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THE LIBRARY OF THE
THE COLLECTION OF
Randleman Rotary Club
This book must not
be taken from the
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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
GRAVE LOCATED AT PROVIDENCE FRIENDS MEETING,
EIGHT MILES NORTHEAST OF
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
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.
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
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
"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,
"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
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
"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.
"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-
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
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.
Information from BRANSON'S BUSINESS DIRECTORY OF
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.
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, 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
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
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
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-
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
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.
JOHN H. FERREE
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,
JAMES E. WALKER
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
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.
THE REV. AMOS GREGSON
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
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-
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.
ROBERT PEELE DICKS
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. C. WATKINS
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
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
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. ^^^^
A. B. BEASLEY
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
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.
P. C. STORY
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 NIXON BULLA
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. ,
RANDLEMAN MANUFACTURING CO.
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.
NAOMI FALLS MANUFACTURING CO.
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
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
COMING OF THE RAILROAD
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
RANDLEMAN HOSIERY MILLS
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
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.
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
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.
RANDLEMAN CHAIR COMPANY
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 BANK
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.
RANDOLPH GROCERY CO.
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
DEEP RIVER MILLS, INC.
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
SALE OF 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, INC.
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-
MACE MANUFACTURING CO.
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.
RANDTEX MILLS, INC.
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.
LAUGHL1N FULL FASHIONED HOSIERY MILLS,
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.
RANDLEMAN PAPER BOX MANUFACTURING CO.
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
ADORABLE HOSIERY MILLS
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
RANDLEMAN MILLS, INC.
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 MILLS
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.
J. P. STEVENS CO.
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
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
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,
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.
NAOMI METHODIST CHURCH
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
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.
THE PILGRIM HOLINESS CHURCH
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.
FIRST METHODIST CHURCH
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.
THE BAPTIST CHURCH
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.
RANDLEMAN FRIENDS MEETING
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 PLEASANT HILL BAPTIST CHURCH
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.
THE RANDLEMAN LIONS CLUB
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 RANDLEMAN
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.
THE RANDLEMAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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
THE WOMAN'S CLUB OF RANDLEMAN
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
RANDLEMAN BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL
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-
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
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.
UNITED BRASS WORKS, INC.
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 OLD BELL
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:
IN MEMORY OF
JOHN B. RANDLEMAN & JOHN H. FERREE
THE FOUNDERS OF THE
RANDLEMAN M'F'G. CO., RANDOLPH CO., N. C.
On the back of the bell it reads:
McSHANE BELL FOUNDRY
HENRY McSHANE & CO.
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
RANDLEMAN PUBLIC LIBRARY
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.
HIGHWAY 220 SOUTH
JOE & JACK McCOLLUM, Owners
Phone 2-1652 RANDLEMAN, N. C.
McCOLLUM OIL CO.
FUEL OIL & KEROSENE
Phone OFFICE 2-1652 HOME 5962
OWNED and OPERATED BY JACK McCOLLUM
711 S. MAIN ST RANDLEMAN, N. C.
HILL'S ROLLER RINK
HIGHWAY 220 3Vz MILES NORTH
ASHEBORO, N. C.
GUY HILL OPERATOR
WIRING OF ALL KINDS
1505 S. Fayetteville St.
ASHEBORO, N. C.
Owned & Operated by Night Phone
Day Phone Lester West, R. K. Hammond MA 9-8778
MA 5-2474 MA 5-6700
L. V. DORSETT SUPERETTE
GROCERIES— FEEDS— GAS and OIL
"We Appreciate Your Business"
Phone 7105 New Salem, N. C.
Commonwealth St. Phone 3412
Randleman, N. C.
SHAW GAS CO.
LP GAS— THE MODERN FUEL
Phone— Day 3412 Night 5972
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
SOUTHERN MOTORS AND
The Trademark of Quality Made Famous
By Good Implements
JOHN DEERE SALES & SERVICE
Phone MA 5-2212 Box 790
ASHEBORO, N. C.
DR. V. F. CHAMBERLAIN
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
SERVING QUALITY DAIRY PRODUCTS
FOR OVER 100 YEARS
'IF IT'S BORDENS, ITS GOT TO BE GOOD"
"THE CAROLINAS FINEST DANCE ARENA"
THE SCOTTISH BANK
Member Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FOR BETTER BANKING
NOT JUST A SLOGAN, IT'S OUR BUSINESS
Telephone 7472 Randleman, N. C.
ROUTH SODA SHOP
121 N. Main St.
Randleman, N. C.
HACKETT BARBER SHOP
Climax, Route 1 Phone Randleman 2-1955
GENERAL AUTO REPAIRING GAS & OIL
South 220 Randleman, N. C.
WORTHVILLE STORE Co.
QUALITY MEATS— POULTRY— FISH
Phone 3022 Worthville, N. C.
Claudia & Leon Brammer
PROPRIETORS OF SOPHIA SANDWICH SHOP
LAMARR WELDING & REPAIR
Sophia, N. C. Phone 4727
PUGH FUNERAL HOME
600 South Main St.
Randleman, N. C. Asheboro, N. C.
