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Full text of "Old Halifax"

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THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 





THE COLLECTION OF 

NORTH CAROLINIANA 

FROM THE LIBRARY OF 

W. Ltinsford Long 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



00032761011 



This book must 
be taken from 
Library building. 



r 



OLD HALIFAX 

By ABMISTEAD C. GORDON, LL.D. Litt. !>., Staunton, Virginia 



In his recent book, "Sunlight on the 
Southside," Mr. Landon C. Bell dis- 
cusses the routes of emigrants from 
Virginia into the Southwest, and calls 
attention to "the tide of emigration 
which flowed from Virginia into 
North Carolina and Tennessee, and 
thence into Kentucky and the west. 

Long before this Virginia "tide of 
emigration" started Westward and 
Southwestward over the "Wilderness 
Road" about the middle of the eight- , 
een century, people from the Tide- { 
water and Southside sections of the i 
Colony of Virginia had begun to j 
move South and to settle in the east- 
ern part of North Carolina; and the 
records of those eaastern Carolina 
counties give abundant evidence of 
the settlements of early Virginians in 
them who participated in this move- 
| ment. 

Not far south of the "Dividing 
lline" betweenn the two Colonics lay 
the county of Halifax, formed in 
1758 from Edgecombe County; and 
Colonel William Byrd, who left a his- 
tory of the establishment of that fa- 
mous "Line," and who was not very 
complimentary to North Carolina, 
said of these neighbors: 

"The borderers laid it to heart if 
their land was taken in Virginia; 
They chose much rather to belong to 
Carolina, where they pay no tribute 
to God or Ceasar." 

Due, says Mr. Bell, to the fact 
that this early migration of settlers 
from Tidewater and Southside Virgin- 
ia into North Carolina has been "in- 
adequately understood," and little 
pains have been taken by the histo- 
rians and genealogists to group and 
record the facts concerning it, the 
specific debt of North Carolina to 
these sections of the older part of 
the Colony has been little recog- 
nized. As an illustration of his state- 
ment, he states that the Carolina his- 
torians and genealogists "are yet ig- 
norant of the rate and place of birth 
of one (and the same is doubtless true 
of others) of the mist distinguished 
of men connected with the early his- 
toryy of that Colony ond State." 

This was Willie Jones, of Halifax, 
who he says "was born in Albemarle 
Parish, Surry County, Virginia, May 
25, 1741." 

Halifax County, North Carolina, 
derives its name from the Earl of 
Halifax, who in 1758 was the first 
Lord of the Board of Trade. It is sit- 
uated in the northeastern part of the 
State, and is bounded on the north 
and east by the Roanoke River, which 
separates it from Northampton Coun- 
ty; on .the south by Martin, Edge- 
combe and Nash counties, and on the 
west by the county of Warren. 



X 



v < 



Its county seat is Halifax town, 
situated on the west bank of the Roa- 
noke; and the county and town in 
their history are distinguished for 
their devotion to liberty and for the 
patriotism of their people. Halifax 
was represented in the Newbern Con- 
vention of 1774 by two of its most 
eminent citizens, Nicholas Long and 
William Jones; and in the important 
Hillsboro Convention, called to act 
upon the Federal Constitution adopt- 
ed at Philadelphia in 1787, Willie 
Jones was the leader and moving 
spirit who, under Mr. Jefferson's in- 
spiration, prevented its ratification 
at that time fcian • because it was 
without a Bill of Rights. 

Other distinguished citizens of Hal- 
ifax in the Revolutionary period were : 
! William R. Davie, a prominent offic- 
er in the Colonial armies and later 
ambassador to France; John Baptista 
Ahse, a brother-in-law of Willie 
Jones, who was opposed to the adop- 
tion of the Federal Constitution, and 
later became a member of Congress 
and Governor of the State; and Nich 
olas Long, a son of Gabriel Long, of 
Virginia, and Commissary-General of_ 
North Carolina. . 

association with Willie Jones, wasL 

Connected with Halifax through his") 
one of the most celebrated figures inj 

the naval history of the Revolution. 
Colonel Cadwallader Jones, in his 
"Genealogical Histry," writing of the 
two brothers General Allen Jones and 
Willie Jones, says: 

Gen. Allen Jones resided at Mt 
Gallant in in Northampton Coun- 
ty at the head of Roanoke Falls. 

Willie Jones lived at "The 
Grove," near Halifax. These old 
mansions, grand in their propor- 
tions, were the homes of abounding 
hospitality. In this connection, I 
may ^mention that, when John Paul 
Jones visited Halifax, then a young 
sailor and a stranger, he made the 
acquaintance of those fine old pa- 
triots, Allen and Willie Jones; he 
was a young man but an old tar 
with a bold, frank sailor-bearing 
that attracted their attention. He 
became a frequent visitor/at their 
houiw*, where he was alwfeys wel- 
come. He soon grew fond of them, 
and a mark of esteem and admira- 
tion, he adopted their name, say- 
ing that if he lived he would make 
them proud of it. Thus John Paul 
became Paul Jones— it was his 
fancy. He named his ship the "Bon 
Homme Richard," in compliment to 
Franklin; he named himself Jones 
in compliment to Allen and Willie 
Jones. When the first notes of war 



sounded he obtained letters from 
these brothers to Joseph Hewes, 
member of Congress from North 
^ Carolina, and through his influence 
1 received his first commission in the 
I navy. I am now the oldest living 
/descendant of Gen. Allen Jones. I 
' remember my aunt, Mrs. Willie 
Jones, who survived her husband 
many years, and when a boy I have 
heard these facts spoken of in both 
families." 

In her "Women of the Revolution," 
^J.Mrs. Ellett speaks of Mrs. Willie 
Jones ,and Mrs. Nicholas Long as ex- 
hibiting a patriotic zeal, a noble 
spirit and a devoton to ther country 
wheh llustrated the attachment of 
the women to the cause of the Revo- 
luton. 

