Friday, February 23, 2018

Caswell County World War I Memorial

Caswell County World War I Memorial

"Lest We Forget"

This memorial is erected by the citizens of Caswell County with pride and grateful appreciation for the services of the Caswell boys who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War. M.K.S.

Benjamin Franklin Brooks
Alvis Julian Chandler
Byrd Edward Fuller
Alexander Harris
Moses Jeffress [Jeffreys]
John Lea
Lawrence Lea
Ruffin Lea
John Lynn
Edwin Moore
Algernon Sidney Neal
Thomas Phelps
Roy A. Pattillo
Gurney Matthew Smith
Henry Anderson Solomon
John Barker Thacker
George Thomas Warren
Willie Warren

Men from Caswell County how died in World War I but who are not listed on the memorial: John Evans; and Ed Simpson.

1. Benjamin Franklin Brooks (1897-1918)

World War I Monument

Mary Fannie Brooks and Brothers

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Second Photograph: Benjamin Franklin Brooks is to the right of his sister Mary Fannie Brooks.

Benjamin Franklin Brooks, a Caswell County soldier who was destined to lose his life in the service of his country, enrolled his name in the ranks of the National Army in the registration of 1918. He attained his twenty-first birthday just a short time before this registration was held. His father, Sam Brooks, married Miss Long, both of these parents being natives of Person County. Young Brooks saw the light of day in that County. This family moved to Caswell several years ago and set up their home in Hightowers Township. Young Brooks received the usual education to be obtained in the Public schools, and at the time of his registration was actively engaged in farming.

On August 5, 1918, he answered the call of his Local Board and was sent to Camp Wadsworth for training. He was given an Infantry assignment, and his comrades tell us that he developed into a very high type of a soldier. In the early days of October 1918 of World War I, he was sent overseas; sailing from Newport News, Virginia, and landing at St. Nazaire. During the voyage across the Atlantic, Jack became ill. His illness developed into pneumonia, and three days after he landed on French soil, he died. Jack was buried with military honors in the Military Cemetery at St. Nazaire, France. This soldier of freedom made the supreme sacrifice. All that is mortal of him remains in a foreign land, but his spirit still abides with us, and through years to come let us hold in reverence the sacrifice of this man.

Source: Caswell County in the World War, 1917-1918: Service Records of Caswell County Men, George A. Anderson, Compiler (1921) at 47-48:

Caswell County in the World War_Page_048Caswell County in the World War_Page_049

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Benjamin F. Brooks
Private, U.S. Army
4th Pioneer Infantry Regiment
Entered the Service from: North Carolina
Died: October 16, 1918
Buried at: Plot B Row 31 Grave 29
Oise-Aisne American Cemetery
Fere-en-Tardenois, France


God in his mercy and in His unfailing love willed it that but few of the sons of Caswell, should sleep their last dreamless sleep in the land where the Poppies grow. But Caswell had four sons who "went West." Algernon Sidney Neal, Benjamin Franklin Brooks, Roy Patillo, and George Thomas Warren sleep beneath the lilies of France. To their memories I dedicate my humble work. May our County forever hold in constant recollection the memory of their Supreme Sacrifice. In the service flag of Caswell let their golden stars shine with an added lustre through the years.

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom, which transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, so they died to make men free.
Their souls go marching on.

Source: Anderson, George A., Compiler. Caswell County in the World War, 1917-1918: Service Records of Caswell County Men. Raleigh (North Carolina): Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., 1921.

World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
Name: Benjamin Franklin Brooks
County: Caswell 
State: North Carolina 
Birthplace: North Carolina; United States of America 
Birth Date: 22 Apr 1897

WWI, WWII, and Korean War Casualty Listings
Name: Benjamin F. Brooks
State Registered: North Carolina 
Death Date: 16 Oct 1918
Cemetery: Oise-Aisne American Cemetery 
Cemetery Burial Plot: Plot B Row 31 Grave 29 
Cemetery City: Fere-En-Tardenois 
Cemetery Country: France 
War: World War I 
Title: Private, U.S. Army 
Rank: Private 
Service: U.S. Army 
Division: 4th Pioneer Infantry Regiment 
Data Source: World War I Honor Roll

2. Alvis Julian Chandler (1895-1918)

World War I Monument


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World War I veteran whose biographical sketch was published in Anderson, George A., Compiler. Caswell County in the World War, 1917-1918: Service Records of Caswell County Men. Raleigh (North Carolina): Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., 1921:

Alvis Julian Chandler was born on the 16th day of August, 1895, near Hamer, in this County. He was a son of T. Y. Chandler and Sallie Elizabeth Chandler. The mother's maiden name was Miss Elizabeth Bohannon. She was a native of Pittsylvania County, Va. The grandfather, George Chandler, saw Service for much of the time during the war between the States and was slightly wounded in one of the battles in Virginia. This young soldier, having completed the Public School Course in Caswell, spent two years at Wallburg. At the time of his Registration, he was actively engaged in farming, and on August 15th 1917, he volunteered for service; his enlistment papers being signed at the Recruiting Office, in the City of Danville, Va. He was sent to Fortress Monroe, and was assigned to service in the Coast Artillery; afterward he was transferred to Ft. Monroe, and there assigned to a company of the Field Artillery.

While in active training for overseas service, he contracted the measles; complications setting in, of such a serious nature, that on Febuary 28th 1918, he died in the Hospital, at that place. The body of this young soldier was brought back to Caswell, and tenderly buried in the Graveyard at the Presbyterian Church, in the little village of Yanceyville. Of Alvis Julian Chandler, it may truly be said; "His Soul has gone West; He laid his young life on the Altar of his Country; the Great God of Battles accepted the Sacrifice; let the people of Caswell County hold in constant recollection the memory of one of her sons who loved his country, and in loving, made the Supreme Sacrifice: God rest him."

Killed during World War I (died of complications from measles at Ft. Monroe).

Alvis Julian Chandler, fourth child of Thomas Y. and Sarah E. (Bohannon) Chandler, was born August 16, 1895. He "died Sunday night 10 o'clock, February 25, 1918 at Fort Monroe, Virginia, being a soldier in the 6th Company - C.H.C. Va." Source: Register of Deaths in the Bible of Thomas Yancey and Sarah E. (Bohannon) Chandler: Alvis Chandler died from exposure when he was kept on duty while he had the flue.

1900 United States Federal Census
Name: Alvis J Chandler
Home in 1900: Dan River, Caswell, North Carolina
Age: 4 
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1896 
Birthplace: Virginia 
Relationship to head-of-house: Son 
Father's Name: Thomas G
Mother's Name: Sallie E
Race: White 
Household Members: Name Age
Thomas G Chandler 40 
Sallie E Chandler 31 
Minnie L Chandler 12 
George M Chandler 9 
Clyde Thomas Chandler 7 
Alvis J Chandler 4 
Clarance Chandler 2

1910 United States Federal Census
Name: Alvis J Chandler
Age in 1910: 14
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1896
Birthplace: North Carolina
Relation to Head of House: Son 
Father's Name: Thomas G
Father's Birth Place: North Carolina 
Mother's Name: Sallie E 
Mother's Birth Place: Virginia 
Home in 1910: Dan River, Caswell, North Carolina
Marital Status: Single 
Race: White
Gender: Male 
Household Members: Name Age
Thomas G Chandler 50 
Sallie E Chandler 41 
Mennie L Chandler 22 
George M Chandler 19 
Clyde T Chandler 17 
Alvis J Chandler 14 
Clarence G Chandler 12 
Eugene I Chandler 9 
Talbatt b Chandler 6 
Delmos D Chandler 3 
Sue H Chandler 2/12

World War I Draft Registration Card
Name: Alvis Julian Chandler
City: Not Stated 
County: Caswell 
State: North Carolina 
Birthplace: North Carolina;United States of America 
Birth Date: Aug 16 1895 
Race: Caucasian 
Roll: 1765626

