Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hanover Mills, Incorporated

Caswell County Quiz:

During its peak years, Hanover Mills in Yanceyville employed how many?

A. 115
B. 250
C. 295
D. 320

I worked at "Hangover" two summers. The first was with Sam Shaw mixing the chemicals used in "Take Up." This was a cushy first shift job. The second summer was real work: swing shift in "Draw Twist" -- where I loaded and threaded the big machines. My working pal was David Shatterly (who supplied cherry tomatoes from his father's garden). Source: Rick Frederick 27 October 2018.

President Ronald Green arrived each day in a chauffeur-driven limo. He had married the boss's daughter. The big boss was Charles Falk. Green's annual salary was $100,000 (and he received substantial year-end bonuses).

While many US textile businesses took a hit in the latter part of the 20th century, the company that owned Hanover Mills, Incorporated, Falk Fibers & Fabrics, Inc., essentially imploded as a result of insider self-dealing, family squabbles, and corporate greed and waste.

At one time Hanover Mills was the only fully integrated nylon filament (nylon tricot) spinning plant in the United States.

Ownership of Hanover Mills changed over the years (at least did the corporate ownership names). For example, in 1971, Hanover Mills was owned by Universal Polymer Products Corp.

In 1966, Hanover Mills won a US government contract to supply 9 million yards of nylon netting for use primarily in the Vietnam War (for mosquito control and other purposes). This resulted in plant expansion and the addition of 100 employees. The old Caswell County Health Department building had to go.

Falk v. FFF Industries, Inc., 731 F. Supp. 134 (S.D.N.Y. 1990) [; accessed 27 October 2018]

Friday, October 26, 2018

Red Pig (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

The Red Pig (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

In the 1940s/1950s Arthur David Purnell (1913-1986) and wife Mabel Elizabeth Smith Purnell (1917-2013) ran an establishment in the western part of Yanceyville, North Carolina, called "The Red Pig." It is recalled by some as a "juke joint" - juke box, beer, hamburgers/hotdogs, and possibly a pool table in the rear.

The location apparently was on the west end of Main Street where it forked: left on 158 to Reidsville; right on 86 to Danville.

Helen Jean Ledford to You know you are from Yanceyville if.....
December 28, 2013

You know you are from Yanceyville if you remember the "Red Pig", run by Arthur and Mabel Purnell (she recently died). Mama wouldn't let us girls go in there by ourselves because I think there was a pool room and beer. They sold the most delicious hot dogs and had a jukebox. Sometimes I got to go there with Mama or my brother Roy and we would get hot dogs to take home. Sometime later, as teenagers, some of us close friends from BYHS snuck in there and posed by the jukebox. That picture surfaced later and my mama would turn over in her grave if she know we had set our feet inside the door of the "Red Pig" without chaperons.....(It was not a bad place, and Arthur and Mabel were good people)--things were just different back in the fifties....

Bill Thompson shared a post.
March 4, 2015 ·
Helen Jean, you and I have kindred memories. My grandmother Sutton would have called The Red Pig Cafe a "glory hole." I never knew the origin of that term, but it was not a good place. For me, the Red Pig was where I could feel all grown up. I drank beer, played the juke box, danced the bop all by myself, and on payday ate dandy hamburgers with a thick slab of onion. As you mentioned, I never saw a female there, unless they were traveling though or were lost and didn't know better.

William R. Johnson Did you know there was a song..."We are the boys of ole Yanceyville High...etc; ends with..."while the worthy faculty lies drunk on the Red Pig floor. " Ha !

Norcott Pemberton Where was this place?

Bill Thompson Norcott, out west Main on the right near fork to Danville and Reidsville.

Larry Snead Bill is correct. Briggs. The Red Pig was on the other side of town. It was a little before our time and closed by the time is early 70 year olds would have been sneaking up there but I would go occasionally as a youngster pre high school.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Henry Lafayette Warren's "Shangri-La"

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Among North Carolina's most visible examples of the richly detailed personal landscapes created by "folk" or "outsider" artists—the latter term referring to artists outside the academic art mainstream — the miniature stone village was constructed over several years by World War I veteran Henry Lafayette Warren after he retired from farming and running a gas station at this site. Far from being an eccentric loner like some outsider artists, or his work being unknown during his lifetime, Warren was an outgoing member of the community. He developed it to please his neighbors, and passers-by, and with their help.

Like many such personal landscapes, it developed over time in extemporaneous fashion. It features intricate detail including "found objects," and it is often humorous, with various texts and mottoes. The village of some 25 buildings includes a church, a jail, a mill, a theatre, a house and garage, and an uncompleted hospital; landscaping and a rock retaining wall; and topical buildings of the day such as the Watergate Hotel.