Mrs. Willie Jones was a daughter 
of Colonel Joseph Montford, a strong 
patriot, a prominent citizen of Hali- 
fax, and a colonel of the Halifax 
Militia before the outbreak of the 
war. He was distinguished as a Ma- 
son; and died in 1776, just as the 
Revolution was beginning. 

Another of his daughters, as stated 
married John Baptista Ashe. 

Mrs. Willie Jones was famous for 
her personal beauty, her brilliant wit 
and her sauvity of manners. She is 
said to have been "devotedly and 
enthusiastically loved by every hu- 
man being who knew her." 

It was her individual charm, even 
more than the admiration which the 
young Scotch sailor, John Paul, had 
for her as well as for her husband, 
that caused him to add Jones to his 
name, when he left Halifax and went 
into the American Navy. 

When Cornwallis, in 1781, led his 
army north from Wilmington to its 
anal surrender at Yorktown, he re- 
mained several days in Halifax, where 
some of his officers were quartered 
among the families of the town. They; 
were treated courteously but coldly* 
by their reluctant hosts; and more* 
than one story has come down of the 
scars inflicted^ on the vanity of some 
,f them by the wit of these patriotic 
women. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, 
Jornwallis' leader of cavalry, had 
been wounded in the hand by a sabre 
cut in a personal encounter on the 
field with Colonel William Washing- 
ton. One day at "The Grove," during 
his stay in Halifax, the Englishman, 
spoke to Mrs. Jones in sneering terms 
of his recent opponent, saying that he 
understood that Colonel Washington 
was an ignorant and illiterate boor, 
hardly able to write his own name. 

"Ah, Colonel," said Mrs. Jones to 
Tarleton, you should know better 
than that, for you carry on your per- 
son the proof that he can at least 
make his mark!" 

The English general, Leslie, with 
some of his officers, was quartered 
at the house of Mrs. Jones' sister, 
Mrs. Ashe, during the stay of the in- 
vading army in Halifax; and here 
Tarleton continued his vituperation 
of Colonel Washington, saying to 
I Mrs. Ashe that he would like to see 
. the American officer, who he under- 
I stood was insignificant looking and 



' ungainly in person. Mrs. Ashe re- 
plied: "Colonel Tarleton, you would 
have had that pleasure, if you had 
looked behind you at the battle of the 
Cowpens!" 

'Tarleton, enraged, involuntarily 
grasped the hilt of his sabre. General 
Leslie at this moment entered the 
room, and observing the anger of the 
officer and the sudden agitation of 
the lady, inquired the cause. She re- 
peated the brief conversation, and 
Leslie said, with a smile: "Say what 
you please, Mrs. Ashe, Colonel Tarle- 
ton knows better than to insult a 
lady in my presence." 

Colonel William R. Davie was long 
a resident of Halifax County. He was 
born in England and came to Ameri- 
ca at the age of five years. He was a 
student at Princeton, which he left 
in 1776 to enter the Continental Army 
serving in the North, and returned to 
college after the campaign, where hej 
graduated with the first honors of 
the college. Again joining the army, 
he became captain and was severely 
wounded in the battle of Stono, which 
temporarily incapisitated him for 
military service. Again, in 1780, he 
answered the call to arms, and rais- 
ed a troop of cavalry and two com- 
panies of infantry, equipping them 
out of his own private funds. He took 
an active part in the battle of Hang- 
ing Rock, of which he wrote a vivid 
account that is. published in Wheeler's 
"History of North Carolina." 

He served successively as captain, 
major, and colonel, and was at the 
battles of Guilford Court House and 
i Hobkirk's Hill, and at the evacuation 
I of Camden and the seige of Ninety 
Six. in 1781, he became commissary 
general of North Carolina; and at 
the close of the war resumed the 
practice of law at Halifax, and mar- 
ried Sarah Jones, daughter of General 
Allen Jones, and niece of Willie Jon es. 
|hc was a brilliant and successful law- 
Iyer ,and was in his fifteen years at 
the bar employed in many of the 
most important criminal cases in the 
State. 

He held many political offices. In 
1787, he was a delegate to the Fed- 
eral Convention at Philadelphia, upon 
which, though but thirty-one years 
old, he made a decided impression by 
his' knowledge and eloquence. He was 
called away from the convention a 
few days before its adjournment by 
an important law case, and his name 
does not appear among the signers. 
He was a member of the State Con- 
vention at Hillsboro in 1788, and af- 
ter the later ratification of the Fed- 
eral Constitution at Fayetteville he 
was offered by President Washington 
a district judgeship, which he declin- 
ied. He served in the General Assem- 
bly for a number of terms, and was 
one of the founders of the State Uni- 
lversity at Chapel Hill. In 1798, Con- 
gress having provided a provisional 
I army of 10,000 men, Colonel Davie 
' was appointed by President Adams 
brigadier-general and was confirmed 
by the Senate July 1 of that year. In 
i the same year be was elected Gover- 
[nor and inaugurated December 27. 



> 



On June 1, he was appointed by 
President Adams Ambassador to, 
France and resigned the Governor- 
ship to accept that office. He was: 
one of the three men to draw up the> 
treaty with the French Government 
which was ratified by Congress Sep- 
tember 10, 1890. He is said to have 
been the handsomest and most dis- 
tinguished looking man of the trio; 
and the story is told that an eyewit- 
ness of their meeting with Napoleon 
said: "I could but remark that Bon- 
aparte, in addressing the American 
Legation, seemed to forget that Gov- 
ernor Davie was second in the mis- 
sion, his attention being more par- 
ticularly to him." 

After his return from France he 
was appointed, in 1802, by President 
I Jefferson, commissioner for the set- 
, tlement between North Carolina an 1 
* the Tuscarora Indians, and under the 
j treaty between the State and he In- 
; dian chiefs, the remnant of the Tus- 
caroras removed to New York. 

