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Randleman Rotary Club 



This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 


Form No. 471 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 









The Rotary Club of Randleman compiled a History of Randle- 
raan in 1944. The History, together with a reprint of "The Story 
of Naomi Wise" and "Reminiscences of Randolph County" was 
published in the interest of preserving the early life of Randolph 
County, and as a club project. 

Three years later it became necessary to reprint the book and 
the second edition was published. 

Numerous requests have been received each year recently from 
people, locally and from outside North Carolina, for information 
as to where the book can be purchased. Once again as a club pro- 
ject, we have revised and published the information we have on our 

We are grateful to all those people who contributed to our 1944 
book and to those who have furnished information for this History. 

The Rotary Club of Randleman, N. C, 1962 


The story of Naomi Wise apparently made its first 
appearance in the Greensboro Patriot in April, 1874, writ- 
ten by Charles Vernon. It is believed that Dr. Braxton 
Craven, then President of Trinity College, used the pen 
name Charlie Vernon and it is the opinion that Dr. Craven 
wrote the original story of Naomi Wise. 









About 1800 there lived where New Salem now is, in the northern 
part of Randolph County, North Carolina, a very open and warm 
hearted gentleman by the name of William Adams. A few families 
of nature's noblest quality lived in the vicinity. They were not em- 
phatically rich, but were what our people called good livers; they 
were honest, hospitable and kind; they knew neither the luxuries nor 
the vices of high life. Their farms supplied enough for their own 
tables, and surplus sufficient for a brisk trade with Fayetteville. The 
wild forest hills and immense glades in the neighborhood afforded 
bountiful quantities of game; whilst Deep River abounded with the 
finest fish. At that time the inhabitants were by no means so thickly 
settled as at present; trading as a regular business was unknown, ex- 
cept to a few merchants. The people were somewhat rude, still, 
however, hospitable and kind. 

At William Adams' lived Naomi Wise. She had early been 
thrown upon the cold charity of the world, and she had received 
the frozen crumbs of that charity. Her size was medium; her figure 
beautifully formed; her face handsome and expressive; her eye keen 
yet mild; her words soft and winning. She was left without father 
to protect, mother to counsel, brothers and sisters to love, or friends 
with whom to associate. Food, clothing and shelter must be earned 
by the labor of her own hands, not such labor, however, as females 
at this day perform. There was no place for her but the kitchen with 
the prospect of occasionally going into the field. This the poor 
orphan accepted willingly; she was willing to labor, she was ashamed 
to beg. The thousand comforts that parents can find for their chil- 
dren are never enjoyed by the fatherless. Fanaticism may rave over 
the chains of the Africans; the pity of sixteen States can be poured 
out for the southern Negro; the great meetings are held to move on 
emancipation; but who pities the orphan? May the Lord pity him, 
for man will not. 

At the time of which we speak, neighborhoods were nearly dis- 
tinct; all that lived in the same vicinity, generally bearing the same 
name. To account for this, we have only to recollect, that most of 
our settlers migrated from Pennsylvania and Virginia; and that 
families generally came and settled together. Physical force being 
frequently necessary for self-defense, such families made a kind of 
treaty offensive and defensive. Sometimes, however, the most deadly 
feuds broke out among themselves. Such was the case with the 
Lewis family, that settled on Sandy Creek. Old David Lewis prob- 

The Story of Naomi Wise 

ably came from Pennsylvania; at least, an old gentleman by name 
of Buchanan told the writer so; Buchanan was personally acquainted 
with the Lewises. David had a considerable family of boys, all of 
whom were noted for their great size and strength. This was in every 
respect a very peculiar family, peculiar in appearance, in character, 
and in destiny. The Lewises were tall, broad, muscular and very 
powerful men. In the manner of fighting very common at that 
time, viz: to lay aside all clothing but pantaloons, and then try for 
victory by striking with the fist, scratching, gouging and biting, a 
Lewis was not to be vanquished. The family were the lions of the 
country. This character was eminently pugnacious. Nearly all of 
them drank to intoxication; aware of power, they insulted whom 
they listed; they sought occasions of quarrel as a Yankee does gold 
dust in California. They rode through plantations; killed their 
neighbors' cattle; took fish from other men's traps; said what they 
pleased; all more for contention than gain. Though the oppressed 
had the power, they were afraid to prosecute them; they knew these 
human hydras had no mercy; they dreaded their retaliating ven- 
geance. For these men would follow their children while at work, 
and whip them from one side of the field to the other. They would 
compel them to stand in the yard during cold rainy nights, till the 
little creatures were frozen beyond the power of speech; and some- 
times their wives shared no better fate. A fine colt belonging to 
Stephen Lewis, once did some trifling mischief, when the owner, en- 
raged, shot it dead upon the instant. Anything, man or beast, that 
dared to cross them, periled its life. They neither sheltered them- 
selves under the strong arm of law, nor permitted others to do so; 
they neither gave nor asked mercy. Yet these same men were un- 
failing friends, when they chose to protect. Their pledge was sure 
as anything human could be; if they threatened death or torture, 
those threatened always thought it prudent to retire to the very 
uttermost part of the earth; if they vowed protection, their protege 
felt secure. Some of their remote relations are still in this country; 
they are among our most worthy citizens, but they never tamely 
submit to insult. Some inquire how such men as the Lewises could 
ever intermarry with other families; who would unite themselves 
to such cold hearted creatures? 

While such characters are in some respects to be abhorred, yet 
there is about them that has in all ages been attractive. Ladies are 
accused, because they fall in love with fops, of wanting common 
sense, and of loving vanity rather than substance. The accusation 
is false. Except the love of a Christian for his Lord, the love of a 

The Story of Naomi Wise 

woman is the purest and truest thing on earth; sweet as the incense 
of heaven, soft as the air of paradise, and confiding as the lamb; it 
scorns the little, the vile and the treacherous. The tendrils of woman's 
affection despise the shrubs of odor and beauty to entwine closely 
and eternally around high forest trees that are exposed to howling 
storms and the thunders of Jove. The trees may be rough and 
crooked, but then they are trees. Find a man of great intellectual 
power, of iron will, of reckless daring, but of unshaken fidelity; in 
such you find a master magnet around which women's hearts collect 
by natural attraction. But how can a pure and good woman love a 
wicked man! Nonsense, thou puritan! She does not love his wicked- 
ness, but his soul. Did not the Saviour love a wicked world, though 
he died to destroy its wickedness? Then a woman will love a wicked 
man better than a good one, will she? No, she will love a good man 
much better, other things being equal. But you make daring deeds 
of wickedness the exponents of man's greatness. I do no such thing. 
I make actions that require power, energy, and firmness, test of great- 
ness; that such actions should be tainted with evil, is a blot that mars 
them in no small degree; but still they are great actions, i.e., the 
products of powerful minds, there are certain philosophers in the 
world that would make all great actions cease to be great, when 
they ceased to be good; they would make their greatness directly as 
their goodness. These are evidently two different qualities, the one 
measuring the action per se, the other its moral character. Genuine 
love is as follows: woman loves the power which is able to support 
and protect, and if that power be good she will love it the more; 
man loves the gentle, confiding one that leans upon him with con- 
fidence and trusts him with her destiny; if she be good, he will 
love her the more. This may be grossly misconstrued; but fools will 
not see, and the wise can see our meaning, it is therefore plain 

We will hazard an axiom or two while on this point. No woman 
will or can really love a man who is intellectually her inferior. No 
man can love a woman that has not confidence in his fidelity and 
protection. If a powerful man be true to his wife, she being what 
she should, she will love him though he stains his hands in blood, 
and be guilty of the foulest deeds known in the catalogue of crime. 
But this is an unpardonable digression, let us return. 

But few of the Lewises died natural deaths. Stephen Lewis was 
most unmerciful to his wife. He frequently whipped her with hobble- 
rods, and otherwise abused her beyond endurance. Finally by aid 
of Richard, a brother of Stephen's, she escaped from home and 

The Story of Naomi Wise 

spent several months at an acquaintance's. Richard at length told 
Stephen that his wife would return if he would promise never more 
to abuse her. This he promised upon the word of a Lewis. He there- 
fore told him to come to his house on a certain day, and he would 
find her. At the time appointed Stephen went, found his wife, and 
took her on his horse to convey her home. On the way, he made 
her tell the means of her escape, and the agents employed. The 
agent, as we have said, was his brother Richard. Stephen went 
home; kindly told his wife that he should henceforth treat her very 
kindly, but that he intended to shoot the scoundrel, Richard. Load- 
ing his gun, he immediately returned to his brother's. Richard hap- 
pening to observe his approach and conjecting the object, fled 
upstairs with his gun. Stephen entered the house and enquired 
for Richard. Not learning from the family, and supposing him up- 
stairs, he started up, and as his head came in view, Richard shot 
him, but did not kill him. Stephen was carried home and for a long 
time was unable even to sit up, still swearing, however, that when 
he recovered he would shoot Richard. His brother, knowing the 
threat would be executed, went to the house one day, and while 
Stephen was sitting on the bedside having his wounds dressed 
through a crack of the house Richard shot him through the heart. 
It is said that the manner of men's deaths frequently resembles their 
lives. The fate of the Lewises seems to confirm the fact. They were 
heartless tyrants while they lived, and as tyrants deserve, they died 
cruel and bloody deaths. 

The Story of Naomi Wise 


. . . Like a love tyro 

She grew to womanhood, and between whiles 
Rejected several suiters, just to learn 
How to accept a worse one in his turn. 

— Byron. 

Naomi Wise was a lovely girl, just blooming in all the attractive- 
ness of nineteen. Though serving as cook and sometimes as out- 
door hand, she was the light of the family, and was treated better 
than such persons usually are. She was neatly dressed, rode to church 
on a fine horse and was the occasion of many youngsters visiting the 
house of Mr. Adams. Among those who frequently found it con- 
venient to call at Mr. Adams' was Jonathan Lewis. His father, 
Richard Lewis, the same that shot Stephen, lived near Centre 
meeting-house, on Polecat Creek, in Guilford County. Jonathan 
was clerking for Benjamin Elliott, at Asheboro, in Randolph, and 
in passing from Centre to Asheboro, it was directly in his way to 
pass through New Salem. Jonathan, like the others of the same name, 
was a large, well built, dignified looking man. He was young, dar- 
ing and impetuous. If he had lived in Scotland he would have been 
a worthy companion for Sir William Wallace or Robert Bruce; in 
England he would have vied with the Black Prince in coolness and 
bravery; in France he might have stood by the side of McDonald, 
in the central charge at Wagram; in our own revolution his bravery 
and power would, perhaps, have saved the day at Brandywine. He 
was composed of the fiercest elements; his wrath was like whirl- 
winds and scathing lightning; his smile like sunbeams bursting 
through a cloud, illumined every countenance upon which it fell. 
He never indulged in tricks or small sport, the ordinary pastimes 
of youth had no attraction for him. The smallest observation would 
teach us, that such men are capable of anything; once engaged they 
are champions in the cause of humanity; but once let loose, like un- 
chained lions, they tear to pieces friends and foes. The greatest men 
are capable of being the greatest scourges. Leonidas was a rock upon 
which Persia broke, but some provocation might have made him a 
rock by which Greece would have been ground to powder. Dirk 
Hatteraik was a daring smuggler, that in a low, black lugger, defied 
the power of England; if the government had treated this man 
wisely, he might have been an admiral to eclipse Nelson. Our dar- 
ing, headstrong boys are generally given over as worthless; and 

The Story of Naomi Wise 

here is the mistake; the world neither understands the mission nor 
management of such powerful minds. Bucephalus was pronounced a 
worthless animal by the whole court of Phillip. Alexander alone per- 
ceived his value and knew how to manage him; and in fact, Buce- 
phalus was the greatest horse the world ever saw. 

Jonathan Lewis saw Naomi Wise and loved her. She was the 
gentle, confiding, unprotected creature that a man like Lewis would 
iove by instinct. Henceforward he was a frequent visitor at Adams'. 
The dark clouds that had so long hovered over the orphan were 
breaking away; the misty, dim vista of the future opened with clear 
light and boundless prospects of good; the fogs rolled away from 
the valley of life, and Naomi saw a pretty pathway bordered with 
flowers, and crossed only by little rills of purest water. Her young 
and guiltless heart beat with new and higher life; that she was 
loved by a man so powerful as Lewis, was sufficient recompence for 
a cheerless childhood. Day and night she labored to procure the 
indispensables of housekeeping; for in those days it was esteemed 
disreputable if a girl by the time she was twenty, had not made or 
earned for herself a bed, some chairs, pots, tubs, etc. And a young 
lady then modestly displayed her things to her lover, with as much 
care as modern misses display their paintings, needle-work, and 
acquirements on the piano. Instead of going to the piano, to the 
dance and other such latter day inventions, youngsters then went 
with the ladies to milk the cows, and display their gallantry by 
holding away the calves while the operation was performed; they 
then accompanied the damsels to the spring to put away the milk, 
and brought back a pail of water. 

Time flew on, Lewis still continued as clerk, and had won the 
good opinion of his employer. Naomi was blooming in all the charms 
of early womanhood; her love for Lewis was pure and ardent; and 
the rumor was abroad that a marriage was shortly to take place. 
But an evil genius crossed the path of Lewis in the shape of his 
mother. Her ambition and avarice projected for her son a match of 
different character. She deemed it in the range of possibility that 
Jonathan might obtain the hand of Hettie Elliott, the sister of 
Benjamin Elliott, his employer. That mothers are ambitious every- 
body knows, and that they are the worst of matchmakers is equally 
well known. But Mrs. Lewis thought Miss Elliott a prize worthy an 
effort at least. The Elliotts were wealthy, honorable and in high 
repute. They have always stood high in this county, and citizens 
have delighted to honor them with public favor and private friend- 
ship. Mr. B. Elliott, Hettie's brother, evidently prized Lewis highly; 

The Story of Naomi Wise 

he regarded him as an honorable, intelligent and industrious young 
gentleman, and no doubt thought him a respectable match for his 
sister. Lewis made some advances to Hettie, which were received 
in such a way as to inspire hope. This was the turning tide in the 
fortunes of Lewis. The smile of one superior to Naomi Wise in 
every respect except beauty and goodness; the earnest exhortations 
of an influential mother; and the prospect of considerable property, 
bore down all obstacles. The pure love to Miss Wise, the native and 
genuine passion of his own heart, were not equal to a conflict with 
pride and avarice. Not but that Lewis, as any other man could and 
would love Miss Elliott. She was accomplished, beautiful, and of 
charming manners; an Elliott could not be otherwise. But these 
were not the attractions that won Lewis. Money, family connection, 
name and station, were the influences that clouded the fair prospects 
of innocence, opened the flood gates of evil, and involved all the 
parties concerned in ruin. 

