Do the contents of a man’s billfold define him? Benjamin Walker Wyche

Benjamin Walker Wyche (Aug. 29, 1914 - Feb. 21, 1977)

Benjamin Walker Wyche (Aug. 29, 1914 – Feb. 21, 1977)

Do the contents of a man’s billfold define him? Perhaps. In the case of my great uncle, Benjamin Walker Wyche (born August 29, 1914, and who passed away suddenly on February 21, 1977), the contents of his billfold seem to tell us a great deal about the man.

My Uncle Ben never married. Thanks to his exceptional good looks, his congenial personality, and his success in business and community work, he never had any shortage of admirers. His friends, brothers, and sisters all joked that he was still – even in his sixties – the most eligible bachelor in our hometown. Ben never lacked a date for any social function, and he was a great dancer; everyone said so. In addition to these charms, Ben had a clarion tenor singing voice which he used to great benefit in the church choir throughout his life. As a young man, I have been told, he sang barbershop quartet at Davidson College where he was a student and a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

Ben was a lifelong member of the Weldon United Methodist Church. He ran a successful wholesale grocery supply business, served on the board of the Weldon Savings & Loan, and was a member of the Rotary Club and the Lion’s Club. Throughout his life he remained in the home he was raised in from boyhood, sharing it with his unmarried sister, Elizabeth, who kept house for them both. Ben traveled a good deal when he was given the opportunity. He made his way to Brazil, The Greek Islands and Italy, as well as England, Ireland, and France.

I never heard my uncle Ben say a disparaging word about anyone at all. He was a kind man, a gentle spirit, and those who knew him respected and admired him without needing to know more about him than just these surface facts.

My uncle Ben died suddenly of a massive coronary in 1977. As it turned out, twenty-five years after he passed, when his sister’s estate was being liquidated, I was given the opportunity to claim Ben’s personal effects. He never had children and no one else in the family ever expressed much interest in this bachelor uncles’ old records, photographs, or books. I cared. Ben was my favorite uncle.

Among his effects was his billfold, which when I came into possession of it, appeared exactly as it had the day Benjamin Wyche died in 1977. The object itself was unremarkable, much like the man who owned it. Just a worn, Amity brand leather billfold, containing all the most important and necessary items to a man’s daily living.

Here’s an inventory of the contents of Benjamin Walker Wyche’s billfold:

— Six dollars in cash.

— A handwritten note, containing a Nationwide Life Insurance Policy Number, and a telephone claim number.

— A handwritten note with a list of people’s names, mailing addresses, and telephone numbers. Interestingly, all the names are those of widowed elderly women in town, or unmarried middle-aged women.

— An appointment slip for a Doctor’s appointment, scheduled for two months after Ben died. (See below.)

Apt Slip

 

 

 

 

 

 

— An extremely well-worn tithe record for the Weldon Methodist Church in the amount of five cents, dated May 25th, 1925. Ben was ten years old when he recorded this gift. It appears that Ben had been carrying around this sentimental little receipt for more than fifty years. (See below.)

Tithe Note

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— A handwritten slip listing his parents, all his siblings, and their spouse’s birthdays. (See below.)

Birthdays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— His social security card. (See below.)

SS Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

— His driver’s license. (See below.)

Drivers Lic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— A flu vaccine record dated November 2, 1976.

— His draft card, originally issued in 1936. At the time of his death, Ben had carried this frayed fragment of a draft registration card more than forty years. (See below.)

Draft Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— A Red Cross certificate of appreciation, indicating that Ben was a member of the “Gallon Club”. The certificate was issued on May 20, 1960. (See below.)

Red Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— A polio Vaccine record, dated 1964.

— Several insurance cards, for auto, health, life, etc.

— An identification card issued by the Halifax County Civil Defense Agency, listing Ben as “Chief Supply Service Member of Advisory Council”. It’s dated March 28, 1962.

— A tattered personal check paid to the order of Ben Wyche, in the amount of fifteen dollars. The check was drawn on the account of Mary E. Jones and endorsed by her, dated July 11, 1970. It was never cashed. (See below.)

Mary Jones - Check

 

 

 

 

 

Mary E. Jones was an African-American woman who was born in Greensville County, Virginia in 1893, but who lived most of her life in Weldon North Carolina, relocating to Weldon before 1910. She was a cook by profession, and poor.

Interestingly Ben Wyche’s parents also arrived in Weldon in the years before 1900, and also from Greensville County, Virginia. What was the relationship? It’s impossible to know for certain, but my suspicion is that Mary E. Jones’s people and Benjamin Walker Wyche’s people had long been connected. I believe that Ben *loaned* Mary money, never expecting or wanting repayment.

When this check was written by Mary to Ben, she was 77 years old. Ben passed away in 1977, after having carried this check in his wallet for seven years.

— Another tattered, very pocket worn check; this one a counter check, paid to the order of Ben Wyche in the amount of $25.00, and endorsed by Robert L. Pay on April 27, 1972. It was never cashed. (See below.)

Robert Pay - Check

 

 

 

 

 

Robert L. Pay arrived in Weldon, North Carolina sometime after World War II. Robert Pay worked for a time for my grandfather, John Ira Wyche (Ben’s brother). My mother recalled that he had a large family with many children, and that he might have worked for the railroad later in his life. I’ve been unable to find any certain information on where Robert L. Pay came from, or what became of him. When Ben passed away in 1977, he’d carried this uncashed check in his wallet for five years.

— The last uncashed check in Ben’s wallet is just as interesting and is even older than the previous two. The check was written on January 20, 1964, in the amount of $100.00. It was written to Merchants Distributing Company, Ben Wyche’s wholesale grocery supply business, so it can be assumed that the check was written for goods – food – rather than cash. The account holder and signature is Raymond Baty. (See below.)

Raymond Baty - Check

 

 

 

 

 

I have been unable to confirm any certain information on this individual. The only thing I know is that in 1964, Raymond Baty wrote a check for $100 to my uncle Ben; a check that Ben chose not to cash and carried around in his wallet for thirteen years.

There was one more item in my uncle’s wallet, but we’ll reveal that item at the conclusion of this article. First I’d like to propose that a great deal can be gleaned from the contents of Ben Wyche’s wallet. We know he was loyal and generous. The checks he carried around with him all those years, checks he chose not to cash, paint a picture of a man who had empathy for those less fortunate than himself. He had a sense of his obligation to his fellow man.

He also seems to have a deep commitment to his community as a whole. His church was obviously very important to him. He was sentimental, saving little pieces of paper like the tithe record of a little boy’s contribution to the plate. You don’t hang on to shreds like this if they mean nothing to you. Similarly, you don’t donate gallons of blood to the Red Cross if you are only concerned with you own comfort and well-being.

He cared about his family and friends, making sure that he never overlooked a birthdate.

He cared something about the widows and spinsters in his town; women who, in that era, would have been seen as vulnerable and in need of some kind of masculine protection.

Reading his obituary, we learn that Benjamin Walker Wyche was a pillar of his community. He was trusted and well-respected by those that knew him only a little, and he was adored by those who knew him well. His brother, my grandfather, called Ben his “best friend” and I know that Ben was my grandfather’s rock during difficult periods. Papa was crushed when Ben died, and he never quite recovered from the loss of this dearest of brothers. The light went out just a little. And I know that more than just my grandfather felt this. Many others did too; among them most of Ben’s employee’s at Merchants Distributing Company, which was closed and liquidated following Ben’s death.

What can we say about a man from the contents of his wallet? A great deal I think.

The last item found in his wallet was found accidentally. It was never meant to be seen by anyone other than Ben himself. In the almost forty years since Ben’s death, the dry leather wallet began to disintegrate, as will happen. I feared for the documents inside, and so I removed them for safe keeping. The seams of the billfold had long since frayed and broken, and as I handled the thing, the bottom seam opened, revealing a hidden, secret compartment I had not previously noticed. Inside, two crumbling flaps of leather concealed a tiny photograph.

I present the photograph for your consideration.

Ben Wyche and Friend

This photo was taken in the late 1920’s, when Benjamin Walker Wyche was a student at Davidson College. I have no idea who the young man in Ben’s arms is. Perhaps someone can help me identify him. I do know that Ben must have cared a great deal about this image, as he carried it with him, secreted away from prying eyes, for more than fifty years. His most prized, most private, most sentimental possession.

What secrets do we carry around with us?

Old debts. Old promises. Obligations made and forgiven? And then this.

Benjamin Walker Wyche; pillar of the community, dedicated Methodist, loving brother, son, neighbor. A generous and decent man, respected by his employees and friends.

And by the standards of his era, a mentally ill, criminal deviant, who could have been incarcerated had he been outed.

Think about the life this man musty have led. Think of the cloud of fear under which he lived. The undeserved shame that threatened everything and everyone he cared for.

Instead of allowing fear to make him angry and cynical, it made him a better person, a better neighbor, a better friend, boss, son, brother. He turned fear into generosity and warmth. There’s so much we can learn from this man’s courage.

How I wish I could see him again, to tell my favorite uncle just how much more I love and admire and respect him, now that I know.


Joseph Cooke Crews Sr. — Obit

The following is a faithful transcription of a newspaper clipping noting the death of Joseph C. Crews. A handwritten source note, in the hand of Mary Hall Benn Wyche, indicates that this notice appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer, on Tuesday, April 13, 1948.

 

Joseph Cooke Crews and his wife, Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Currin.

Joseph Cooke Crews and his wife, Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Currin.

Joseph C. Crews

Oxford. __ Joseph Cooke Crews, 65, Standard Oil Company employee for 35 years, died in Durham hospital Sunday night. He had been a patient there for a week. The funeral will be held from Shady Grove Methodist church at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, conducted by his pastor, the Rev. J. L. Smith, assisted by the Rev. M. L. Banister of Oxford Baptist Church. Interment will be in Elmwood cemetery. Surviving are his wife, the former Mary Currin; a daughter, Jean, of the home; two sons, J. C. Jr., and Lindsey Crews of Henderson and two sisters, Mrs. J. T. Benn of Weldon and Mrs. Fannie Crews of Richmond, Va.


Joseph John Benn – Civil War Service and Notes

The Source for this information is James Thomas Benn IV, of Farmville, VA. It was completed as part of his application for membership into the Sons of Confederate Veterans. It was provided to the author on January 25, 2016, via email communication.

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Joseph John Benn - (c) 1885

Joseph John Benn – (c) 1885

Joseph John Benn was born 15 April 1829 in Gaston, North Carolina.  On 11 April 1862, in Norfolk, Virginia, this North Carolina farmer mustered into the 41st Virginia Infantry, 2nd Company E from the State Militia where he collected a $50 bounty.  2nd Company E was known as Captain Lauren’s “Confederate Grays” under Mahone’s Brigade in the Longstreet Corp.  In March and April of 1862 he drilled in Norfolk.  On 10 May 1862, he and the rest of his division boarded trains for Petersburg when Norfolk was abandoned to Union Forces.

J.J. Benn, as he was known, spent most of May 1862 in the hospital at General Camp Winder in Richmond.  On 23 May 1862 he was transferred back to his regiment at Petersburg from whence he fought at Malvern Hill and Seven Pines.  He was back in the hospital from 15 September 1862 until 13 October 1862 suffering from chronic diarrhea as was the bane of many a soldier.  On 20 October 1862 he was furloughed to Gaston, North Carolina to recuperate.

He returned to duty in January of 1863 and wintered at United States Ford on the Rappahannock, 16 miles west of Fredericksburg.  At the time, the 41st Virginia Infantry listed 305 men present.  The 41st was with Army of Northern Virginia at Chancellorsville.  On 26 June 1863, his unit passed the Mason-Dixon line.  They arrived at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on 2 July 1863, at the northern end of Seminary Ridge.

J.J. Benn went on to fight in the Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns, the Wilderness, and Cold Harbor.  On 22 June 1864, he was with Mahone at the Jerusalem Plank Road Battle near Petersburg. The July 30 battle of the Crater made Mahone a famous General and brought with it recognition and prestige to all the regiments involved including the 41st Virginia.

J.J. Benn was taken prisoner 27 Oct 1864 at Boydton Plank Road Battle for control of the Weldon Railroad.  He was transferred from City Point in Hopewell to Point Lookout Maryland and exchanged 17 January 1965 at Boulware’s Warf on the James River.  On 6 February 1865 he was at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run.  During the battle of Sayler’s Creek, Mohone’s division escaped capture and moved to the north side of the Appomattox River acting as rear guard.  On 7 April 1865 the 41st fired the last shots of the war at Cumberland Church.

On 9 April 1865, Joseph John Benn was paroled at Appomattox with one package of clothing and a blanket.  Of the 305 men present in 1863, only 10 officers and 98 other men remained of the 41st Virginia Infantry.

After the war he made his home near what is now Vultare, North Carolina where he was an agent for the Raleigh Gaston Railroad.  His first child, a daughter was born nine months after he returned from the war on 20 January 1866.  Joseph John Benn died 18 May 1912.

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TIMELINE:

Joseph John Benn

Born April 15, 1829; died May 18, 1912 at 83 years of age

Enlisted 11 Apr 62 from the state militia in Norfolk VA at 33 years old. $50 bounty due

Listed as a farmer from Gaston, NC.

After the war was an agent for the Raleigh Gaston Railroad

He and his wife had their home near what is now Vultare, NC

Captain Lauren’s “Confederate Grays” under Mahone’s Brigade under Longstreet’s Corps

March and April 1862 drilled in Norfolk

May 10th – 41st boarded trains for Petersburg when Norfolk was abandoned

10 May 62 General Hospital camp Winder Richmond VA

23 May 62 – transferred to Petersburg

Malvern Hill and Seven Pines

Gen Hospital Richmond VA 15 Sep 62 – 13 Oct 62

20 Oct 62 furloughed to Gaston NC for Chronic diarrhea

Jan 63 – Oct 64 listed as present

Wintered at United States Ford on the Rappahannock 16 miles west of Fredericksburg

41st had 305 men present

3 miles from Chancellorsville – fought there

May 7th camped near Fredericksbirg

June 22 in Charles Town (now WV)

June 26th past the Mason-Dixon Line

July 1st, left camp at Fayetteville PA to Gettysburg

Arrived July 2nd at the northern end of Seminary Ridge

Mahone’s Brigade scarcely used July 2nd and 3rd

Fought in the Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns

May 4th left winter camp at Madison Run Station

May 6th battle of the Wilderness

May9th arrived at Spotsylvania

June 3rd at Cold Harbor

June 22nd Jerusalem Plank Road

July 30th battle of the Crater “made Mahone a famous general and brought with it recognition and prestige to all the regiments involved.

Taken prisoner 27 Oct 64 Weldon RR – Boydton Plank Road at Hatcher’s Run

31 Oct 64 transferred from City Point to Pt. Lookout MD

17 Jan 65 exchanged at Boulware’s Warf James River, VA

26 Jan 65 at Camp Lee Richmond VA

February 6th, second battle of Hatcher’s run

Mahone commanded an elite division of which the 41st was part.

April 6th – During the battle of Sayler’s creek, Mahone’s division escaped capture and moved to the north side of the Appomattox river acting as rear guard.

April 7th – fired last shots at Cumberland Church

9 Apr 65 Paroled at Appomattox w/ 1 package of clothing and a blanket along with 10 officers and 98 other men

First child, a daughter Mariah Ann Benn, born nine months later on Jan. 20, 1866


Fannie Evelyn Johnston — Obit

TRANSCRIPTION OF A TYPED TRANSCRIPTION, RECORDED BY MARY HALL BENN WYCHE, FROM A NEWSPAPER NOTICE OF THE DEATH OF FANNIE EVELYN CREWS, WHICH (it is to be assumed) ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE OXFORD PUBLIC LEDGE, OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA. THE ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPTION IS UNDATED.

 

LeRoy Lafayette Crews and Fannie Evelyn Johnston Crews. Fannie died at 31 years old.

LeRoy Lafayette Crews and Fannie Evelyn Johnston Crews. Fannie died at 31 years old.

CREWS. __ Mrs. Fannie E. Crews (nee) Johnston, was born November the 12th 1857. She was married to L. L. Crews December the 19th 1877. She died July 1st 1886, leaving a husband and four children to mourn their loss. She was converted and joined the Methodist Church while young and lived in the enjoyment of religion to the end of life. Her health had not been good for five years, and frequently she was brought almost to death’s door, then she would improve. While to her friends she seemed to enjoy health at times, she realized that she could not long remain in this world. When last taken, the physicians did not think her seriously ill, but after all that skill and kindness could do she grew worse and in a few days passed away. Her sufferings were intense and she was conscious that the time of her departure was at hand. Previous to her last illness, she said, “I know in whom I have trusted.” Leaning upon Jesus she passed through “the valley of the shadow of death fearing no evil”. Her funeral was preached at her home by the writer from Matt 25-21, and a long procession followed her remains to the family burying ground.

It was painful to sister Crews to leave her husband and little children, but she was submissive to the divine will, she was not conscious in the last hours, but we need no testimony in the dying hour to tell us where the Christian goes.

To her family and friends she is not lost, but gone before. May they have grace to follow on to the city of God

— E. Coltrane.

 

 

[Handwritten below the typed note, in the hand of Mary Hall Benn Wyche, is the following citation information.]

This is a copy of newspaper notice of death and funeral of Mrs. Fannie E. Crews. Presume this was (Oxford Public Ledger, Oxford N.C.)


Caroline Frances Crews Smith – Obits and Recollections

THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPTION OF AN OBITUARY NOTICE FOR CAROLINE CREWS SMITH, THE ORIGINAL CLIPPING BEING FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF MARY HALL BENN WYCHE. THE CLIPPING IS UNDATED. IT CAN BE INFERRED FROM THE TEXT THAT THIS ORIGINAL APPEARED IN THE OXFORD PUBLIC LEDGER, OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TRANSCRIPTION REFLECTS ALL THE UNIQUE PHRASING OF THE ERA, AS WELL AS TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS, MISSING OR INCORRECT PUNCTUATION, ETC. IT IS A VERBATIM, UNEDITED TRANSCRIPTION FROM THE ORIGINAL.

