Monday, April 26, 2021

Caswell County Top "50" Events

 Top "50"

Below is a list of the top-fifty events relating to Caswell County, North Carolina. The order is approximately chronological. Comments are welcome. Click images to see a larger version.


1. In the 1750s the first settlers arrived in what would become Orange County (established 1755) and then Caswell County (established 1777)

2. Hart's Chapel founded (became Bethesda Presbyterian Church) (1765)

3. Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

4. Caswell County created from Orange County (1777)

5. Leasburg established as first county seat (1783)

6. Milton established (1796)

7. President George Washington slept at the Dudley Gatewood house (1791)

8. Person County carved from Caswell County (1792)

9. County seat moved to Caswell Courthouse (became Yanceyville) (1792)

10. First Caswell County bank opened in Milton (c.1818)

11. Thomas Day Moved to Milton (1824)

12. Bartlett Yancey, Jr. Died (1828)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

John Thomas Swinson Affair


A.P. 11/10/1959 -- Rev. and Mrs. Tommy Swinson sit in Recorder's Court here [Yanceyville] (1/10), during hearing on charges of blackmail, conspiracy, and assault brought against them by fellow Baptist minister G. A. Hamby.

Hamby accused the couple of trying to blackmail him with pictures allegedly showing him and Mrs. Swinson in scantily-clad compromising position[s]. Hamby was staying at the Swinson home at the time of the alleged incident, and also claimed he was beaten by Swinson." UPI TELEPHOTO -fw1

Trial Results

The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) · 23 Nov 1959, Mon · Page 7.

It appears the "good" Reverend Swinson spent a while in Durham as a guest of the state. Click image to see a larger version. Query whether this was the only minister to spend time in the old Caswell County Jail. Did he leave a message on the wall?

Why Judge W. H. S. Burgwyn was presiding in Caswell County Superior Court in 1959 is not understood. His biography states:

"Appointed a special superior court judge in 1937, he held the position until 1953. During his long career on the bench, Burgwyn held court in eighty-eight of the state's hundred counties."

The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) · 11 Nov 1959, Wed · Page 7

Reverend Tommy Swinson's reputation apparently survived his criminal record as he presided over the wedding of his grandson in 1977. Query whether he pulled a Jimmy Swaggart.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Royal Textile Mill (Yanceyville, NC)

Local Mill Plays Important Role in Caswell Community by Amanda Hodges

From left, William David “Chip” Atwater, Roy Vincent Atwater, Mark Vincent Atwater. Caswell 

County is with every US service person worldwide... Did you know that? What a sense of pride I had when this was first shared with me several years ago. For years Christmas gifts from my parents included items from the Royal Textile Mills - Duke Athletics Outlet that mom would go to when it was open periodically, yet I had no idea that the organization that made the items was actually making an enormous impact in the world...all from right here in Caswell County!

The company began in 1948 when brothers William Bennett (Bill) Atwater (photograph left) and Roy Vincent Atwater began the company making hosiery. Brothers Mark and Chip Atwater (sons of Roy Vincent) now run it with Patty Riley managing the administrative functions. Patty has had an amazing career there having been on board since 1977. She began in a clerical role and now oversees all administrative operations.

After high school, Chip began college for two years then joined the Air Force. Upon completing his service, he came back and graduated from Elon College. Mark was drafted to the Army and upon his return graduated from NC State. During this time their father and uncle had retired, so they restarted the company in 1975 as Royal Textile Mills.

The brothers’ own experience serving their country align them well with the work they now do for their largest customer, the US Military. While a large supplier to Walmart for years, at a trade show event in New York many years ago, a buyer from the Walmart purchasing group visited the Royal Textile booth (as he had previously bought one of their athletic supporters and found it to be the best he had ever used). From there a business relationship began.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Jones Cottage (Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina)

Jones Cottage

The following article that documents the history of the Jones Cottage and its restoration appeared in the 12 April 2021 issue of the Milton Renaissance Foundation Newsletter (Angela Daniel-Upchurch, Editor).

The work was undertaken by John Harbin Keener and Lena Caroline Scott Keener.

Not all the images referenced in the article are included here. However, they will be found online at:


"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Robert Byrnes

That certainly would seem to be the experience of  F. B. Jones as it pertains to the cottage he built circa 1905 adjacent to the Episcopal Church (now The Woman's Club) on Academy Street. According to his daughter, Emily Jones Bradsher, her father determined to build a "house on the hill" to be a rental property. That plan seems not to have worked out exactly as he intended. Today, well over one hundred years later, the house is still standing, but there is no record or recollection of it having ever been occupied by anyone outside his family. (I would welcome input to the contrary.)

At one time or another each of Mr. Jones' adult children lived there. Eventually, his only surviving son, Clyde Ray Jones, and wife Minnie Mae Cannady Jones, bought the house as a family home from his father's estate in 1931, and lived there the rest of their lives. After Clyde's death in 1977, it was the home of his daughter Alice Jacqueline Jones Charette until her death in 2017.

My husband, John, and I purchased the house in early 2019 and have recently completed the restoration of this "house on the hill" which we are calling the "Jones Cottage." I have always felt that the stories of the homes and businesses in towns like Milton are especially interesting because they are, to some degree, "family history made visible," forever linked to life stories of their early inhabitants. With that perspective, the history of the Jones Cottage is best understood through an account of F. B. Jones and his family, as reflected by public and family records, as well as oral history passed down through three generations.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Caswell County Newspaper Items (1821-1921)

Caswell-County-Related Newspaper Items Excellent newspaper research compiled by Martha Bradsher Spencer.

