Monday, May 21, 2018

ROMULUS M. SAUNDERS 1791-1867

North Carolina Highway Historical Marker

ID: G-12
Marker Text:

ROMULUS M. SAUNDERS  1791-1867

Was Minister to Spain, 1845-49; congressman, judge, and legislator. Lived 1/10 mile north.

Location: NW corner of Broad and Fairview in  Milton
County: Caswell
Original Date Cast: 1938

Essay:

Romulus M Saunders acted as a public official from the age of 24 until his death at 76. Saunders was born in 1791 in Caswell County, but moved to Tennessee at an early age after the death of his mother. When his father died in 1803, Saunders returned to Caswell County and continued his education at Caswell and Hyco academies until he enrolled at the University of North Carolina in 1809. When Saunders was expelled from the University in 1810 for firing a pistol and throwing a stone at a professor, he returned to Tennessee to study law, becoming licensed in 1812. After joining the bar, Saunders returned to Milton and entered politics as member of the House of Commons in 1815.

Saunders joined the State Senate in 1816, but returned to the House of Commons in 1818, where he was elected Speaker in 1819 and 1820. Saunders then was elected to the United States Congress in 1821, serving two terms until 1827. He acted as the North Carolina attorney general between 1828 and 1831, although he officially held the post until 1834, at which time the office was declared vacant because Saunders was actively holding an alternate position, which violated the North Carolina law against dual office holding. In 1833, while still technically attorney general, Saunders joined the commission on French spoliation claims, stemming from the French seizure of American ships in the early nineteenth century. Saunders’ involvement in the commission gave him a national reputation, but he returned to North Carolina in 1835 to join the bench of the North Carolina Superior Court.

Saunders served as a justice for the North Carolina Superior Court between 1835 and 1840 and again between 1852 and 1867. In between, he ran for both North Carolina governor and U.S. Senator, twice, and was defeated in each election. Saunders retained a significant position nationally, partially through his sponsorship of a resolution in the Democratic National Convention in 1844 that a two-thirds majority be necessary for a political candidate to be supported by the Party. The resolution helped North Carolinian James K. Polk defeat Martin Van Buren. In 1846, Polk appointed Saunders as minister to Spain, a post Saunders held until 1849. While serving as minister, Saunders tried to purchase Cuba from Spain, but was unsuccessful in his bids. After his resignation, Saunders returned to Raleigh, rejoining the Superior Court bench in 1852.

Saunders resided in Raleigh from 1831, but spent his early adulthood in Caswell County. From his move to Raleigh in 1831 until his death in 1867, Saunders lived at “Elmwood”, built in 1813 for Chief Justice John Louis Taylor. Saunders was one of North Carolina’s most prominent political figures in the nineteenth century, and was best known for his fierce partisanship and long political tenure.

References:

William S. Powell, When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, 1777-1977 (1977)

Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, III, 386-393

Ruth Little-Stokes, An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina (1979)

William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, V, 285-286—sketch by H.G. Jones

Ronald Ray Evans (1936-2018)

Ronald Ray Evans (1936-2018)

Ruffin: Ronald Ray Evans (Papa), 81, of 161 Richmond Rd., went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at his home surrounded by his family. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at Wilkerson Funeral Home. Burial will follow at the Evans Family Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Wilkerson Funeral Home on Monday, May 21, from 6-8 p.m., and other times at the home. Mr. Evans was born on November 4, 1936, in Caswell County to the late Marjorie Sue Hughes Evans and Otis Ray Evans. Ronald worked as an electrician for Cooper Electric. He retired from American Tobacco Company after 28 years of service.

He loved being outdoors on his tractor. After his retirement, he enjoyed doing many things with his grandsons. He was a very loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by a son, Rodney Lee Evans, Sr. Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Shelby Travis Evans; grandchildren, Rodney Lee Evans, Jr., David Wayne Evans and wife Lindsay and Jonathan Ray Evans, girlfriend Samantha and Amanda Bailey and fiancé Craig; daughter-in-law, Jamie Bennett and husband Mike; great-grandchildren, Alexis, Bailey, Isabella, Colten, Emily and Case, and sisters, Sandra Evans Tate and Donna Evans Handy and husband Cory. Wilkerson Funeral Home is assisting the family and condolences may be made at www.wilkersonfuneral.com.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Will of Henry Turner (1721-1809) Caswell County, North Carolina

Will of Henry Turner [Written 9 May 1807]

Will of Henry Turner
Book F, Page 82
December Court 1809 (Caswell County)

In the name of God amen, I Henry Turner of Caswell County & State of North Carolina, being very infirm in bodie, but sound in mind and memory do make & ordain this my last will & testament.

I give and recommend my soul into the hands of almighty god, and my bodie to the ground to be buried after Christian like burial.

After all my just debt are paid, I give unto my beloved wife Anne Turner the tract of land including the plantation where on I now live, together with half the interest of the mill, and all the household and kitchen furniture, with the plantation tools of every kind; also three negrows, to wit, Sam; ___inney, and Abram, two good work horses, four cows and calves or with calf, four ewes and lambs, four sows and pigs and a sufficient quantity of corn and meet or provisions ___ to support her and her family and stock, for the term of one year after my decease; also I give to my beloved wife my cart of steers; all which I give to her during her natural life or widowhood; and after her death or marriage it is my will and desire that the whole of my perishable property not specially devised to any of my children or grand children, should be sold according to law and the money arising therefrom to be equally divided among my heirs. Except my sons John Turner & Henry Turner.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Billey Turner one hundered and sixty acres of land, it being the tract of land on which I now live and including the tract which I gave to my son Henry Turner from whom he purchased the same together with half the interest of the mill, aforesaid, but not to intermelded with the mill or plantation on the South Side of the Creek till after the death of my beloved wife Anne Turner, also eight pounds Virginia currency to be drawn out of my perishable estate to his heirs and assigns forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved son Thomas Turner, eight pounds Virginia money to be drawn out of my perishable estate to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughters, Elizabeth Lipscomb, Frankey Martin, Milly Jones and Nancy Kimbrough sixteen pounds Virginia currency to be raised out of my perishable estate, to them and their heirs forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter Salley French, sixteen pounds Virginia currency to her, her heirs and assigns forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Cochran twenty four pounds Virginia currency to her and her heirs forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my grandson Yancey Turner eight pounds Virginia currency to him and his heirs forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my grand daughter Mary French, eight pounds Virginia currency to be drawn out of my perishable estate.

Item.I give and bequeath to my grand daughters Fanney Turner, Delila Turner & Nancy Turner, daughters of John Turner, the sum of eight pounds Virginia money equally to be divided between them to be drawn out of my perishable estate.

Item. It is my will that my property, which I have not herein devised, shall be sold after my decease by my Executors to the highest bidder and also at the death or marriage of my wife, the perishable property which I have devised to her should be sold and after the several legacies are discharged which I have devised in money. It is my will that the overplus [surplus] should be equally divised among my following children and grand children, to wit. James Turner, Thomas Turner and Billey Turner, Elizabeth Lipscomb, Frankey Martin, Milly Jones, Susannah Donoho, Sally French, Mary Cochran, Nancey Kimbrough and my grand daughters Fanney, Delila and Yancey Turner, daughters of John Turner which is to draw one share between them.

Item. It is my will and desire that my son James Turner in consequence of a purchase _____ by him from my son Henry Turner by my knowledge and consent that the said James should draw two shares instead of one ______ part.

Lastly I constitute and appoint my sons James Turner and Thomas Turner sole executors of this my last will and testament, revoking all other wills heretofore by me made and confirming this to be my last will and testament. I[n] testimoney whereas I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 9th day of May AD 1807.
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Henry Turner - Will - Written 9 May 1807. Wife Anne; sons John and Henry; sons Billey, Thomas, James; daughters Elizabeth Lipscomb, Frankey Martin, Milley Jones, Nancy Kimbrough, Sally French, Mary Cochran; grandson Yancey Turner; granddaughters Mary French, Fanny Turner, Delila Turner and Nancy Turner daughters of John Turner; daughter Susannah Donoho. Exec: sons James and Thomas. Wit: W. S. Webb, William Kimbrough.