Tupper has wisely said that nothing in this world is single, all 
things are in pairs; and the perfection of earthly existence consists 
in properly pairing all the separate elements. Two elements properly 
adapted have a natural attraction, and firmly adhere amid all cir- 
cumstances of prosperity or disaster; but two elements improperly 
mated repel each other with natural and undying repulsion in spite 
of circumstances or calculations. The young instinctively and nat- 
urally love those that would make them happy; but pride, family 
interference and coldhearted calculations often interpose; sordid 
considerations tear asunder the holiest chords of affection, and vainly 
attempt to thwart nature's own promptings. Lewis loved Miss Wise 
for herself; no selfish motive moved his heart or tongue; this would 
have been a union of peace and joy; he wished to marry Miss 
Elliott, not because he loved her, but influenced wholly by other 
and base considerations. 

An old adage says, "The better anything is in its legitimate 
sphere, the worse it is when otherwise employed." Lewis no doubt 
would have been an honorable and useful man if he had married 
Naomi; he would then have been using the highest and strongest 
principle of human nature in a proper manner. In an evil hour he 
listened to the tempter, he turned aside from the ways of honor and 
truth. His eyes became blinded, conscience, the star of human 
destiny, lost her polarity, and the fierce storms drove his proud ship 
into the maelstrom of ruin. Jonathan Lewis was no more the proud, 
manly gentlemen; he was henceforth a hard hearted, merciless 
wretch. He was a hyena skulking about the pathway of life, ready 

8 The Story of Naomi Wise 

alike to kill the living, and to tear the dead from their graves. He 
not only resolved to forsake a lovely damsel, but first to ruin her 
fair name. His resolve was accomplished. He might have foreseen 
that this would ruin his prospects with the beautiful Miss Elliott; 
but the "wicked are blind and fall into the pit their own hands have 
digged." There are many young men now moving in high society, 
that think violets were created to be crushed by haughty boot heels; 
that desert flowers should rather be blasted than waste their sweet- 
ness on the air; that pearls should rather adorn a Cyclops, than 
sparkle in their native deep. Not so, yet cannibals. If names must be 
blasted and characters ruined, in the name of heaven, let your vic- 
tims come from among the affluent and the honorable. Who will 
pity and protect the poor daughter of shame; who will give her a 
crumb of bread? The more wealthy victim might, at least have bread 
to eat, water to drink and wherewithal to be clothed. Ye fair, bloom- 
ing daughters of poverty, shun the advances of those who avoid you 
in company, as you would shun the grim monster death. 

Lewis, aware that a period was approaching that would mar all 
his hopes, unless they should immediately be consummated, urged 
his suit with all possible haste. Miss Elliott, however, baffled him 
on every tack, and, though she encouraged him, gave him but little 
hope of succeeding immediately. In the meanwhile, Naomi urged 
the fulfilment of his promise, that he would marry her forthwith, 
seconded by the power of tears and prayers. When these means 
seemed unavailing, she threatened him with the law. Lewis, alarmed 
at this, charged her, at peril of life, to remain silent; he told her 
that their marriage was sure, but that very peculiar circumstances 
required all to be kept silent. But before he could bring matters 
to an issue with Miss Elliott, rumor whispered abroad the engage- 
ment and disgrace of Naomi Wise. This rumor fell like thunder 
upon Lewis; the depths of a dark but powerful soul were awakened, 
his hopes were quivering upon a balance which the next breath 
threatened with ruin. With a coolness and steadiness which in- 
nocence is wont to wear, Lewis affirmed to Miss Elliott that said 
rumor was a base, malicious slander, circulated by the enemies of 
the Lewis family, to ruin his character, and offered that time, a 
very fair arbiter, should decide upon the report, and if adjudged 
guilty, he would relinquish all claim to her, Miss Elliott's hand. 

For several days Lewis was apparently uneasy, appeared ab- 
stracted, neglected his business, and was not a little ill. Mr. Elliott 
assigned one cause, Miss Elliott another, but the true one was un- 
known to anyone. The kingdom was in commotion, dark deeds were 

The Story of Naomi Wise 

in contemplation, and at length the die was cast. Mrs. Adams had 
frequently of late told Naomi, that Lewis did not intend to marry her, 
that he was playing a game of villiany, and that she should place 
no further confidence in any of his assertions; but the poor girl 
thought or hoped differently; she could not and would not believe 
Jonathan Lewis was untrue. Woman's love cannot doubt. Lewis at 
length came to see Miss Wise, and told her that he wished not to 
delay the marriage any longer; that he had made all necessary ar- 
rangements, and that he would come and take her to the house of 
a magistrate on a certain day. She urged the propriety of the mar- 
riage taking place at the house of Mr. Adams; but he refused and 
she without much reluctance consented to his wishes. Time sped on, 
the last morn rolled up the eastern vault in his chariot, dispensing 
light and joy to millions; Naomi walked forth with light heart and 
step, thinking only of her coming nuptials. During the day in the 
midst of her anticipations, gloomy forebodings would disturb her. 
Like the light breeze preceding the storm, they seemed to come and 
go without cause. So true is it; 

"That coming events cast their shadows before." She told nothing 
of what was about to take place to Mr. Adams; but at the appointed 
time taking the water pail in her hand, she went to the spring, the 
place at which she agreed to meet Lewis. He soon appeared and 
took her behind him. It is said that the stump off which Naomi 
mounted remains to this day, and may be seen by anyone who will 
visit New Salem. 

The last lone relic of Naomi's love, 

A speaking monument of a wretch's heart; 

Like love, its grasp time scarce can move, 

Like treachery, corruption lurks in every part. 

The strong steed bore Naomi rapidly from the home of her 
childhood and youth; from the kind Mrs. Adams that was wont to 
sooth in every trouble. 

10 The Story of Naomi Wise 


Naomi very soon perceived that they were not approaching the 
magistrate, by whose mystic knot sorrow was to be killed and joy 
born; but to her great surprise, Lewis kept the direct road to the 
river, speaking to her in the meantime with rather a strange voice 
and an incoherant manner. She tried to imagine his object, but she 
was convinced that he would not take her to Asheboro, and she knew 
of no magistrate in that direction; every effort therefore failed to 
give her troubled mind any peace. Slackening his pace to a slow 
walk, Lewis and Naomi held the following conversation. 

"Naomi, which do you think is easiest, a slow or sudden death?" 

"I'm sure I don't know, but what makes you ask me that ques- 

"Why, I was just thinking about it. But which would you pre- 
fer, if you could have choice?" 

"I would try to be resigned to whatever Providence might ap- 
point, and since we cannot have a choice, it is useless to have any 

"Well, Naomi, do you think you would like to know the time 
when you are to die?" 

"Why, Jonathan, what do you mean by such questions? I have 
never thought of such matters; and I am sure, I never knew you to 
be mentioning such things before." 

Lewis rode on for some time without making any reply; seeming 
in a deep reverie; but in fact in the most intense excitement; at 
length he remarked: 

"Well, Naomi, I believe I know both the time and manner of 
your death, and I think it is in my power to give you a choice." 

This ran through the poor girl like a dart of death; it was some 
minutes before she could make any reply. 

"For the Lord's sake, Jonathan, what do you mean; do you in- 
tend to kill me, or why do you talk so?" 

"I will never harm you; we shall be married in two hours. As 

you see, I am not going to as I first intended, but 

am going across the river, where we shall have a nice wedding." 

"Jonathan, I'm afraid everything is not right, and I feel so bad 
this evening, I had rather go home and put it off till another day." 

"No, no, that will not do. I tell you again, you need not fear 
anything. Just be perfectly contented, and fear no harm from him 
that loves you better than himself." 

They were now on a high bluff that commanded an extensive 

The Story of Naomi Wise 11 

view of the river and the country beyond. The bold, rocky channel 
of the stream was distinctly visible for a great distance to the south- 
east; whilst from the northwest came the river, now swollen by 
recent rains, roaring and rumbling over rocky ledges, and then mov- 
ing calmly away. A blue crane was flying slowly above the bed of 
the stream, whilst amid the dwarf pines and cedars that grew upon 
the crags, many ravens were cawing and screaming. This scenery, 
heightened by the dusk of evening, strongly impressed Naomi's mind. 
She remarked to Lewis: 

"I am almost afraid to be in this lonely place; I wish we were 
away. O! how happy I should be, if we had a quiet home like yon 
from which that smoke is rising away over the hills. It may be 
foolishness, Jonathan, but I want you to be careful in going down 
these banks and crossing the river. I have so often feared some- 
thing would happen to prevent the happiness we expect; and I am 
sure I never felt so bad in my life." 

Lewis reined up his horse, stopped for a short time, then started 
forward, muttering, "I will though; I am a coward." Miss Wise 
asked him what he was saying; he replied that he only meant that 
they should be married that night. The river was here tolerably wide 
and below the ford some little turf-islands covered with alders and 
willows, made several sluices. Lewis rushed his horse in the water, 
which came up to his sides, and plunged forward rapidly till he 
reached the middle of the channel, then stopping his beast and 
turning himself in the saddle, he said to Naomi in a husky voice: 
"Naomi I will tell you what I intend to do; I intend to drown 
you in this river; we can never marry. I found I could never get 
away from you, and I am determined to drown you." 

"O! Jonathan, Jonathan," screamed the victim, "you do not, 
cannot mean what you say; do not terrify me so much and make 
haste out of here." 

"I mean," said Lewis, "just what I say; you will never go from 
here alive. You cannot move me by words or tears; my mind is 
fixed; I swear by all that's good or bad, that you have not five 
minutes to live. You have enticed me to injure my character, you 
have made me neglect my business. You ought never to have been 
such a fool as to expect that I would marry such a girl as you are. 
You did not expect that I was taking you off to marry you, when 
you got up behind me; you no doubt thought I would take you 
to Asheboro, and keep you there as a base . Prepare to die." 

"My Lord, what shall I do?" said Naomi, "You know I have 
loved you with my whole soul; I have trusted you, and when you 

12 The Story of Naomi Wise 

betrayed me, I never reviled you. How often did I tell you that 
you did not intend to marry me! How many times did I beseech 
you to be honest with me! And after all, you certainly will not 
drown me. O, Jonathan, for heaven's sake take me out of this 
river! Do, O do. O, spare my life! I will never ask you to marry 
me, I will leave the country, 1 will never mention your name again, 

Lewis stopped short her entreaties by grasping her throat with 
his left hand; her struggles immediately threw them both from the 
horse. Being a tall, strong man, he held her above the water until 
he tied her dress above her head, and then held her under beneath 
his foot until he was alarmed by a glare of torches approaching 
along the road he had just come. He mounted his horse and dashed 
out of the river on the south side. 

Mrs. Davis lived at no great distance from the river, and had 
heard the death screaming of poor Naomi. She had heard the 
startling cry as the villain caught her by the throat; then she heard 
the wild wail when she arose from the water, and lastly the stifled 
sob as she was muffled in her dress. The old lady called her boys 
and bid them hasten to the ford, that somebody was murdered or 
drowned; but they were afraid to go; they hesitated and parlied; at 
last they set out with glaring torches, but it was too late. They 
arrived only in time to hear the murderer leaving the opposite bank. 
They neither saw nor heard Naomi. She was already dead, her last 
scream had died away, her last gasping groan had arisen through 
the rippling waters, and her body was floating amid the willows of 
a turf-island. A pure and beautiful damsel, she attracted the ad- 
miration of a cold-hearted world without gaining its respect; her 
pathway had been waylaid by those who thought poor, unprotected 
beauty bloomed only to be blasted. Her pure and ardent affections 
having never enjoyed the sunshine of love were ready to grasp the 
first support that offered. She had given her heart to a deceiver; 
she had trusted her life to a destroyer, and the murmuring waves that 
now bathed her lifeless form, and rocked her on their cold bosom, 
were the only agents, perhaps, that had ever acted towards her 
without selfishness. 

Early on the next morning the people of her home were search- 
ing in all directions for Naomi. Mrs. Adams had passed a sleepless 
night; a strange impression had instantly fixed itself upon her mind 
as soon as Naomi was missed; and in her broken slumbers during 
the night, she was aroused by sometimes imagining that Naomi 
called her, at other times by dreaming that she saw her dead, and 

The Story of Naomi Wise 13 

again by thinking she heard her screaming. At early dawn she 
aroused the vicinity, and going to the spring, the tracks of a horse 
were readily discovered and by the sign it was evident that Naomi 
had mounted from the stump. The company followed the track 
until Mrs. Davis and her boys were met coming in haste to tell the 
circumstances of the preceding evening. The old lady told the crowd 
of the screaming she had heard; that the boys had gone down 
with the lights and heard a horseman galloping from the opposite 

"Ah!" said the old lady, "murder's been done, sich unyearthly 
screams can't come of nothing; they made the hair rise on my head, 
and the very blood curdle in my heart. No doubt poor Naomi's 
been drowned. O! ef I had been young as I once was, I would a 
run down there and killed the rascal afore he could a got away! 
What is the world a coming to?" 

The company hastened to the river, and in a few moments dis- 
covered the body still muffled in the clothing. She was quickly borne 
to the shore and laid upon a rock; upon the fair neck of the dead 
were still to be seen the marks of the ruffian's fingers. The Coroner 
was sent for, the jury summoned, and the verdict pronounced, 
"Drowned by violence." Some one of the vast crowd now assembled, 
suggested that Lewis should be sought and brought to the corpse 
ere it was interred. This was assented to by acclamation, but who 
would do it? Who would dare to apprehend a LEWIS? A firm, 
brave officer of Randolph accepted the task, and having selected his 
company from the numerous candidates, for every youth on the 
ground offered, proceeded to Asheboro. 

So soon as Lewis saw the lights coming while he was at his work 
of death, as above said, he dashed out of the river, having no 
doubt that the water would bear the body into the deep pools 
below the ford, and render discovery impossible. We have seen that 
in this he was disappointed. Leaving the river, he rode rapidly 
around to another ford, and hastened to his father's near Centre 
meeting house. He dashed into the room where his mother was 
sitting, and asked for a change of clothes. The old lady, alarmed, 
asked him why he came at that time of week (for he usually came 
on Sunday), why he was wet, and why he looked so pale and spoke 
in such a strange voice. He replied that he had started home on 
some business, and that his horse had fallen with him in the river, 
and that his wet clothes made him look pale and altered in his 
voice. His mother had too much sagacity to believe such a tale, but 
she could obtain from him no other explanation. Having procured 

14 The Story of Naomi Wise 

a change of apparel, he departed and arrived at Asheboro early next 
morning. Riding up to Col. Craven's he called at the door. Mrs. 
Craven answered the call, and exclaimed in astonishment: 

"What's the matter, Lewis, what have you been doing, have you 
killed 'Omi Wise?" 