In November, 1805, General Davie 
left Halifax to live in South Caro- 
lina. During the War of 1812 he was 
appointed by President Madison mi- 
jor-general in the United States ar- 
my, and was confirmed by the Sen- 
ate, but declined the appointment. He 
died in' 1820, and was buried at Wax- 
haw Churchyard, just across the riv- 
er from his plantation. 

Willie (Pronounced Wiley) Jones, a 
Virginian by birth, was one of the 
most important and distinguished fig- 
urea of the State in the Revolution- 
ary period, and in some respects one 
of the most remarkable men of his 
time. 

Mr. Claude G. Bowers, in his book: 
"Jefferson and Hamilton; The strug- 
gle for Democracy in America," 
draws a graphic and accurate por- 
trait of this notable North Carolina 
lieutenant of Thomas Jefferson in 
his formation of the Republican 
party: 

la North Carolina Jefferson found 
a leader cut from his own pattern, 
an aristocratic democrat, a radical 
rich man, a consummate politician 
who made the history that lesser 
men wrote without mentioning his 
name — Willie Jones, of Halifax. His 
broad acres, his wealth, his high soc- 
ial standing were the objects of his 
pride, and he lived in luxury and 
wore fine linen while the trusted 
leader of the masses, mingling famil- 
iarly with the most uncouth back- 
woodsmen, inviting however, only the 
select to partake of the hospitality 
of his home. There was more than 
a touch of the Virginia aristocrat of 
the time in his habits— he raced, 
gambled, hunted like a gentleman. 
Like Jefferson,- he was a master of 
the art of insinuation, a political and 
social reformer. He loved liberty, hat- 



ed intolerance, and prevented the 
ratification of the Constitution in the 
first State Convenion because of the 
absence of a Bill of Rights. There he 
exerted a subtile influence that was 
not conspicious on the floor. If he 
was neither orator nor debater, he| 
was a strategist, disciplinarian, dip- j 
lomat, who fought with velvet gloves 
— with iron within. A characteristic 
portrait would show him puffing at, 
his pipe in the midst of his farmer 
x followers, suggesting, insinuating, in- 
terspersing his political conversation 
with discussions of the crops, farm- 
ing implements, hunting dogs, horses. 
An Anthony in arousing the passions 
by subtle hints, he was an Iago in 
awakening suspicions. Here was the ' 
man with the stuff that Jefferson re- 
quired, generous and lovable in social 
relations, in politics relentless, hard 
as iron. He was the Jefferson of 
North Carolina — "A man . . . the ob- 
ject of more hatred and more ador- 
ation than has ever lived in that 
State." 

His home was "The Grove", situa- 
ted in the southern end of the town 
of Halifax, near Quanky Creek, built 
in the year 1765. The house was seat- 
ed amid beautiful grounds, and near- 
by its owner maintained a race track, 
which was used extensively by the 
residents .of .the town and by those 
who came from elsewhere to witness 
or take part in the races; and he 
kept a stable of pedigreed horses and 
is said to have kept a barge on the 
Roanoke River that was rowed by 
his liveried negro servants, like 
Washington's on the Potomac. 

At the clo$e of the War Between 1 
the States the house was unoccupied, j 
and was taken possession of by the' 
Federal soldiers. Later, it was own-' 
ed and dwelt in by the families and' 
children of Willie Jones' daughters,! 
Mrs. Eppes and Mrs. Burton. It is 
now in ruins. 

The Jones family came to Virginia ! 
from Wales about the middle of the' 
seventeenth century. Robert Jones, 
grandson of the immigrant, moved 
to North Carolina, and was tho agent 
of Lord Granville. He was educated 
at Eton in England, and was ap- 
pointed Attorney-General for the 
Colony in 1761. As attorney for the 
Crown and agent of Granville's ex- ' 
tensive domain, he ' became wealthy 
and was perhaps the largest land- 1 
owner on the Roanoke River. 

Willie Jones' earliest appearance in 
j politics was in the Provincial Con- 
I gress that met in Newbern in 1774, 
j and he was a member of the succeed- 
l ing Colonial conventions of 1775 and 
i 1776. He was a member of the com- 
tjmittee in 1776 which prepared a Bill 
of Rights, modeled on that of George 
Mason in Virginia, and is believed to 
j have been the chief author of the doc- 



X 



j ! ument. He was president of the Com- 
mittee of Safety, and Acting Gover- 
nor until the" election of the first 
Governor after the establishment of 
the State. 

In 1787 he was elected to the Phila- 
delphia Convention which made the 
Federal Constitution, but Ike Pat- 
rick Henry in /Virginia, who "smelled 
a rat," he declined to serve. He was 
a member of the Continental Con- 
gress in 1780; and, as stated by Mr. 
Bowers, was the leader in defeating 
the adoption of the Constitution by 
the H llsboro Convention on account 
of its lacking a Bill of Rights. 

This was his last appearance in 
public life. He died June 1801 at his 
summer home "Welcome" near Ra- 
leigh and was buried by the side of 
his little daughter in the cemetery 
near his home. The chapel of St. 
P Augustine College now stands on the 
site of this graveyard, and the grave 

\of Willie Jones is said to be beneath- 
the altar. 

Colonel Nicholas Long, of Halifax, 
was another citizen of Virginia ex- 
traction and probably of Virginia 
birth. He was a son of Gabriel Long, 
of Virginia. His son, Nicholas, was a 
gallant soldier in the Revolution, and 
was in the battles of Camden, Cow- 
pens, and Yorktown. He and Major 
Hogg had the celebrated race after 
Tarleton at the Cowpens. It is relat- 
ed of the younger Long that in the 
battle two British cavalrymen pursu- 
, ed him. He wheeled and sought saf e- f- 
' ty in flight: they opened fire and in 

I their hot pursuit became separated. 
Observing this, he suddenly turned 
and killed each of them successively 
with his sabre. 
* Colonel Nicholas Long's home was 
X "Quanky", in the southern end of 
Halifax town, on Quanky Creak, op- 
positeposite "The Grove." He was a 
wealthy planter, much given to hos- 
pitality: and his house was frequent- 
ed by the many prominent men who 
visited Halifax. When President 
Washington made his tour of the. 
South, he is said to have stopped 
with Colonel Long for several days 
at "Quanky." 