Source: Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1777-1814, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1986) at 116.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Jesse Richardson Siler (1793-1876)

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Jesse Richardson Siler (1793-1876)

Jesse, the fourth child of Weimar and Margaret Siler, was born January 31, 1793, in Pendleton District, S.C. The following sketch of his life was written by himself:

I was brought up by affectionate, and God fearing parents, with four brothers and four sisters. My parents being religious, from my earliest recollection, I was of course restricted in my conduct. I remember very distinctly one violation of their laws. William and I were gathering grapes when little boys. He was in a tree, and I below holding a hat, which had holes in it. As he would throw the grapes in, they would fall through, which aggravated me so much, that, to my shame be it said, I used language which was a very considerable breach of the order of the family. I was aware of the crime, and of the punishment that awaited me if father found out. William availed himself of this advantage and my weakness and kept me "under his thumb" by threatening to report what I had said. So, finding I was in his power or must suffer punishment of my father, I concluded it was a bad business, consequently have never used profanity since to my recollection.

Thus passing through the scenes of childhood and school boy days, I was scarcely ever ten miles from home, until the year 1805. In the spring of that year, my father took me to spend the summer with my brother-in-law, James Lowry, the husband of my sister Esther, who was living in Buncombe county, N.C. This separation from my home, the tender caresses of my mother, and the society of my brothers, from whom I was scarcely ever absent a night in my life, was to me a great trial; but I summoned up fortitude and bore it until the winter of that year, when my father moved to Buncombe county.

In November, 1814, I commenced clerking for J. M. Smith, of Asheville. Being awkward, uncultivated and timid, and unaccustomed to confinement, I would have been much happier with my parents in the country. But having set out with the determination to succeed, I looked forward with bright hopes, and by dint of application, became tolerably expert in business. I determined not to push myself into society, but to act industriously and honestly, with the hope that I should rise by true merit to rank with those of the highest family. I still retained in a good degree, the religious impressions of my education, and, determined not to disgrace myself, or my parents by immoral conduct, I covenanted daily with my Maker, that if He would protect and direct me, and crown my efforts with success in business, I would endeavor to be useful to the church and society.

After serving four years as clerk, Mr. Smith gave me an interest in business for three years, during which time I made the acquaintance of Miss Harriet D. Patton, sister of Mrs. Smith, who became my wife June 23, 1818. At the expiration of the three years, I bought land in the Tennessee Valley, and in the fall of 1821 moved to what is now Franklin, Macon county, and commenced business on my own footing. With gratitude I acknowledge that God's blessings have been showered upon me. In 1829, I joined the Methodist church. We had no house erected for the worship of God, and remembering my promise to Him, I set to work to build a church. I proposed to give the site and build the house. The good people aided me and in 1830, it was dedicated by the Rev. John Barringer. I felt happy in being able to aid in erecting a little monument dedicated to God, where my aged parents, who had moved to Macon county, with my children and friends, could assemble together in a comfortable situation and devote a portion of their time to the worship of God; and where, in the graveyard nearby, out bodies will rest together, when time with us shall be no more.

Mrs. H. T. Sloan adds to this sketch: "My parents lived happily together nearly sixty years, and were ever faithful in their attendance at our family reunions, and while their vacant seats in our family circle cause a pang of sorrow and regret, yet we know they have gone to fairer regions, and await us in the family above."

Harriet Siler died August 19, 1877.

Source: Arthur, Mrs. N. C., Siler, F. L., Jones, Paul, Johnston, T. J., Committee Members. The Siler Family: Being a Compilation of Biographical and Other Historical Sketches Relating to the Descendants of Plikard and Elizabeth Siler and Read at the Jubilee Reunion of the Siler Family Held in Macon County, North Carolina August 28, 1901 (Addition August, 1926). Franklin (North Carolina): Franklin Press, 1906/1926, pp.6-7 [some paragraph breaks added].

"Fairview" (Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina)

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Fairview Lot (Milton, North Carolina)

Deed Book U, Page 109/Kendall #2 at 77

Bartlett Yancey, Henry M. Clay, Warner Williams to R. M. Sanders all of Caswell County, for $100, 1 acre in Milton at the northwest corner of the stable of R. M. Sanders on Water Street to the bank of Country Line Creek, said land north of the R. M. Sanders house and lot on High Street. 1 June 1822. Witness: Benjamin Oliver.


Page 111-112

R. M. Sanders of Milton to John T. Garland of Halifax County, Virginia, for $4,000, lot in Milton on High Street at intersection with Water Street, being the lot purchased at sale of W. Williams where Sanders lived with 1 acre of land adjacent the stable. 1 October 1822. Acknowledged in open court.

Elijah Graves Sale to Paul Haralson: 1839 Caswell County, North Carolina

The following deed contains a lot to unpack. The abstract apparently does not do the actual record justice as the full conveyance covered part of three pages in the official deed book.

Elijah Graves Sen, of Caswell County, to Paul A. Haralson of Yanceyville, for $1035, 93 acres partly in Yanceyville adjoining the public square, Williamson & Smith, Thomas D. Johnston, Phillip Hodnett, William Graves, N. M. Roan -- beginning at the Yanceyville public square at Williamson old store house, then south to Johnston's spring branch on Ridge Path corner, Thomas Haralson (now Hodnett) crossing Courthouse Road with Azariah Graves (now Elijah Graves), John H. Graves (now Silk Manufacturing Company), Corbit (now Poteat). 6 August 1839. Witnesses: James M. Neal, Chesley D. Turner.

Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book EE, Pages 419-421

The Elijah Graves Sen (1778-1855) is so designated not because he had a son of the same name, but because there were younger relatives with that name. This is the brother of Azariah Graves (built the storehouse that still stands in Yanceyville and died in 1837). They are sons of Captain John Herndon Graves (1746-1829), who apparently owned the land on which operated the Silk Manufacturing Company.

Interesting is that this purchase of 93 acres by Paul Haralson is not described as adjoining property already owned by Haralson in Yanceyville. One of the most historic houses remaining in Yanceyville is the Clerk's House just southeast of the Caswell County Courthouse. This house apparently was build by Haralson in 1836, the first Clerk of Superior Court to occupy the house. The Thomas Haralson (whose property apparently had been conveyed to Hodnett) referenced has not been identified, with identification complicated by the various spellings of Haralson/Harrelson.

Where was Williamson's old store? Who was Williamson?

The Johnston in "Johnston's spring branch" probably is Thomas Donoho Johnston (1800-1883).

What was "Ridge Path corner"?

Was "Williamson & Smith" a business?

Eubank Family Marriages (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Caswell County, North Carolina, Marriage Bonds: Eubank Family

James Eubank - Elisabeth Eubanks
1 December 1791
Clayton Jones, J. Womack

George Eubank - Dicey Malone
3 September 1799
William Burch

 Stephen Malone - Celey Parks
 1 October 1804
 George Eubank

William Burch - Betsey Eubank
21 June 1805
William Hester

Loney Malone - Nancy Eubank
27 March 1811
Philip Burch

Roward Larkin - Frances Eubank
3 March 1816
Thomas Tindil, Isaac Rainey

Stephen Bowles - Mary Eubank
16 October 1818
Miles Wells, Jr.

Jacob M. Graves, Jr. - Polly Eubank
13 September 1827
Miles Kimbrough

Thomas Eubank - Nancey Graves
16 December 1828
Abel Faulks

David Ellison - Lucretia Eubank
24 December 1818
Robert McKee

William J. McDaniel - Priscilla Newbank [Eubank?]
23 May 1832
Solomon Whitlow

William B. Anderson - Sophia Williams
14 December 1858
George W. Eubank
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Observations

1. The earliest Eubank/Eubanks Caswell County marriage record is in 1791.

2. William Burch served as a bondsman or witness in the 1799 marriage bond of George Eubank and Dicey Malone; and in 1805 a William Burch apparently married Betsey Eubank.

3. George Eubank served as a bondsman or witness in the 1804 marriage bond of Stephen Malone and Celey Parks, possibly underlining the relationship between the Eubank and Malone families, which is underscored by the Loney Malone/Nancy Eubank 1811 marriage bond (with Philip Burch as bondsman/witnesses).  A Malone family is associated with Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina.

4. Eubank/Graves family relationship: Jacob M. Graves, Jr./Polly Graves in 1827 (Miles Kimbrough bondsman/witness); Thomas Eubank/Nancey Graves in 1828.

