Saturday, February 26, 2022

State v. Irby, 439 S.E.2d 226 (1994)

 State v. Irby

439 S.E.2d 226 (1994)

STATE of North Carolina v. Pete Drake IRBY.

No. 9217SC696.

Court of Appeals of North Carolina.

February 1, 1994.

*228 Atty. Gen. Lacy H. Thornburg by Asst. Atty. Gen. Mary Jill Ledford, Raleigh, for the State.

Appellate Defender Malcolm Ray Hunter, Jr. by Asst. Appellate Defender Constance H. Everhart, Durham, for defendant-appellant.

COZORT, Judge.

Defendant was convicted of two counts of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. We find the trial court committed prejudicial error in admitting evidence that the defendant had been involved in a shooting incident three years earlier, and we remand for a new trial.

The State presented the following evidence. On 1 December 1990, Keith Dunevant, aged 33, Kim Dunevant, aged 30, and Coy Dunevant were on a farm owned by Coy Dunevant's mother and located in southern Caswell County. Keith and Kim had gone to the farm to hunt. Keith had a pump shotgun and a fixed blade knife. Kim was armed with a 30-06 rifle. Defendant and his family lived near the farm. At approximately 5:45 p.m., two neighbors, Virginia and Marvin Jones, heard a total of six gunshots coming from the direction of the Irby property. Virginia Jones testified that she first heard three rifle shots, then, three seconds later, a shotgun blast and an almost simultaneous rifle shot, and then three or four seconds later, another rifle shot. Craig Cox testified that sometime after 5:00 p.m., on 1 December 1990, he heard three shotgun blasts and two rifle shots coming from the direction of the Irby property. At 6:15 p.m., Laura Wilson, the daughter of an Emergency Medical Technician, received a telephone call from a woman seeking assistance for her husband who had been shot on Smith Loop Road. Wilson gave the caller the number for emergency assistance. At 6:28 p.m., a caller identifying herself as Vicky Irby called the Sheriff's Department and reported a shooting on Smith Loop Road. The woman stated that her father had been shot and needed an ambulance.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Yanceyville Memories by Rick Frederick

"Yanceyville Memories" 

Below are the Yanceyville Memories of Richmond Stanfield (Rick) Frederick, Jr.

I grew up in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina. Over the years I collected Caswell County anecdotes and stories. Below are some of my favorites.

1. Pool Room
2. Halloween Window Soaping
3. Pea Shooters
4. Bo Brandon's Chevrolet
5. "Clarendon Hall" Excursion

6. Bomb Squad
7. Electrical Fireworks


1. "Pool Room: Henry Hooper and Duke Tatum"

Here is one of my favorites that involves the pool room at Alex's Café, Henry Writch Hooper (1905-1981), and William Arthur (Duke) Tatum (1944-2005):

In his later years Mr. Henry Hooper played pool infrequently at Alex's Café, preferring to watch and occasionally comment. However, one day he was playing nine ball and had a long shot on the nine ball for the win. He chalked, and stroked, and stroked, and stroked, but could not seem to pull the trigger.

Side bets were being made by onlookers. One said, "Five bucks says he makes it." Another said, "Ten bucks says he misses."

Duke Tatum was sitting on the old oil-burning heater in the corner drinking a beer. When it got quiet and Mr. Hooper was still looking above his spectacles and taking preparatory strokes, Duke said: "Hell, I bet twenty bucks he don't shoot!"

All broke up, including Mr. Hooper. He then resumed his shot, made it, and picked up his winnings. I was there.

Posted 21 February 2022

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Milton, North Carolina, Fires

Milton Fires

Over the years Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, (and the nearby area) has experienced several building fires, some of them devastating. Below is a list.

1. "Longwood" (2013)

2. Thomas Day House/Union Tavern (1989)

3. Milton Hotel (1951)

4. Milton Roller Mill (1944)

5. Archibald Murphey School (1940s) [need photograph]

6. WPA Sewing Room, Clyde Jones Building, W. T. Oliver Grocery Store, Smith Brandon Store (1938)

7. "Glenburnie" (1932) [after the fire]

8. Winstead Tobacco Factory [need date; may not have burned but damaged by a storm and dismantled]

9. Hatcher & Stamps Tobacco Factory (1880) 

10. Business District. "We learn that there came near being a serious fire in Milton one night last week, and had not the whole population turned out and formed a hand brigade, it is certain that a big portion of the business section would have been swept by the angry flames."

The Twice-a-Week Dispatch (Burlington, North Carolina), 14 April 1909.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Thomas Day House/Union Tavern: North Carolina State Historic Site

 Thomas Day House/Union Tavern

The Thomas Day House/Union Tavern (TDH/UT) in Milton (Caswell County, NC) will become a North Carolina State Historic Site. As such it will join twenty-seven other such sites in North Carolina, including Fort Fisher, Alamance Battleground, Battleship North Carolina, CSS Neuse and Governor Caswell Memorial, North Carolina Transportation Museum, Reed Gold Mine, Bentonville Battlefield, Bennett Place, North Carolina State Capitol, Historic Stagville, Historic Edenton, Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace, and Historic Bath.

The DTD/UT will be the first new State Historic Site since Historic Stagville was added in 2002.

What this means for the TDH/UT and Milton cannot be overstated. Under the stewardship of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the TDH/UT property will be preserved, restored, studied, curated, documented, and interpreted. Initial funding already has been appropriated by the North Carolina General Assembly (with additional funds possible). Through a state-owned nonprofit corporation, the State will assume full ownership and operation. This includes staffing, tours, etc. Presumably, land will be acquired for parking.

