Friday, July 31, 2020

Caswell County Cotton Acreage Increasing: 1923

Caswell Cotton Acreage Increasing: 1923

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 grown 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.

The correspondent visited recently the farm of J. C. Bryant, three miles east of Milton. The crop grown by him last year was as follows: On 22 acres he grew 25 bales, or twelve thousand five hundred pounds. This he sold for 30 cents per pound, making a gross sale for $3,750. He sold the excess seed for $550, in all the crop, cotton and seed, bringing $4,300.

The cost of the crop was as follows: Fertilizers $350, labor $80. Net return $3,850. This cotton was raised by a share cropper, Mr. Bryant receiving for his rental $1,930.

It will be of interest to give a comparative statement. Mr. Bryant had this share cropper on his farm for several preceding years and planted tobacco. Mr. Bryant's share of the tobacco money was for one year $60 and the next $450. This year Mr. Bryant is planting 50 acres in cotton. He has a splendid stand and will soon complete his first chopping. The hot dry weather appears to hasten the growth, and while much of the tobacco of his neighbors is suffering severely, he is watching his cotton grow.

Another very fine thing about the crop of last year is that the crimson clover, seeded in the cotton fields has left the lands in a condition which is very desirable for the present crop. Mr. Bryant believes that the soil fertility in his field has been increased more than 50 percent.

W. L. Thomas of Milton, is the largest of the county's cotton growers. He has under good stand at present 148 acres, and has set up a gin at Milton for the baling of his and other growers' cotton.

Senator Robert T. Wilson is another pioneer in this movement and his field, near Purley, in Dan River township, is indeed a beautiful one.

Mr. Dove, county agent, is asking the farmers of the county to inspect the fields of these planters and make a careful and painstaking investigation. He believes that it will be a practical thing for much cotton to be grown in Caswell. -- Yanceyville Cor. Danville News.

Source: The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, Rockingham County, North Carolina), 13 June 1923, Wednesday, Page 1.

Bank of Yanceyville $3 Note 1853

Bank of Yanceyville $3 Note 1853


Cotton Mill (possibly carding operation)

Image at bottom right of the $3 note probably is Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828).

Click on the above images to see a larger version.

"The first cotton mill . . . in North Carolina was built at Lincolnton in 1813 by Michael Schenck. . . . This mill was the forerunner of that remarkable industrial development which has taken place in North Carolina since that time" (Pleasants MS.).

One of the first mills that were created in Alamance County was the High Falls cotton mill. Owned and operated mainly by the Trollinger family, the mill changed ownership multiple times since its opening in 1834. Soon after E.M. Holt and brother-in-law William Carrington, created the Alamance Cotton Factory in 1837 along Big Alamance Creek. This mill is responsible for the famed textile pattern named the Alamance Plaid, famous due to it being the first mill south of the Potomac to produce colored, factory dried cotton.

Here is a suggestion of the fact that the South was on the right road--a gin, so far from diverting attention entirely to the cultivation of the staple, was succeeded by a cotton mill on the same spot, operated by the same power. Perhaps Helper was in bounds when the declared:
"Had the Southern States, in accordance with the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, abolished slavery at the same time the Northern States abolished it, there would have been, long since, and most assuredly at this moment, a larger, wealthier, wiser, and more powerful population, south of Mason and Dixon's line, than there now is north of it" (H. R. Helper, The Impending Crisis of the South, ed. 1860, pp. 161-162).

Source: Mitchell, Broadus. The Rise of Cotton Mills in the South. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1921.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Confederate Statue (Yanceyville, NC): Who Owns It?

The United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter raised the money for the monument. They NEVER claimed to own it. The county commissioners accepted the gift. Many cities are confused about this issue. The Yanceyville Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy became defunct in 2004. There is no local chapter. Woman raised the money to honor their relatives that did not return home and many of their remains never made it home.

I am sure that if anyone contacted the NC Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy would be reiterate that they never owned it. Also, if you suggest the local historical association take possession of it, then it would remain in the downtown area, since that is the location of the association. Of course, then it would be closer to the new Veterans Monument being constructed. Are you familiar with the 1958 Federal law that states Confederate Veterans are considered US Veterans, and the 2015 NC Statue that protects veteran memorials, as well the recent Executive Order by President Trump?

Source: Sandra Aldridge 17 July 2020 Facebook Post (RSF)

That the Caswell County Board of Commissioners accepted the Confederate memorial statue as a gift implies that some entity owned the statue before the gift was made. A gift involves transfer of ownership.

Did a speech by a member of the Caswell County Board of Commissioners accepting the "gift" suffice to legally transfer ownership?