5. A George W. Eubank was available in 1858 to serve as a bondsman or witness in a Caswell County marriage bond.

6. Nancey is a nickname for Ann. Polly is a nickname for Mary.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

David Sledge Sartin (1933-2018)

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David Sledge Sartin (1933-2018)
David Sledge Sartin, 84, of Providence, Caswell County, North Carolina, passed away on Monday, May 14, 2018. Born August 28, 1933, in Caswell County, son of the late David Henry Sartin and Mary Ema Sledge Sartin. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Betty English Motley Sartin; a son, David Sledge Sartin, Jr. and wife, Jane; two grandsons, David Sledge Sartin, III and Daniel Motley Sartin; and sister, Ruby Sartin Hovatter and husband, Gerald. He is also survived by a number of beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his sister, Mary Fannie Sartin Hodges and husband, James A. Hodges.
David graduated from Bartlett Yancey High School where he played football and was President of the Student Council. He graduated from N.C. State University with a BA degree in Animal Science. While in college he was a charter member and a brother of the Nu Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity serving as Vice Noble ruler. He was also a member of the Air Force ROTC. Receiving his officer's commission, he serve his country in Texas and Japan from 1955-58 achieving the rank of Captain. In 1962 he was named North Carolina's Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year. He was a devoted family man and friend to everyone he met. He was a partner with his father in Ole Oak Farms with tobacco and dairy cattle and later with his son and grandsons. He was active in the founding of Piedmont Academy, and with Providence Fire and Rescue, Inc. fund raising events, supporter of local 4 H and FFA organizations.
A funeral service will be held at Providence Baptist Church, 5762 Walter's Mill Road at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 17, 2018. Military Honors will be performed by VFW Post 7316 of Yanceyville, N.C. Special appreciation is given to Doris Hamlett and Rhonda Day for their loving care. The family will receive friends at the residence, 3404 Park Springs Road, Providence, N.C. Memorials may be made to Providence Fire and Rescue, Inc. P.O. Box 93, Providence, NC 27315. Townes Funeral Home, 215 West Main Street, is serving the Sartin family. Online condolences can be made atwww.townesfuneralhome.com

Clay & Samuel Mill/Yarbrough Mill (Caswell County, NC)

Clay & Samuel Mill/Yarbrough Mill

Josiah Samuel in debt to Bank of Milton for $4,670, with R. M. Sanders as security, to Alexander Henderson, for $1, his interest in grist and saw mills with 100 acres adjoining on Country Line Creek, formerly known as Clay & Samuel Mill, but now owned by Samuel Yarbrough; also his interest in 100 acres where the widow of Jere Samuel now lives adjacent to Henry Roper and Craftin Williams, subject to a life estate of the widow. 3 December 1884. Witness: Archimedes Donoho.

Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book W, Pages 123-124

Monday, May 14, 2018

Farrar Family of Virginia: Caswell County, North Carolina, Descendants

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FARRAR'S ISLAND

In 1611, Farrar’s Island was the site of the "Citie of Henrico," one of Virginia’s first four primary settlement areas under the Virginia Company of London. Later, it was part of a 2,000-acre land patent issued posthumously to William Farrar in 1637.

Farrar, who arrived in Virginia from London in 1618 aboard the Neptune, invested in the Company under its third charter. In 1626, Governor Sir George Yeardley appointed Farrar to the governor’s Council, a position occupied until 1632. He also served as a justice for two counties. Farrar family members resided on the island until they sold it to Thomas Randolph on 26 Jan. 1727.
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At least two major Caswell County, North Carolina, families may descend from the William Farrar referenced above: Burton; and Willis.

Ancestral Outlines

Burton Family
1. John Farrar/Farrer m. Cecily (possibly Kelke)
2. William Farrar m. Cecily Jordan (widow)
3. William Farrar m. Mary Unknown
4. William Farrar m. Priscilla Baugh
5. Priscilla Farrar m. Robert Burton

Willis Family
1. John Farrar/Farrer m. Cecily (possibly Kelke)
2. William Farrar m. Cecily Jordan (widow)
3. Thomas Farrar m. Katherine Perrin
4. Mary Farrar m. Joseph Watkins1
5. Mary Watkins m. Henry Willis
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Saturday, May 12, 2018

John De Graff Wemple (1809-1873)

Courtesy Carolina Caswell
Dr. John De Graff Wemple, D.D.S. (1809-1873) was born in or near what today is Fonda, New York, which is around 200 miles almost due north of New York City. In 1823, 14-year-old Wemple reportedly moved to New York City and served seven years as a harness-maker's apprentice. Wemple family history tells that, after completing his New York apprenticeship, 21-year-old Wemple moved to Petersburg, Virginia, where he worked one year. His occupation there is not known.

The period between 1831 and 1840 is uncertain. The earliest record of his Caswell County presence is as a witness in a February 1, 1840, deed of trust given by Richard W. Jackson to secure an indebtedness to Owen McAleer. An abstract of that deed is set forth below. Wemple would have been thirty years old.

Wemple obviously was interested in dentistry, and, according to a letter written to his cousin Fonda Wemple (also a dentist), in 1840 John Wemple studied dentistry in Utica, New York, with a Dr. Kendall. Further, according to that letter, he then moved to Caswell County, but shortly thereafter, in 1841, Wemple studied dentistry at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, from which institution he claimed to have graduated. In March of 1841 he married Dorothy Gwynn in Caswell County. Their first child was born July 26, 1843, in Caswell County.

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Around 1843, Wemple built what today is called the Shelton House west of Yanceyville, North Carolina.

Dr. Wemple apparently was successful in his dental practice and was able to acquire substantial wealth. The 1850 United States census shows him owning real estate valued at $2,000. By 1860, this amount had grown to $10,000, and with personal property valued at $7,000 (possibly slaves). It also is likely that his wife, Dorothy Gwynn (1813-1886) brought significant assets to the marriage (land and slaves she inherited).

John De Graff Wemple and Dorothy Gwynn Wemple had four children, three of whom achieved adulthood. All were born in Caswell County:

Maria Temperance Wemple (1843-1900)
Laura Wemple (1845-1906)
Orlando Wemple (1848-1914)
Elizabeth Wemple (1851-1851)
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Caswell County Deed Book EE, Page344-345/Kendal #2 at 291

Richard W. Jackson (in debt to Owen McAleer for $63.75, for $360 on open account) to Sterling S. Kent, for $1, negro girl Milley; boy Mitchell about 10 yrs old; horse, buggy, cattle, furniture; 200 lbs cotton yarn; 210 acres on South Country Line Creek adjoining Alanson Howard, Thomas Boswell, same known as Gregory tract. 1 February 1840. Witnesses: Jno K. Graves, Jno D. Wemple.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hamer General Store and Post Office (Hamer, Caswell County, North Carolina)

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Hamer Post Office

The Hamer community of northeast Caswell County once had a post office, albeit short-lived. On June 7, 1882, Grattan T. Hubbard was appointed postmaster at Hamer. He continued in that position until the Hamer post office was discontinued in 1904, with mail diverted to Blanch.

Grattan T. Hubbard apparently built the Hamer general store around 1875 and most likely operated the Hamer post office from that store. In later years this store was owned and operated by Doug Fowlkes.
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Grattan T. Hubbard served as the first U.S. postmaster at Hamer, which was in operation from 7 June 1882 until 14 October 1904. He may have owned at one time the John Johnston House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The following is the summary from the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the John Johnston House, Caswell County, North Carolina (3 January 1997):

The John Johnston House was probably built early in the second quarter of the nineteenth century on a plantation of 375 acres that Johnston assembled at that time "on the main road leading from Yanceyville to Milton." A member of a prominent Caswell county family, John Johnston (ca. 1778-1860) was a son of Scottish immigrant Dr. Lancelot Johnston, who served with distinction as a surgeon with the American forces during the Revolution. John Johnston's son by his first marriage to Mary Frances Donoho, Thomas Donoho Johnston (1800-1883), rose to prominence as a businessman in the late antebellum period and built Clarendon Hall in Yanceyville, one of the county's finest antebellum residences. Following John Johnston's death in 1860 and the death of his second wife, Nancy, in 1872, the property had a long succession of owners, one of which, probably either G. T. Hubbard or J. E. Zimmerman, moved the house in the first quarter of the twentieth century some 150 yards southwest to a corner of the property where it served as a tenant house. In the late 1980s it was restored by local resident and historian, Hilda Broda, who received a 1995 Award of Merit from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina for this project. The John Johnston House now provides the observer with a rare glimpse of rural life in nineteenth-century Caswell County.
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Frank Douglas Fowlkes, age 88, of Blanch, N.C., died Tuesday, March 22, 2016. He was born 1 June 1927 in Caswell County, to the late Robert Jennings Fowlkes (1888-1977) and Nancy Williamson Martin Fowlkes (1889-1952). He was one of nine children. He graduated from Bartlett Yancey High School, attended Oak Ridge Military Academy and Appalachian State University. He also served in the US Navy and was a member of New Hope United Methodist Church.

