C[|nilier0itp of JI3ott|) Carolina
Collection ot il3ortf) Catoliniana
ftom tl)e Eiftrarj? of
UNIVERSITY OF N C. AT CHAPEL HILL
This book is due on the last date stamped
below unless recalled sooner. It may be
renewed only once and must be brought to
the North Carolina Collection for renewal.
Form No. A-369
A Sketch and Letters
Descriptive of Life in Person County
in Former Days
By Alexander R. Foushee
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A Sketch and Letters Descriptive
of Life in Person County
in Former Days
By ALEXANDER R. FOUSHEE
ROXBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
THE SEEMAN PRINTERY
Durham, N. C.
To the Men and Women of Person County; to those old
friends who hax'e wrought and toiled and grozvn old along
with me; and to the younger generation, the sturdy offspring
of old acquaintances of mine, with the sunlight of youth
iyi their faces and the love of native soil in their hearts;
I dedicate zvith affection these rambling notes of an old
The past always has its interest whether it is the history
of a nation or of a village. The old inhabitant likes to tell
that he remembers when the place where that block of stores
stands was a cornfield, or the site of that factory, a frog
pond; and the people laugh and say, "The old man is
trotting out his frog pond again." But he will always have
listeners. A few years ago I wrote a letter to the Roxboro
Courier giving some reminiscences of the early days of our
town. It was so kindly received that subsequently I wrote
other letters until I had covered almost the whole period
of the town's later life. I had no thought that these letters
would ever be published in book form, and it is now being
done because of requests of many friends.
The letters as published are not in the exact order in
which they were written, as will appear from the dates they
bear, but are rearranged so as to follozv more consecutively
the times they describe, ivhile parts of some of them have
been omitted as not being of historical nature.
No claim is made that they have any great historic value
except so far as a little account of the people and doings
of a small community may be of worth. I shall be happy if
this little volume proves of any pleasure and interest to my
old friends or their children.
Alexander Rountree Foushee.
AN OCTOGENARIAN SKETCH
An old man's memory lingers lovingly in the past. The
faces of the boys and girls he knew as child and youth
smile kindly and merrily to him out of the days that are
no more, and he holds communion with them more famil-
iarly than with the friends of later years. How clear and
distinct the picture comes of that far day when I played as
a child on the clean white sandy yard of my father with
my brothers and sisters. In all there were eleven of us and
I was near the middle, some older, some younger.
We lived on a fair-sized plantation of some 450 acres,
on a beautiful ridge in what is now Bushy Fork Town-
ship of Person county, North Carolina. There were some
negro slaves ; but I remember that the real slave there
was my mother "cumbered about much serving." She
was ever busy, so busy at times that I really seem to
have seen her little. And what with child-bearing and
child-rearing and the multitudinous duties of the farm
and home the candle of her life early burned out. I
was but 13 years old when we laid her dear form in
the grave but a few yards from the house. She was
Frances Rountree, born and reared in Little River Town-
ship in Orange county. Her world included little more than
the neighborhood where she spent her years as girl, wife
and mother; for few traveled far beyond the environs of
I think with genuine pride of my father, Adnah Camp-
bell Foushee. It may be that he knew and thought little how
to approach familiarly to his children ; we might possibly
appear to him as incidents to the life he lived ; for parents of
my acquaintance then knew nothing of the modern idea of
deliberate companionship of parent and child. Children
were to be fed, clothed, sent to school, taught to work and
to obey implicitly. Sentiment had little place. Besides, the
world then was young — at least in Bushy Fork, — and my
lather's farm was a secluded part of earth. The sounds of
that big, far away world with its cities and its crowded
haunts of men were but faint echoes there ; the hand of
governmental authority seldom intruded and my father
was in a small way a patriarch. To his own family he was
authority and protector; even the necessities of life were
nearly all the products of himself, his family and his farm.
And like him were his neighbors. They lived not near
enough to hear each other's dogs bark.
But though I never was close to my father as a child,
I know now, as I did not then, that he wrought well.
What he accomplished came of his own powers, his own
character. Religious, though never a church member,
he called his children about him Sundays, read the Bible
and under his leading all sang hymns, those hymns that
led the way of Puritan Christianity into the wilderness
of the New World. He was honest, pitilessly honest to
all except to himself ; for he gave more than the measure
pressed down and running over, and he often labored
for others without pay because he would not ask pay.
Simple in his life ; modest, almost shunning the world ;
really affected by attention of others, as a remembered
incident of a candidate for office marking him for atten-
tion recalls to me ; yet stern almost to harshness in re-
quirements of uprightness in his children. He was withal
quite competent to look after himself for by his own efforts
he accumulated a good estate, reared and modestly educated
his children and avoided those uncertain ventures that so
often dragged men into financial losses. If in my early
years I failed, perhaps, to understand him, and if he failed
then to demonstrate affection to me, I am glad that in his
later years he quietly indicated a certain pride in me, and I
know now the fine qualities of the silent, yet level-headed
man; for I believe no act of his ever was unworthy a good
man. He died in 1887. full of years, four score and six,
and he sleeps beside my mother.
Simple was the life into which I was first ushered back
in 1839; crude were the implements of civilization. Food
and clothing were the outcome chiefly of home industry;
life's needs were few and easily supplied; field and forest
about my home were ignorant of sound of the steam whistle ;
the nearest railroad was many tens of miles away ; the
school house was a log hut of one room and the Blue Back
Speller was a high mark in literature ; the arrival of a
stranger in the neighborhood was an event like a visitor
from another world; of books there were few, and indeed
little needed; for there were the Bible, Fox's Book of
Martyrs; and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; while nature
with her book of fields, forest and seasons, her snow storms
and her freshets ever called one to read ; the teeming world
beyond with cities and men was all but unknown and the
noises of the world of business and of politics in State and
nation drifted into that community planted in the woods
like spent echoes.
The world was small, must be small ; from the highest
hill top, one could see on a clear day almost, perhaps, to its
utmost limits and those who had journeyed far away out of
the community, going fifty, one hundred or possibly two
hundred miles surely must have gotten nearly to the bound-
ary. Such were my childish ideas.
At seven years I made my entry into school, a little log
building that stood over on the edge of my father's farm.
Here were the neighbor boys and girls, most of whom I
knew. Among them was the determined little brown-eyed
girl who years after became my wife. Her father owned
the farm adjoining my father's and his home sat upon the
opposite hill two miles away. James O. Bradsher, of happy
memory, taught the school. The school world about me was
strange, and I eagerly sought knowledge here where doubt-
less it was scanty enough, but the teacher was sincere and
earnest. The school room was crowded with live young
folks and the teacher's task was to keep them busy. If his
method of doing this was to make them all study aloud so
that the hum of voices as from a bee hive was heard many
yards from the school, this was because the teacher was
following custom as his guide. Teaching then was not a
science nor even an art. North Carolina had already then
an established public school system but no schools for
teachers had been conceived ; furthermore all my teachers
were male and one would have been considerd silly to sug-
gest that the best teacher of the child is a woman. The
patrons of the community looked around for a youth of
character who wrote a good hand and gave him the job of
teaching their children.
This my first teacher, James O. Bradsher, was a fine
type of young man, intelligent, sympathetic and of sturdy
character. I held his friendship through the years and as my
first wife was his niece he was often a welcome visitor in
my house. He lived to a great age, a good, gray old man,
friend and counsellor of his neighbors, a sweet-spirited
Christian, the head of a splendid family of sons and daugh-
ters. The impression he made upon my tender years has
continued through my whole life. School sessions were
brief, chiefly in the season when there was no farm work.
Teacher followed teacher in quick succession.
My sixth teacher was my own brother, James. My
memory loves to rest upon this kindly serious forward-look-
ing young fellow with the gleam of ambition and hope m
his eyes. To me he was like Reuben, with a sort of solic-
itious thought of his young brothers, such as was manifest
to Joseph and Benjamin, sons of Israel. With decided
tendencies toward the student, he made some name in the
neighborhood. Later he attended the school of Samuel W.
Hughes at Cedar Grove in Orange county where he soon
became assistant teaclicr. In 1855, at twenty-cic^ht years of
age, he passed away, a victim of typhoid fever. Narrow
the confines of the world into which he was born ; limited
his opportunities ; far from the stimulating influence of
cities and educational centers ; yet it is easy to bcHeve that
his sturdy determination and character would have broken
the barriers of an almost frontier life and made him leader
Typhoid fever that carried him ofT swept through all
my father's family and the same year took my brother, Ad-
dison and even the bright young doctor, Samuel Jacobs,
who ministered to the family at this time. It was no un-
usual thing for whole families to be almost blotted out by
its blight. Medical science and the laboratory had not then
learned the secret of the germ; nor how to fight and con-
quer typhoid. Religion and the pulpit afforded only the sad
consolation that "It Was God's Hand." Many a young
man and young woman of those early days who carried the
possibilities of fine citizenship, whose intellect and char-
acter would have adorned our State and enriched our so-
ciety were lost through this fell disease.
The most far-reaching event of my early life came in my
fourteenth year when at Mr. Green D. Satterfield's request
of my father for one of his boys to work in his store I
was selected and was thrust at this tender age into the
midst of strangers at the village of Roxboro, which sat
upon the rugged hills in the center of the county. Here
was the court house and whatever currents of the outside
world swept into this hilly, secluded country eddied in the
village. It saw the visiting judge and lawyer from other
towns ; the preacher had knowledge of far-ofif places ; trade
and business brought thither all the county to exchange
ideas and commodities; the slave dealer from "down south"
stopped over occasionally, and the stage coach every other
day or so with the noise of horses' hoofs and bugle and
shouts of the driver plunged through the village pausing
long enough to snatch refreshing food and drink and to
afford sight of strange passenger faces. So difTerent it was
from the quiet farm in the forest-covered hills nine miles
away, with its simple life and brother and sister play-
My father brought me to the village on a Sunday, Jan-
uary 31, 1853, and returned the same day, little knowing the
homesick heart he left behind. Clad in my coarse home-
spun and visibly bewildered, I easily became the victim of
the thoughtless teasing of the boys of the town. When one
boy older and larger pushed me in derision to the ground
I unhappily felt that no one was more wretched. Soon,
however, came adjustments to the new surroundings and kind
hearts arose to restore the even balance of thought. My
mind quickly became alive to the sights and faces of this
new and, to me, pulsing world, and its people and events
were indelibly photographed on my young memory and I
soon came to know nearly all the people of the county.
Two and a half years had passed quickly in the service of
Mr. Satterfield when I, too, in the fateful year of 1855, con-
tracted typhoid fever and returned to my home. After six
months of sickness and recuperation I resumed my work
of merchant and clerked for J. A. Lunsford & Brother, at
High Hill in Person county, for about three years until
1859, when I entered school at Leasburg. The next few
years carried me through many changes, farmer at the
old home, clerk in Roxboro in the store of Hamlin & Hunt,
deputy postmaster and, finally, soldier.
The decades of the 50's following the Mexican War car-
rying for me personally so many changes seems now, as
I look back on it, quiet and uneventful enough in Person
county. Nationally it was marked by great political discus-
sion and the noise of those great constitutional debates
thundered across the whole country ; but in our secluded
country life tlie reapers reaped in the summer's sun, the fall
gathered its crops and the winter drew the family circle
about the log fire ; there was little or no industrial or com-
mercial progress, one felt that all things would be always
the same and no one desired a change. Yet surely there
was a deep undercurrent of restlessness ; social and indus-
trial life was stagnating, and young men were listening with
credulity to the whispers of the West, the call of opportunity-
Here, they said, the land was worn out ; there lands were
fertile and fresh and cheap. Scarcely a week passed but
word came that some one of our neighbors had gone to
Texas ; there was a growing tendency to leave North Car-
olina for the big cotton farms and ranches of Texas and
the Western States. This desire to seek new opportunities
entered my father's home. First, my brother John, in 1856,
turned westward to Texas and Colorado where he spent the
rest of his life among those hardy sons of America who
subdued the West. Thomas, in 1857, went to a Ten-
nessee town, where a stranger and without money
he purchased at $10,000.00 a tract of land and
sold it the same day for a profit, and later went on to
Texas where he speculated successfully in seed oats until
the war called him to arms. Next, went Harvey in 1859, to
Texas, where he was overseer of a cotton farm for one
year, but the second year brought him home again.
Strange are the mutations of time. Of those Person
boys who obeyed the Western call, many found the for-
tunes they sought, a few did not. It has been my lot to
greet in later years many of these wanderers returned,
myself almost their only surviving acquaintance and hear
their wondering exclamations at what marvels of progress
time has brought to North Carolina and to our county.
The five years beginning 1860 were for my native South
a period of feverish excitement which penetrated to the re-
motest sections. At first, by the fireside, at the school, at
church, wherever neighbors met, there was much talk of
Constitution, of State's Rights, of Slavery, of coercion
and of resistance to the "arrogance of the North." To
most, it seemed an easy task to meet any invasion and to
defend Southern soil ; but for some few there were concealed
doubts and fears. And then came the rumor followed by
the undoubted truth of Fort Sumter taken, Lincoln's call
for troops in the North and the call to arms in the South
to maintain freemen's rights ; and the whole land was swept
into red war.
Light-hearted boys, who had played their school-boy
pranks, pulled the girls' hair and locked out the teacher,
now put on their accoutrements of war, said farewell to
heavy-hearted mothers and serious fathers, and went forth
to battle. My father and his neighbors yielded their sons,
and the farms were left with the old men and the women and
the negroes — negroes who were the innocent cause of the
deadly strife but who, to their everlasting praise, were true
to their masters and faithful for four years to their trust.
My brother, Haywood, enlisted at the first call and fol-
lowed the path of duty steadfast until, with his great leader,
he laid down his arms at Appomattox and returned un-
scathed to take up again in 1865 the noble task of tilling
the soil. Another brother, Legrande, died in an army hos-
pital near Charlottesville and his dust mingles with the soil
of Virginia. Still another, Harvey, died of wounds in an
army hospital in Wilson, N. C, while my brother Thomas,
volunteering at the beginning of the war in Texas, died
of fever in a few weeks ; my brother, John, joined the
colors in the West and came unhurt through the fires of
war. I, too, was called into the government service and
served in the conscripting office and in other capacities
until near the war's close I was placed in the line and sent
with other troops to the defense of Fort Fisher. Many
of our neiglibor boys fell ; many returned without leg or
arm or otherwise maimed.
The relentless hand of war swept away one-half of an
entire generation of strong men. Inch by inch a proud
people were beaten back to helplessness. The guns that
stilled the heartbeat of gallant men, broke the hearts of
Southern women, widowed them, made them childless, but
did not shatter their unyielding spirit. Food became ex-
hausted, linen gave place to cotton and cotton turned to
rags, but their rugged souls fought on.
At last, leader and led laid aside gun and sword and again
returned to civil life, thinking again to take up the broken
thread of their lives. It mpant much to have lived through
such a time. No man or woman came through this period of
struggle and sacrifice and sorrow who was not made finer
and stronger. It was an education to the unlearned, a refin-
ing to alloyed souls ; it gave sinews to flabby spirits.
When the end came, I returned to the old farm and
planted a crop, worked and harvested it. The home circle
had grown small. My father had married again, my step-
mother bearing the romantic name of Jane Gray ; my older
sister, Rebecca Jane, had married Robert Anderson, a
farmer in Orange county near Cedar Grove ; my brothers,
James, Addison, Harvey, Thomas and Legrande had passed
away, the last three years in Confederate service; John was
in the Golden West ; I found only my sister, Elizabeth,
and my brothers, Haywood and Burns, now at the old
hearth-stone. I was twenty-six, in splendid health, and
during that summer tilled my father's land and beheld the
blade grow to fruitage in the sunny field, and felt that peace
had once more come to bless me and mine. At night, after
the day's tasks were done, we talked of the struggle now
ended and of those who had made the supreme gift for a
cause that was lost.