Lewis was stunned; raising his hand and rubbing his eyes, he 

"Why what makes you ask me that question?" 

"No particular reason," said Mrs. Craven, "only you look so 
pale and wild; you don't look at all like yourself this morning." 

Lewis made no reply, but the flushed countenance which he ex- 
hibited would have afforded no small evidence to a close observer 
that something was wrong. So true is it "That the wicked flee when 
no man pursueth." Leaving Asheboro, Lewis went to a sale at a 
Mr. Hancock's at a place now owned by Thomas Cox. During the 
day it was remarked by many that Jonathan Lewis had a cast 
countenance by no means usual. Instead of that bold; daring in- 
dependence that was usual to him, he seemed reserved, downcast 
and restless. By indulging freely in drink, which was always to be 
had on such occasions, he became more like himself toward eve- 
ning; and even ventured to mingle with the ladies. For it should 
be observed that in those days, the ladies attended vendues, elections, 
musters, etc., without derogation to their characters. And in very 
many places, a young man showed his gallantry by collecting the 
fair ones whom he would honor and conducting them to some wagon, 
where his liberalty was displayed by purchasing cakes, cider, etc. 
Let it not be supposed that this custom was confined to the low or 
vulgar, for the practice was well nigh universal. Our lady readers 
must not think it beneath their dignity to read of such characters, 
for our mothers, and perhaps theirs also, have received such treats. 
Lewis on the occasion above named, seemed particularly attracted 
by Martha, the daughter of Stephen Huzza. After waiting upon 
her according to the manner of the times, Lewis accompanied her 
home. The manner of courting at that day was very different from 
what now prevails; the custom then was, for the young people to 
remain in the room after the old people retired, then seat them- 
selves beside each other, and there remain until 12 or 1 o'clock. 
Lewis had taken his seat and drawn Martha into his lap; rather a 
rude move even at that time, and not a little contrary to Martha's 
will — when a gentle rap was heard at the door. While the inmates 
were listening to hear it repeated, the door opened, and Robert 
Murdock, the brave officer who had pursued Lewis, entered, at- 

The Story of Naomi Wise 15 

tended by a retinue that at once overawed the unarmed murderer. 
He suffered himself to be quietly arrested and taken back to the 
river bank where his victim still remained. He put his hand upon 
her face, and smoothed her hair, apparently unmoved. So greatly 
was the crowd incensed at this hard-hearted audacity, that the au- 
thority of the officer was scarcely sufficient to prevent the villain's 
being killed upon the spot. The evidence against Lewis, though 
circumstantial, was deemed conclusive. The foot-prints from the 
stump to the river exactly fitted his horse; hairs upon the skirt on 
which she rode were found to fit in color; a small piece torn from 
Lewis' accoutrement fitted both rent and texture; his absence from 
Asheboro, and many other minuter circumstances all conspired to 
the same point. In proper form he was committed to jail in Asheboro 
to await his trial. A vast company on the next day attended the 
remains of Naomi to the grave. The whole community mourned 
her untimely death; the aged wiped the falling tear from their 
wrinkled faces; the young men stood there in deep solemnity, and 
sighed over the fair one now pale in death; many, very many, 
maidens wept over betrayed and blasted innocence, and all were 
melted in grief, when the shroud hid the face of Naomi forever. 
The writer knows not the place of her grave, else would he 
visit that lonely place; he would place at her head a simple stone 
to tell her name, her excellence and her ruin; he would plant there 
appropriate emblem, and drop a tear over the memory of her who 
sleeps beneath. 

"Oh! far as the wild flower, close to thee growing, 
How pure was thy heart till love's witchery came, 
Like the wind of the South o'er a summer lute blowing 
It hushed all its music and withered its fame, 
The young village maid, when with flowers she dresses 
Her dark flowing hair for some festival day, 
Will think of thy fate till neglecting her tresses 
She mournfully turns from the mirror away." 

16 The Story of Naomi Wise 


Though Lewis was confined in the strong jail that then towered 
in Asheboro as a terror to evildoers, his was not the character to 
yield without an effort; and such was his strength, skill or assistance, 
that he soon escaped. He broke jail and fled to parts unknown. 
Time rolled on, bearing upon its ever changing surface new scenes, 
actions and subjects of thought. Naomi was beginning to fade 
from memory, and Lewis was scarcely thought of. The whole tragedy 
would, perhaps, have been nearly in the sea of oblivion, but for 
the song of "Omi Wise," which was sung in every neighborhood. 
At length, rumor, the persecutor and avenger, gave tidings that 
Jonathan Lewis was living at the falls of Ohio, was married, had 
one child, and considered in prosperous circumstances. The mur- 
dered girl rose fresh in the minds of the people. Justice cried "Cut 
the sinner down." Indignation cried shame to the lingering servants 
of law. Col. Craven, Col. Lane and George Swearengain, properly 
commissioned, started in quest of the criminal. Many were the sighs 
and expressions of anxieties that escaped their friends, when these 
worthy citizens departed. All were aware that the enterprise was 
perilous. Most of the Lewis family had migrated to the same region, 
and one Lewis was not trifled with, much less a community of such 
personages. But brave men, especially of Randolph County, sus- 
tained by justice, never count the foe, or ask a parley. Having ar- 
rived in the neighborhood, or rather in the country, for they were 
yet many miles from Lewis' home, they made inquiry until they 
found the circumstances and position of the families. Knowing 
that if they appeared in person their object would be defeated, they 
hired two sturdy hunters for a fee of seventy-five dollars to take 
Jonathan, dead or alive, and deliver him at a certain town. "No 
work, no pay." The three officers went to the town to await the 
issue, and if it failed, to collect if possible, such force as might be 
necessary to wage civil war upon the whole offending tribe. 

The hunters, unknown to the Lewises, having arrived in the im- 
mediate vicinity, learned that a great dance was to take place that 
night at a house in the neighborhood, and that all the Lewises would 
be there. They concluded that the occasion would either enable them 
to execute their object, or at least to make some useful observations; 
they accordingly rode to the place, in appearance and profession 
two wandering backwoodsmen. Arriving at the rude fence in front 
of the house, and seeing a considerable number already collected, 
one of the hunters cried: 

The Story of Naomi Wise 17 

"Hello to the man of the house and all his friends." 

"Hello back to you," said a voice within, "and maybe you'd 
light and look at your saddle." 

"Apt as not," said the hunter, "if we're allowed to see our 
saddles on the peg, our horses eatin' fodder, and ourselves merry 
over hog and hominy." 

"Ef you are what you look like," said the landlord, stepping 
into the yard, "and not Yankee speculators, nor bamboozled officers, 
nor Natchez sharpers, you are welcome to sich as we have." 

"And spose we are not what we look like," replied the hunter, 
"what then?" 

"Why, the sooner you move your washing, the better; we're 
plain honest folks here, and deal with all scatterlopers arter their 

"Well, well, we'll light and take some of your pone and a little 
of your blinkeye, and maybe as how we'll get better acquainted." 

So saying, the strangers alighted, and having seen their horses 
supplied with a bountiful quantity of provender, they entered the 
house and mingled with the guests without exciting suspicion, or 
even much notice. They had previously agreed, that one should do 
the talking, lest they might commit some incongruities. A glance 
convinced them that Jonathan Lewis was not there. The guests con- 
tinued to assemble, women, men, and children; an old wrinkled- 
faced vagabond commenced tuning his violin, and the parties were 
arranging themselves for the dance, when a strong powerful man 
entered. His hair was long, bushy and matted as if it had never 
known the virtue of a comb; his eyebrows were dark and heavy; 
his step was decided and firm; he wore a belted hunting shirt in 
the band of which hung a long, double-edged hunting knife, and 
under its folds were plainly visible two heavy pistols. His keen eye 
detected the strangers instantly, and forthwith he sought the land- 
lord at the other end of the house, and engaged him for a time in 
whispers. Our hunters knew their man, and watched him with no 
small anxiety, nor was it long until he approached them and said: 

"I reckon you're strangers in these parts." 

"I reckon we are too, being we know nobody and nobody knows 
us; and we're perlight enough not to trouble strangers with foolish 
questions, and so I guess we shall still be strangers." 

This answer to his implied question evidently displeased the 
interrogator; after eyeing them a moment, he continued, 

"But maybe we all come from the same land, and so might scrape 
an acquaintance easier than you think." 

18 The Story of Naomi Wise 

"As to that, it's no difference, without telling or asking names, 
we give the right hand to every honest hunter." 

"Then we're hunters, I spose, and as we have a great deer hunt 
tomorrow, perhaps you'll join." 

"That we will, if it's agreeable." 

The dance passed off without anything remarkable, and early 
next morning the horns were sounding, the dogs yelping and every- 
thing alive for the hunt. In arranging the couples to stand at the 
crosses, it so happened that Jonathan and our talking hunter were 
stationed together, and the other stranger at no great distance. The 
drivers had departed, and the marksmen were reclining at ease or 
examining their firelocks when Jonathan discovered that he had no 
powder. As it would probably be an hour or two before the game 
would appear, Lewis proposed to his companion that they should 
go to the village and supply themselves with powder. They had 
no sooner started than the other hunter discovered his comrade to 
give the signal, he accordingly followed at some distance in the 
rear. Close by the village he met Lewis and his companion on their 
return. The hunters exchanged signs and agreed to make the effort; 
they were fully aware of their peril; for though two against one, 
they knew their antagonist to be much more powerful than either, 
and to be well armed. The hunter that met them pretended that he 
had become alarmed when he missed them, not knowing what might 
happen, and that he had come in search; then asking about the 
powder, requested to see some. While Lewis was pouring some into 
his hand, the other seized him from behind in order to hold his 
hands fast; while the front man grasping him by the legs, en- 
deavored to throw him. Like a second Sampson, Lewis tore his arms 
from the grasp of the hunter, and with a back-handed blow sent 
him near a rod backwards, at the same time kicking down the man 
that was before him. But before he could level his gun the first 
hunter gave him such a blow with the barrel of his gun that he 
reeled and fell; but pointing his gun as the second hunter came, 
he would have shot him dead, if the other had not struck his arm; 
the flash of the gun, however, set fire to the powder, that in the 
melee, had been spilled upon the hunter's clothes and scorched the 
whole company not a little. Lewis, better capable of enduring such 
catastrophes than the others, taking advantage of the confusion, 
would have made his escape, had not the villagers arrived in suf- 
ficient strength to overpower him by force of numbers. 

Col. Craven and his companions received Lewis bound with 
strong cords and immediately started for Carolina, nor did they 

The Story of Naomi Wise 19 

travel at a moderate rate, well knowing that if the Lewis family 
with their confederates should overtake them, death would be the 
fate of the weaker party; nor did the hunters tarry in the vicinity, 
but hurried themselves far away in the western wilds. After Lewis 
found that further resistance would be useless, he seemed to sub- 
mit to his fate and become tractable and social, so much so, that 
his hands were somewhat slackened and his captivity less strict. 
He awakened no suspicion by asking them to be less cautious, and 
seemed so much more social than they had ever known him, that 
his guards were almost tempted to free him from all restraint. One 
evening, while indulging their glee around the campfire, Lewis, 
unobserved, untied his bonds, and springing up, darted off with 
the agiiity of a youth. Craven and Swearengain pursued, but Craven 
was ere long left some distance in the rear. They were now in a 
low bottom and the evening had so far advanced that Swearengain, 
who was close in pursuit, could only see Lewis by the whiteness of 
his clothes. So expert was Lewis in dodging that he constantly 
eluded the grasp of his pursuer and was now within a few paces 
of a dense thicket, Swearengain making a spring, struck Lewis with 
a blow so effectual that it felled him to the earth, and before he 
could regain his feet, he was overpowered by both his pursuers. 

Lewis was finally brought to Randolph, from which county his 
trial was moved to Guilford, where he was finally tried and ac- 
quitted. Most of the material witnesses had died or moved away, 
and much of the minutae was forgotten. After his release he re- 
turned to Kentucky, and died a few years afterwards. After all 
hopes of his discovery was given up, and his friends watched around 
his couch only to perform the last sad offices of life, he still lingered. 
He seemed to suffer beyond human conception; the contortions of 
his face were too horrid for human gaze; his groans were appalling 
to the ear. For two days the death rattle had been in his throat, and 
yet he retained his reason and speech. Finally he bid every person 
leave the room but his father, and to him he confessed all the cir- 
cumstances we have detailed. He declared that while in prison 
Naomi was ever before him; his sleep was broken by her cries for 
mercy, and in the dim twilight her shadowy form was ever before 
him, holding up her imploring hands. Thus ended the career of 
Jonathan Lewis, for no sooner was his confession completed than 
his soul seemed to hasten away. 

20 The Story of Naomi Wise 

The following is the song so well known in this county as: 


Come all you good people, I'd have you draw near. 
A sorrowful story you quickly shall hear; 
A story I'll tell you about N'omi Wise, 
How she was deluded by Lewis' lies. 

He promised to marry and use me quite well; 
But conduct contrary I sadly must tell, 
He promised to meet me at Adams' Springs, 
He promised me marriage and many fine things. 

Still nothing he gave but yet flattered the case, 
He says we'll be married and have no disgrace, 
Come get up behind me, we'll go up to town, 
And there we'll be married, in union be bound. 

I got up behind him and straightway did go 

To the banks of Deep River, where the water did flow; 

He says, "Now, Naomi, I'll tell you my mind, 

I intend to drown you, and leave you behind." 

O! pity your infant and spare me my life; 
Let me go rejected and not be your wife. 
"No pity, no pity," this monster did cry, 
"In Deep River's bottom your body shall lie." 

The wretch then did choke her, as we understand, 
And threw her in the river, below the milldam. 
But it murder or treason, Oh! what a great crime 
To murder poor Naomi and leave her behind. 

Naomi was missing, they all did well know, 
And hunting for her to the river did go; 
And there found her floating on the water so deep, 
Which caused all the people to sigh and to weep. 

The neighbors were sent for to see the great sight, 
While she lay floating all that long night, 
So early next morning the inquest was held, 
The jury correctly the murder did tell. 

The Story of Naomi Wise 21 

Note: It is said that in the dusk of evening, the following little song 
may be heard about the river in accents sweet as angels sing: 

Beneath these crystal waters, 
A maiden once did lie, 
The fairest of earth's daughters, 
A gem to deck the sky. 
In caves of pearled enamel, 
We weave a maiden's shroud 
For all the foolish damsels, 
That dared to stray abroad. 

We live in rolling billows 
We float upon the mist, 
We sing on foaming pillows: 
"Poor Naomi of the past." 