He was married to Anne Isabell Davis Fowlkes (1928-2004) for 56 years. He and his wife owned and operated Fowlkes Store for 56 plus years in Hamer where he also was a proud lifelong tobacco farmer. He is survived by two daughters, Elizabeth Anne Fowlkes Petty of Forest City, N.C., and husband, Buck, and Janet Davis Fowlkes Collie of Blanch, N.C.; two sons, Frank Davis Fowlkes II of Blanch, N.C., and wife, Debbie, and George Jennings Fowlkes of Blanch, N.C. He is also survived by one brother, Richard Fowlkes of Yanceyville, N.C.; six grandchildren, Amy Neal, Brian Collie and wife, Staci, Ethan Fowlkes, Emily Fowlkes, Davis Fowlkes and Kati Jo Fowlkes all of Blanch, N.C.

In addition, he is also survived by two great-grandchildren, Graham Collie and Adelyn Collie.In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by four sisters, Rebecca Fowlkes Stanfield, Elizabeth Fowlkes White, Francis Fowlkes Smith and Nancy Fowlkes Patterson; and three brothers, Robert Fowlkes, John Fowlkes and Charles Fowlkes. Many beloved nieces and nephews also survive.

He enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was an avid rook player with his many friends at the Senior Center. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, March 25, 2016, at New Hope United Methodist Church with the Rev. Howard James officiating. Interment will be at the church cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 24, 2016, at New Hope United Methodist Church, 465 Longs Mill Road, Blanch, NC 27212 and other times at the residence. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be mailed to the New Hope Cemetery Fund c/o Karen Daniel, 4385 Blanch Road, Blanch, NC 27212. Harrelson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Samuel Settle & Co. (Milton, North Carolina)

Milton History: Samuel Settle & Co.

While the following deed of trust is not fully understood, it does show that in 1820 a Samuel Settle & Co. was operating a tobacco business in Milton (purchasing and stemming tobacco). A William Morgan apparently was a part owner of the business, that was indebted to the Bank of Newbern. The Lot #20 referenced is the lot on which sits today the Milton State Bank Building.

We do not know if the firm was in the name of one man, Samuel Settle, or whether the firm name actually was "Samuel, Settle & Co."

Deed Book T, Pages 284-285/Kendall #2 at 42

Deed of Trust -- William Morgan of Lynchburg, to R. M. Sanders of Milton -- whereas Morgan is a member of Samuel Settle & Co., carrying on the business of purchasing and stemming tobacco in Milton and indebted to Bank of Newbern as is John T. Hill & Co. a late firm in said town -- 420 acres in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and 200 acres both conveyed by James D. Patton executor of John Worsham deceased to Morgan & Fielding Bradford; lot #20 in Milton conveyed by Henry M. Clay and tract conveyed by N. Harrison & Morgan -- plus all negroes engaged at the stemmery -- same held in trust by R. M. Sanders. 18 June 1820. Witnesses: Iverson G. Lea, Jno C. Howard.

John J. Oliver's Tavern (Milton, North Carolina)

Milton History: John J. Oliver's Tavern

We know, and have discussed here, there was a Bell Tavern on Lot #18 (north side of Main Street) where the Thomas Store later was built. However, it appears that Milton had more than one tavern in the early 1800s.

The second tavern was John J. Oliver's Tavern on the south side of Main Street beside Lot #12. This appears to be on the west end of Main Street -- either on the lot immediately west of the lot that today is the site of the Milton Presbyterian Church or the lot that today houses the Milton Women's Club (former Episcopal Church).

The first record set forth below contains a reference to John J. Oliver's Tavern, and the second conveyance helps, although indirectly, locate the tavern on the south side of Main Street.

Deed Book T, Page 279/Kendall #2 at 41

Thomas Dix of Henry County, Virginia to Henry M. Clay and R. M. Sanders of Caswell County, for $500 part of lot 12 with tenement on Main Street in Milton adjacent John J. Oliver's Tavern. 15 March 1820. Wit: Joseph McGehee, B. M. Oliver.

Deed Book T, Page 280/Kendall #2 at 42

Henry M. Clay of Milton to Thomas Dix of Henry County, Virginia, a certain tenement on the south side of Main Street in Milton adjacent to lot #12. 15 March 1820. Witnesses: Joseph McGehee, B. M. Oliver.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Latin Legal Terms

Latin Legal Terms: Writs of "fieri facias" and "venditioni exponas"
Assume someone owed you money in the early 1800s but would not pay. You sued the debtor and won a judgment in court. But, even faced with the judgment the debtor still would not pay. Now what?
You would have the court issue a writ of fieri facias by which the county sheriff was instructed to seize property of the judgment debtor and sell it. You would receive the proceeds up to the amount the debtor owed (plus your court costs).
But, what if the sheriff did not offer the seized property for sale or was just unable to sell the property because there were no purchasers willing to pay the asking price? You would go back to the court for a writ of venditioni exponas. This would direct the sheriff to sell the debtor's property "for the best price obtainable." And, this often resulted in some very low prices.

State Bank of North Carolina (Milton, North Carolina)

State Bank of North Carolina

While the following is not entirely understood, it does provide a concrete reference to the State Bank of North Carolina at Milton (22 October 1819). The Milton branch of this bank was established in October/November 1818.

John W. Glenn of Caswell County to John Daniel of Milton -- whereas Richard Ogilby and James Daniel are securities for John W. Glenn for a note to Lockhard & Davis for $920 and suit was brought in Caswell County for $810 to President and Directors of State Bank of North Carolina at Milton -- also debt due New Bern bank -- for $1, all right and title to negroes: woman Judy age 28 or 30, Molly same age, Lucinda age 15, man Anthony 40 years, boy Anderson 6 or 8, two children Cathe and Agnes age 1 & 3 -- if debt not paid same to be sold. 22 October 1819. Witness: George Williamson.

Deed Book T, Pages 247-248/Kendall #2 at 40

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Milton Newspapers (Milton, North Carolina)

Milton Gazette Newspaper: 1826

John Campbell, Jr., of Orange County, North Carolina, to George Williamson and Archimedes Donoho, trustees -- whereas John Campbell, Jr., has purchased of Benjamin Cory of Milton the house and lot heretofore occupied by Cory as a book store and printing office on 20 April 1826 and also the establishment where the Milton Gazette is published; Campbell in debt to Cory for $1200 and bond jointly signed by John Campbell Sen; to Ragland & McGehee, Morgan & Bradford; also printing materials and press $423 made by Rounages, pica type, italia type, English roman type, et al. 25 July 1826. Witnesses: Chas Willson, Willis Jones.

Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book W, Pages 337-339
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In 1824, Benjamin Cory was the printer and publisher of the "Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser." The subscription price was $3 annually, and the paper was published weekly. Cory continued to advertise in the newspaper his book store and printing services. He described his book store and printing shop as nearly opposite the store of D. & W. Kyle.

The March 1827 issue of this newspaper contained an advertisement by Thomas Day, Cabinet Maker; and one by Jesse Owen (Saddle & Harness Making): see earlier post.

John Campbell, Jr., first appears as the newspaper's printer and publisher in the 1 March 1827 issue, operating from the Milton Book Store.

It appears that the Milton Gazette & Roanoke Advertiser was printed from the Cory/Campbell print shop (and book/stationery store). Must check to see if later Milton newspapers were printed from the same location, which is likely as the printing equipment already was in place.

There was an older building on that lot that my mother said was once the newspaper building. It was later used as a feed and seed storage building for the Brandon Store. Later torn down for Thomas Service Station gas tanks. Not sure it was as old as first quarter 19th century. (Source: Jim Upchurch 24 April 2018).