 3. Byrd Edward Fuller (1895-1918)

World War I Monument

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1900 United States Federal Census
Name: Biret Fuller [Bird Fuller] 
Age: 5
Birth Date: Apr 1895
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1900: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Grand Nephew [Grand or Great Nephew (Great Nephew)] 
Marital Status: Single
Father's Birthplace: North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina
Household Members: Name Age
Glass Fuller 39
Wood Fuller 56
Mollie Fuller 28
Levis Fuller 7
Biret Fuller 5
Dock Fuller 3
Lemma J Fuller 0
Eugene Long 13

1910 United States Federal Census
Name: Bird Fuller
Age in 1910: 16
Birth Year: 1894
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1910: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Son
Marital Status: Single
Father's Birthplace: North Carolina
Mother's Name: Mallie Fuller 
Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina
Household Members: Name Age
Mallie Fuller 42
Lewis Fuller 19
Bird Fuller 16
Bandoeph Fuller 14
Jane Fuller 9
Alymer Fuller 7
Frank Fuller 4

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
Name: Byrd Edward Fuller
County: Guilford
State: North Carolina
Birthplace: North Carolina,United States of America
Birth Date: 20 Mar 1895
Race: Black
FHL Roll Number: 1765646
Draft Board: 2

4. Alexander Harris (1893-1918)

World War I Monument

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1910 United States Federal Census
Name: Alexander Harris
Age in 1910: 18
Birth Year: 1892
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1910: Dan River, Caswell, North Carolina
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Son
Marital Status: Single
Father's Name: Haygood Harris
Father's Birthplace: North Carolina
Mother's Name: Chloe Harris 
Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina
Household Members: Name Age
Haygood Harris 46
Chloe Harris 35
John Harris 22
Alexander Harris 18
Lucy Harris 10
Sadie Harris 9
Samuel Harris 7
Edward Harris 6
Joylet Harris 4
Wayman Harris 1

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
Name: Alexander Harris
County: Caswell
State: North Carolina
Birthplace: Virginia,United States of America
Birth Date: 18 Sep 1893
Race: African (Black)
FHL Roll Number: 1765626


Thursday, February 22, 2018

North Carolina Highway Patrolmen Who Lived in Caswell County, North Carolina

NC Highway Patrolmen who lived in Caswell County

Bobby Bengston
Jimmy Burns
Mike Dodson
Frank Daniel
Jerry Fields

Wayne Frith
Eddie Gravely
Jimmy Griffin
Greg Ingram
Donald King

Ben Kirby
Bill Lancaster
Austin Lucas
Greg Mitchell
Frank Moody

Pete Norwood
John Pointer
Dan Printz
Sam Riddick
Jim Rowell

Ashton Smith
George Williamson

Tobacco Curing in Caswell County 1929

Tobacco Curing Begins: 1929

A mighty slashing of the superlative bright leaf is on in every section of Caswell this week. In every nook and corner of the county the fires are brightly burning under thousands of barns, and from reports coming in the leaf is being dried in matchless beauty.

While just a little too soon to correctly appraise the 1929 crop, it is indicated that the crop will be a good one, and the dried leaf will fill the demands of the buying eye.

The rain which fell all over the county last week came at a most opportune time, producing a blanket of moisture and just the right sort of a condition to hurry on the graining and maturing period.

Farmers believe, should the rains run true for the next few weeks and the nights grow a little colder, that you may watch out for Caswell to keep alive its reputation of years for the growing of the ultimate leaf.

In the Country Line hills many barns of the matchless Caswell county cutter have been dried, while the news comes from the Pea Ridge section that the Caswell county sunburst wrappers are likely to abound. Excellent cures have been reported from the Gentleman's Ridge section, the high grounds around Pelham, from Semora and other bright areas.

The crop, while likely to be below normal in poundage, is believed will be one of the most saleable in years. Next week the real slashing will be on and it is generally believed that the cures will prove satisfactory.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 14 August 1929, Wednesday, Page 3.

Genealogy 101

Genealogy 101

Isaiah 30:8: "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever."

Are you documenting your family's history?

Are you putting off talking to the elders of your family because you believe there will be time?

Have you recorded their stories with an inexpensive "tape" recorder?

Have you gone through old photos with your family elders?

Have you written on the back of old photographs who the people are and when the photo was taken? Make sure to use archive-safe writing implements.

Have you scanned these photos to make sure later generations could see them?

Have you placed online your family tree and its documents?

Do you care about your family's history?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

World War I Deaths (Caswell County, North Carolina)

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The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 31 January 2018.

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The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 14 December 2018.

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The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 14 December 2018.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Eugene Stokes Butler (1899-1973)

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Eugene Stokes Butler (1899-1973)

Reidsville -- Eugene Stokes Butler, 73, of Rt. 1, Reidsville [physically in Caswell County], died unexpectedly this morning at 2:45 o'clock in a Reidsville hospital following several years of declining health.

A native of Caswell County, he was the son of the late Mack Neal and Martha Francis Butler, and the husband of the late Florence Saunders Butler who died in 1965. He was a prominent farmer and civic leader of the Camp Springs Community in Caswell County, former chairman of the Caswell County Board of Commissioners and former member of the Caswell County Board of Education. He was a member of Camp Springs United Methodist Church, and a member of the Caswell Brotherhood Masonic Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M.

Survivors include two sons, Connie Mach (Tony) Butler of the home, Melvin C. Butler of Rt. 1, Reidsville; nine daughters, Mrs. Wilbert Paschall and Mrs. Frances B. Page, both of Rt. 1, Reidsville, Mrs. Freeman Somers Sr., and Mrs Robert Swift, both of Rt. 2, Elon College, Mrs Boyd Parker of Asheboro, Mrs. Wilbert Aldridge of Rt. 3, Burlington, Mrs. William Compton of Burlington, and Mrs. Jerry Rudd of Miami, Fla.; 25 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

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Final rites will be held Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock at Camp Springs United Methodist Church. The Rev. Allen C. Ridenour, pastor, will officiate. Masonic graveside rites will be held at the church cemetery by Caswell Brotherhood Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M. following the service.

The body will remain at Strickland Funeral Home in Burlington until taken to the church 30 minutes prior to the service. Visitation will begin Friday morning at 10 o'clock. The family will be at the funeral home Friday night from 7 to 9 o'clock.

The Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina), 3 May 1973, Thursday, Page 12.

Note that two children died very young, and are not mentioned in the obituary: Eugene M. Butler (1920-1920); and Eugene Stokes Butler, Jr. (1933-1934).

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Eugene Stokes Butler's store on the Cherry Grove Road in southern Caswell County, North Carolina. No longer in operation. May have housed a church after the death of Eugene Stokes Butler, but not confirmed.


1. Elijah Butler m. Linsey Unknown
2. John Thomas Butler m. Martha Carolina Parker
3. Mack Neal Butler m. Martha Susan Francis
4. Eugene Stokes Butler m. Florence Iona Saunders

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


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"Burch" by Dale Williams

John "Burch" Blaylock is well-known in Caswell County and will be well-remembered after he is gone also. He will be remembered because of his kindness to people but also for the valuable and helpful records that he is leaving behind.

Mr. Blaylock was elected to the Office of Register of Deeds in 1934. He held that office until 1976 when he retired. His duties in that office were to record births, deaths, and marriages but he went much farther than that. "Beginning in 1945, I started collecting and recording in four deed-book size books about 675 Family Bible records and hundreds of other records that dealt with people, such as cemetery records for the county." These records are located in the Register of Deeds office in the Caswell County Courthouse. There is a wealth of information to be found in these books, everything from death and birth certificates to articles about Caswell County and the people of the county.

The books are a valuable asset to the Caswell Register of Deeds office, Mrs Mary Lee Carter, current Register of Deeds, tells of the usefulness of these books. "We are very lucky to have these books. You can't find other records like these. They are valuable records because many times Family Bibles are lost and cemeteries get vandalized. These records are the only place to go to find out about their families." She added that people use Blaylock's research frequently.

