unidentified Woman (head only, tilted to left); Unidentified Man (partial head only); Possibly Jay or John Foote (are twins; tall, wearing suspenders); Possibly Mildred Newman (head only, wearing lipstick); Jacob Thompson Bradsher (tall, open shirt); Newman Brother.

Fourth Row: Unidentified Man (top of head only).

Photograph courtesy Martha Bradsher Spencer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thomas Day Secretary in Boston

The Boston Globe
A Story of Acquisition
By Sebastian Smee
Globe Staff/May 29, 2011

For many years, curators at the Museum of Fine Arts have been trying to get their hands on an excellent piece of furniture by Thomas Day. Day was a fascinating figure: a free African-American cabinetmaker who worked in North Carolina in the 1840s and ’50s. Besides being one of North Carolina’s most accomplished furniture craftsmen, he was a great entrepreneur. He trained both free and slave apprentices, and even hired slaves himself. “We’ve had him on our wish list forever,’’ said Kelly L’Ecuyer, an MFA curator of decorative arts and sculpture. The problem was that exceptional pieces by Day rarely come up for sale.

One such piece, a secretary in the empire style, was slated for sale at auction in New Orleans last year. L’Ecuyer and her colleagues were excited. But there was a catch: The auction was scheduled for Nov. 20. That was the day the Museum of Fine Arts’ new Art of the Americas Wing opened to the public. Amid the fanfare and celebrations — it was a free Community Day — all hands were needed on deck. Undeterred, the museum sent Christine Schaette, one of its furniture conservators, down to Louisiana to check out the piece shortly before the sale. And on Nov. 20, just as the new wing was being overrun by enthusiastic hordes, Gerry Ward, a senior curator of decorative arts and sculpture, made a successful phone bid. The Day piece, which is in conservation ahead of its eventual display, is a momentous addition to a collection that continues to grow at a terrific clip.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Old Lea Bethel Baptist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Old Lea Bethel Baptist Church

Lea Bethel Baptist Church was established on December 29, 1883, at its present site, with land deeded by Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Allen. The original church building was a one-room frame structure. it also was an offspring of Beulah Baptist Church. On May 21, 1939, a new church building was organized in the Lea Bethel Building. Mr. Noell was the moderator of the Beulah Association at that time. At this first meeting, Mr. Tom Murray was elected moderator, and Mr. B. C. Woody as clerk. Church records indicate an initial enrollment of thirty-seven members, with five additional members by letter. it was decided by the membership and the Beulah Association's moderator that it should be named Old Lea Bethel Baptist Church. The first pastor was Rev. C. E. Sullivan.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ancient Planters of Jamestowne

Ancient Planters of Jamestowne
by Bebe Johns Fox/ under copyright

Several families in old Orange can claim descent from Ancient Planters... those who paid their own passage, arrived in Virginia before 1616, and remained for a minimum of three years. Right off hand the names which occur to me are the Norwoods of Chatham, who descend from William Farrar, as do the Burtons of Caswell, and the Cox family, who built "Riverside" on the Eno, descend from William Spencer, owner of twelve acres on the island itself who became a Burgess representing Surry County across the James River at a later date. A number of descendants of Capt. Graves reside in Caswell County. Your compiler had the distinct pleasure of being a charter member in 1991 of the The Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Company B, 15th North Carolina Infantry

“Monroe Light Infantry”
(Originally named the 5th N.C. Volunteers)
Formed in Union County, North Carolina on May 3, 1861.

James Alberron - Resided in Caswell Co, NC when he enlisted as a Private on July 15, 1862. Wounded on Dec. 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg, VA.

Howell Boswell - Resided in Caswell Co, NC when he enlisted as a Private on July 15, 1862. Absent on detail as laborer or forage master. Wounded on Sept. 14, 1862 at Crampton's Gap, MD. Returned to duty on Feb. 28, 1863.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Frederick Family of Texas County, Missouri

The following is from Texas County Missouri Heritage Vol, III, Texas County Missouri Genealogical and Historical Society (1992), at 230 (Article submitted by Robyn Dunn Harlan). Note that the reference to John Barbosa Frederick and wife Elizabeth has not been confirmed. This is the only publication found that claims this ancestry. Accordingly, researchers are advised to proceed with caution and not to blindly repeat what is found here.


The following history chronicles the lives of the descendants of John Barbosa Frederick and wife Elizabeth. In 1685 John and Elizabeth came to America from Alsace, France, in the ship William and Sara. They settled in Virginia. Some of the family migrated to Maryland, then to South and North Carolina. The Frederick families coming to Missouri in 1862 were natives of Person County, NC.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Lyttleton A. Gwynn Litigation


Littleton A. Gwyn is a son of Daniel Gwyn and Zipporah Rice. Littleton A. Gwyn and Pamela A. Watt had two sons who both died young, Richard at six weeks old and Littleton A. Jr. at four years old.