Milton Springs (Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina)

Asa Thomas Indenture  8 July 1797 [Paragraphs added]

102

This Indenture made the Eighth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and ninety seven and in the twenty second year of our Independence between Asa Thomas of the County of Caswell and State of North Carolina of the one part and Thomas Jeffreys, Archibald Murphey, William Rainey, Archibald Samuel and James Saunders, Commissioners appointed by an act of our General Assembly for the purposes of laying out, building and carrying on the town of Milton near the mouth of Country line creek, all of the County of Caswell & state aforesaid of the other part.

Witnesseth that the said Asa Thomas for and in consideration of the sum of five dollars to him paid by the said Commissioners the receipt whereof he the said Asa Thomas doth hereby acknowledge.

That he given and granted bargained and sold and by this agreement doth give and grant bargain and sell, allieve in fee assess release and confirm unto the said commissioners and their successors for ever three certain lots or parcels of land situate lying and being in the Countyy aforesaid adjoining the Town of Milton it being three separate lots including four several springs, conveyed to the said Commissioners for the free and uninterrupted use of water to the inhabitants of the Town of Milton and by the said Commissioners to be reserved a Town common for that special purpose for ever and bounded as follows to wit,

Spring Lot No. 1 beginning at the North East corner of the Lot No. 21 and running thence north 7 1/2 degrees east thirty three yards to a stake, thence North 82 1/2 degrees west twenty two yards to a stake, then north 7 1/2 __ degrees East fifty seven yards one foot eight inches to a stake, then South eighty two 1/2 degrees East 66 yards 2 foot 8 inches to a stake west corner of Lot No. 27 then South 7 1/2 degrees west ten yards to a stake, then north west corner of lot No. 26, thence north 82 1/2 degrees west thirty four yards two feet four inches to a stake the South 7 1/2 degrees west sixty nine yards one foot eight inches to __ the north west corner of lot No. 22 thence north.

104

And the said Asa Thomasfor himself, his _____  Exec - and administrators doth covenant and grant to ___ ___ the said commissioners and their successors for ever for the special purposes aforesaid by these presents that all and every other person of persons and his or their heirs anything having or claiming in the said premises above mentioned or any part thereof by from or under him them or any of them shall and will warrant and fore ever defend ________ by these presents.

In witness where of the said Asa Thomas hath hereunto set his hand and affixed his seal the day and year ____ above written.

Asa Thomas [Seal]

Signed  Sealed & Delivered
In Presence of

James Rainey
L. Lea
Robert Wilson

Caswell County July Court 1797
The execution of this deed was duly proved in open Court by ___ ___ acknowledged in open Court ___ motion ordered to be registered.

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A. D. Murphey CC
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Milton Springs: Tanyard Spring

We discussed in earlier posts the four springs (on three lots) deeded by Asa Thomas to the Town of Milton to be used by the citizens thereof.

Over the years, one of these springs, number two, came to be known as the "tanyard spring." Presumably, this is because it was located near a tanyard operation.

R. M. Sanders to John P. Sledge both of Milton, for $200, lot in Milton leading to spring #2 now called tanyard spring, adjacent to the property of M. Bennett heirs on Main Street. 1 June 1826. Acknowledged in open court.

Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book W, Page 363

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser (Milton, North Carolina)

Milton Gazette Newspaper: 1826

John Campbell, Jr., of Orange County, North Carolina, to George Williamson and Archimedes Donoho, trustees -- whereas John Campbell, Jr., has purchased of Benjamin Cory of Milton the house and lot heretofore occupied by Cory as a book store and printing office on 20 April 1826 and also the establishment where the Milton Gazette is published; Campbell in debt to Cory for $1200 and bond jointly signed by John Campbell Sen; to Ragland & McGehee, Morgan & Bradford; also printing materials and press $423 made by Rounages, pica type, italia type, English roman type, et al. 25 July 1826. Witnesses: Chas Willson, Willis Jones.

Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book W, Pages 337-339

The "Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser" newspaper apparently began 1823 in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. The 1824 issues are shown as Volume II. We know that it was in publication until at least 1831. The Milton parcel in question above is believed to be Lot #21, immediately east of the lot that today houses the Milton State Bank Building.

 In 1824, Benjamin Cory was the printer and publisher of the "Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser." The subscription price was $3 annually, and the paper was published weekly. Cory continued to advertise in the newspaper his book store and printing services. He described his book store and printing shop as nearly opposite the store of D. & W. Kyle. Query whether Cory also was the editor.

The March 1827 issue of this newspaper contained an advertisement by Thomas Day, Cabinet Maker; and one by Jesse Owen (Saddle & Harness Making).

John Campbell, Jr., first appears as the newspaper's printer and publisher in the 1 March 1827 issue.

Bell Tavern (Milton, North Carolina): 1821

Milton History: Bell Tavern

It appears that a tavern operated on the north side of Broad/Main Street in Milton from the early days of that town, occupying what is known as Lot #18. On this lot today sits the Edmund Dixon Thomas store (built around 1850). However, no name was seen for the tavern until the following:

Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book V, Page 411-413

Charles Sims of Milton to Howell L. Ridley and William M. Sneed, securities of Granville County, and to John Smith of Milton, for $10 paid by Smith, lot #18 in Milton at the corner of Main and Liberty Streets known as Bell Tavern and now occupied by Thomas Mitchell; also lot conveyed Sims by Archibald Haralson and Johathan Haralson in 1818; also deed from Richard Ogilby 1817; all the interest he purchased of Warner Williams being one-third part; excepting title conveyed by Sims to Phil H. Inge trustee to benefit Henry M. Clay security. 26 March 1821. Witnesses: George M. Penn, George Farley.

While the foregoing, which appears to be a deed of trust, is complicated, it is posted here not for the details thereof but for the reference to the Bell Tavern, apparently operated by Thomas Mitchell.
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Taverns, Inns, and Ordinaries

While there may be overlap among these establishments, during the colonial period the following definitions generally were used. And, presumably, these categories carried over, at least for a while, after independence:

Tavern = a place where you could buy an alcoholic beverage and consume it on the premises.

Inn = a commercial establishment providing, among other things, lodging and food for the public, particularly travelers.

Ordinary = an inn or tavern that served a complete meal at a fixed price.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Richmond-Harding Golden Wedding Anniversary (Milton, NC, 1909)

Their Golden Wedding Celebrated

Milton, N.C., Jan. 20 [1909] -- Rev. E. H. Harding, the Presbyterian pastor at this place, and his beloved wife, Mrs. Mary Richmond Harding, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary here today. Their son, Dr. Richmond Harding, of Davidson College, and his daughter, Miss Mary R. Harding, Mrs. W. J. Montgomery, of Concord, and Dr. Henry Harding Dodson, of Greensboro, were among the relatives who came to honor the auspicious day with them. Many good gifts were sent by friends.

The three churches under Dr. Harding's pastoral care, Red House, Gilead, and Milton, sent a generous offering in gold, which was presented at the door of the manse this morning by a sweet little girl, Amelia Lankford, on a silver waiter filled with fresh violets, white carnations and maiden hair ferns, with a card expressing their loving loyalty and devotion, and in grateful recognition of his faithfulness and love to them.

Dr. Harding, at seventy years of age, continues to preach the gospel with great spiritual power, pathos and beauty. All denominations delight to hear and honor him.

News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 21 January 1909.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Milton, North Carolina, Boundaries Expanded 1818

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Laws of North Carolina 1818

Chapter XCIX

An Act for the government of the town of Milton, to extend the boundaries thereof, and for other purposes.

I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That James Rainey, James Holder, Philip I. Inge, Solomon Graves, William Irvine, Washington Jeffreys, John P. Harrison, Thomas McGehee and John Rogers, or a majority of them, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners to lay off and establish, adjoining the town of Milton, such number of lots or quantity of ground, and to lay out and establish such streets and alleys on the same, as they may deem the public interest shall require; and when the said commissioners, shall have so laid out the said lots, streets and alleys, and establish the boundary aforesaid, they shall make or cause to be made, two fair and full copies of the plan of the said town of Milton, including the town heretofore incorporated by an act the General Assembly of this State, passed in the year one thousand, seven hundred and ninety six, and that part of the said town authorized to be laid out by this act, in which plan shall be represented, the several lots of the town with their numbers, the streets and alleys of the same, with the names of the said streets; one of which said copies, as soon as the same shall be completed, shall be deposited in the office of the clerk of the county court of Caswell, and registered by the register of the county of Caswell, and the other copy deposited with the commissioners of police herein after mentioned, and by them recorded in a book to be kept for the purpose of entering all proceedings of the said commissioners.