Phone 7592 Phone MA 5-2171
Mary Joyce s Beauty Salon
(MARY JOYCE HARRIS, Owner)
Phone 5025 Randleman, N. C.
Route 2 Randleman, N. C.
ROUTH OIL COMPANY
KEROSENE & FUEL OIL
Climax, N. C.
4 MILES SOUTH ON HIGHWAY 22
Phone Julian MU 5-4563 Route 1
LEWARD COTTON MILLS.
WORTHVILLE, N. C.
Enterprise Oil Co.
american oil products asheboro, n. c.
CENTRAL BAKERY, INC.
Decorated cakes for all occasions
CAKES OF ALL KINDS
Rolls, Cookies, Donuts, Pies, Pastries, Specialty Breads
122 N. Church St. Telephone
Asheboro, N. C. Main 5-3239
Pine Lodge Beauty Salon
PHONE 8535 RANDLEMAN, N. C.
D. W. HOLT & COMPANY
ASHEBORO, N. C. Phone
INTERNA TIONA L HAR V ESTER
NANCE CHEVROLET COMPANY, INC,
Phone MA 5-2107 Asheboro, N. C.
WILLIAMS BEAUTY SALON
(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,
FURNACES AND OIL BURNERS— HOT WATER SYSTEMS
Telephone MA 5-6141 1 103 Sunset Ext. Asheboro, N. C.
Randleman, N. C.
We wire flowers anywhere
Phone 7422 or 2-1511
Randleman, N. C.
RANDOLPH GROCERY CO.
Wholesale only Since 1914
Randleman, N. C.
YOUR FARMER OWNED HOME TOWN DAIRY
HOSIERY MILLS, INC.
Ladies' Seamless Hosiery
HOSIERY MILLS, INC.
RUBY'S BEAUTY SHOP
117 S. Main St.
Phone 4262 Randleman, N. C.
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
Ralph B. Talley
Insurance of all kinds
Randleman, N. C.
Phone 4211 154 S. Main St.
Randleman, N. C. 152 River Drive
Lad & Lassie
118 Academy St.
Phone 5635 Randleman, N. C.
RANDLEMAN STORE CO.
Grier Newlin, Owner
Randleman, N. C.
Phone 3173 101 N. Main St.
W. F. FANCOURT CO
RANDLEMAN SAVINGS & LOAN
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
HINSHAW GROCERY <% HARDWARE
GAS FEED FERTILIZER
Phone 5362 RANDLEMAN, N. C.
PICKARD FUEL CO.
ESSO KEROSENE AND FUEL OIL
118 DEPOT ST. RANDLEMAN, N. C.
Hilliard Brothers Lumber & Cabinet Shop
See us for Lumber & Building Materials
of All Kinds— We Build for You,
Or Furnish All Materials
OUR POLICY IS
TRY TO PLEASE WITH MATERIALS
THANKS FOR YOUR PATRONAGE
Phone 4141 Randleman, N. C.
RANDLEMAN GULF SERVICE
D. R. HAYES PHONE 3155
E. P. CLODFELTER
Randleman, N. C.
NORTH STATE MILLING CO., INC.
DAILY BREAD FLOUR
JOY BRAND CORN MEAL
DISTRIBUTORS OF NUTRENA & CHATHAM FEEDS
SECURITY & JOY DOG FOODS
Phone BR 5-1355 111 W. Bragg St., Greensboro, N. C.
Dr. H.O. Burnett e
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
ANDREWS HOME <£ AUTO SUPPLY
ONE DAY RECAPPING SERVICE
DIAL 5755 RANDLEMAN, N. C.
120 South Main
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
A. J. Parsons Insurance Agency
INSURANCE OF ALL KIND
Office Phone Residence Phone
Randleman 5303 Greensboro OR 4-5586
ASHEBORO ELECTRIC CO.
CONTRACTING & REPAIRING— REFRIGERATION SERVICE
512 S. FAYETTEVILLE ST.
Phone MA 5-2266 ASHEBORO, N. C. BOX 716
John W .Atwater, Jr., D.D.S.
138 Scarboro St. Asheboro, N. C
FOR ALL TYPES OF
LIFE— HOSPITAL— AUTOMOBILE— WORKMAN'S
COMPENSATION— GENERAL LIABILITIES
CARL L. KING
NATIONWIDE INSURANCE COMPANIES
Office 1 14 Academy St. Randleman, N. C.
IN SERVICE WITH PEOPLE
J. L. Coble Realty Co. Realtor
COMPLETE REAL ESTATE SERVICE
I 14 Academy Si. Phone 5302
JAMES W. PARSONS
BOOKKEEPING AND TAX SERVICE
Box 175 Randleman, N. C.
Auman Brothers Feed & Seed Store
ASHEBORO, N. C.