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Henry Lafayette Warren was a Caswell County native who lived with his family in a nearby stone bungalow which he built himself, near his stone gas station on the road from Hillsborough to Yanceyville. A fragment of the old road shows its original proximity to the site. His house still stands, but not his gas station. Warren began his "little city" in his front yard in his mid-70s—various dates are reported — mixing his own cement and using white flint rock quarried from his and a neighboring farm to erect the 3 to 4-foot high buildings. Like many such artists, he incorporated diverse objects into his work, including parts of tools and appliances, ceramic figures, and other items he found in local antique stores, as well as projectile points brought to him by local children to trade for candy. His neighbor Junius Pennix often worked with him. Henry started with a single building and never meant to build so much, recalled his widow, Satira Warren, in an interview in 1988, but friends and neighbors kept suggesting new ideas. He worked on it constantly, except when Mrs. Warren insisted he put down his tools and come in when she had lunch ready.

50 Moments that Made North Carolina: Caswell County

50 Moments

In its September 2017 issue, Our State magazine published an extensive article on the 50 moments that shaped North Carolina's history. Caswell County was mentioned in two:

10. Railroad Expansion 1848: The Senate was debating whether North Carolina's railroad should expand from north to south or east to west. Calvin Graves, a Democrat from Caswell County, cast the tie-breaking vote for the east-west line, bypassing Graves's district. The vote angered constituents, but gave rise to a rail line that would help give rise to Charlotte and Asheville.

12. Bright Leaf Tobacco 1856: The story of North Carolina's signature crop began when a Caswell County slave fell asleep while tending the fire in a flue-cured tobacco barn. Upon waking, he frantically stoked the dying embers, building an inferno that produced a sweet, rusty yellow leaf. Soon, barns filled with tobacco, and raging fires filled the landscape of half of the state. [Photograph of tobacco accompanied the item.]

"50 Moments that Made NC." Our State, September 2017. Greensboro: Mann Media, Inc., pp. 116,117 Print.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Rosenwald Schools: Caswell County, North Carolina

Caswell County Rosenwald Schools

In 1912, Booker T. Washington approached Chigaco philanthropist Julius Rosenwald about Washington's concept to build rural schools desperately needed for African American children across the segregated south. Rosenwald, President of Sears, Roebuck and Co., established a fund providing architectural plans and matching grants that helped build more than 5,300 schools, vocational shops, and teacher's homes across fifteen states (from Maryland to Texas) between the late 1912 and 1932. Six of these schools were built in Caswell County, North Carolina

1. Beulah School (Blanch)
2. Blackwell School (near Yanceyville)
3. Dotmond School (near Milton)
4. Milton School (Milton)
5. New Ephesus School (near Yanceyville)
6. Yanceyville School (Yanceyville)

1. Beulah School

Historic Name: Beulah School
Current Name: Demolished
Building Plan: Two-Teacher Type
Building Type: School
Budget Year: 1924-25
Location: SR 1564 (Stephentown Road) (west side, 0.2 miles north of US 158), Pleasant Grove vicinity
Land (acres): 2.00
County: Caswell
State: North Carolina
Application #: 49-D
Total Cost: $2,800
Notes: Ins. $2,000
Additional Comments: Photo Available
Funding Sources:
Negroes: $600
Public: $1,500
Rosenwald: $700

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Spencer Hooper Promissory Note/Bond 1846

Spencer Hooper Promissory Note/Bond 1846

Sixty days after date, I promise to pay Alexander Wiley, or order, the sum of six hundred and fifty dollars, to be applied to the use and benefit, to wit: Alexander Hooper, Ann Hooper, Ziphania Hooper, Martha Hooper and Susan Hooper, who are at this time living with my father, Woodliff Hooper. Witness my hand and seal, this 30 November, 1846.

Spencer Hooper, [Seal]

Witness: John K. Graves

Source: Oliver v. Wiley, 75 N.C. 320 (1876).

Spencer Hooper apparently married a Mary Wiley, but her relationship to Alexander Wiley (to whom the $600 was promised) has not been established. The beneficiaries named are children of Spencer Hooper (and presumably of Mary Wiley Hooper). Why the children were living with Woodliff (Woodlief) Hooper, father of Spencer Hooper, in 1846 is not known. Perhaps Mary Wiley Hooper had died. Spencer Hooper was in Missouri by 1850 and never returned to Caswell County.

A dispute over the promissory note/bond set forth above reached the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1876 and even involved the notorious Frank. A. Wiley, who purportedly lured John Walter (Chicken) Stephens to his death in 1870.

This helps. Note the reference to the "[c]hildren of Spencer Hooper by his first wife . . . ."

Woodlief Hooper - Will - written 22 April 1853. Daughter Elizabeth and her husband Warren Holcomb already recd their share. Children of Spencer Hooper by his first wife to have their share. Sons Benjamin Hooper and Samuel Hooper to have negroes in their possession. Bond forgiven of Mary Ferguson. Daughter Barbara Evans and her children Amanda and Samuel to have land where testator now lives also a share of negroes which came from Henderson estate. Martha Neal and Susan Corbet to have negroes in their possession. Rest of property divided equally to Samuel Hooper, Martha Neal, Susan Corbet, Mary Ferguson, Barbara Evans, and children of Spencer Hooper by first marriage. Exec: Samuel Hooper and Solomon Corbet. Wit: N. M. Roan, A. Gunn.