A major part of the project is reconstruction of the Thomas Day workshop, which will require archaeological research and excavation to determine the workshop's location (footings, etc.). Having the workshop to supplement the house in which Thomas Day lived will greatly add to site.

On February 9, 2022, a delegation from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources visited Milton to launch the project.

The TDH/UT already is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. National Historic Landmark designation is the highest historic category recognized by the National Park Service, and includes the Biltmore Estate, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Fort Fisher, Battleship North Carolina, and the Thomas Wolfe House.


Marshall, Patricia Phillips and Leimenstoll, Jo Ramsay. Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color. Chapel Hill (NC): University of North Carolina Press, 2010. 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Caswell County, NC, Cemeteries With At Least 400 Graves

Caswell County Cemeteries With At Least 400 Graves

1,451 Bush Arbor Primitive Baptist Church
1,029 Sweet Gum Grove Missionary Baptist Church

778 Blackwell Missionary Baptist Church

674 Cooper Cemetery
652 New Ephesus Baptist Church
638 Pleasant Grove Primitive Baptist Church
615 Macedonia AME Church

574 Providence Baptist Church (Providence)
546 Camp Springs United Methodist Church
527 High Rock Missionary Baptist Church
516 Allen's Chapel Baptist Church
508 Union United Methodist Church

495 St. James Baptist Church
476 Bethel United Church of Christ
468 Hamer Missionary Baptist Church
466 Beulah Baptist Church
447 Leasburg Community Cemetery
438 Graves Chapel Baptist Church
436 Red Hill Baptist Church
427 Prospect United Methodist Church
426 Lebanon Christian Church
421 Cedars Cemetery
402 Bethesda Presbyterian Church
402 Pelham United Methodist Church

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Ideal Cafe (Yanceyville, North Carolina)

 Ideal Cafe

The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC)

July 14, 1932: “Caswell To Be Made Famous By Restaurant.”  New stucco building between bank and Messenger office going up by W. H. Hooper and Son.  “A beautiful front somewhat like the Old Curiosity Shop, of London.”  Joseph Iman, “highly esteemed townsman,” to operate fashionable place that “will take its place in history with Delmonico’s in New York.”

October 1932: Inman’s Café to be called “Ideal” as a result of a contest among citizens.


The Ideal Cafe became Alex's Cafe when the business was purchased by Jacob Carlyle (Alex) Alexander (1904-1963).

Caswell County Top Ten Historians

 Caswell County Top Ten Historians

1. Millard Quentin Plumblee (1906-1987)

2. William Stevens Powell (1919-2015)

3. Eliza Katharine Kerr Kendall (1921-1997)

4. Richmond Stanfield Frederick, Jr., J.D. (1947-    )

5. Sallie Gibbs Pridgen Anderson (1915-2012)

6. Dr. Houston Gwynn Jones, Ph.D. (1924-2018)

7. George Andrew Anderson (1869-1945)

8. Mary Yarbrough McAden Satterfield (1907-1993)

9. Dr. Emilie Vanessa Siddle Walker, Ed.D. (1958-    )

10. Elizabeth Pierce Parker McPherson (1929-2019)


Bill Powell and HG Jones are the only "professional" historians on the list.

Of course Bill Powell authored "A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977" (1977), with much of the information upon which Powell relied provided by M. Q. Plumblee. Plumblee had extensive Caswell County research files and actually drove Powell around the county as Powell was gathering materials for the book.

HG Jones was a friend for decades. We corresponded extensively. Because of his other interests and responsibilities he could not focus much of his attention on Caswell County. However, when he found a subject of interest he wrote about it, this includes his excellent history of Bedford Brown (1795-1870). That is why I, somewhat presumptuously, placed myself ahead of HG on the list. While this was tough, I know more about Caswell County overall than HG. My writings are extensive, having written every word you will find at the following:

The ranking is based upon my many decades of studying Caswell County and its environs. I new personally seven people on the list. Of course, I am welcome to all input that would suggest a different order and/or additions/deletions. Thanks, Rick

I understand. Jean Scott has helped me greatly over the years with respect to Milton history. She is a gem. I have known her all my life and love her. I have read every "Milton Memories" column she wrote for The Caswell Messenger.

But, her focus is very narrow. I recently re-read "Their Highest Potential" by Dr. Emilie Vanessa Siddle Walker. Jean's focus remains very narrow. She shared her memories of Milton and what her mother and Mary Satterfield told her (and left to her in written form).

Please understand this is no criticism of Jean. And, of course my list is subjective. However, I believe I know more about the history of Caswell County than any living person. Thus, I have eliminated Jean from the top-ten list.

A major reason for posting a top-10 list was to encourage comments and discussion. Please read all 259 pages of "Their Highest Potential" and let me know what you think -- especially Chapter Six.

I love Jean Scott's anecdotes describing the "characters" of Milton and who sat in front of her at the Milton Presbyterian Church, who graduated with her, about her family, about Connally Methodist Church, etc. However, her remembrances, which I have enjoyed for many years, do not, in my opinion, merit inclusion on the top-10 list. Of course, I may be wrong.

For many years Sallie (a native of Duplin County, NC) served as editor of the Caswell County Historical Association's monthly newsletter. She actually was more than the editor. She wrote all the content!

Sallie and husband Zeke extensively studied the history of Caswell County, along the way collecting many research materials, which now are housed in the Sallie and Zeke Anderson Research Room at the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville. Unfortunately, because the museum is rarely open, access to those materials is greatly limited.

A few years back, in memory of Sallie and Zeke, I donated five large boxes of Caswell County materials I had collected over the years. I last met with Sallie in 2007. She died in 2012. Zeke died in 2005.