These pages are dedicated to the memory of all the men from North Carolina that fought in the Civil War.
AN IREDELL NEIGHBORHOOD A HALF CENTURY AGO 1845-53 By Captain H.A. Chambers of Chattanooga, Tennessee The Landmark Statesville, N.C. March 27, 1900 The neighborhood under consideration is located a few miles east of Statesville. It consists of the territory which furnished pupils fifty years ago to the schools taught in the little schoolhouse located about four miles east of Statesville close to the public road which leads from Statesville to Salisbury, hereinafter called the “Salisbury Road”. It is bounded on the north by Fourth Creek, on the east by the “Georgia” Road, on the south by Third Creek, and on the west by an imaginary north and south line, practically parallel to the “Georgia” Road and about two and a half miles east of Statesville. The time under consideration is from and including the year 1845 to the summer of 1853. During this time there lived within the above mentioned boundaries families and persons by the names of Bull, Bost, Hoover, Gayler, Jenkins, Kluttz, Walker, Summers, Steele, Murdoch, Haynes, Moyer, Fleming, Miller, Kimball, Haithcox, Brawley, Freeland, Cowan, Harkey, Jordan, Chambers, Brom, Leslie, Barkley, Lentz, Bailey, and perhaps others not now remembered. Some of them were residents the entire time above mentioned, others for only a part of that time. Few who lived in this neighborhood fifty years ago now remain within its borders. There may be others, but just now, from my recollection, I can recall only Calvin Kimball, John Lentz, and the Misses Leslie. Death, the great Civil War, and the emigration which followed it, have made many changes. Still, it may be of interest, to the few survivors within its borders, and those who, like myself, who have wandered far away, but who still have kindly remembrances of the old neighborhood, to recall the people and the incidents which occurred among them half a century ago. It may also be of interest to the present denizens to know something of their predecessors. If Calvin Kimball, John Lentz, Columbus Freeland, Henry Haithcox, and myself and a few of the women who were girls when we were boys, could get together for a few hours, what a fund of anecdotes and remembrances of the old neighborhood fifty years ago we could gather together. Such a meeting, however, is never likely to occur and I venture to give a few of my recollections for the entertainment of such as care to read them. Long absence from the locality and the necessary attention give to the requirements of a busy life and changing scenes have blurred and in some instances, no doubt, obliterated the recollections of many things of interest that occurred so many years ago. The errors of my memory, however, can be corrected by persons mentioned above and others who have knowledge of the facts. They may also be stimulated to add, out of their own recollections, things which I have omitted. Without any desire whatsoever for individual prominence but in order that what I write may be better understood, it may be well at the outset to give my personal connection with the neighborhood during the time mentioned. The narrative to follow must necessarily be largely personal. I was more familiar with my grandfather’s family and home than any others in the neighborhood. They will, therefore, be more fully discussed than any other. They were probably more typical of the average family and home and neighborhood and may thus be properly used to illustrate customs and conditions of the time. My father, Joseph Chambers, died at the age of 22, before I was one year old. At the time of his death, he was living on his stepmother’s place, about seven miles east of Statesville, and about one mile north of the Salisbury Road. My mother, Ellen Cashion, was an orphan at the time of her marriage to my father, and at that time was a member of the family of her maternal uncle, the late James Barkley, who lived about two miles southeast of Statesville. I was the only child by this marriage. Soon after my father’s death, my grandfather, Henry Chambers, who lived about four miles east of Statesville, and about one mile south of the Salisbury Road, near the center of the neighborhood now under consideration, built a home on the place where he lived for my mother and myself. We occupied this place until the delicate health of my mother’s sister, the wife of the late Abner Scroggs, who lived near Kestler’s Mills, a few miles south of Statesville, made it necessary for my mother to go and live with and care for her. The only thing I remember in connection with our living in the house built by our grandfather—and it is the first thing that I distinctly remember —was seeing my mother on one occasion baking “Johnny cakes” on a “Johnny cake board” in front of the fire. Not long after the death of my aunt, Mrs. Scroggs, my mother, in December of 1844, married the late Franklin Jones, who lived about one mile east of Sherill’s Ford, in southwestern Iredell. Mr. Jones was a widower with six sons, several of whom were quite young, the youngest about my own age. Mr. Jones was one of the best and kindest men I ever knew and he and his sons always treated me with all the kindness desired, and as a member of the family. Most of the time, however, after my mother’s second marriage, until the fall of 1853, my home was with my grandfather, at the place above mentioned, at the center of the neighborhood. His house, therefore, was the center of my boyhood world. It is as from his house that I recall all that I know about the neighborhood and the outside world from 1845 to 1853. My grandfather had been twice married. His first wife, the mother of all his children, was Jane Cowan, daughter of William Cowan of Rowan County. His second wife, who he married before I was born, was Jane Beard, daughter of David Beard, who lived about seven miles east of Statesville, a short distance north of the Salisbury Road. She was a sister of the late Alexander Beard, whom the older citizens may remember as having lived at his father’s place until he married the Widow Fleming, when he sold his home place and thereafter lived at the Fleming place, where his wife’s first husband had lived, immediately on the east side of the “Georgia” Road, on the edge of this neighborhood, a short distance to the north of the Chambers’ Cross Roads. When the question of my name was determined, my good-hearted step-grandmother succeeded in burdening me with not only the name of my grandfather, but also with that of her father and brother. As soon as I realized the inconvenience of my grandmother’s bounty in the way of names, I dropped one and was tempted to drop another. My grandfather’s family, at the time I first remember it, consisted of himself, his second wife, above mentioned, his sons Cowan and Ebeneezer, and his daughters Ruth and Adaline. His oldest son William, had married and was living in Rowan County in the neighborhood of his mother’s kin. Grandfather’s second son, Curtis, spend most of his time in the same neighborhood. After the death of William Chambers and his wife, which occurred a short time after each other, in the latter part of 1847, their only child, Ann Elizabeth and my uncle Curtis, became members of my grandfather’s family, and so remained as long as I did. Curtis and Ebeneezer Chambers were noted throughout the surrounding county for their smallness of stature. My step-grandmother died in 1861(?