Inventory and sales of property of Woodlief Hooper deceased sold 24 May 1853 to various listed purchasers.

Source: Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1843-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1986) at 61.

Why did Spencer Hooper not come back to Caswell County for his children? As Spencer Hooper married Mary Wiley, his first wife, 6 October 1832, in Caswell County, presumably their oldest child would have been 18 years or so old in 1850. Spencer Hooper not only did not come back for them, he married again and started another family in Missouri:

1850 United States Federal Census
Name: Spencer Hooper
Age: 42
Birth Year: abt 1808
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1850: Campbell, Greene, Missouri, USA
Gender: Male
Family Number: 166
Household Members:
Name Age
Spencer Hooper 42
Harriet Hooper 30
Charles Hooper 4
Robt E Hooper 2

The second wife of Spencer Hooper was Harriet F. Cain:

Missouri Marriage Records
Name: Spencer Hooper
Spouse: Harriet F. Cain
Marriage Date: 6 Feb 1844
Location: Greene
State: Missouri

Note that they married two years before Spencer Hooper promised money to take care of the children by his first wife. None of that money was ever paid.

The children had been living with the father of Spencer Hooper, Woodlief (Woodley) Hooper, who died 1853 in Caswell County. Presumably, as the promissory note was made to an Alexander Wiley, that Wiley was to care of the children.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Scorned Leasburg Teacher Prevails: 1911

Scorned Leasburg Teacher Prevails: 1911

It appears that in or about 1911, the Caswell County Board of Education (the "Board") attempted to avoid paying Leasburg teacher Alice N. Lea what she thought was owed. This resulted in a private bill being introduced in the North Legislature to "encourage" the Board to pay her. The bill passed and became law, effective March 1, 1911. As a result, the Board was to pay Alice N. Lea "the sum of six dollars, due her as balance on salary as a public school teacher in District Number Sixteen, Leasburgh [sic] Township, Caswell County."

Private Laws of the State of North Carolina Passed by the General Assembly at its Session of 1911, Chapter 198, Page 467: "An, act for the relief of Alice N. Lea, public school teacher, of Caswell County."

$6 equals $159.25 in 2018 purchasing power (according to one online inflation calculator).

Private Laws of the State of North Carolina Passed by the General Assembly at its Session of 1911, Chapter 198, Page 467: "An, act for the relief of Alice N. Lea, public school teacher, of Caswell County."


The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact: Section 1. That the board of education of Caswell County be and Payment they are hereby authorized to pay to Miss Alice N. Lea the sum of six dollars, due her as balance on salary as a public school teacher in District Number Sixteen, Leasburgh Township, Caswell County.

Sec. 2. That this act shall be in force from and after its ratification. Ratified this the 1st day of March, 1911.

A public law affects the public at large throughout North Carolina, and/or affects at least 15 counties. A private law governs individual persons, property, and relationships (or affects fewer than 15 counties). A local law applies to a limited number of municipalities or counties. From 1903-1943, Private Laws were subdivided into Private Laws "affecting specific individuals or entities" and Public-Local Laws, which affected everyone within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city or county.

World War II Service Records: Caswell County, North Carolina

World War II Service Records: Caswell County, North Carolina

Caswell County is fortunate to have: World War II Service Record Book of Men and Women of Yanceyville, N. C., and Community. The publication was sponsored by V.F.W. Post No. 7316 (assisted by the "Yanceyville and Community Business Men"). This "assistance" apparently came in the form of advertisements purchased, which appear at the rear of the undated book.

While the title references Yanceyville and community, the dedication indicates that the book was intended to cover Caswell County. A special section is devoted to "Gold Star Boys" -- those from Caswell County who died in World War II.

However, it is unfortunate that the book apparently only includes white soldiers. This is only apparently so because the book contains a photograph section and a section of names only. A few females are included.

The advertisers are: Bank of Yanceyville; Cole Chevrolet Co.; Caswell Furniture Co.; Yanceyville Tire Service; Caswell Motor Co.; Caswell Hardware & Implement Co.; Richardson's Barber Shop; W. H. Hooper & Son; Gunn Electric Appliance Company; C. B. Rogers; Brooks, White & Long Funeral Home; Dailey Motors; Rice's Clothing and Accessories for Men; and Gunn Tractor & Equipment Company.

V.F.W. Post No. 7316, World War II Service Record Book of Men and Women of Yanceyville, N.C., and Community. Marceline (Missouri): Walsworth Brothers, Undated. Print.