Carter also remembers an occasion when Mr. Blaylock rescued school records that were about to be burned. "Before there was a law that said the schools had to keep the records, the school decided to burn old school records. They brought them to the courthouse to be burned. Mr. Blaylock realized they were valuable. He salvaged them and stored them. We have the school records here now. They are very important records for finding birth dates and parent's names."

There is also a large collection of delayed birth certificates for people who had no record of their birth. To obtain a delayed birth certificate, a person had to have two proofs of birthplace and one for parents' names. Blaylock tells that making the delayed birth certificates led him to a lot of research. "In 1945 the idea came to me these records are here so why not record it. There are a lot of things in them for future generations."

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Blaylock noted that the job was filled with long hours but was enjoyable. "I tried to be as accurate as I could I worked a lot at night. For the first 25 years I worked night and day with no help except for a few hours. It was hard but it was pleasant. It was not a chore, time went by fast."

Blaylock explained that he collected family histories and information for future generations. "Whatever I have recorded is available to anyone who wants it. I don't get a penny for it. I did it for two reasons. One was to save records for future generations. The other reason was by way of thanks to people for being so good to me."

Even though Mr. Blaylock has retired from office, he is still actively working on his books. "My main job since I have retired is indexing all of the material I collected." He has already over 40,000 index cards on file and is still not finished.

Blaylock was born on June 6, 1909 in Hightower township of Caswell County where he lived until he moved to Yanceyville to take the job of Register of Deeds. In October of 1917, Mr. Blaylock's legs became diseased and were removed. He tells of being pushed to school in a wagon by cousins. "I have not forgotten these boys for it meant a lot to me. My father would have carried me if the boys had not wanted to push me. The children in the neighborhood accepted me as a playmate as if I had two feet."

He graduated from Bartlett Yancey High School in 1928 and then attended Elon College to study business for one year.

In 1937 Blaylock met Miss Isla Mae Coward, who came to work at the Welfare Department of Caswell County. They were married in December of 1941. She died in February of 1963. In 1964 Mr. Blaylock met Mary Ethel Gordon from Greensboro and on November 6, 1966, they were married. He feels that he has been luck in his choices. "I have been blessed with two wonderful wives."

Blaylock tells that he likes meeting and talking to people. "People would come to talk. I like people. I don't know anybody I don't like. I just appreciate living. If you put all my friends in one group and gold in another pile. I don't think I would look at the gold. I value the friendship of lots of people. After all we're all kin when you go back to Noah."

Mary Lee Carter commented that people still stop by the office and ask about him. "Nearly everyday someone comes by and asks about him. He will never be forgotten. He has helped so many people through the years."

In addition to the family records, Blaylock has collected and recorded church histories of many of the Primitive Baptist churches. Both he and his wife are Primitive Baptists.

In talking about his years as Register of Deeds and his life in Caswell, Blaylock feels that it has been good. "When I grew up and came before people for office they were wonderful in electing me. They permitted me to work there 42 years without anyone running against me. Caswell County has and is full of warm-hearted people. I'm just thankful to the Lord for letting me live this long."

Williams, Dale. "Burch," The County Magazine, May-June 1984. Courtesy Frank G. Carter, Jr.

"The Legend of Sally Garland"

"The Legend of Sally Garland"

On a lost road that went from the Old Rock Academy, crossed John's Branch and Hogan's Creek, and ended at Lick Fork church in Ruffin, stand the ruins of what has come to be known as the Sally Garland House. Tales of murder and the intrigue of buried treasure drew people to the house for many years.

The house was originally built by Garland Blackwell, who will this "mansion" to his second wife Sarah, and upon her death to his children. The will also included lands purchased by Garland Blackwell from area landowners.

After Garland Blackwell's death, Sarah "Sally" Blackwell, who came to be known as Sally Garland, lived with a young slave girl in the house. This was probably the girl Margaret, who, along with a young boy named Bash, were willed to Sally, as noted in Garland's will, probated in April 1855.

According to the legend, Sally and the young Margaret were in the house alone one evening when they heard a scratching at the door. Upon hearing this, Sally asked the girl to let the cat in. When the girl opened the door, there was no cat, but rather a black man stood in the doorway. The sight of the man frightened the girl and she hid behind the door. The man entered the house and struck Sally with such force that the girl thought he had killed her. At this, the girl panicked and ran without getting a good look at Sally's assailant. According to one report, "He searched the house and punched the old lady's eyes out." Little Margaret had summoned neighbors, who found Sally alive, but she never regained consciousness and died a short time later. The girl named a man living on the farm as the assailant, but nothing could be proven, and no one was prosecuted for her murder.

Rumor had it that silver and paper money might have been hidden in the old house during the Civil War. Over the years people who heard the stories about the house ransacked it, tearing out walls and floors, the hearth, and digging in the basement. The "hidden treasure" has never been found, or at least never reported, and the mystery surrounding Sally Garland and her murder remains unsolved today.

"The Legend of Sally Garland," The County Magazine, May-June 1984. Courtesy Frank G. Carter, Jr.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Caswell County Board of Commissioners

Board of Commissioners
Caswell County, North Carolina

In 2018 we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Caswell County Board of Commissioners. Pursuant to the North Carolina Constitution of 1868 the executive authority of North Carolina's counties was shifted from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions to the newly created board of commissioners. Initially, the commissioners were appointed, but eventually commissioners were elected.

Here we hope to list all the Commissioners who served Caswell County and eventually to publish a short biography of each.

Adams, William W. (c.1813-aft.1868)
Aldridge, Bobby Franklin (1936-
Aldridge, George Irvin (1934-
Aldridge, William Preston (1883-1941)
Allen, James W. (1834-

Allison, Edgar Archibald (1879-1955)
Allison, Joseph Carrithers (1837-1916)
Andrews, Bruce (not confirmed)
Barnwell, John Shelby (1823-1896)
Battle, Erik Donnell

Battle, Mel Ott (1945-
Blackwell, Faiger Megra (1955-
Blackwell, James Yancey (Jr.) (1928-
Blackwell, Rev. John Henry (1949-2016)
Boswell, Antiochus (1812-1885)

Brandon, Henry Field (1831-1900)
Burton, John Drewry (1877-1936)
Bowe, William B. (1808-1880)
Briggs, William Robert (1910-1974)
Burton, John Richard (1845-1921)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Terry Sanford Not Popular in Caswell County

Governor Terry Sanford
On the afternoon of January 18, 1963, in the ballroom of the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford opened his remarks to 200 reporters and editors gathered for the annual meeting of the North Carolina Press Association by saying, "I wanted to take this occasion, talking to people who have so much to do with the attitudes of the citizens of the state, to say something to you that I have long wanted to say, that I believe we must say and that I believe will mean much to the development of the life and character of our state." Then, he began.

"The American Negro was freed from slavery one hundred years ago. In this century he has made much progress, educating his children, building churches, entering into the community and civic life of the nation.

"Now is the time in this hundredth year not merely to look back to freedom, but forward to the fulfillment of its meaning. Despite this great progress, the Negro's opportunity to obtain a good job has not been achieved in most places across the nation. Reluctance to accept the Negro in employment is the greatest single block to his continued progress and to the full use of the human potential of the nation and its states.

"The time has come for American citizens to give up this reluctance, to quit unfair discrimination, and to give the Negro a full chance to earn a decent living for his family and to contribute to higher standards for himself and all men.

"We cannot rely on law alone in this matter because much depends upon its administration and upon each individual's sense of fair play. North Carolina and its people have come to the point of recognizing the urgent need for opening new economic opportunities for Negro citizens. We also recognize that in doing so we shall be adding new economic growth for everybody.

"We can do this. We should do this. We will do it because we are concerned with the problems and the welfare of our neighbors. We will do it because our economy cannot afford to have so many people fully and partially unproductive. We will do it because it is honest and fair for us to give all men and women their best chance in life."