In Minute Book — Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1811-1815. 
February Term 1815 

(Copied.) "Ordered of the Court that the County Trustees pay 
the cost and charges of attorneys. The prosecution of Jonathan Lewis 
for felony when trial is removed to the County of Guilford to the 
said Jonathan Lewis there requested and said discharged from jail 
under the ensolvent Debtors Act." 

"The Claims for the said cost charges appearing to be in the 
manner prescribed by the act of Assembly, to wit: — 

Here follows the names of witnesses : 
Elizabeth Craven Hettie Ramseur Mary Adams 

William Dennis Joseph Dougan Joshua Davis 

William Davis Eli Pennington William Watkins 

Eli Powell Robert Murdock John Craven 

Obed Anthony George Adams Bob Wall 

Wm. Dobson Col. Benjamin Elliott Ann Conoy 

Ann Davis Samuel Elliott Joseph Elliott 

This court procedure was after Lewis had been brought from 
the West for trial charged with drowning Naomi Wise in 1808. 
The trial was removed to the County of Guilford and all the evi- 
dence being circumstantial, Jonathan Lewis was set free and left 
the state. That he was guilty of the act has never been doubted. 

1808 — The Grand Jury reported that one prisoner was confined 
in the jail charged with murder. Jonathan Lewis made his escape 

22 The Story of Naomi Wise 

supposedly with the aid of sympathetic friends and a shackley frame 
jail from which his escape could easily be made, however, consider- 
ing the heavy guard placed by Col. Elliott it is easy to believe that 
friends of the accused Lewis aided in his escape. 

In the minds of a great many in this present day exists the 
doubt of the story of Naomi Wise, it is regarded as a fable man- 
ufactured to add color and pathos to the Ballad of Naomi Wise, 
therefore, these authentic court records attached are a positive proof 
that such a stark tragedy did take place in the year 1808 and that 
in 1815 the court freed Lewis as the evidence was entirely circum- 

In the August term of court, 1808, Benjamin Elliott came be- 
fore the subscribing justices and made oath that he was the officer 
called by the Lt. Col. Commander of said county to guard the gaol 
of said county for the safe keeping of Jonathan Lewis, a state prison- 
er, confined therein on the charge of murder and that he attended 
on that business thirty days and that the under named persons at- 
tended as soldiers as follows: 

Joshua Craven 22 days John Barton 5 days 

Daniel Davidson 29 days Enoch Davis 3 days 

Henry Craven 7 days William Newby 3 days 

Joel Craven .6 days Ransom Davis . . 3 days 

Edison Wood 18 days Fredreck Dawson 6 days 

Absalom Harvey 4 days 

Sworn to and subscribed to before me November 11, 1808. 

B. Elliott, Captain. 





The History of Randleman, N. C. 23 

The History of Randleman begins with the founding of the 
Dicks Grist Mill by Peter Dicks in 1800. The settlement was 
then known as Dicks. Peter Dicks himself was a farmer and op- 
erated a general store in the village of New Salem. He served in 
many public affairs, the most important of which was probably his 
assistance in the founding of the county of Randolph. He served 
as clerk of the court of equity and also served as commissioner, or 
justice. He was an ardent Quaker and was one of the founders of 
the New Garden Boarding School, which is known to us today as 
Guilford College. He was also a minister of the Society of Friends 
and overseer of the Center Monthly Meeting. 

Peter Dicks was the head of a large family and a number of his 
survivors still live in this section of the county. He died in 1843, 
five years before the first cotton mill was built. It has been said that 
Peter Dicks laid the cornerstone for the city of Randleman. 

By 1848 more settlers had come and the Union Factory was 
built, causing the community to change its name to Union. During 
this formative period two men were outstanding in the develop- 
ment of the community — John Banner Randleman and John H. 
Ferree. These men had purchased the Union Factory, changed its 
name to the Randleman Manufacturing Company, and had been in- 
strumental in starting the Naomi Mills. 

John Banner Randleman was born in Stokes County, Septem- 
ber 11, 1827, in the part of Stokes County which is now in Forsyth. 
He went into cotton mill work when he was 17 years of age and 
after working at different positions in several mills he became the 
superintendent of the High Falls Cotton Mill. He moved here in 
1868 and purchased the Union Factory and achieved an enviable 
record among the cotton manufacturing interests of that day. A 
number of important names have been recorded and credited with 
the growth of Randleman during the last 75 years, and certainly the 
credit for the early manufacturing enterprises goes to John Banner 
Randleman. He died in 1879 and is buried in St. Paul's Methodist 
Church cemetery. 

In 1880 the General Assembly at Raleigh granted papers of 
incorporation to the City of Randleman, named for John Banner 
Randleman. The following was copied from an old record in the 
state capital: 

"Laws of North Carolina begun and heed in the city of Raleigh 
on Monday the 15th of March, A.D. 1880. Special Session of 

24 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

General Assembly. 

"An Act to incorporate the town of Randleman Mills in the 
county of Randolph is hereby created and incorporated a town and 
John H. Ferree, James E. Walker, James O. Pickard, Romulus R. 
Ross, Addison W. Vickory and their successors are hereby created 
a body politic under the style of "The Commissioners of the Town 
of Randleman Mills" to have perpetual succession with the usual 
power of such corporations to sue and be sued, to plead and be 
impleaded, contract and be contracted with and to make all need- 
ful rules, regulations, by-laws and ordinances for the government 
of said town not inconsistant with the Constitution and by-laws of 
the State and the United States. 

"Ratified this the 29th day of March, A.D., 1880." 

The small town thrived, and by 1890 was the largest town in 
Randolph County. The coming of the High Point, Randleman, 
Asheboro and Southern Railroad in 1889 had greatly facilitated this 
growth, because roads were none too good and the railroad as- 
sured the town of quicker handling of freight. During this time three 
more mills came into being — Randleman Hosiery Mills, Plaidville 
Mills and Marie Antoinette. Randleman Hosiery Mills was the 
first hosiery mill in Randolph County. 

The Union Factory was burned to the ground in 1885 but was 
immediately rebuilt and the community was referred to in 1890 in 
Blair's "Reminiscences" as having "grown into a flourishing town, and 
ranks among the leading manufacturing centers of the State." 

The High Point, Randleman, Asheboro & Southern Railroad 
was completed in July, 1889. In its early days the influence of this 
railroad played an important part in the development of Randle- 
man and other sections of Randolph County. 

The cotton manufacturing plant of Naomi Falls was built in 
1879 near the spot where Jonathan Lewis drowned the beautiful 
Naomi Wise about the year 1808. The mills at Naomi Falls and 
Randleman were consolidated and the two communities were in- 
corporated as the City of Randleman on March 15, 1880, in a 
special session of the General Assembly in Raleigh. 

We quote Blair's "Reminiscences" once again: "These are 
some of the monuments erected by the noble pioneers of civiliza- 
tion. Their founders are gone. Their names are forgotten, but their 
influence is still seen and felt and tongue and pen and utterance in 
fitting tribute will embalm their memories in song and story, and 
while freedom has a votary, or truth a friend, their praise will be 
more enduring than the crown of the Caesars." 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 25 

The first church to be built in Randleman was the Mt. Lebanon 
Methodist Protestant in 1850. In 1855 a Methodist Episcopal 
church was organized, called St. Paul. In order that the people on 
the other side of town could be conveniently served in 1883 Naomi 
Methodist church was organized. These two churches merged in 
1944 and are now the First Methodist church. A landmark in the 
history of the town was the Randleman Store Company, the town's 
first store, which still operates. An interesting item listed in one of 
the old ledgers in 1848 was the sale of 53 lbs. of beef for $1.32. 
The Bank of Randleman was organized in 1900 with Stanhope 
Bryant president and was consolidated with the Peoples Bank in 
1910. Randleman continued to grow and prosper with the coming 
of new mills, stores, and businesses in the early part of the century. 

Immediately surrounding the corporate limits of the city of 
Randleman are a number of small communities which have in- 
fluenced the growth of the city due to their interest and participation 
in the school, church, civic and social life. Probably the most im- 
portant of these communities are Brown's Cross Roads, formerly 
known as Johnsonville, and Sophia, which are just to the northwest 
of Randleman; Worth ville to the southeast, Level Cross to the north, 
and New Salem to the northeast. In spite of the fact that the his- 
tory of Randleman dates back to about the year 1800, there are 
certain historical records that point out the fact that the New Salem 
community and Johnsonville were both in existence at the time what 
is now Randleman was started when Peter Dicks established his 
grist mill soon after the turn of the nineteenth century. 

Just a short distance to the northeast of Randleman lies the com- 
munity of New Salem This community would probably have de- 
veloped into what is now equal to the city of Randleman had it 
not been for the great influence which Deep River and its low cost 
water power played in developing the earliest textile plants. New 
Salem was noted in its early days as having been the home of many 
well-to-do families, many of them having been instrumental in 
starting the textile plants which were later built along Deep River 
below where Randleman now stands. Apparently there were no 
productive industries ever started in the town, and the good people 
of this community took occupations in the textile plants on Deep 
River. About 1 800 New Salem was second only to Johnsonville, now 
known as Brown's Cross Roads, in business and population, and the 
beautiful community stands today, we imagine, very much as it did 
one hundred and fifty years ago. 

Johnsonville (now known as Brown's Cross Roads) was the first 

26 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

county seat of Randolph County and was named for Samuel John- 
son, who was at that time governor of the State of North Caro- 
lina. This was the crossing of two public highways, one leading 
from Old Salem, which is now Winston-Salem, to Fayetteville, the 
other from Salisbury to Hillsboro. Streets were opened in John- 
sonville, building sites were improved and sold, and among the 
public buildings were stores, hotels, bar rooms, smith shops, wood 
shops and hatter shops, and Johnsonville became the center of busi- 
ness activity. 

Randolph County was established by the Legislature of 1779, 
which was then in session at Halifax. The county came from a por- 
tion of Guilford and Rowan, and soon thereafter Justices were nom- 
inated for the purpose of holding court in Randolph County. 

J. Addison Blair, in his "Reminiscences of Randolph County," 
referred to Johnsonville as "The Mecca of the desert, the center of 
rank and fashion." He also referred to the many attractions which 
the town offered, among them being the annual county fair which 
featured horse racing events each year. 

It was at Johnsonville on December 11, 1787, when a tall young 
man about twenty years of age entered the court house and pro- 
duced his license authorizing him to practice as an attorney. This 
man was Andrew Jackson, who defeated John Quincy Adams in 
1828 for the presidency of the United States. Little is known of 
Jackson's reason for coming to Johnsonville, neither is it known how 
long he remained in Randolph County. 

In 1793, fourteen years after the county was established, the 
court house was moved to Asheboro and the little town of Johnson- 
ville apparently took on less importance. None of the original build- 
ings are standing today, and even the name of this town has been 
lost during the passing years. 

The town of Worthville is located to the southeast of Randle- 
man on Deep River. This town was formerly known as Hopper's 
Ford, having received its name from Charles Hopper, who settled 
near the ford about the year 1790. J. M. and T. C. Worth built 
the first cotton manufacturing plant and the town was named in 
honor of these two men. At one time the mill was consolidated with 
the mill at Central Falls and they were operated under the same 
management as Worthville Manufacturing Company. The mill as 
we know it today is Leward Cotton Mill, and the town still remains 
as a thriving community, with a number of her citizens filling im- 
portant positions in Randleman and others taking an active interest 
in Randleman's civic affairs. 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 27 

Items of interest regarding other outlying sections of Randleman 
include the fact that the Old Union Methodist Church, which is 
located about two miles north from the city limits of Randleman, 
was the site of the first camp meeting ever held in the state of North 
Carolina. The church was built about the year 1786, and the famous 
camp meeting was held in 1802. 

An historical old site which has been mentioned several times 
in connection with the Revolutionary War is the Walker Mill site, 
located above Randleman on Deep River. Samuel Walker owned 
the original Mill on Sandy Creek, and in 1773 this mill was devised 
to his son, William Walker. It is believed that this mill was burned 
during the Revolutionary War, and William Bell built the mill that 
is now known as Walker's Mill about 1782. 

When Bloomfield school was built is not recorded. It was 
located where the Pilgrim Holiness Church now stands. The build- 
ing consisted of a vestibule and one classroom. In 1885 E. S. Coble 
was its faculty. During this period the Negro citizens of the com- 
munity held monthly religious services in the building. 

Bloomfield was a special charter school, supported by funds 
provided by a special tax rate on the district. As its enrollment in- 
creased, a primary department was created which occupied the 
vestibule. Around 1900 three more rooms were added. The records 
show that in 1902 this school had the largest enrollment in the 

Among the outstanding teachers of Bloomfield were Mr. W. C. 
Hammond, Mrs. Laura Worth, Miss Martha Redding, Miss Florence 
Redding, Mrs. Alii Marsh Copeland, Miss Babel Dancy, Mr. D. C. 
Johnson, Miss Nannie Battle and Mr. J. C. Weatherly. 

Randleman's present modern school system had its origin in 
1904 when Mr. John H. Ferree donated the land which was then 
a clover field. Brick for the new school was made at a brick yard at 
Hinshaw's Forks, south of Whitehall. A Mr. Henley made the brick 
and contracted to furnish and lay the brick for the eight rooms and 
auditorium for $10,000. This was the first brick constructed, graded 
school in Randolph County, built by public funds. Mr. John L. 
Harris was its first principal. 

Later the Ferree house and land was purchased by Dr. C. E. Wil- 
kerson and converted into a hospital. After a few years this property 
was bought by the Town of Randleman and was given to the school. 
The hospital was used for several years as a school and later was 
converted into a principal's home and teacherage. 

Sam Newlin, Arch Bulla, Stanhope Bryant, C. C. Randleman 

28 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

and Wylie Talley were members of the local board when the new 
school was constructed. 

In the earlier part of the twentieth century Randleman had the 
largest population of any town in Randloph County. At that time 
it was a thriving textile community, all of the mills being owned and 
controlled by one parent corporation. Following the Depression in 
1929 the Deep River Mills were forced into bankruptcy and the 
mills were operated by the Hunter Manufacturing & Commission 
Company of New York City. When the Hunter company went into 
bankruptcy the Deep River Mills were closed, and for approximately 
two years there were no payrolls in the entire city. 

This condition did not last long, for industrial plants found the 
city of Randleman well-located for their businesses, and with build- 
ings available and labor plentiful the new industries expanded until 
there are today 4 full-fashioned hosiery mills, 7 seamless hosiery 
mills, one lingerie plant, one spinning mill, one spinning and weav- 
ing mill, one brass valve manufacturing plant, in or close to, the 
city of Randleman. Recent estimates are that there are approx- 
imately 1800 men and women who earn over 5 million dollars an- 
nually from industrial employment. It is estimated that shipments 
of finished merchandise going from Randleman exceed 30 million 
dollars annually. 