Query whether this book was the idea of Yanceyville's Johnny Oliver Gunn (1892-1992). Toward the end of World War II, Gunn proposed that the Caswell County Board of Commissioners be empowered to appoint a person or committee "to compile and publish a record of the history of the members of the United States Armed Forces" who were residents of Caswell County and to "put such records in permanent form and binding." The results were to be published and all associated expenses paid through a special property tax of "one cent on each one hundred dollars of the taxable property of the county."

While no such tax is known to have been imposed and no publication was authorized by the Caswell County Commissioners, the local V.F.W. post did compile and publish the book described above.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Dr. Houston G. Jones (1924-2018) Bibliography

Bibliography (partial)

Jones, H. G. The Sonarman's War: A Memoir of Submarine Chasing and Mine Sweeping in World War II. Jefferson (North Carolina): McFarland & Co., Inc., 2010. Print.

Jones, H. G., Editor. North Carolina Illustrated, 1524-1984: Over 1150 Photographs. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983. Print.

Jones, Dr. H. G., Jones Randell K., Jones, Caitlin D. Scoundrels, Rogues and Heroes of the Old North State: Revised and Updated with New Stories and Images. Charleston: History Press, 2007. Print.

Jones, H. G., Southern, David. Miss Mary's Money: Fortune and Misfortune in a North Carolina Plantation Family, 1760-1924. Jefferson (North Carolina): McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015. Print.

Jones, H. G., Grover, Wayne C. The Records of a Nation, Their Management, Preservation, and Use. New York: Atheneum, 1969. Print.

Jones, Houston G. Bedford Brown: State Rights Unionist. Carrollton (Georgia): West Georgia College, 1955.

Jones, H. G., Avant, Julius H. Union List of North Carolina Newspapers, 1751-1900. Raleigh: State Department of Archives & History, 1963.

Jones, H. G. Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina: Papers and Reminiscences Delivered at the Second Annual Meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society, Chapel Hill, 10-11 April 1981. Chapel Hill: North Caroliniana Society, 1982.

Jones, H. G. Letter from H.G. Jones to John L. Ferguson at the Arkansas History Commission 27 March 1972.

Jones, H. G., Grover, Wayne C. The Records of a Nation, Their Management, Preservation, and Use. New York: Atheneum, 1969. Print.

Jones, H. G., Price, William S., Jr. The Collection and Publication of the Colonial Records of North Carolina. Chapel Hill: North Caroliniana Society, 2010. Print.

Jones, H. G. For History's Sake: The Preservation and Publication of North Carolina History, 1663-1903. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966.

Jones, H. G. State and Provincial Archives - Treasure Houses for Historians and Genealogists, Part 3, North Carolina. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969. Print.

Jones, H. G. Raleigh and Quinn: the Explorer and His Boswell. Chapel Hill: North Caroliniana Society and the North Carolina Collection, 1987. Print.

Jones, H. G. Archival and Library Services: Part 1, To Duplicate or Not To Duplicate. Salt Lake City: The Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Inc., 1969. Print.

Jones, H. G., Patterson, A. M. The Municipal Records Manual. Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1961.

Jones, H. G. Historical Consciousness in the Early Republic: the Origins of State Historical Societies, Museums and Collections: 1791-1861. Chapel Hill: North Caroliniana Society, 1995. Print.

Jones, H. G. "Christian Klengenberg and the Opening of Trade with the Copper Inuit," Etudes Inuit, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1996.

Jones, H. G. "Preserving North Carolina's Literary Heritage," Popular Government Vol. 55, No. 3 (Winter 1990).

Jones, Houston Gwynne, Compiler. North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport (Connecticut): Greenwood Press, 1995.

With more than 11,000 entries, this volume is the first extensive bibliography of North Carolina to incorporate books, pamphlets, articles from hundreds of journals, and theses and dissertations from scores of universities. Using the incomparable holdings of the North Carolina Collection as well as other libraries and institutions, Jones includes entries dating from the first written description of North Carolina in 1524 through 1992. Entries are arranged by chronological period, then by subject, with author and subject indexes providing further access.

Among the sources included are some that are seldom found in state bibliographies, such as soil surveys of the counties and articles in small journals, such as The North Carolina Booklet. A separate chapter features more then 3,000 entries by county. Another chapter identifies libraries, archives and manuscript repositories, museums, and historic sites.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Raymond Youel Allen (1915-1980): 1959 NC Wildlife Protector of the Year

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Raymond Youel Allen (1915-1980): 1959 NC Wildlife Protector of the Year

Wildlife in North Carolina, Volume 23, No. 11 (November 1959).

Married Josephine Pointer Wade (1914-2003) and had two sons: Raymond Youel (Ray) Allen, Jr.; and James Wade (Jimmy) Allen (1944-1968).