This covers years 1821-1921. To see all her research go to:

George Washington Southern Tour Route: From Troublesome Iron Works

George Washington Southern Tour Route

As part of his 1791 Southern Tour, President George Washington travelled from Troublesome Iron Works in Rockingham County to Dudley Gatewood's home in Caswell County, and then on into Virginia. He spent the night at Gatewood's.

The route Washington took from Troublesome Iron Works to the Dudley Gatewood house has not been well researched, until now.

Larry Gordon Somers undertook this project, and the results of his extensive and impressive research will be found online at:

For a version with "turnable" pages go to:

Friday, April 09, 2021

Joshua Browning Land Grants

 Joshua Browning Land Grants

Joshua Browning may be the original owner of James Walton's Person County property. James Walton is the father of Reuben Walton. The first grant is from 1779 and is for 400 acres. The description is very simple configuration of the land. The second grant is from 1789 only about a year before James Walton bought land from Browning of 305 acres. The description is rather convoluted and may match better with the convoluted shape of the HD Foushee land in 1933, in other words not a perfect square of acreage.

See: nclandgrants

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Yanceyville Advertisers (1947-1949)

Yanceyville Advertisers (1947-1949) 

Service Record Book of Men and Women of Yanceyville, N.C., and Community, Sponsored by the V.F.W. Post No. 7316, Walsworth Brothers: Marceline (Missouri) (1947-1949).

To help with the cost of publishing the above book advertisers were sought. Here is a list of the businesses that contributed:

1. The Bank of Yanceyville (Samuel Murphey Bason, President; Earl Jones Smith, Cashier)

2. Cole Chevrolet Co. (C. C. Cole Manager). Also sold J. I. Case farm machinery and electrical appliances (Clyde Caviness Cole).

3. Caswell Furniture Co. (Luther Thomas Hicks, Proprietor)

4. Yanceyville Tire Service (William Edward (Edd) Cook)

5. Caswell Motor Co. (John Oliver Gunn)

6. Caswell Hardware & Implement Co., Inc. (Hubert Hodnett Page, Secretary). International Harvester Tractors, Trucks and Farm Implements (owned by Samuel Murphey Bason)

7. Richardson's Barber Shop (Howard Parks Richardson)

8. W. H. Hooper & Son. Flour, Feeds Seeds, Paints, Cement (Henry Writch Hooper)

9. Gunn Electric Appliance Company. General Electric Dealer. Ranges, Washers, Refrigerators,Duo-Therm, Philco Radios (Herman Lafayette Gunn)

10. C. B. Rogers General Merchandise. Fancy Groceries. Roofing, Flue Pipes and Iron (Clyde Banks Rogers)

11. Brooks, White & Long Funeral Home (Long not identified)

12. Dailey Motors. De-Soto-Plymouth Sales and Service (John Slade Dailey)

13. Rice's: Clothing and Accessories for Men (Clarence Poe Rice)

14. Gunn Tractor & Equipment Company: Ford Farming (Henry Wesley Gunn)

Monday, April 05, 2021

West Yanceyville Water Company

West Yanceyville Water Company

The West Yanceyville water system is owned by West Yanceyville Water, Inc., a non-profit corporation. Wells are the source (2 I believe). The well(s) and pumphouse(s) are located at the end of Aldridge Road and the property lies on both sides of the road. The property owners served by the water system pay for water use. The water use is measured by meters located on the property served by the wells. It's been nearly 20 years since I used that water system so my recall may be fuzzy. Bill Carter, I believe manages the operations. Source: Wanda McGuire Hammock Facebook Post 1 April 2021.

Map and Parcel:

0053 060 Tax Number: 0053.00.00.0060.0000


3258 NC HWY 158 W

Parcel City:


District Code: 900

Deed Book: 148

Pg: 490

Taxed Acreage: 1

East End of Aldridge Road (off Highway 158)

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Caswell County Funeral Home History

 Caswell County Funeral Home History

List of Known Caswell County Funeral Homes

1. Blackwell Funeral Home (Yanceyville)

2. Brooks Funeral Home (Semora)*

3. Harrelson Funeral Home and Predecessors**

(a) Brooks, White & Long Funeral Home

(b) Brooks, White & Pulliam Funeral Home

(c) Caswell Funeral Home

(d) Hooper Funeral Home

(e) Harrelson Funeral Home (Yanceyville)

4. Fulton Funeral Home/Fulton-Walton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, LLC (Yanceyville)***

5. Marley Funeral Home/Wrenn-Yeatts Funeral Home (Yanceyville)

6. Swicegood Funeral Home (Yanceyville)****


* In the late 1920s, George D. Brooks of Person County moved to Semora in adjoining Caswell County and started a country store and funeral home.

** These funeral homes under various owners occupied the same building in Yanceyville, Caswell County, NC. Owners:

(a) Montine and Shirley Brooks Pulliam (in association with Brooks & White of Roxboro)(1950s);

(b) William Edmond/Edmund (Bill) Watlington (mid/late-1950s)

(c) Stephen Edward Shelton (assisted by Jack Satterfield) (1960s);

(d) Elbert Webster Smith (1960s-1970s);

(e) Roy Slate Hooper (1970s-1980s); and

(f) Joe Harrelson(1980s - present).

Roy Slate Hooper, who purchased the funeral home business from Elbert Webster Smith, for a while continued the "Caswell Funeral Home" name, but later changed it to "Hooper Funeral Home" (as early as 1975).

*** Established in 1956 by John Wesley Fulton, who in 2019 sold the business to Quenton Walton.

**** Operated in Yanceyville as early as 1930, probably first from the Swicegood house just off the Square in Yanceyville and later from a building beside the Red & White supermarket.