His first wife was Mary Reynolds, 
and his second was Mary McKinnie, 
daughter of John McK nnie, and 
granddaughter of Barnaby McKinnie, 
who represented Edgecombe County 
in the Colonial Assembly of 1734. 

By his first marriage Colonel Long t 
had two children: Gabriel Long, and 
Anne Long, who married William 
M^-tin, of Halifax. Among the de- 
scendants of William and Anne Mar- 
tin were: William H. Battle, of the. 
i Supreme Court of North Carolina, 
and Kemp Plummer Battle, president 
of the University of North Carolina. 



^ 



William Martin, 2d, a son of William 



and Anne Martin, married Betsey 
Macoa» slaughter of the Hon. Nath- 



aniel Macon, who John Randolph of 
Roanoke, said was "the most honest 
man he ever knew." 

Mrs. Ellett, in hed "Women of the 
Revolution," says of Colonel Nicho- 
las Long's second wife, Mary Mc- 
Kinnie: 

Colonel Long was commissary-gen- 
eral of all the forces raised in North 
Carolina, and superintended the pre- j 
paration in workshops, erected on 
[ his own premises, of implements of 
"war and clothing for the soldiers. His. 
wife was a most efficient cooperator 
in this business. She possessed great 
energy and firmness, with mental 
' power of no common order. Her i 
praises were the theme of conversa- . 
tion among the old officers of the| 
I army as long as any were left who 
had known her. She died at about 80 
! years of age, leaving a numerous j 
I offspring. 

Mary, a daughter of Colonel Nicho- ' 
las Long and his wife, Mary McKin- 
nie, was one of the most famous | 
beauties and belles of her day in 
North Carolina. McCree, in his "Life • 
,of Judge Iredell," gives a description j 
written by his brother, Thomas Ire-! 
dell, of the festivities which followed 
'the marriage of Mary Long to Col- J 
onel Basset Stith, of Virginia, in, 
1790: 

Thomas Iredell visited Halifax, 

j July 1790. A letter from'him gives a 
characteristic account of the gay and 
opulent borough. "The divine Miss 
Polly Long" had .iust^been marred 
to Bassett Stith, a Virginia beau. The 
nuptials were celebrated b^ twenty- 
two consecutive dinner parties in as 
many different' Souses; the dinners 
being regularly succeeded by danc-s 
and all terminated by a grand ball. 

Among the children of Colonel Bas- 
sett Stith and Mary Long were: 
Maria Stith, who married Jud"-e 
Joseph J. Daniel, one of the three! 
judges of the Supreme Court of' 
North Carolina, whose other mem- 
bers at the time were Judges Ruffin 
and Gaston; andMarthia Stith who 
I mar "ed Hon. J. r. j. DanleI> attor . 
i ney-general of , the State and for 
many years member of Congress A 
son of j. R . fc DanieI and Martha 
( Stith was General Juntas Daniel, C. 
S. A., a gallant and distinguished' of- ' 
i icer, who fell in the battle of Spott- 
sylvania^Court House, May 13, 1864. 



Judge Joseph J. Daniel was a na- 
tive of Halifax, a grandson of William 
Daniel, of Virginia, who was descend- 
ed from the Daniel family of the 
"Northern Neck" of Virginia, which i 
numbered among its members Judge ' 
Peter V. Daniel, of the Supreme 
Court of the United States, and Hon 
John Warwick Daniel, for many years 
United States Senator from Virginia 
One of Judge Joseph J. Daniels 
grandsons is Hon. George Gordon 
Battle, the eminent New York lawyer 
Judge Daniel lived in the town of 
Halifax, and had a country place 
"Burncourt," in the county He a- 
chieved great distinction in his early 
manhood, and was one of the most 
bnlhant lawyers of the State. He was 
a member of the House of Commons 
for a number of years, was appointed 
judge of the Superior Court in 1816 
1 and in 1832 was elevated to the su- 
preme bench, which position he held 
until his death in 1848. 

He was a man of great simplicity 
and many stories are told of his art- 

!???.!!• ° ne Who knew him we " said 

inat the most ordinary details of his 

farm were Dutch to him," and that 

he could not even plant a row of 

corn." Another said that he was kind 

and charitable and was accustomed to 

send around his servants with meal 

and meat to his indigent neighbors. 

to his time it was no reflection upon 

a Man » to take a drink" with a 

friend; and whenever he did Judge 

Daniel always insisted on paying for 

ids own drink. 

Chief Justice Ruffin said of him at 

the time of his death: 

"Judge Dainel served his country 
through, a period of nearly thirty-two 
years acceptably, ably and faithfully. 
He had a love of learning, an inquir- 
ing mind and a memory uncommonly 
tenacious; and he had acquired and 
retained a stock of varied and exten- 
sive knowledge, and especially be- 
came well versed in the history and 
principle* of the law. He was without 
arrogance or ostentation, even of his 
learning, had the most unaffected 
and charming simplicity and mildness 
of manner, and no other purpose in 
office than to 'execute justice and 
maintain truth'; and, therefore, he 
was patient in hearing argument la- 
borious and calm in investigation 
candid and instructive in consultation' 
and impartial and firm in decision." ' 

Among the earlier notable citizens 
of Halifax was John Branch, who was 
educated at the State University 
where he was a fellow-tudent and as- 
sociate of Thomas H. Benton, who 
was in the United States Senate 
when Branch was Secretary of the 
Navy in President Jackson's Cabinet 
During Branch's incumbency of this 
office occurred the famous episode 
of the disruption of Jackson's Cabi- 
net over Mrs. Eaton. 