[Caroline Crews Smith was the daughter of James A. Crews and Martha Hunt, sister of Leroy Lafayette Crews. She married John Smith. She was born August 10, 1848 in Granville County, NC, and passed away February 9, 1931 in the same place.]

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Obituary

Mrs. Caroline Smith

“So live that when thy summons comes
To join the innumerable caravan
Which moves to that mysterious realm
Where each shall take his chamber
In the silent halls of death;
Thou go not, like the quarry slave, at night
Scourged to his dungeon;
But, sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust,
Approach thy grave, like one who wraps the drapery
Of his couch about him
And lies down to pleasant dreams.”

Thus did Mrs. Caroline Smith live and thus did she slip away from us to be forever with her God whom she loved and served for eighty-two years.

Truly, as her pastor said, a giant oak in God’s earthly forest has fallen – But it was so deeply rooted in love, its leaves lent shade to so many weary souls and that tree shed such fragrance to the discouraged and broken-hearted that the memory of it will linger with us long and that to bless. Discouragement and impossibility were two words that Grand Ma Smith scratched from her vocabulary – Her very expression was a smile and a challenge to be “Up and doing, with a heart for any fall.

“Still achieving, still pursuing. Learn to labor and to wait.” We shall remember her, not so much for her many words, as for the numberless little deeds of kindness that her life was literally crowded with. She seemed to realize that her time was drawing short, for each day before she took her bed, was crowded more and more with loving kindnesses and tender ministrations.

Rich and poor, high and low, white and black visited her during her last illness; looked fondly upon her sweet face, breathed a prayer for her recovery and begged that they might so something for her. It was merely reflexaction, for had she not been the busiest soul in Oxford looking after the welfare of her friends and acquaintances.

She was almost a life long member of the Methodist Church and she supported her church too; and stood back of her minister in every good work. She leaves to mourn her loss one daughter, Mrs. J.E. Jackson of Sanford, Fla.; and two sons, E.L. and L.F. Smith of Oxford; several grand children and two great grand children.

The smile on Grand Ma’s face, cold in death, seemed to portray –

“Sunset and evening star and one clear call for me.
And may there be no mourning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound or foam.
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bells and after that the dark,
And may there be no sadness of farewells
When I embark.
For though from out our bourne of time and place.
The flood may bear me far.
I hope to see my Pilot face to face,
When I have crossed the bar.”

A.L.C.

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[THE FOLLOWING MEMORIAL APPEARED JUST BELOW AND ADJACENT TO THE OBITUARY.]

In Memoriam

It is with deep sorry that the Granville Grays Chapter of the daughters of the Confederacy, records the death of Mrs. Caroline Crews Smith, an honorary member, who passed into Paradise on February ninth at the home of her son, E. L. Smith. She had been a member of the Chapter for years and loved “the Cause” for which it stood.

Her warm-hearted character and sweet modesty showed itself in her loyalty in every work undertaken by the Chapter. She knew the horrors of war and the greater hardships of reconstruction. Her patriotism never failed in war or peace and she ever kept sacred the memory of the dead, extending sympathy and help to the living.

Born of an old and prominent family, reared amid surroundings of affluence and ease, her girlhood environment suggested the setting which we associate with the antebellum life of the Old South. She lived to be eighty-two but old age never came neigh her, to the day of her last illness she was alive to her finger tips and crowned with many flowers, she passed into the beyond to hear her Master’s welcome plaudit, “Well Done.”

Piety and consecration to her church and her Master, best illustrated in human kindness and charity to her loved ones and neighbors, were her chief characteristics and her cheerful, unselfish, happy personality radiated sunshine, warming her many friends who loved her dearly.

And now that our Heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom and love has called to Himself in glory our beloved member, be it resolved:

First. That we as members of the Granville Grays Chapter, Daughters of the Confederacy, express our sorrow in the loss of so sweet and and gentle a member and will ever cherish with grateful remembrance her unselfish inspiration and help.

Second. That the loving sympathy of the Chapter be extended to her bereaved family.

Third. That a copy of these Resolutions be sent her family, the Public Ledger and a copy be spread upon the records of the Chapter.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeannette E. Biggs,

Elizabeth Floyd,

Mrs. E. G. Moss

Committee.

 

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THE FOLLOWING TRANSCRIPTION IS FROM A CLIPPING OF A DEATH NOTICE FOR CAROLINE CREWS SMITH. THE CLIPPING IS A FRAGMENT, UNDATED, AND THE PAPER IN WHICH IT APPEARED IS UNIDENTIFIED.

Death Lays Claim To Mrs. Caroline Smith

Deceased Was 82 Years Old and Was Taken Sick With Pneumonia Several Days Ago

Death claimed the life of Mrs Caroline Smith yesterday afternoon shortly before 5:00 o’clock at the home of her son, E. L. Smith, on Gilliam street. She was in the 82nd year of her life.

Mrs. Smith was the oldest living member of the Oxford Methodist church. She was a devout Christian and she was known in the community for the many kind deeds of her life. Her real love and work in the Kingdom was the Missionary Society of which she was always active.

Funeral services will be conducted this afternoon at 3:00 o’clock from the Oxford Methodist church with services conducted by her pastor, Rev. E. J. Rees, assisted by Rev. Reuben Meredith of St. Stephens Episcopal church; Rev. B. W. Lacy, of the Oxford Presbyterian church; Rev. B. D. Critcher, of the Oxford Methodist Circuit and Rev. W. D. Poe, of Hester and Enon churches. Interment will be in Elmwood cemetery.

The deceased is survived by the following brothers: A. A. Crews of Oxford and L. L. Crews of Selma [“Selma” is a typo. It should read “Thelma”] and three children: E. L. Smith and L. F. Smith, of Oxford and Mrs. J. E. Jackson, of Sanford, Fla.

Following are the active pallbearers: F. F. Lyon, Sam Averette, O. B. Breedlove, S. R. Abernathy, C. W. Bryan, J. M. Baird, J. H. L. Myers and Will Landis.

Honorary pallbearers: Dick Crews, I. H. Davis, F. B. Blalock, C. B. Keller, Dr. S. J. Finch, C. G. Powell, J. S. Bradsher, Sr., John Floyd Ernest Jones, Gibbons Renn, G. W. Regan, William Medford, W. T. Yancy, J. E. Davis, W. P. Stradley, Earnest Dean, D. K. Taylor, Pete Bullock, C. G. Credle, W. B. Crews, Jim Dean, J. M. Blalock, A. W. Graham, W. H. Jeffries…

[The remainder of the article is missing.]

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THE FOLLOWING IS A FAITHFUL TRANSCRIPTION OF A NEWSPAPER CLIPPING FRAGMENT, WHICH PRESUMABLY APPEARED IN THE OXFORD PUBLIC LEDGER. THE CLIPPING IS NUMBERED “VOLUME 16, NUMBER 33”, OTHERWISE UNDATED.

A Tribute To A Good And Useful Life

(Composed and read by Mrs. J. Y. Crews at Shady Grove Church on Mars. Caroline Smith’s eighty-first birthday.)

It is indeed delightful to have with us on these sacred grounds today, one of the most consecrated, most beloved members of Shady Grove Church: none other than Grand Ma Smith!

She is so active, so interested in life, we find it hard to realize that tomorrow, the 10th of August, 1929, will mark her eighty-first birthday: she has been a member of this Church for the past 66 years: and such an enviable record her life has been, for she has fully measured up to the standard of the good woman referred to in the….

(The remainder of the article is missing.)


Sketches of William Hicks, Abner Hicks, Jasper Hicks, George Harris, James Crews, John Earl – and something of their descendants

The following is a partial transcription (included content, unedited) of the pamphlet “Sketches of William Hicks, Abner Hicks, Jasper Hicks, George Harris, James Crews, John Earl – and something of their descendants”, written by Thurston Titus Hicks of Henderson, North Carolina, in 1926. I believe the transcription is a near-perfect copy of the original material, however any errors that appear in contradiction with the original text, are unintentional and the fault of myself, not the original author.

This transcription includes pages 1 and 2 and pages 29 – 48. Content transcribed includes:
Title page and Introduction
The Crews Family of Salem (from Gideon Crews Sr., through to the early 20th century generations.)
The Residences of Our Two Grandfathers (descriptions and mode of living in the 19th century homeplaces of Abner Hicks and James Crews.)
Three Daughters of John Earl (Detailed descendants list of of Sara Earl and James Crews, Mary Earl and Robert Jones, and Patsie Earl and William Kittrell.)

Thurston Titus Hicks, who wrote this pamphlet in 1926, was born on October 14, 1847, and died July 28, 1927 – eleven months and one day after he completed writing “Sketches.”

This document was written in an earlier era. The style, vernacular, punctuation, and consistency are clearly of another time. The man himself was a creature from the distant past, already, when he began writing this history of his ancestry. For this reason, the foregoing document may be very difficult for contemporary readers to comprehend. For that reason, I have taken the liberty of adding a section at the end of this document that includes:
– the family lineage in an easier to digest format,
– noting inconsistencies in the prose that might confuse contemporary readers, not familiar with the subject matter,
– noting and correcting errors in the original, where I was able to detect them.
– including editorial notes, where I felt I could clarify or contribute to the content.

In regards to the transcription, I have made as perfect a copy of the original as I was able. My notes and additions follow the transcribed version.

 

Sketches of William Hicks, Abner Hicks, Jasper Hicks, George Harris, James Crews, John Earl

And Something of Their Descendants, With comparisons of present conditions of living with those of sixty years ago.

By Thurston Titus Hicks

Privately printed, Henderson, North Carolina, September, 1926
(A revised and updated edition was printed in 1954.)
(Edits and comments as noted by Constance Hall Jones, 2013)

[Pages 1 and 2]

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.”
— Edmund Burke

The facts and incidents herein contained were related to me by my parents in my childhood; and repeated to me by them and by my Uncle Edward N. Crews, reduced to writing and verified by them after I became a man. My brother Archibald A. Hicks found and verified the record references. His and my acquaintance with our large family connection enabled us to gather and preserve the incidents and stories. All the family to whom we applied contributed cheerfully whatever information they possessed of the persons and occurrences of which we write.

The records in the office of the Secretary of State at Raleigh show who were the original grantees of the lands of the Colony. Those in Oxford begin in the year 1742, when Granville County was formed.

I have seen the lists of soldiers of the Revolution from Granville County as published in the (Oxford) Public Ledger lately, and was surprised to read so many family names I have never heard; showing how people have departed and others have come and taken their places. The will of my great grandfather, William Hicks, made May 14th, 1796 probated at August Court, 1799 of Granville County, names as his devisees and legatees, in addition to his two sons, my grandfather Abner Hicks, to whom the lands were devised, and William Hicks, Jr., the following daughters: Mary Debrula, Anne Mathews, Martha Tatum, Priscilla Duncan, and Susanna Wilkins. None of these daughters or their descendants were known to my father who was born October 15th, 1828, nor are any of them known to me. This will was attested by Reuben Tally, John Hicks and Samuel Allen, Jr. Who were they?

The Earl of Granville granted to the said William Hicks on March 5th, 1749, two tracts of land aggregating 502 acres, “Situated on the waters” of Tabbs Creek. In those days all lands that composed a part of a watershed of a stream were described as located on said stream. Said lands were retained by William Hicks fifty years and devised as above stated to his son Abner. Abner retained the same fifty-five years and conveyed them to his youngest son, my father, Benjamin Willis Hicks, who thereafter owned and lived on the place for forty-four years, dying December 30th, 1899, leaving same to my mother for life and in remainder to his children. The place is now occupied and owned by my double ex-brother-in-law James T. Cozart and his two children, James T. Cozart, Jr., and Helen Cozart.

[Pages 3- 28 missing in my copy.]
[Pages 29 – 48]

The Crews Family of Salem

There was a Gideon Crews. We have not heard of his antecedents. He married Jemima Wicker. Their children were: Gideon Crews, Jr., Littlebury Crews, James Crews, Elizabeth Crews, wife of Lemuel Currin, Abigail Crews married William Daniel, and Mildred Crews married Hester or Easter and moved to Stokes County.

Gideon Crews, Jr. married Temperance LeMay. Their children were: 1. Franklin Crews, who married first _______ Ellis, sister of John Ellis, who bore him Alex Crews, James B. Crews, _______ wife of Thomas Norwood, William or Buck Crews. She dying, Franklin Crews married Hannah Hunt. Of this marriage were born Robert Crews, Wesley Crews and Eugene T. Crews. Robert and Wesley only died without issue. The other children of Gideon Crews, Jr., were Henry Crews, Patsy Breedlove, Harriet Sears, Lucy, wife of Solomon Cottrell.

Gid, Jr., in those days at times liked a timely dram. Our mother used to tell us that he would come to her father’s in a condition which made him merry and full of fun. The children would surround him when he was thus tipsey and ask him to tell them a story. Then he would tell them the story of the Irishman’s dog, viz.: “One day there was an Irishman in the woods hewing with a broad axe. His dog chased a rabbit. The rabbit came running right by where the man was hewing, and the dog in hot pursuit. The dog passed under the axe just as the man brought it down. It split the dog open from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. The man was distressed at the accident, but being an Irishman and quick witted, he snatched up both halves of the dog and slapped them back together. The operation was so quick and the dogs blood so hot, that the two parts stuck together and grew, and the dog jumped out of his master’s hand and renewed the chase and soon caught the rabbit. But the man in his haste to save the dog had made the mistake to turn two feet up and two feet down, and the dog found that he could run on two feet until they got tired and then whirl over and run on the other two, and so he could catch anything in the woods, and could run forever.”

John Earl married Zebiah Watts. Their children: 1. Martha or Patsy, wife of William Kittrell. 2. Mary, wife of Robert Jones. 3. Sarah or Sally, wife of James Crews. 4. Jack Earl married Fanny Rice and removed to Tennessee. Sims died young.

John Earl’s sister Keziah married George Harris. Their descendants are listed herein. A little story has come down from the days of John Earl and George Harris. John was asked by George Harris on one occasion to send Jacks and Sims, his two sons, to help him to get up and shock his wheat, “All right,” said John and he sent them over early the next morning. They worked hard and finished just at dinner time, thinking the while what a good dinner they would have in Aunt Kizzie’s kitchen. Just then old man George said: “Boys, my wife always cooks to a mouthful and your mother cooks bountifully. Run home and get your dinners.” Their hearts sank within them, but they started home. After a few steps one said: “Uncle George, may we go by the orchard and get some apples?” Uncle George hesitated a moment and replied: “Eat as many as you want, but pocket none.” The boys went to the orchard, ate all the apples they could, took off their trousers, tied knots in their legs and filled them up with apples which they carried home. This story came to me from the Earle side of the house. Perhaps reading it here will be the first any living Harris ever heard of it.

To go back to the family of James Crews: James Crews, son of Gideon the first, born July, 1785, married Sarah, third daughter of John Earl.

The best impression we can obtain from the deeds is that the Gideon Crews, Sr., lands and the John Earl lands adjoined, around and just east, north and northwest of where Salem Church now is, three miles east and northeast of Oxford; and that grandfather James Crews bought them and more, comprising more than a thousand acres, and lived there until his death in 1875. His wife Sarah, was born in 1791, and died in 1863. Their first child, Allen Spencer, was born February 16, 1811, and died in infancy. Their next child was born May 15th, 1813, and was James A. Crews. He was called “Little Jimmie” or “Tar River Jimmie.” He married Martha Hunt, not a sister, but of the same family of which two sons, Joseph and George married his two sisters Martha and Susan. “Little Jimmie”, as he was called, was much of a man. He soon bought a fine farm on the south side of the Tar River near Minor’s mill and lived there until he was nearly 90, rearing the following children: 1. David G. Crews married Flemming, reared a large family and lived to be old. 2. Sarah A. Crews married William Lyon. They had three children: Kate who married James T. Cozart and died young, Ira who married James T. Cozart’s sister. Ira Lyon and wife have several children and are both living. 3. Lorena, who married Rogers, and afterwards R.G. Bobbitt, and is now a widow. She has two sons, Ira Rogers and Glenn Bobbitt. Sara A. Crews Lyon later married Rev. Thomas J. Horner of Henderson. They both lived to be nearly 80. He died first. 4. Robert T. Crews married a daughter of Kizaeh Stark. Robert lived to be old. They had no children. 5. Louisa Crews married William D. Mitchell, of Wake. About 1880 they removed to near Middleburg, in Vance County. Mr. Mitchell died at a good old age, about 1920. His wife still lives. They have the following children: Ed. D. Mitchell, W.G. Mitchell, Bunn Mitchell, Marvin Mitchell, and one who went to California and died leaving children there. 6. Edward H. Crews married Laura, daughter of Rev. Thomas J. Horner. She died. He removed to Rocky Mount, N.C. and there married again many years later. He is dead. No children survive him. 7. Caroline Crews, called “Callie”, married John Smith. They had three children: Lonnie Smith, who long lived and does yet, in Oxford, N.C., Lennie Smith of Oxford, Maude married Mr. Jackson. They all have families. 8. Leroy Crews, married, lives at Thelma, in Halifax, members of his family unknown to me. 9. Flora Crews married Best; lived near Goldsboro, died, children unknown to me. 10. Albert A. Crews, youngest son of James A. and Martha Crews, married Miss Stark, no children. Lives in Oxford. 11. Rebecca Crews. Now living, never married.

James A. Crews was a good man, a Christian. He loved the church and worked much in its ranks. I have never heard anyone speak evil of him. He prospered in business. He farmed on a large scale, and made his boys work. Archibald Hicks tells a good story that Uncle Jimmy told him. One night a youngster of the neighborhood went to Uncle Jimmy’s visiting, and stayed and stayed. Probably he wished to look at, if not say something to the handsome girls of the family. Finally his visit became somewhat annoying by its length and bedtime approaching, Uncle Jimmie said: “well Johnnie, I reckon you had better go on home now; it’s getting late.” Johnnie left. The next time Uncle Jimmie saw Johnnie it was at a neighborhood mill. Uncle Jimmie: “Howdy Johnnie.”  Johnnie: “I wish I had a bengal of powder; I’d blow you to hell in two minutes.”

The second child of James and Sara Earl Crews was Mary E. Crews, born December 2nd, 1815. She married William O. Wright, a brother of John W. Wright and uncle of Mr. George W. Wright. They removed to Tennessee and had children there, who, in 1875, received their share of the estate of James Crews.