He then announced he was that day appointing 24 individuals to the Good Neighbor Council he had proposed months earlier to work toward the elimination of discriminatory hiring practices. To show good faith on his part, he was asking the heads of all state agencies to immediately write nondiscrimination hiring policies for their departments.

Dead-End Road (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Brown, Deborah F. Dead-End Road. Bloomington (Indiana): Author House, 2004.

DEAD-END ROAD may be more aptly entitled, "Another Brown vs. Board of Education." This book captures the historical, educational and political events surrounding Jasper Brown and his struggles to integrate the public schools in Caswell County, North Carolina. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Jasper Brown, a God-fearing man, husband, father and community leader, took a bold stand in pursuit of justice, freedom and equality of education for his four children and other black children living in Caswell County. Starting in 1956, Jasper, and other freedom lovers, throughout the auspices of the Caswell County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), initiated desegregation of the Caswell County School System. After exhausting all administrative means to integrate the schools, Jasper and others filed a lawsuit and embarked upon a bitter court battle.

Six years later, the Federal 4th Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia ordered Caswell County officials to integrate the public schools. On January 22, 1963, the first day of school integration, Jasper shot two white men in self-defense and was arrested to stand trial. Ebony and Newsweek magazines ran stories about the shooting. During the trial, the late, Honorable Thurgood E. Marshall assisted with Jasper's defense. Although the civil rights movement initiated by Jasper and others was successful, Jasper and his family suffered humiliation, degradation, dehumanization, financial loss and even threats on their lives. Yet, through it all, Jasper and his family held fast to their faith and trust in God that His justice would prevail.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Harry Elmo Bray (1921-1962)

Harry Bray Dies; Caswell Civic Leader

Harry in WWII
Providence, N.C. -- Harry Elmo Bray, Caswell County civic leader and owner and operator of the Harry E. Bray Insurance Agency, died Monday afternoon at 12:15 in Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. He was 41. Mr. Bray died less than 24 hours after undergoing heart surgery at the hospital Sunday night. Although he had been in ill health for several months, his condition had not been considered critical until last week. His death was unexpected among the many persons who knew him as a vigorous worker on numerous civic projects. A native of Caswell County, he was born Oct. 17, 1920, and was the son of W. E. and Annie Williams Bray of Blanch. He was educated in county schools.

In 1955, the Caswell County Junior Chamber of Commerce presented him its Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his numerous civic activities. At the time of death, he was serving his second term on the Insurance Advisory Board of North Carolina. He was a past president of the Yanceyville Kiwanis Club and a former member of the Caswell County Board of Health. He also was president of the Cobb Memorial Parent-Teacher Association and was a life member of the PTA. He was equally active in the Providence Baptist Church where he was a member and served as teacher of the Young Men's Bible Class and as president of the church Brotherhood. In recent years, Mr. Bray headed numerous safety campaigns and frequently worked with North Carolina highway patrolmen in promoting highway safety.

Providence Missionary Baptist Church History

Providence Missionary Baptist Church (Providence, Caswell County, North Carolina)

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In the summer of 1859, Brother S. G. Mason, pastor of the Yanceyville Missionary Baptist Church began preaching one Saturday of each month at Moon's Creek Meeting House, which belonged to the Anti-Missionary Baptist Church.

In 1860 the meetings were moved to Sergeant's schoolhouse because some of the Anti-Missionary group objected to the Missionary group using their building.

Steven Sergent, who was a member of Moon's Creek congregation, did not agree with their anti-missionary beliefs. He forthwith gave the missionary group a one room school house building and ample land and joined their congregation. This was across the road from where the present Providence Church stands. Later this land was traded to C. B. Flintoff for land where the present Providence Missionary Baptist Church stands.

In 1862, the Yanceyville Church granted the Providence arm of the church the right to hold meetings and secure the right of preaching the word, reception and dismissal of members, administration of the ordinances, and the exercise of discipline. During that year the first church house for Providence was built. Some 65 persons were on the membership rolls. The first record of contributions to missions was in that year, also.

In May 1874 the Providence arm of the Yanceyville Baptist Church was constituted into an independent church and began "keeping house for the Lord."

In 1887 we find the first record of a preacher being employed at a fixed salary. C.A.G. Thomas was called at a salary of $125.00 for the year.

A larger church building, with some Sunday school rooms, was built in 1912 to take care of the increased membership.

The church grew and its third worship house was built in 1962. The old building continued in use as Sunday school rooms, etc., until the present educational building was completed in 1978. Then the old building was torn down and removed.

In 1990 an elevator was installed. Rev. Barry Crocker, Louie and Connie Oakley went on a Mission trip to Cost Rica. Louie and Connie also went on other Mission trips to Costa Rica in 1993 and 1995. In 1991, 12 chandeliers were hung in the sanctuary and a new sound system was installed. In 1992, the fellowship hall was remodeled. In 1995, a new sign for the front of the church was purchased and plexi-glass was put over the stained glass windows of the church, also a volleyball court was added and the church grounds were landscaped. In 1992 and 1994 there were Mission trips to West Virginia, each time clothes, food and toys were taken, and each time the estimated value was over $3,000. In 1995, the first Youth pastor was hired, Bruce Morgan, and a new piano was purchased. In 1998, new play ground equipment was given by L. Aubrey Goodson, Jr., Nancy G. Parrott, and Neal Goodson, the children of Louie and Lenna Goodson. In 1999, a Disaster Relive tram went to the NC coast to rebuild and repair homes destroyed by Hurricane Floyd. The team was made up of 12 men, youth and 2 women. Also, a truck of supplies went with them for the victims.

Later the parking lots on both sides of the church were paved.

Today the church continues to grow. A large youth and young people's department assures there will continue to be a Providence Missionary Baptist Church in the future.

Pastors who have served Providence Missionary Baptist Church: Revs. S. G. Mason, Jesse Wheeler, T. H. Walker, B. H. Phillips, J. A. Lamberth, C. G. Jones, C. A. G. Thomas, S. G. Mason (again), S. B. Wilson, Wingate, J. B. Jones, J. E. Armstrong, D. J. Harris, D. A. Keller, J. K. Reid, S. L. Becker, H. T. Allison, J. F. Davis, J. A. Hackney, R. W. Prevost, Hugh Nichols, C. W. Wood, W. S. Tillman, Karl Stukenbroke, Frank L. Israel, W. T. Smith, B. C. Lamb, Roy D. Keller, Charles O. Jenkins, Howard Laney, Allen Thompson, Talmadge Wilcox, Claude Harrelson, Barry Crocker, Dan Wackerhagen, Steve Conerly, Kenneth Clark.

Rev. Clark is still serving at this time (1998) and the church is growing in members and service for the Lord. Rev. Bruce Morgan was engaged to minister to the children and youth in 1995 and also there has been a very favorable growth in this area.

Source: Scott, Jean B., Editor. In the Beginning . . . The Churches of Caswell County (c.1998), pp. 80-81.

Note: The reference to the Yanceyville Missionary Baptist Church is to First Baptist Church of Yanceyville. And the reference to the Anti-Missionary Baptist Church probably is to the Moon's Creek Primitive Baptist Church.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Caswell County Blacks to Get More Representation

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Caswell County Branch - Unit #5372
P.O. Box 1032
Yanceyville, NC 27379

Blacks Will Get More Representation

Greensboro -- The NAACP has scored another victory in its efforts to get more black representation on local elected boards in North Carolina, this time in Caswell County. To settle a lawsuit with the NAACP, Caswell County's board of commissioners and board of education agreed to expand each board from five to seven members, with five members elected from districts and two members elected at large.

The plan, approved late Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Richard Erwin in Greensboro, must also be approved by the General Assembly and the U.S. Justice Department before it can be implemented. The settlement calls for the phase-in of the system to begin next year, with the election of two new members to each board. Those members will be elected from two districts with a black majority, located in the northeastern and western sections of the county.