Soon after his entrance upon his 1 
second term as Senator, he was tend- 
|ered by President Jackson the port- 
. folio of Secretary of the Navy, which 
hi } accepted. John H. Eaton, at that 
it) me living in Tennessee, but a na- 
|t Ive of Halifax County, was made 
/Secretary of War. Thus there was 
[ the singular coincidence of two nati- 1 
ives of Halifax County being in the 
I President Cabine^atjthe same time. I 
I None of the other citiWof Hali-' 
I J" Count y ^er held so many honor- 
able positions as John Branch h c 
was at different times member'of the, 
I Genera (Assembly, Governor of he 
Unit'd ^ p ^ en ta «ve in Congress, 
United States Senator, Secretary of 
the Navy, and Governor of Florida. | 

Hf was a man of incoruptible in- 
tegrity .and a high order of ability 
with an indomitable wM-paw*r and 
great urbanity. ' • 

He died at Enfield, January 4 1863 

rtTown bUriedintheCemet ^ ne - 

Another Virginia-born citizen of 
Halifax was Governor Hutchings G. 
Burton, the place of whose nativity 
was Mecklenburg County in South- 
side, Virginia. His father, John Bur- 
ton, was a soldier in the Revolution- 
ary War. The son was educated at 
the Williamsboro Academy and the 
University of North Carolina, and 
studied law under Judge Henderson. 

In 1810, he was elected Attorney- 
General of the State, and held the of- 
fice until 181G, when heresigned. Af- 
ter representing Mecklenburg Coun- 
ty, North Carolina, for two terms in 
the Legislature, on a visit to a former 
schoolmate, Willie Jones, Jr., he met 
Sarah, the youngest daughter of Wil-1 
lie Jones, of "The Grove," and sister 
of his friend, and married her. He im- 
mediately became a resident of Hali- 
fax, where he continued t& practice 
law. He lived at "The Grove," and 
represented Halifax in the North Car- 
olina Legislature in 1817. In 1819, he 
was elected to Congress, and eoryed 
two terms. 

In 1825, he was elected Governor 
cf the fJtate, and was instrumental 
in tne ultimate establishment C .i 
F/3tem of public schools. In 1826, he 
was nominated by President John 
Quincy Adams as Governor of the 
Territory of Arkansas, but the nom- 
ination was never confirmed by the 
Senate. 

Governor Burton was an eloquent 
orator and an able debator. He had 
a summer home in the western part 
of Halifax County, known as "Rocky 
Hill," near Ringwood and 20 miles 
from Halifax. It is now owned i._, 
the estate of the late George Kant 
man, the Kodak magnate. Here hc 
was residing at the time oi hi.: 
death, which occurred on a journey 
to Texas, where he owned proper- 
ty. On his way to Texas he visited 
a cousin in Lincoln County, and 
stopping at the "Wayside Inn" to 
sp°nd the night, suddenly became ill 
and died in a few hours on April 
21, 1836. He was buried in Unity 
churchyard in that county. 



A prominent citizen of Mali tax 
was John B. Ashe, who has been do- 
scribed as "a determined son of li- 
berty." He was a captain in the 
Revolutionary Army at the early age 
of nineteen, fought under General 
Greene, and was lieutenant-colonel 
at the battle of Eutaw. He was 
elected a member of the Continental 
Congress in 17n7 and served irtiGH 
1788. He wa.s again n mcmln i 
Congress from 1790 to 1703, and 
was elected Governor of the State 
in 1S02, but died before his quali- 
fication for the office. 

Willis Alston, Jr., an ardent fol- 
» lower of Thomas Jefferson, was a 
: -native and resident of Halifax Coun-'j 
,.ty. He was elected a member of 
: Congress in 1709, and held the of- 
| fice until 1815, when he retired. He 
;iwas again elected in 1815, and served 
until 1831. For many years he was 
. ■ a member of the North Carolina Log- 
I islature, where he occupied a com- 
manding position and greatly in- 
'I fluenced legislation. 

John Haywood was a resident of 
Halifax. He was a distinguished 
lawyer and was Attorney-General of 
the State and a judge of the Superior 
Court. He was the earliest reporter 
of the State and the author of a 
"Manual of the Laws of North Caro- 
lina" and Haywood's "Justice." He 
subsequently moved to Tennessee, 
and wrote "A History of Tennessee." 
He was a leading . lawyer of Tennes- 
see and became a judge of the Su- 
preme Court of that State, holding 
the office at the time of his death 
in 1826. 

John R. J. Daniel was a native of 
Halifax, where he spent the larger 
part of his Lie. He was an able law- 
yer and was a member of the State 
Legislature for several terms, and 
Attorney-General from 1834 to 1841, 
when he was ..elected to Congress, 
serving until 1851. He was a vigor- 
ous and fearless speaker and debat- 
•r; and Thomas H. Benton, in his 
Thirty Years," quotes from several 
>li his speeches and accords him 
raise for his forensic powers. Af- 
Ler his first lerm in Congress, he 
nought a plantation in Caddo Parish, 
: .ouisiana, on the Red River, some 
twenty miles above Shreveport, where 
he spent much of his later life, and 
died there in 1868. He was a cousin 
of Judge Joseph J. Daniel, and mar- 
ried successively two of the sisters 
of Judge Daniel's wife, Maria Stith, 
./ho were daughters of Colonel Bas- 
. ett Stith and his wife, "the divine 
I'olly Long." He was the father oi 
< ieneral Junius Daniel, C. S. A., who 
was killed in the battle of Spottsyi- 
vania Court House. 