My tastes, however, were not for Ihc farm; my former
experience led me again to seek the life of tradesman and
merchant. There were temptations to go to Winston and
to Durham, then rapidly growing towns ; but in the fall of
1865, I came back to Roxboro and sought and obtained a
partnership with my former employer, G. D. Satterfield.
He reposed in me his implicit trust which, I believe I can
say, I never failed.
I desire here to pay a tribute to this old man, also a
native of the county. He was a strong man both in mind
and character that manifested itself in a strong and rugged
countenance. By force and energy he had builded well, and
wielded a large influence in the alTairs of his fellows
throughout his life. He accumulated a good estate and was
a man of vision, which in a large field would have made
him a man of note. His wife, too, was a strong, well-bal-
anced woman of kind heart and unflinching character. They
reared a large family whom they educated as well as the
schools of the day permitted. One of them, Fletcher,
fell at the very front of Pickett's famous charge at Gettys-
burg. Another, Clement, was a young man of bright intellect,
charming manners, and one of my truest friends. Another,
Mrs. Ida Winstead, lives today to grace the life and society
of our town.
The village in 1865 was little changed from the days
when I first knew it, except that many of the familiar faces
were gone ; many of the young boys and girls were now
the heads of families and there were new faces of children.
I worked hard to please my kindly old partner and to gain
a place in business. The customers were mainly farmers
from the county, and it was my desire by industry and fair
dealing to secure their confidence and I know that I gained
and held their friendship through all the years. This is a
great solace to me in my old age. They were good men,
too, and I held for them great respect and affection.
Many of the people who had grown to maturity in the
old days, thought, tlic war over, things would settle back
to the old ways. The slaves were free, it was true, but
surely there would be the leisure class supported by large
acres who would rule and enjoy the fruits of life while
others would toil and labor as before. They were quickly
undeceived. The end of the war seemed to have brought
new ideas ; the individual demanded a place and a reward
no matter what was his family backing. Business of various
kinds sprang up and the new men showed scant respect
for social and business ideas that once prevailed. New
men from families formerly of little note in the community
came into power and influence and jostled the old in the
way. Energy, business ability and general efficiency were
the watchwords that opened the door of success now. We
were living in a new world.
Perhaps our county was slower than other communities
to get into the swing of the new tide of events; for we
were almost a frontier. High hills east and south and hills
and sullen streams north and west had always shut our
people in and discouraged intercourse with other communi-
ties. Such streams as Hyco, Mayo, Country Line and Flat
River were frequently flooded and impassable. The few
bridges were often washed away. The roads were bad and
getting worse, for adequate systems of working them had
not been devised. No railroads touched our soil and
more than two decades passed before the leaven worked
results here and before the locomotive and the new con-
trivances of modern life came to sweep us into touch with
the great busy life of the wide world.
The days of reconstruction did not ravage our county
nor distress our people as it did other parts of the land.
We were a remote community ; but we heard the stories of
its baleful progress and talked much about its events : the
Ku Klux Klan; the killing of Stevens at Yanceyville; the
struggles of Albion W. Tourgee, the "carpet-bag" judge,
who rode the district; the fanatics in Congress wishing to
humiHate the South; the false ideas taught the negroes —
the tragedy of it all ! And there was comedy too ; for did
not the negroes' eyes roll white as they beheld horsemen
in white drink gallons of water without stopping? Many
wild stories were told and many false alarms were sounded.
About this time another change took place at the old home
in the hills. My stepmother, Jane Gray, having died, my
father, in 1869, married, a third time, Jacobina Milner, a
good woman, who survived him many years.
I had long since become convinced that life would be
incomplete without a wife, a helpmeet, and in 1869 I mar-
ried Bettie Wilkerson. I smile now as I recall the joy that
came to me when I received, in the midst of a busy day
at the store, with customers thronging in, the letter that
told me I was accepted by her. She was the daughter of
my father's near neighbor, Stephen Wilkerson, likewise the
owner of a large farm, an excellent and successful citizen.
His wife was Mary O'Neal Bradsher and they reared a
large and strong family of sons and daughters.
The choice of the wife of a man's youth determines in
no small degree a man's career; her character and her
capacity and her sympathy may make him stronger and
better than he really is. Truly, Bettie Wilkerson was more
than wife and the mother of my children; she was for
thirty-five years during the period of my middle life, friend,
counsellor, guide, and inspiration. Her sympathy never
failed ; her help never faltered ; her counsel was always wise
and I pause to pay my tribute of praise to her devotion to
her home, her children, her church, her community ; and
whatever I was of worth through those years, I may say
with truth, has to be attributed in great part to the young
woman of my county who took her place by my side.
We were married on January 5, 1869, by the venerable
preacher, John E. Montague, in her father's home amid the
hills where I had roamed as a boy. We set up housekeeping
in Roxboro. Our children were three, Howard Alexander,
William Linwood and James Louis. Those were happy days
as we toiled together and watched the children one by one
grow and develop into youths. Upon them we centered our
hopes, our fortunes, and our toil. For what is the end of
man's life but to project it onward into the future through
the lives and well being of children and grandchildren?
With the growth of my eldest son, I began to feel a deep
personal interest in securing good schools in Roxboro ; for
I desired my children to be educated — a feeling that was
likewise shared by my wife with even deeper conviction.
I had had small opportunity of education and I wished my
sons to have every advantage education might give. I joined
with my neighbors, particularly my friend and closest
neighbor, J. A. Long, who believed the same way, and
gradually under our influence, our town became blessed with
good schools. I desire here to make special mention of one
of the teachers, Miss Lucy Stanfield, (Mrs. George Lans-
dell), who was an excellent teacher and deeply impressed
my own children in their tender years. She lived in my
home many of the months of her work in Roxboro, for
in those days the teachers were boarded by turn in different
homes as part of their compensation. It was a time of
great joy, both to parents and the boys, when she stayed with
us. Other teachers were scholarly and patient and competent,
but her name has ever been a household word of respect and
There had not been a public free school in our village.
From the late 60's until very recent years, the village chil-
dren were taught in private schools altogether, and thus it
fell to a few of us to keep our schools going. It is inter-
esting to note that not until after the war did the woman
school teacher begin her real work, since schools for boys had
been uniformly taught by men. Women are doubtless the
best, the most sympathetic teachers because they understand
children best, so I am inclined to think this is one of the good
things the new day we live in has brought.
The two or three decades following the war saw many
other changes and movements. Most interesting was the
breaking up of the large landed estates that existed in the
first half century of our State's history, the coming of
small farms into the possession of the former renters and
overseers, and more and more into the hands of industrious
negroes ; the rise of industrialism in towns and crossroads,
and particularly the realization of the dignity of labor. It
has taken a long time for men and women to learn that
it is not degrading to labor with one's own hands.
During those years, there was also a great growth in
the demand for more education and better schools. Temper-
ance was a subject much discussed ; societies for promoting
it were organized over the county. Judge Edwin G. Reade,
distinguished lawyer of the county, Congressman and later
State Supreme Court Judge, was a prominent advocate of
temperance and wrote pamphlets on the subject in the name
of "Picklerod." In addition to this a great wave of religious
fervor swept over our county. This was manifested particu-
larly in protracted meetings, which were held for many days
in succession, attended by great crowds of people. The
speakers were often eloquent and powerful and large num-
bers were added to the churches, particularly the Method-
ist and the Baptist, whfch grew in membership and influence
during this period.
An evangelist of singular power who came to Roxboro
in 1879 was Mrs. Mary Moon, a Quakeress. It was
during her preaching that I decided to join a church. My
wife was a Baptist and since my own belief was the same, I
joined that church. There were but few Baptists in the
village and we built a small church on Main Street on the
site where now is the Crowell garage. Religion must ex-
press itself through a denomination so I took a deep in-
terest in the little church. Generous was the reception
given it by the Methodists of the town, who formed the
majority of the inhabitants. The little group grew until
the church is today a strong organization with a splendid
membership. I want to say that our community has never
been cursed by those unhappy and often bitter denomina-
tional antagonisms that so often have marred the life of
small towns, but the people have maintained, except in rare
instances, that spirit of Christian brotherliness which has
made relisfious life in Roxboro wholesome.
I cannot refrain here from paying a passing tribute to
an early pastor of our church, Joseph H. Lamberth. His
pastorate, beginning in 1885, continued for many years,
and he lived many of those years in my home. With modest
attainments as a scholar he was yet a tremendous force.
His sympathies were universal and his knowledge of
human nature was great. His generous nature, his kind-
ness, his ready self-sacrifice, his fervor, his sense of humor
gave him great popularity, while his courage and daring
gave him influence. At one time, I doubt not he commanded
as wide an influence in the county as any other man and,
though he was intensely human, his influence was always
for hi"her things. He v/as my beloved friend as well as my
pastor. He influenced my life deeply, and laid his impress
upon the hearts and minds of the youths of our county.
Fortune was kind to mc and it was a great joy to me
that I was able to put my sons in college. In 1885 my
oldest son, Howard, entered Wake Forest College. I re-
call that at that time no other Person County boy was at-
tending college. He was very young, and for me, like other
men who never were privileged to have a college education,
it carried a sort of mystery with it. The college man seemed
like one set apart. That my son had that chance caused
me ereat satisfaction and I watched his course with deepest
interest. I felt repaid, for he studied, was respected by
his teachers and gathered many honors from fellow stu-
dents. My other sons also attended college but the first joy
came in him and his success naturally affected me more
In a life as long as mine there will be broken ties. In
October, 1904, my wife, the companion of early years died ;
in January, 1906, my youngest son, James, followed her. He
was a bright and charming young fellow, jovial, generous
and possessed of a humor that met and enveloped every cir-
cumstance of life. He was a student of medicine and I
believe destined for a useful life. In 1916 my oldest son,
Howard, who had been such a pride to me, my first born,
who had laid deep hold upon my heart, and whose career as
lawyer and later as Superior Court Judge, had poured honor
upon my white hair, passed to the grave.
In 1906 I married Miss Alice Tucker, daughter of Cap-
tain J. A. Tucker, veteran of the Civil War, who with his
family had come many years before from Charlotte county
in Virginia to North Carolina. The "Old Dominion," with
its many good gifts to the political and social life of our
country, has given none more splendid than her women,
loyal to the traditions of Southland and family and devoted
to all those traits of gentleness and of spirit that make up
the charm of the Southern woman. If I may be permitted
to say it, she who has been my companion and helpmeet
these twelve years, and goes so softly and so loyally by my
side in the evening days of my life, is typical of all that is
best in Southern womanhood.
My efforts have been almost entirely concerned with the
pursuit of private business, but in my time I served in
some public and semi-public relations. I have been treasurer
and at another time a Commissioner of my County and again
a Justice of the Peace and Trustee of the town School. In
business I have been President and am now Vice-President
of the Roxboro Cotton Mills, also vice-president of the
Peoples Bank of which 1 am now President. For many
years I had the honor to be trustee of Wake Forest College.
A backward look upon my life tells me that God has
blessed me, blessed me in the county of my birth, in the
friends that I have had and the loved ones who have at
all times of my life been gathered about my fireside. I
have played my part, small part though it has been, upon
the stage of life ; I have had joy, also sorrow ; and I can
say with the mariner of old time
"All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly
Both with those that loved me, and alone."
But I can also say
"I have lived, seen God's Hand through a life time and
All was for the best."
I have seen great changes and they seem to me to have
tended to making the world a better dwelling place for
mankind. I rejoice that each change has possessed for me
an absorbing interest, and years have not blunted my vis-
ion of events of this wonderful era. I have been happy in
the success of my neighbors, in the development of the
young men and women about me whose strength and wisdom
are to bear the burdens of today and tomorrow.
It may not be improper for me, an old man, to say that
I have always exerted my effort to help the advance of
things that were true, honest, just and of good report ; that
made for the uplift of my time, as I have seen it; that I
have desired the progress of education, morality and re-
ligion and for myself have set the high standard, though
doubtless I have so often fallen short, so short, of reaching
it, the high standard of the Good Book :
"To do justly, to love mercy and walk humbly before my God."
My years are four score and one, the long day wanes, but
"Old age hath yet his honor and his toil ;"
and I shall hope to find that
"The best is yet to be
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who said 'A whole I planned.
Youth shows but half; trust God; see all nor be afraid.'"
A. R. F.
RoxBORO, N. C. July, 1920.
LETTERS IN THE COURIER
CUSTOMS, PEOPLE AND CONDITIONS, 1853-1860
Mr. Editor :
As I am one of the older citizens of Roxboro I have
consented at the request of friends to write some remi-
niscences of "Ye old time Roxboro and Person county for
the Courier. I hope my readers will excuse all personal
references, for I was a part of much that I shall write, and
my story will necessarily revolve about my own life to a
great extent. 1 first came to Roxboro to live in January,
1853, then a youth of less than fourteen years and was
employed as a general clerk in the store of G. D. Satter-
field and J. A. Lunsford and remained in their employ
about two and a half years, but later went back to my
father's farm, and to school at the Academy at Leasburg in
Caswell county for ten months in 1859. This school was
taught by Henry A. Rogers, an excellent young man, a
native of Person county and afterwards a Lieutenant Col-
onel in the Confederate Army. After the close of the
Civil War in the fall of 1865 I came back to Roxboro to
live and have made it my home ever since. The firm of
Satterfield & Lunsford, later Satterfield & (Haywood) Wil-
liams, did the largest mercantile business in the village and
county and indeed a large trade for that day. There were
only three other general stores in the town, conducted by
Dickens and Wright, Reade and Hamlet, and Barnett and
Thaxton. There were two or three bar-rooms and one
hotel, the latter being run by Colonel William R. Reade, who
was also postmaster, and later mayor of the town.
We had no bank, the nearest one being in Milton, twenty
miles away, where our people did their banking; the near-
est drug store was also in Milton. We had no hardware
store, no furniture store, no barber shop. The boys had to
shave themselves or go elsewhere to have their tonsorial
There was one tailor shop, conducted by Wiles and
Denny. Occasionally a "journey man" or tramp tailor
would come by and put in at the local tailor shop and get
a "seat of work," as it was called. The usual happening
was that he would work a few weeks, make considerable
money, get on a spree, rid himself of his cash and strike
out for the next town for another job These men were of
a roving disposition. We also had two or three wagon and
buggy repair shops, two or three blacksmith shops and a
This list includes about all the business of the town.
The day of ready-made clothing had hardly come and very
little of it was kept in the stores. The sewing machine had
not come into use. I heard Mr. W. T. Noell, of Mt. Tirzah,
in this county, say that he brought the first sewing machine
into this section and, in fact, the first one to North Caro-
llina. This, I think, was about 1854. He said people came
from ten to twenty miles to see the "show."
There was no cofifin shop ; wagon shops and carpenters
over the county made common cofifins to order. When a
fine cofifin was wanted one went to Tom Day's shop in
Milton, waited to have it made to order, and brought it home
on a wagon. No hearses were known in this section,
nor had cases for coffins been introduced ; simply a vault
was cut into the clay to fit the coffin. Tom Day was a high
type of the "old issue" free negro.