James Monroe Long III (1937-2017): Fifty-Year Lawyers Luncheon (2013)

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James Monroe Long III (1937-2017)

I was raised on a tobacco farm in Caswell County and attended Bartlett Yancey High School in Yanceyville. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Morehead Scholarship, where I earned a degree in Political Science in 1959 and a Law Degree in 1963. Upon graduation from law school, I was selected to serve as a one year law clerk and research assistant for Justice Clifton Moore of the North Carolina Supreme Court in Raleigh. Before returning home to Caswell County, I decided to cast my hat in the race for recorder’s court judge back home and won the election over the incumbent. After six years in that part-time job and a limited practice of law on available days with James Ramsey of Roxboro, I was appointed judge of superior court by Governor Bob Scott and served in that capacity until my retirement in 1994.

During the early years of the 1990s, I served on a North Carolina Bar Association Committee that implemented the passage of legislation and Supreme Court rules establishing court ordered mediation for pending superior court civil cases. My judicial district was chosen by the Supreme Court to be the first pilot district for that program. After retirement from the bench in 1994, I have spent the last 19 years as a certified mediator in North Carolina, mediating more than 2,450 cases, the majority being court cases pending in the superior courts of our state. In 2010, upon the removal from office of our local district attorney, Governor Beverly Perdue asked me to fill the one year unexpired term as district attorney of Judicial District 9A (Person and Caswell counties). I accepted that appointment. Thus my 50 years as a member of the State Bar has been spent as a judge for 30 years, a mediator for 19 years, and a prosecutor for one year.

My proudest moments as a lawyer have been my commissions by the chief justice to preside over high publicity cases including the Nazi-Klan murder trials in Greensboro andthe televised bribery trial of Lt. Governor Jimmy Green in Raleigh.

I have been married to Catherine Carden from Burlington and UNC-CH for 51 years. We have a son David, a daughter Mary Catherine, and four grandchildren.

Source: North Carolina State Bar 2013 Fifty-Year Lawyers Luncheon (October 24, 2013 in Raleigh, NC)

Graves Lockett

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The following story was handed down to Dorothy Lea (Dottie) Sutton Pickett and told by her to me:

The gold locket (see photograph) that Dorothy Lea (Dottie) Sutton Pickett inherited from her mother (see photograph), Mary Aldridge Sutton (1906-1967), by way of her mother, Mary (Mamie) Lea Aldridge (1879-1931), and grandmother, Harriet Rebecca (Hattie) Graves (1856-1894), has daguerreotype  pictures of William Blair (Billy Hickory) Graves (1827-1894) and Mary Elizabeth Shuford Graves (1835-1861).

This locket was buried in Caswell County behind the house of Captain Jeremiah Alexander Lea (1841-1916) (husband of Harriet Rebecca (Hattie) Graves) by one of his slaves. After the Civil War ended, the slave returned to the house and retrieved all of the items he had buried for the family.

Note that William Blair (Billy Hickory) Graves (man in locket) and his second wife, Sarah H. Lea (1844-1907) once owned "Clarendon Hall" in Yanceyville, North Carolina.

Dottie Pickett's Graves Ancestry

John Graves m. Unknown
Thomas Graves m. Mary Perkins
John Graves m. Isabella Lea
Barzillai Graves m. Ursula Wright
Jeremiah Graves m. Delilah S. Lea
William Blair (Billy Hickory) Graves m. Mary Elizabeth Shuford
Harriet Rebecca Graves m. Jeremiah Alexander Lea
Mary Lea m. John Nathaniel Aldridge
Mary Aldridge m. Roy Clifton Sutton
Dorothy Lea Sutton m. Jack Wilson Pickett

Dottie Pickett's Lea Ancestry

John Lea m. Ann Unknown
James (Country Line) Lea m. Ann Unknown
John (Country Line) Lea m. Winifred Kavanaugh
Benjamin J. Lea m. Nancy Kerr
Alvis Graves Lea m. Nancy Kerr
Jeremiah Alexander Lea m. Harriet Rebecca Graves
Mary Lea m. John Nathaniel Aldridge
Mary Aldridge m. Roy Clifton Sutton
Dorothy Lea Sutton m. Jack Wilson Pickett

Dottie Pickett's Aldridge Ancestry

William Harrison Aldridge m. Nancy Benton Crawford
John Nathaniel Aldridge m. Mary Lea
Mary Aldridge m. Roy Clifton Sutton
Dorothy Lea Sutton m. Jack Wilson Pickett

Note that the woman whose photograph is in the locket, Mary Elizabeth Shuford Graves (1835-1861) was born in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. Moreover, she married Yanceyville's William Blair (Billy Hickory) Graves (1827-1894) August 30, 1853, in Buncombe County, North Carolina (probably in Asheville). This is another example of the not-fully-understood relationship between the Graves family of Yanceyville and several families of Asheville.