Havoline Motor Oil
Texaco Motor Oil
P-T Anti Freeze
Distributed By Allenfield Oil Co.
ASHEBORO, N. C.
ROYAL CROWN FAMILY FLOUR
DAVIS' CORN MEAL
W. A. Davis Milling Co.
HIGH POINT, N. C.
H. G. Wright Service & Grocery
RANDLEMAN 66 SERVICE
MILLIKAN FURNITURE CO.
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
NORTH ASHEBORO OFFICE
THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK
1541 North Fayetteville Street
ASHEBORO, N. C.
Randleman Laundry Center
"COMPLETE COIN LAUNDRY & DRY CLEANING"
MAIN STREET RANDLEMAN, N. C.
BELK YATES COMPANY
HOME OF BETTER VALUES
Phone 7202 Randleman, N. C.
PICKETT'S MEN'S SHOP
ARROW SHIRTS . . . BOTONY 500 . . . DOBBS HATS
I 15 N. Main St. Randleman, N. C.
ECONOMY DRY CLEANING CO.
AND LAUNDRY SERVICE
Phone 4122 Randleman, N. C.
ECONOMY DRUG CO.
HAYES CASH GROCERY
FEED— FERTILIZER—NOTIONS— GAS & OIL
801 S. Main St. Randieman, N. C. Phone 2482
LAUGHLIN F. F. HOSIERY
LADIES 1 FULL FASHIONED
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
t. w. wood's garden seeds
Phone 5485 Randleman, N. C.
JO ANNA'S DRESS SHOPPE
Miss Jo Anna Van Werry, Owner
LADIES READY TO WEAR— NOTIONS— GIFTS
Telephone 7363 Randleman, N. C.
Memory's Dress Shop
Memory 's Beauty Salon
• SPORTSWEAR • FORMALS
• CASUALS • COATS & SUITS
o COORDINATES • LINGERIE
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.
ODELL HARDWARE CO.
GREENSBORO, N. C.
TO OUR MANY FRIENDS
IN RANDOLPH COUNTY
Serving this area for over 40 years
CLINARD MILLING CO. HIGH POINT, N. C.
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
Gamble's Service & Grocery
Highway 220 N.
JACK WEAVERS GRILL
PUGH OIL COMPANY
Phones: Day— MA 5-3476— MA 5-4090
Night— MA 5-4090
ASHEBORO, N. C.
SCOTT BOOK STORE, INC.
140-42 S. Fayette ville St.
ASHEBORO, N. C.
Books, Bibles, Cards, Stationery, Games, Gifts
Toys, Magazines, Papers, Portable Typewriters
Office, School Supplies
Telephone Main 5-5101
"WHEN IN TOWN, STOP BY SCOTTS"
THE AG RICO
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.
Randleman, N. C.
Asheboro Concrete Products Co.
Solite Masonry Blocks Building Materials
Phone MA 5-5161
Asheboro, N. C.
HOUGHS SHOE STORES
Shoes for the Entire Family
Randleman, N. C. Asheboro, N. C.
Polly -Ann Beauty Shop
201 E. Naomi St.
Phone 4842 Randleman, N. C.
A & F VENDING k
Randleman, N. C.
122 S. Main St.
•••• •••• ••••
* M Stevens.m *
• ^^ Fabrics M •
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
*••• •••• •*••
• m Stevens^ *
• ■ *
• '•L Fabrics m *
• ^L. S *
• ^ — -^ •
J. P. STEVENS k CO., INC.
SYNTHETICS DIVISION EXECUTIVE OFFICES
GREENSBORO, N. C.
RANDLEMAN— ASHEBORO— RAMSEUR
LOW CASH PRICE— PLUS FAMILY STAMPS
NORTH STATE TELEPHONE CO.
RANDLEMAN AND ADJACENT AREAS
LOCAL AND LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE SERVICE
KLOPMAN MILLS, INC.
UNITED BRASS WORKS, INC.
Randleman, N. C.
Greeson's Amoco Service Station
Recapping and Tire Service
Phone 3272 RANDLEMAN, N. C. Night 4912
G. P. UPTON GROCERY
Prompt Delivery Service
Phone 3493 RANDLEMAN, N. C.
M & M MOTOR CO.
New & Used Cars
Phone 4182 R.F.D. 3
Highway 220 North Randleman, N. C.
The Flour With Lightness Milled In
A. J. SCHNEIERSON & SON
Manufacturers of the Famous
RANDLEMAN, N. C. SILER CITY, N. C.
SANFORD, N. C. DENTON, N. C.
BALFOUR, N. C.
Lee Petty Engineering
Randleman, N. C.
Home of Home Cooked Meals
Specialty — Country Ham
Neal & Tom Routh
Intersection — 220 & 311
South of Randleman, N. C.
CITY OF RANDLEMAN
GRIER G. NEWLIN, Mayor
ARTHUR R. RUSSELL, JR.
DR. J. D. GROSECLOSE
W. I. GIBSON
"Service Above Self"
RANDLEMAN, N. C.
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"