Augustus Gwynn Litigation

Augustus Gwynn Litigation
North Carolina Supreme Court

All About Dynamic Views

All about Dynamic Views for Readers

Friday, April 01, 2011

Clyde Fuller

Clyde Fuller was a fresh-faced Caswell County country boy when he was drafted into World War II and had his share of brushes with death. Born near Milton, Fuller was one of six children. He left the farm to become part of the war effort. As a U.S. Navy cook, he was aboard a cargo ship during the invasion of Okinawa. The ships were moving troops and equipment, always under the threat of fire from Japanese aircraft. He recalls being in a convoy of about a dozen ships when they were called to their stations after a “booger” was sighted honing in on them. “He was probably no more than 10 feet off the water. We couldn’t fire at him without hitting ships on the other side of us,” he recounts. He said they held their fire until they could see what was coming. The “booger” turned out to be a Japanese suicide pilot. “He flew right past us,” Fuller said, guessing he “could have thrown a rock” and hit the passing aircraft. “He was probably 20 to 30 feet away from me. He flew right past us.” Fuller said the pilot then made a bank to the left, circled around and slammed “into the quartermaster’s home, where they piloted the ship.” The ship exploded within seconds, blowing tons of metal into the sky. “Red hot metal fell down on board our ship” like embers from a lighted cigarette. Fuller said it was lucky his shipmates did not receive bad injuries, but he felt a deep sadness when he thought about the men on that target vessel: the dead and all the family members they left behind. He admits he was “tore up” over the disaster, as were his fellow sailors.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

1862 Slave Letter

December 24, 1862
Messrs. McGee & Williams

Dear Sirs:

I drop you a line about the negroes I now have in Raleigh, which you will oblige me by arranging as follows: Armstead can go on as heretofore per monthly payments. It seems that he ought to return $15 per month instead of $12 as money is less valuable and more easily made. The price of negro hire however should determine what is right for him to pay. I think it best for you to let Friday keep Millie and the three girls now with her if he will pay their hire monthly until I make a more permanent arrangement. For more than one reason I do not wish to hire them out by the year. Friday wanted me to make an arrangement with him shen I was down but I declined to make any.

In case it should become necessary for me to remove them out of the way of the Yankees, I don't wish any hinderance and should you judge such a measure judicious at any future time please let me know know but say nothing to Friday or any of the others about it as I have not much confidence in his fidelity.

I thought Calvin Rogers hired the oldest girl the past year, but it turns out that Friday really hired her and her mother and two little ones. The notes for this year's hire I left with you. When paid you can remit by check the price of the woman and her three children per month you can fix according to the hire of other negroes. If Friday won't take them and pay monthly, please let me know and I will make other arrangements.

Let the negroes know that I put them under your control. See if they are well clad. I got all my furniture with but little damage. Glass and crockery not broken at all.

I am glad to hear that the Yankees who threaten Goldsboro have take the back track.

With the compliments of the season I remain as ever,

Yours Truly,

J. J. James

PS If Mr Williams is as I suppose from home, Mr. McGee will be so good as to attend to the above. Enclosed is a note for Mr. Jas. King which please hand him or his father first opportunity. If Mr. J. King applies please hand him five dollars for me and charge to my account and oblige. JJJ

While the identify of this J. J. James in not known, see: John Joshua James.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Julius (Jules) Johnston III (1943-1968)

(click on photograph for larger image)


Julius Johnston III majored in political science at UNC-CH and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He entered the Navy in October 1965 and volunteered for submarine duty after graduation from boot camp. He was a member of the crew of the ill-fated U.S. submarine Scorpion, which was officially declared lost at sea on June 5, 1968. His family is from Yanceyville, North Carolina, and Johnston graduated from Bartlett Yancey High School in that town.

USS Scorpion (SSN-589) was a Skipjack-class nuclear submarine of the United States Navy, and the sixth ship of the U.S. Navy to carry that name. Scorpion was declared lost on 5 June 1968, one of the few U.S. Navy submarines to be lost at sea while not at war and is one of only two nuclear submarines the U.S. Navy has ever lost, the other being USS Thresher (SSN-593), which sank on 10 April 1963 off the coast of New England.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

North Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868

After the Civil War, William W. Holden headed the new North Carolina Republican Party, which included freedmen, carpetbaggers, and native whites. The Republicans controlled the state convention of 1868 that drafted a new constitution. They also controlled the new state government, and Holden was elected governor. During this period, North Carolina sent 13 African American delegates to the state constitutional convention in 1868. One was from Caswell County.