II. And be it further enacted, That the boundary laid off by the said commissioners shall be considered the limits of the said town of Milton and all lands lying in the same is hereby declared to be included in the corporation established by this act.

III. And be it further enacted, That on the first day of March next, the qualified voters in the said town of Milton, shall convene at some suitable place within the said town and shall elect eight persons to be commissioners of police for one year next ensuing, which said commissioners and their successors shall be, and are hereby declared to be a body politic and corporate, by the name of the commissioners of police for the town of Milton, and as such shall have perpetual succession and a common seal, shall sue and be sued, and by such name shall have power from time to time, and at all times hereafter to make such rules, regulations and bye-laws, as they or a majority of them shall think necessary, for the suppression of vice and immorality, and for the good government of the said town which are not repugnant to the laws of this State. They shall have power to appoint a town constable, superintendant of the streets of the town, and a superintendant of the public buildings of the town, and to establish and regulate the fees of the said offices, as they may think necessary; and the said commissioners and those hereafter to be appointed, shall before they enter upon the duties of their appointment take and subscribe before some justice of the peace of the county of Caswell, the following oath, (to wit,) I A B do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the nature of the case may be.) that I will well and truly perform the duties of commissioner of police of the town of Milton, so long as I shall continue to serve in the said appointment, to the best of my knowledge and ability, so help me God.

History of Milton, North Carolina

In 1826, the Reverend James M. Douglas, the Presbyterian minister, summarized the town's short history:

 "The ground on which the town of Milton now stands was covered with woods until about the year 1790. The first house was built by Mr. Daniel S. Farley, on the site of the present Milton Hotel. In 1796, a town, to be called Milton, a contraction of Mill-town, was laid out by Mr. Asa Thomas, and an act of the Legislature was obtained for the disposal of the lots. In 1819, when there were thirteen houses only, the act of incorporation was amended, and the town enlarged. For a time, flushed on by the madness of speculation, it increased rapidly. . . ."

Source: National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Milton Historic District, 27 August 1973.
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Laws of North Carolina, 1796

At a General Assembly, begun and held at the city of Raleigh, on the twenty-first Day of November, in the Year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety six, and in the Twenty-first Year of thee Independence of the said State; Being the first Session of the said Assembly.
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An Act to establish a town and inspection of tobacco and flour in Caswell county, near the mouth of Country line creek, on the land of Asa Thomas.

I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That Archibald Murphey, William Rainey, Thomas Jeffrey, Archibald Samuel and James Sanders, be, and they are hereby appointed Commissioners to lay off thirty acres of land of the aforesaid Asa Thomas, at or near his, the said Thomas' mill, into half acre lots, in such manner as they shall think most convenient for the same; and that as soon as said tract or parcel of land shall be laid off into lots, it shall be and the same is hereby established a town and shall be called and known by the name of Milton.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said Commissioners shall, as soon as convenient after laying off said town, proceed to sell the lots at public auction, giving twenty days notice of the time of said sale, and execute deeds of sale to the purchaser or purchasers for the same, in the name of the Commissioners; and the said Commissioners shall, and they are hereby declared to have full power and authority to form such rules, regulations and restrictions relative to the said town, as may from time to time be deemed expedient and necessary, not inconsistent with the constitution.

III. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said Commissioners, or a majority of them, shall, and they are hereby declared to have full power and authority to act as such; and in case of resignation or refusal of the aforesaid Commissioners, that then and in that case it shall and may be lawful for the other said Commissioners , to nominate and appoint some other person or persons to full such vacancy, who shall have equal power and authority with the other said Commissioners appointed by this act.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Asa Thomas Deed/Indenture 8 July 1797 (Milton, NC)

Asa Thomas Deed/Indenture  8 July 1797

Asa Thomas Indenture  8 July 1797

Asa Thomas of Caswell County to the Commissioners empowered to lay out the Town of Milton, for $5, land adjacent to Milton, three lots containing four springs for free use of water to inhabitants of Milton forever and to be reserved as the Town Common; lot #1 of 53 square chains and one spring; lot #2 of one acre and two springs; lot #3 of 1.75 acres [presumably with one spring]. 8 July 1797. Witnesses: James Rainey, L. Lea, Robert Wilson.

Source: Kendall, Katharine Kerr. Caswell County North Carolina Deed Books 1777-1817 Abstracts. Easley (South Carolina): Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1989, p. 179.
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[Paragraphs breaks added]

Asa Thomas Indenture 8 July 1797

102

This Indenture made the Eighth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and ninety seven and in the twenty second year of our Independence between Asa Thomas of the County of Caswell and State of North Carolina of the one part and Thomas Jeffreys, Archibald Murphey, William Rainey, Archibald Samuel and James Saunders, Commissioners appointed by an act of our General Assembly for the purposes of laying out, building and carrying on the town of Milton near the mouth of Country line creek, all of the County of Caswell & state aforesaid of the other part.

Witnesseth that the said Asa Thomas for and in consideration of the sum of five dollars to him paid by the said Commissioners the receipt whereof he the said Asa Thomas doth hereby acknowledge.

That he given and granted bargained and sold and by this agreement doth give and grant bargain and sell, allieve in fee assess release and confirm unto the said commissioners and their successors for ever three certain lots or parcels of land situate lying and being in the Countyy aforesaid adjoining the Town of Milton it being three separate lots including four several springs, conveyed to the said Commissioners for the free and uninterrupted use of water to the inhabitants of the Town of Milton and by the said Commissioners to be reserved a Town common for that special purpose for ever and bounded as follows to wit,

Spring Lot No. 1 beginning at the North East corner of the Lot No. 21 and running thence north 7 1/2 degrees east thirty three yards to a stake, thence North 82 1/2 degrees west twenty two yards to a stake, then north 7 1/2 __ degrees East fifty seven yards one foot eight inches to a stake, then South eighty two 1/2 degrees East 66 yards 2 foot 8 inches to a stake west corner of Lot No. 27 then South 7 1/2 degrees west ten yards to a stake, then north west corner of lot No. 26, thence north 82 1/2 degrees west thirty four yards two feet four inches to a stake the South 7 1/2 degrees west sixty nine yards one foot eight inches to __ the north west corner of lot No. 22 thence north.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Nissen Wagon Dealers in Caswell County, North Carolina


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The Nissen Wagon Works of John Philip Nissen, located in Forsyth County, North Carolina, was one of the largest wagon makers in the south during the nineteenth century. By 1850 Nissen was producing 65 wagons annually, far more than his competitors. The good years that followed found Nissen tripling the amount of capital invested in his business as he purchased steam-powered and horse-powered machinery to double his production capacity.

John Philip Nissen managed the business until after the Civil War, when two of his sons, George E. and William M., began to operate the firm under the name George E. Nissen Wagon Works. At the peak of production, this company produced about ten thousand wagons a year. John Israel Nissen, another son of J. P. Nissen, also established a wagon factory, which he later sold to his brother, Christian Francis (Frank).

The separate Nissen wagon factories were consolidated in 1910 and continued to operate under the Nissen name until 1925 when it was sold for nearly $1 million.

Source: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. [Online at NCPedia].
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Counterfeit Bank of the State of North Carolina Note April 1844

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Counterfeit bank note taken from prisoner in Stokes County, North Carolina, 1846.

Bethania

"This Bill found in the possession of Larkin Ray a Prisoner brought before us Beverly Jones & HR Lehman two of the Justices of the Peace of Stokes County NC on the 10th of January 1846 at Bethania. HR Lehman."
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In 1846, Bethania was in Stokes County, North Carolina. However, as a result of the creation of Forsyth County in 1849 (carved from Stokes County), Bethania now is in Forsyth County.



The Bank of the State of North Carolina Promises to Pay Four Dollars on demand to the bearer at Milton Raleigh 1 Apr 1844.