Rebecca A. Crews, third child of James and Sarah Earl Crews, born April, 1817. She married James Cheatham. They lived about five miles southeast of Oxford, where their grandson, Hamlin Cheatham now lives. James Cheatham died in 1865, heart broken over the result of the war. His wife Rebecca died in August 1888. Their children and descendants were: 1. William A. Cheatham, who married Asenath F., daughter of Lewis Parham.  Their children were Elizabeth, who married J.H. Goodrich, of Henderson, and died leaving a son Ben and a daughter Lily. Benjamin H. Cheatham, who died of typoid fever at the age of 22, unmarried, about the year 1880. Ernest Lee Cheatham, who died without issue. Adolphus Whitfield Cheatham, an Episcopal minister of Southern Pines or Pinehurst, N.C.

The second child of James and Rebecca Cheatham was Sarah, who married Albert C. Parham, son of Lewis Parham. She died in August 1875, of typhoid fever, leaving seven small children, Alonzo W., Edwin T., Cornelius H., Percy C., who was shot by accident on Thanksgiving Day, 1906, leaving a wife and several children, Mary Tazwell Parham, who married ________ Watson and died young, leaving children, James, who married Miss Hood and has several children, and Frank Earle, who is a lawyer and lives in New York and has been twice married.

The third child of James and Rebecca Cheatham was David Thomas Cheatham. He went through the Civil War with my father. They were each other’s nearest neighbor many years and were ever good friends. He married Annie, daughter of Thomas Reavis, of near Henderson. He owned the Cheatham Mill for a generation until it was thought gold was found near it. Then he sold it and the farm for a good price and bought the Memucan H. Hester farm near Oxford, and lived there until his death at more than eighty in 1915. His wife survived him several years.

The children and descendants of D.T. and Annie Cheatham were: 1. Claudius Cecil Cheatham, a tobacconist of Youngsville, N.C. He married Cora W. Winston, of Youngsville. Their children are: Claude C., Jr., Winston Thomas, Clarence Burton, Robert E. Susan Caroline and Lurline Cheatham, deceased. Claude C. Cheatham died in July, 1921. 2. Fred A. Cheatham, a tobacconist, of Youngsville, N.C., married Maude Freeman. Their children are: Jessamine, Elizabeth, Maude and two who died in infancy. 3. Thomas Flavius Cheatham, tobacconist, Louisburg, N.C., married Bessie Staley. Their children: William Staley Cheatham, Thomas Harvey Cheatham, deceased, and Florence Cheatham, deceased. 4. Robert Hubert Cheatham married Anne Meeder, deceased, left one child, David Thomas Cheatham. 6. James Amis Cheatham married Rosa Lee Parish, Richmond, Virginia; no children. 7. Joseph Gibbs Cheatham, deceased, unmarried. 8. Lucy Catherine Cheatham, deceased. 9. Eva Rebecca Cheatham married William B. Smoot. They have two children, William B. Smoot, Eva Cheatham Smoot. 10. Annie Belle Cheatham married Thomas Crawford. They have three children, Thomas B. Crawford, Jr., James Walker Crawford, and Annie Caroline Crawford. 11. Mattie Roberta Cheatham married Luther S. Farabow. Two children, Lucy Catherine and Pearl Elizabeth. 12. Pearl Elizabeth Cheatham married Sidney R. Abernathy; two children, Birdie Eloise and Lucy Catherine.

The fourth child of James and Rebecca Crews Cheatham was James Theodore Cheatham. He, as his brothers William and D. T., fought through the War of the Confederacy. He was captured with his two nearest neighbors I.C. Bobbittt and Fred Hamme, near the end of the war and kept a long time in Elmira, N.Y., military prison. James Theodore Cheatham acquired his father’s farm, married Elizabeth Hamlin, of Petersburg, Virginia. Her sister had married Augustine Landis, a merchant of Oxford. “Thee” Cheatham and wife reared a large family as follows: 1. Virginius T. Cheatham married Elizabeth Leach. Their children: Leonard, Grace, Virginius, Bessie, Albert, Lucile, Edna, John and Burton. 2. Clifton B. Cheatham married Lala Rainey Kittrell. Their children: Sallie, Charles, Elizabeth, Lucy Crudup, C.B., Jr., Charles Hamline, George Kittrell, William and Mary Cheatham. 3. Sarah C. Cheatham married Percy Parham. He is dead. Their children: James Theodore, Carroll, deceased, Paul Cullum, deceased, Earl, Dorothy. 4. Charles Hamlin Cheatham married Hettie Osborne, who died; later married Lucy Roberts. Children: Bettie Maie, Hamlin, Jr., Graham and Gordon, twins. 5. Rebecca Cheatham married S.W. Ferebee. Their children: Alice, S.W., Jr., Elizabeth, James Theodore, Rebecca, Willoughby, Hamlin, Emmit, Francis, Billy Edward. 6. Mary Louise Cheatham married R.A. Shirley. No children.  7. Olivia Burton Cheatham married J.H.B. Tomlinson. No children. 8. James Theodore Cheatham married Mary Johns. Their children: Mary Johns, dead, James Theodore, Jr., Mary Eccles, Martha Elizabeth. 9. Bessie Gibbons Cheatham married John R. Allen. One child: John R. Allen Jr., 10. Tazzie Cheatham married L.S. Baker. Their children: Shirley, Samuel, and James Cheatham Baker.

Martha M., the fourth child of James and Sarah Earl Crews, was born June, 1820, and married Joseph Penn Hunt. The name Penn appears often in the Hunt family. The most reliable information on its origin here is: John Hunt came to Granville from Virginia. His son John Hunt married Francis Penn, a sister of the signer of the immortal Declaration of Independence. A son of John and Frances Penn Hunt married Sarah Longmire. Joseph Penn Hunt was one of their sons. He married Martha Crews. David, a brother of John Penn Hunt, had two daughters, Martha, who married Little Jimmie Crews, and Charity, who married Reavis and lived near Henderson.

The children of Joseph Penn Hunt and Martha Crews Hunt were: 1. Sally, wife of James B. Crews, who had several children: Cora Ellis, Mrs. N.W. Hicks, C.F. Crews, Fred Crews. 2. James, who died in the Confederate Army. 3. Susan, wife of John H. Breedlove. Their children: Laurie G., who married Rebecca Rice. They have two children, Mildred and Evelyn; Joseph Penn Breedlove married first Bessie Bassett, and second, Lucile Aiken, and had two children, Joseph and Caroline. He has long been librarian of Duke University. Ethyl Breedlove unmarried. 4. Celestia Hunt married I.H. Breedlove. Their children: Oscar Breedlove married Sadie Harris, Calvin Breedlove, who married Lena Patterson. Their children: Joseph, Roy, Neely. Clarence Breedlove married Maggie Baily. Eula Breedlove who married Robert Hart. He died. Their children: Frank, Robert, Alley, Cooper, Mabel, Selma, James. Ada Breedlove, unmarried. May Breedlove married Samuel Holman. Alene Breedlove married Carl Hester. Their children: Josephine, Carl T., Marion and Dorothy Hester.

  1. The fifth child of Joseph P. and Martha Crews Hunt was John L. Hunt. He was a merchant at Kittrell; married Cora Rainey. Three children were born to them: John Leigh, Cora and Rosa Beverly Hunt. Cora Rainy Hunt died and John L. Hunt married her sister Rosa Raney. John L. Hunt soon died. 6. Ira T. Hunt, son of Joseph P. and Martha Hunt, was a partner of John L. Hunt and married his widow, Rosa Hunt. They had one child, Thomas. 7. Ella was the seventh child of Joseph P. and Martha Hunt. She married Dr. Fuller, of Person County. Their children: Elbert Earl, Cora Lee, Carrie and Willie and W. Fuller. 8. David N. Hunt, the eighth child of Joseph P. and Martha Hunt, married his first cousin Adelaide Hester. They live in Oxford, N.C. He is a great lover of the services of the sanctuary and was a R.F.D carrier on route five from Oxford for about 25 years. Their children: Joseph Penn, William Gibbs, Raymond, Otis Kilgo, Earl F. and Lula Hunt. Joseph P. Hunt’s principal business was farming, but he was an expert carpenter and assisted in building the State Capital at Raleigh. He and his wife lived to be old, dying in 1880 and 1881.
  2. The fifth child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was Elijah Thomas Crews. He married Mary, daughter of Asa Parham, when she was less than fifteen years of age. He died at 55 in the spring of 1881. She lived to be 83. They had many children: 1. Haden W. Crews, who married Elizabeth, daughter of John B. Hicks, and he and his brother Norfleet Crews made more clear money farming than any farmers I know. He died in March, 1924, age 76, leaving one child, Dr. N. H. Crews of High Point, N.C. 2. Herbert E. Crews, who married first Laura Fullerton, who bore him several children. 2. Miss Weaver Wester, no issue. 3. Miss Howell, no issue. 3. Miss Delia A. Crews, unmarried. 4. Rufus T. Crews, who died in 1899, unmarried. He was a graduate of Trinity College under Dr. Craven’s Regime. 5. Mary Crews, called Mollie, who died in her youth, unmarried. 6. Norfleet G. Crews, who was adopted by his uncle Edward N. Crews, married first, Victoria Burroughs, daughter of J.E. Burroughs. She dying, he married Charlotte Marrow, daughter of Drewry Marrow. They had nine children. Norfleet died in 1919. He was sole devisee of his uncle Edward N. Crews and his wife and added largely to the same by thrift and diligence. The children of Norfleet and Charlotte are: Eloise, widow of T.L. Fishel. 2. Edward N. Crews. 3. N. G. Crews. 4. Samuel B. Crews. 5. Mary Delia Crews. 6. Martha Eugenia Crews. 7. Daniel M. Crews. 8. Lottie M. Crews. 9. R.T. Crews. Samuel F. Crews, seventh child of E.T. and Mary Crews, married Elizabeth Burroughs. Children: Fletcher, Elizabeth, wife of Julian Glover, Harold, Dorothy and Geraldine Marguerite.
  3. The sixth child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was Edward N. Crews, born September 19th, 1824. He married Martha, daughter of Asa Parham, and lived a mile west from Dabney and three quarters of a mile northeast from his father. He bought one of the poorest farms in the country and improved it until it became one of the best. Edward N. Crews was a “hustler”, an enthusiast. He specialized in being a good farmer, a good Democrat, a good churchman, and a good liver. If one went to his house to get something good to eat, “he didn’t miss it.” If he depended on him for a church or a party contribution, he was not disappointed. He was almost sure to attend church or party conventions and notable occasions. Though my father’s man Bill was overpersuaded by his wife to go to E.T. Crewses at once after Lee’s surrender he went to Uncle Ed’s next year and stayed about 25 years. Bill’s son lives there now. E.N. Crews was one of the first of his section to start the making of flue-cured tobacco and one of the first to introduce Jersey cattle. He went to Raleigh when the best fresh about Oxford and Henderson sold for $20.00 and paid $100.00 for a Jersey heifer. When she began to give milk she was the talk of the neighborhood. Uncle Ed invited his Brother Jeems” to come down. That night at the table Uncle Ed said: “Brother Jeems, how do you like that milk?” Uncle Jimmie: “Very good, but I think I’ve drank as good at home many a time. “Uncle Ed was somewhat set back, and next morning at breakfast he had Aunt Martha provide a glass of pure Jersey cream for Brother Jeems. As the breakfast proceeded, Uncle Ed: “Brother Jeems, how do you like that milk?” Little Jimmie: “Very well, but I think I’ve seen it as rich at my house many a time.” Uncle Ed: “It ain’t so! It ain’t so! It’s every bit pure cream!” and then he laughed at having caught “Brother Jeems”. This joke is all the better to those who remember the immense voice of Uncle Ed and the zest with which he talked and laughed. Uncle Ed enjoyed the companionship of his friends. He was well known in Vance and Granville, and many good stories were told of him, by him and some at his expense. He acquired a thousand acres of land, more than thirty-thousand dollars in money and never lost any. His estate he left to his wife with the understanding that she should leave it to their dearly beloved adopted son and nephew, Norfleet G. Crews. This Aunt Martha did soon after. They both died in the fall and winter of 1899. Norfleet more than doubled the estate in value in the following twenty years, dying in middle life in the year 1919. Edward N. Crews was a man of strong prejudices and an emotional nature, but he had the respect of all and was beyond question a fine and notable man.
  4. The seventh child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was Isabella Jane Crews, born August 24th, 1829, married Benjamin W., youngest son of Abner and Elizabeth Harris Hicks, and died September 4th, 1913. Her descendants under name of my father. She was on good terms with all her neighbors. Nobody ever heard anything she told or repeated to the discredit of others. She never crossed or quarreled with my father. I never heard of her asking him for money or having a pocketbook. He did the buying and paying of bills. She was entirely loyal to the Crewses, yet she was on the best terms with all of the Hickses. In the establishment and maintenance of a home and rearing a family she did her part nobly and well. She survived my father nearly 14 years. Her body is lying by the side of his. If any one ever had better parents than the children of my parents he was indeed fortunate.
  5. Susan, eighth child of James and Sarah Crews, born January 7th, 1832, married George W. Hunt, brother of Joseph Penn Hunt. She outlived her parents and all her brothers and sisters, dying in April 1918, aged 86. Her husband was a substantial citizen and was executor of the will of his good friend and neighbor Col. Richard P. Taylor, who died in 1870. George W. Hunt died in the prime of his life in 1876, leaving a large family. His widow survived him 42 years. Their youngest son, Edward A. Hunt, still owns the family home and keeps alive the best traditions of the family.

The children of George W. and Susan Hunt were: 1. Emma, married Joseph B. Parham. They owned and lived at the place from which Robert T. Taylor sold a hundred slaves at one time to Judge Rux of Mississippi. Children of Joseph and Emma: Hattie, who married Thomas V. Rowland and later J.K. Plummer, Thad B. died leaving several children, Mamie, who never married, Cary, who has several children, Mattie married Hobgood. They have several children. Blanche Parham married Junius M. Rowland. [Children:] George W. Parham and Elvin Parham. 2. Walter L. Hunt, second child of George W. and Susan, married Jane Haliburton, of Durham. They moved to Asheville. Both died leaving several children, all deceased. 3. Lelia Hunt married Junius W. Young and died without issue. 4. Junius Penn Hunt married Julia Russell of Virginia. Their children: Florence, Lillian, Helen, wife of Theodore Parham, Dorothy, wife of E.S. Merritt, George Penn, and Elizabeth. Junius Penn Hunt has long been one of the most intelligent men of Granville, a lover of his church, a good citizen. His daughter Lillian lives in the Adirondacks. Dorothy and husband are in the Philippine Islands. George Penn Hunt, a graduate of the State University, is employed in commerce in China. 5. Sarah Hunt, unmarried, lived for some time in Cuba. 6. Florence Hunt married Edwin G. Barnes. They died leaving a daughter, Lottie, wife of Rev. R.J. Parker. She has been a foreign missionary and has lived on the Mexican border. They now live in Memphis and have several children. 7. Carrie Hunt married Charles F. Crews. He died of typhoid fever while Clerk of the Superior Court of Granville County. They have one son Roy, and four daughters. 8. Susan (C.) married Joseph H. Gooch. She died, leaving one child, Janie, who graduated from college in 1926. 9. Edward A. Hunt married Elizabeth Moyer, who died leaving two sons. Edward A Hunt later married Lennie Ward, of Greensboro.

Susan C. Hunt possessed all the striking characteristics of the Crews family. From childhood until death she was a devoted member of Salem Church. She loved her family, and they were drawn to her by the tenderest affection. Hers was a long life of peace and reasonable happiness. Her memory is blessed.

  1. The ninth and last child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was Melissa F. Crews, born January 3rd, 1835, married Rev. William S. Hester, and died in his arms while alighting from the train at Huntsboro, near Salem Church, November 1897. There were born of this marriage: 1. Nora, who married Rufus J. Aiken. This couple had many children, now living. Both parents are dead. 2. Adelaide, who married her first cousin David. N. Hunt in December, 1883. 3. Lula, who married Rev. J.M. Rhodes. No children. The other children of Rev. W.S. and Melissa F. Crews Hester were: Benjamin Otis Hester, who lives in Texas, and Marvin, a Methodist Episcopal minister. I do not know their descendants. Mrs. Melissa Hester was a merry, happy, laughing woman, a lover of the church and everybody. She was largely influential in inducing her father to buy the organ at Salem Church, and she was for a generation its organist and the church’s principal chorister. She was a whole-souled enthusiast in religious and domestic life. She came from the Methodist Episcopal Annual Conference at Raleigh with her husband. I talked with her on the train from Youngsville to Henderson. An hour later, at Huntsboro, her spirit left the scenes and friends she loved so well for the life eternal.

James Crews, the father and head of his large and honorable family, lived to be 90 years of age, dying in September, 1875. I have heard my mother say he started life in a house with a dirt floor. Grandpa Crews could read the Bible a little and write his name, but he had no education in books. In his long life he became a very well informed man. No one ever thought him conceited or proud, but he enjoyed the prosperity he wrenched from nature. A few acres at a time, he acquired more than a thousand acres. At the time of the Civil War he owned more than fifty slaves. I never heard of his mistreating or abusing one. He was born poor and lived to be rich, but he never spent a quarter without first considering whether what he would get would be worth a quarter. A photo taken some years before his death shows him holding in one hand, barely perceptible, a quid which he intended to chew some more. My mother showed it to me. A good story of his thrift and enthusiasm for work is remembered in the family. The first day of the year he waked Tom and Ed and two of his stoutest slaves, before day, telling them to go over to the “new ground” and cut down that largest oak tree by sunrise and wake up the neighborhood, and start the year right. I can see him standing on the porch as the day dawned listening to the ring of the axes of those stout fellows through the frosty air; and what a thrill he felt as he imagined it would wake up Abner Hickses crowd to the east, Bob Taylor’s to the South and Sam Moss and Cooper’s quarter to the north. Soon the tree fell and such a noise it made! But the four men who felled it just as the sun was rising set up yells that could be heard as far as the fall of the tree. They then went home to breakfast, expecting to receive the congratulations and smiles of a father and master; but he was “mad as a hornet.” “What in the world did you holler for? They will think you were coon hunting or were bragging on what you had done.” His grandson, Hayden Crews told me of selling a fine horse to a prominent citizen, who became dissatisfied and sent for Hayden to come and trade back. Hayden went by Grandpa’s, told him all the treaty and trade and asked him for advice. Grandpa: “Tell him you don’t make children’s bargains.” At his funeral Rev. Lewis K. Willie told of his last words. He had been given some medicine in which some of the sugar, not having dissolved, lodged on his tongue. He wiped it off with his finger and said to a child standing by: “Did you ever see anybody spit out sugar before?” Then he died. Thousands of times since have his children and grandchildren and neighbors thought and talked pleasantly of the things he did and of the long and successful life he lived.

