Below is a transcription of a brief newspaper article that appeared in the Oxford Public Ledger, on February 25, 1930.
Oxford Public Ledger – Tuesday, February 25, 1930. Page 1.
THE OLD J.A. CREWS’ PLACE ON TAR RIVER
Scene Of Much Activity In Anti-Bellum Days
From Rev. J.M. Taylor, a colored preacher who lives near Creedmoor, we gather the following data in reference to the old James A. Crews’ farm on Tar River. Taylor, who was born in slavery spent his early life on the Crews’ “plantation” and is known as one of the “Crews boys”.
Our informant relates that in 1864-1865 there were 10 in the white family and 32 in the colored family on this farm of 740 acres. “Our Master”, he said, was a typical farmer.
“I remember,” he continued, “that the corn crop was 300 barrels, wheat crop 300 bushels, potato crop 1,200 bushels, molasses 1,500 gallons. He ground cane and made molasses for his neighbors. Being 8 or 9 years of age, I heard the cannon roar in Eastern Carolina in 1864; saw several hundred soldiers of Sherman’s army on the first and second of May 1865; they passed through our yard and took one of our mules. The Northern army was dressed in blue uniforms. Of the ten of our white people in 1865 there are only 3 survivors, namely: Mr. Leroy Crews, of Thelma, Mr. Albert Crews of Oxford and Mrs. Carolina Smith of Oxford. Of the 32 colored people on the Crews’ farm in 1865 only 5 are living today.”
Rev. J.M. Taylor, quoted above, is a very remarkable man and is doing a fine work among the people of his race. During the campaign he formed a colored Democratic Club for Wilson, and one of his choice possessions today is a personal letter he received from President Wilson.
CH Jones Note: Rev. J.M. Taylor would have been born in about 1856, so he would have been about the same age as the children of James A. Crews; Flora and Albert Crews, and a bit younger than LeRoy Crews who is my great-great grandfather.