Randleman has built on additions to their buildings in order to 
take care of expanding operations. Others have added new and 
modern equipment which has expanded their production. It is con- 
sidered by those who are familiar with the city and its industrial 
operations that Randleman industry is well diversified and modern 
to the point that year-round employment will continue. 

Some of this information comes from the BUSINESS DIREC- 
TORY OF RANDOLPH COUNTY published in 1894 by Levi 
Branson, however, the greater part of it comes from an interview 
with Mrs. Laura Worth of Asheboro. 

Mrs. Worth, the former Laura Stimson, was born in Lexington, 
N. C, and moved to Randleman at the age of sixteen. She related 
the fact that when she came to Randleman the largest business, not 
considering the cotton mills, was the Randleman Store Co. This 
store was established in 1881 and was the first store of any con- 
sequence in Randleman. It handled groceries, dry goods, furniture 
and undertaking supplies and was under the management of N. N. 

There was a newspaper organized by Tom Millikan and it is 
believed this was started during one of the political campaigns and 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 29 

it is not known how long the newspaper was in existence. 

There was one sidewalk in Randleman which consisted of two 
wide planks which ran on the west side of Main Street from the 
Dicks home to the Town Hall. The Town Hall and Post Office 
were located in the three-story building which was used prior to 
the war by the Randleman Paper Box Co. 

The first telephone installations were set up between the mill 
offices and the depot, however, the first public exchange was set 
up by Mr. Wiles, who at that time was depot agent for the 
H.P.R.A.&S.R R. F. N. Ingold operated a hotel on the property 
where the P. C. Story home now stands. Mr. Ingold was a magistrate 
in addition to his hotel business. This home was later sold and Mr. 
Ingold purchased the J. E. Walker home, where the new First 
Methodist Church now stands, and operated that as the Ingold 
Hotel. Mrs. A. L. Mendenhall ran a Boarding House near the 
depot. There was also another hotel near the depot known as the 
Walker House which was operated by Mrs. J. O. Walker, whose 
husband was a physician. 

At that time W. H. Winningham was the town marshall. Dr. 
W. A. Woolen was a practicing physician and also served the town as 
druggist, selling drugs from his office. Dr. W. A. Fox and Dr. L. L. 
Sapp were also practicing medicine here at that time. 

Talley & Co. served the community with Groceries and Notions. 
The Naomi Store Co., managed by W. J. Glass, served the Naomi 
Falls community as general merchants. J. M. Millikan operated a 
general store and in connection with this business ran a Livery 
Stable and Feed Store. Mrs. E. N. Wall was a Milliner and Dress- 

Quoting from BRANSON'S DIRECTORY— "The cotton fac- 
tories not only beautify and enrich, but they render musical the 
very air of the county." 

Mrs. Worth relates that most of the entertainment provided the 
citizens, took place in the three-story Town Hall building, which was 
more recently used as a manufacturing plant by the Randleman 
Paper Box Co. A great number of these entertainments were spon- 
sored or arranged by Mrs. S. G. Newlin, the former Mattie Ferree, 
sister of John H. Ferree. Mrs. Newlin was quite talented and very 
capable of putting on entertainments which were held almost every 
week and in some cases more often. 

The famous Randleman Band was organized by Charlie Randle- 
man and was made up in part of the following people: Charlie 
Randleman, Cicero Lineberry, Bob Martin, Rome Dobson, John 

30 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

Brown, Grover McCollum, Pearlie Hayes, Den Hughes, Jim Hall, 
Edd Brown, Zack Jarrell, John Richardson, Charlie Weaver, John 
Lineberry, Lum Kiser, Clark Hinshaw and a Mr. Henderson. The 
band was completely uniformed with red coats trimmed in black 
braid with white duck or flannel trousers. It is understood that for 
a number of years on the Fourth of July the band took part in a 
parade followed by a concert. 

Lawn Parties, Strawberry Festivals and Ice Cream Parties are 
accredited for most of the social entertainment with the Randleman 
Band furnishing music for the most important of these events. 

Excursions were quite popular during the early days and two 
of the most famous excursions were made to Fayetteville and Mor- 
ganton. The Fayetteville trip was made between 1885 and 1887. 
The factories closed and there were four hundred and four people 
who arose at three o'clock in the morning in order to catch the 6:30 
train. The first stop was at Julian and after that the train stopped at 
Woodstock and Staley. Following these stops Siler City and Rich- 
mond Depot were visited, then Oaks and Gulf. The next stop was 
Egypt and then Sanford, Jonesboro, Swan Station and Spouting 
Springs. The train arrived in Fayetteville amid the cheers of the 
crowd and the playing of the band. The other excursion was made 
several years later to Morganton. This was a special train attached 
to the main line and left from the Randleman Depot on Saturday 
morning. This was a visit to the home of Mr. John H. Ferree. It 
is also told that on this trip a number of young Mimosa trees were 
brought back, apparently the Mimosa was an unusual tree to this 
section before the time of the excursion. A large number of 
citizens went on this excursion. They returned to Randleman at 3 
o'clock Sunday morning. 

RANDOLPH COUNTY 1894 lists the First Baptist Church, Mr. 
Carrick of Lexington pastor, Mt. Lebanon Methodist Protestant 
Church, Mr. C. C. Cecil, pastor, Naomi Falls Methodist Episcopal 
Church South and St. Paul's Episcopal Church South, Mr. N. R. 
Richardson, pastor. 

An interesting fact related to Mrs. Worth by Walter Gregson, 
son of Amos Gregson, in 1943, is that the original frame church 
which was used by St. Paul and was built in 1852 was moved East 
of the original site and was used while the brick building was being 
erected. The new brick church was built at an approximate cost of 
$4,000, and was decorated by Reuben Rink, trade name of Korner 
of Kernersville who was the builder of "Korner's Folly." Mr. Rink 

The History of Randleman, n. C. 31 

also decorated the home of John B. Randleman and others while 
he was in Randleman. The decoration of the church was greatly 
admired and remains practically unchanged today. Upon comple- 
tion of the new church, the old frame structure was torn down and 
rebuilt in Naomi as the Naomi Falls Church in 1883. When the 
present Naomi Church was built the old building was again torn 
down and was used to build the present Pilgrim Holiness Church 
just outside of Randleman on the Worthville Road. 

According to the Branson Directory there were nine ministers 
residing in Randleman. A number of these had pulpits out of town 
and it is not known just why so many of these selected Randleman 
as their home. 

Probably the best known of these ministers was Mr. Amos 
Gregson, who was superintendent of the Naomi Falls Manufacturing 
Co., in addition to carrying on his activities as minister of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church South. 

We quote from the editorial notes in Branson's Directory re- 
ferring to Randolph County. "This is undoubtedly one of the most 
beautiful sections of the state, and a grand future is in store for 
the land of our birth if we still remain true to her destiny." 

It seems that everyone who wrote about the mills or about 
Deep River was impressed by the music of the waters and the cotton 
mills' machinery. The following was written by a "Warper Tender" 
and appeared in a "Mill News." 

"In the northern part of Randolph County flows the beautiful 
stream known as the Deep River. For thousands of years this river 
has sported along the same time-worn channel, over the same rocks 
and made the same sad music it sings today. As we walk by its 
side and stand upon its mossy banks our thoughts steal away on its 
dancing ripples and are lost amid its splashing waters. 

"Up and down this river whose idle waters were the sport and 
companion of the Indian, whose camp ground and huts but typified 
the rising villages of busy industry, are heard the banging loom, the 
buzzing spindles and the eternal thunder of machinery proclaiming 
each day the praises of those who have founded the villages and 
built the mills." 

32 The History of Randleman, N. C. 


The City of Randleman is located on the banks of Deep River 
and the rolling land extending beyond. A search for the best 
and cheapest means of obtaining operating power has from its earliest 
days played a predominating part in influencing the location and 
growth of this town, or city as the charter reads. Peter Dicks found 
just that when he harnessed the rippling waters of Deep River to 
power his grist and oil mill, the town's first industry. The early 
settlers came from miles around to bring their corn and wheat to be 
ground into meal and flour, their cotton ginned and its seeds ground 
and pressed into oil by the Dicks' Mill. From this little mill Randle- 
man grew to attain the position in 1890 of being the largest town in 
Randolph County. 


Peter Dicks built a grist and oil mill, just below the present 
concrete bridge over Deep River on Highway 220 in 1800. Grad- 
ually as a few people began to settle near the mill the section began 
to grow and was called Dicks until 1848 when the Union Factory 
was built. 


Peter Dicks, in the dim and distant past, put a little grist and oil 
mill on the banks of Deep River and the place became known as 
Dicks' Mill. Peter Dicks was a man of affairs as counted in his day. 
He was a farmer and owned large tracts of land; he was a merchant, 
operating a store in the then thriving village of New Salem. He 
served in many public affairs from the founding of the County of 
Randolph, having been Clerk of the Court of Equity and Commis- 
sioner, or Justice. He was one of the founders of New Garden Board- 
ing School, now Guilford College, and throughout his life remained 
trustee of the school. In addition he was a minister of the Society 
of Friends and overseer of Center Monthly Meeting. 

He was a man of sound sense, good judgment and sterling in- 
tegrity. He died in February 1843, and is buried in Center Meet- 
ing House graveyard. He was the progenitor of a large family, con- 
nections of which are now living in this and other states. 


James Dicks, son of Peter Dicks, was born at Center, Guilford 

County, May 18, 1804, and died in Randleman, October 14, 1883. 

He was one of the original builders and stockholders of the 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 33 

Union Factory at Randleman. He was also an extensive planter and 
successfully tilled the soil. He was a gentleman of acknowledged 
intelluctual abilities and possessed considerable wealth and at the 
beginning of the war in 1861 he was appointed commissioner to 
collect supplies for the Confederate Army. He and his parents before 
him were members of the religious Society of Friends and to this faith 
he remained a member while contributing generously to the build- 
ing of churches of other denominations. He was highly esteemed 
by all for the rectitude of his life and his many deeds of kindness. 
(Copied from Biographical Sketches of Men of Randolph 
County, 1890). 


William Clark was born October 22, 1808. He married Louisa 
Worth January 23, 1834, and settled in New Salem and engaged 
in the mercantile business and in addition became a stockholder 
in the Union Cotton Mill. He removed his house to Union (Randle- 
man) and lived where the present Woolen place is. He was agent 
for the Mill. In 1860 he moved to Indiana and continued his mer- 
cantile business. 

He was a descendant of Col. William Clark who fought in the 
Revolutionary War. The family were members of the Society of 
Friends, belonging to Center Monthly Meeting. Later they were 
members of Marlboro Monthly Meeting, being transferred April 4, 

William Clark and wife had a large family, seven sons and five 
daughters and their descendants are active business and professional 
men and women throughout the west. 


John B. Randleman was born September 11, 1827, in the part 
of Stokes County which is now Forsythe. While a rather young man 
he received good experience in several cotton mills. 

He purchased the Union Factory in Randleman July 7, 1868. 
While working at Newlin's Factory Mr. Randleman was married to 
Miss Julia E. Duke. To this union were born three children, Alice, 
Ida Josephine and C. C. Randleman. 

Mr. Randleman died in 1879 and was buried in St. Paul's Meth- 
odist Church cemetery. 


Secretary and Treasurer of Randleman Manufacturing Co. — Born 

34 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

June, 1839, at Morganton, Burke County — son of Rev. Joseph D. 
and Mary E. Morrow Ferree. His father was a local minister of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church South and for twelve years Clerk of 
Superior Court of Burke County being elected to the first in 1844 
and again in 1848. 

In 1868 he located in Randleman and engaged in the manufacture 
of cotton fabric in co-partnership with John B. Randleman and or- 
ganized the now well known Randleman Manufacturing Co. He was 
elected Secretary and Treasurer after the death of Mr. Randleman 
in 1879 and had entire control of the business. This company and 
others built in 1879-80 the Naomi Falls Cotton Mill in Randleman 
and Mr. Ferree was President and large stockholder. Also Secre- 
tary and Treasurer of Plaidville Manufacturing Co. and Secretary 
and Treasurer of the Southern Plaid Manufacturing Association. 

Notwithstanding his many interests he found time to devote to 
the civil interests of his county, in the capacity of County Commis- 
sioner in 1866 (error in date). He was Director of Greensboro 
Female College and Trustee of Trinity College. 

He was married April 10, 1873, to Miss Alice, daughter of John 
Banner and Julia E. Duke Randleman of Randleman, Randolph 
County. Three children, Julia Antoinette, John and Mary A. 

He was for many years an active and official member of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church South and for several years Sup- 
erintendent of the Sunday School of St. Paul's. 

Mr. Ferree died in March 1898 and is buried in the family plot 
at St. Paul's Church. 

(Copied in 1941 from Historical and Biographical Sketches, 


Secretary and Treasurer of the Naomi Falls Manufacturing Co., 
was born in February, 1844, in Randolph County, North Carolina, 
and was a son of Jesse and Anna M. Dicks Walker. He was of 
German and Scottish descent. 

He was educated in the schools of Guilford and Forsythe 
Counties and entered Trinity College in 1862. 

In partnership with his brother, Samuel Walker, he engaged 
in a general merchandise business in Asheboro, North Carolina, for 
three years. He then sold out his interest and located in Randleman 
and purchased an interest in the Naomi Falls Cotton Manufacturing 

In 1886 he built the Powhatan Cotton Factory, located in Rand- 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 35 

leman, with a capacity for the manufacture of one million yards of 
plaid per annum. 

He was twice elected Mayor of Randleman and was a Justice 
of the Peace for many years. He was for twelve years Superinten- 
dent of the Randleman Sunday School and was President of the 
District Conference Sunday School and a Steward and Trustee of 
the Church. 

He was united in marriage in September, 1865, to Miss Fannie 
(Frances) M., the accomplished niece of Rev. L. S. Burkhead. To 
this union were born seven children viz: Jesse O., a graduate of 
Vanderbilt University and a successful physician at Randleman, 
Cornelius, Thomas C, Bartlett B., Allie, Pattie and Samuel. 


Superintendent of Naomi Falls Cotton Mills of Randleman and 
President of the same company, was born March, 1839, in Ran- 
dolph County, son of Julius C. and Holland Gregson. His parents 
were of Irish and German extraction. His father was a farmer and 
for many years a local minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
South. Mr. Gregson attended the county schools and was prepared 
for college when the war began, which prevented him from securing 
a collegiate course. Nevertheless he succeeded by close application 
to study in storing his mind with a vast amount of useful informa- 
tion which enabled him to be of great service to the Master's cause. 
At the age of eleven he began to work in the cotton mill and mastered 
every part of the work. In 1859 he joined the Methodist Episcopal 
Church South and in 1865 was ordained a Deacon by Bishop Early. 
He discharged his sacred duties with ability and was called a step 
higher and was ordained an Elder by Bishop Pierce. In 1866-67, he 
was Pastor of Main Street Methodist Episcopal Church South in 
Durham and largely through his influence and hard work the present 
Main Street Methodist Episcopal Church was erected, also the 
Carr M. E. Church. He did a good work in that thriving city and 
will long be remembered by its citizens. 