THE RESIDENCES OF OUR TWO GRANDFATHERS

Think of the number of dwellings in Durham and Granville and Vance costing ten thousand dollars or more! My father used to say it wasn’t worth while to build much of a house for the little time we had here, and that “the Father of the Faithful” thought a tent sufficient. As I recollect them, the dwellings in which my two grandfathers, Abner Hicks and James Crews, lived and reared their large familes were much alike. Bouth fronted the southeast. The westerly end of each, a story and a jump, with a second shed room in the rear was built first. As more room was needed for the growing family, lower and upper rooms were added on the northeast ends connected with the attic and shed room in the rear. Then a long porch was built all across the front of the Crews house, but only in front of the old part of the Hicks house. Neither one was ever painted. In my opinion, at prices prevailing from about 1800 until just before the world war, either one of those houses could have been built for about $600.00. There was a current opinion in that day that painted houses were taxed much higher than those unpainted. One wonders if that had anything to do with the unpainted condition of these two ancestral homes. The girls and their guests, if any, were packed away in the shed rooms downstairs, the boys in the attics. One of the big rooms was the parlor and the other the living room occupied by all the old folks. The windows! They were so little! I doubt if they were ever raised. And the doors were seldom closed in the daytime. And such fireplaces! Wood about five or six feet long could be burned in them. In those days people stayed in the house but little in the day. I’ve heard my mother say that many a time on Monday mornings her mother would poke her head in the shed room, quote an old saying: “Get up girls! Get up! Here it is Monday morning, tomorrow Tuesday and next day Wednesday! Half the week gone and nothing done!” My mother said when grandfather saw one of them reading a novel and was told what it was he would say, “A made tale.”

These old houses stood and served large families for near a hundred years. My father pulled his down in 1868 and moved into the oak woods where the soil is gray and the shade is good. He used the shingled on the old house to cover the stables and the outhouses at the new place. They were drawn shingles, of heart pine, put on with wrought nails, the exposed parts worn half in two. We just turned them over and they were better than any we could get, but in about forty years they were worn so on the other side that they had to be discarded. There was a great big cellar under the whole of the Crews house, entered by a door and stone steps from the north end. In that cellar the family eating was done. They had to go there and carry the dishes and food there via out of doors, three times a day. The kitchen was at least 50 yards away. At Grandpa Hicks’s they ate in the west room, which was indeed a roomy room, larger, I suppose, than any two house rooms in Henderson. All the water used at both places for nearly a hundred years, was brought about 250 yards from the springs. Just before the war wells were digged. My brother Archibald said he was at Grandpa Crews’s one morning preparing to wash his face. He put about two small gourds of water in the pan, when Grandpa said: “Boy, you’ve got enough water there to wash a shirt.” Grandfather Abner died in December, 1857, when I was two months old. Grandfather Crews was 72 when I was born and 90 when he died. His speech was all kindly and gentle, but I cannot remember that I ever saw him smile.

THREE DAUGHTERS OF JOHN EARL

Sarah Earl, as we have said, married James Crews. Mary Earl married Robert Jones. Patsie Earl married William Kittrell.

Mary and Patsie have 272 descendants, viz: Children of Mary and Robert Jones: 1. Jane Jones married Robert Gill. 2. Sally Jones married Peter Gill. Children of Jane Jones and Robert Gill: 1. Dr. Robert J. Gill married Annie Fuller. 2. William P. Gill married killed at Battle of Malvern Hill. 3. Emily Gill married E.A. Fuller. Children of Dr. Robert J. Gill: 1. William Francis Gill, professor Trinity College, died. 2. Celestia Gill married I.J. Young, Children of Celestia Gill and I.J. Young: 1. I.J. Young, Jr. 2. Robert G Young. 3. Rebecca Jane Young. 4. Annie Fuller Young. Children of Emily Gill Fuller: Emily Fuller married J.C. Thompson. Their children: 1. Ralph Fuller Thompson married Lois Coghill; children, Jane and Fuller Thompson. 2. Alpheus Thompson married Lucy Hays; no children. 3. Lucy Thompson and Helen Thompson 5. Robert and Jones Thompson.

Children of Sally and Peter Gill: 1. John Gill died of typhoid fever. 2. Ben L. Gill died in army. 3. Pattie Gill married Sam Brummitt. 4. Mary Gill married John H. Rowland. 5. Parmelia J. Gill married D.S. Allen. 6. Robert Frank Gill married Debnam Allen. 7. Joseph Thomas Gill married Bettie Price. 8. David H. Gill married Pattie Hight. 9. James A. Gill married Evelyn O. Allen.

  1. Children of Pattie Gill and Sam Brummitt: 1. Sa Peter Brummitt married. 2. Rosa Gill. 3. Nettied Ellington. 4. Meta Earl Brummitt married Ed. W. Harris. 5. Pettie Brummitt married Ernest L. Fuller. Children of Sam and Peter Brummitt’s first wife: 1. James Russell Brummitt married Blanche Eakes; one child Margaret. 2. Garland married Isabel Ward. 3. S. Brooks Brummitt married Beth Fuller; two children Rosalie and Wallace. 4. Harold Brummitt.
  2. Children of Meta Earl Brummitt and Ed.W. Harris: 1. Talton Harris married Ethel Barbera Neef. 2. Norwood Harris married Mabel Richardson. Their children: Barbera Harris and N.W. Harris, Jr. 3. Cedric Harris killed in World War. 4. Claxton Harris. 5. Frank Harris. 6. Elizabeth Groves Harris.
  3. Children of Pattie Brummitt and Ernest L. Fuller: 1. Thelbert Fuller married Lizzie Hays; one child, Thelbert, Jr. 2. Fletcher B. Fuller married Nora Eaves; one child, Fletcher B., Jr. 3. Clifton Fuller. 4. Edgar Fuller. 5. Lula Fuller. 6. Charlie Fuller. 7. Minnie Fuller. 8. Sam Fuller. 9. Jack Fuller.
  4. Children of Mary Gill and John H. Rowland: 1. Plummer G. Rowland. 2. Hubert L. Rowland. 3. Della married R.K. Young. 4 John L. Rowland married Belle Fuller. 5. Dr. D.S. Rowland married Fanny Fuller; one child, Austin; then married Lily Strange. 6. Emma Rowland married A.K. Rogers. 7. Peter L. Rowland married Hester Kennedy. Plummer G. Rowland never married.

Children of Della Rowland and R.K. Young: 1. Addie Young. 2. Carl Young married Pearl Johnson. Children: Alice, Vesper, Samuel J., and Wesley. 3. Ethel married John Woodlief. Children: Leona, Christine, Viola, Ashby. 4. Clara Young married U.B. Alexander. Children: Waldo, Vernon D., and Vivian.

Children of Hubert Rowland and Geneva Hight, his wife: 1. Joe Rowland married Clara Smith: one child Joe, Jr. 2. Emma Rowland married Lewis W. Huff; one child Myra. 3. Neva Rowland married Festus Fuller; one child Jane. 4. Nannie Rowland married James Ellington. Children: Annie, Margaret, Madeline, Edwin, Kimball, Rowland. 5. Wilber A. Rowland married Nina Bradwell: one child Alba. 6. John P. Rowland married Bessie Harris. Children: Rudolph, Dwight, Elizabeth, Mary, Paul. 7. Pearl Rowland married Allen Harris. Two children: Bella A. and Herbert H. 8. Fannie Rowland, single.

Children of John L. Rowland and Belle Fuller: 1. Roy A. Rowland married Maude Andrews. Children: Phillip, Leroy, Radford. 2. H. Benton Rowland married Roth Conyers. Children: Frances, Louise, and H.B. Jr.

Children of Peter Rowland and Hester Kennedy: Haywood. Bessie, Della and George.

Children of David S. Rowland and Fannie Fuller: Austin Rowland, dead. Lily Strange bore no children.

Children of Emma Rowland and A.K. Rogers: 1. Lowell Rogers. 2. John Willis Rogers. 3. Mary Rogers. 4. Maurice Rogers. 5. Alice Rogers married Rudolph Montgomery and had one child Emma Gray.

Children of Parmelia Gill and D.S. Allen: 1. Olive Allen, dead. 2. Nettie Allen married A.B. Deans. 3. James Bayard Allen married Minnie Kimball. Children: Susan and Francis. 4. Jessie Allen married Rufus M. Person, dead. Children: Alice married E,C. Sparrow, James A Person, Allen Person, R.M. Person, Jr. 5. Dr. Ben G. Allen married Nieta W. Watson. Their children: Virginia, Mary Jane, Nieta, and Ben G., Jr.

Children of Robert Frank Gill and Debnam Allen: 1. Thomas C. Gill married Charlotte Cline. Children: Ruth, Sarah, Thomas Cline Gill. 2. Lois Gill married Henry T. Mitchell. Children: Frank, Donald, Roger, Myrtle, Sallie, Evelyn.

Children of Joseph Thomas Gill and Bettie Price: 1. Lula Gill married K.W. Edwards. Their children: R. Reynolds Edwards married Ella Jefferson. 2. Pauline Edwards. 3. Annie Belle Edwards married A.L. Hobgood; one child A.L. Hobgood, Jr. 4. Sallie Gill Edwards married Lem Wilson. Their children: Ruth Elsie and Thomas Gill Wilson. 5. Janie Gill Edwards married Thomas J. Sykes. Child: Thomas Gill Sykes, Jr. 6. Frank Gill married Donnie Hux. Children: James Thomas Gill, Jr., Gladys, Leon and Russell

Children of David H. Gill and Pattie Hight: 1. Sally died of typhoid fever. 2. Peter H. Gill married Pattie Baker. Two children: John David and Julia. 3. Pattie Baker Gill, died. Peter H. Gill married Willie Montgomery. Their children: Harold A. and Elizabeth Gill. 3. Pattie Gill married Ed. Stone and bore children, Thelma and Julian. 4. Mabel Gill married Harrison B. Williams. Their children: Crayton, Veritas, Hal. B. Jr., and Marshal. 5. Janie Gill married Robert Edwards. Their children: Margaret, Annie, Elsie and Ida. 6. Josie Gill married Sam F. Coghill. Their children: Pattie, Morris, Clarence, Peter, Mabel, Conrad, Dalton. He married Edith Edwards.

Children of James A. Gill and Evelyn O. Allen: 1. Mary Jones Gill, dead. 2. Rosa Gill married S.B. Brummitt. Their children given under his name. 3. John Earl Gill married Mattie Taylor. Their children: Clare, Evelyn, Edward and Earl. 4. Carrie Gill married John Broughton. Their child: Elizabeth. 5. Clarence Lee Gill married __________ Edwards. Their children: James, Allen, Alma, Ora, William.

Children of Patsy Earl and William Kittrell:

  1. John W. Kittrell married Mary Fuller. Their children: 1. Annie married E.O. Perdue. 2. Florence married Hugh M. Hight. Their children: Paul, Marion, Harry, Mary H. and Geneva. Mary H. Hight married Ira Finch. Their children: Reese, Rachel, Alex. Geneva Hight married Melvin S. Fowler and had one child: Sterling. 3. R.L. Kittrell married Fanny Parham. Children: Annie married Bennie Rowland. Their children: Annie, Robert, and Macy. Mary Kittrell married Henry J. Parks. Their children: James and Reynold. Willie A. Kittrell married Ethel Hayes. Their children: Elizabeth and W.A. Kittrell, Jr., Alice Kittrell. Egbert Kittrell married Agnes Woodlief. Their children: James and Asa. Charlie Kittrell. 4. John J. Kittrell married Lizzie Edwards. Their children: Lois, Clyde and Alene. 5. Jessie Kittrell married Lena Duke. Their child: Jessie Bell. Willie Kittrell married Ada Perdue. Their children: Florrie married Clarence E. Page. Children: Clarence and Ada. Mary Kittrell.
  2. Tabita Kittrell, daughter of Patsy and William, married Buck White. Their children: Eugene and Hugh White and Rebecca, who married _______ White and removed to Tennessee. Names of their children I do not know.

III. Mary Kittrell married John Wesley Young. Their children: (a) Junius W. Young, who married twice; _______ Hunt, one child E.O. Young, and Lelia Hunt, no child. (b) Rufus K. Young married Della Rowland, see under her name. (c)Olivia and Ophelia Young, twins, no issue. (d) O.O. Young married Nannie Powell. Children: Thomas, Henry, Mary, Alley Ball, and Eleanor Young.

  1. Martha Kittrell married Willis Rogers. No issue.
  2. Maria Kittrell married Willis Rogers. Their children: Ella married George Davis, Pattie, A.K. (see under Mary Rowland), Cecil, June, Samuel E., children not known. Roberta married James P. Satterwhite. Children: Samuel J. Satterwhite married Madeline Warren, Fletcher, John W., Clyde E., Louise married Will Reavis, Dora married Frank Rose. Their children: Clarice Rose, Frank Rose married Mary Turner, James L. Rose and George W. Rose.
  3. Jennie Kittrell unmarried.

Nearly all the above descendes of Patsy and Mary Earl live and have lived in the Kittrell Twonship, Vance County. For fifty years or more Dr. Robert Gill, an active physician and farmer, has been their guide, physician and friend, to whom they have looked.

Now, for some years, Dr. Benjamin G. Allen has been and is acting in the same capacity. David H. Gill did much to educate and obtain homes for this large family connection.

James A. Gill and D.S. Allen were also men of force and activity.

Just think! When William, Thomas, and Robert Hicks, George Harris, John Earl and Gideon Crews came and settled those places at or before the year 1750, not a brick nor a nail nor a piece of wood had been assembled to build any house in Oxford or Raleigh. It was about 100 years thereafter before anything was done toward building Henderson or Durham. Hillsboro had been started and a road ran through this country from Petersburg to it and from Edenton and Newbern and Halifax to Hillsboro and on to Salisbury. Not a railroad was in North Carolina until the Raleigh and Gaston was built, reaching in 1837, the place “a mile west of Chalk Level” where Henderson now is. I have never heard when either of the country roads from Henderson to Oxford was built, but suppose they were built after 1811 when Oxford was chartered. Williamsboro and that old church were there, the center of Granville’s eighteenth century culture. Williamsboro had fine schools from 1800 to 1850. Some Eatons and Somervilles and Hawkinses and Hendersons began to come about 1750. How people traveled in those days with such roads as they had, we cannot understand. Mostly on horseback, we suppose. Nothing remains to inform us what connection William Hicks and brothers, or George Harris or Gideon Crews or John Earl had with the outside world for fifty years after they settled upon the headwaters of Tabbs and Harrisburg and Flat Creeks. Mr. L. G. Breedlove, a great grandson of John Hunt and James Crews, is of the opinion that John Earl met Zebiah Watts when she landed from the ship and married her and brought her to this section. Another account is that John Harris, the father of George Harris, married Elizabeth, the sister of Isaac Watts, and that their children were George Harris and the first wife of William Hicks and the wife of Valentine Mayfield. I cannot decide which story is true. The reference books say Isaac Watts was born in 1674 and died in 1748. It is, therefore, more likely, that the fiancés  of John Earl and John Harris were Isaac’s nieces. If our kinship to him cannot be proven, we can look for the resemblances in his and our mental and spiritual attitudes, by reading his fifty odd hymns still sung in our own churches. His last 37 years were spent in the home of Thomas Abney, a London Alderman. How could they so…

“Mingle and mix, piety and politics?”

[Excluded one paragraph of extraneous content about unsubstantiated connections to the 14th century Hickses of England.]

These lands, when taken up from John of Carteret, alias Lord Granville, cost our ancestors less than a dollar an acre. In reconstruction days, 1868-70, I heard my father talking about his taxes. He said they were $15.00 that year and was complaining of how they had gone up. Just think of the tax on about 500 acres of land and the ordinary personality being $15.00. My brother Hewitt told me last fall that his school tax alone for 1925 on 120 acres, within a mile of White Oak Villa, and no better land or improvements, was $95.00.

I have my father’s store account from June, 1873, to July, 1874: Amount $174.00. Kerosene was 50c per gallon, nails 10c per pound, Rio coffee 40c, cotton cloth 12 1/2c, with a credit of two bales of cotton and 14 1/2 c per pound. I also have a receipt for the price of a coffin in which the body of my grandfather Abner Hicks was buried: “The estate of Abner Hicks, deceased, to Elba L. Parrish, Dr., December 28th, 1857. To making one raised top coffin, $5.50. Received the above amount in full of Samuel S. Hicks. Elba L. Parrish.”

Let us now look from the past to the future.

May this pamphlet serve to introduce those of the Hickses and Crewses and Harrises and Earls and their descendants who do not know each other. Let us claim kin and be kin, and be such good and true and friendly men and women as will bring honor to our family name and fit us to associate with our worthy ancestors and all the good when we meet them hereafter.

  • Henderson, N.C., August 27th, 1926

[Excluded Appendix. Further information on the unsubstantiated Hicks connections to England, some information on the Hicks original connections to Plymouth, etc.

Excluded “Changes in the Mode of Living”, which was a moderately lengthy section that is essentially out of date, and Mr. Thurston Titus Hicks descriptions of “Modern” conveniences would strike most of today as almost “camping”.

Pages 50 and further are missing in my copy.]

———————————————————————————————————

[The following is a revised and edited version of “Scketches”, for easier reading.]

Sketches of William Hicks, Abner Hicks, Jasper Hicks, George Harris, James Crews, John Earl

And Something of Their Descendants, With comparisons of present conditions of living with those of sixty years ago.