First, the issue of whether to hold a constitutional convention was put to a vote. Here are what may be the voting results from Caswell County, North Carolina:

Branson's Business Directory (1867-1868)

Recapitulation of Canvass Returns for the State of North Carolina
Election District: Caswell County

Recapitulation from Books
Whites: 1,361
Blacks: 1,703
Total: 3,064

Aggregate from Poll List: 1,964
No. Tickets Polled: 1,981
No. of Tickets for a Convention: 1,485
No. of Tickets Against Convention: 499
Informal Tickets: None

Bureau of Civil Affairs
Citadel, Charleston, S.C., December 26, 1867

The foregoing is a correct statement from the Returns of the election held on the 19th and 20th days of November last, in and for the State of North Carolina, made to these Headquarters by the canvassers, and from the returns made by the Boards of Registration for the several registration precincts of said State, it appears thereby that a majority of the votes given at the said election were "For a Convention;" and, also, that at such election a majority of all the registered voters of said State voted on the question of holding said Convention.

A. J. Willard,
Chief Bureau of Civil Affairs

Source: Branson's North Carolina Business Directory, For 1867-8, Containing Facts, Figures, Names and Locations.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Yanceyville Airways, Inc. (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

Yanceyville Airways, Inc. ("Yanceyville Airways"), was created as a North Carolina corporation 30 November 1945 (articles of incorporation filed 5 December 1945). The authorized capital stock was $50,000, divided into 500 shares with a par value of $100 each. The incorporators and original stockholders (each purchasing five shares) were:

1. Brooks, Robert Lee (Yanceyville, North Carolina)
2. Gunn, William Laroy (Yanceyville, North Carolina)
3. Little, Thomas Arthur (Yanceyville, North Carolina)
4. Page, Ludolphous Graham (Yanceyville, North Carolina)
5. Shelton, William Thomas (Yanceyville, North Carolina)
6. Slaughter, Wilson Allen (Blanch, North Carolina)

Monday, March 07, 2011

James Wright and Martha Williamson Wright Family

James Wright, of Isle of Wight, Va., married Martha Williamson, June 22, 1809.
Martha Williamson, b. June 22nd, 1790, is the daughter of James Williamson and Ann Edmund Edwards. Martha Williamson is the sister of George "Royal George" Williamson.

Children of James and Martha Wright:
(A)Martha, (B) Anne Blount, (C) Weldon Edwards, (D) Sarah Eliza

A. Martha (born 1819, died 12/18/01), married 6/30/1841, Dr. James Addison Price of Pelham, N. C. Moved to High Shoals, Ga.


a. Mary Emma, born 4/20/42, died 6/1/55, never married.
b. Sarah Eugenia, born 11/4/43, died 10/21/67.
c. Weldon Wright, born 8/18/98.
e. Endora W., born 6/3/49.
f. Anna Corinna, born 4/3/57, died 11/10/57
g. Carmilia Isabella, born 5/20/52, died 9/15/53.
h. Wm. Pinckney, born 3/10/54, died 12/1/27.
i. Mattie Ella,. born 12/21, died 6/18/088
j. James Daniel, born 7/14/60, died 9/25/25.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Samuel Watkins Correspondence 1849

(click on photograph for larger image)


Rome, Georgia
January 27, 1849

Mr. Watkins

If I am not mistaken you were trustee to settle my father's property when he failed. I am also of the opinion that my father only had a life estate in the [negro] property held by my grandmother and of part of the land sold. Will you please inform me if such was the fact? In the course of _____ my parents cannot live many years longer and as I have dependent sisters _____ apologize for my liberty. You _____ consider my inquiries confidential. Although you _____ _____ to my husband Dr. George S. Coleman.

With respect,

Maria Coleman (formerly Maria Douglas)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Glenn Brown (1854-1932)

Glenn Brown (1854-1932), an architect from Virginia with family ties in [Caswell County] North Carolina, designed buildings in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in the Romanesque Revival style, but his most important contribution to the state was his role, as secretary of the American Institute of Architects, in nurturing the formation of the North Carolina Chapter of the AIA (1913). Glenn Brown was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of Dr. Bedford Brown and Mary E. Simpson. In 1855 Dr. Brown moved the family to North Carolina to live at Rose Hill, the Caswell County plantation of his father, Bedford Brown. The elder Bedford Brown was a North Carolina planter and politician who served in the United States Senate from 1828 to 1841. Bedford Brown II practiced medicine in North Carolina, served as a surgeon for the Confederacy, then moved to Alexandria, Virginia, in 1867 and became prominent in the medical profession.