There are many other names of dis- 
.inguished residents and citizens oi 
the county and tqwn of Halifax, 
./hose careers adorn the history o. 
heir locality and of the State 
Among Eheni irthoioruew i 

Moore-, able lawyer and All. .n.-. 
General; ColoneJgiAndrcw .loyne, 
prominent in the pontics of the coun- 
ty for many years, a soldier in the 
War of 1812, a business man of dis- 
tinction, president of the Roanoke 
Navig-ation Company, which operated 
the first ateamboat on the Roanoke, 



j and president of the Weldon & Ports- | 
mouth R. R., which afterwards be- 1 
I came the Seaboard; his second wife' 
> as the widow of Governor Ilutch- 
in «' ; <: - ' "tfneral l.awren<«» 

O'Bryan BPhnch, brigadier-gen^rST 
in the Confederate States Army ' 
president of the Raleigh and Gaston 
Railroad, member of Congress from 
( the Raleigh District, serving until 
18G1, when he resigned at the pros- 
pect of North Carolina's secession,, 
receiving upon his retirement from 
Congress the tender from President 
Buchanan of the Secretaryship of 
the Treasury, which he declined; 
and falling in battle at Sharpsburg: 
Colonel Francis M. Parker, gallant 
soldier of the Confederacy, who after 
participating in many battles of the 
War Between the States was desper- 
ately wounded at Spottsylvania and 
incapacitated for further service; Spier j 
Whitaker, lather and son - the father f 
an Attorney-General of the State, who , 
removed before the war to Iowa — 
the son a Confederate soldier, who | 
served in the ranks of the Confede- 
rate Army, participated in many ot 
its battles, and remained steadfast 
and faithful until the end at Appo- 
mattox, becoming after the war chair- 
man of the State Democratic Execu- 
tive Committee, and Superior Court 
Judge; Walter N. Allen, who after 
practicing law in Halifax, removed 
in 1857 to Kansas, where he achieved 
great reputation as a stalwart Demo- 
crat, and as editor of the "Topeka 
Democrat"; Edward Comgland, born 
in Ireland, an able and prominent law- 
yer, and counsel for Governor Holden 
in his impeachment trial; and Thomas. 
N. Hill, of State-wide reputation as 
a lawyer, with an extensive practice 
in the State and Federal courts, whose 
daughter of Col. Nicholas McKinnie 
.second wife was Mary Amis Long, 
Long, of Weldon. 

Eoth of the two brigadier-generals 
from Halifax, General Lawrence O'- 
Bryan Branch and General Junius 
Daniel, were killed in battle in the 
War Between the States. 

General Daniel was the youngest of 
the three sons of Hon. J. R. J. Daniel. 
His two elder brothers died in early 
manhood. His mother was Martha 
Stith, daughter of Col. Bassett Stith, 
of Halifax, and his wife, Mary Long. 
He was a lineal descendant of John 
Stith, the immigrant to Virginia, who 
espoused the cause of Nathaniel Ba- 
con, the" younger, in his famous "Re- 
bellion" in Virginia in 1676; and his 
earliest ancestor on the distaff side 
was Mary Randolph, daughter of Wil- 
liam Randolph, of Turkey Island, Vir- 
ginia, who was the progenitor of Ed- 
mund Randolph, Thomas Jefferson, 
John Marshall and Robert E. Lee. 
General Daniel's descent on the Ran- 
dolph and Stith side was also through 
the Burvells and Bassetts, of Vir- 
ginia, who were ancestors of the 
two Harrison Presidents of the 
United States. 

General Junius Daniel was appoint- 
ed, in 1846, to the cadetship in the 
Military Academy at West Point, 
from which he graduated in 1852, and 
was stationed for five years at Fort 
Albuquerque, New Mexico. Resigning 



commission in the army at his 
lather's solicitation, he became a 
planter, taking charge of his father's 
plantation on Red River. He married, 
m October, 1860, Eden, daughter of 
Colonel John J. Long, of Northamp- 
ton County, North Carolina, and up- 
on tne beginning of hostilities be- 
tween the North and South, returned 
to his native State and entered the 
service of the Confederacy. He was 
successively colonel of the Fourth, 
(fourteenth and Forty-fifth regiments 
ind was commissioned finally a brig-, 
' lier-general in 1S62. After partici- 
pation in various battles, th > troops 
.inder his command took part in the 
tattle of Gettysburg, where General 
.<(• accorded him the high praise of 
tying: "General Daniel, your troops 
shaved aJmirably and they were a<l- 
nirably handled." On May 11, 1864, 
ae was killed in battle at Spottsyl- 
vania Court House, while leading hi: 
brigade in a charge. He was buried in 
the old Colonial Chureuyard at Hali- 
fax, and a monument to his memory 
was, alter many yea.1 
eeritly there by tne patriotic Daugh- 
ters of the Confederacy. 

Mrs. Daniel died in Henderson June 
24, 1932, and is buried in the Colonial 
Churchyard at Halifax by the side of 
her husband. 

Many interesting and rqmantic leg- 
ends and stories are connected with 
the early history of Halifax, among 
them being that of the Crowdls. Xwt 
members of the family of Oliver 
Cromwell emigrated from England to 
New Jersey after the restoration, of 
the Stuarts, and thence to Halifax 
where they settled. Wheeler, in his 
"History of North Carolina," says: 

They fled from England, from the 
political storms that impended over 
the name and house of the late Pro- 
tector. 

While on the voyage, fearing that 
persecution would follow from the 
adherents of Charles II, then on the 
English throne, they resolved to 
change the name. This was done with 
solemn ceremony, and by writing 
their names each on paper and each 
cutting from the paper the "m" and 
casting it in the sea. 