He accumulated a good estate by industry and fair deal-
ing and stood well with the white people. He educated his
children up North, as it was out of the question to find
schools for them in the South. He had a large furniture fac-
tory and made fine articles which found ready sale at good
prices. His furniture can be found today in many homes in
Caswell and Person counties.
We had a flourishing Masonic Lodge in Roxboro, with
Hon. E. G. Reade or Col. C. S. Winstead, Master, and S.
L. Wiles, Tiler ; but there was no church building of any
kind in town. The old Cool-Spring Methodist church, a
mile north of town, had become so dilapidated that in time
it was abandoned and the congregation moved to town and
worshipped either in the Male Academy, or in the old court
house. This continued for four or five years until a church
house was built on the spot where the new brick Methodist
church is now located. The Academy was afterwards
changed to a residence and used by Rev. W. R. Webb until
At the time the writer came to town to live, the popula-
tion of the town was 225 or 250, but only two people are
here now that I remember being here then, these are W. E.
Webb, our present Register of Deeds, and Mrs. S. B. Win-
stead (nee Ida Satterfield), both then small children. The
heads of families were as follows : G. D. Satterfield, mer-
chant, farmer and tobacco manufacturer; Stephens M.
Dickens, merchant and farmer; E. G. Reade, merchant,
lawyer and farmer ; Col. William R. Reade, hotel proprietor
and postmaster ; John M. Winstead, sheriff ; William O.
Bowler, harness and saddle maker ; John H. Jones, farm-
er; Thomas Sizemore, blackmith ; James M. Barnett, mer-
chant and farmer ; B. A. Thaxton, merchant ; James Whitt,
shoemaker ; Richard Springfield, shoemaker ; C. H. Brad-
sher, physician ; W. R. Webb, local preacher and clerk of
Superior Court; Ira T. Wyche, circuit rider of the Meth-
odist church; S. L. Wiles, tailor; Nat H. Baird, farmer;
Charles Mason, clerk of County Court ; George B. Cham-
bers, jailor; John C. Wiley, stage driver; Alexander Hop-
kins, trader; Joseph W. Nance, tobacco manufacturer;
Kemp Sanders, wood workman ; Horace Mason, Alonzc
Bowler, Cad Hopkins, Iverson Cothran and perhaps there
were a few others. All of them have passed away and live
in the memory of few.
The old bachelors and young men whom I recall were :
Thom.as T. Satterfield, teacher; C. S. Winstead, lawyer;
E. C. Jordan, lawyer ; James Wright, merchant ; Chesley
Hamlen, merchant; Alex O'Briant, clerk; Henry Satter-
field, deputy sheriff ; H. S. Thaxton, clerk ; James H.
Woody, teacher; John G. Dillehay, tobacco manufacturer;
W. M. Denny, tailor ; Kemp Sanders, wheelwright ; W. B.
Austin, shoemaker; Cad Hopkins, Thomas A. Wiles, Louis
Hopkins, John A. Baird, Alonzo Bowler, Horace Mason,
Tip Hopkins, E. F. Satterfield, John G. Dickens and Henry
Of young ladies there were: Misses Sue and Jennie
Satterfield, Lou Dickens, Sallie Mason, Cerilda Bowler,
Emily Chambers, Sallie Gallagher, Jennie and Mag Palmer
and Emma Reade. Miss Mag Palmer alone survives; she
lives in Durham and still maintains the charm and grace
This was the era of light-wood knots and tallow dip
candles for light, of cotton cards, flax and cotton spinning
wheels, hand looms, clock reels, home-spun, hand-made
clothes. The sewing machine and cook stove had not been
introduced. Cooking was done in ovens, skillets, frying
pans and pots, over the fireplace, as in Colonial days. This
was also the day of the old stage coach for the public
conveyance of passengers and Uncle Sam's mail. A stage
line then ran from Danville, Virginia, via Yanceyville,
Milton, Leasburg, Roxboro, Oxford, to Henderson on
the old Raleigh and Gaston railroad, now the Seaboard
Air Line. I think the stage line was continued west
from Danville to the B. & O. Railroad in West Vir-
ginia, the nearest railroad west of us. Danville then
had no railroad as the Richmond and Danville and the
old North Carolina railroad had not been built. Hen-
derson was our shipping point. Freighting was done
largely by wagons from Petersburg, Richmond and Lynch-
burg, in Virginia. Tobacco was hauled in hogsheads to
these markets and the wagons brought back loads of mer-
chandise for the merchants. It required quite a time to
make the round trip. I remember being told that wagons
had been run from here even to Baltimore to haul goods.
The arrival of the stage coach in town was quite an
event. People flocked to the hotel and postoffice to see the
passengers, to get their mail and to hear the news. When the
stage got in hearing of town, the driver would blow his bugle
to announce its coming; he would then blow again giving
the signal as to how many passengers on board wanted a
meal at the hotel, so the hotel man could set about pre-
paring it. The driver would change horses on arrival here
and, after giving the passengers just time for eating, start
right out for the next town.
As I now remember, the stage passed through town
only about four or five times a week. They usually drove
two or four horses, perhaps sometimes six, and carried from
two to eight passengers and their baggage. No Saratoga
trunks were allowed, only light weight baggage. It was
very expensive traveling, costing about fifteen or twenty
cents per mile. We had no kerosene oil, electric lights or
telephones. Flint and steel guns were used mostly, but
gun caps were coming into use. Schools were not neglected,
as there were two flourishing schools here; one for boys,
conducted by James H. Woody, and one for girls and young
ladies, conducted by Mrs. William O. Bowler. Both were
well patronized by the town and country people and from
a distance. Good schools were kept up until the Civil War.
People in those days produced their supplies at home,
lived at home and "boarded at the same place." Nearly
everybody raised a flock of sheep. The wives and daughters
spun and wove the wool into jeans for men and boys, also
flannels, blankets, stockings and socks. In fact, almost
every thing worn and used was raised and made on the
farm. Even cotton and linen goods were produced at
home and materials also for dyeing the goods were found
on the farm except a few cents worth of copperas to "set
the colors." Then nearly every man who claimed to be a
farmer had meat, wheat, corn and other products for sale.
At that time we had only two Superior Courts and four
County Courts a year, the latter called Courts of Pleas and
Quarter sessions. These County Courts were presided over
by three justices of the peace, one of which was chairman.
Charles Mason was the Court clerk, an office which he
served for about thirty years, and C. S. Winstead was
County Attorney. Ordinary cases were tried in this court,
but capital cases and all cases of much importance were
carried to the Superior Court. The county court clerk is-
sued marriage licenses as a part of his duties, but kept no
record of them as now. This court transacted much of the
business now done by the County Commissioners. G. D.
Satterfield was Register of Deeds. The Superior Court
attracted large crowds ; it seemed as if everybody tried to
come on Tuesday of November Court which was the biggest
day of the year. It was also market day for home-made
chairs, flax and spinning wheels, slays for the loom, clock
reels, wool hats, shoes, leather, all home production. It
was also a great time for the sale of ginger cakes and locust
and persimmon cider.
These last articles, cakes and cider, were made and sold
chiefly by the old free colored people. Old man Jordan
Martin and Nelson Cousins, whom many of our older peo-
ple remember, were prominent in this line of trade. On
one occasion during Court week, a tramp struck the town
for the first time about ten o'clock in the forenoon during
court hours, and saw a chance to steal a little bag of money
from old man Cousins' cake stand while he was making
change for a customer. Some one nearby seeing it, called
the old man's attention to it. Whereupon the fellow was
arrested, tried, convicted and whipped at the whipping post
all in a few hours. When he was discharged and was de-
parting in a hurry, he remarked that Roxboro was the most
business-like town he had found in all his travels.
In those days if a man was convicted of murder he had
to "pull hemp." It was very difficult to dodge the gallows,
as we then had no penitentiary in the State — had to hang
him to solve the problem of what to do with him. For
manslaughter one cheek was branded with the letter M with
a hot iron ; for bigamy the letter B was used. These letters
could not be eflfaced and the culprit had to wear the evi-
dence of his disgrace the remainder of his life.
Among visiting tradesmen at our Courts I remember
that Gunn and Bo we, of Yancey ville, who had a large tan
yard and shoe shop, attended our Courts and sold their make
of shoes in large quantities. They were known to make and
sell honest goods. When a boy, I remember my father bought
a pair from them on the Court House ground for me.
Among the visiting lawyers at our Courts were Gov. W.
A. Graham, of Hillsboro, Col. L. E. Edwards, of Oxford,
Hon. John Kerr and Samuel P. Hill, of Yanceyville. On
one occasion, I remember seeing the future General M.
W. Ransom at Court here to defend one Joseph P.
Williams — a case moved here from Caswell county —
charged with the murder of his father. General Ransom
lost his case and Williams was hanged. This was in 1855
or '56. Ransom was then a young attorney, very handsome
and straight as an arrow, a fine specmien of young man-
In speaking of our courts, I recall hearing of a suit
tried here between old General Chambers, a prominent cit-
izen of the county, and some other man about a stack of
oats. The case was carried through the courts until the
costs and fees amounted to about a thousand dollars. I
recall also a case where a man owed another $350.00. The
holder of the note refused to accept anything but coin. The
debtor became angry, went all the way to Raleigh on horse
back and, to spite the holder of the note, bought copper cents
to the amount of the whole debt, quite a load of money,
and offered it for his note. But the note holder, know-
ing the law, refused the copper coin, except one dollar
of it, as he had a right to do, leaving the debtor in a worse
fix than before. The debtor had a time of it exchanging
his copper for silver and gold, which were the only legal
tender, illustrating an old saying "the biter got bit."
At this time Rev. W. R. Webb was clerk of the Superior
Court and John Bradsher was Clerk and Master. I don't
know what his duties were, but I remember that the Judge,
holding Court on one occasion, asked Mr. Bradsher where
his office was and he replied that it was in his saddle bags,
which he had on his arm. This caused much amusement in
the Court room.
John Y. Parker, a rich old bachelor, whom a few of the
oldest men of the county remember, was a prominent figure
of the town for many years, just prior to the time the
writer came to town to live. He was a great turkey hunter
and when hunting he wore a garb to make him look as much
like a turkey as possible. While he was out in the woods
one day in the thick brush calling up turkeys another hunter
passing near by, mistook him for a turkey and shot and
killed him. This occurred in October, 1852. No blame
was charged against the slayer by the Coroner's Jury, who
felt that any hunter would have made the same mistake
under similar circumstances. Parker, it is said, remarked
that morning that he "expected some d n fool would
shoot him for a turkey."
His estate proved to be about $85,000.00 in cash, a big
estate in those days. He started out a poor boy, ploughed
or did anything he could find to do, at twenty-five cents a
day. He was a hard worker, sharp trader and note shaver.
He saved the pennies and dimes as well as the dollars and
grew rich. He left his money to his kinspeople. He was
buried at old Cool-Spring church, and his grave is marked
by a white marble slab, as may be seen at this day.
To illustrate his shrewdness, or rather his daring, I
heard Rev. W. R. Webb say that he once bought a tract of
land at a public sale for 50 cents per acre. Parker found
it out, and without saying anything to Mr. Webb, sold it
for one dollar per acre for cash and made the purchaser a
deed to it. A day or two afterward he saw Mr. Webb and
bought it for 75 cents per acre. As Parker paid him ,ind
took the deed he said : "Webb, I have already sold it for
a dollar per acre, made the buyer a deed to it and got the
money." Mr. Webb said to him, "You rascal, if I had
known it I would have had you put in jail." They both
made money by the transaction, and Parker thought it a
It was customary then for candidates seeking office to
"treat" to whiskey and brandy, or "spirits," as it was called
then. An office seeker who failed to do this, was considered
stingy and illiberal and, as a rule, not apt to be elected. I
heard of one candidate for the Legislature, who "treated"
to a whole barrel of whiskey at one precinct ; of course, he
was elected. "Up country" corn whiskey sold cheap, 25
cents per gallon delivered by the barrel. It retailed at 30
to 35 cents a gallon, 10 cents per quart, 5 cents per drink
or three for 10 cents and was sold for 221/2 to 25 cents
a gallon wholesale. Anybody could make and sell it without
license, as I remember, unless they sold less than a quart.
This was a time of "free trade and sailors' rights." Mer-
chants over the country usually kept it in stock and sold
it as they did any other goods, considering this a respectable
business. Much of the whiskey was hauled here from
Alamance, Guilford and other counties on wagons and
peddled over the country, being sold by the quart and gallon.
Both whiskey and brandy were plentiful, made on every
spring branch, so to speak, by anybody who cared to do
so. Yet there was less drunkenness then than at a later
period under the Revenue laws. Every household kept
some "spirits," to set out to visitors. Many of the ladies
even would take a cup of coffee at the table "laced with
the ardent" and no harm was thought of it.
ROXBORO, N. C.
In my former letter, I failed to tell about the Cotton
Gin used by our forefathers of two or three generations
ago. It was a combination Cotton Gin, Corn Mill and
Wheat Threshing Machine, propelled by horsepower, and
built in a large barn with sheds to protect the machines,
which were largely of wood, from the weather. This ;na-
chine was made at home, but of course required good
machinists to make and erect it. It was a rather crude and
clumsy affair, it is true, but served a valuable purpose in its
It could not be moved from farm to farm like the thresh-
ing machines of the present time as it was made to fit the
barn. But there were many of them in the county. Many
of our older men and some of the younger ones still re-
member these old machines with large wooden cog wheels
Wheat crops were small and wheat was mostly threshed
out with hand flails, or trampled out by horses on the barn
floor. After this came the horsepower threshing machine
hauled from farm to farm. It was called the (Iround
Hog. This did not clean the wheat, hut left it in chaff
for the fan mill to finish up hy hand. Now we have the
steam-propelled thresher and cleaner, which prepares the
wheat for the flour mill. As for cotton seed, it was used
to stop gullies, deemed of no value at all.
The custom was to cut and clear all the land possible,
to Innn the timber, to gcd rid of it. leaving enough for
rails for fencing and for fire wood. As fast as the land
was worn out, it was turned out to wash away in gullies
and waste land for succeeding generations to bring up again
to a state of cultivation. They had not learned the art
of improving the land while making a crop on it. From
two to five barrels of corn was a fair crop to the acre.
Now by improved methods we produce from ten to forty-
five barrels to the acre, and use no more hand labor than
was used then ; and at the same time we improve the land
while making these crops. Commercial fertilizer had not
come into use, nor seeding clover nor legumes for improving
ROXBORO, N. C.
March, 31, 1915.
THE FOUNDING OF THE COURT HOUSE
Person county was cut oflF from Caswell, which was
originally a part of Orange county (the mother of coun-
ties) about the year 1790, and named for General Person,
of Granville county, of Revolutionary fame. The Court
House for Caswell county after Person was cut off was
for a while in Leasburg, on the lot afterwards owned by
the late Hon. George N. Thompson. The Court House
for Person was for a year or two at Paines Tavern, four
miles south of Roxboro. During this time a committee
was appointed by the Court, or Board of Magistrates, to
select a more central point for the permanent location of
the Court House, and the committee decided upon the pres-
ent location as being very near the center of the county ;
besides, they found a good spring of water near by, known
ever since as the "Public Spring;" this spring, which is
near the rear of the Primitive Baptist church, had much
to do with the choice of location of the county seat ; this is
a rocky section and wells of water were difficult to dig and
not much in use.
The land for the Court House Square was given to the
county by Dempsey Moore in 1792. The deed for the
same can be seen by reference to Book A, in the Person
County Register of Deeds office.