The five current members of each board will continue serving until their terms expire in 1990 or 1992. When terms of three members of each board expire in 1990, new board members will be elected from three districts. When the terms of the two remaining members of each board expire in 1992, they will be replaced by two members elected at large. Board members will serve four years.

The district method is designed to allow more black representation on both boards. Although Caswell County is 42 percent black, no blacks have ever been elected to the board of commissioners, and only one black has been elected to the school board.

Source: Rocky Mount Telegram (Rocky Mount, North Carolina), 17 April 1988, Sunday, Page 12.

Note: The article is incorrect with respect black representation on the Caswell County Board of Commissioners. During Reconstruction a black was elected to that board.

Caswell County, North Carolina: School Integration

Caswell County School Integration

If the US Supreme Court in 1954 ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, why did it take until 1963 for comprehensive school segregation to begin in Caswell County, North Carolina, and until 1969 for a county-wide integration plan to be adopted?

It took fifteen years for the Caswell County Board of Education to comply with the US Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). In 1969, the Board of Education implemented a county-wide integration plan. For the fall term, Yanceyville's white and black first through third grade students were assigned either to Oakwood or Jones Elementary Schools. Bartlett Yancey Elementary housed fourth through seventh grades. Caswell County High School (formerly Caswell County Training School) functioned as N. L. Dillard Junior High School, serving eighth and ninth grade students. Tenth through twelfth grade students attended Bartlett Yancey High School.

From a legal viewpoint "all" the US Supreme Court did in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was to decree that the plaintiffs were deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The Court asked for further argument as to what should be done about it.

And, in its next pronouncement on the issue in 1955 (a case generally referred to as Brown v. Board of Education II) the Court kicked the matter back to the lower federal courts with the direction that desegregation proceed “with all deliberate speed.”  It was during this period of slow-walking the decrees of the US Supreme Court that the modern Civil Rights movement was born. Rosa Parks did her thing in 1955, was arrested, and sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. Marches and other forms of protest followed, some led by a little-known Baptist minister who had a dream.

So,what was happening in North Carolina during this period. Governor Umstead was ill and died. He was replaced by Luther Hodges, himself a segregationist. Hodges wanted to appease his political base while still adhering to the decrees of the US Supreme Court. This resulted in the Pearsall Plan: a system of local—not state—control, freedom of choice, and vouchers. The freedom-of-choice system allowed students to attend the school they wanted, and the voucher system allowed parents to use state money to support their child’s education in a private school. In effect, the Pearsall Plan did little to integrate North Carolina’s public schools. With a few exceptions, such as in Greensboro, most schools in North Carolina remained segregated.

Caswell County Needlepoint Wall Hanging

Click to See Larger Image
Caswell County Needlepoint Wall Hanging
Made by Members of the Caswell County Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild

1. Court House: Various Members
2. Dairy Farm: Donna Pointer
3. Cardinal: Annice Davis
4. Tom Day Chair: Edith Wilson
5. Womack's Mill: Gray Miles
6. Asariah Graves House: Helen Payne
7. Tobacco Barn: Virginia Blackwell
8. Spinning Wheel & Trunk: Iris Tate
9. Red House Church: Jane Thomas
10. Dogwood: Jane Thomas
11. Milton Stores: Annie Laurie Wilkinson
12. Quilt Square: Thelma Hicks
13. County Seal: Virginia Blackwell

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Piedmont Academy (1969-1984)

Piedmont Academy

Piedmont Academy
Caswell County, North Carolina

Scholars estimate that, across the nation, at least half a million white students were withdrawn from public schools between 1964 and 1975 to avoid mandatory desegregation. Reasons why whites pulled their children from public schools have been debated: whites insisted that quality fueled their exodus, and blacks said white parents refused to allow their children to be schooled alongside blacks.

The drive to establish a private white-only school in Caswell County, North Carolina, apparently began in February 1963, after sixteen black students transferred to formerly all-white schools. Until then, local whites opposing an end to segregation believed that delaying tactics would continue to work. After all, those tactics had been successful since 1954.

However, the Civil Rights Act of 1974 changed the rules, resulting in Piedmont Academy. This memorandum explores the history of that school and concludes that the evidence supports the conclusion that quality of education was not a concern - Piedmont Academy was created so white children would not be forced to attend schools with a majority black enrollment.


At a February 1963 meeting at the Caswell County Courthouse in Yanceyville referred to above, several spoke in opposition to further integration and advocated private schools, using Virginia as an example. Here are excerpts from newspaper reports:

Yanceyville -- Further plans are being made by the North Carolina Defenders of States Rights to determine what may be done in establishing private schools in this area, according to Bernard Dixon, a farmer who was among the leaders at a meeting yesterday.

The pro-segregationist organization met yesterday in the county courthouse here to discuss the private school system, following admission two weeks earlier of 16 Negro children to previously all-white schools.

Among speakers here yesterday were Allison James, a Winston-Salem pharmacist; Lon F. Backman of Richmond, Va., public relations director of the Virginia Education Fund, Inc., which sponsored private schools in Virginia; and W. N. Jefferies of Burlington, hosiery executive who also is a director of the States Rights organization.

More than 400 people, an overflow crowd, attended the meeting here and heard the speakers denounce integration. The meeting was interrupted at one point when Jim Graves, a Negro who was standing at a rear corner of the courtroom, was asked to leave. He left without protest.

The second speaker was Blackman. He said the "choice of association . . . a basic right under the consittution," is being denied white people by the Supreme Court decision: that the federal government is "usurping the power of the states."

Virginia met the problem with "massive resistance laws," he said by voiding compulsory attendance laws and finding a means of financing private independent schools, which he challenged Caswell Countians to establish.

"My point is that it has been done and it can be done," said Backman. If such schools were established here, he continued, "you will find you are a villified community. The press will be against you. You will be called arch-segregationists, renegades, diedhards who are opposed to education."

He related the experience of his organization in financing private schools in several localities, including an academy in Prince Edward County. Prior to this, he said, Negro children there had far superior facilities to those of white children, and he bitterly condemned the nation's press for not taking note of this.

"I believe we can maintain segregated schools in Caswell County," said Dixon, "But we've got to use our heads."

Dixon then got the floor again to introduce the final speaker, W. N. Jefferies of Burlington State Defenders. Jefferies said that "the obligation we owe to our children is the reason we are here. It is to protect society, not to hurt the Negro.

"I'll put it bluntly. We want to keep them from making bedfelows for our sons and daughters. That's the real reason. Destruction of the race. This amalgamation is not right in the sight of God!"

He expressed the opinion that the people of South Carolina will "win" their fight against integration, and then declared he had a fond feeling for Negroes.

"I will do anything for him if he is a decent upstanding citizen. I like decent self-respecting niggers. but I also know, if he comes in my house and sits on the sofa with my wife, I am going to kill him, so help me God!"

The Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina), 4 February 1963, Monday, Page 12.

In 1973, Mr. Davis of Piedmont Academy stated: "Piedmont's library isn't up to the standards required for eventual accreditation." But, Davis said: "We can't afford to expand on the library at that rapid a pace." The school was facing accreditation problems.

In 1973, Piedmont Academy lacked gym facilities. However, Mr. Davis stated that that problem "ain't high on the list of priorities."

Source: The Danville Register (Danville, Virginia), 12 August 1973, Sunday, Page 17.

Many Caswell residents played "catch up" Friday as former students and friends of Piedmont Academy shuffled into the Yanceyville Rotary Hut on Club House Road for the school's second reunion since its closing in 1985. "We haven't had a reunion in more than 10 years so this was well overdue," 1974 graduate of Piedmont Academy Keith Blalock said. "We have been trying to plan one for years. This one is kind of impromptu so we have no idea who will show up but I think we will have a nice crowd."

Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Paul Roberts Band of Reidsville, friends of 1976 Piedmont Academy graduate, Jean Wright Antoniades. "My fondest memory of the school is playing sports there, we played all the sports," Blalock said. "That and the friends that we made through the academy, not just students but parents as well."

Danville Register, 21 Dec 1969
Piedmont Academy opened to students in 1969 with the beginning class size reaching four to five students. "We didn't have a high school when we first started, it was just first grade through eighth," Lunch Wagon Manager and bus driver for Piedmont Academy for seven years Wilma Campbell Gauldin said. "I think the largest graduating class we had was 21 students. We were very close, like family."

The Academy was located on Old N.C. Highway 86 North where the Providence Fire Department now stands and cost approximately $1,000 a year to attend.

"There were 13 people in my graduating class so we were a close knit group," Blalock said. "You didn't have to be from Caswell to attend though. A lot of students were from Rockingham County and Virginia."

Many sited low enrollment as the reason for the school's closing in 1985 but former students still remember the site, which brings back fond memories with each passing. "I loved getting to know all the people and getting to know all the children," Gauldin said whose own daughter Michelle attended Piedmont Academy. "I loved all of them. I felt like they belonged to me. They were like home away from home from kindergarten to twelfth grade. I loved every one of them."

Source: The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), 20 January 2009.

Click to See Large Image
Academy Slates Bronc Rodeo This Weekend [1977]

Piedmont Academy will hold its second annual bronc-riding, calf-roping, steer-dogging rodeo Saturday at 8 p.m. on the grounds of the Providence, N.C., school.

. . . .

Participants will come from all over the southeast to participate first in a parade down Danville's Main Street at noon.

Source: The Danville Register (Danville, Virginia), 28 May 1977, Saturday, Page 12.

Piedmont Academy High School Commencement [1972]

Piedmont Academy High School graduation exercises will be held at the school in Providence, N.C., on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Guest speaker will be the Rev. Ellis Adams of Brightwood Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C.

Top honor graduates in the class are Marthann Carroll, valedictorian, and George Malloy Shelton, Jr., salutatorian. Both will speak at the commencement before diplomas are awarded by Headmaster A. A. Willette, Jr.

The valedictorian, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Carroll of Providence, is a past president of the Student Council, editor of the French Newspaper, member of the French Club, and of the yearbook staff.

The salutatorian is the son of Mrs. Louise P. Shelton of Yanceyville, N.C. He is a member of the football team, and Monogram Club, served as treasurer of the junior class, and is a member of the yearbook staff and homeroom representative for Student Council

Source: The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 3 June 1972, Saturday, Page 3.

Piedmont Academy

Headmaster in 1969: Boyd Barrier
Headmaster in 1970: Al Willette
Headmaster in 1977: Jeff E. Warner

Who was in the group of Caswell County residents who purchased the Providence Elementary School and formed a non-profit corporation to operate it for their children as a private school? In 1969, parents pay a $100 application fee and a tuition of $300 for a child in grades one through six; $400 in grades seven through ten.

Initial funds for the purchase of the school building and lot were raised by the sale of $22,000 in bonds, which were sold out four hours after being put up for sale.

Piedmont Academy school policy is adopted by an 18-member board of directors elected from the parents of the children who attend the school. They delegate to the headmaster the actual operation of the school, but retain the final authority on all his actions.

In 1969, the Piedmont Academy Board of Trustees was headed by Ira Dameron, Jr. In 1970, David Sartin was a member of the Piedmont Academy's Board. Sartin was president of the Piedmont Patrons Association and a member of the Board of Directors of Piedmont Academy.

Piedmont Academy's operation is modeled after that of private schools in Enfield, N.C., and Lawrenceville, Va.

The Danville Register (Danville, Virginia), 21 December 1969, Sunday, Page 15.

Raleigh -- North Carolina Defenders of States Rights, Inc., was chartered today in the office of Secretary of State Thad Eure. Dedicated to the preservation of "national and racial integrity, state's rights and individual liberty," the organization lists among its board of directors men prominent throughout the state.

Directors whose names appear on the charter included Bernard H. Dixon of Providence, Caswell County, North Carolina.

A summary of the purpose for which the organization was formed is found in the Preamble of its Platform, the chief purposes being the preservation of a white society and culture and preservation of white and Negro racial integrities.

"We are of the belief that the western European culture which is our heritage is superior to the African and Asiatic. it is, in any event, our preference, and we are proud of our heritage."

"A gigantic movement is afoot to destroy Constitutional Government, to seriously curtail the rights of the individual States of the Union, to foster a form of Socialism at the expense of our traditional American freedoms, and to destroy the social mores of our country and thereby both the White and Negro races by encouraging the integration of them. We believe these things to be evil in themselves and to serve the interests of the Communist Party program to dominate this country."

Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina), 21 November 1958, Friday, Page 1.

Planning a Caswell County All-White Private School: 1963

The drive to establish a private segregated school in Caswell County, North Carolina, apparently began in February 1963, after sixteen black students had transferred to formerly all-white schools the previous month. Until then, local whites opposing an end to segregation believed that delaying tactics would continue to work. After all, those tactics had been successful since 1954.

Bernard H. Dixon, a Providence farmer (and father of a four-year-old son), was chairman of the Caswell County chapter of the white-supremacist North Carolina Defenders of States Rights in 1963 when he hosted a meeting at the Caswell County Courthouse in Yanceyville. High-ranking organization speakers were invited, along with those familiar with private academies in other states (especially Virginia).

Newspapers of the time reported: "Further plans are being made by the North Carolina Defenders of States Rights to determine what may be done in establishing private schools in this area, according to Bernard Dixon, a farmer who was among the leaders at a meeting yesterday."

Among the speakers at the meeting were Allison James, froma Winston-Salem; Lon F. Backman of Richmond, Va., public relations director of the Virginia Education Fund, Inc., which sponsored private schools in Virginia; and W. N. Jefferies of Burlington, hosiery executive who also was a director of the States Rights organization.

More than 400 people, an overflow crowd, attended the meeting at the Caswell County Courthouse and heard the speakers dencounce integration. The meeting was interrupted at one point when Jim Graves, a Negro who was standing at a rear corner of the courtroom, was asked to leave. He left without protest.

"I believe we can maintain segregated schools in Caswell County," said Dixon, "But we've got to use our heads."

Lon F. Backman then told the meeting that Virginia had been successful in creating segregated all-white private schools and that it could be done in Caswell County. "My point is that it has been done and it can be done," said Backman. If such schools were established here, he continued, "you will find you are a villified community. The press will be against you. You will be called arch-segregationists, renegades, diedhards who are opposed to education."

Dixon then got the floor again to introduce the final speaker, W. N. Jefferies of Burlington State Defenders. Jefferies said that "the obligation we owe to our children is the reason we are here. It is to protect society, not to hurt the Negro.

"I'll put it bluntly. We want to keep them from making bedfelows for our sons and daughters. That's the real reason. Destruction of the race. This amalgamation is not right in the sight of God!"

He expressed the opinion that the people of South Carolina will "win" their fight against integration, and then declared he had a fond feeling for Negroes.

"I will do anything for him if he is a decent upstanding citizen. I like decent self-respecting niggers. but I also know, if he comes in my house and sits on the sofa with my wife, I am going to kill him, so help me God!"

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Milton Airport (Milton, NC)

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Milton Airport (Milton, NC)

Name: Site 35A

Owner: E. B. Foote

Operator: Dept. of Commerce

Position: 2 miles north of Milton

Size: 62 acres

Landing Strip: 2,400' x 500'

Marking and Identification: Standard 50' white circle, with runway indicators in center of field; wind-direction indicator is an illuminated cone on beacon tower.

Lighting: Beacon, 24" rotating, 6 r.p.m., 2,000,000 c.p., to south of field, operated from dusk to dawn; boundary lights surround field; approach lights, two green; flood lights for landing, none.