Note that a sister of William Blair (Billy Hickory) Graves, Margaret Isabella Graves (1831-1911), married Asheville's Jesse Siler Smith (1821-1870). However, she (or her father) made Jesse Siler Smith come to Yanceyville for the wedding, March 15, 1853, at "Dongola."

George Beauregard Yarbrough (1861-1932)

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Caswell Man Manufactures Sweet-Toned Instruments [Webmaster's Note: We will not correct the spelling of Yarbrough.]

Mr. George B. Yarborough, of the far-famed Yarboroug's Mill section, is proving himself both a mechanical genius and a musical artist, and the splendid sweet-toned musical instruments which he is now making for his own pleasure and amusement could be turned into a big industry that would bring thousands and thousands of willing dollars into Caswell County and make George Yarborough a high-class international musical instrument manufacturer instead of the obscure local genius that he is today.

Mr. Yarborough possess [sic] not only musical talent, but also possess [sic] the genius to construct some stringed musical instruments from which he is able to extract some delightfully sweet and entrancing melody.

This latter statement was amply demonstrated last Monday when Mr. Yarborough brought a beautifully finished "dulcimer" which he had made himself, and treated his friends with a number of selections of the sweetest and most melodious music ever heard in this old town. -- Milton News.

Source: The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina), 18 September 1917, Tuesday, Page 1.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Yanceyville Drug Store Sale

Yannceyville Drug Store Sale

We discussed earlier the purchase by Caswell County (authorized by the Caswell County Board of Commissioners) of the Yanceyville Drug Store building for $300,000. However, it also appears that Caswell County also purchased as part of this business incubator project the smaller building between the Drug Store and The Caswell Messenger and that the purchase price was $75,000. Was this part of the $300,000 reported?

This property is bounded:

1. Generally to the north by North Main Street (formerly Greensboro Street);

2. Generally to the west by The Caswell Messenger building;

3. Generally to the south by the Azariah Graves storehouse building (home of various restaurants);

4. Generally to the southwest by a portion of the building that now houses Caswell Insurance (once the library, Dr. Houston Gwynn's office, etc.); and

5. Generally to the east by the Yanceyville Drug Store building.

Here is the deed. Click to see a larger image.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Caswell County Mills

Caswell County Mills

From Caswell County Court Records (date is when mill petition was filed with court)

John Riley Mill (Country Line Creek) (1777)
William Ragsdale Mill (Country Line Creek) (1777)
John Gunn Mill (Fork Mayo-Mill Creek) (1778)
Goodloe Warren (Cain Creek) (1778)
Abraham Miles (Moon's Creek) (1779)
Robert Burton (Hogan's Creek) (1780)
Thomas Donoho (Rattlesnake Creek) (1780)
Thomas Wynn (1780)
E. Dolarhide (1782)
Henry Howard (Marley's Creek) (1782)
John Womack (Flat River) (1782)
James Pulliam (Negro Creek) (1783)
Paul Haralson (Marley's Creek) (1783)
Stephen Williamson (Horsely's Creek) (1784)
Major Lea (Country Line Creek) (1784)
John Atkinson (1785)
James Bozwell (Negro Creek) (1787)
John Johnston (Moore's Creek) (1789)
William Slade (Rattlesnake Creek)

Branson's North Carolina Business Directory (1867-1868
Mills and Mill Owners

Blackwell’s Mill, Blackwells, Blackwell (John B.) & Mitchell (A. J.)
Bayne’s Mill, Anderson’s Store, Thornton Y. Bayne
Graves’ Mill, Yanceyville, William B. Graves
Hunt’s Mill, Milton, Hunt (L. H.) & Walker (H. A.)
Long’s Mill, Milton, Wm. Long
Lea’s Mill, Yanceyville, Sidney S. Lea
Malone’s Mill, Leasburg, Malone (Jas) & Currie (T. W.)
Oliver’s Mill, Hightowers, Iverson L. Oliver
Richmond’s Mill, Hightowers, James Y. Richmond
Staddler’s Mill, Anderson’s Store, R. E. Staddler
Smith’s Mill, Leasburg, Rich. I. Smith
Slade’s Mill, Yanceyville, Thos. Slade
Slade’s Mill, Yanceyville, Wm. & Abisha Slade
Womack’s Mill, Yanceyville, Thomas J. Womack
Walker’s Mill, Anderson’s Store, Mrs. Rachel Walker
Williamson’s Mill, Locust Hill, Estate Dr. Jas. E. Willliamson
Walters’ Mill, _______, A. G. Walters
Yarborough’s Mill, Milton, J. J. Yarbrough
Yarborough’s Mill, A. J. & R. L. Yarbrough

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Caswell County Mills

Caswell County Mills: Major Thomas Donoho (1822)

Not all the Caswell County water-powered mills have been documented. Here is a reference to a fairly early one found in an 1822 bridge construction document:

"The condition of the above obligation such that Bennett Hubbard and Freeman Hubbard hath this day agreed to build a bridge across Country Line Creek below Major Thomas Donoho's Mill to be completed by the second Monday in July and to be kep in good repair for the term of seven years . . . ."