By Thurston Titus Hicks

Privately printed, Henderson, North Carolina, September, 1926
(A revised and updated edition was printed in 1954.)

[Pages 1 and 2]

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.”
— Edmund Burke

The facts and incidents herein contained were related to me by my parents [Isabella Jane Crews and  Benjamin Willis Hicks] in my childhood; and repeated to me by them and by my Uncle Edward N. Crews, reduced to writing and verified by them after I became a man. My brother Archibald A. Hicks found and verified the record references. His and my acquaintance with our large family connection enabled us to gather and preserve the incidents and stories. All the family to whom we applied contributed cheerfully whatever information they possessed of the persons and occurrences of which we write.

The records in the office of the Secretary of State at Raleigh show who were the original grantees of the lands of the Colony. Those in Oxford begin in the year 1742, when Granville County was formed.

I have seen the lists of soldiers of the Revolution from Granville County as published in the (Oxford) Public Ledger lately, and was surprised to read so many family names I have never heard; showing how people have departed and others have come and taken their places. The will of my great grandfather, William Hicks, made May 14th, 1796 probated at August Court, 1799 of Granville County, names as his devisees and legatees, in addition to his two sons, my grandfather Abner Hicks, to whom the lands were devised, and William Hicks, Jr., the following daughters: Mary Debrula, Anne Mathews, Martha Tatum, Priscilla Duncan, and Susanna Wilkins. None of these daughters or their descendants were known to my father who was born October 15th, 1828, nor are any of them known to me. This will was attested by Reuben Tally, John Hicks and Samuel Allen, Jr. Who were they?

The Earl of Granville granted to the said William Hicks on March 5th, 1749, two tracts of land aggregating 502 acres, “Situated on the waters” of Tabbs Creek. In those days all lands that composed a part of a watershed of a stream were described as located on said stream. Said lands were retained by William Hicks fifty years and devised as above stated to his son Abner. Abner retained the same fifty-five years and conveyed them to his youngest son, my father, Benjamin Willis Hicks, who thereafter owned and lived on the place for forty-four years, dying December 30th, 1899, leaving same to my mother for life and in remainder to his children. The place is now occupied and owned by my double ex-brother-in-law James T. Cozart and his two children, James T. Cozart, Jr., and Helen Cozart.

[Pages 3- 28 missing in my copy.]
[Pages 29 – 48]

The Crews Family of Salem

There was a Gideon Crews. We have not heard of his antecedents.

[For antecedents of Gideon Crews, Sr., see The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 1750-1930, Vol VI, Henrico Monthly Meeting, by William Wade Hinshaw, page 164, which shows Joseph Crew, b. 1704 in Charles City, VA (son of John Crew and Sarah Gatley) – married (on June 12, 1725 – Massey Johnson, b. Feb 5, 1703 in Hanover, VA (daughter of John Johnson and Lucretia Massey).]

  1. Gideon Crews, Sr. married Jemima Wicker. Their children were:
    1. Gideon Crews, Jr.
    2. Littlebury Crews
    3. James Crews
    4. Elizabeth Crews (married) Lemuel Currin
    5. Abigail Crews (married) William Daniel
    6. Mildred Crews (married) ________ Hester or Easter. They moved to Stokes County.
  2. Gideon Crews, Jr. married Temperance LeMay. Their children were:
    A. Franklin Crews (married first) _______ Ellis, sister of John Ellis. They had the following children:
    1. Alex Crews
    2. James B. Crews
    3.   _______  Crews (married) Thomas Norwood
    4. William (“Buck”) Crews.
  3. Franklin Crews (married next) Hannah Hunt. Their children were:
    1. Robert Crews (died without issue.)
    2. Wesley Crews (died without issue.)
    3. Eugene T. Crews

    B. Henry Crews
    C. Patsy Crews (married) Manson Breedlove
    D. Harriet Crews (married) John Sears
    E. Lucy Crews (married) Solomon Cottrell

Gid, Jr., in those days at times liked a timely dram. Our mother used to tell us that he would come to her father’s in a condition which made him merry and full of fun. The children would surround him when he was thus tipsy and ask him to tell them a story. Then he would tell them the story of the Irishman’s dog, viz.: “One day there was an Irishman in the woods hewing with a broad axe. His dog chased a rabbit. The rabbit came running right by where the man was hewing, and the dog in hot pursuit. The dog passed under the axe just as the man brought it down. It split the dog open from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. The man was distressed at the accident, but being an Irishman and quick witted, he snatched up both halves of the dog and slapped them back together. The operation was so quick and the dogs blood so hot, that the two parts stuck together and grew, and the dog jumped out of his master’s hand and renewed the chase and soon caught the rabbit. But the man in his haste to save the dog had made the mistake to turn two feet up and two feet down, and the dog found that he could run on two feet until they got tired and then whirl over and run on the other two, and so he could catch anything in the woods, and could run forever.”

—-

II. John Earl (married)  Zebiah Watts. Their children were:
1. Martha Earl (“Patsy”?) (married) William Kittrell
2. Mary Earl (married) Robert Jones
3. Sarah Earl (“Sally”?) (married) James Crews [3rd son of Gideon Crews, Sr. described above.]
4. Jack Earl married Fanny Rice and removed to Tennessee.
5. Sims died young, with no issue.

  1. John Earl’s sister Keziah Earl married George Harris. Their descendants are listed herein.

A little story has come down from the days of John Earl and George Harris. John was asked by George Harris on one occasion to send Jack and Sims, his two sons, to help him to get up and shock his wheat, “All right,” said John and he sent them over early the next morning. They worked hard and finished just at dinner time [lunch time], thinking the while what a good dinner [lunch]they would have in Aunt Kizzie’s kitchen. Just then old man George said: “Boys, my wife always cooks to a mouthful and your mother cooks bountifully. Run home and get your dinners.” Their hearts sank within them, but they started home. After a few steps one said: “Uncle George, may we go by the orchard and get some apples?” Uncle George hesitated a moment and replied: “Eat as many as you want, but pocket none.” The boys went to the orchard, ate all the apples they could, took off their trousers, tied knots in their legs and filled them up with apples which they carried home. This story came to me from the Earle side of the house. Perhaps reading it here will be the first any living Harris ever heard of it.

To go back to the family of James Crews: James Crews, son of Gideon the first, born July, 1785, married Sarah Earl, third daughter of John Earl.

The best impression we can obtain from the deeds is that the Gideon Crews, Sr., lands and the John Earl lands adjoined, around and just east, north and northwest of where Salem Church now is, three miles east and northeast of Oxford; and that grandfather James Crews bought them and more, comprising more than a thousand acres, and lived there until his death in 1875.

  1. James Crews, b. July 20, 1785 – d. Sept. 28, 1875 (married) Sarah Earl, b. May 4, 1791 – d. March 3, 1863. Their children are:,
    A. Allen Spencer, b. Feb. 16, 1811 – d. 1811. and was
    B. James A. Crews, b. May 15th, 1813 – d. Aug. 10, 1892 (married) Martha Hunt, b. Dec. 5, 1815 – d. Jan. 6, 1892. Their children are:
    1. David G. Crews (married) _______ Flemming; reared a large family and lived to be old.
    2. Sarah A. Crews (married, first) William Lyon. Their children are:
    a. Kate Lyon (married) James T. Cozart
    b. Ira Lyon (married) _______ Cozart (James T. Cozart’s, above, sister.)

Sara A. Crews Lyon (married, next) Rev. Thomas J. Horner, of Henderson. They both lived to be
nearly 80. He died first.

  1. Lorena Crews (married, first) _______Rogers. Their child:
    a. Ira Rogers

(married next) R.G. Bobbitt. Their child:
a. Glenn Bobbitt.

  1. Robert T. Crews (married)________ Stark ( daughter of Kizaeh Stark.) Robert lived to be old.
    They had no children.
  2. Louisa Crews (married) William D. Mitchell, of Wake. Their children are:
    a. Ed. D. Mitchell
    b. W.G. Mitchell
    c. Bunn Mitchell
    d. Marvin Mitchell
    e. _______ Mitchell (who went to California and died leaving children there.)

About 1880 the Mitchell family removed to near Middleburg, in Vance County. Mr. Mitchell died
at a good old age, about 1920.

  1. Edward H. Crews (married) Laura Horner (daughter of Rev. Thomas J. Horner). She died
    without issue.
  2. Caroline Crews (“Callie”) (married) John Smith. Their children are:
    a. Lonnie Smith, who long lived in Oxford, N.C.
    b. Lennie Smith of Oxford,
    c. Maude Smith (married) Mr. Jackson.
    They all have families.
  3. Leroy Crews (married) Fanny Evelyn Johnston (See Ed. Notes at end of this piece for
    descendants of Leroy Lafayette Crews and Fanny Evelyn Johnston] lives at Thelma, in Halifax,
    members of his family unknown to me.
  4. Flora Crews (married) _______ Best; lived near Goldsboro, died, children unknown to me
  5. Albert A. Crews (married) Miss Stark. No issue.
  6. Rebecca Crews. Never married, no issue.

About B. JAMES A. CREWS (son of 3. James Crews, grandson of I. Gideon Crews, Sr.)

James A. Crews was called “Little Jimmie” or “Tar River Jimmie.” He married Martha Hunt, not a sister, but of the same family of which two sons, Joseph and George married his (James A.’s) two sisters Martha and Susan. “Little Jimmie”, as he was called, was much of a man. He soon bought a fine farm on the south side of the Tar River near Minor’s mill and lived there until he was nearly 90.

James A. Crews was a good man, a Christian. He loved the church and worked much in its ranks. I have never heard anyone speak evil of him. He prospered in business. He farmed on a large scale, and made his boys work. Archibald Hicks tells a good story that Uncle Jimmy told him. One night a youngster of the neighborhood went to Uncle Jimmy’s visiting, and stayed and stayed. Probably he wished to look at, if not say something to the handsome girls of the family. Finally his visit became somewhat annoying by its length and bedtime approaching, Uncle Jimmie said: “well Johnnie, I reckon you had better go on home now; it’s getting late.” Johnnie left. The next time Uncle Jimmie saw Johnnie it was at a neighborhood mill. Uncle Jimmie: “Howdy Johnnie.”  Johnnie: “I wish I had a bengal of powder; I’d blow you to hell in two minutes.”

The third child of James and Sara Earl Crews was:
C. Mary E. Crews, b. Dec. 2, 1815 (married) William O. Wright (a brother of John W. Wright and uncle of Mr. George W. Wright.)
They removed to Tennessee and had children there, who, in 1875, received their share of the estate of James Crews.

The fourth child of James and Sara Earl Crews was:
D. Rebecca A. Crews, b. April, 1817 – d. August, 1888 (married) James Cheatham, d. 1865.

Rebecca A. Crews and James Cheatham lived about five miles southeast of Oxford, where their grandson, Hamlin Cheatham now lives. James Cheatham died in 1865, heart broken over the result of the war. His wife Rebecca died in August 1888.

Their children are:
1. William A. Cheatham (married) Asenath F. Parham ( daughter of Lewis Parham.)
Their children:
a. Elizabeth Cheatham (married) J.H. Goodrich, of Henderson. Their children:
i. Ben(jamin) Goodrich
ii. Lily Goodrich. Died without issue.
b. Benjamin H. Cheathamn; died of typoid fever at the age of 22, unmarried, about
the year 1880.
c. Ernest Lee Cheatham. Died without issue.
d. Adolphus Whitfield Cheatham. Became an Episcopal minister of Southern
Pines or Pinehurst, N.C.

  1. Sarah Cheatham, d. August 1875 (married) Albert C. Parham (son of Lewis Parham.) She died
    in August 1875, of typhoid fever. Their children are:
    a. Alonzo W. Parham
    b. Edwin T. Parham
    c. Cornelius H. Parham
    d. Percy C. Parham, who was shot by accident on Thanksgiving Day, 1906, leaving a wife
    and several children.
    e. Mary Tazwell Parham, who married ________ Watson and died young. Their children:
    i. James Watson (married) Miss Hood
    ii. Frank Earle, who is a lawyer and lives in New York and was twice married.
  2. David Thomas Cheatham (married) Annie Reavis (daughter of Thomas Reavis, of near
    Henderson, Vance County, NC. ) Their Children are:
    a. Claudius Cecil Cheatham, d. 1921 (married) Cora W. Winston, of Youngsville. Their
    children are:
    i. Claude C., Cheatham, Jr.
    ii. Winston Thomas Cheatham
    iii. Clarence Burton Cheatham
    iv. Robert E. Cheatham
    v.  Susan Caroline Cheatham
    vi. Lurline Cheatham, deceased.

Claude C. Cheatham was a tobacconist of Youngsville, N.C.

  1. Fred A. Cheatham (married) Maude Freeman. Their children are:
    i. Jessamine Cheatham
    ii. Elizabeth Cheatham
    iii. Maude Cheatham
    iv. and v. two who died in infancy.

    Fred A. Cheatham was a Tobacconist in Youngsville, NC

  2. Thomas Flavius Cheatham (married) Bessie Staley. Their children:
    i. William Staley Cheatham
    ii.  Thomas Harvey Cheatham, deceased
    iii. Florence Cheatham, deceased.

Thomas Flavius Cheatham was a tobacconist, Louisburg, N.C.

  1. Robert Hubert Cheatham (married) Anne Meeder. Their child:
    i. David Thomas Cheatham
  2. James Amis Cheatham (married) Rosa Lee Parish, Richmond, Virginia. No issue.
  3. Joseph Gibbs Cheatham, unmarried. No issue

g.. Lucy Catherine Cheatham, deceased. No issue.

  1. Eva Rebecca Cheatham (married) William B. Smoot. Their children:
    i. William B. Smoot
    ii. Eva Cheatham Smoot
  2. Annie Belle Cheatham (married) Thomas Crawford. Their children:
    i. Thomas B. Crawford, Jr.
    ii.  James Walker Crawford
    iii. Annie Caroline Crawford.
  3. Mattie Roberta Cheatham (married) Luther S. Farabow. Their children:
    i. Lucy Catherine Farabow
    ii. Pearl Elizabeth Farabow (married) Sidney R. Abernathy. Their children:
    1. Birdie Eloise Abernathy
    2. Lucy Catherine Abernathy
  4. David Thomas Cheatham went through the Civil War with my (Thurston Titus Hicks, b. 1847 –
    d. 1927) father (Benjamin Willis Hicks). They were each other’s nearest neighbor many years
    and were ever good friends. He owned the Cheatham Mill for a generation until it was thought
    gold was found near it. Then he sold it and the farm for a good price and bought the Memucan
    H. Hester farm near Oxford, and lived there until his death at more than eighty in 1915. His wife
    survived him several years.

The fourth child of James and Rebecca Crews Cheatham was:
4. James Theodore “Thee” Cheatham (married) Elizabeth Hamlin, of Petersburg, Virginia.

He, as his brothers William and D. T., fought through the War of the Confederacy. He was
captured with his two nearest neighbors I.C. Bobbittt and Fred Hamme, near the end of the war
and kept a long time in Elmira, N.Y., military prison. James Theodore Cheatham acquired his
father’s farm.

Elizabeth Hamlin’s sister had married Augustine Landis, a merchant of Oxford.

“Thee” Cheatham and wife reared a large family as follows:
a. Virginius T. Cheatham (married) Elizabeth Leach. Their children:
i. Leonard Cheatham
ii. Grace Cheatham
iii. Virginius Cheatham
iv. Bessie Cheatham
v. Albert Cheatham
vi. Lucile Cheatham
vii. Edna Cheatham
viii. John Cheatham
ix. Burton Cheatham

b. Clifton B. Cheatham (married) Lala Rainey Kittrell. Their children:
i. Sallie Cheatham
ii. Charles Cheatham
iii. Elizabeth Cheatham
iv. Lucy Crudup Cheatham
v. Clifton B. Cheatham, Jr.
vi. Charles Hamlin Cheatham
vii. George Kittrell Cheatham
viii. William Cheatham
ix. Mary Cheatham

c. Sarah C. Cheatham (married) Percy Parham. Their children:
i. James Theodore Parham
ii. Carroll Parham
iii. Paul Cullum Parham
iv. Earl Parham
v. Dorothy Parham

d. Charles Hamlin Cheatham (married, first) Hettie Osborne. No issue.
(married, next) Lucy Roberts.  Their children:
i. Bettie Maie Cheatham
ii. Charles Hamlin Cheatham, Jr.
iii. and iv. Graham Cheatham and Gordon Cheatham, twins.

e. Rebecca Cheatham (married) S.W. Ferebee. Their children:
i.Alice Ferebee
ii. S.W. Ferebee, Jr.
iii. Elizabeth Ferebee
iv.  James Theodore Ferebee
v. Rebecca Ferebee
vi. Willoughby Ferebee
vii. Hamlin Ferebee
viii. Emmit Ferebee
ix.Francis Ferebee
x. Billy Edward Ferebee.

f. Mary Louise Cheatham (married) R.A. Shirley. No children.

g. Olivia Burton Cheatham (married) J.H.B. Tomlinson. No children.

h. James Theodore Cheatham (married) Mary Johns. Their children:
i. Mary Johns Cheatham
ii. James Theodore Cheatham, Jr.
iii. Mary Eccles Cheatham
iv. Martha Elizabeth Cheatham

i. Bessie Gibbons Cheatham (married) John R. Allen. Their child:
i. John R. Allen Jr.,

j. Tazzie Cheatham (married) L.S. Baker. Their children:
i. Shirley Baker
ii.Samuel Baker
iii. James Cheatham Baker

The fifth child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was:
E. Martha M. Crews , b. June, 1820 (married) Joseph Penn Hunt. Their children:
1. Sally Hunt (married) James B. Crews. Their children:
a. Cora Ellis Crews
b. _______ Crews (married) N.W. Hicks
c. C.F. Crews
d. Fred Crews

The name Penn appears often in the Hunt family. The most reliable information on its origin here is: John Hunt came to Granville from Virginia. His son John Hunt married Francis Penn, a sister of the signer of the immortal Declaration of Independence. A son of John and Frances Penn Hunt married Sarah Longmire. Joseph Penn Hunt was one of their sons. He married Martha Crews. David, a brother of John Penn Hunt, had two daughters, Martha, who married “Little Jimmie Crews”, and Charity, who married Reavis and lived near Henderson.