Click to See Larger Image

See Related Article:

Airplanes Over Yanceyville

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Taylor House

The following is from "The Rainey Gals," by Mary Harding Rainey Swearingen (1880-1959). It describes the house of her grandparents, William Woods Taylor (1817-1904) and Sallie Banks Bradsher Taylor (1836-1913).

Grandpa and Granny Taylor lived about a good walking mile from us, just at the fork of the Milton and Yanceyville Road and the "round the lane" road to Purley. . . Grandpa's house was a steep-roofed three storied building with a cellar beneath it. It had tall rock chimneys at each end. On these chimneys was the inscription 1776. There was a basement, or cellar of two rooms. The front room was the dining room and the back room was used for storage. . . Years before Grandfather bought the Plantation the house was used as a Tavern or Inn to accommodate travelers riding in the stagecoach that carried the mail to Yanceyville and Hillsboro. "Old man Hop Lea" as he was commonly called, the proprietor of the Tavern or Inn was said to be very cruel to his slaves. . . .

The first story or ground floor, which was two very big rooms and a wide hall between, was ceiled with very wide boards . . . perhaps twelve or fourteen inches wide. In my Grandmother's room, where we always sat unless there was real company, there was a huge rock fireplace with a big mantle over it. Beside the fireplace Grandpa sat by a little window that looked out on the main road and the tobacco barns, the well, the stables, and the back yard. . . . Across the hall was the parlor, sacred to strange company, parties, funerals, Sundays and beaux; and where peddlers were allowed to spread out their packs. . . The stairs were very narrow and very steep, beginning with two steps up, then a platform and a turn to the main flight. Back of the platform there was a door without knobs or hinges. I think it must have opened in to my Grandmother's room at one time but was now closed up on her side. . . When we got to the head of the stairs there was the boys room on the right hand side and on the left was the room for the girls, this room was big enough to hold four double beds.

William Woods Taylor (1817-1904) married Sallie Banks Bradsher (1836-1913). Their daughter, Elizabeth Woods Taylor (1858-1952), married Nathaniel Thomas Rainey (1849-1896), and this couple is the parents of the author: Mary Harding Rainey Swearingen (1880-1959). On April 22, 1908, she married John Joseph Swearingen.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Milton, North Carolina, Historic District

Milton Historic District

By 1857 Milton had five tobacco factories. No fewer, than thirteen tobacco warehouses, prize houses where the raw tobacco was packed into hogsheads, and tobacco plug and smoking factories appear on the 1893 Sanborn Insurance Map. By 1925 not one remained in business and most of the buildings had disappeared. Claude Allen's Plug Tobacco Factory on the east side of Bridge-Warehouse Street is the only existing factory building. The factory is a late nineteenth century vernacular Victorian one-story frame structure now used as a barn. Across the gable-end facade is a loading dock with a shed roof, and along the south side of the building is a lean-to storage shed. The only exterior ornament is the small, decorative louvered ventilator window in the upper facade. The interior is a large, unpartitioned space with machinery, work tables, plug molds and packing crates scattered about. The factory office, a miniature version of the factory, stands in the side yard.

Source: National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form, Milton Historic District, 27 August 1973.

Most of the large planters in the area continued throughout the nineteenth century to occupy their plantation houses on rich holdings along the Dan River and Country Line and Hyco Creeks while they speculated on Milton property. Milton functioned primarily as a market for their raw products, and the early fabric of the town is predominantly commercial, industrial, and small-scale domestic. The dominant Milton house-type of the antebellum period is the modest raised cottage, consisting of a brick story with an upper frame story containing the main entrance. Four examples of this type remain, all located on the east side of Bridge-Warehouse Street--the Wooding Place, the Oliver House, the Gordon House, and the house immediately north of the Baptist Church, which perhaps was built as the parsonage. These dwellings, which appear to date between 1840 and 1860, contrast with the more pretentious Main Street residences, and probably represent the commercial class. John Wooding, believed to be the builder of the Wooding Place, operated the town brickyard, while Field Gordon, probable builder of the Gordon House, owned a saloon in Milton. Two of the raised cottages have hip roofs; two have gable ones. The architectural trim is simple, with large windows, plain eaves and Victorian porches of varying designs, several supported on masonry piers. The interiors exhibit center-hall plans and have plastered walls, simple trim, and typical large Classical Revival mantels.

The present business district of Milton consists of a block of seven brick Victorian row stores built in the 1880s which form one of the best preserved late nineteenth century commercial districts in North Carolina. The two stores on the western end are one-story and the five easternmost buildings form a cohesive group, each two stories high, with segmental-arched windows at the upper level. Each storefront, containing a central entrance with flanking display windows and a side entrance to the upper story, is distinguished by a different combination of playful Victorian wooden ornament consisting of paneled, boxed, and chamfered pilasters, diagonally sheathed dados, and bracketted cornices. Each upper cornice is accentuated by a different brick corbel course design. Most of the stores have shed facade porches supported on plain bracketted posts which form a nearly continuous pedestrian covered walkway. The easternmost building served as the movie house, while the other stores contain small retail establishments.

Source: National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form, Milton Historic District, 27 August 1973.

The Baptist Meeting House, which sits on a terraced site on Warehouse Street, is a two-story brick building with a pedimented facade. The verticality of the block is accentuated by the fragility of the fretwork lintel ornament of the double facade entrances and the windows, reflecting Asher Benjamin's stylized classical patterns. The interior, essentially unchanged, features a baptismal niche enframed by a handsome wooden classical proscenium arch and a rear wooden balcony supported on Doric posts. The pulpit and pews resemble in design and plasticity the idiom of Tom Day and quite possibly were executed by him. In the finest community spirit, the church was erected by the citizens of Milton, who were called to the "church raising" by a notice in the Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser, dated January, 1828:

"It is requested that those who hold subscriptions for building a Baptist Meeting House in Milton will report to the Commissioners in this place the amount subscribed on or before the first Thursday in March next at which time and place all those who may wish to encourage and aid in the said building are requested to attend, especially those who are to furnish labour and materials."(Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser, Vol. VL, No. 44, Feb. 28, 1828.

Source: National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form, Milton Historic District, 27 August 1973.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Joseph Malcolm Watlington (1906-1993)

Joseph Malcolm Watlington (1906-1993)

Yanceyville - Joseph Malcolm Watlington, 87, of Route 1, Box 464, died May 10, 1993, at Annie Penn Memorial Hospital, Reidsville. Graveside service will be at 2 p.m. today at Prospect United Methodist Church, where he was a member. A native of Halifax County, Va., he was a retired contractor and vocational teacher, and a member of the Men's Bible Class at his church.

Surviving are wife, Virginia White Watlington; sons, John M. Watlington, James W. Watlington, both of Yanceyville, Reid Watlington of Poquoson, Va.; five grandchildren.

Hooper Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Photograph: 1960 Providence Baptist Church: Reverend Jenkins (left) and Joseph Malcolm Watlington (1906-1993), who built the church. Courtesy Louie Oakley.

Malcolm Watlington's crew building Providence Baptist Church (Providence, Caswell County, NC) in 1959. Courtesy Louie Oakley.
In addition to building larger structures, Malcolm Watlington also was a skilled furniture maker. Here is a hand-punched pie safe he made. Courtesy Jane Lyday Westridge.
"This corner cupboard is of very old walnut and was handmade by Malcom Watlington of Yanceyville, father of Johnny, Jim and Reid Watlington. I explained what I wanted and he built it! Afterwards, he built another for his neice. He made beautiful period furniture. He also made a tall pie safe for me with punched tin in the top doors (he did that, too) and the safe will come apart easily and fold down flat so it could be moved easily in a wagon. He was an artist!"Source: Gail Furgurson Stilwell 12 February 2014 Post to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page.
Jelly safe. Courtesy Bette White McClure.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Named for Dr. Stephen Arnold Malloy, M.D.