(Copied from Historical and Biographical Sketches of 1890.) 

* * * 
Mr. Gregson married in 1865 Miss Martitia Dicks, daughter of 
James and Nancy Dicks. To this union four children, Claudia, E. 
Walter, J. Clarence and Nancy Beatrice were born. All lived in 
Randleman on Main Street. Mr. Gregson built the house on St. 
Paul Hill in which the J. O. Pickard family live. Both Mr. and 
Mrs. Gregson were buried in St. Paul's cemetery. 

By Mrs. Laura Worth 

36 The History of Randleman, N. C. 


James Oliver Pickard was born October 15, 1844, in Orange 
County, North Carolina. 

Before coming to Randleman, Mr. Pickard was connected with 
the Holt Cotton Mills in Alamance, coming from that mill to work 
for the Randleman Manufacturing Co. In 1879, he, along with J. E. 
Walker, Amos Gregson and John H. Ferree built the Naomi Falls 
Manufacturing Co. Mr. Pickard was a Director in the Plaidville 
Manufacturing Co. and was Superintendent of the Randleman Man- 
ufacturing Co. 

In 1868 he was married to Margaret Elizabeth Baker of Haw 
River. To this union were born three children, Annie, James O. 
and William H. Pickard. James O. married the former Clara Wall 
and was employed by Reynolds Tobacco Co. for many years. He 
lived at the home place until his death November 25, 1961. His father 
died January 31, 1900, and is buried in St. Paul's cemetery. 


Was Secretary and Treasurer of Naomi Falls Manufacturing 
Co., President of the High Point and Southern Railroad Co., and 
President of the Southern Association of Plaid Manufacturers. He 
was born January 22, 1847, at Randleman and was a son of James 
and Nancy Coltrane Dicks. R. P. Dicks enjoyed exceptionally good 
educational advantages, having attended Hillsboro Military College 
and completed his collegiate course at Trinity College. 

At the age of eighteen he began the mercantile business at 
Walkertown and Lexington, N. C. Three years later he moved to 
Texas and accepted the position as Traveling Agent for a wholesale 
druggist of St. Louis, Mo. He traveled extensively over the West 
for six years. In the meantime he established a wholesale and re- 
tail drug business for himself at Sherman, Texas. He also leased 
and operated two hotels and engaged extensively in the cattle and 
land traffic. During his business life of about ten years in the West 
he accumulated quite a handsome fortune. In 1882 he returned to 
his native County of Randolph and assumed control of the Naomi 
Falls Manufacturing Co. and was appointed Secretary and Treasurer 
of this company, a position which he held at the time of his death. 
He owned controlling stock of this company and was also engaged 
in general merchandise business. 

He was a man of superb business sagacity and was easily a lead- 
er in every progressive move in his County and State. 

In November, 1871, he married Miss Mary Cornelia, accom- 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 37 

plished daughter of Major James P. and Elizabeth Stimson of Lex- 
ington, N. C. To this union were born five children. Mr. Dicks was 
a great lover of home and had erected and tastefully furnished a 
handsome home in Randleman, where he dispersed a delightful hos- 
pitality. Mr. Dicks died at the early age of forty-one years. 

(A very much reduced sketch from Historical and Biographical 
Sketches published in 1890). 


Stanhope Bryant was a native of Richmond, Virginia, a son of 
Dr. James S. and Harriet Tinsley Bryant, and came to Randleman 
in 1890. He was before connected with a wholesale drug company 
in Richmond. After coming to Randleman he established the first 
drug store in the town, located near the old Randleman home. 

Shortly after his arrival he became connected with the Naomi 
Falls Manufacturing Co., and was made Secretary and Treasurer 
of the company. He married Miss Lillian Dicks, daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. R. P. Dicks and built the beautiful home on Naomi Street 
now owned by the P. C. Story family. 


J. Clarence Watkins was a native of Montgomery County, having 
been born at Troy. He was the son of W. H. Watkins, who was at 
that time manager of the Columbia Manufacturing Co. of Ramseur. 


R. P. Deal was born in Catawba County, North Carolina, in 
1872. He began his mill work at Illchester, Maryland, near Balti- 
more. He later became General Manager of the Siluria Cotton 
Mills Co., of Siluria, Alabama, where he was located until 1911, 
leaving that position to become connected with the Deep River 
Mills, Inc., and Pomona Mills. Mr. Deal remained at the head of 
the Deep River Mills until it closed in 1930. He died in 1943. 


S. G. Newlin was born in Randolph County in 1856. His first 
business experience was as a merchant at New Market, where he 
carried on an extensive business for five years. In 1879 he moved 
to Randleman where he later served as President of Randleman 
Manufacturing Co., and Naomi Falls Manufacturing Co. just prior 
to the organization of the Deep River Mills, Inc. 

38 The History of Randleman, N. C. ^^^^ 


Alfred Brinkley Beasley was born five miles west of Asheboro, 
August 31, 1881. While a small boy, his family moved to Randle- 
man where he attended school and worked in ipare time in the 
Powhatan Mill, the Randleman Hosiery Mill operated by A. N. 
Bulla and the Bargain House which was operated at the time by 
Mr. Council. 

He worked his way through Trinity, now Duke University, in a 
dry cleaning plant, later becoming secretary to the faculty. After 
college he worked for the American Exchange Bank in Greensboro. 
When The Peoples Building and Loan Association and The Bank 
of Randleman merged forming the Peoples Bank in 1910, he became 
the cashier and remained with the bank until his death, at which time 
he was President. 

"Alf" Beasley, as he was known best, married Miss Ollie Mae 
Fentress in 1928. He was proud that his bank weathered the de- 
pression days of the early thirties and when Randleman had no in- 
dustries, they had a bank; while Greensboro had industries, but 
every bank was closed. At that time many Greensboro citizens did 
their banking in Randleman and continued to do so during his 

A. B. Beasley worked tirelessly to build Randleman. He served 
as mayor and worked to get highway 220 through the city. He also 
worked to get industry in operation and was more active than any 
other one person in getting a city owned and operated water plant 
and sewage disposal for Randleman. He died January, 1951. 


Phillip Custer Story was born September 2, 1876 in Ludlow, 
Massachusetts. He graduated from Palmer High School at the age 
of 15, after which he worked as office boy, bookkeeper, accountant, 
overseer, superintendent and general manager of one of the Old 
New England Textile Manufacturing plants, Palmer Mill at Three 
Rivers, Massachusetts. He married Ethel Louise Merrell of Collins- 
ville, Connecticut on June 6, 1900. 

In 1916 P. C. Story moved his family to Randleman where he 
was superintendent of the Deep River Mills until 1923, after which 
he went back to Palmer Mill as superintendent until 1926. At this 
time in his life he moved to New Orleans as General Manager of 
the Maginnis Cotton Mills. He returned to Randleman in 1930 as 
General Manager of the Deep River Mills which at the time was 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 39 

being operated by the Hunter Manufacturing and Commission Com- 

After the Hunter Company closed their operations, he was man- 
ager of Randtex and Faytex Mills, Pee Dee Mills and Rhodes 
Mills. He died March 13, 1957. 


Arch Bulla was born in Back Creek township in Randolph 
County, March 24, 1869, the son of Joseph Chapman Bulla and 
Lydia Henly Bulla. He attended Guilford College and in 1892 
married Dora Ellen Julian. 

He organized the first hosiery mill in Randolph County and one 
of the first in the south, The Randleman Hosiery Mills. He served 
several terms as mayor of Randleman and during his administrations 
the first streets were improved and sidewalks laid down. He was in- 
fluential in getting the first power producing plant in the city. 

Arch Bulla was a Quaker, later joining the Methodist Church; he 
was also a Mason and served as chairman of the County Commis- 
sioners at the time the present court house was built. He died Oc- 
tober 27, 1951. 


In the year 1848 the following men formed a company and built 
a cotton mill naming it The Union Factory: Jesse Walker, James 
Dicks, William Clark, Joseph Newlin, Charles W. Woolen, Samuel 
Hill, David Coltrane, S. D. Bumpass, Jonathan P. Winslow, Jabez 
Hodgin, Dougan Clark, Elihue E. Mendenhall, William Hinshaw 
and Nathan B. Hill. Joseph Newlin was secretary and William 
Clark was Agent. 

The Union Factory was located just north of Dicks' Mill on the 
banks of Deep River. , 


In 1868 John B. Randleman and John H. Ferree purchased the 
Union Factory from George W. Swepson and the name was changed 
to Randleman Manufacturing Co. Several new buildings were added 
to the original Union Factory by Mr. Randleman and Mr. Ferree. 


In 1878 Mr. Randleman suggested to Mr. Ferree that they 
build another mill on the shoals just below the Randleman Man- 

40 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

ufacturing Co., and that they get J. O. Pickard, Logan Weaver and 
Amos Gregson to form a company with them, however, Mr. 
Randleman died before the company was formed. In 1879 John 
H. Ferree, J. E. Walker, J. O. Pickard and Amos Gregson formed 
the Naomi Falls Manufacturing Co., and the Naomi Mill was 
built. The mill was completed and on February 24th, 1880, it was 
dedicated to the service of God by Dr. Braxton Craven and is 
believed to be the only case in history where such a dedication has 
taken place. 


The Powhatan Mill was established in Randleman in 1886, and 
was located on the corner of Depot and Main Streets with O. R. 
Cox, President; J. E. Walker, Secretary and Treasurer. It was 
established for the purpose of manufacturing colored fabrics. 

The mill was bought in 1894 by Hal M. Worth and James A. 
McAllister and the name was changed to Engleworth Cotton Mills, 
being named for both Mr. and Mrs. Worth. It operated seventy 
plaid looms operating with electric power and had its own mill 


In 1887 the High Point, Randleman, Asheboro and Southern 
Railroad was built through Randleman. The coming of the rail- 
road was heralded as a great event in the community. It was a 
great improvement, providing speedy transportation and communi- 
cation throughout the territory. The roads were none too good at 
best and quite often impassable in rough weather. The railroad 
assured the town of quicker handling of freight both in and out. 

On the day of the first train everything in Randleman closed 
down and the people of the town turned out for a big celebration 
and saw the first engine come puffiing into Randleman from High 
Point amid the wild noise of bugles and drums. The town was 
decorated with banners, and loud cheers met the first train upon 
its arrival. 


In 1893 L. A. Spencer, A. N. Bulla and S. G. Newlin organized 
the Randleman Hosiery Mills. The hosiery mill was located in the 
old Spencer Building, on the Northeast corner of South Main and 
East Brown Streets, but was soon moved to a new building in the 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 41 

center of town. The concern manufactured ladies' and children's rib- 
bed hose and according to the Randolph County Business Directory 
published in 1894, produced approximately 30,000 dozen pairs an- 
nually and employed forty people. It was the first hosiery mill in 
Randolph County. 


The Plaidville Mills were erected in 1887 and were located 
southwest of the Randleman Manufacturing Co., between St. 
Paul's Church and the railroad station. 

It was organized by the same interests as the Randleman Man- 
ufacturing Co., with John H. Ferree owning controlling stock. Mr. 
Ferree was President; S. G. Newlin, Secretary and Treasurer, and 
J. O. Pickard, Superintendent. Plaidville operated 175 looms and 
was engaged in the manufacture of plaids and cottonades. 


The Marie Antionette was completed in 1895 and was built by 
the same interests and controlled by the Randleman Manufacturing 
Co. This mill was located about half way between the Plaidville 
Mill and the Randleman Manufacturing Co., and was named for 
Mr. Ferree's two daughters. 


The Randleman Store Co. was the first store in the town of 
Randleman and continued as such for a great many years. Being a 
general store a variety of articles were handled. Almost anything 
that could be purchased could be had at the Randleman Store Co. 
After having run the store for a number of years the Randleman 
Manufacturing Co. sold the store to N. N. and J. N. Newlin in 1881. 
The two brothers remained active in the business until N. N. New- 
lin's death in 1935. His death came about in the same year in which 
his son, Jack Newlin, became an active partner in the store. J. J. 
Newlin passed away in the early part of 1944, remaining active 
almost until the time of his death. 

The Randleman Store Co. was located since its inception just 
above the Randleman Manufacturing Co. in a long three-story 
frame building. The store moved in 1931 to its present location in 
the center of town. The building which the store formerly occupied 
burned to the ground in January, 1940. Grier G. Newlin now 
operates this 81 -year-old business. 

42 The History of Randleman, N. C. 


The Bank of Randleman was organized in 1900 with Stanhope 
Bryant, President, and J. H. Cole, Cashier. Mr. Bryant was suc- 
ceeded by N. N. Newlin as President and in 1910 the Bank of 
Randleman was consolidated with the Peoples Bank. 


The Randleman Chair Company was organized by John R. 
Ferree, son of John H. Ferree, about 1905. It operated successfully 
for a few years and in 1912 was sold to Newton Farlow, then Super- 
intendent of Schools, Tom Farlow and L. A. Spencer. These men 
operated the company until about the time of the outbreak of the 
First World War at which time it was sold to Bob Lambeth of 
Thomasville. It continued its operation under the new management 
until about the time the war ended when the machinery and equip- 
ment were moved to Denton. 


The Peoples Savings Loan and Trust Company was organized 
in 1907 with John L. Newlin as President. One or two years later 
Dr. W. I. Sumner was elected President. 

After three years of operations the Peoples Savings Loan and 
Trust Company took over the Bank of Randleman and the name was 
changed to the Peoples Bank. William H. Pickard was later suc- 
ceeded as President by T. F. Wrenn of High Point. Mr. Wrenn was 
succeeded by R. P. Deal who served as President of the bank until 
his death in 1943. A. B. Beasley was then elected President of the 
bank, he himself being succeeded as cashier by E. S. Bailey. 


This company was organized October 12, 1914, by taking over 
the Smitherman Co., which was a branch of the concern in Greens- 
boro by the same name. The original incorporators were W. G. 
Brown, A. B. Beasley, W. R. Roberts, G. H. Ivey, Frank Talley and 
H. A. Moffitt of High Point. The officers were A. B. Beasley, Pres- 
ident; Frank Talley, Secretary and Treasurer and General Manager. 