2. James Hunt, who died in the Confederate Army.

3. Susan Hunt (married) John H. Breedlove. Their children:
a. Laurie G. Breedlove (male), who married Rebecca Rice. Their children:
i. Mildred Breedlove
ii. Evelyn Breedlove
iii. Joseph Penn Breedlove(married first) Bessie Bassett
(married next) Lucile Aiken. Their children:
1. Joseph Breedlove
2. Caroline Breedlove.
Joseph Penn Breedlove has long been librarian of Duke University.
Ethyl Breedlove. Unmarried. No issue.

4. Celestia Hunt (married) I.H. Breedlove. Their children:
a. Oscar Breedlove (married) Sadie Harris
b. Calvin Breedlove (married) Lena Patterson. Their children:
i.  Joseph Breedlove
ii. Roy Breedlove
iii. Neely Breedlove
iv. Clarence Breedlove (married) Maggie Baily
v. Eula Breedlove (married) Robert Hart. Their children:
1. Frank Hart
2. Robert Hart
3. Alley Hart
4. Cooper Hart
5. Mabel Hart
6. Selma Hart
7. James Hart
8. Ada Hart, unmarried. No issue.
9. May Hart (married) Samuel Holman
10. Alene Hart (married) Carl Hester. Their children:
a. Josephine Hester
b. Carl T. Hester
c. Marion Hester
d. Dorothy Hester.

  1. John L. Hunt (married, first) Cora Rainey. Their children:
    a. John Leigh Hunt
    b. Cora Hunt
    c. Rosa Beverly Hunt.

John L. Hunt (married, next) Rosa Rainey (sister of Cora Rainey.) John L. Hunt soon died.

John L. Hunt was a merchant at Kittrell;

  1. Ira T. Hunt (married) Rosa Hunt (widow of John L. Hunt, his brother.) Their child:
    a. Thomas Hunt

7.Ella Hunt (married) Dr. Fuller, of Person County. Their children:
a. Elbert Earl Fuller
b. Cora Lee Fuller
c. Carrie Fuller
d. Willie Fuller
e. W. Fuller

  1. David N. Hunt (married) Adelaide Hester (his first cousin, daughter of Rev. William Hester and Francis Crews Hester, daughter of James and Sarah J. Crews) . Their children are:
    a. Joseph Penn Hunt
    b. William Gibbs Hunt
    c. Raymond Hunt
    d. Otis Kilgo Hunt
    e. Earl F. Hunt
    f. Lula Hunt

    Joseph Penn Hunt’s principal business was farming, but he was an expert carpenter and
    assisted in building the State Capital at Raleigh. He and his wife lived to be old, dying in
    1880 and 1881.

David N. Hunt lived in Oxford, N.C. He was a great lover of the services of the sanctuary and was
a Rural Free Delivery carrier on route five from Oxford for about 25 years.

The sixth child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was:
F. Elijah Thomas Crews, b. ~1826 – d. 1881 (married) Mary Parham (daughter of Asa Parham), when she was less than fifteen years of age. She lived to be 83. Their children:
1. Haden W. Crews, b. ~1848 – d. March 1924 (married) Elizabeth Hicks (daughter of John B.
Hicks. Their child:
a. Dr. N. H. Crews of High Point, N.C.

Haden W. Crews and his brother Norfleet Crews made more clear money farming than any
farmers I know.

2. Herbert E. Crews (married first) Laura Fullerton, who bore him several children.
(married next) Miss Wester, no issue.
(married next) Miss Howell, no issue.

3.Delia A. Crews, never married. No issue.

  1. Rufus T. Crews, d. 1899, unmarried. No issue.

Rufus T. Crews was a graduate of Trinity College under Dr. Craven’s Regime.

  1. Mary Crews (“Mollie”), who died in her youth, unmarried.

    6. Norfleet G. Crews, d. 1919 (married first)Victoria Burroughs (daughter of J.E. Burroughs).
    Died. No issue.
    (married next) Charlotte Marrow (daughter of Drewry Marrow.) Their children:
    a. Eloise Crews (married) T.L. Fishel
    b. Edward N. Crews.
    c. N. G. Crews.
    d. Samuel B. Crews
    e. Mary Delia Crews
    f. Martha Eugenia Crews
    g. Daniel M. Crews
    h. Lottie M. Crews
    i. R.T. Crews

Norfleet G. Crews was adopted by his uncle Edward N. Crews. He was sole devisee of his uncle
Edward N. Crews and his wife, and in his lifetime added largely to what he inherited by thrift and
diligence.

  1. Samuel F. Crews (married) Elizabeth Burroughs. Their children:
    a. Fletcher Crews
    b. Elizabeth Crews (married) Julian Glover
    c. Harold Crews
    d. Dorothy Crews
    e. Geraldine Marguerite Crews

The seventh child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was:
 G. Edward N. Crews, b. Sept. 19, 1824 (married) Martha Parham (daughter of Asa Parham). This couple had no children of their own. They adopted their nephew, Norfleet G. Crews, son of Elijah Thomas Crews (Edward’s brother) and his wife Mary Parham (Martha’s sister.)

Edward N. Crews and his wife Martha Parham lived a mile west from Dabney and three quarters of a mile northeast from his father. He bought one of the poorest farms in the country and improved it until it became one of the best. Edward N. Crews was a “hustler”, an enthusiast. He specialized in being a good farmer, a good Democrat, a good churchman, and a good liver. If one went to his house to get something good to eat, “he didn’t miss it.” If he depended on him for a church or a party contribution, he was not disappointed. He was almost sure to attend church or party conventions and notable occasions.

Though my father’s man Bill was overpersuaded by his wife to go to E.T. Crewses at once after Lee’s surrender, he went to Uncle Ed’s next year and stayed about 25 years. Bill’s son lives there now.

E.N. Crews was one of the first of his section to start the making of flue-cured tobacco and one of the first to introduce Jersey cattle. He went to Raleigh when the best fresh about Oxford and Henderson sold for $20.00 and paid $100.00 for a Jersey heifer. When she began to give milk she was the talk of the neighborhood.

Uncle Ed invited his “Brother Jeems”(James A. Crews) to come down. That night at the table Uncle Ed said: “Brother Jeems, how do you like that milk?” Uncle Jimmie: “Very good, but I think I’ve drank as good at home many a time.”Uncle Ed was somewhat set back, and next morning at breakfast he had Aunt Martha provide a glass of pure Jersey cream for Brother Jeems. As the breakfast proceeded, Uncle Ed: “Brother Jeems, how do you like that milk?” Little Jimmie: “Very well, but I think I’ve seen it as rich at my house many a time.” Uncle Ed: “It ain’t so! It ain’t so! It’s every bit pure cream!” and then he laughed at having caught “Brother Jeems”.

This joke is all the better to those who remember the immense voice of Uncle Ed and the zest with which he talked and laughed. Uncle Ed enjoyed the companionship of his friends. He was well known in Vance and Granville, and many good stories were told of him, by him and some at his expense.

He acquired a thousand acres of land, more than thirty-thousand dollars in money and never lost any. His estate he left to his wife with the understanding that she should leave it to their dearly beloved adopted son and nephew, Norfleet G. Crews. This Aunt Martha did soon after. They both died in the fall and winter of 1899. Norfleet more than doubled the estate in value in the following twenty years, dying in middle life in the year 1919. Edward N. Crews was a man of strong prejudices and an emotional nature, but he had the respect of all and was beyond question a fine and notable man.

The eighth child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was:
H. Isabella Jane Crews, b. Aug. 24, 1829 – d. Sept. 4, 1913 (married) Benjamin Willis Hicks (youngest son of Abner and Elizabeth Harris Hicks) Their children:
Her descendants under name of my father; Benjamin Willis Hicks.

Isabella Jane Crews, my mother, was on good terms with all her neighbors. Nobody ever heard anything she told or repeated to the discredit of others. She never crossed or quarreled with my father. I never heard of her asking him for money or having a pocketbook. He did the buying and paying of bills. She was entirely loyal to the Crewses, yet she was on the best terms with all of the Hickses. In the establishment and maintenance of a home and rearing a family she did her part nobly and well. She survived my father nearly 14 years. Her body is lying by the side of his. If anyone ever had better parents than the children of my parents, he was indeed fortunate.

  1. Susan, eighth child of James and Sarah Crews, born January 7th, 1832, married George W. Hunt, brother of Joseph Penn Hunt. She outlived her parents and all her brothers and sisters, dying in April 1918, aged 86. Her husband was a substantial citizen and was executor of the will of his good friend and neighbor Col. Richard P. Taylor, who died in 1870. George W. Hunt died in the prime of his life in 1876, leaving a large family. His widow survived him 42 years. Their youngest son, Edward A. Hunt, still owns the family home and keeps alive the best traditions of the family.

 

The ninth child of James and Sarah Crews was:
I. Sarah Crews, b. Jan. 7, 1832 – d. April 1918 (married) George W. Hunt, d. 1876 (brother of Joseph Penn Hunt.) Their children were:
1. Emma Hunt (married) Joseph B. Parham. Their children:
a. Hattie Parham (married first) Thomas V. Rowland
(married next) J.K. Plummer
b. Thad B. Parham, died leaving several children
c. Mamie Parham. Never married. No children.
d. Cary Parham, who has several children
e. Mattie (married) _______ Hobgood. Their children:
i. Blanche Hobgood (married) Junius M. Rowland
ii. George W. Hobgood
iii. Elvin Hobgood

2. Walter L. Hunt (married) Jane Haliburton, of Durham. They moved to Asheville. Both died
leaving several children, all deceased.

3. Lelia Hunt (married) Junius W. Young and died without issue.

4. Junius Penn Hunt (married) Julia Russell, of Virginia. Their children:
a. Florence Hunt
b. Lillian Hunt
c. Helen Hunt (married) Theodore Parham
d. Dorothy Hunt (married) E.S. Merritt
e. George Penn Hunt
f. Elizabeth Hunt

Junius Penn Hunt has long been one of the most intelligent men of Granville, a lover of
his church, a good citizen. His daughter Lillian lives in the Adirondacks. Dorothy and
husband are in the Philippine Islands. George Penn Hunt, a graduate of the State
University, is employed in commerce in China.

5. Sarah Hunt, unmarried. She lived for some time in Cuba.

6. Florence Hunt (married) Edwin G. Barnes. Their child:
a. Lottie Barnes (married) Rev. R.J. Parker. She has been a foreign missionary and has
lived on the Mexican border. They now live in Memphis and have several children.

7. Carrie Hunt (married) Charles F. Crews. Their children:
a. Roy Crews
b., c., d., and e. Four daughters, names unknown. Descendants unknown.

Charles F. Crews died of typhoid fever while Clerk of the Superior Court of Granville County.

8. Susan C. Hunt (married) Joseph H. Gooch. Their child:
a. Janie Gooch, who graduated from college in 1926.

Susan C. Hunt possessed all the striking characteristics of the Crews family. From childhood until
death she was a devoted member of Salem Church. She loved her family, and they were drawn
to her by the tenderest affection. Hers was a long life of peace and reasonable happiness. Her
memory is blessed.

9. Edward A. Hunt (married) Elizabeth Moyer. Their children:
a. Edward A Hunt (married) Lennie Ward, of Greensboro.

George W. Hunt and Sarah Crews owned and lived at the place from which Robert T. Taylor sold
a hundred slaves at one time to Judge Rux of Mississippi. Sarah Crews outlived her parents and all her brothers and sisters, dying in April 1918, aged 86. Her husband was a substantial citizen and was executor of the will of his good friend and neighbor Col. Richard P. Taylor, who died in 1870. George W. Hunt died in the prime of his life in 1876, leaving a large family. His widow survived him 42 years. Their youngest son, Edward A. Hunt, still owns the family home and keeps alive the best traditions of the family.

The tenth child of James and Sarah Earl Crews was
J.  Melissa F. Crews, b. Jan. 3, 1835 – d. November, 1897 (married) Rev. William S. Hester. Their children:
1. Nora Hester (married) Rufus J. Aiken. They had several children. Both parents are dead.

  1. Adelaide Hester (married her first cousin) David. N. Hunt, in December, 1883.
  2. Lula Hester (married) Rev. J.M. Rhodes. No children.
  3. Benjamin Otis Hester, who lives in Texas.
  4. Marvin, a Methodist Episcopal minister.

Mrs. Melissa Hester was a merry, happy, laughing woman, a lover of the church and everybody. She was largely influential in inducing her father to buy the organ at Salem Church, and she was for a generation its organist and the church’s principal chorister. She was a whole-souled enthusiast in religious and domestic life. She came from the Methodist Episcopal Annual Conference at Raleigh with her husband. I talked with her on the train from Youngsville to Henderson. An hour later, at Huntsboro, her spirit left the scenes and friends she loved so well for the life eternal. She died in the arms of her husband while alighting from the train at Huntsboro, near Salem Church, November 1897.

 

 

ABOUT 3. JAMES CREWS (son of I. Gideon Crews, Sr.)

James Crews, the father and head of his large and honorable family, lived to be 90 years of age, dying in September, 1875. I have heard my mother say he started life in a house with a dirt floor. Grandpa Crews could read the Bible a little and write his name, but he had no education in books. In his long life he became a very well informed man. No one ever thought him conceited or proud, but he enjoyed the prosperity he wrenched from nature. A few acres at a time, he acquired more than a thousand acres. At the time of the Civil War he owned more than fifty slaves. [Ed. Notes: This may be a slight exaggeration. According to the 1850 slave schedules, he owned only 24 slaves at that time. While it’s possible that the population at Tar River increased over a period of 12 years, it seems uncertain whether it would have doubled. Further inquiry into the 1860 slave schedules should reveal more data.] I never heard of his mistreating or abusing one.

He was born poor and lived to be rich, but he never spent a quarter without first considering whether what he would get would be worth a quarter. A photo taken some years before his death shows him holding in one hand, barely perceptible, a quid which he intended to chew some more. My mother showed it to me.

A good story of his thrift and enthusiasm for work is remembered in the family. The first day of the year he waked Tom and Ed and two of his stoutest slaves, before day, telling them to go over to the “new ground” and cut down that largest oak tree by sunrise and wake up the neighborhood, and start the year right. I can see him standing on the porch as the day dawned listening to the ring of the axes of those stout fellows through the frosty air; and what a thrill he felt as he imagined it would wake up Abner Hickses crowd to the east, Bob Taylor’s to the South and Sam Moss and Cooper’s quarter to the north.

Soon the tree fell and such a noise it made! But the four men who felled it just as the sun was rising set up yells that could be heard as far as the fall of the tree. They then went home to breakfast, expecting to receive the congratulations and smiles of a father and master; but he was “mad as a hornet.” “What in the world did you holler for? They will think you were coon hunting or were bragging on what you had done.”

His grandson, Hayden Crews told me of selling a fine horse to a prominent citizen, who became dissatisfied and sent for Hayden to come and trade back. Hayden went by Grandpa’s, told him all the treaty and trade and asked him for advice.

Grandpa: “Tell him you don’t make children’s bargains.”

At his funeral Rev. Lewis K. Willie told of his last words. He had been given some medicine in which some of the sugar, not having dissolved, lodged on his tongue. He wiped it off with his finger and said to a child standing by: “Did you ever see anybody spit out sugar before?” Then he died. Thousands of times since have his children and grandchildren and neighbors thought and talked pleasantly of the things he did and of the long and successful life he lived.

THE RESIDENCES OF OUR TWO GRANDFATHERS

Think of the number of dwellings in Durham and Granville and Vance costing ten thousand dollars or more! My father used to say it wasn’t worthwhile to build much of a house for the little time we had here, and that “the Father of the Faithful” thought a tent sufficient.

As I recollect them, the dwellings in which my two grandfathers, Abner Hicks and James Crews, lived and reared their large familes were much alike. Both fronted the southeast. The westerly end of each, a story and a jump, with a second shed room in the rear was built first. As more room was needed for the growing family, lower and upper rooms were added on the northeast ends connected with the attic and shed room in the rear. Then a long porch was built all across the front of the Crews house, but only in front of the old part of the Hicks house. Neither one was ever painted. In my opinion, at prices prevailing from about 1800 until just before the world war, either one of those houses could have been built for about $600.00. There was a current opinion in that day that painted houses were taxed much higher than those unpainted. One wonders if that had anything to do with the unpainted condition of these two ancestral homes.*

The girls and their guests, if any, were packed away in the shed rooms downstairs, the boys in the attics. One of the big rooms was the parlor and the other the living room occupied by all the old folks. The windows! They were so little! I doubt if they were ever raised. And the doors were seldom closed in the daytime. And such fireplaces! Wood about five or six feet long could be burned in them. In those days people stayed in the house but little in the day. I’ve heard my mother say that many a time on Monday mornings her mother would poke her head in the shed room, quote an old saying: “Get up girls! Get up! Here it is Monday morning, tomorrow Tuesday and next day Wednesday! Half the week gone and nothing done!” My mother said when grandfather saw one of them reading a novel and was told what it was he would say, “A made tale.”

These old houses stood and served large families for near a hundred years. My father pulled his down in 1868 and moved into the oak woods where the soil is gray and the shade is good. He used the shingled on the old house to cover the stables and the outhouses at the new place. They were drawn shingles, of heart pine, put on with wrought nails, the exposed parts worn half in two. We just turned them over and they were better than any we could get, but in about forty years they were worn so on the other side that they had to be discarded. There was a great big cellar under the whole of the Crews house, entered by a door and stone steps from the north end. In that cellar the family eating was done. They had to go there and carry the dishes and food there via out of doors, three times a day. The kitchen was at least 50 yards away. At Grandpa Hicks’s they ate in the west room, which was indeed a roomy room, larger, I suppose, than any two house rooms in Henderson. All the water used at both places for nearly a hundred years, was brought about 250 yards from the springs. Just before the war wells were digged. My brother Archibald said he was at Grandpa Crews’s one morning preparing to wash his face. He put about two small gourds of water in the pan, when Grandpa said: “Boy, you’ve got enough water there to wash a shirt.” Grandfather Abner died in December, 1857, when I was two months old. Grandfather Crews was 72 when I was born and 90 when he died. His speech was all kindly and gentle, but I cannot remember that I ever saw him smile.