People named for Dr. Stephen Arnold Malloy, M.D. (1872-1944):

Eliza Malloy Slade
Annie Malloy Smith
Elvin Malloy Gunn (1916-1983)
Jack Malloy Pleasant (1923-1964)
Willie Malloy Kimbro

Willie Malloy Kimbro, Jr.
Hollis Malloy Poteat (1908-1983)
Woodrow Malloy Cook
Roy Malloy Thompson (1938-1980)
Allen Malloy Mise

Rick Malloy Mise
Lilliam Malloy Walker
Eugene Malloy Rudd
Richard Malloy Foster (1922-2008)
Richard Malloy Foster, Jr.

Myrtle Malloy Hammack
Nettie Malloy Shelton
Thomas Malloy Smith
Marvin Malloy Fowlkes
Cephus Malloy Lea

Clifton Malloy Rowland
Clarence Malloy Smith
Clarence Malloy Smith, Jr.
Joseph Malloy Gwynn
Virgie Malloy Allen

Heather Malloy Wilson
George Malloy Harris
George Malloy Shelton
George Malloy Shelton, Jr.
John Malloy Hodges

Malloy S. Guthrie
Eunice Malloy Newton
Robert Malloy Bumpass
Raymond Malloy Poteat
Willie Malloy Everett

Sandy Malloy Corbett
Houston Malloy McFarling
Malloy McKinney
Malloy Lea
Malloy Theodore Harris

Malloy Harris, Jr.
Dewey Malloy Swicegood (1930-2004)
Douglas Malloy Butts
Douglas Malloy Butts, Jr.
Samuel Malloy Mitchell

Frederick Malloy Chandler (1927-2003)
Gordon Malloy Dix
Sandy Malloy Corbett
Sandy Malloy Corbett, Jr.
Roy Malloy Willis

Roy Malloy Willis, Jr.
Minnie Malloy Griffin (1933-
Bessie Malloy Blackwell
Stephen Malloy Lunsford (1905-1992)
Morris Malloy McCann

W. Malloy Durham
Ida Malloy Stanfield
Stephem Malloy Hamlett
Kenneth Malloy Hamlett
James Malloy Chapmon

Rick Malloy Mise
Pauline Malloy Slaughter
Houston Malloy Bigelow
Houston Malloy Bigelow, Jr.
James Malloy Pyrant

Mildred Malloy Willis (1924-1986)
Stephen Edward Shelton (1923-1984)
Jean Malloy Guthrie
Sally Malloy Lea
Thomas Malloy Smith

Mildred Malloy Willis
Ackery Malloy Foster
Virginia Malloy Powell
Danny Malloy Durham
Danny Malloy Durham, Jr.

Curtis Malloy Watson
Curtis Malloy Watson, Jr.
Earl Malloy Reagan

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Caswell County Sheriff Bobby Edward Poteat (1930-1996)

Sheriff Poteat: Rough Time in Office

Bobby Edward Poteat (1930-1996) joined the Caswell County Sheriff's Office as a deputy in 1957, being hired by Sheriff Lynn Banks Williamson. In early 1966, Poteat resigned his deputy position to run for Caswell County Sheriff against his old boss, Frank Daniel, who succeeded Williamson in office. Poteat supporters cited "problems" in the sheriff's office, including in 1965 the sudden departure from the county of a deputy sheriff and the wounding in the leg of another deputy by a man supposedly his prisoner.

1966 Election Results: Bobby Poteat 2,256; Frank Daniel 1,525. This resounding defeat of Sheriff Daniel was not expected. Pelham, Purley, and Yanceyville carried the day for Bobby Poteat.

 However, Poteat was to have his own "problems" in the sheriff's office, including all his deputies walking out (striking about pay), controversy over which deputies were allowed to return, and being convicted of lying to a federal grand jury (sentenced to two years in prison).

At midnight July 1, 1976, all twelve Caswell County Sheriff Deputies walked off the job after being refused a pay raise by county commissioners.

Many of the striking deputies were allowed to return to their jobs, but not all. Included in those denied reinstatement was James Hurdle (Hurley) Webster, even though hundreds of Caswell County citizens signed a petition in support of his reinstatement.

Poteat was re-elected twice after his initial 1966 victory (1970 and 1974). However, he was defeated in 1978 and by early 1979 was in federal prison.

In 1978, Caswell County Sheriff Bobby Edward Poteat was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury August 15, 1977 when he denied taking payoffs from operators of a house of prostitution in Caswell County near the Virginia state line.

The main prosecution witnesses were Robert Taylor Bell, Harold Dowdy, Herbert Boyd, and Thomas Barker, all former owners or operators of the truck stop involved in prostitution.

Robert Taylor Bell testified that he paid Poteat $250 per week from early 1972 until October 6, 1972, when the FBI raided him and he shut down.

Bell leased the establishment to Harold Dowdy who reopened in March 1973 and testified that he agreed to pay Poteat $150 per week.

Herbert Boyd testified that he operated the place for a short time in 1974 and made one payment of $300 to Poteat.

Thomas Barker testified that he paid Poteat $300 weekly from 1975 to early 1977.

In his closing argument to the jury in the federal criminal trial of Caswell County Sheriff Bobby Edward Poteat, lead defense counsel Robert Blackwell stated: "Are you going to believe the word of prostitutes, pimps and convicted felons and convict this man who has been in law enforcement for 21 years?"

Blackwell's arguments were not successful as the jury took little time to find Poteat guilty. However, US. District Judge Glen Williams imposed a very light sentence on Poteat, including no fine. The judge stated that a fine could impose a hardship on Poteat's family.

Lawyer Blackwell stated that the verdict and sentence would be appealed. That never happened.

Poteat's indictment alleged that he perjured himself before the federal grand jury August 15, 1977, by denying he had received "a diamond ring and other monetary payoffs" from the operators of a prostitution ring at a Caswell County truck stop. The ring and other payoffs, the indictment stated, were given to the sheriff by operators of the 29 Truck Stop "to induce him to allow said operators to continue operations as a house of prostitution."

Caswell County Sheriff Resigns

Caswell County Sheriff Bobby Poteat, who has until January 5, 1979, to report to prison for a two-year term for lying to a federal grand jury, has resigned as Sheriff of Caswell County.

He was immediately replaced by J. E. Smith, Jr., who was scheduled to take office next month. Smith defeated Poteat in last May's Democratic primary.

Poteat stated in his resignation letter: "I will always cherish my years as a peace officer serving the citizens of our fine county during which time it has been my goal to provide competent, efficient and dedicated law enforcement."

Poteat's letter of resignation was presented to a special meeting of the Caswell County Board of Commissioners.

Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, North Carolina), 17 November 1978, Friday, Page 10.

The reporting on the federal conviction of Caswell County Sheriff Bobby Edward Poteat is not complete. For example, not known is why he was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury and not of the underlying offense of taking bribes from a prostitution ring? One can speculate: those who paid the bribes cut a deal with the federal prosecutor: testify against Poteat and we will go lighter on you (including not pushing the bribery counts).

What did Caswell County Sheriff Bobby Poteat do to so outrage citizens of Yanceyville that they took steps to have a separate police department?

By many indications, even though he was elected three times, Bobby Poteat's years in office were a serious train wreck.

In March 1977, the Caswell County Commissioners were in favor, but talked out of, seeking legislation for a referendum to replace the Caswell County Sheriff's Department with a Caswell County Police Force. This was all about Bobby Poteat, who now had taken on the County Commissioners.

During his tenure, Caswell County Sheriff Bobby Poteat was regularly criticized by black-owned wrecker services for not being called by the Sheriff's Department even when there was a wreck only miles from their businesses.

Sheriff Bobby Poteat was from Providence, Caswell County, North Carolina, and a member of the Providence Baptist Church. He served in the Korean War and may have been married twice: Margaret Anne Murphey (1950); and Foy Ann Weadon (1984). At least two children are known. Before becoming a Caswell County Sheriff Deputy he was Dan River Township Constable.