The family pedigree on vellum, re- 
cording these facts, was with the 
family in North Carolina in an orna- 
mental chest with other valuables, 
when by a party of Tarleton's Legion, 
in 1781, this chest was seized and 
taken off. These facts are undoubted. 
The record was again made up from 
the recollections of the family, and 
is still preserved among them. From 
one of them these interesting and 
urious facts are derived. 
Here ,in the quiet retreats of North 
Carolina, the aspiring blood of Crom- 
well found repose, and in the peace- 
ful precincts of Halifax, the exquisite 
poetry of Gray was fully realized: 
Some village Hampden, who with 
dauntless breast 
The petty tyrant of his fields 
withstood, 
Some mute inglorious Milton here 
may rest, 
Some Cromwell guiltless of his 
country's blood. 
. Although, during the four years of 
the War Between the States from 



1861 to 1865, no part of Halifax 
County was occupied by Federal 
troops, memories still linger there of 
the story of its navy yard in a corn- 
ncl.l and of the construction from 
i agre materials of the Confederate 
ram, "Albemarle," which was built 
tnd launched on the Roanoke River 
in 1801 for service against the Fed- 
eral forces and ships in and about 
Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. 

The builder of the "Albemarle" was 
Peter Evans Smith of Scotland Neck- 
Wdliam II. Smith, his brother, of 
'Scotland Neck, was in charge of sup- 
plies and material ,and Gilbert Elliott 
of Elizabeth City, ag-d 19, was the 
contractor and in charge of finances. 
The utmost ingenuity was required 
of the builder, for he was called upon 
to invent a twist to bore the holes 
in the iron to be used as armor in 
I order to facilitate the work. The plans 
and specifications were prepared by 
John L. Porter, chief constructor of 
the Confederate Navy, who with Cap- 
tain John M. Brooke, had designed 

and built the famous iron-clad, "Vir- 
ginia", from the United States frigate 
"Merrimac", that fought the great 
sea fight was the "Monitor" in Hamp- 
; ton Roads. 

I Peter Evans Smith and Gilbert 
j Elliott married sisters of Thomas N. 
Hill, of Halifax. 

Elliott said in his report to the 
authorities, subsequently published in 
. Vol. V. of the "North Carolina Regi- 
mental Histories" : 

During the spring of 1863, having 
r been previously engaged in unsuccess- 
ful efforts to construct war vessels 
of one sort or another, for the Con- 
federate Gove-nment, at one point or 
another in Eastern North Carolina 
and Virginia, I undertook a contract 
with the Navy Department to build 
| an iron-clad gunboat, intended if ever 
i, completed, to operate on the waters 
of Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. 
i Edwards Ferry on the Roanoke River, 
in Halifax County, North Carolina, 
t about 30 miles below the town of 
iWeldon, was fixed upon as the most 
suitable for the purpose. The river 
rises and falls as is well known, and 
it was necessary to locate the yard 
on ground free from overflow to ad- 
mit of uninterrupted work for at 
least twelve months. No vessel was 
ever constructed under more adverse 
circumstances. The shipyard was es- 
j tablished in a cornfield, where the 
ground had already been marked out 
and planted for the coming crop; but 
the owner of the land, W. R. Smith, 
Esq., was in hearty sympathy with 
the eiHerpri.se ,and aided me then and 
afterwards in a thousand ways to ac- 
complish the end I had in view. It 
was next to impossible to obtain the 
machinery suitable for the work in 
hand. Here and there, scattered a- 
;bout the surrounding county, a port- 
Sole sawmill, blacksmith's forge or 
[Other apparatus was found, however, 
j and the citizens of the neighborhoods 
Ion both sides of the river were not 
| slow to render me assistance, but co- 
operated cordially in the completion 
of the iron-clad, and at the end of 
about a year from the laying oi the 
keel, during which innumerable dif- 



.ipplica 
cessanl 
crowne 



by (constant 

effort and m- 

ind night, sun ess 

ta>rts of those engaged 



in the undertak 

Seizing an opportunity offered by 
:omparatively high water., the boat 
was launched^ not without misgivings 
is to the result, lor the yard being 
m a bluff, she hat! to .take a jump, 
ind a; a matter of fact was "hog- 
ged" in th ■ attempt; but to our great 
"ratification did not thereby spring 
.. l^alv **&" 

The diti.iulu. of the iron-clad 
■ •■ reached the 
I the river. Commander 
. is in charge. She was still 
-he.i. Having obtained two 
auns and twenty men, and 

.laced on bqard ten portable forges 
,-ilh n amn.ers Cook ■ 

darted on his lown the river 

is a floating workshop. "Naval his- 
.a, "affords no 
larkable evidence of patriotic 
zeal and individual perseverance." 
'Captain, .John N. Matfitt. of the Con- 
federate >* av ' iP llic con " 
tinuatior. ol the stl ' I 

On thr turtle-back ih# wrote in 
his "Reminiscences",), numerous 
stages w' erc suspended, thFonged with 
sailors v violdin S' huge sled, 
mers. t/P on the pilot-house stood 
Capt. C oo] ^ - £ ivm S' directions. Some- 
of the c« rew were being exercis 
one of th* 2 bi & & uns - "Drive in Spike 
No. 10! " - saa 8" .°ut the commander.' 
, "On nut below and screw up! Invert 
'and sponge. Load with cartridge!" 
'was the nexC. command. "Drive in 
| No. 11, port-SK le '— so! " "°n nut and 
'screw up hard! v - L^ 1 with shells— 
! prime!" And in'\ thi s seeming babel 
! of words the floating monster glided 
by. 

After an active '".drill at the guns, 
an aide was dispatched to sound the 
: obstructions placed J n the river by 
| the enemy. He return?** at midnight 
and reported f avorab1y, v t'pon which 
all hands were called and soon the 
steamer was under way. 

Soon that dull leaden ,'concussion 
which to practiced ears .<4enotes a 
heavy bombardment broke upon the 
ear, and ere long by the dawn's early 
light the spires of Plymouth greeted 
the sight. 