Editors addition: Photo and captain below.

The Greek Revival style house built about 1845 by James A. Crews, for his new bride Martha Hunt. The architect was almost certainly the famed Jacob Holt of Warren County, North Carolina. In my family the homeplace was affectionately referred to as “Tally Ho Plantation at Tar River”, or “Tar River Plantation”, or just “Tar River.” Shown in the photo is LeRoy Lafayette Crews (on the right, at the gate), the last Crews resident of the old family home, his second wife Ellen Hamill (left, at the gate), Cora (last name unknown), left on the porch, whose ancestors were born into slavery on the farm, and an unknown child (not a Crews, probably a relation of Ellen Hamill.) This photograph was taken prior to 1917. This is probably not the same house described by Hicks on the previous pages. He was almost certainly describing a house built a hundred years earlier than this one.

 

 

 
THREE DAUGHTERS OF JOHN EARL

Sarah Earl, as we have said, married James Crews. Mary Earl, her sister, married Robert Jones. Patsie Earl, their sister, married William Kittrell. To date, Mary and Patsie have 272 identified descendants!

Children of Mary Earl and Robert Jones:
1. Jane Jones (married) Robert Gill Their children:
a. Dr. Robert J. Gill (married) Annie Fuller. Their children:
i. William Francis Gill, professor Trinity College, died.
ii. Celestia Gill (married) I.J. Young. Their children:
1. I.J. Young, Jr.
2. Robert G Young
3. Rebecca Jane Young
4. Annie Fuller Young

b. William P. Gill (married), but killed at Battle of Malvern Hill.

c. Emily Gill (married) E.A. Fuller. Their children:
i. Emily Fuller (married) J.C. Thompson. Their children:
1. Ralph Fuller Thompson (married) Lois Coghill. Their children:
a. Jane Thompson
b. Fuller Thompson

  1. Alpheus Thompson (married) Lucy Hays; no children.
    3. Lucy Thompson
    4. Helen Thompson
    5. Robert Thompson
    6.Jones Thompson

Second child of Mary Earl and Robert Jones:
2. Sally Jones married Peter Gill. Their children: of
a. John Gill died of typhoid fever.
b. Ben L. Gill died in army.

c. Pattie Gill (married) Sam Brummitt.  Their children:
i. Sam Peter Brummitt (married) (wife’s name unknown.) Their children:
1. James Russell Brummitt (married) Blanche Eakes. Their child:
a. Margaret Brummitt

2. Garland (married) Isabel Ward.

3. S. Brooks Brummitt (married) Beth Fuller. Their children:
a. Rosalie Brummitt
b. Wallace Brummitt
4. Harold Brummitt.

ii. Rosa Gill Brummitt
iii. Nettie Ellington Brummitt
iv. Meta Earl Brummitt (married) Ed. W. Harris . Their children:
1. Talton Harris (married) Ethel Barbera Neef.

2. Norwood Harris (married) Mabel Richardson. Their children:
a. Barbera Harris
b. N.W. Harris, Jr.

3. Cedric Harris. Killed in World War I.
4. Claxton Harris
5. Frank Harris
6. Elizabeth Groves Harris

v. Pettie Brummitt married Ernest L. Fuller. Their children:
1. Thelbert Fuller married Lizzie Hays. Their child:
a. Thelbert Fuller, Jr.

2. Fletcher B. Fuller married Nora Eaves. Their child:
a. Fletcher B. Fuller, Jr.

3. Clifton Fuller
4. Edgar Fuller
5. Lula Fuller
6. Charlie Fuller
7. Minnie Fuller
8. Sam Fuller
9. Jack Fuller

d. Mary Gill married John H. Rowland. Their children:
i. Plummer G. Rowland
ii. Hubert L. Rowland (married) Geneva Hight. Their children:
1. Joe Rowland married Clara Smith. Their child:
a. Joe Rowland, Jr.

2. Emma Rowland married Lewis W. Huff. Their child:
a. Myra Huff

3. Neva Rowland married Festus Fuller. Their child:
a. Jane Fuller

4. Nannie Rowland married James Ellington. Their children:
a. Annie Ellington
b. Margaret Ellington
c.  Madeline Ellington
d. Edwin Ellington
e. Kimball Ellington
f. Rowland Ellington

5. Wilber A. Rowland married Nina Bradwell. Their child:
a. Alba Rowland

6. John P. Rowland married Bessie Harris. Their children:
a. Rudolph Rowland
b. Dwight Rowland
c. Elizabeth Rowland
d. Mary Rowland
e. Paul Rowland

7. Pearl Rowland married Allen Harris. Their children:
a. Bella A. Harris
b. Herbert H. Harris

8. Fannie Rowland, single.

iii. Della married R.K. Young. Their children:
1. Addie Young

2. Carl Young married Pearl Johnson. Their children:
a. Alice Young
b. Vesper Young
c. Samuel J. Young
d. Wesley Young

3. Ethel married John Woodlief. Their children:
a. Leona Woodlief
b. Christine Woodlief
c. Viola Woodlief
d. Ashby Woodlief

4. Clara Young married U.B. Alexander. Their children:
a. Waldo Alexander
b. Vernon D. Alexander
c. Vivian Alexander

  1. John L. Rowland married Belle Fuller. Their children:
    1. Roy A. Rowland married Maude Andrews. Their children:
    a. Phillip Rowland
    b. Leroy Rowland
    c.  Radford Rowland
  2. H. Benton Rowland married Roth Conyers. Their children:
    a. Frances Rowland
    b. Louise Rowland
    c. H.B. Rowland , Jr.

    v. Dr. D.S. Rowland (married first) Fanny Fuller. Their child:
    1. Austin Rowland
    (Married next) Lily Strange. No issue.

    vi. Emma Rowland (married) A.K. Rogers. Their children:
    1. Lowell Rogers
    2. John Willis Rogers
    3. Mary Rogers
    4. Maurice Rogers
    5. Alice Rogers (married) Rudolph Montgomery. Their child:
    a. Emma Gray Montgomery

    vii. Peter L. Rowland (married) Hester Kennedy. Their children:
    1. Haywood Rowland
    2. Bessie Rowland
    3. Della Rowland
    4. George Rowland

    viii. Plummer G. Rowland never married.

    e. Parmelia J. Gill (married) D.S. Allen. Their children:
    i. Olive Allen
    ii. Nettie Allen (married) A.B. Dean

    iii. James Bayard Allen (married) Minnie Kimball. Their children:
    1. Susan Allen
    2. Francis Allen

    iv. Jessie Allen (married) Rufus M. Person. Their children:
    1. Alice Person (married) E. C. Sparrow
    2. James A Person
    3. Allen Person
    4. R.M. Person, Jr.

    v. Dr. Ben G. Allen (married) Nieta W. Watson. Their children:
    1. Virginia Allen
    2. Mary Jane Allen
    3. Nieta Allen
    4. Ben G. Allen, Jr.

  3. Robert Frank Gill (married) Debnam Allen. Their children:
    i. Thomas C. Gill (married) Charlotte Cline. Their children:
    1. Ruth Gill
    2. Sarah Gill
    3. Thomas Cline Gill

    ii. Lois Gill (married) Henry T. Mitchell. Their children:
    1. Frank Mitchell
    2. Donald Mitchell
    3. Roger Mitchell
    4. Myrtle Mitchell
    5. Sallie Mitchell
    6. Evelyn Mitchell

    g. Joseph Thomas Gill (married) Bettie Price. Their children:
    i. Lula Gill (married) K.W. Edwards. Their children:
    1. R. Reynolds Edwards (married) Ella Jefferson

    ii. Pauline Edwards

    iii. Annie Belle Edwards (married) A.L. Hobgood. Their child:
    1. A.L. Hobgood, Jr.

    iv. Sallie Gill Edwards (married) Lem Wilson. Their children:
    1. Ruth Elsie Wilson
    2. Thomas Gill Wilson

    v. Janie Gill Edwards (married) Thomas J. Sykes. Their child:
    1. Thomas Gill Sykes, Jr.

    vi. Frank Gill (married) Donnie Hux. Their children:
    1. James Thomas Gill, Jr.
    2. Gladys Gill
    3. Leon Gill
    4. Russell Gill

    h. David H. Gill married Pattie Hight. Their children:
    i. Sally Gill died of typhoid fever.

    ii. Peter H. Gill (married first) Pattie Baker. Two children:
    1. John David Gill
    2. Julia Gill
    (married next) Willie Montgomery. Their children:
    1. Harold A. Gill
    1. Elizabeth Gill

    iii. Pattie Baker Gill Pattie Gill (married) Ed. Stone. Their children:
    1. Thelma Stone
    2. Julian Stone

    iv. Mabel Gill (married) Harrison B. Williams. Their children:
    1. Crayton Williams
    2. Veritas Williams
    3. Hal. B. Williams, Jr.
    4. Marshal Williams

    v. Janie Gill (married) Robert Edwards. Their children:
    1. Margaret Edwards
    2. Annie Edwards
    3. Elsie Edwards
    4. Ida Edwards

    vi. Josie Gill (married) Sam F. Coghill. Their children:
    1. Pattie Coghill
    2. Morris Coghill
    3. Clarence Coghill
    4. Peter Coghill
    5. Mabel Coghill
    6. Conrad Coghill
    7. Dalton Coghill (married) Edith Edwards

    i. James A. Gill (married) Evelyn O. Allen. Their children:
    1. Mary Jones Gill, dead.
    2. Rosa Gill (married) S.B. Brummitt. Their children given under his name.
    3. John Earl Gill (married) Mattie Taylor. Their children:
    a. Clare Gill
    b. Evelyn Gill
    c. Edward Gill
    d. Earl Gill
    4. Carrie Gill (married) John Broughton. Their child:
    a. Elizabeth.
    5. Clarence Lee Gill (married) __________ Edwards. Their children:
    a. James Gill
    b. Allen Gill
    c. Alma Gill
    d. Ora Gill
    e. William Gill

Children of Patsy Earl and William Kittrell:
1. John W. Kittrell (married) Mary Fuller. Their children:
a. Annie Kittrell (married) E.O. Perdue
b. Florence Kittrell (married) Hugh M. Hight. Their children:
i. Paul Hight
ii. Marion Hight
iii. Harry Hight

iv. Mary H. Mary H. Hight (married) Ira Finch. Their children:
1. Reese Finch
2. Rachel Finch
3. Alex Finch

v. Geneva Hight (married) Melvin S. Fowler. Their child:
1. Sterling Fowler

c. R.L. Kittrell (married) Fanny Parham. Their children:
i. Annie Kittrell (married) Bennie Rowland. Their children:
1. Annie Rowland
2. Robert Rowland
3. Macy Rowland

  1. Mary Kittrell (married) Henry J. Parks. Their children:
    1.  James Parks
    2. Reynold Parks

    iii. Willie A. Kittrell (married) Ethel Hayes. Their children:
    1. Elizabeth Kittrell
    2. W.A. Kittrell, Jr.

  2. Alice Kittrell.

    v. Egbert Kittrell (married) Agnes Woodlief. Their children:
    1. James Kittrell
    2. Asa Kittrell
    3. Charlie Kittrell

    d. John J. Kittrell (married) Lizzie Edwards. Their children:
    i. Lois Kittrell
    ii. Clyde Kittrell
    iii. Alene Kittrell

    h. Jessie Kittrell (married) Lena Duke. Their child:
    i. Jessie Bell Kittrell

    i. Willie Kittrell (married) Ada Perdue. Their children:
    i. Florrie Kittrell (married) Clarence E. Page. Their children:
    1. Clarence Page
    2. Ada Page
    3. Mary Kittrel Page

Second child of Patsy Earl and William Kittrell:
2. Tabita Kittrell (married) Buck White. Their children:
a. Eugene White
b. Hugh White
c. Rebecca White, who married _______ White and removed to Tennessee. Names of their
children I do not know.

Third child of Patsy Earl and William Kittrell:
3. Mary Kittrell (married) John Wesley Young. Their children:
a. Junius W. Young (married first)  _______ Hunt. Their child:
i. E.O. Young
(married next) Lelia Hunt, no child.

b. Rufus K. Young (married) Della Rowland. See children under her name.
c. and d. Olivia and Ophelia Young, twins, no issue.

e. O.O. Young (married) Nannie Powell. Their children:
i. Thomas Young
ii. Henry
iii. Mary
iv. Alley Ball
v. Eleanor Young.

Forth child of Patsy Earl and William Kittrell:
4. Martha Kittrell married Willis Rogers. No issue.

Fifth child of Patsy Earl and William Kittrell:
5. Maria Kittrell married Willis Rogers. Their children:
a. Ella Rogers (married) George Davis
b. Pattie Rogers
c. A.K. Rogers (see under Mary Rowland)
d. Cecil Rogers
e. June Rogers
f. Samuel E. Rogers, children not known.
g. Roberta Rogers (married) James P. Satterwhite. Their children:
i. Samuel J. Satterwhite married Madeline Warren
ii. Fletcher Satterwhite
iii. John W. Satterwhite
iv. Clyde E. Satterwhite
v. Louise Satterwhite (married) Will Reavis
vi. Dora Satterwhite (married) Frank Rose. Their children:
1. Clarice Rose
2. Frank Rose (married) Mary Turner
3. James L. Rose
4. George W. Rose

Sixth child of Patsy Earl and William Kittrell:
6. Jennie Kittrell. Never married.
Nearly all the above descendants of Patsy and Mary Earl live and have lived in the Kittrell Twonship, Vance County. For fifty years or more Dr. Robert Gill, an active physician and farmer, has been their guide, physician and friend, to whom they have looked.

Now, for some years, Dr. Benjamin G. Allen has been and is acting in the same capacity. David H. Gill did much to educate and obtain homes for this large family connection.

James A. Gill and D.S. Allen were also men of force and activity.

Just think! When William, Thomas, and Robert Hicks, George Harris, John Earl and Gideon Crews came and settled those places at or before the year 1750, not a brick nor a nail nor a piece of wood had been assembled to build any house in Oxford or Raleigh. It was about 100 years thereafter before anything was done toward building Henderson or Durham. Hillsboro had been started and a road ran through this country from Petersburg to it and from Edenton and Newbern and Halifax to Hillsboro and on to Salisbury.

Not a railroad was in North Carolina until the Raleigh and Gaston was built, reaching in 1837, the place “a mile west of Chalk Level” where Henderson now is. I have never heard when either of the country roads from Henderson to Oxford was built, but suppose they were built after 1811 when Oxford was chartered.

Williamsboro and that old church (Salem Church) were there, the center of Granville’s eighteenth century culture. Williamsboro had fine schools from 1800 to 1850. Some Eatons and Somervilles and Hawkinses and Hendersons began to come about 1750. How people traveled in those days with such roads as they had, we cannot understand. Mostly on horseback, we suppose. Nothing remains to inform us what connection William Hicks and brothers, or George Harris or Gideon Crews or John Earl had with the outside world for fifty years after they settled upon the headwaters of Tabbs and Harrisburg and Flat Creeks.

Mr. L. G. Breedlove, a great grandson of John Hunt and James Crews, is of the opinion that John Earl met Zebiah Watts when she landed from the ship and married her and brought her to this section. Another account is that John Harris, the father of George Harris, married Elizabeth, the sister of Isaac Watts, and that their children were George Harris and the first wife of William Hicks and the wife of Valentine Mayfield. I cannot decide which story is true. The reference books say Isaac Watts was born in 1674 and died in 1748. It is, therefore, more likely, that the fiancés of John Earl and John Harris were Isaac’s nieces. If our kinship to him cannot be proven, we can look for the resemblances in his and our mental and spiritual attitudes, by reading his fifty odd hymns still sung in our own churches. His last 37 years were spent in the home of Thomas Abney, a London Alderman. How could they so…

“Mingle and mix, piety and politics?”

[Excluded one paragraph of extraneous content about unsubstantiated connections to the 14th century Hickses of England.]

These lands, when taken up from John of Carteret, alias Lord Granville, cost our ancestors less than a dollar an acre. In reconstruction days, 1868-70, I heard my father talking about his taxes. He said they were $15.00 that year and was complaining of how they had gone up. Just think of the tax on about 500 acres of land and the ordinary personality being $15.00. My brother Hewitt told me last fall that his school tax alone for 1925 on 120 acres, within a mile of White Oak Villa, and no better land or improvements, was $95.00.

I have my father’s store account from June, 1873, to July, 1874: Amount $174.00. Kerosene was 50c per gallon, nails 10c per pound, Rio coffee 40c, cotton cloth 12 1/2c, with a credit of two bales of cotton and 14 1/2 c per pound. I also have a receipt for the price of a coffin in which the body of my grandfather Abner Hicks was buried:

“The estate of Abner Hicks, deceased, to Elba L. Parrish, Dr., December 28th, 1857. To making one raised top coffin, $5.50. Received the above amount in full of Samuel S. Hicks. Elba L. Parrish.”

Let us now look from the past to the future.

May this pamphlet serve to introduce those of the Hickses and Crewses and Harrises and Earls and their descendants who do not know each other. Let us claim kin and be kin, and be such good and true and friendly men and women as will bring honor to our family name and fit us to associate with our worthy ancestors and all the good when we meet them hereafter.

  • Henderson, N.C., August 27th, 1926

 

 


An Explanation for the Riots in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD – in 5000 words (or less).

Four hundred years ago, our ancestors began importing native black Africans from their home continent to the North American continent, in chains, shoved below the decks of ships built especially for the purpose of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Three hundred years ago the practice of chattel slavery was so well entrenched into British-Colonial North American culture, that it was not only legal, but widely practiced in every single British colony in this hemisphere. In the southern colonies of the eighteenth century, the number of African descent slaves vastly outnumbered the number of white colonists, creating a social dynamic infused with fear and terror. Slave owners and their white employees feared violent uprising. Using their power and money, acquired largely through the benefit of slave labor, they influenced the courts and colonial legislative bodies to begin passing ever-more draconian laws against those of African Descent – forcing those few individuals who had managed to purchase their own freedom or win manumission through other means to leave the place where they were born, raised, and earned their living – to leave their families and friends still in bondage, behind. To stay meant to be forced to return to slavery. It’s in this era that it became legal for an owner to beat, mutilate, or even kill his slaves “as he saw fit”.