Roxboro was named, so I have often heard, by James
Williamson, a native of Scotland of Angus county, who
then lived two miles south of Roxboro on a farm, known
a long while as the "Williamson Place," but now as the
"Murdock Place" and belonging to the writer. It had one
of the finest homes in the county. Mr. Williamson was a
prominent citizen. He had the Scotch gift for accumulation
and consequently owned many large tracts of land and many
negroes. He was a large farmer and merchant, having a
store in Roxboro and one at his home. He was married
twice and reared a large family. He educated his children
in the best schools and colleges in the country, thus fitting
them for places of honor and trust. One of his sons, John
Gustavus Adolphus Williamson, was many times elected to
the Legislature from the county, and to other honorable
places. He was also appointed by the President of the
United States to a diplomatic post in Venezuela, South
America. He married in Philadelphia, died and was buried
there. Another son was Dr. James M. Williamson, who
lived in Mempliis; anotlicr a lawyer in Alamance coun'.y;
one daughter married Judije Dick of Greensboro; one mar-
ried a Mr. Donahoe, of Milton, N. C. ; another married
James Ruffin, of Hillsboro, and the others married promi-
nent men. Mr. Williamson died about the year 1832 and
was buried, himself, both wives and daughter, Mrs. Ruffm,
at the old home place near Roxboro, as their tomb stones
there indicate to this day.
After the death of Mr. Williamson, this home was
bought by Elder Stephen Pleasant, a prominent Baptist
minister who lived there many years and raised a large
family of children, many of whom were prominent in the
business and social life of the county.
Roxboro was named for "Roxborough," a shire of Scot-
land on the English border and not on account of the rocky
section in which it is located. The name has been variously
spelled in my own time on maps and postoffice books "Rox-
borough," as well as "Roxboro."
Our county has always been, until late years, a very
conservative county, rather slow in voting money for im-
provements, or for men to office who favored taxation for
internal improvements. Several routes for railroads were
surveyed through the county long years ago, one as far
back as 1852, but none availed until years later.
Roxboro, N. C.
October 6, 1915.
TOBACCO PEDDLING AND ROXBORO
In my first letter, which gave a description of Roxboro
from 1853 to 1861, I left out some things of interest which
I might have noted.
At this time there was quite a number of tobacco fac-
tories in the county; and, in fact, over all this tobacco belt,
they were almost as numerous as cross-road stores, and it
seems they made money. No stamp tax nor license to man-
ufacture it was required. A revenue officer had not been
heard of in this part of the world, nor was any needed, as
State and county taxes were all the revenue reqviired in
those days and they were collected by the sheriff.
Our tobacco manufacturers sold much of their tobacco
"Down the Country" as they called the eastern part of
North Carolina and Virginia. They ran wagons and "ped-
dled" it out along the roads to farm houses and stores, often
selling a whole load of ten to twenty boxes to one store.
Many people made it their business to trade in plug tobacco
the year round, and prospered at it. These peddlers usually
camped by their wagons at night in town or village, often
on the road side, and dealt out their tobacco by the plug or
in "chunks" and found ready sale for it at big profit. As
railroads were few and literally "far between" they had
to return a long distance to load up their wagons for the
next trip. At this time very little tobacco was grown east
of Granville and Warren counties; thus the large scope
of the country, even to the sea coast, offered a splendid
market for this tobacco wagon trade. Good traders often
loaded up for the return trip with salt fish — shad, herring,
and rockfish — which found ready sale all the way back
home. They thus made money both going and coming.
But the advent of the railroad and Federal revenue
laws following the Civil War put an end to the wagon trade,
and peddling of tobacco. Revenue laws forbade the re-
tailing of tobacco except by local dealers who had govern-
ment licenses. The sale of leaf tobacco was also for-
bidden to any one except dealers and manufacturers ; this
law is still in effect. The U. S. Government needed money
with which to pay the war debt and levied a heavy tax of
40 cents a pound on all manufactured tobacco and snufF, and
a tax of $1.10 a gallon on liquors. Many a poor fellow
got into trouble trying to evade the tax; for the government
generally got the best of it in the courts.
Up to 1854 Roxboro town had not been incorporated,
and a move was made about this time to have it done.
Chesley Hamlen, a merchant of the town, took the lead in
the matter; a petition was got up, signed by many citi-
zens of the village and sent up to the State Legislature then
in session. A charter was granted incorporating "the town
of Roxboro." There was much sport made over it by many
people in and out of town; they called it "The City," and
the mayor, "The Lord Mair." A mayor, alderman and
town constable were elected and sworn in. Col. Wm. R.
Reade was the first mayor and made a very acceptable
officer. I don't remember who the other officers were. The
town laws were strictly enforced for a while, which created
much prejudice against the town, and no doubt injured its
business to some extent.
Up to this time we had practically no sidewalks, and the
streets, or roads, through the town were very narrow, only
about 16 feet wide. They were worked by the county road
hands and overseers just like the other county roads. Mud
holes were stopped up with pine brush and poles with a
little dirt thrown over them. Town lots were enclosed with
rail fences except that some of them had a plank fence or
paling to the front yards. Very few of the houses had
ever been painted and there was only one brick house in
town. This was a small house on the corner of the now
Jones Hotel lot, used by Reade and Hamlen as a general
The new corporation by-laws forbade the sale of liquors
on Main Street. Moses Chambers, however, operated
a bar and sold liquor on this street in defiance of this
ruling of the town Aldermen and was indicted. At the trial,
Chambers introduced a witness, an old resident, who was
asked by Josiah Turner, council for Chambers, to locate
Main Street. This witness said that Main Street ran
through Roxboro from South Boston to Hillsboro, which
caused quite a laugh in the court house at the expense of
the town authorities who were prosecuting the suit. The
aldermen lost the suit. This witness, by the way, was a
good customer of Chamber's bar room.
In these "good old times" nearly a'l goods were sold on
time, and as a rule, accounts were paid only once a year.
Nearly everyone was good for his debts as there was no
homestead exemption and all the property a man had could
be sold for his debts except the family clothing and a few
other articles ; the chattel mortgages and crop lien system
were not known, nor was a land mortgage often given ; the
people lived "the simple life" and a little money went a
Roxboro, N. C.
January 13, 1915.
COUNTY HEADS OF FAMILIES
I have concluded to change my program for this letter
by giving names as far as I can recall them of the heads of
families and some old bachelors too who lived in the county
during the period of my early years in Roxboro. I make
the list entirely from memory; I have not consulted any rec-
ord nor asked, any one for information on the subject.
These names are given by townships. The location of the
individuals in townships may not in every instance be ex-
actly correct, as the county was then laid off in districts,
not in townships as now. But the names given are correct,
as I was personally acquainted with nearly all of them and
knew of the others. Most of these men served with valor
in the Confederate Armies and were splendid citizens of
whom any county might he proud and posterity hold in
grateful remembrance. I do not include the names of any
persons who lived in Roxboro who were listed in a former
letter. I feel sure that the list of names given has real
historic interest, greater perhaps than anything else I might
write, as it portrays at a glance a picture gallery of the
entire citizenship of the county where some can see the
name of ancestor or forefather and all will find the fore-
fathers who built a civilization and now sleep in the soil of
The most of these men were farmers and constituted
the bone and sinew of the county.
Josephus Younger, Tinsley Brooks, Captain John Bu-
chanan, James Buchanan, Tinsley Buchanan, Solomon
Walker, John Stansfieid. David W. Brooks, Thomas H.
Brooks, John Lewis Brooks, Alex O'Briant, Ransom O'Bri-
ant, Albert O'Briant, Thomas Westbrooks, James Jackson,
Ben Hix, John J. Ellison, Elder Stephen Pleasant, Wil-
liam R. Pleasant, Brown Pleasant, Reuben Long, Sr.,
RatlifT Long. G. C. Pucci, James Hamlen, William M.
Brooks, Matthew Daniel, William W. Wrenn, Jerry
Satterfield, Joseph Wrenn, Mac Humphries, Simon Gentry,
Abner Williams, John D. Carver, Jackson Winstead,
Jesse C. Clayton, Thomas Clayton, Jr., Hardy Clay-
ton, Calvin Daniel, John C. Clayton, Thomas K. Glenn,
Thomas Horton, Thomas Byas, Micajor G. Thomas,
James L. Wagoner, John D. Clayton, Sr., Major Davis,
Sam Wright, William Mann, Martin Gravitt, George
Satterfield, Sr., J. P. Traynham, Jesse Monday, Bob
Westbrooks, Solomon Painter, William Slayton, Draper
Carver, Calvin C. Clayton, George Daniel, James Cow-
Page Thirty -nine
horn, Sam Draper, Henry True, James A. Westbrooks,
John B. Stanfield, Martin Clayton, Talton Bowles, Benja-
min Hicks, John Long, Sr., Jack Wilson, Robert Whitt,
Drewey Gravitt, Madison Bowden, Allen Hicks, Benjamin
Wheeler, Thomas Humphries, Richard Bowen, William A.
Ellison, Garrett Brooks, Jacob G. Slaughter, John Dunn,
John Wrenn, Sr., Phil Dunn, Jackson Dunn, John Bum-
pass, Sr., George W. Burch, Edward Forlines, William D.
Satterfield, John O'Briant, Ben. Wheeler, Elijah O'Briant,
Matt Nelson, Robert Daniel, Romulus Daniel, Green Dan-
iel, John Wrenn, Sr., Grandison Wrenn, George Capril,
Garrett Brooks, George R. Satterfield, Gabe Bumpass.
William W. Humphreys, Major T. A. Yancey, Dr.
James L. Sanford, William Gillis, Sr., John Neal, James
W. Beavers, William W. Ramsey, Major James Street, Ga-
briel Bailey, Sr., Gabriel Bailey, Jr., William Pool, Elder
John E. Montague, Madison Walker, Robert D. Bumpass,
Sanders Day, Jas. W. Blackwell, James Walker, Dr.
William Merritt, Jesse D. Walker, Baldy Ramsey, Billy
Holloway, David Holloway, Robert Jones, Sr., Jack Hum-
phries, Jones Drumright, John Baird, Sr., Dr. William
Baird, Thomas A. Baird, Erasmus Wilkerson, Peyton
West, Dr. Ben Wilkerson, Larkin Brooks, Sr., William
T. Woody, Robbin Brooks, Thomas Woody, Solomon
Walker, Wm. Link, Matt Nelson, Haywood Nelson, Moses
A. Woody, Rufiin Woody, J. D. Wilkerson.
John Rogers, John Barnett, Sr., John A. Barnett, John
Barnett (long Jack), Cam Barnett, Sam A. Barnett, Ab
Barnett, John H. Clay, Hugh Woods, Sr., Hugh Woods,
Thos. Woods, Jr., William Baird, Sr., Charles G. Mitchell,
Sr., Elder A. N. Hall, Elder Durluim Hall, David
Brooks, Sr., John Brooks, Esq., Asa Brooks, Sr.,
Reuben Brooks, Moses Walker, Solomon Walker, Reu-
ben Long, Stanford Long, Dempsey Brooks, Major
Green, Alex Walker, John Bailey, Jesse Chambers,
Martin Chambers, Josiah Carver, Col. Henry Carver,
William Jones, John IL Monday, William H. Bailey,
Matt Long, Richard Long, Jake Long, Dr. C. H. Jordan,
Ben Chambers, Sam Jones, George Duncan, Burl H.
Dillehay, Arthur Dillehay, Reuben Carver, Elder Erank
L. Oakley, Moses L. Oakley, James Barnett, Sr., Robert
Palmer, Major S. C. Barnett, James M. Barnett.
Mt. Tirzaii Township
G. G. Moore, Dr. E. A. Speed, Julius Burton, Alex
Gray, Benjamin R. Moore, William T. Noell, Alonzo R.
Moore, Rev. Junius P. Moore, Rev. T. W. Moore, Alford
Moore, Henry J. Montgomery, Squire Meadows, Noah H.
Meadows, Granville Andrews, Thomas D. Clayton, Monroe
Cash, Charles Holeman, Sr., James Holeman, Sr., Andrew
Gray, David Rountree, Richard Holeman, Sr., James
Webb, Moses Chambers, Sr., Griffin Jones, Elder Jesse
Mooney, Isaiah Bumpass, M D. C. Bumpass, Dr J. W.
Hamlett, W. F. Reade, William Gray, Hiram Satterfield,
Buck Blalock, Elder A. Blalock, Henry C Sweeny, Samuel
Clements, Thomas Sneed, Stephen Sneed, Alex Jones.
Thomas T. Allen, Drewey Allen, James Bullock, James
Snipes, John Lunsford, Robert O. Burch, John Yarbro,
James W. Townsend, Frank Townsend, Madison Yar-
bro, Henderson Yarbro, Frank Day, Sr., John Day, Sr.,
Moses Hicks, James H. Chandler, Henderson Chandler,
David Yarbro, Robert Beasley, Spotts B. Royster, William
B. Greenwood, Woodson Lyon, William H. Thomas, James
H. Harris, Elder E. J. Montague, Henry H. Duncan, Wil-
liam Clayton, Jesse B. Clayton, John G. Dixon, Green
W. Denny, William H. Royster, Robert Royster, Lem. G.
Clayton, Solomon O'Briant, Dr. William E. Oakley, James
G. Burch, W. H. Lawson, Governor Slaughter, Simon Gen-
try, Jacob G. Slaughter, Solomon Slaughter, James Bullock.
Bushy Fork Township
William Arch Bradsher, Nathaniel Torian, William
Whitfield, A. C. Foushee, Burnel Russell, James Bradsher,
John Bradsher, Sr., James O. Bradsher, Armistead Henry,
John H. Henry, Robert D. Henry, Alex Gordon, Richard
Gordon, William Marshall, Sidney Marshall, Ben Davis,
Richard Hargis, Sr., Orval V. Hargis, William H. Long,
Sr., William H. Long, Jr., George Briggs, Sr., Samuel H.
Briggs, Sidney O'Briant, Elder Ingram Chandler, Elder
Wells, Elder William Burns, Hasten Blalock, Hasten Rim-
mer, Wilson McCullock, Calvin Hawkins, Dolphin Villines,
Silas Moore, Willis Villines, Thomas Villines, Nat Villines,
Robert Malone, Washington Malone, John Whitfield, John
Moore, Sr., B. D. Harris, John Blackwell, Dr. R. S. Baynes,
Dr. James McMullen, John Mansfield, John Smith, Sr.,
Calvin Brown, Rev. S. Young Brown, Ransom O'Briant,
George Broach, Asa Fuller, Stephen Monday, Thomas
Whitfield, Sr., Thomas Phelps, Alex O'Briant, Richard
Lee, James Allen, Sr., Reuben Allen, Richard Broach, John
Newton, Lewis G. Stanfield, Nat Broach, Nathan Oakley,
Thomas L. Whitfield, Alex Whitfield, Green W. Brown,
Richard Phelps, Bently McKee, Mincey Whitfield, Edwin
Whitfield, Samuel Horton, William Cooper, Daniel W.
K. Richmond, William B. McCullock, William Chatham,
John E. Harris, James Whitfield, Sr., Silas Moore, William
Daniel, Hardy Hurdle, Bedford Hurdle, Alex M. Long,
Richard Broach, Walker Davis, Sanders Johnson, W. H.
Smith, James Smith, Thomas Whitfield, Jr., William
A. Lee, William Gregory. Jackson Jones, Wm. Hamlen, Geo
L. Torian, Andrew Torian, Ben Javis.
Jeff Franklin. Jarrell Powell. John W. Cunningham.