The corporation was dissolved in 1932 and became a partnership 
between Frank Talley and his brother Ernest Talley who had joined 
the organization in 1920. 

This is the oldest wholesale grocer in the Piedmont under con- 
tinuous management, and today covers Randolph, Moore and Mont- 
gomery counties and part of Davidson, Guilford and Chatham 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 43 


In June, 1911, the interests of the Randleman Manufacturing 
Co., Naomi Falls Manufacturing Co., Plaidville Mill and Marie 
Antoinette Mill were taken over by the Deep River Mills, Inc., with 
the following men making up the officials of the company; J. C. 
Watkins, President and Treasurer; T. A. Hunter, Secretary, and 
R. P. Deal, Manager. 

The company owned about 300 acres of land, two dams, mill 
buildings and dwellings. The new company installed an extensive 
and modern power plant which was used to operate all of this 
machinery. About 600 people were employed by the Deep River 
Mills, Inc. 


On September 25, 1933, the property and machinery of the 
Deep River Mills, Inc., was sold at public auction. The sale was 
held in the Mill No. 1 yard and all the properties which were then 
owned by the Deep River Mills, Inc., were sold. This included the 
No. 1 group which was formerly known as the Randleman Man- 
ufacturing Co., and which contained the buildings now used by the 
Commonwealth Hosiery Mills, Inc., the Quinn Mill, Plaidville and 
Marie Antoinette Mills. The two latter buildings being used today 
by the Randolph Underwear Co. The No. 1 group was sold to A. B. 
Beasley of Randleman and E. W. Freeze, Sr., of High Point. 

The No. 2 mill consisted of the former Naomi Falls Manufactur- 
ing Co. and included in addition to this the Naomi Roller Mill. The 
property was sold to R. L. Huffine of Fayetteville, who later trans- 
ferred the property to the Randtex Mills. 

In addition to the No. 1 and 2 units the Deep River Mills, Inc., 
had owned and sold on that day property adjoining the No. 1 group 
which was known as the Company Farm, consisting of approximately 
200 acres, the Walker Mill property, the Cox Power Plant and several 
other pieces of property throughout the town. 

In May, 1934, the Commonwealth Hosiery Mills, Inc., of High 
Point received a shipment of three carloads of knitting machinery 
which was unloaded and set up in its present location. This was the 
first payroll which the town of Randleman had had since 1930. 


Commonwealth Hosiery Mills was incorporated in High Point 
in October 1916, with J. Elwood Cox as President; A. N. Briggs, 
Vice-President, and H. A. White, Secretary and Treasurer. Opera- 

44 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

tions were begun in a building belonging to the High Point Buggy 
Factory, which it later purchased and where it operated until 1934. 
E. W. Freeze, Sr., was elected Secretary and Treasurer in 1919 and 
took over the active management of the business. The equipment 
was moved to Randleman in 1934 and E. W. Freeze, Sr., continued 
as active head of the business until his death on March 3, 1943. 
Mrs. E. W. Freeze, Sr., of High Point, is President, W. D. Freeze 
and Baxter Freeze are Vice-Presidents and A. J. Ballinger is super- 


The Mace Manufacturing Co. of Brooklyn, N. Y., rented the 
building directly behind the boiler room of the Commonwealth 
Hosiery Mills in 1934. The mill was under the supervision of a Mr. 
Ingstrom and they operated a number of looms making fancy cloth. 

After two years' operation the Mace Manufacturing Co. pur- 
chased the building formerly known as Plaidville Mill and the 
equipment was moved, additional machinery being installed in 1936. 
Mr. Ingstrom was succeeded by a Mr. Thompson. The following 
year the equipment was moved to Brooklyn, N. Y., and in 1938 the 
property was sold to Randolph Underwear Co. 


The Randtex Mills was established in 1934 in the property 
formerly used as the Deep River Mills No. 2 mill. R. L. Huffine of 
Fayetteville was President of this corporation and P. C. Story of 
Randleman was made Manager of the business. The mill manufac- 
tured fancy colored cotton fabric. 


This company was formerly known as Pinehurst Frocks. It 
was incorporated May 5, 1936, with W. A. Armfield, President; 
W. J. Armfield, Jr., Vice-President; and W. J. Armfield, III, Secre- 
tary and Treasurer. Operations which were begun in Asheboro con- 
sisted of the manufacture of dresses and house robes. The business 
was moved to Randleman early in 1938 and changed to the man- 
ufacture of ladies slips. At the same time the company was moved 
the name was changed to Randolph Underwear Co., Inc., and the 
officers were W. J. Armfield, III, President; Howard Sprague, Vice- 
President, and J. D. Croom, Secretary and Treasurer. 

In January, 1944, I. Schneierson & Sons, Inc., of New York City, 
purchased the building and machinery. 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 45 

On February 1, 1957 the name was changed to A. J. Schneierson 
& Son, Inc., and continues under the direction of J. F. Parish, Vice- 
President and General Manager. 



The Laughlin Full Fashioned Hosiery Mills was incorporated in 
1938 with T. L. Laughlin, President and Treasurer; W. J. Armfield, 
Jr., Vice-President, and A. B. Beasley, Secretary. The company 
manufactures ladies full fashioned and seamless nylon hosiery. Pres- 
ident is T. L. Laughlin with N. C. Lowe and W. J. Armfield, Jr., vice- 
Presidents and E. W. Welborn, Jr., Secretary and Treasurer. 


Burlington Mills started operating this plant in 1939 as a part of 
their large expansion into the hosiery field, it became one of the 
best equipped hosiery plants in the country. Operation was discon- 
tinued in 1957 and machinery was moved to Burlington's other 
hosiery plants. The buildings were sold to a group organized to 
take it over for the operation of United Brass Works, Inc. 


The Randleman Paper Box Manufacturing Co. was organized 
January 4, 1939, by Commonwealth Hosiery Mills and W. D. 
Freeze, who was its active manager. The latest equipment for 
manufacturing set-up boxes was installed and operated until July, 
1942, when its employees totaled approximately 40. The business 
was liquidated in that month due to W. D. Freeze entering the 
armed services. 


W. G. Oliver started operation of the Adorable Hosiery Mills in 
August 1951. They are manufacturers of ladies full fashioned nylon 
hosiery. It started and has continued since with W. G. Oliver being 
sole owner. 


The Randleman Mills were incorporated in 1941 as a subsidiary 
of the Susquehanna Silk Mills of Sunburry, Pa., of which Frederick 
Kloeckener is President. This mill occupied the building originally 
built by the Naomi Falls Manufacturing Co. and produced cotton 

46 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

yams from 30's and 60's in rayon and wool. Since its organization 
it had been almost entirely in production on materials used by the 
armed forces. Approximately 15,000 spindles were in operation em- 
ploying about 200 people. This mill was sold to Cone Mills in 


Wee-Sox Hosiery Mill was founded in May, 1944, and incor- 
porated in 1946. It is operated by the same interests that operate 
Commonwealth Hosiery Mills, manufacturing infants' and children's 
hosiery. W. D. Freeze is President, Baxter P. Freeze is Vice- 
President, E. W. Freeze, Jr., is Secretary and Treasurer, and A. J. 
Ballinger is Superintendent. 


The Cone Mills purchased the Naomi Mill from Randleman 
Mills, Inc. in 1949 and operated it as a yarn spinning mill until it 
was leased to J. P. Stevens in late 1956. 


This organization grew out of a company organized in 1813 in 
Andover, Mass., which was started by Nathaniel Stevens. The J. P. 
Stevens Co. was organized in 1899 by John P. Stevens, grandson 
of the founder, as a textile selling agent. 

Today the J. P. Stevens Co. operates 54 plants employing more 
than 35,000 persons. The Randleman plant was obtained from 
Cone Mills in 1956 and operates an up-to-date synthetic spinning 
operation. J. D. Huffstetler is plant manager and Bob Wishon is 
office manager. 


The ground on which Mt. Lebanon Church stands was deeded to 
Joseph Causey, a minister. This deed was made on the 28th day of 
September, 1849. Deeded by James Cooper, G. P. Lineberry and 
Howgil Julian as Trustees of the Union Society of Methodist Pro- 
testant, which later became known as Mt. Lebanon Methodist 
Protestant Church. 

The church was built in the year 1850 by John Gibson. It was 
the first church to be built in Randleman, then called Union Factory. 
Among the foremost ones interested in the building of the church 
were Rev. Z. C. Lineberry, Rastus Lewis, Howgil Julian and Davis 
Harriey. In the year 1877, under the management of Wilburn 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 47 

Wood the church had a membership of 150, many of them relatives 
of those most active in building the church. 

Mt. Lebanon was a part of Randolph Circuit for several years, 
being changed to Randleman Circuit in 1920. 


The first place where the Methodists held religious services was 
at an old house near where the old lngold Hotel stands. A little 
later they moved to the Bloomfield school house and held class 
meetings, prayer meetings and preaching. The St. Paul Sunday 
School was organized at this place by David R. Caudle. 

About the year 1855, the Methodists decided to have a church. 
A preacher whose name was Tinnin, along with David Caudle and 
others, organized a Methodist Episcopal Church and called it St. 

James Dicks donated the ground where St. Paul now stands. 
Jesse Walker gave $100 and others gave liberally. It was a wood 
structure and cost about $500. The charter members were Nancy 
Dicks, David R. Caudle and wife, Rev. C. J. Gregson and wife, 
and others. 

In 1879 the present building was finished. Peter Clark and 
Allen Redding did the brick work and Robin Rink, whose real 
name was Korner, did the painting inside. 


In 1883 under the direction of Rev. Amos Gregson for the 
convenience of the residents of Naomi a series of prayer meetings 
were held in cottages of the various residents of that community. 
Soon after this a site was given to the group for the erection of a 
church and a white frame building put up. This location was about 
two or three hundred yards south of the present Naomi Church, 
where the family of W. C. Robbins now lives. 

in 1903 the church which is now used was erected and dedicated 
the following year. 

Rev. S. M. Bumpass was the first station pastor serving from 
1883 to 1887. Naomi and St. Paul were served by the same pastor 
and Rev. Bumpass served both congregations. Some of Naomi's 
early members active in its organization and its development were 
the J. E. Walker family, the W. W. Redding family, Mrs. J. T. 
Bostic and Miss Mary Bostic, the A. W. Vickory family, Rev. Amos 
Gregson, Samuel E. Bostic, Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Dicks, T. O. Bow- 
den, J. H. Cole and Stanhope Bryant. 

48 The History of Randleman, N. C. 


The Christian Church was organized in 1890. The first church 
was built in the southern part of Randleman. The first pastor was 
Rev. Bolivar Richardson who served from the time of its organiz- 
ation until 1892. The church moved to its present location in West 
Randleman where it now stands in the year 1892 and Rev. Rich- 
ardson was followed by Rev. E. H. Jarrell. The Sunday School 
was organized in the year 1895. 


In April, 1901, in a prayer meeting in the home of Mr. and 
Mrs. Henry Vuncannon, The Apostolic Holiness Church was or- 
ganized with nineteen charter members. It was part of an inter- 
national church and missionary organization known as The Apostolic 
Holiness Union with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. After using a 
brush arbor for about two years, the church purchased the old Naomi 
Methodist Church building in 1903 for $100. It was torn down and 
rebuilt at the site of the Country Holiness Church and Cemetery 
on the Worth ville Road. This building remained until 1960. 

After a number of years and while Rev. Samuel S. Nelson was 
pastor, the Apostolic Holiness Church purchased the old Bloomfield 
School property in Randleman, converted the building into a church 
and parsonage and moved into Randleman. In April 1916, after 
Rev. W. A. Way became pastor, a tabernacle was built by the side 
of the church. For 45 years annual camp meetings were held in the 
tabernacle. The tabernacle was torn down in 1961. 

In March 1961, Rev. James Denny became pastor, a brick ed- 
ucational building was begun, and plans were made for a new sanc- 
tuary in the future. 


The First Methodist Church came into existence January 12, 
1944, as the result of a ballot cast January 2, 1944, at Naomi 
Church and at St. Paul on January 9, 1944. The conference merging 
the two churches was held on January 12, 1944, and a building 
committee was appointed to carry out the plans for a new church 
building to serve the consolidated congregations of Naomi and St. 
Paul Churches. 


The First Baptist Church was organized in 1879 and the building 
built was donated by the Randleman Manufacturing Co. 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 49 

The first pastor serving the church was Rev. J. B. Richardson 
There were eleven charter members, four of whom were: J. T. Bostic, 
C. M. Stout, E. C. Burgess and a Mrs. Stevenson. 

In 1945 construction of a new church building was started under 
the pastorate of Rev. J. I. Memory. A new parsonage was erected 
on Forest Drive in 1961. The present membership (1962) is over 
400, and Rev. Fred W. Reece is pastor. 


A small group of dedicated Christians organized the Randleman 
Friends Meeting in 1943. The first meetings were held in Lacy 
Ferguson's garage on Holder Road. A tract of land where the 
present Church now stands, on High Point Street, was purchased 
and Randleman Friends Meeting took on permanent importance in 
the Christian Life of the community. 

Twenty charter members were received at Plainfield Friends 
Meeting in 1945 just one week before services were to be started in 
the new Church. The building, originally a block structure, has 
been brick veneered and stands today as a monument to those who 
made sacrifices that it should grow and serve the people in the com- 


The Independent Missionary Baptist Church was organized 
November 4, 1956 from a mission which had been started August 
10 of that same year. The Reverend Guerney LeRoy Harrelson 
was the organizer of this Church which is located on Worthville 
Street and has about 60 members. 


In April 1938 the Randleman Lions Club was sponsored by the 
Greensboro Lions Club. This twenty-two year old civic club was 
the first organization of a civic nature in Randleman. 

The Lions Club has sponsored many projects of civic improve- 
ment and has aided many citizens in sight conservation and sight 
improvement which is an active program in Lions International. 


The Rotary Club of Asheboro sponsored the organization of this 
civic club in Randleman and the charter was issued in June 1942. 
The Rotary Club of Randleman is one of 11,000 clubs making up 
Rotary Intrnational with clubs in (130) countries throughout the 

50 The History of Randleman, N. C. 

Rotary is a world fellowship of business and professional 
executives who accept the ideal of services as the basis for happy busi- 
ness and community life. 


In August 1947, a group of Randleman business men applied 
for affiliation with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, 
D. C, which was granted to the 65 charter members. The group was 
incorporated as a non-profit organization in January of 1948. 

This group is non-partisan, non-sectional and non-sectarian and 
the by-laws state the organization is for the purpose of advancing 
the commercial, industrial and civic interests in Randleman and its 
trade area. 