Two hundred seventy-six years ago, the Stono Slave Rebellion began in the colony of Charleston, South Carolina. The rebellion failed and everyone involved was either executed or sold into the West Indies. In response to the rebellion, the South Carolina legislature passed the Negro Act of 1740 restricting slave assembly, education, and movement. It required legislative approval for manumissions, which slaveholders had previously been able to arrange privately.

Two hundred twenty-seven years ago, after the American Revolution was won by the former British colonies of continental North America, the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified. The preamble of this document reads, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Within the same document, the founding fathers saw fit to enshrine chattel slavery as the law of the land, and to measure a person of African heritage as equal to 3/5 of a person.

Two hundred and twenty-four years ago, the Haitian Revolution began as a slave revolt in the French Colony of Saint-Domingue. This slave uprising was successful and culminated in the elimination of slavery there and the founding of the Republic of Haiti. The Haitian Revolution is generally considered the most successful slave rebellion ever to have occurred and it was a seminal moment in the histories of both Europe and the Americas. The success of the slaves on Saint-Domingue in throwing off the yolk of colonial rule through violent rebellion, the organized murder of plantation owners, and armed insurrection against a vastly superior military force, simply terrified white, slave-owning Americans. What occurred at Saint-Domingue caused a new round of extremely draconian legislative actions to be passed in the American South, as well as increasing militarization of the southern states.

Two hundred and fifteen years ago, not far from Richmond Virginia, a slave named Gabriel Prosser launched a plot to execute plantation owners and slaveholders, and to seize the city of Richmond. He recruited more than fifty slaves at the outset of his plan, but was thwarted by a fellow-slave who communicated a warning to his master. The planned rebellion failed at the very last moment before it was to be carried out, but the fact that it was very nearly successful shook Virginian’s to their core. Everyone found to be associated with the plot was executed. The state of Virginia responded by raising county-wide, highly-trained, regularly drilled militias, and the city of Richmond became a militarized camp with armed militia members patrolling the city on foot and horseback and parading around the capitol grounds on a daily basis. The militarization of Virginia continued unabated until the end of the US Civil War.

Two hundred and eight years ago, the Parliament of Great Britain passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which outlawed the kidnapping, imprisonment, export, and sale of African slaves. The British Navy aggressively enforced this legislation, which through blockade, seizure of vessels, and prosecution of ship owners and crews, brought a halt to the lion’s share of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The impact on the former colonies in North America was profound, shutting down the possibility that fresh slaves could be purchased to replace those worked to death (average lifespan after arrival to North America was five years) in the brutal sugar, rice, and indigo industries of the Deep South and Caribbean regions. Shortly after the implementation of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, American plantation owners in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina – particularly in central and eastern areas of those states where the farm land had been depleted – began purposeful and increasingly more sophisticated slave breeding programs based on contemporary cattle, horse, and pig breeding methodologies.

Between 1830 and 1860, roughly 10,000 slaves per month were sold or traded from the bustling slave market at Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia. This number was eclipsed by the larger, older, and even busier market at New Orleans, and it was nearly matched by the competing slave markets at Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. Taking just the Virginia numbers into account, more than three million individual slaves were bred, raised, and sold out of the piney woods of Virginia into the sugar, rice, and indigo killing fields of the Deep South.

Slavery – not plant agriculture (tobacco, cotton, grains) – was Virginia’s largest and most profitable industry in the decades leading up the US Civil War. Slavery made the state of Virginia the wealthiest in the United States, at a time when the United States was already competing with Great Britain to become the wealthiest nation in the world.

One hundred and fifty-four years ago the United State Civil War began. People, even today, argue as to what the cause of the war was, but few rational people will deny that the central points of debate had everything to do with money and political power. In 1860, the South possessed great wealth and great political power. The North and the emerging west felt that the South’s dominance was due to the constitutionally enshrined 3/5’s rule, which gave the South a disproportionally larger representation in the United States House of Representatives – and due to the reality that Southern employers did not have to pay wages to their workforce, a situation which gave them an unfair competitive advantage compared to employers in non-slave states.

When the United States government passed the Conscription Act, forcing millions of mostly young, recently immigrated, poor young men into service in the United States Army and Navy in support of the Union government in the Civil War, violent riots erupted, most notably in New York City. The city spiraled into chaos, with most of the animas directed at the city’s African population. An orphanage was attacked and looted, numerous homes and business were looted and burned, thousands of African American New Yorkers were assaulted on the streets, in their places of work, and in their homes. 120 African-descent New Yorkers were murdered over the three day riots before the US Army occupied the streets and forcibly restored order. This event remains the largest civil and racial insurrection in American history, aside from the American Civil War itself.

As the Civil War ramped up, the Southern Slave Trade continued. Despite The Emancipation Proclamation of January, 1863, nearly all American’s of African descent remained in bondage. Many of those who found themselves near the Union Army, chose to “run” hoping for freedom. What they found instead was forced labor under dreadful and dangerous circumstances, neglect to the point of starvation, constant marching with little or no housing provided to protect them from the elements, and being labeled “contraband” by the leaders and soldiers to whom they had fled seeking safety and relief.

For those that remained behind southern lines, nothing changed. Families were broken up. People were traded like cattle. There was no hope for freedom. It could not be bought, stolen, or earned. In the American South during the Civil War, it became illegal to free one’s slaves, or to transport them out of the reach of the Confederate government. As the deprivations of war took hold – food shortages, lack of fuel, lack of shoes and material for clothing – it was the slaves who endured the worst of the famine, cold, and nakedness. The slaves, who had always gotten the scraps left unwanted by their masters, got little to nothing at all.

When the Civil War ended with a Union victory in 1865, all the slaves in America were made free. Since it had been illegal for a slave to own private or even personal property, the overwhelming number of former slaves had absolutely nothing with which to begin their new lives. Never-the-less, many managed to quickly pull themselves up and start small businesses, lease farms abandoned by economically devastated former plantation owners, even build schools and begin to educate themselves and become politically active in an effort to improve their status in society and improve their lives and hopefully the lives of their children.

During the “Reconstruction” period after the conclusion of the Civil War, Union soldiers occupied much of the defeated south, and through their armed presence, enforced a nascent form of early civil rights. The South’s elected representatives were replaced by Union government appointed officials charged with the mission of restoring the Bill of Rights and Constitutions protections to the region, as well as enforcing the newly passed 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments (abolition of slavery, equal protection, voting rights).

One hundred and thirty-eight years ago the United States government formally ended the period of occupation of former Confederate states. Military troops were withdrawn and occupation governments were pulled out. Into that vacuum rushed a power-structure that had been patiently waiting, planning, and working for just such a US Government withdrawal. Almost overnight all gains made by those of African descent were erased. The era of Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and racial segregation the likes of which had never existed prior to the Civil War, was ushered in under a black cloud of terror and threat of violence.

The culminating event of the Post-Reconstruction/Pre-Jim Crow era occurred in 1898 in the city of Wilmington, North Carolina. According to Wikipedia; “The Wilmington coup d’etat of 1898, also known as the Wilmington massacre of 1898, or the Wilmington race riot of 1898, began… on November 10, 1898 and continued for several days. It is considered a turning point in post-Reconstruction North Carolina politics. The event is credited as ushering in an era of severe racial segregation and disenfranchisement of African-Americans throughout the Southeastern United States. Laura Edwards wrote in Democracy Betrayed (2000), ‘What happened in Wilmington became an affirmation of white supremacy not just in that one city, but in the South and in the nation as a whole.’

“Originally described by European-Americans as a race riot, the events are now classified as a coup d’etat, as white Democratic Party insurgents overthrew the legitimately elected local government. A mob of nearly 2,000 men attacked the only black newspaper in the state, and persons and property in black neighborhoods, killing… 60 victims.

“Two days after the election of a Fusionist white mayor and biracial city council, two-thirds of which was white, Democratic Party white supremacists illegally seized power and overturned the elected government.” The mob who seized Wilmington by force and through murder, stayed in force. In fact they managed to motivate the rest of the state of North Carolina to elect white-Supremacist Charles B. Aycock as governor the following year.

By the turn of the 20th century, the American South and large parts of the north and Midwest, consisted of communities divided by race, enforced by threat of violence. While it was not uncommon for some whites to employ African-America female domestics inside their homes as cooks, laundresses, nannies, and maids, and to employ African-American men outside their homes as gardeners or for labor, most whites had extremely limited contact with blacks. Churches were segregated (this was not true prior to the Civil War), schools of course, were segregated, most businesses were segregated, and neighborhoods were completely segregated (this too, had not been so prior to the Civil War). Blacks, who had no power in the communities in which they lived, were forced to work for wages well-below the norm for a white person doing the same job. Economically, it was extremely difficult for blacks to buy property because banks would not make loans, and it was common (and legal) for businesses to deny blacks the opportunity to purchase property even if they had the funds.

Throughout the early 20th century, racial intimidation against blacks increased in an effort to maintain the status quo of white power in a South and in cities that were increasingly black in population. Politician’s, the press, and business owners collectively conspired to foment smoldering racism by pitting low-income white workers against black workers, keeping whites afraid of losing their jobs, and blacks afraid of losing their lives.  Enforced segregation increased the gulf of understanding between the two races, keeping them apart from one another and thereby reducing the opportunity for people of different races to find common ground.

Despite all this, in the first half of the twentieth century, enforced segregation created a situation that allowed blacks to become increasingly self-reliant and self-sufficient. A vibrant black middle class emerged comprised of teachers, business owners, and eventually physicians, attorneys, and entrepreneurs. Black communities strongly emphasized education and religion, while placing a high value on a tight, nuclear family supported by extended family, and the larger community beyond. This success allowed many blacks to buy property, build wealth, and gain some political influence and autonomy. In the pre-WWII era in America, citizens of African-descent began to climb up out of the ravages of more than three hundred years of physical oppression and begin to participate economically in society that while not “equal”, was certainly far superior to anything experienced previously.

Seventy years ago, at the beginning of WWII, young black men found themselves called on by the United States government to serve their country in the War against Nazi Germany and its allies. Despite a great deal of opposition, Franklin D. Roosevelt integrated the US military, allowing men of African descent to bear arms on the battlefield for the first time since the United States Civil War. Young men fought and died in that war, defending the concepts of Liberty and Freedom on foreign shores. They performed admirably as soldiers, pilots, sailors, and marines. Their individual service records, their bravery, and their determination to prove their metal against a deeply prejudiced military population is now well-known. When the war concluded and these men returned home, they returned to communities where former POW German soldiers were served at lunch counters that they, former American soldiers, were turned away from. They, generally, were unable to reap many of the benefits of military service, as they could not be admitted to colleges that were accredited to accept VA benefits, VA home loans were closed to them, few employers would hire them, and the white communities in which they lived largely denied or ignored the fact of their service and sacrifice.

It was out of this crucible of hypocrisy and outrage that the early Civil Rights movement was born.  That movement took hold through the 1950’s and into the 1960’s, culminating with Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 27, 1963. The event made it clear to Washington, D.C., to the elected officials in Washington and throughout the nation, and to every American, that a sea-change was coming in regard to race in the country.

In the South, violence, intimidation, and white outrage was captured on television. Many American’s were horrified by what they saw. Young black and white civil rights workers were executed in Mississippi, and again, Americans were horrified. The Attorney General of the United States, Robert F. Kennedy, brought the force of the Federal Government and all-but occupied Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, and Arkansas, and other communities during this period.

Fifty-one years ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, outlawing – for the first time since Reconstruction — discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and by facilities that served the general public.

Fifty years ago, Congress passed The Voting Rights Act of 1965. Per Wikipedia: “Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act resulted in the mass enfranchisement of racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Act is considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.”

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

With his loss, the Civil Rights movement in the United States lost its captain, its compass, its wise counsellor, and – unfortunately – its core dedication to non-violent protest. Following King’s assassination, the country erupted in a series of violent riots between African-Americans and police. The outrage felt after King’s death marked a significant turning point in the tenor of race relations in the nation. The tone quickly turned militant, frustrated, and angry. The black community divided against itself, with the older generation wanting to keep peace and pursue non-violence, while younger proponents of equal justice seeking to grasp it “by any means necessary”. The tension and the grief in black communities became palpable.

With the Passing of the Civil Rights legislation in the late 1960’s, segregation in schools, housing, and businesses, gradually became a thing of the past – for some affluent members of the African-American community. No longer forced into “Red-Lined” communities, blacks who could afford to “moved on up”, and moved out to better neighborhoods offering better school districts and greater social and economic advantages to their children.  Black consumers, now free to trade with any business they chose, went out of their neighborhoods to patronize businesses with better selections, perhaps lower prices, and all certainly offering a novel experience as compared to their well-known, local black merchants. White consumers, by contrast, did not flock into black neighborhoods to seek out the novelty of segregation.

Rather, middle class whites who found their neighborhoods and schools gradually including blacks, fled to the suburbs and opened private “parochial” schools that could, legally (and more important to the individuals of that era and our own, use religious “morality” to) discriminate on racial grounds.

Between the passing of Civil Rights legislation in the late 1960’s and the beginning of the Reagan administration in 1980, the once-vibrant black middle class which had steadfastly taken care of its own, all but vanished in what remained of the still segregated nation. Black businesses failed due to lack of customers, and so black employment in the community ceased. Black schools were absorbed into white school systems which were abandoned by the tax base and left to ruin. Historically black colleges saw enrollment gradually decline, and then precipitously fall into oblivion as the few black students who could go to college, chose to go to integrated colleges and universities offering a wider range of scholarly options. Middle-class blacks mainstreamed into the larger society. They represented a small percentage of the African descent population in the United States, but their absence in still-segregated communities was felt all-too-keenly. This group included teachers, professionals, doctors, and attorneys – the leaders of what had once been a wholly segregated community. When they left they took their values of education, hard work, self-respect, wisdom, and self-discipline with them. What remained in those neighborhoods, towns, and cities was an impoverished class of poorly educated residents with few economic options, little education, and no one remaining to look to for guidance or for employment.

After the Vietnam War concluded in 1975, another generation of African-American veterans returned home to conditions even worse than those experienced by their fathers a generation before. They came home to broken communities that offered no jobs and no recognition of the sacrifice they made. Many vets, black and white, returned from Southeast Asia with drug addictions (courtesy of the CIA). And black vets were returned to neighborhoods already saturated with the first wave of Cartel-scale drug dealing.

Thirty-five years ago, under the administration of President Ronald Reagan, the “War on Drugs” was commenced in response to the increasing crime rate and lawlessness experienced in the country, which the President blamed on drug users, dealers, and neighborhood gangs. During this period the “3 Strikes” mandatory sentencing was imposed in many of those states with the largest percentage population of African-Americans. Interestingly, the myriad of legislations written and adopted by states targeted crack cocaine (predominately used by African-Americans) for much harsher, longer sentences, while leaving rock or powdered cocaine (primarily used by whites) as lesser offences. At the same time that the President lectured the American people on the evils of marijuana and crack, members of his administration were participating in “guns for drugs” exchanges with Central American dictators (the “Iran-Contra affair”), bringing marijuana and cocaine into this country, then dumping it into African-American communities on the wholesale.

Twenty-years ago, both federal and state governments began to investigate the concept of mass-privatization of prison systems. The early experiments generated a windfall of profits to both the states and the companies hired to run private, for-profit prisons. Private companies were contracted to run large, industrial scale prison systems nationwide. They worked in partnership with law enforcement and the judiciary to ensure a constant high population count in these facilities. With the assistance of drug laws passed a decade earlier (almost in pre-cognition of the Private Prison concept), a new, multi-billion dollar industry cropped up without anyone really noticing – except young black men and their families.

For the whole of the United States population, the prison statistics are sobering. From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people. Today, the US is 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners. Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in every 31 adults, or 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control.

— African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population, with an incarceration rate at nearly six times the rate of whites.

— Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population

— One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime

— Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).

—  African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.

— African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.

— African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)

Three years ago, an un-armed, black teenager was walking through his home neighborhood with a soft drink and a snack. He was followed, assaulted, and shot to death by an armed private citizen who claimed the young man looked suspicious. The armed man was not charged in the murder of Trayvon Martin. He went on to commit numerous other assaults and violations of the law, yet he has yet to serve any time in prison for his offenses.

Since Trayvon Martin’s death, countless private citizens armed only with cell-phone video cameras have captured live-action incidences of abuse, assault, and even murder, committed by police against un-armed African-American men and boys, as well as against “petty criminals” who posed little if any genuine threat to society. And yet, few, if any officers have been prosecuted.

Not quite two weeks ago an unarmed, twenty-five year old African-American man who was guilty of simply running through a neighborhood parking lot, was accosted by the Baltimore Police, detained, arrested, and – somewhere between his run and winding up in zip ties, face down on the pavement, had his spine severed, leading to the loss of his life. Much of the incident was caught on cell-phone video, and it’s fairly clear to any rational person that Freddie Gray, the victim in this instance, was already severely injured when the police hauled him, legs dragging behind him, into the police van.

Another young man headed to prison or to the grave? Another son, father, brother, stolen from his family.

Four hundred years ago, our ancestors began importing native black Africans from their home continent to the North American continent, in chains, shoved below the decks of ships built especially for the purpose of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Today we – our current generation – import African-Americans into the for-profit prison system, using a hyper-militarized police force trained for this express purpose, and a judicial system built to ensure the success of the current system – a system which seeks to enforce the status quo – where black families are broken and kept weak and leaderless, where black bodies are used for profit, and in which Black Lives Don’t Matter, except for what we can get out of them.

With a history such as this one, a few riots every few years are to be expected. It’s nothing new. It’s been going on for 400 years and until we (the white people in power) recognize that the system in place is not broken, that in fact it is doing exactly as it was designed to do, nothing is going to change. Except we should keep in mind, every 200 years or so, the slave rebellions actually succeed. It’s something to think about as we contemplate this highly successful system we’ve all become so accustomed to that we can no longer even see it clearly for what it is – a criminal enterprise.


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