Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yanceyville Newspaper History

Yanceyville Newspapers

The history of newspapers published in Yanceyville, North Carolina, before The Caswell Messenger launched in 1926 is not clear. However, The Caswell Messenger does not appear to be a direct successor to any publication.

Thomas J. Henderson (1883-1959) established The Sentinel at Yanceyville, with an initial issue on April 20, 1908. Henderson was editor for at least two years, being replaced by John A. Massey (1881-1956) in 1911. However, Henderson apparently regained editorship in October 1912, and the newspaper was still in publication on May 3, 1916, the last known issue. When The Sentinel ceased publication has not been determined, but it was not listed in a 1921 national newspaper directory.

Thus, it is possible that for some years before 1926 (possibly up to ten years) no newspaper was published in Yanceyville.

Thirteen-year-old Thomas J. Henderson launched The Little News in 1895. Published in Yanceyville, the newspaper survived for three years (1895-1898).

The News Advocate was published in Yanceyville around 1890, as one issue, dated 9 January 1890, survives.

There may have been a Yanceyville newspaper titled News and Commercial published 1884-1898, but no copies are known.

The Caswell News was launched in 1884, being edited and published by W. H. Thompson in Yanceyville. It apparently was published in the old Azariah Graves building, which now houses a restaurant. Note the lettering on the side of the building: "The Caswell News Office." This newspaper was published until at least December 1888.

At the time of the 1900 US Census (June 21) Albert Yancey Kerr (22) and his wife Willie Myers (18) were living in the household of Albert's father, John Kerr in Yanceyville, North Carolina. Albert is shown as a newspaper editor. This probably was The Caswell News. This is the same Albert Yancey Kerr who purchased The Caswell News Office building (now, in 2015, Hushpuppies Restaurant) in 1906. In the 1910 US Census, Albert Yancey Kerr was described as a newspaper publisher. This provides some support for The Caswell News being published as late as 1910.

However, the 1920 US Census shows him as Post Master, apparently having abandoned the newspaper business. By the time of the 1930 US Census he was an insurance agent. But, he apparently returned to the newspaper business as the 1940 US Census gives his occupation: county newspaper editor. As the only county newspaper in 1940 was The Caswell Messenger, presumably he was working for or with Erwin Duke Stephens at that newspaper.


Known Yanceyville Newspapers:

1. The Caswell Messenger
2. The Sentinel
3. The Little News
4. The News Advocate
5. News and Commercial
6. The Caswell News

Sources: (an online newspaper archive, available by subscription).

Powell, William S. "When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977." Durham: Moore Publishing Company. 1977. Print.

Whitlow, Jeannine D. Editor. The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Article #409, "A. Yancey Kerr" by George Yancey Kerr. 1985. p. 329.

Oakley Chairs

These "Oakley" chairs were built by Robert Lee Oakley (1868-1957), who lived on the Park Springs Road, Pelham Township, Caswell County, North Carolina. When the photographs were taken the chairs belonged to Henry Ingram and his wife Vivian E. Oakley Ingram.

Vivian E. Oakley Ingram (1904-1985), is the daughter of Robert Lee Oakley and Nannie Ellen Forbes (1873-1930), and presumably she inherited the chairs from her father. The chairs are seen on the front porch of the Ingram home on the Park Springs Road (Providence, Caswell County, North Carolina).

Thomas Oakley m. Sally Wells
Robert Lee Oakley m. Nannie Ellen Forbes
Vivian E. Oakley m. Henry Ingram

Images courtesy the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bartlett Yancey High School Band

Bartlett Yancey High School Band
Yanceyville, North Carolina

Shown here is the first high school band at Bartlett Yancey which was organized and conducted by Mr. E. B. Abernethy.

Members of the band left to right, front row, J. C. McLaughlin, Louis Daniel, Earl Daniel, Mike Hatchett, Donald Hodges, Cecil Cooper and Mr. Abernethy. Second row, same order, Claude Hyler, E. B. Jefferies, Joe Yarbrough and Reba Foster (Smith). Third row, Lawrence Thompson, George Clark, Thomas Lea Gwynn, Ben Jones Neal and W. J. Swicegood, deceased. Fourth row, Dan Cooper and S. H. Abell Jr.

While the newspaper article (The Caswell Messenger) was dated July 1968, the accompanying photograph was from the 1940s.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Country Line Primitive Baptist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Country Line Primitive Baptist Church

The Country Line Primitive Baptist Church was established in 1792, with the church building shown being built during the nineteenth century. The structure is typical of primitive Baptist churches of the time, with little ornamentation and separate doors for men and women. This church eventually split into two congregations due to a disagreement over missionary activity. Those favoring missionary work founded the Baptist church in Yanceyville.

The relationship between Bush Arbor Primitive Baptist Church and the Country Line Primitive Baptist Church is not understood. Both were established early in the history of Caswell County (Bush Arbor in 1792, and Country Line before 1806).

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Caswell Theatre (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

The Caswell Theatre (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina) (22 October 1938): "The Caswell Theatre will open here on November 3, 1938." This was a Thursday.

The theater was operated by the North Carolina Amusement Company owed by Dr. Henry C. Carr. There was a single screen, and the seating capacity was 386. The building originally was a store owned by James Monroe Neal (1818-1884) and his son Louis M. Neal (1853-1904). The second-story floor was removed, and the second-story windows bricked in.

The first movie shown was "Stablemates," starring Wallace Berry and Mickey Rooney. It was an MGM production.

The manager of the theatre was E. W. Sell. Robert Garland Haire (1916-1997) of Burlington, North Carolina, operated the sound and projection equipment. Corinna Jewell Pleasant (1918-2003) was at the ticket window, assisted by her mother Ida Sue Clayton Pleasant (1884-1974).

Saturday matinees were at 1:00 pm for the admission price of 10¢ (children) and 20¢ (adults). Evening movie times were 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The admission price was 10¢ (children) and 25¢ (adults).

The Caswell Messenger reported in January of 1958, that the theatre closed the week of Christmas 1957. The manager at the time was George Albert Holt (1912-1976). The building apparently was purchased by the owners of Watlington's On The Square, and used as a warehouse for many years.


I have done some research on the theatre. According to the October 27, 1938, edition of The Caswell Messenger, the theatre opened on Thursday, November 3, 1938. The theater was operated by the North Carolina Amusement Company owed by Dr. Henry C. Carr. The first movie shown was by MGM. The movie was Stable Mates, starring Wallace Berry and Mickey Rooney. Matinees were on Saturdays at 1:00 for the admission price of 10¢ and 20¢. In the evenings movie times were 7:00 and 9:00. The admission price was 10¢ and 25¢. The manager of the theatre was E. W. Sell. Garland Haire operated the sound and projection equipment. Corinna Pleasants was at the ticket window and was assisted by Ida Pleasants. The Caswell Messenger reported January of 1958, that the theatre closed the week of Christmas 1957. Source: Sandra Aldridge 2015