It was at 3 A. M. on the 19th of 
April, 1864, when the "Albemarle" 
passed in safety over the river ob- 
structions, and received without reply 
a furious storm of shot from the 
fort at Warren's Neck. Instantly 
grasping the situation, amid the 
I cheers of his crew, Cooke made for 
the Federal gunboat; that were 
chained together in tl-.e rear of Fort 
; Willitrms, guarding it.i flank, and 
! dashed nine feet of hs prow i:do the 
! "Southfield," delivering at tr ■ same 
time a broadside into the "Miami", 
killing and wounding many of her 
crew. Among the killed was number- 
ed her commander, the brilliant 
Flussor. In ten minutes the "South- 
field" was at the bottom, the prow 
of the ram still clinging to her and 
exciting for a few moments serious 
apprehensions for the safety of the 
"Albemarle." However, she was soon 
disentangled, and being released from 



(the downward pressure was fiercely 
pursuing the enemy, who wore- finally 
driven out of the river. 

The next day the Confederate 
forces under General Hoke carried ' 
the Federal defences of Plymouth by 
storm, captured the own, andt took j 
storm, captured the town, and took \ 
Tho iron-clad, built in the cornfield 
of Halifax County, had performed a! 
j prominent part in the sanguinary 
j and brilliant capture of Plymouth. 
Some months later, after various 

j othoi ments with the Federal 

[vessels, the 

near the mouth of the Roanoke an 
enemy fleet of seven vessels. 

^a terrific battle of four hours, in 
y/hich bar smokestack was riddled 
and she was otherwise crippled at 

(the cost of great losses to the ' 
als, she put back to Plymouth, and 
j lay almost a wreck until the night 
of October 27, 18G4, when she was 
torpedoed and sunk by the intrepid 
Lieutenant William B. Cushing, of the 
United States Navy. 

Mr. James C. Hill, aged 18, was ! 
a midshipman on the "Albemarle." 

In the enterprise Cushing's own 
boat was swamped by the rush of the 
water, and of his thirteen officers 
and men all but himself and one 
other were either shot, drowned or 
made prisoners. 

The "Albemarle" was raised by the 
Federals in April, 1865, and an Ad- 
miralty Court appraised her value at 
$282,856, of which $79,954 was dis- 
tributed among the men who de- 
stroyed her. 

The battle-battered smokesack of 
the "Albemarle" is now in the 
museum of the Historical Commission 
at Raleigh. 

Albemarle Tablet at Edward's 
Ferry Bridge unveiled Wednesday 
April 20, 1927. Twin granddaughters 
of the late Peter Evans Smith, Build- 
er of the Confederate Ram "Albe- 
marle" drew aside the cords holding 
a Confederate Flag, displaying the 
tablet to the view of the assembled 
crowd. 

Authorities 

County Records of Halifax County. 

Wheeler's "History of North Caro- 
lina" (1851). 

Col. Cadwallader Jones' "A Gen- 
ealogical History" (1900). 

W. C. Allen's "History of Halifax 
i County" (1918). 

Thomas H. Benton's "Thirty 
Years in the United States Senate." 

Landon C. Bell's "Sunlight on the 
Southside" (1931). 

Claude G. Bowers' "Jefferson and 
Hamilton: The Struggle for Democ- 
j racy in America" (1925). 

"North Carolina Regimental His- 
' tories," Vol. V. 

j J. T. Scharf's "History of the Con- 
federate States Navy" (1887). 
J John N. Maffitt's "Reminiscences 
! of the Confederate States Navv" 

;U887). 

* THE END 

a series of historical 
I sketches of Halifax County, writ- 
ten by the late Dr. Armistead C. 
Gordon and reprinted through 
arrangement with the American 
Historical society, original pub- 
lishers. 



OLD WELDON 



Happenings 33 Years Ago 
In Weldon And Vicinity. 

June 12, 1890.-Mr. J. H. 
McG;e lost a fine horse one day 
last week. He had been tied oui 
to graze and became entangled in 
the rope and broke his neck. 

The following have been elected 
officers of Roanoke Lodge No. 
203, A.- F. & A. M. for the ensu- 
ing year: 

W. T. Whitfield— W. M. 

W. H. Brown- S. W. 

E. Clark-J. W. 

H. S. S. Cooper— Secretary. 

J. T. Evans — Treasurer. 
„~ 

Mr. W. E Daniel and the Rev. 
W. B. Morion left this week 10 
attend the commencement exer- 
cises of Wake Forest College. 

Misses Susie and Mamie Tim 
berlake, of Raleigh, are visiting 
relatives in town. 

Miss Kate Taylor Prescott, who 
has been attending schuol at Lynch- 
burg, Va., returned home Monday 
to the delight of her many friends. 

Miss Laura Powers, who has 
been visiting friends in Richmond 
and Petersburg, returned home 
Monday. 

Major T. L. Emry is attending 
a meeting of the Board of Peniten- 

tiars Directors at Raleigh. 
mail 
On Thursday last a party of cap 
italists visited this place to exam 
ine into the feasibility of building a 
second canal about three miles 
above town on the Moore farm. 
They rode out to the locality and 
were out there several hours. The 
party returned to town and were 
handsomely erueriai el at dinner 
After dinner a bu-inc.-.s meeting 
was held and nothing that took 
place has been given out for publi 
cation. 



At Grace church, this place, on 
Wednesday evening, the 1 1 th insi 
the Rev. W. L. Mellichampe, rec- 
tor, officiating, Mr. Andrew J 
Campbell was united in marriage 
to Miss Lucy, daughter of Gavin 
H. Clark, Esq. 

The attendants entered as fol- 
lows, preceeded by the ushers 
Messrs. W. M. Cohen and O. W.' 
Pierce: Miss Mary Long Green, 
flower girl; S. B. Pierce and Miss 
(-Jennie Capell; Ernest L. Hay ward 
amd Miss Annie Lou Stainback; C. 
R. Emry and Miss Kate Gary; C. 
G. Evans and Miss Mabel Zolli- 
coffer; James W. Howard and 
Miss Ellen Faucett; John J. Long 
and Miss Fannie Clark. 



Miss Mabel Zollicoffer left Friday 
for a visit to Miss Arrington in 
Warrenton.