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Thomas Ruffin Statue

Thomas Ruffin Statue

The monument to Thomas Ruffin rests in an alcove at the entrance to the State Court of Appeals building in Raleigh. The full-body statue is cast in bronze and sits atop a polished white marble base. Ruffin is portrayed in a formal style with sealed legal papers in his left hand, conveying his status and his office; his right hand is tucked in his waistcoat. The statue's designer, Francis H. Packer of New York, studied with the renowned sculptor and teacher Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Statue of Antebellum NC Chief Justice Removed

ASSOCIATED PRESS (July 13, 2020)

RALEIGH – The statue of a 19th century North Carolina Supreme Court justice was being removed Monday from the entrance of the state Court of Appeals building. Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin is known in part for a ruling in which he concluded the slave owner’s power over his slave was absolute.

A flatbed truck sat outside the building, located across the street from the old state Capitol and that once housed the Supreme Court.

The statue, which has sat under an overhang leading to the building's front door, is being removed following recent topplings and damage to Confederate monuments in North Carolina and in other states. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered three such monuments be removed from the old Capitol grounds last month for public safety after one of them was damaged by protesters.

The State Capitol Police recently told the Court of Appeals about safety concerns in leaving the Ruffin statue in place, state courts spokesperson Sharon Gladwell said. The appeals court asked Cooper's office for the statue to be removed. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is deciding on a temporary relocation destination, Gladwell said last week.

Ruffin served on the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1829 to 1852. He wrote an opinion that overturned the conviction of a slave owner for shooting in the back a slave who fled after refusing the owner's orders. Ruffin wrote that a slave's obedience "is the consequence only of uncontrolled authority over the body." A state Supreme Court commission was created in 2018 to review what to do about portraits of justices hanging in the current Supreme Court building. They include a large painting that sits on the wall behind the Supreme Court bench.

The commission is now supposed to complete its work by the end of this year. North Carolina has had two Black chief justices, including current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Confederate Statue to Remain (Yanceyville, Caswell County, NC)

Vote Along Racial Lines to Keep Confederate Statue in Yanceyville

Caswell County Commissioners Vote 5:2

During discussion items, Commissioner Nate Hall shared a great deal of information including how Confederate statues often appeal to those who share the values it represents. "I think it's time it be removed," he said regarding the statue at Yanceyville Square.

Commissioner Bill Carter spoke up and said he had received a number of calls in support of leaving it in place.

Vice-Chairman David Owen also said most people who had talked to him were in favor of keeping the statue and not removing it the way neighboring counties have.

When the subject of "systemic racism" came up, Commissioner Hall shared a number of real life examples.

Owen said that Caswell County is 62% Caucasian with 61% electing Tony Durden, who is African American, as the county sheriff.

Commissioner Sterling Carter reminded the board that he has spent his life dedicated to history and recently looked up how the monument in Yanceyville came to be erected: he is totally opposed to removing it.

He explained that grandchildren of Confederate soldiers who died wanted a remembrance for their ancestors who really had no say whether to fight in the Civil War or not. During his research he also discovered that at least 12 soldiers from Caswell County chose to fight on the opposite side.

Commissioner Carter also pointed out that the Veterans Memorial being built now could potentially meet the same fate if people chose to single out one particular group of war veterans (some day in the future).

Chairman Rick McVey was adamant as he said he would rather remove all the statues in the square if one was singled out.

When Commissioner Hall made the motion to vote on taking the statue down, Commissioner Jeremiah Jeffries was quick to back him up and second the motion.

Theirs were the two affirmative votes to remove the statue while the other five votes were against it.

Source: The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC), July 8, 2020.

"The Lost Cause"

A segment of the Caswell County population refuses to acknowledge that the Confederate statue on the Square in Yanceyville was erected during the Jim Crow era in the South to remind African Americans of their "status." They refuse to admit the revisionist history that ignores treason and slavery. They refuse to admit that the statue might be offensive to descendants of slaves.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

"The Charleston" House (Milton, NC)

Watkins House Site. c. 1921. Built on the site of an early 1800's dwelling. Although an example of later construction, the home has the distinction of being an Aladdin Kit House ("The Charleston" model). Restored and privately owned.

Photograph courtesy Derek Allen

View from the house when it had a fence. Girls not identified. Union Tavern/Thomas Day House in background. Photograph courtesy Derek Allen. Date: October 1958

Below are pages from the 1917 Aladdin Catalogue showing "The Charleston."

Before Latest Restoration. Courtesy Angela Daniel-Upchurch