From the Greg Cheek Collection
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Peddlers

Peddlers

Drummer House (Leasburg, NC)
In the mid 1800s, Jews who had recently emigrated from eastern Europe got a foothold in business by peddling in North Carolina and other southern states. With little capital themselves, immigrant peddlers often catered to poor whites and blacks whose access to store credit was limited; some peddlers managed to accumulate enough cash to start their own permanent stores.

Although stereotyped as shady dealers, in reality peddlers were vulnerable travelers who could be easy crime targets.

Determining the precise number of peddlers who sold their wares in North Carolina at any given time is difficult. What is clear, however, is that this ancient form of selling remained an important part of the state's commerce into the twentieth century, when more sophisticated traveling salesmen replaced peddlers and improved transportation made getting to the store easier for consumers.

Source: Jones, Lu Ann. "Peddlers." NCPedia, 2006.
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Caswell County Pillory and Stocks

Caswell County Pillory and Stocks

Corporal punishment in North Carolina, short of death, has taken the varied forms of (1) mutilation and dismemberment, (2) public whippings, and (3) confinement before the public gaze in the pillory and stocks.

A major part of punishment in stocks and pillories was public humiliation and they were commonly found in the town square. The Stocks were used to publicly humiliate people that had committed petty crimes. As the offender sat in the stocks, the townspeople would often pelt them with rotten food, dead animals or stones while jeering, mocking, and ridiculing them.

As late as 1836, certain crimes in North Carolina were punishable by confinement in the pillory and stocks. These forms of corporal punishment were steadily restricted throughout the first half of the nineteenth century and altogether disappeared by constitutional fiat in 1868.

Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions:

April 1824: "Ordered the treasurer of public buildings build or repair the stocks in such manner as he may adjudge best for the use and benefit of the county."

July 1824: "Ames Ford be allowed $50.56 for building stock and pilory [sic] in this county."

Monday, April 09, 2018

Albert Gallatin Lea

1. Name: Albert Gallatin Lea (source for the middle name is a bio on his son William):

KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS
William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
Published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL

SHAWNEE COUNTY, Part 28
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES (KELLAM - LYON)

WILLIAM J. LEA, of Topeka, western manager for the Aetna Life Insurance Co. of Hartford, is of Scotch-Irish descent. He is the son of Albert Gallatin Lea and Jane (Rhea) Lea, and was born in Wilson County, Tenn., August 17, 1844. He received a partial academic course at Cherry Grove Seminary in Illinois. His father died when he was thirteen years of age, and by his death he was early thrown upon his own resources. He assisted in the support of his widowed mother and obtained a good education besides.

One year after his father's death, not having a taste for farming pursuits to which he had hitherto been brought up, he bound himself as an apprentice to learn the printer's trade in the office of the Macomb, Illinois Eagle, where he remained for four years. During the last two years of his apprenticeship, he became foreman of the printing office, and did much of the local editorial work on the paper.

In 1860-61 he removed to Missouri, where he spent a year and then returned to Illinois. The war having broken out, August 11, 1862, he enlisted as a private in Company A, Eighty-fourth Illinois Infantry. He served thirteen months as a Corporal, when he was discharged for disability April 21, 1863. Having regained his health he enlisted May 2, 1864, in Company C, One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry, serving until the regiment was mustered out September 24, 1864. During his service he participated in the bloody battle of Perryville, and also the defense of Memphis during Forrest's raid.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Caswell County Taverns (North Carolina)

1777

September

At the September 1777 session of the Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (which was the county's executive branch), the justices took the following action: "License granted to John Payne to keep a tavern at Caroline with Robert Payne and John Satterfield, securities." At the same session "tavern rates" were set by the court.

John Chambers to keep tavern at his dwellling house.

December

Lawrence VanHook to keep ordinary at his dwelling house.

1778

March

Thomas Douglas to keep ordinary at his dwelling house.
Tavern keepers have leave to sell whiskey at 9 pence per gill.

1779

December

Thomas Douglas to keep tavern at his own dwelling house.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

SS Hoover 1937: Bettie Watkins

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Former Milton Woman Aboard The SS "Hoover"

Among the four hundred passengers who embarked on the President Hoover for China before she ran aground last Friday morning on a rocky island near Formisa [sic] is Mrs. W. Morris, wife of a director of the British American Tobacco Company and formerly Miss Bettie Watkins of Milton, N.C.

From last reports all of the passengers have been removed from the liner which is threatened with destruction to two small islands where they are safely encamped pending the arrival of rescue ships.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 13 December 1937, Monday, Page 12.
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1919 Passport Photo
The Bettie Watkins Morris is Elizabeth Peterson Watkins (c.1877-1957), daughter of Warner Merriwether Watkins and Kate Ashton Walker.

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Brooks & White Funeral Home

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Brooks & White Funeral Home was founded before 1914 in Hurdle Mills, NC by George D. Brooks and Cyrus Clifton White. They ran a blacksmith shop, woodworking shop, country store and garage. At that time the infant mortality rate was high and they offered infant caskets for sale in the store and then they later began providing a funeral service. It was around 1913-1915 when George D. Brooks and Cyrus C. White purchased a wagon that was converted to a hearse. With this wagon they would assist a family in shrouding the deceased and transporting the body to the burial location.

In the late 1920's, George D. Brooks moved to Semora in adjoining Caswell County and started a country store and funeral home. In the early 1930's, Merle Brooks, the oldest daughter of George D. Brooks graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Nashville, TN and went on to become one of the first female embalmers in the State of North Carolina. She also was licensed in Virginia.

Cyrus Clifton White
Later, the First Bank of South Boston was purchased and converted into a funeral home. This firm was named Brooks Funeral Home. Throughout the years, many of the family connections were employed by this firm. The next funeral home that was purchased was in Yanceyville, NC. This made the fourth in the Brooks & White organization. Following World War II in which four of five of Cyrus's sons were involved (the fifth and youngest son was in Korea), the oldest son, C.J. was sent to Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Nashville, TN and graduated June 28, 1947. C.J. then served his apprenticeship under Merle Brooks in South Boston. In 1951, the three brothers C.J., Lawrence and Jack White (along with Tom Jones, husband of Merle Brooks Jones) bought the J. J. "Dick" Woody Funeral Home from his widow and operated out of the house at 522 S. Main Street for the next 30 years. After many years of work and planning, Brooks & White Funeral Home was moved in 1981 to its current location at 907 Durham Road.

The Yanceyville funeral home was sold in the 1950s, and Semora and Hurdle Mills were closed. In the 1960s the South Boston and Roxboro funeral homes were separated, no longer having any common owners.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

State v. Wiley, North Carolina Supreme Court (1870)

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"The State Against F. A. Wiley"

Many legal proceedings resulted from the killing of John Walter (Chicken) Stephens (1834-1870) in the Caswell County Courthouse (Yanceyville, North Carolina). One case involved former Caswell County Sheriff Franklin A. (Frank) Wiley (c.1825-1888).

While not clear, this may have been a habeas corpus hearing to determine whether Wiley would be released or bound over for trial. Many witnesses gave testimony, including Doctor Preston Roan, M.D. (c.1842-1882). His testimony should be viewed as the definitive description of the death of John Walter Stephens (along with the much later "confession" of John G. Lea).

The attached photograph, while obviously not contemporaneous with the killing, shows the first-floor southeast room (including the single south window and the two east windows).
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Dr. [Preston] Roan was then called as the first witness. He gave a description of [the] Court house building. He said that he was sent for on Sunday morning; went into [the] room where the body lay; the door was opened before he got there; the corpse was lying in a hollow in the pile of wood at the north side of the room; knees and arms were drawn up, three stabs were discernible, a rope was around the neck, known as a grass rope, drawn tightly in a noose, with two ends both hanging from behind; two of the stabs were in the neck, one severing the windpipe; another pierced the heart; a knife was lying near the body, it had a buck-horn handle, two blades, one of which was open, about 3 inches long and 3/4 an inch in width; the rope was drawn tightly around the neck, sinking into the skin; there were noticeable sighs of blood on the wood and plastering; the stabs had been inflicted rapidly, and strangulation was effected before the infliction of the wounds.