In December 1947, the Woman's Club of Greensboro sponsored 
the Woman's Club of Randleman. The object of the organization 
is to stimulate intellectual development, to promote unity and good 
fellowship among the women of Randleman, and to strengthen, by 
organization, individual efforts to further the social, civic and spirit- 
ual well being of the community. 

The Woman's Club is a member of The North Carolina Federa- 
tion of Woman's Clubs and the General Federation of Woman's 


This organization was charatered October 1, 1948 and is a mem- 
ber of the State and National Federation. The purpose of the Busi- 
ness and Professional Women's Club is to aid in all civic projects, 
cooperating with all civic groups in worthwhile projects of com- 
munity betterment. 

This group has shown particular interest and has contributed 
liberally toward the operation of the Randleman Library. The drapes 
were donated, books have been provided and assistance in a financial 
way helped provide the Librarian's salary. 


The Sunset Mills was started as a full fashioned operation in 
1 949. Leland Smith is general manager in charge of the mill. 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 51 


The Scottish Bank was started March 14, 1939 as a consolidation 
of the Bank of Red Springs, the Bank of St. Pauls, and the Bank of 

The stock of the Peoples Bank was purchased and merged into 
the Scottish Bank in December, 1954. John P. Stedman of Lum- 
berton is the president. The Randleman branch is under the direc- 
tion of Charles D. Lewis, cashier. 


This was a family organization started in New York City in 
1910 by the Berkelhammer family. It has been operated for fifty 
years by the same family, now in the third generation. 

This corporation moved to Randleman in 1958 and has ex- 
panded its operation, manufacturing brass valves and machine parts 
to the point of employing about fifty people. The operation is in the 
plant formerly occupied by Burlington Mills Hosiery Company. 


Randleman has an average year-round temperature of about 63° 
and relative humidity of 74% which would indicate that the city 
is favored with ideal weather conditions. The average rainfall is 
about 3.6 inches per month, and town is 735 feet above sea level. 
The City of Randleman owns and operates a State approved water 
and sewer system and serves its citizens with water at rates com- 
parable to other cities in the Piedmont section. Electrical service 
is rendered direct to the consumer by the Duke Power Company, 
having an office and display room in Randleman. The North State 
Telephone Company operates the telephone system, all of which is 
automatic, including the dial system. The increase in the number of 
telephones in the Randleman area is typical of the growth of the 
city in recent years. Since 1941 the number of phones has in- 
creased over 2000%, from 70 to 1,500, and additional equipment 
installations will considerably increase the number of phones in the 
next twelve months. The business houses of Randleman are served 
by the Carolina and Northwestern Railroad. There are approx- 
imately eleven trucking lines serving Randleman for both intrastate 
and interstate hauling. The city is also served by the Queen City 
Bus Lines, which interchanges with all other major bus lines. 

52 The History of Randleman, N. C. 


The Union Factory was built in 1848. 

In 1868 John B. Randleman (1827-1879) and John H. Ferree 
(1839-1898) bought the Union Factory and changed the name to 
Randleman Manufacturing Company. 

It had been a policy of the mill to have a bell rung on the hour 
all night long. This indicated that the watchman was on the job 
and not asleep. At three o'clock, the bell rang three times and so on 
all night long from eight at night until four in the morning, when it 
rang for several minutes to wake up the employees who went to 
work at six o'clock. 

The bell tower was located just east of where the present bell is 
located at the Commonwealth entrance, in a wooden structure. It 
is believed that the original bell was given to the Holiness Church 
by Mr. E. W. Freeze, Sr. and Mr. A. B. Beasley about 1935. 

The inscription on the present bell reads as follows: 





On the back of the bell it reads: 






It is the opinion that the old mill burned about 1885 and was 
immediately rebuilt and that the present bell was purchased by John 
H. Ferree in 1887. 

In later years (about 1913) the present boiler room and engine 
room was built and the bell was placed on the roof of that building 
where it stayed until about 1956. The only time the bell has been 
used in recent years was at the end of World War II, when the bell 
was rung for about an hour. 

The History of Randleman, N. C. 53 


The Randleman Public Library was organized in 1941. Miss 
Claudia Fox served as Librarian until her retirement, Dec., 1956. 
Mrs. James Sink is now Librarian. The library owns 3,246 books, 
and carries another 2,500 on loan from the County Library and is a 
member of the State Inter-Library Loan System. It had a circulation 
during the years 1960-61 of over 20,000 books. The building and 
lot it occupies on the corner of W. Academy and Hillary Streets are 
owned by the library. 



Phone 2-1652 RANDLEMAN, N. C. 



Phone OFFICE 2-1652 HOME 5962 









1505 S. Fayetteville St. 


Owned & Operated by Night Phone 

Day Phone Lester West, R. K. Hammond MA 9-8778 
MA 5-2474 MA 5-6700 



"We Appreciate Your Business" 

Phone 7105 New Salem, N. C. 



Commonwealth St. Phone 3412 

Randleman, N. C. 



Phone— Day 3412 Night 5972 




The Trademark of Quality Made Famous 
By Good Implements 


Phone MA 5-2212 Box 790 














Member Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 


Telephone 7472 Randleman, N. C. 


121 N. Main St. 

Randleman, N. C. 




Climax, Route 1 Phone Randleman 2-1955 


Phone 7292 


South 220 Randleman, N. C. 



Phone 3022 Worthville, N. C. 


Claudia & Leon Brammer 




Established 1945 

Sophia, N. C. Phone 4727 


600 South Main St. 

Randleman, N. C. Asheboro, N. C. 

Phone 7592 Phone MA 5-2171 


Mary Joyce s Beauty Salon 

Phone 5025 Randleman, N. C. 



Route 2 Randleman, N. C. 



Climax, N. C. 


Phone Julian MU 5-4563 Route 1 





Enterprise Oil Co. 
american oil products asheboro, n. c. 


Decorated cakes for all occasions 


Rolls, Cookies, Donuts, Pies, Pastries, Specialty Breads 

122 N. Church St. Telephone 

Asheboro, N. C. Main 5-3239 

Pine Lodge Beauty Salon 



ASHEBORO, N. C. Phone 

MA 5-2067 


"Since 1923" 
Phone MA 5-2107 Asheboro, N. C. 


(Mary Williams, Owner) 
Phone 3603 Randleman, N. C. 


P. H. (Pat) Martin 

Agent C & W Railway and REA Express 

Randleman, N. C. 


Asheboro Plumbing <% Heating Co, 



Telephone MA 5-6141 1 103 Sunset Ext. Asheboro, N. C. 


Randleman, N. C. 


We wire flowers anywhere 
F.T.D. Member 

Phone 7422 or 2-1511 

Randleman, N. C. 

Phone 7322 


Wholesale only Since 1914 

Randleman, N. C. 





Ladies' Seamless Hosiery 
Since 1916 



Infants' Hosiery 
Since 1944 


Compliments of 


117 S. Main St. 
Phone 4262 Randleman, N. C. 



Ralph B. Talley 

Insurance of all kinds 

Randleman, N. C. 
Phone 4211 154 S. Main St. 

Compliments of 


Randleman, N. C. 152 River Drive 

Lad & Lassie 

118 Academy St. 
Phone 5635 Randleman, N. C. 


Established 1881 
Grier Newlin, Owner 

Randleman, N. C. 
Phone 3173 101 N. Main St. 





Since 1904 



Current Dividend Rate 4% 

Savings Insured Up To $10,000.00 

Randleman, N. C. 

Phone 4211 154 S. Main St. 

Sophia Beauty Shop 

Myrtle D. Hollingsworth, Owner & Operator 

22 Years Experience — Newly Equipped Shop at Home 

Phone 2-1373 Randleman, N. C. Rt. #2 



Phone 5362 RANDLEMAN, N. C. 



PHONE 7432 


Hilliard Brothers Lumber & Cabinet Shop 

See us for Lumber & Building Materials 

of All Kinds— We Build for You, 

Or Furnish All Materials 


Phone 4141 Randleman, N. C. 






Randleman, N. C. 






Phone BR 5-1355 111 W. Bragg St., Greensboro, N. C. 



Dr. H.O. Burnett e 






Howard's Jewelry 

120 South Main 

A. J. Parsons Insurance Agency 


Office Phone Residence Phone 

Randleman 5303 Greensboro OR 4-5586 



Phone MA 5-2266 ASHEBORO, N. C. BOX 716 


John W .Atwater, Jr., D.D.S. 

138 Scarboro St. Asheboro, N. C 







Representative of 


Office 1 14 Academy St. Randleman, N. C. 



J. L. Coble Realty Co. Realtor 







I 14 Academy Si. Phone 5302 



Box 175 Randleman, N. C. 

Auman Brothers Feed & Seed Store 

Feeds Fertilizers 

Diamond Armour 

Statesville Royster 



Skychief Gasoline 

Firechief Gasoline 
Havoline Motor Oil 

Texaco Motor Oil 

P-T Anti Freeze 

Crystallite Kerosene 

Distributed By Allenfield Oil Co. 





W. A. Davis Milling Co. 




H. G. Wright Service & Grocery 





1541 North Fayetteville Street 

Randleman Laundry Center 




Phone 7202 Randleman, N. C. 



I 15 N. Main St. Randleman, N. C. 



Phone 4122 Randleman, N. C. 




801 S. Main St. Randieman, N. C. Phone 2482 







Lineberry's Superette 
t. w. wood's garden seeds 

Phone 5485 Randleman, N. C. 


Miss Jo Anna Van Werry, Owner 

Telephone 7363 Randleman, N. C. 

Memory's Dress Shop 
Memory 's Beauty Salon 




209 Commonwealth St. Randleman, N. C. Phone 4391 


W. C. Tilley Highway 220 N. 

Fabrications — Pick-up Beds Replaced 

Textile — Wheel Carts and Trucks 

Mail Box Posts — Sign Posts — Wrought Irons 


Melviris Variety Store 

110 S. Main St. 
Randleman, N. C. 

Newlin & Swaim Insurance Agency 

Grier Newlin Elizabeth Swaim 

101 N. Main St. 
Phone 3173 




Established 1872 







Serving this area for over 40 years 


High quality memorials distinguished by 

select quality and lasting beauty. 

All types of Granite and Marble Memorials cut to order. 

Cemetery Lettering & Cleaning 

Box 483 RANDOLPH MEMORIAL CO. Phone 7781 

Compliments of 

Gamble's Service & Grocery 

Highway 220 N. 





Petroleum Products 

Phones: Day— MA 5-3476— MA 5-4090 
Night— MA 5-4090 


140-42 S. Fayette ville St. 

Books, Bibles, Cards, Stationery, Games, Gifts 

Toys, Magazines, Papers, Portable Typewriters 

Office, School Supplies 

Telephone Main 5-5101 




179 field comparisons take the guesswork 
out of fertilizer results on corn 

rr 179 practical, authentic field comparisons with other fertiliz- 
ers over a two year period, Agrico averaged 6 extra bushels 
of corn and made $7.03 extra profit per acre. In each comparison, 
the fertilizers were applied at the same time, in the same way, on 
the same field. 

What made this difference in extra bushels and profits? Unlike 
general-purpose fertilizers, each of Agrico's local formulations 
meets the particular needs of a specific crop, soil and area. And 
these are based on over 750,000 studies of the plant food require- 
ments of soils on thousands of farms. 

Contact your nearby Agrico agent today and 
get a higher return on your fertilizer dollar 


Made only by The American Agricultural Chemical Co. 




Highway #220 

Randleman, N. C. 

Asheboro Concrete Products Co. 

Manufacturers Distributors 

Solite Masonry Blocks Building Materials 

Phone MA 5-5161 

Asheboro, N. C. 


Shoes for the Entire Family 
Randleman, N. C. Asheboro, N. C. 

Polly -Ann Beauty Shop 

201 E. Naomi St. 
Phone 4842 Randleman, N. C. 


Randleman, N. C. 

122 S. Main St. 


Phone 5822 

•••• •••• •••• 

* M Stevens.m * 

• ^^ Fabrics M • 



Fine Fabrics 



*••• •••• •*•• 

• m Stevens^ * 

• ■ * 

• '•L Fabrics m * 

• ^L. S * 

• ^ — -^ • 











Compliments of 


Asheboro Plant 

Compliments of 


Randleman, N. C. 

Greeson's Amoco Service Station 

Recapping and Tire Service 

Wrecker Service 

Phone 3272 RANDLEMAN, N. C. Night 4912 


Prompt Delivery Service 

Phone 3493 RANDLEMAN, N. C. 

New & Used Cars 

Phone 4182 R.F.D. 3 

Highway 220 North Randleman, N. C. 



The Flour With Lightness Milled In 




Manufacturers of the Famous 







Compliments of 

Lee Petty Engineering 


Randleman, N. C. 


Phone 7513 


Home of Home Cooked Meals 

Specialty — Country Ham 

Neal & Tom Routh 

Intersection — 220 & 311 

South of Randleman, N. C. 








"Service Above Self" 




Organized June, 1942 

Richard E. Johnson Retiring President 

Jim Coble Retiring Secretary 

James Hanner President Elect 

Jim Coble Secretary Elect 

Harvey Adams General Contracting 

Clyde Allred Hardware Retailing 

Albert Ballinger Hosiery Manufacturing, Seamless 

Ed Brown Printing 

R. E. Brown Past Service (Railroad Transportation) 

T. E. Brown Electric Lights & Power 

Gene Bulla Groceries, Retailing 

Fletcher Causey Education, High Schools 

Parris Clodfelter Tobacco Farming 

Jim Coble Public Accountant 

W. K. Cromartie Public Schools Superintendent 

Arlie Culp Soil Conservation 

Tremaine Fields Hairdressing Supplies 

E. W. Freeze Senior Active (Ladies Seamless Hosiery) 

W. I. Gibson Education, Colleges 

James Hanner F. F. Hosiery Manufacturing, Office 

Bob Hayes Senior Active 

C. W. Henley Radio Equipment Retailing 

Steve Holland Insurance General 

Dock Johnson F. F. Hosiery & Finishing 

Richard Earl Johnson Dairy Farming 

Jim King Drugs Retailing 

Jim Lineberry Mercantile 

Watson Millikan Household Furnishings Retail 

Vernon Morrison Education Elementary 

Grier Newlin Real Estate 

Joe Parrish Lingerie Manufacturing 

Gene Petty Cotton Industry Weaving 

James Pickard Fuel Oil Retailing 

Bill Pugh Building Construction 

John Pugh Funeral Directing 

Dave Reynolds Vocational Agriculture 

Charles Sanford Industrial Supplies 

Clifford Tilley Metal Working Industry 

A. A. Wall Student Guidance Counselor 

Gathier Wright General Merchandise Retailing 


Cletus Brookshire Malpheus Hinshaw 

John Fox Earl Johnson 

"He Profits Most Who Serves Best"