Major Thomas Donoho probably is that Thomas Donoho (1751-1825) who married Kesiah Saunders (1755-1842) in 1774 and fought in the Revolutionary War.

Benaja Creek (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Benaja Creek (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Now called Benaja Creek, an early document (1797) called it "Benager" Creek. Note there has been some confusion between a stream that runs into Country Line Creek (Highway 62 crosses it just south of Harrelson Road) and the stream a bit farther south now titled "Benaja Creek" that runs into South Country Line Creek.

State of North Carolina
Caswell County
July Court 1797

We the jurors for the county aforesaid upon oath present the road from Hico by Mr. Smith's to the road by Thomas Wiley, also the road from or by Joseph Lewis to the road leading to Doctor Trigg's Mill that is called Graves Road, also each end of the bridge on Country Line Creek at Doctor Trigg's Mill also the bridge and road from Benager Creek to Country line Creek, also from said Creek to the Courthouse, also the road leading from the Court House by Mr. Ingram's to the fork. We also present Thomas Campbell for selling spiritous liquor without license by small measure, also Thomas Jeffery's for selling spiritous liquor without license by small measure. We also recommend to the Worshipful Court to have the jury rooms furnished with tables and seats.

John __ Forman
Rich__ Sanders
Jas. Lea
_____ _____
William Anthony
Jos. Scott
_____ _____
Jacob Graves
Robert Motherall
William Slade
James Yancey
Nathan Rice
Nathan Slade
Elijah Antony
Isaac Cantrill

Those familiar with the fox hunting event (fox hound field trials) that occurred on the Wildlife property south of Yanceyville many decades ago should recall Benaja Creek. If one followed the small road north from the kennels/stables (past the unimproved area also used as "stables") you would proceed down the hill to Benaja Creek.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Caswell County (North Carolina) Bridges

Caswell County Bridges

The earliest Caswell County bridge record located (concerning Caswell County as now situated, excluding what became Person County) is dated April 27, 1796:

State of North Carolina
Caswell County Court
April Session 1796

We the Grand Jury for the County and State aforesaid do present as a grievance the want of sundry bridges in this county, therefore recommend that a bridge be built over Country Line at the most convenient place between John Grave's Mill and John Cochran's, also over Hogan's Creek at or near Middlebrooks's plantation and think it necessary that a road be opened from the Courthouse [now Yanceyville] of this County to Danville . . . .

Lancelot Johnston
William Wilson
William Stevens
James Wilson
David Herndon
John Henslee
George Barker
Boed. Florence
Dudley Gatewood
Nathl. Dickinson
John  F____
Edward Swan
William _____
James Burton

Milton Bridges

Asa Thomas Paid for Milton Bridge (1798)

Caswell County
April Court 1798

Ordered that Asa Thomas be allowed the sum of thirty nine pounds, six shillings and eight pence as compensation for his services in building a bridge across Country Line CreeK at Milton agreeable to his Petition filed.

A. E. Murphey

Source: Dunaway, Stewart E. Caswell County North Carolina Bridge Records 1787-1872. Lulu, 2009. Page 23. Print.

Milton Bridge 1837 (at site of former middle bridge)

State of North Carolina
Caswell County
January 10, 1837

"The undersigned being appointed by the County Court of said county at July term 1836, as commissioners to contract for the building a public bridge across Country Line Creek in the Town of Milton at the place where the middle bridge formerly stood and keeping the same in repair for seven years.

"And the said commissioners having duly advertised the same -- Richard Yarbrough became the last and lowest bidder at the sum of Four Hundred and Ninety dollars -- and having completed the said bridge to the satisfaction of the commissioners and given bond with approved security for keeping the same in good repair for seven years, the said commissioners hereby receive the said bridge upon the terms and conditions mentioned in the order for the same, which is hereunto annexed --

"Given under our hands and seals the day and date above mentioned

__ __ Wilson
Stephen Dodson
Samuel Watkins"

Source: Dunaway, Stewart E. Caswell County North Carolina Bridge Records 1787-1872. Lulu, 2009. Page 133. Print.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Road Improvements in Caswell County, North Carolina 1923

Road Improvement in This Section

New Road in Caswell

C. H. Giles, resident engineer of the state highway commission who is located at Yanceyville, gives out the following information relative to the progress of road construction in Caswell under the direction of the commission:

"Project No. 511, leading from Yanceyville to the Alamance county line and which has been under way for some time, has been slowed up for the following reasons: Unanticipated excess of rock, and the long hauls made necessary on account of the scarcity of the required top-soil. However, we hope to have the road ready for state acceptance by fall.

"This road when completed will be a travel continuation of No. 14 leading from Danville to Yanceyville and will put the farmers of South Caswell in easy access to the Danville markets. Beyond Yanceyville, this road, winding its way among the "hills of Country Line,' is one of scenic beauty -- rivaling the roads of our mountain sections.