Thomas McGehee. Haywood Williams, Sandy Williams,
Green Williams, William Williams, Joseph Pointer, Jeffer-
son Jones, Dr. Jack Jones, Barksdale Jones, Dr. John C.
Terrell, Joseph Barker, Rev. Addison Stanfield, Obadiah
Faulkner, Montford Faulkner, Thomas Faulkner, John
Faulkner, Kinchen Newman, James Shanks, Abner Dixon,
Sam Dixon, Gary Williams, Sam Pointer, Banks Newman.
Olive Hill Township
George C. Rogers, George A. Rogers, Henry A. Rogers,
Stephen Wilkerson, Obadiah Pearce, Sr., William Pearce,
Carter Woods, George Tapp, Samuel Johnson, Sr.. John
Bradsher. Sr.. William Paylor, John Paylor, Bird Paylor,
Robert H. Hester, A. J. Hester, Nicholas Hester, Sr.,
John Bradsher, Jr., Kindle VanHook, Solomon VanHook,
David VanHook, Daniel Sergeant, James T. Sergeant, Wil-
liam G. Winstead, Wilson Yeallock. Franklin Yeallock,
Joseph Sallie, Abner Bradsher, Olive Bradsher, Jesse Brad-
sher, Stephen Garrett, James Grubbs, Elijah Snipes, Jerry
Brooks, James J. Scoggin, Barton Woods, Joseph Coleman,
Sr., Joseph Coleman, Jr., Robert Coleman, John Monday,
Thomas Davenport, Lewis S. Morton, Reuben Walton,
Ransom Frederick, Ben Jacobs, John Tally, Stephen Win-
stead, Britton Wagstaff, John Wagstaff, James B. Wag-
staff, John M. Morton, Monroe Yarbro, Albert Yarbro,
Rev. B. W. Williams, Camel VanHook, Col. John C. Van
Hook, Charles Mitchell. Brown Pleasant, William B. Pleas-
ant, Joseph W. Neal. Nathan Fox, Carter Lee, Billy Brad-
sher, Sr., Richard Bradsher, Sr., William W. Royster,
John G Lee, Ambrose Loftis, Issac Satterfield, Sr., Au-
Pagc Forty- three
gustine VanHook, Monroe Bradsher, Andrew Jackson, Sr.,
Andrew Jackson, Jr., Nathan Oakley, Ab Bradsher, James
Nelson, Anderson Harris, Ezekiel Woods, Dr. J. J. Thax-
ton, George W. Trotter, Richard Lee, John Scoggins, James
M. Snipes, John C. Wilkerson, Obadiah Pearce, Jr., James
T. Sergeant, Thomas Lawson, Charles Bolton, Dixon Bol-
ton, Henderson Bolton, William Bolton, James Scott, James
W. Featherstone, George W. Whitfield, John T. Nelson, J.
P. Harris, Geo. E. Harris.
Flat River Township
Joseph Lunsford, Nicholas W. Allen, Allen H. Luns-
ford, George H. Daniel, Captain Jacob A. Loy, James H.
Gates, James T. Gates, John M. Gates, John Hamlen, Sr.,
Isaiah Gates, Richard H. Gates, Robert Trimm, Jacob
Hormer, Samuel H. Glements, Jesse A. Lunsford, Henry
Tapp, James Tapp, John Trimm, James Satterfield, Sr.,
George Gray, Sr., George T. Gray, Alford Gray, William
Daniel, John J. Rogers, Elmore Gates, Gilbert Moore, Wil-
liam Timberlake, Thomas G. Green, John W. Pearce, Wil-
liam P. Satterfield, William A. Barton, Terrell Moore,
Ruffin Rhew, H. H. Garrett, John Burton, Sr., Green W.
Blalock, Dudley Burton, Thomas Barton, Larry H. Moore,
Isaac Satterfield, Jr., David Evans, William H. Harris,
Thomas Trimm, Rev. John H. Loy, Robert R. Moore,
John Jones, Stephen Phillips, Henry Burton, Larry Welch,
William B. Mann, Larry Blackard, Lewis Frederick, Jesse
Walker, Sr., Thos. C. Green and Dr. W. M. Terrell.
ROXBORO, N. C.
Nov. 10, 1914.
TORIES AND PAINES TAVERN
Editor Courier :
When I was a boy many interesting stories were told
of the time when the British Army marched through our
county during the Rcvohitionary War, under the command
of Lord Cornwalhs.
One of them is to the effect that, in 1781, when he
was moving east from Caswell or Alamance county through
Person county on the way to Yorktown he passed what
is now known as Roseville, four miles southwest of Rox-
boro. A man living there by the name of Rose, whose smoke
house was near the road side, had a large lot of provisions
cooked up and put under lock and key. When the army
arrived he handed General Cornwallis the key, saying as
he pointed to it : "Here, my Lord, is the key to the smoke
house. It is full of provisions, open it and help your-
selves." This man Rose was what was called a Tory, a
member of a political party that was opposed to the war,
and was in sympathy with the British.
The soldiers took the provisions and went on to old
Paines Tavern, two or three miles, and stacked their guns,
"Flint and Steel" muskets, and spent the night in camp. A
big white oak there was ever afterward known and pointed
out as the "Cornwallis" tree. The writer has often seen
this splendid old tree and it has not been so long since
it died and was cut down. "Paines Tavern" was then a
place of note, a popular camping ground for emigrants
from a large section of the country, moving to the West
to seek new homes. Paines. a man of some wealth, owned
the place and kept a house of entertainment for the public
called a "Tavern," a name perpetuated even today
This writer remembers, when a boy, seeing a few of
the old Revolutionary soldiers of Person county, who had
land warrants as an extra bounty given for service in help-
ing to free our country from the British yoke. These land
warrants conveyed to each of them 160 acres of Western
land, a quarter section. Very few of them ever went out
to occupy their land, but sold their claims to land speculators.
ROXBORO, N. C.
October 30, 1915.
HOGS, AN INDIAN SHOW AND COFFEE
Mr. Editor :
I have decided to write another short letter covering the
period from 1853 to 1860, thus "threshing the straw" over
During these old times, it was not an unusual sight to
see, during fall and winter months, droves of fat hogs some-
times 300 or 400 head on the roads driven hundreds of
miles from Kentucky and Tennessee. The dealers drove
them along the public roads from town to town, from state
to state, looking for purchasers. It must have taken a long
time to dispose of them even at low prices for the majority
of the people raised their own supply of pork, and many
of them had a surplus for sale. This will interest boys and
girls of the Pig Clubs of today.
On one occasion during court week General Chambers,
who was keeping hotel, finding his house full of guests
and no coffee to serve could find in the whole town nothing
but a cheap, shabby-looking, small grain, greenish coffee,
which he parched and served. To his surprise the guests,
one and all, praised the coffee and inquired the price and
brand. With its appearance in mind he quickly replied that
it was "seed tick" brand. This circumstance was said to
have made this coffee famous and it is still sold as "seed
1 remember well the first show I ever saw, it was an
Indian exhibition, known as tl>e "Kashawgance Indian
Company", consisting of an Indian chief, a few other
Indian men, some Indian women and one small l)oy, travel-
ing in wagons. As it was a bad, rainy day when they were
in Roxboro, they used the court house instead of the tent.
The only act of the show which I now call to mind, was
that of Pocahontas saving the life of Capt. John Smith.
It seemed so real to me that I have never forgotten the
scene. At night the Indian chief lectured in the court
house to a good crowd on the life and habits of the red
men. The lecture was highly complimented. Many of our
people, having never seen an Indian before, were much
interested in them, espeially in the little boy.
The first animal circus and show the writer ever saw
was on the lot near the place where the Methodist church
now stands. This was Robinson & Eldrids Exhibition and
the act that made the most lasting impression on me was
that of a lady putting her head in a lion's mouth, a very silly
and foolish act. This was considered a great show.
Roxboro, N. C.
February 3, 1915.
PREACHERS OF MY EARLY LIFE
Having been requested by a granddaughter of one of
the old pioneer preachers of this county to give the preach-
ers of my early life a writing, this I will attempt to do,
giving a list of their names as I remember them, as well as
the denomination to which they belonged.
As the Primitive Baptists were the first preachers whose
services I attended I will give their names first. They
were : Elders Ingram Chandler, John Stadler, William
Burns, Elder Wells (a blind preacher), Hensley, Andrew
N. Hall and Durham Hall his father, David R. Moore,
James J. Scoggins, George T. Coggin, R. D. Hart, John
H. Daniel, Ross, Bell, Drewry Seit, Dameron, P. D. Gold,
L. I. Bodenheimer and C. B. Hassell. Elder John Stadler
was considered by his people one of the greatest preachers
of his time and had a large following. Elder A. N. Hall,
who was pastor of churches in this county for more than
fifty years, was a great preacher, highly esteemed, not only
by his own churches and people, but by the people in gen-
eral, both in this and other counties. Several of these
preachers lived in the eastern part of the State but made
preaching tours up the country as far as this and other
sections west of us.
The Missionary Baptist preachers whom I remember in
the "long ago" were : Elders James King, Stephen Pleas-
ant, Brown, John E. Montague, Elias Dodson, F. M. Jordan,
Elder Waitte, J. J. James, Poindexter (of Virginia), Robert
Jones and John Mitchell, J. D. Hufifham, Dr. Wm. Oakley,
and Sam Mason. Some of these were considered great
preachers. One of them, Elder F. M. Jordan, has been preach-
ing more than sixty years. Elder Dodson was an eccentric
brother, and traveled most of his life as agent for missions,
especially "Indian Missions," which was his great hobby.
Many of the older people remember him well at this late day.
The Methodist ministers whom I remember in early
and middle life, were: Revs. Ira T. Wyche, Alford Nor-
man, Jas. Jamieson, Benj. M. Williams, J. P. Moore, T.
W. Moore, Jas. Reid, Fletcher Reid, William M. Jordon,
P. W. Archer, Lewis, S. S. Bryant, T. A. Boone, Jas. H.
Brent, W. R. Webb, H. H. Gibbons, W. E. Pell, Tillett, A.
W. Mangum, and Jesse Page. Many of these men were
The next in point of numbers are the Presbyterians,
who had but a small following in the county and still have
only one or two cliurchcs : Revs. Addison Stanfield, who
lived in the county, Hines, of Mikon, and T. U. Faucett.
of Orange county, held services in the Court House or in
the Methodist church in Roxboro at stated times. This
was before the Presbyterian church was built.
Tiie Episcopalians had only one church in the county,
The first sermon I remember to have heard was at old
Wheeler's Church near Gordonton. Though a small boy 1
recall many circumstances connected with my trip there,
and what I saw on the way. The greatest thing was the
sight of the Gordon residence, which was new and had
just been painted snowy white. This being the first white
house I had seen it made a lasting impression on my young
mind. I thought then this must be a heaven below, and
that no care or trouble could enter its white walls. The
preacher on this occasion was Elder Ingram Chandler, then
a popular Primitive Baptist pastor. I still remember some
of the people whom I saw there, and the manner of the
preaching, singing and the good attention to the preaching
by the congregation. I thought then that all church mem-
bers had a passport to Glory land.
Roxboro, N. C.
December 15, 1915.
ANOTHER PREACHER AND LEASBURG
In my last letter I wrote of the preachers of the various
denominations who served in this county during my boy-
hood days and middle life, but I overlooked the names of
some, among whom was Rev. Solomon Lea, of Leasburg.
who spent his life in school work and preaching the gospel
in Person and Caswell counties. He was the first president
of Greensboro Female College, but resigned this position
and established the "Summerville Institute" for girls and
young ladies at Leasburg, in Caswell county, which he
kept up until the time of his death in 1896.
Mr. Lea did a great work for the cause of education
to which a great many ladies now living can testify. This
school was patronized by Caswell, Rockingham, Person,
Orange and other counties in North Carolina, and by
Halifax, Pittsylvania and other counties in Virginia. It
was in a great measure the life of the town socially and
otherwise. No one has ever been found to fill the gap
caused by the death of this good, sweet-spirited, useful
man. Leasburg must have been a very healthful town, as
it was noted for its old citizens, many living to be upward
of 80 and some very near to 100 years of age.
Other preachers omitted were Elders Jesse Mooney, Q.
A. Ward and J. P. Tingen, of the Primitive Baptist faith.
These have all, except one, passed to their reward.
ROXBORO, N. C.
January 5, 1916.
EARLY TEACHERS AND LEASBURG
In this letter I shall give a list of the school teachers
of my early years.
My first teacher was Mr. James O. Bradsher, my next
was Major Burnel Russell, next in order were William
Whitfield, Franklin Yeallock, Moore W. Dollahite, James
R. Foushee, my oldest brother, and Col. Plenry A. Rogers.
Colonel Rogers taught the last school which I attended.
This was in 1859, in the old brick Academy in Leasburg,
near the town cemetery. Colonel Rogers had quite a large
school of boys and young men, who taxed his time and
patience to a high degree, as he had a house full and no
assistant in the work. I can't, at this late day, see how
he managed to get through it so well, giving general satis-
faction to the boys and patrons of the school. Of all this
crowd of boys who attended the school, there are but three
or four now living that I am aware of. One of this number
is my friend C. M. G. WagstatT, of the Concord section of
this county (died since letter was written).
I remember that old Mr. William Lea had a fine orchard
of apples near the Academy to which the boys gave special
attention ; we appropriated our full share of fruit without
"leave or license."
Leasburg then had a population of 300 or 350 includ-
ing two schools, who were as good people as could be found
anywhere. Situated near the Person line most of the
families living there were either from Person county or
closely related by marriage or other ties to the Person
people. The school patronage was largely from this county.
For a town of its size, it had a large trade, having several
stores of good size for that day, run by popular merchants ;
it had also wood shops, blacksmith, harness and saddle
shops, a hotel, a tailor shop, a shoe shop, a picture gallery,
tan yard, besides the two large schools.
Leasburg produced many men of note, among them
was Hon. Jacob Thompson, member of President Buchan-
an's cabinet, also of President Davis' cabinet of the Con-
federate States. It was claimed by some people that in
surveying the line between Caswell and Person for a di-
vision, Leasburg ought to have been given to Person county
The other teachers in this county whom I remember
were Wilson Yeallock, Thomas J. Farrar, Plosea A. Carver,
Henry J. Montgomery, Thomas T. Satterfield, James H.
Woody, John M. Morton, James L. Wagoner, Samuel H.
Horton, Q. A. Ward, Geo. M. Bradsher, Samuel Jacobs,
Jones Drumright, Parham O'Briant, Mrs. W. O. Bowler,
and later on were Miss Corinna Bradsher, Mrs. Bettie
Brooks, Miss Sarah Gallagher, John W. Coleman, James
Bradsher, Jr., John A. Bailey, Miss Brock Satterfield, Sam-
uel Y. Brown, Obadiah Faulkner, Robert Jones, and W.
T. Blackwell. Mrs. Richard Gordon also taught a select
school for young ladies at Gordonton. Elder T. J. Horner
established and taught a school at Bethel Hill for many
years, which was re-established about 1888 and continued
on a much larger scale by Rev. J. A. Beam until the
school buildings and residences were burned at a great loss
to him, as well as to the whole county. Mr. Beam and
his good wife did a great work in promoting this school so
long, more for the good of others than for themselves, ex-
cept in the satisfaction of having given the helping hand
to hundreds of young men and young women. All of these
teachers, except four or five, have passed from the stage
of action, leaving their imprint for good on the generations
ROXBORO, N. C.
January 10, 1916.