No portion of the body touched the floor; it lay in a space in the wood-pile, and could not have been seen during the night search, from the windows; a few sticks of wood were under it. The back was toward the east, the side towards the wall. There was no doubt that Stephens was killed in the room. Saw no signs of blood at the window till next morning, then saw a drop on the granite sill and on the box, as if it fell and split; it was florid and fresh. He [Dr. Roan] had ordered the use of the box at the window ledge for the night search. There was no blood on the floor. A servant got the box. One of Stephens' brothers made examination. A candle was used, for the night had set in. When the windows were down a stick was usually put up to confine them; the door of this room was bolted as he learned that night; there was a thumb bolt at the hasp.

He [Dr. Roan] was not present when the door was opened. No key was seen by him. The spot of blood on the window sill might have been made by the print of a finger, a step could have produced it, but there was no blood on the floor. The body might have been seen in the day. It was not discoverable by candle-light. Had been asked permission to search the Courthouse on the night of the murder. The South window was too high to make an examination, both windows on the East were used. Permission was asked for the search by Mr. T. Stephens and Cooke. Door was closed. Didn't know where the key was. Was not asked for it. Granite would not absorb blood as readily as wood, and stains upon it would appear more plain distinct.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Sanford-Dagwell Marriage 1929

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Mrs. Charles P. Dagwell

Mr. and Mrs. Willis W. Sanford, of Newberry, Mich., announce the marriage of their daughter, Irene Eloise, to Mr. Charles Pond Dagwell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dagwell, of Indian River, Mich., on Friday, June 14, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The bride was most charming in a gown of yellow georgette and carried a bridal bouquet of roses, sweet peas and baby's breath. She was attended by Miss Elizabeth Myers, of Miles, Mich. Mr. Arza Austin, of Dundee, Mich., acted as best man.

Mrs. Dagwell is a graduate of Michigan State Normal college and a member of the Kappa Psi sorority. Mr. Dagwell is a student of the University of Michigan and a member of the Phi Epsilon Kappa fraternity. Both were on the faculty at Chelsea, Mich. After a short wedding trip they will be at home in Indian River.

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan), 14 July 1929, Sunday, Page 44.

Barzillai Shuford Graves (1854-1942)

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The researcher is advised that not all the claims made in the following two obituaries have been confirmed. Example: The second obituary claims that Barzillai Shuford Graves was the first president of the Bank of Yanceyville. This is incorrect as he was not born when the Bank of Yanceyville was chartered in 1852. And, doubtful is whether he was the Mayor of Yanceyville. Also, note the differences between the two reports.

"B. S. Graves, Of Caswell, Is Stricken"

Yanceyville, May 3 (Special to Daily News) -- Barzillai Shuford Graves, Caswell county's grand old man, died at his home here tonight about 9 o'clock of infirmities due to old age. Mr. Graves, whose name had been prominently connected with political, religious and civic activities in this section for almost 70 years, had been in failing health during recent months.

Mr. Graves got an early start in politics. Before he was 21 years old he was elected sheriff of Caswell county and served in this capacity for several terms. Later he was named clerk of Superior court and remained in office for a number of years. He had also been a member of the board of county commissioners for several terms. He was a delegate to the Democratic national convention which first nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt for President.

The oldest Mason in Caswell county, Mr. Graves for 60 years was a charter member of Clinton Masonic lodge and also held membership in the John A. Graves lodge and the Caswell Brotherhood lodge. He was a lifetime member of Yanceyville Baptist church.

Me married Miss Mallie Graves, daughter of Judge Graves, of Mt. Airy. She preceded him in death. Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. J. P. Burke, of Hendersonville, wife of Rev. Mr. Burke, and a grandchild.

Arrangements for the funeral were incomplete tonight, but services probably will be held Tuesday.
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"B. S. Graves Passes In Yanceyville/Prominent Caswell Leader Dies At 87"

Yanceyville, N.C., May 4 (Special to The Bee) -- Barzillai Shuford Graves, former mayor of Yanceyville, Caswell county sheriff, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners and clerk of Superior court, died last night at his home after a period of gradually declining health. His age was 87.

Mr. Graves held a number of additional responsible positions in the county during his lifetime and was a pioneer advocate of the county's good-road policy. He was the first president of the Bank of Yanceyville, which position he filled with distinction for many years, and was an outstanding leader in other constructive movements.

He was a charter member and first master of the former John A. Graves Masonic lodge, which recently was re-named Caswell Brotherhood No. 11. Last year he received the 50-year certificate for membership in the lodge.

Mr. Graves began his career of county work at the age of 22, when he was elected sheriff. He held that position for 12 years, later taking on more responsible work.

Surviving are his wife, the former Miss Malvina Graves, of Mount Airy; one daughter, Mrs. J. P. Burke, of Hendersonville; two sisters, Mrs. T. L. Sellars and Mrs. C. T. Holt, of Burlington, and one granddaughter, Miss Betsy Graves Burke. He also leaves a number of nieces and nephews.

An interesting note in the family history of Barzillai Graves is that his great grandfather was the first white child born in North Carolina, west of the Blue Ridge mountains.

Funeral services will be conducted tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock at Yanceyville Baptist church, which he served as deacon and as superintendent of the Sunday school.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dialectic Society, University of North Carolina: Caswell County Members

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The Dialectic Society (originally known as the Debating Society) at the University of North Carolina was established in 1795, making it the oldest student organization at any public university in the United States. They adopted the motto "Virtus et Scientia" (virtue and science). The members stated as their goals: "...to promote useful Knowledge..." and "...to cultivate a lasting Friendship with each other..." It is significant that the first order of business for the Debating Society was an order for the purchase of books. Indeed, as the University had no library, the Debating Society's collection became the primary resource for the University, later becoming the core of the school's library. The Caswell County members as of 1890 are listed below.
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Catalogue of the Members of the Dialectic Society Instituted in the University of North Carolina June 3, 1795, Together With Historical Sketches (1890).
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The names of active members alone are printed. They are given by years of entrance into the Society. In the great majority of cases this corresponds with the year of entrance into the University. By year of entrance is meant the collegiate, not the calendar year. Thus the year 1877 includes the fall of '77 and the spring of '78.

After each name is given the place of residence at entrance, then the degree taken in the University, or if no degree was conferred, the year of leaving college, together with all honorary degrees. Next are placed the date of birth, the various positions of trust or honor held, profession and present residence. If dead, the last place of residence is given, and the dates of birth and death are placed last. When no State is named, North Carolina is understood, except in such cases as plainly imply what State is meant.

    The letter c. (Latin circa) before a date indicates that it is only approximately accurate.
    M. C. = Member of Congress.
    H. of C. = House of Commons.
    H. of R. = House of Representatives.
    C. S. A. = Confederate States Army.
    U. N. C. = University of North Carolina.
    The other abbreviations will be easily understood.
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Caswell County Members

Anderson, Albert Gallatin, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1834. Minister

Badgett, Thomas Jefferson, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1859. Born 1837, died 1860.
Bethell, Pinkney C., Caswell Co.: 1836. Dead.
Bracken, Julius C. S., Caswell Co.: 1834.
Brooks, Iverson L., Caswell Co.: A. B., 1819. Minister.
Brown, Bedford, Caswell Co. Memb. H. of C., 1815, '17 and '23. Speaker Senate, 1829. U. S. Senator, 1829-'41. Memb. Conventions, 1861 and 1865. Born 1795, died 1870.
Brown, James W., Caswell Co. Dead.
Brown, John E., Caswell Co. Dead.
Brown, John L., Caswell Co. Gen. Assem. Dead.
Brown, Livingston, Caswell Co.: 1836. Lawyer. Planter. Gen. Assem.
Brown, William Frederick, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1839.
Byrd, Thompson, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1827; A. M., 1831. Tutor, 1829-'31. Minister. Missionary. Dead.

Carter, Archibald Grayson, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1820. Lawyer. Planter. Mocksville. Born 1801, died 1887.
Carter, Jesse, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1825; M. D., Philadelphia Med. Coll. Mobile, Ala. Dead.
Carter, William Brown, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1834. Lawyer and Planter. Stokes Co. Born 1814, dead
Comer, Nathaniel, Caswell Co.: 1825. Dead
Currie, Shelby Swain, Caswell Co.: A. B., 1840. Physician  Son of John and Elizabeth Rainey Currie.  Elizabeth is the daughter of 1739John Rainey and Jane Mitchell.