"Project No. 512 -- The Reidsville-Yanceyville highway, has been under construction for only 90 days but is now 51 per cent complete and we may reasonably expect a completion of this project by September 1st. Project No. 513, which was located by the state engineering forces last spring has not been let. This road will connect Yanceyville with the Reidsville road and will extend through the southeast section of Caswell, by way of Topnot and Hightowers to Prospect Hill."

Thursday, October 04, 2018

"Southern Change" -- Yanceyville, North Carolina (1984)

Struck, Doug. "Southern Change: It Sometimes Gallops, Often Crawls: Racial Views Have Evolved in N.C. Town," The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 22 November 1984.

Yanceyville's past is a curious mixture of racial tensions and harmony; now, blacks and whites are working together to keep their impoverished town from crumbling.

Yanceyville, N.C. -- They grabbed "Chicken" Stephens in the courthouse, the Klan did. Throttled him with a noose and stabbed him a few times in the heart for good measure. Left his body on a woodpile, a warning to others who took up the "negro cause."

It seems like only yesterday, in Yanceyville. The Ku Klux Klan murdered state Sen. John "Chicken" Stephens, white reconstructionist and agitator among the blacks, in 1870, though it wasn't solved until Capt. John Lea, confederate and Klansman, died 65 years later and the historical society unsealed his confession.

But in this small town, hwere the drawl of the 2,900 folks here is as flat and broad as the "bacca" leaves they grow, time moves at a different pace. It is Southern time, a curious clock that races with one hand at modern speed while the other trudges behind in remembrance of the past.

"I'll tell you one thing. I never thought I'd see the day that I'd watch black children and white children walkin' up the street here to the school arm-in-arm." reflects Thomas A. Little, indulging a reporter in his homey Gulf gas station with tales of the town.

Cotton: Caswell County, North Carolina

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Caswell Cotton Area Increasing

County Agent J. L. Dove advises that the cotton acreage for this county, upon which there is a splendid stand, will approximate 800 acres. This new venture for a staple crop does not confine itself to any one section of Caswell, but fields have been seeded in Milton, Dan river and Leasburg townships, and while the money crop of tobacco is below normal on account of the dry conditions, the cotton is growing well.

The crop which is now being crown is not at all in the nature of an experiment, because it was demonstrated last year that cotton could be grown with a marked degree of success and also of such a grade as to command high prices.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Abram's Plains

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Smith House at Abram's Plains, Granville County, North Carolina

Abram's Plains is a plantation named for a battle in the French and Indian War at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec. The plantation house, composed of eighteenth and nineteenth century components, reflects the long continuity of a single family's ownership of the plantation established by Samuel Smith in 1766. Smith was a prominent citizen of Granville Count in the pre-Revolutionary, Revolutionary, and post-Revolutionary periods, serving in civil and military positions of responsibility. Under his ownership the plantation he named Abram's Plains prospered from raising of tobacco, as did much of the northern Piedmont. The rear portion of the present house and a structure near the main house are believed by descendants to date from this eighteenth century period. The present front portion of the house, is believed to have been replaced the earlier house in 1830, and to have been built for Smith's granddaughter and her husband, Sara P. Smith Downey and Samuel Smith Downey. The property has remained for seven generations in the hands of Smith descendants.

In 1766 Samuel Smith (1729-1800), his wife and three children left Essex County, Virginia, and moved to Granville County, North Carolina. Smith purchased land in the Grassey Creek area near Buffalo Creek, and there began the construction of his plantation. According to family tradition, he selected a site for the family dwelling at the "edge of the plain of the Buffalo," where he had slaves excavate a cellar and a foundation for the house. He named his new plantation Abram's Plains after the 1759 British victory at the Plains of Abraham during the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Year's War). One of Smith's descendants, Jonathan K. T. Smith of Memphis, TN, testifies that Smith was not at the famous battle "being only a nominal member of the Essex militia but he still took this great victory to heart."
When Samuel Smith died in 1800 he left his Granville plantation property to his widow, Mary Webb Smith. She died in 1827 only about a month before her son, Alexander Smith. Apparently at their deaths the Smith plantation passed to Alexander Smith's widow, Ann A. Beasley Smith. After several transfers of ownership within the family, it eventually passed down to Ann Alexander Smith Downey in 1851, who married Isaac H. Davis in 1853.

Slave Population: Samuel Smith's Estate indicated he had 33 Slaves at the time of his death in 1800. In 1800, Mary Smith (widow of Samuel), had 30 Slaves; in 1810, James W. Smith had 25 Slaves, Alex Smith had 52 Slaves; by 1820, Alex Smith had 72 Slaves (he had different plantations), Maurice Smith had 28 Slaves.

Source: [accessed 2 October 2018].