In this letter I shall speak of the physicians who prac-
ticed their profession in this county when I was a youth
and during my middle life.
I planned to do this many weeks ago but was delayed
on account of the great calamity which has crossed my
pathway recently in the death of my oldest son, Howard,
who has fallen in the midst of his young manhood and
usefulness, and whom 1 had hoped to have to lean on for
comfort and advice in my declining years. For a long time
after this sad occurrence I felt very little like writing or
doing anything else.
These are the names of the doctors as 1 remember
them: The first one 1 think of was James McMullen, my
father's family physician, away back in 1846. Then come
Doctors Durham; Gibson; James Lea, of Leasburg; C. H.
Bradsher, "Old Prac" as everybody called him, a very pop-
ular physician, with a large practice all over the county;
C. H. Jordan; John C. Terrell; Cook; R. C. Baynes ; Sam
Jacobs; J. J. Thaxton ; J. A. Stanfield, of Leasburg; J. L.
Sanford; William L Jordan; Dr. Brooks, of Milton; Wil-
liam Strudwick, of Hillsboro; J. W. Plamlett, Richard
Marable ; John H. Edwards ; Currie Barnctt ; and later on,
come Drs. W. M. Terrell; John B. Bradsher; Thomas
Oakley; Bob Hester; E. J. Robertson; Jake Thompson, of
Leasburg; and E. A. Speed. All these have passed away
and their places are filled by others who have adopted
great changes in the manner of treatment of the diseases of
the human body, but no improvement in their devotion to
science and the good of their fellowmen.
It was then the custom to wrap fever patients in blank-
ets, even in hot weather; now the patient is put in ice to
reduce fever. In former times they even bled for many
diseases, which practice has now been entirely abandoned.
It is said that George Washington in his last sickness was
literally bled to death, in order to cure him.
The doctor used to carry his drug store in his saddle
bags, prescribe for the patient and compound the medicine
on the spot. At that time, we must remember, drug stores
were few and usually miles away, our nearest being distant
twenty to thirty miles, at Milton, Hillsboro, Oxford or
ROXBORO, N. C.
March 1, 1916.
DOCTORS AND DENTISTS
In my last letter I told you about some of the doctors
of the "long ago," as well as of some of more recent years,
but I find that I omitted the names of a few whom I now
recall: William Merritt, Junius T. Fuller, Charlie Brad-
sher, John C. Dickens, all prominent physicians, while
among the dental surgeons were : W. G. Bradsher, C. G.
Siddle, and Carter Day. Dr. Siddle, an itinerant dentist,
from Caswell county, operated in many sections of this
county and had a large practice. At that time, however,
people must have had better teeth than at present ; at any
rate, there was not so much demand for the services of the
dentist as now. Most of the work consisted of extracting
and filling teeth. A full set of teeth on a plate was rather
unusual, and, as little attention was given to the teeth, the
services of the surgeon was not so much called for by the
average person, except to extract the aching tooth ; and for
this service even the medical doctor with set of forceps
In speaking of the custom of bleeding for the cure of
many diseases it is said that the barbers formerly, in addi-
tion to their tonsorial work, bled sick people as a part of
their profession; hence, the present day barber sign of
white and red, representing the blood flowing from the
The old professional men have passed away and with
them many of the old ideas and styles of practice, being
succeeded by men with new and improved ideas, and re-
cent discoveries and inventions. These men were often more
than mere practitioners but were men of vision and had
the true scientific imagination. This writer recalls hear-
ing Dr. C. H. Jordan, late of Person county, speak, some
forty years ago, of the possibility of the wireless telegraph
and at that time described how it could be done. His plan
to aconiplish it was just about the same as is now in use
by the Marconi system. Of course he was considered a
"dreamer" and a "crank." It would be rash to say that
he was the first to think of this wonderful idea. He was
a gifted and well educated man and pondered much on the
lines of modern invention. I never thought anything more
of the matter until the newspapers a few years ago began
to discuss the discovery of the wireless system, which
brought back to my mind the words of this gifted Person
ROXBORO, N. C.
May 3, 1916.
After a long silence I have concluded to write you once
more about the good old times "befo' de wah," giving the
names of the merchants of the county, outside of Rox-
First I will begin at Bushy Fork, my old home township,
and name them consecutively in rotation around the county.
William A. Bradsher (father of our Superior Court
clerk) was the first merchant I ever knew. He sucessfully
conducted a store at Bushy Fork, formerly known as "Nor-
fleet's Store," for a great number of years doing a large
business for a country store in those days. He was also
a large farmer and mill ow^ner, and, in general, a prominent
and useful man in his section, popular and much beloved.
For one or two terms he was a member of the State Legis-
The next in order was Robert H. Hester, father of
the late Captain A. J. Hester. He was merchant, mill
owner, one of our largest farmers and land owners and
was possessed of large means. He was elected to the State
Legislature several sessions, though he was not an office
seeker. His was a case where the office sought the man
and he was never defeated when he consented to accept
a nomination, as he had the confidence of the people, and,
I think, gave entire satisfaction to his constituents as a leg-
islator. He was a Justice of Peace for many years, and a
wise counsellor, whose advice was often sought by his
neighbors when in trouble. He raised a large and sterling
family of children, some of whom still survive. He was
a popular, highly esteemed, and useful man.
C. S. Winstead, merchant, lawyer, farmer, mill owner
and all round business man, was a success in all his call-
ings. He was in public life a great many years, as county
attorney, member of both House and Senate, and revenue
collector under President Grant. He was courtly in his
manners and held many other offices of trust and served
well his day and generation, being a useful and popular
man. He was one of the largest land owners of our county,
and had accumulated quite a large estate. He died in
1908 at an advanced age of about 84 years.
William G. Winstead, of Olive Hill, merchant and
farmer of large means, was a prosperous and useful man
in the county. He never aspired to any office, though he
was, I think, Justice of Peace in his district for a long time,
and a county commissioner for one or two terms after
the war, a good man and popular in his section.
The next in order was Col. John W. Cunningham,
father of our Col. John S. Cunningham, merchant, farmer,
mill owner, legislator, and all round business man. He was
most successful in business and was the largest land owner
and farmer and wealthiest man of our county in his day.
He was elected to the State Legislature and served in both
houses many times, or as often as he would have it. He
was never defeated in an election for any office, which is
evidence of his popularity witli the people of his native
John Rogers, of Woodsdale, was merchant and farmer,
who successfully conducted a business for many years at
that point, both as merchant and moderately large farmer.
Some of his descendants are still living in that section.
The next were A. Bailey and Company (Albert Bailey
and Alex Walker, both farmers), who conducted a store
about half a mile south of Bailey's Bridge and commanded
a good trade for years; Mr. Bailey died and Mr. Walker
moved to Durham, where he spent the latter part of his life.
John F. Neal, I think, had a store at his home in Hol-
loways Township, and David Holloway merchandised for
years at Daysville in the same township.
The next in the round was Major James Street, father
of our esteemed fellow citizen, T. H. Street, Esq., at Mill
Creek. He was a merchant, farmer, mill owner, conducted
a store there for many years, owned much land and farmed
on a large scale. He was very successful in business and
was perhaps the wealthiest man in the township.
The next in order were Bentley Vaughan and Sweaney,
at or near Moriah, merchants, farmers, and sawmill men.
At Moriah also was M. D. C. Bumpass, who was a
merchant and farmer and who made a success.
The next in order were Allen and Royster, at Allens-
ville (H. Royster and T. T. Allen), who were success-
ful in business.
At Center Grove was the firm of Day & Townsend,
who sold goods several years, and were succeeded by Ben.
A. Thaxton, merchant and farmer, who continued the
business the rest of his life.
William T. Noell, at Mt. Tirzah, was a merchant,
farmer, tailor, Justice of the Peace and a county commis-
sioner for the last thirty years of his life, a good business
man, a popular, useful and much-beloved citizen. He it
was, as I have stated before, that introduced the sewing
machine into North Carolina. Mr. Noell was never an
office seeker, but had tact and talent, fitting him to fill ac-
ceptably any office within the gift of his county people.
Thomas Webb, at Hurdle's Mill, was merchant, farmer
and mill owner.
J. A. Lunsford and Brother, at "High Hill," near old
Flat river church, were merchants, farmers, mill owners
and tobacco manufacturers. They were large dealers for
a small country village and at one time kept the finest stock
of goods in the county.
The next and last I can recall was Augustin Van Hook,
at VanHook's mill, about a mile west of Paines Tavern.
He had a store, mill, and farm and lived on the farm, lately
occupied and owned by the late Lewis S. Morton. Mr.
VanHook moved from the county to the South or West
when the writer was a small boy.
ROXBORO, N. C.
June 28, 1916.
I have heretofore given you the names of the merchants
of the county during and prior to the Civil War ; but I find
that I omitted the name of John ("Jack") D. Wilkerson,
who conducted a store for years in the front yard at his
home (Buck Walker place) in Holloways Township. He
afterwards joined in partnership with Gabe Jones and
moved the store to the opposite side of the road in front
of the old Billy Link place.
The object of this letter is to give you a list of the
tobacco manufacturers of the county in those old by-gone
days. I shall begin in Roxboro. First of all were Satter-
field and Dickens, whom I have mentioned before. They
were the pioneers in the tobacco business here and they
carried it on successfully. As no license or stamp tax was
required anyone could engage in the business who cared
to. After a few years Mr. Dickens died and was succeeded
by Geo. W. Trotter, and the business was continued under
the firm name of Satterfield and Trotter. After a few
more years Trotter died and was succeeded by Ab Barnett,
the firm name being Satterfield and Barnett. Satterfield
and Barnett carried on the business until the close of the
Civil War. Another was the firm of Winstead & Co. (John
M. Winstead, E. G. Reade and C. S. Winstead). Both
these firms made "flat tobacco" as plug tobacco was called,
distinguishing it from the home-made twist. It was packed
in plain oak boxes made in the factory, containing about
40, 50 or 100 pounds each. It was usually branded "Pound
Lumps" in addition to the trade mark, the plugs weigh-
ing four and eight ounces. They made no twist or smok-
ing tobacco, as smoking tobacco in commercial shape was
very little known. Tobacco was scarce at the close of the
war and brought good prices, for war disorganized labor,
and, in fact, all our labor then was needed to raise supplies
for the army and folks at home. Being a luxury, it could
be dispensed with in a measure, though the soldiers of the
Confedrate army were supplied with tobacco rations most
of the time during the war, and it was said they often
swapped it to the Yankee soldiers for coffee as they had
Reade and Norwood also operated a tobacco factory
in Roxboro. for many years before and after the war, as
did John G. Dillehay and Company.
Tobacco manufacturers also were J. A. Lunsford and
Brother, at High Hill, near the present home of Mrs. Joe
L. Wilkerson. They had quite a little town there then,
all their own, consisting of a tobacco factory, store, wood-
shop, blacksmith shop, tan yard, drug store and several
residences. It was the home also of a local physician.
But there is little sign now of this "city," only a residence
or two left to tell of the bustle of the past.
James I. Cothran manufactured tobacco on a small
scale for years near Mt. Tirzah and Ike Allen near Old
Wheeler's Church, and Haywood Williams at his home
near Cunningham. Chas. G. Mitchell was also an old
manufacturer of tobacco at his home near Woodsdale, as
were also Jesse and Alex Walker, at Daysville.
The manufacture of smoking tobacco had not then be-
gun as a business; nor was yellow or fiue-cured tobacco
known. About the year 1857 Thomas Slade, a farmer
of near Locust Hill, Caswell county, made the discovery
by accident. In those days everybody tried to cure by
sunshine or with wood burned in trenches under their to-
bacco hanging in barns. Mr. Slade's wood ran short and
having a lot of charcoal on hand conclvided to substitute
the coal for wood, burning the coal in the trenches instead
of the wood, and he found that the tobacco cured up a
yellow color instead of red. This seemed a miracle, some-
thing "new under the sun" and it created quite a sensa-
tion all over the tobacco region. Other farmers soon
caught on and used charcoal too, thus introducing the
yellow weed all over the tobacco-growing belt of North
Carolina and Virginia. After this, sheet-iron flues were
introduced, which made the curing of yellow tobacco more
convenient and saved labor and time. I heard Hon. Geo.
W. Brooks, brother to Mr. JeiT Brooks, of Woodsdale,
claim that he was the first man that ever suggested the
use of sheet-iron flues for the curing of tobacco.
When first offered on the markets, this yellow tobacco
sold for fabulous prices. Up to this time the prevailing
prices for red tobacco ranged from $2.50 to $10.00 and
$12.00, a hundred pounds. An average of $7.00 to $9.00 all
round wa;^ considered a good price ; but yellow or "coal
cured" tobacco sold so high that most of the farmers in
this Piedmont section were soon raising the "golden weed"
and selling it for golden prices. The news spread like fire
and soon Eastern North Carolina and South Carolina took
up the raising of tobacco and even beat us at our own
game, at least in brightness of color, if not in quality.
Thus they killed our monopoly on fancy bright tobacco.
In the old days of red tobacco, a rather amusing and
unusual circumstance occurred on the warehouse sale floor
in Clarksville, Virginia, which was the main tobacco market
for this whole section. Old man John D. Clayton, of Per-
son county, and one of the most honest men in it, had a
load of tobacco on the floor. It was being sold and the
price of one pile had gone up as high as $40. The old
man got excited and rushing among the bidders told them
to stop bidding, that $40 was more than it was worth. This
circumstance gave him the name of "Forty Dollar" John
Clayton ever afterward. At this time $15.00 was con-
sidered a high price.
Up to the time of the yellow tobacco period, our farmers
did not put so much stress on raising tobacco as they have
since, but raised supplies of "hog and hominy" and almost
everything else to live on.
ROXBORO, N. C.
August 29, 1916.
MY FIRST RAILROAD TRIP
In 1857 railroads were few, and in Person county they
were things that we felt belonged to other and distant com-
munities. Henderson depot on the old Raleigh and Gaston
Railroad (now a part of the Seaboard Air Line), was
our nearest shipping point, 40 miles distant. At that time
the Baltimore and Ohio Road, in West Virginia, was the
nearest railroad to the west of us. The old North Caro-
lina road to the south of us was not completed, nor was
the Richmond and Danville, north of us. Our county was a
part of a wide stretch of country without railroad facilities.
My first sight of a railroad was with Mr. J. A. Lunsford,
for whom I was clerk in his store. On the morning of
the 2d of March we left his home near Roxboro in his
carriage for Oxford, and spent the night at the Oxford
Hotel, kept by Samuel A. Williams. We left Oxford at
daybreak next morning, the 3d, on the stage (mail coach)
for Henderson, arriving there for breakfast at Alley's
Hotel. Here I first saw a railroad and train. We boarded
the train and I began my first railroad ride from Hender-
son to Weldon. We took dinner at the Weldon Hotel,
kept by W. W. Harper. We left Weldon about two
o'clock in the afternoon on the Petersburg and Weldon
Railroad, for Petersburg, Virginia, arriving at Peter.sburg
about dark. There we took supper at the Bollingbrook Hotel
kept by Thomas W. Epps. We left Petersburg after dark
on the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad arriving in Rich-
mond early in the night, and left Richmond for Washing-
ton, on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Rail-
road, but making the latter part of the journey by boat.
We reached Washington about sun-up, and I had my first
view of our great national Capitol. This was on the 4th
of March, the day on which James Buchanan was inaug-
urated President of the United States. We did not re
main to witness the inauguration, but went on by the Balti-
more and Ohio Railroad to Baltimore. We stopped at the
Fountain Hotel, kept by J. W. Clabaugh, and after spend-
ing a few days in Baltimore buying a stock of goods, we
went on to Philadelphia via the Philadelphia, Wilmington
and Baltimore Railroad. Here we stopped at the Ameri-
can Hotel. In Philadelphia we bought a part of our stock
of goods. On our return home we spent a day in Peters-
burg concluding our purchases.
This was a big trip for me, which I have never for-
gotten, and I still remember the names of most of the
firms from whom we bought goods in each city.
No through tickets were sold, nor through trains run.
Each road sold tickets, and ran trains for itself. We had
to change cars and buy tickets at each road terminus, and
look after our own baggage, as there was no checking bag-
gage through. We bought tickets at Henderson, Weldon,
Pe'tersburg, Richmond, Washington and Baltimore. It took
two and a half days and nights of travel to go from Person
county to Baltimore, a trip one can now make in about
twelve hours, with two hours to spare on the way.
We had to change cars on arrival in each city. There
were no street cars and to go from one depot to another we
had to go through the city by private conveyance or on
the "omnibus of the line," paying extra for transportation
of ourselves and baggage. On arriving in the city of
Baltimore, there were so many people on the streets it
looked to me as if it must be "court day."
Everything looked novel and strange to a boy of eigh-
teen from the "backwoods" on his f^rst visit to a great
city, but I hugely enjoyed seeing the big stores and various
things of interest. In Philadelphia, I visited Independence
Hall Girard College, Franklin's grave, and other places
of note. I gratefully remember that Mr. Lunsford took
much interest in having me see the things worth while. I
recall that the conductor on my first train from Henderson
was not dressed in railroad uniform, but in a black suit with
Prince Albert coat and a "high-top" black silk hat, gold
watch and ^hain and was as polite as a "dancing master,"
and proud of his job. This may have been Captain Tim-
berlake, who served the Raleigh and Gaston Road, I think,
for over fifty years and was then pensioned for the rest
of his life.
ROXBORO, N. C.
January 20, 1920.
1861 to 1865
Editor Courier :
In the Civil War although North Carolina was slow to
leave the old compact, it sent more soldiers to the field, it is
claimed, than any other Southern State. Our little county
of Person, 20 miles square, put in the field 800 to 1,000
men, taking them from 17 to 55 years of age. Four full
companies of 100 men each went as volunteers from the
county in the early part of the war and a great many en-
listed in companies from other counties. A large number
was drafted, and later as a last resort a great many more
were conscripted to fill depleted ranks and sent to the camps
of instruction to fit them for service in the ranks. The boys
under 18 were called the Junior Reserves and the men over
45, Senior Reserves, thus taking them "from the cradle to
Enthusiasm ^vas so great in the early stage of the con-
flict it was impossible to obtain guns and munitions of war
to equip the boys who were ready and anxious to go to the
front. Excitement ran high ; drums, fifes and brass bands
were heard on all sides. The boys were eager for the
fray and even afraid the war might end before they had
a chance at the "Yankees."
After the first year of the war when Southern seaports
were closed and there was no exchange of cotton and tobacco
in foreign trade we had to depend almost entirely on home-
made goods and supplies of all kinds, even for guns and all
war ammunition. It was very difficult at times to procure even
salt ; the people finally dug up the dirt floor in their smoke
houses and extracted the salt there. Our good women brought
out their old hand looms, spinning wheels, cotton and wool
cards which had been laid aside for years, spun and wove
dress goods for themselves, cloth for men and boys, cloth-
ing, blankets, sheets, counterpanes, stockings, socks, and in
fact almost everything to wear. They made and "wore
their homespun dresses with much grace" as the old Dixie
song expresses it. A great many things of necessity and
especially of luxury had to be abandoned wholly; for in-
stance, parched corn, wheat and rye were substituted for
cofTee, home-made sorghum for sugar and molasses. Sor-
ghum was called "long sweetening." Pine knots and tallow
dip candles, home-made hats for the ladies, their own make
and fashion, wool hats for men and boys made at home,
wood bottom shoes and many other substitutes were resorted
to from necessity.
During the last year of the war prices "soared like the
lark ;" for instance, cofTee, when it could be had at all, sold
for $15.00 to $25.00 a pound; nails, $10.00 a pound; a
bunch of cotton warp, $100.00; flour, $100.00 a barrel,
horses, $1,000.00 to $3,000.00 each, and other things in
proportion. These prices were, of course, in depreciated
money, which was more plentiful than anything else. Many
of our people had invested their money in Confederate
bonds and lost all with the downfall of the new govern-
ment. The close of the war left the whole of the Southern
country bankrupt, our money and bank currency worthless ;
railroads and rolling stock were worn out; cities and farm
houses in the war zone were burned down ; cattle, hogs,
horses and sheep were stolen or killed. The negroes being
set free, our best labor was gone. Desolation prevailed on
every side and, worst of all, thousands of our best men
were left on the battle field to return no more, and there
were thousands of sad homes, widows and orphans. But
Page Sixty- five
such is war. General Sherman did not miss it much in his
definition of war.
Roxboro's and Person county's contribution to the war
was most worthy. John Graves Dillehay was the first cap-
tain of the first company of volunteers that went to the
war from this county in April or May, 1861. John L.
Harris was captain of the second, John C. VanHook of
the third, John G. Jones of the fourth, James Holman
succeeded Dillehay as captain of the first company. Cap-
tains Harris, VanHook and Jones were all promoted to the
rank of Colonel. In fact, as I remember, Colonel Jones
was made a brigadier general by the War Department for
gallant service on the battle field. He was killed in action
near Petersburg before he took command of his brigade.
Among all the men and boys who went to the "front" from
this county only about 135 or 140 are still with us. But
they are no longer "boys." They are now the old men of
During the war period the population of Roxboro increas-
ed to about 400 or 450, several families having moved in,
among whom were J. D. Wilkerson, H. R. Boshammer, shoe-
maker; W. P. Wilkins, lawyer; Col. J. W. Hunt, saddle
and harness maker; W. H. Smith, sheriflF; Geo. W. Nor-
wood, tobacco manufacturer; Dr. J. T. Fuller; S. C.
Barnett, lawyer; Jas. T. Critcher, buggy and wagon maker,
and William H. Foushee, wood worker and buggy manu-
These new comers added much to the business and
social status of the town. In 1861, a bank was
organized here with a cash capital of $25,000.00 known
as the bank of Roxboro, with Hon. E. G. Reade, presi-
dent, and Col. C. S. Winstead, cashier, but soon closed
its doors as a necessity of war. New stores were opened
by Hamlin and Hunt, Wright and Clay, Barnett and O'-
Brien and others, but they all went out of business before
the war closed. At tliis time goods of every kind were
so scarce that it was difTicult to find or purchase anything
at all, even writing material, pocket knives or handker-
chiefs. But conditions changed rapidly when peace was
ROXBORO, N. C.
October 20, 1914.
THE OLD SOLDIERS
Editor Courier :
In this number of reminiscences I have decided to
give as near as I can a list of all the old Confederate sol-
diers now living belonging to the Jones Camp of U. C. V.,
No. 1206, Person county, nearly all of whom are still res-
idents of this county. The most of them were natives of
this county and enlisted here for the war.
J. A. Long, commander of camp, A. R. Foushee, adju-
tant, J. Y. Allen, A. V. Allen, John H. Burch, Thomas W.
Blackard, Sam Bowes, George W. Burch, W. A. Blaiock,
Marion T. Carver, John S. Coleman (captain), Levi M.
Cothran, William D. Cothran, L. B. Chandler, Alex Clay-
ton, Sol D. Clayton, Ralph Clayton, Thomas T. Clayton,
Stephen A. Clayton, J. W. Duncan, James J. Dixon, Robert
J. Day, T. C. Ellis, Haywood Foushee, Stephen P. Gentry,
Ben M. Gentry, Geo. D. Stephens, D. W. Thaxton, John L.
Wiley, Henry Spec Williams, T. J. Warren, James E.
Yancey, E. B. Reade, W. S. Lawson, James M. Long,
Byrd Long, J. J. Brooks, James R. Gooch, John Whitt,
D. C. Cozart, Dr. P. G. Pritchett, David A. Hicks, F.
M. Clayton, James Matt Brooks, Pleasant T. Gentry,
John J. Hudgins, James B. Hudgins, D. Harris, J. W.
Hicks, Smith C. Humphries, Thomas J. Jones, William
Latta, A. M. Long, J. P. Long, Wesley Laws, S. M. Long,
George W. Moore, James S. Noell, E. M. O'Briant, S. R.
Parham, George B. Pearce, William J. Ragan, Richard T.
Ramsey, John E. Smith, A. D. Talley, Charles W. Loftis,
John J. Coleman, J. R. Hayes, Frank M. Daniel, W. H.
Holsomback, Stephen M. Lee, W. R. Neal, James H. Barn-
well, D. C. Lunsford, John D. Harris, David Slaughter,
W. C. Lawson, George G. Moore, George F. Holloway,
James A. Carver, Joseph Pointer, D. Frank Oakley, John
Mcjones, R. W. Jones, Sam Glenn, S. T. Covington, James
B. Blackwell, John Oakley, Alex Bowen, J. J. Raines, Gid
Davis, Kemp Walker, G. G. Morton, John Ed Owen, John
M. Thaxton, Jordan T. Thaxton, Joseph Bowling, A. D.
Moore, A. J. Holsomback, Sidney Moore, James E. Barker,
William T. Wilson, William T. Ragan, William M. Loftice,
Samuel H. Gates, C. M. G. Wagstaff, E. B. Barker, Thomas
Ragan, John H. Strange, J. R. Long, J. L Long, R. D.
Malone, W. R. Stewart, W. S. Barnwell, George W. Hol-
somback, Jesse Long, William F. Reade, J. B. Wright, John
E. Harris, Richard J. Clayton, M. M. Featherston, S. T.
Pittard, R. B. Beasley, R. H. Hubbard, John R. Perkins,
Taylor Jackson, T. J. Terrell, C. C. Woody, Ruffin Davis,
J. R. Flunter, John W. Ellison, James M. Ellison, Loftin
Scott, R. H. Oakley, James Barker, A. J. Hamlett, A. P.
Edwards, S. C. Rice, Moses S. Jones, John A. Tucker, and
J. T. Yancey.
In this list there are a few, perhaps a dozen, who do
not live in this county now, some in Caswell and Orange
counties and some in Virginia, and about as many who
have moved in from other counties. The majority of
these old soldiers came out of the war penniless, or worth
very little in the way of this world's goods, but by industry
and hard work they have made good and are of our best
citizens. Nearly all of them are farmers and have succeeded
well. May they live long to enjoy the laurels won in the
days that "tried men's souls."
I think Mr. T. W. Blackard is the oldest man in the
above list and it would be hard to find a better man or a
finer Christian gentleman. I have known him well for
about half a century.
ROXBORO, N. C.
December 8, 1914.
RECONSTRUCTION AND A NEW COURT
As a result of the Civil War, the county, and the whole
South as well, was in a dilapidated, rundown condition.
Poverty and distress were on every side. Fortunately the
war closed in April, just in time for the returning sol-
diers, who were farmers, to "pitch" a crop. They went to
work with a will and determination to succeed and to build
up again the waste places, and they succeeded well, consid-
ering the disadvantages under which they labored. Prov-
idence smiled on them and their labors produced bountiful
crops as a result of their industry.
There was a great demand for carpenters ; farm houses
and all other buildings had become dilapidated and much in
need of repairs and remodeling. But the lack of ready
money to pay the bills was the great problem to be solved.
The short tobacco crops for the last two years of the
war period caused money to be very scarce, and our people
resorted in part to a barter trade, exchanging everything
they could spare from the farm with the merchants. A
trade was even got up on rabbits, rabbit skins, partridges, raw
hides, furs, farm produce of all kinds, lightwood, sumac,
and other things too tedious to mention.
This reminds me of a story I read about that time, of
an incident in the mountain section of Virginia. A drum-
mer pulled up at a country store on the mountain side and
went in to sell the merchant some goods. Before he could
show his samples a countryman came in and after looking
around in the store, saw a box of tobacco and bought a
plug of it for ten cents. He took out of his pocket a
mink skin to pay the bill, the merchant giving him a fox
skin as change. He then bought twenty-five cents worth of
something else and received back a squirrel skin as change.
Next he bought a paper of pins for ten cents, giving the
merchant back the squirrel skin and receiving a rat skin as
change. His next purchase was a paper of needles for five
cents and in payment he gave the merchant back the rat
skin, which closed the deal, and he rode away. The drum-
mer was astonished, remarking that in all his travels he
had not come across such currency. The merchant told
him that once in about every six months the fur dealer
came around with his wagon and paid him cash for the
furs, this being his opportunity to secure ready money.
However, we were not quite so bad off in Person, for
there was some gold and silver in our country which had
been brought out from old stockings and other hiding places
during the war, and we also had a little tobacco and cotton,
which found ready sale at good prices. This afforded
great relief in this emergency.
There was about this time — in the summer of 1865 — a
sale here of a large lot of government horses, mules, wagons,
and harness, which had been mostly taken home by Con-
federate soldiers and which had been forcibly seized by the
United States government from the people, brought here,
advertised and publicly sold. This sale amounted to between
five and ten thousand dollars cash. The farmers were in
great need of teams and wagons and paid big prices for this
property so that everybody wondered where the money
came from to pay with. This seizure by the Federal gov-
ernment was felt to be an injustice and an outrage.
The poor Confederate soldier was deprived of all that he
had saved and brought home from his four years' service
in the ranks. In some instances the soldier bought back
the same mule or horse that he rode home from the army.
By the fall of the year (1865) the merchants of the
town, George Norwood and J. A. Long (Norwood &
Long), Chesley Hamlen, James H. and John D. Paylor
(Paylor Brothers), Green D. Satterfield and A. 1\. Foushee
(trading as Satterfield and Foushee), and a few others
opened up full stocks of goods and merchandise in Rox-
boro, as did some few country merchants, and had a lucra-
tive trade. The sight of a full store of goods was as big
a show as a circus. People came from far and near to
trade ; even a side of red sole leather, something we had
not had for years, looked good and sold for 75 cents a
pound. Goods of all kinds were scarce and high, even
up North among the factories, when compared with the
present quantities and prices ; yet they were cheap compared
with Confederate prices, to which we had been accustomed
during the war period. It was not long before the country
was fully stocked with all kinds of goods, wares and mer-
chandise; prices declined with the price of cotton which had
sold for forty cents at the close of the war, but soon went
down to fifteen or sixteen cents. Real estate felt the grav-
itation to lower prices perhaps more than any other prop-
erty. The negro being set free, his anxiety to enjoy his
new-found freedom made his labor and services, as might
have been expected, a very uncertain commodity. The scar-
city of labor meant idle land, which was aggravated
by scarcity of money. Few people wanted to buy land.
Those who owned much land were considered "land
poor," and lands which sold then at $1.50 to $2.00 per acre
are now worth from $25.00 to $100.00 per acre. Although
land was so cheap Peruvian Guano, the only commercial
fertilizer then used in this section, sold in 1867 at $100.00
to $110.00 per ton. These prices will look strange to the
young farmers of today, who can buy their tobacco fertil-
izers at about one-fifth of these figures.
After a few years of progress our people realized the
need of a new courthouse at the county seat, the old one
being small and of antiquated style. Our magistrates and
county commissioners took the matter under advisement
and in 1883 built, a new courthouse and jail of more mod-
ern style — yet not stylish enough to hurt — at a cost of about
$10,000.00 and in the steeple they installed a clock at a
cost of $750.00.
Citizens who, as our town has grown, cast their lots with
us during the years after 1865 have been: Elder J. J.
Lansdell, Rev. J. H. Lamberth, W. H. Williams, R. H.
Dowdy, Dr. C. G. Nichols, William H. Long, Willis I. John-
son, R. K. Daniel, Richard T. Howerton, E. D. Cheek,
James T. Sergeant, Robert A. Noell, John A. Noell, Joseph
W. Noell, J. C. Pass, Woodson Thomas, Luther Thomas,
George T. Thaxton, D. W. Bradsher, D. M. Andrews,
Walter Woody, R. A. Pass, W. T. Pass, T. W. Pass, J. H.
Carver, H. H. Masten, W. R. Hambrick, Flem Hamlett,
Albert Clayton, H. G. Clayton, Dallas Long, R. A. Spencer,
Samuel C. Barnett, Luther Thomas, Geo. W. Thomas,
Woodson L. Thomas, Jno. M. O'Brient, A. S. DeVlaming,
R. L Featherstone, Jno. J. Winstead, H. W. Winstead, T.
W. Henderson, W. L. Lewis, C. H. Hunter, Victor Kaplan,
Mr. Abbott (of Viccillo Bro. & Abbott), A. M. Burns, J.
W. Chambers, E. B. Yancey, Jno. H. C. Burch, Henry
Field, Jno. F. Reams, J. W. Algood, T. S. Clay, Dr. E. J.
Tucker, Dr. R. J. Teague, W. H. Pulley, T. H. Street, Dr.
J. A. Wise, H. Fields, J. S. Merritt, Capt. J. A. Tucker,
D. W. Whitaker, S. P. Williams, C. H. Hunter, W. W.
Kitchin, Eugene Bradsher, M. C. Winstead, J. S. Bradsher,
F. B. Reade, L. D. Veazey, E. C. Veazey, Benj. Davis,
R. W. Stephens, A. Lipshitz, W. L Newton, Jake Jones,
\Vm. Jones, Jno. Blanks, Jas. H. Clayton, N. Lunsford,
J. D. Morris, W. A. Mills, "w. C. Bullock, W. C. Watkins,
W. J. Pettigrew, Jno. Pettigrevv, C. C. Cunningham, J. M.
Pass, J. H. Pass, Ed Davis, T. E. Austin, L. G. Stanfield,
Hugh \V. Foushee, Jake Loy, J. H. Perkins, II. J. Whitt,
Frank Burch, Chas. A. Whitfield, T. C. Brooks, A. B.
Stalvey. W. D. Merritt, L. M. Carlton, Baxter Allen,
W. A. Winstead, Dr. B. E. Love, R. L. Chappell, Dr. O. P.
Shaub. Hubert Morton, L. L. Lunsford, and Dr. Crisp.
ROXBORO, N. C.
February 3, 1915.
TOBACCO DEALERS AFTER THE CIVIL WAR
Mr. Editor :
In a former letter I gave a list of the tobacco manufac-
turers operating in this cojinty up to the close of the Civil
War; I will now name those who ha.:? carried on this busi-
ness in the county since that period, and I begin with those
operating in Roxboro.
First was Geo. W. Norwood, who perhaps did the
largest business of all who have ever engaged in the to-
bacco business in this county. His plant was burned
about the year 1868 or 1870 and having no insurance he
was so crippled that he was constrained to quit the busi-
ness. His loss was estimated to be more than .$30,000.00.
After this misfortune Mr. Norwood and his family moved
to Winston, North Carolina. S. B. and W. H. W^ instead,
brothers, made plug tobacco, but after a year or \\\o of
doubtful success they sold their factory and fixtures to G. D.
Satterfield and Company, who carried on thi? business for
a year or two, when they in turn closed out to W. C.
Satterfield and Geo. W. Jones, with firm name of Saner-
field and Jones. They continued the business for only a
few years. J. A. Long manufactured plug tobacco for a
few years, but Roxboro was then so far from a railroad
that he decided to discontinue the business. W. H. Win-
stead and Chesley Hamlen made plug tobacco for a year
or two. Mr. Hamlen moved to Winston and engaged in
the same business there. Several parties have made smok-
ing tobacco on a small scale, and among the number were
James Wright, Moses Chambers, S. P. Satterfield and W.
H. Winstead. Mr. Winstead had a brand called the "Rox-
boro Ram" on which he had quite a run. If he had pushed
it it might have rivaled the celebrated "Bull Durham"
brand. S. B. Winstead and John S. Long (Winstead and
Long), also made plug tobacco a year or two and gave
it up because Roxboro was so far from a railroad. Natur-
ally and by circumstances our town was quite a tobacco
center, even before we had any leaf tobacco market here.
Our factory men then bought their stock of leaf tobacco
at the barn door or on the South Boston market and
hauled it to RoxboTO. When they had manufactured it
they hauled it back to South Boston and other points for
There were at this time a few factories out of town.
H. A. Reams, at "High Hill;" did a large business, also
Chas. G. Mitchell, near Woodsdale, Brooks and Walker,
at Daysville, and J. L Cothran, near Mt. Tirzah. They
all soon discontinued, badly handicapped by lack of rail-
road, warehouse and market facilities. Our neighbor-
ing town, Leasburg, also had several tobacco factories at
this time, and did quite a large business, but, like Roxboro,
it was too far from transportation lines to make a success.
Wilkf-rson and Fuller and R. P. Hancock were the largest
operators at Leasburg.
^Roxboro, N. C.
Sept. 13, 1916.
Page Seventy- four
THE RAILROAD AND PROGRESS
A former letter brought us to about the year 1885 when
the talk of a railroad to Roxboro was in the air. Most of
our people had their doubts that it would ever be a reality;
but my life-long neighbor, and a most enterprising citizen.
J. A. Long, devoted himself to the task with all his
characteristic energy and push, worked for this enter-
prise day and night, wrote letters, traveled, talked
much at home and abroad in an effort to get others
interested in a railroad for Roxboro. After a hard
fight, his etTorts were crowned with success, and the
road was completed to our town in May, 1890. Had
it not been for INIr. Long, I doubt that we would have
had a railroad so soon. By the time the road reached us
he was having a warehouse built for the sale of leaf to-
bacco, and the market opened up at once. Later other
warehouses were built, and we now have five excellent
warehouses. This market sold in 1913 about seven million
pounds at an average of $20.00, the total sales amounting
to over a million and a quarter dollars. Between 1885 and
1890 two banks were organized in Roxboro, the first one
with a capital stock of $40,000, the other one $25,000, with
J. A. Long president of the first, and E. B. Reade president
of the other. Both institutions have prospered well, have
withstood the financial panics which have come, and have
met promptly all demands on them for ready money. In
1907 they did not issue "script" as many other banks did
when money was tight, in order to run the tobacco markets.
By aid of these banks our market paid cash for every pile
of tobacco sold, and paid as good prices for it as other
markets. The president of one of our banks said that he
had a machine making the money each night for the next
day's tobacco sale. Whether this be true or not, the ware-
house checks were always paid when presented.
During this period the town took on a pronounced air
of growth. Carpenters, brick layers and painters were
busy providing houses to shelter the new citizens ; the saw,
hammer and trowel made music on every side in a way
unknown beforje. Quite a lot of property changed hands;
a number of brick stores and shops were constructed to take
the place of the old wooden houses ; three or four new
churches were built for the white people and colored breth-
ren also caught the spirit of progress and built three or four
places of worship. Up to 1900, our population had in-
creased considerably, and all found employment and thus
helped to build up the town and county.
Our local lawyers at this period were W. W. Kitchin,
Col. C. S. Winstead, Jas. F. Terry, J. S. Merritt and Wm.
I failed to state that the first newspaper ever printed
here was established by D. W. Whitaker and J. B. Hunter
about the year 1884. It did not succeed well financially
and was afterwards purchased by Messrs. J. A. and J. W.
Noell, who took in hand this paper, now The Roxhoro
Courier, and have managed it with success ever since.
Since writing my former letter, I take notice in the
Courier of a communication entitled "More Reminiscences"
from my friend Charles F. Clayton, of Tarboro, a native
of Person county. It is so well written, informing and
entertaining, especially to us older people, that I am grate-
ful to him. I thank him very much for his kind references
ROXBORO, N. C.
December 12, 1914.
1900 TO 1914
Editor Courier :
I will now speak of the progress made in our town
The first event of importance was the buildinc: of a
cotton mill near the railroad station in 1901 or 1902, pro-
jected and built under the direction of Mr. J. A. Long,
president of the company and large stockholder. This mill
was run with so much success and profit that the stock-
holders and directors decided to enlarge the plant. In 1907
•they increased the capital stock and built and equipped
another mill of much larger proportions, two miles north
of Roxboro on the railroad at the point formerly known
as Reade and Hamlin's (later Pass') mill, on the Norfolk
and Western Railroad. Both mills make only cotton yarns
but consume twenty-five to thirty bales of cotton daily, run-
ning some 25,000 to 30,000 spindles. The two mills cost
upward of half a million dollars. An addition to the new
mill is now being built, at an outlay of a hundred and fifty
thousand dollars more. These mills will be propelled by
electric power supplied by the Southern Power Co.'s plant
located near Wadesboro, N. C. Other machinery here, too,
will be run and the town lighted by this company.
Quite a village has sprung up around the new mill, with
a church, school and stores. The price of land near the
mill has advanced from $10.00 to $50.00 or more per acre.
Besides, the mill has brought much trade and business to
Roxboro and vicinity and the advent of the Southern
Power Co.'s electric line to our town opens up the way for
other new industries. We have a fine back country, good
farm lands which produce the best of tobacco, wheat, corn,
oats, fruits and vegetables. Best of all, we have a splendid
citizenship of honest, industrious people.
We have good railroad, express and telegraph facilities,
and also telephone lines to nearly every section of the
county as well as to the outside world. Our town has
stores well stocked with goods, wares and merchandise,
hardware, and agricultural implements, and everything
needed to cultivate the farm. Also we have an excellent
graded school of 300 to 400 pupils, and churches and Sun-
day schools representing the leading denominations of the
country, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Primitive
Baptist. Our school facilities are good throughout the
county. An educational spirit has been awakened among
our people to an extent unknown before, and this is as it
The legal profession is now represented by Messrs. L.
M. Carlton, W. D. Merritt, F. O. Carver, M. C. Winstead,
C. G. Winstead, N. Lunsford and T. C. Brooks. The
doctors of medicine are W. A. Bradsher, B. E. Love, C. G.
Nichols, W. T. Long and C. G. Montague, and the dentists
are E. J. Tucker, B. R. Long. B. R. Vickers, and A. P.
We also have Masonic and Odd Fellows' organizations
and the ladies have clubs and societies galore.
ROXBORO, N. C.
December 23, 1914.
PERSON COUNTY AND "BULL DURHAM"
The history of our county, so richly endowed with good
tobacco lands has been closely connected with the history
of commerce in tobacco and so, naturally, several of my
letters have dealt with the manufacture and sale of tobacco.
With your permission, therefore, I will give my recollec-
tions of the origin of the celebrated "Bull Durham" brand
of smoking tobacco.
The "Buir brand originated in the genius of a
Person county man, J. Ruffin Green, of Woodsdale, this
Page S. vcnty-eight
county. Some time about 1856 or 1857 his father, Mager
Green, a farmer hving near Woodsdale, sold his farm
to elder A. X. Mall, a Primitive Baptist minister, a
neii^hbor and his pastor. Mr. Green expected to find soon
another farm more to his liking, but after looking over the
country for some time failed to do so, and being anxious
to have his land back, called on Ur. Hall for this pur-
pose. But as Mr. Hall desired the land himself he would
not let Mr. Green have it back. Deeply disappointed he
and his son Ruffin, therefore, set out to find homes elsewhere
and after looking around for some time in this and other
counties, they each bought farms about five miles from the
then little station of "Durham's" of about 100 inhabitants,
on the old North Carolina railroad in Orange county
and moved there with their families and engaged in farm-
ing. Pretty soon Mr. Ruffin Green deciding to add a side
line to his farming activities, bought up a lot of leaf to-
bacco and beat it up by hand into a granulated shape into
smoking tobacco, and hauled it off in wagons to the eastern
part of the State. He found a ready sale for it at good
profit and soon made money with which to build a new
frame residence and perhaps a small factory to run the
business in. Just as the residence was about completed it
was destroyed by fire and he had no insurance. Of course,
he felt that he was financially ruined and did not know
what next to do.
After considering the situation for a while, he decided
that, as the cost of hauling to the "depot" was considerable,
it would be wise to buy land and move his family and
business there, for land was cheap then. So he bought a
tract of land in what is now the middle of the city, and
built a factory and comfortable residence near the railroad
station, and continued there the manufacture of smoking
tobacco on a larger scale. He gave it the name of "The
Bull Durham" smoking tobacco, and had the brand patented
or trade-marked for his protection. He increased the
output and soon had a larger demand for his goods. The
business ran on up to and during the Civil War. At its
close the armies of Johnson and of Sherman were both dis-
banded near Durham, and the soldiers of both armies,
North and South, it was said, made depredations on the
little factory, and carried off a large portion of the tobacco
Mr. Green felt that he was again ruined, but it proved
to the contrary, as it turned out to be the best and cheap-
est advertisement he ever had, making the "Bull Brand"
famous all over the country, North and South, bringing
orders for it from every quarter and building up a big
trade. Not long after the close of the war Mr. Green died
and his father, Mager Green, his administrator, advertised
in a Raleigh paper for about six months the sale of the
factory and fixtures with the "Bull standing by." At last
he found purchasers for the plant, and sold it to W. T.
Blackwell (widely known as "Buck" Black well) and James
R. Day, Person county boys, for a sum which would seem
small at the present day for the beginning of such an im-
These young men had already been engaged in a small
way in making smoking tobacco in Person county, but dis-
continued their Person business at once after buying the
"Bull Brand" plant. Money was exceedingly scarce and
hard to procure. It required grit to undertake to carry
on this newly-bought enterprise. But they had had some
experience in the tobacco business, and they paid what
they could on it and borrowed money with which to push
the business, which met with great success. After a few
years Gen. J. S. Carr, then a young man, bought an inter-
est in the business and with the addition of his talents and
energy carried it on to greater success.
The location of this plant made it necessary to have a
leaf tobacco market in Durham, so Messrs. Henry A.
Reams and Ak-x Walker, of Person county, moved to
Durham and opened up and conducted the first leaf tobacco
warehouse in that town. This enterprise was needed to
furnish tobacco for this plant, and made a permanent mar-
ket for a large section of the fuicst tobacco territory in
the State. These enterprises, with many others, caused
people to flock to Durham, where they engaged in many
varied industries and the city has grown rapidly to be
one of the largest in our State, and is perhaps the best
known city of its size in the United States, or in the world.
After some years Mr. Day sold his interest in the
"Bull" factory to Messrs. Blackwell and Carr, his partners,
who continued the business, enlarging the plant and increas-
ing the output. After a few more years W. T. Blackwell
sold his interest for a princely sum to Mr. McDowell, of
Philadelphia, and the business continued to run under the
management of Carr and McDowell until it was sold to
or merged into the American Tobacco Company.
The history of the origin and rise of this world-
renowned smoking tobacco is thus interwoven with the
lives of some of our strong and resourceful Person county
ROXBORO, N. C.
Februarv 15, 1917.