-blurred) and my grandfather in 1866. Curtis Chambers died in Montgomery County, Illinois a few years after the close of the Civil War. Cowan Chambers married a Miss Kilpatrick in 1846 and for a number of years lived at the same place where my father had died, seven miles east of Statesville. He subsequently went to the Kilpatrick neighborhood on the south Yadkin River, not very far from Bethany. After the death of his first wife he married the widow of his brother-in-law and died in 1873. Adaline Chambers was married about 1851 to Samuel Moore, who then lived on the south side of Third Creek, within the bounds of the Bethesda congregation. She died there in August of 1856. Ruth and Ebeneezer are the only members of the family now living. Their home is near Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois, where quite a colony of people from the old neighborhood and surrounding country went following the Civil War. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. March 30, 1900 As my grandfather’s home was probably typical of quite a number of others in the neighborhood, and as all the vestiges of it except the smoke house were gone when I last visited the place in 1891, it may not be improper here to describe it for the benefit of some of the old neighbors. The house was built of logs with a “loft” of about half a story. It fronted to the south. The chimney, built mostly of stone, was on the east. A small, unglazed window was on either side of the chimney. The neighborhood road running north and south passed just outside of the yard fence at the eastern end of the house. The kitchen, in which the cooking and weaving was done, and where the Negro man John stayed, was in the southwestern corner of the yard, and was connected to the south door of the house by a walk of hewn pine logs. The smoke-house, fronting north, was in the southeastern corner of the yard, near the road. After my mother’s second marriage, my grandfather moved the house he had built for her and placed it at the west end of his residence and some ten or twelve feet from it. The space between the two houses was roofed over and thus became a cool, shady, breezy place the family often sat on hot summer days. This space was afterwards enclosed to make another bedroom. Those additions to the original house made quite a long house which extended nearly to the northern end of the kitchen. The garden, fenced with “palings” was situated beyond the kitchen at the southwest corner of the yard, and contained, in addition to the usual garden vegetables, a few flowers and shrubs such as were then common in the gardens of the neighborhood. I remember pansy, sage, hollyhocks, sunflowers and pinks. The apple orchard was in the field west of the house. Peach and cherry trees were scattered about the place. The spring from which I used to carry water and which on hot days I thought was at least a mile from the house was a few hundred yards southwest of the garden, just beyond the edge of a small field. The lane through which the neighborhood road ran was enlarged by an offset in the eastern fence, just at the house and some distance north of it, so as to leave with the road in this enlarged part of the lane, the wood pile, which lay beyond the road, just east of the house. The corn crib was a few yards north of the wood pile and the wagon shed a few yards north of the corn crib. At the north end of this enlargement or offset and fronting south, making a part of the enclosure, was a stable. In front of it and in this large or open part of the lane was a large post oak which had been tapped so as to force the lower limbs to grow thick and long. This made a fine shade tree under which my grandfather did much work of “breaking” and “backling” (transcriber’s note, might be “hackling”?) flax, pressing cider, mending his farm tools, etc., and in the shade of which passing neighbors would often stop and to the limbs of which horses were hitched. Just back or north of this stable, across the cow pen and on the east side of the lane and fronting south, was the barn or larger stable. I can just remember when it was built. It was of the customary style, with a large open space or floor in the center, enclosed, when necessary, by large doors or movable planks. On this floor, my grandfather used to thresh his wheat, rye and oats with flails or sometimes “tromp” out the grain by having the horses around over the sheaves on the floor. It was at this barn that I first saw a threshing machine. It belonged, as I remember, to Mr. Goodman from the Bethesda neighborhood or to a company of which he was a principal. I suppose the machine would now be considered a very crude affair but at the time it was considered a triumph of inventive genius. The power was communicated to the machine, fastened on the barn floor, by a rope which led to a wheel connected with the horse power in the yard. My recollection is that it required six or eight horses to furnish the horsepower. When the signal for stopping the machine was given, all hands ran to the horsepower in the yard and grabbed the levers to which the horses were hitched with all their might in order to stop the machine. I remember hearing the men laugh about a neighbor of Mr. Goodman’s who at one time came to where the machine was in operation to see its wonderful workings. When the signal came to stop the machine, this neighbor, wishing to aid in the matter and without thinking or knowing how fast the rope was moving grabbed it with his naked hands which were terribly lacerated and burned and blistered thereby. I remember the woodpile above mentioned because I spent many weary hours at it splitting wood in lengths suitable for the fireplace in the house and kitchen. I was not noted for my love of manual labor and the wood to be cut was often seasoned and hard. Once the axe glanced and cut my foot badly. My grandfather’s remedy was wet tobacco tied upon the wound. This prevented inflammation and allowed the wound to rapidly heal. A few years ago the late General T.L. Clingman of North Carolina endeavored to make a fortune out of the medicinal virtues of tobacco and wrote many articles in praise of its qualities. Among other things, he spoke of its excellence in the cure of cuts, sores and bruises. He thus endeavored to utilize the knowledge of the virtues of the tobacco which prevailed in the old neighborhood in my grandfather’s day. The corn crib I remember principally because behind it I received the only whipping my kind old grandfather ever gave me for any of my youthful misdeeds. It was a year when corn was very scarce, and during my grandfather’s absence one day I undertook to see how much corn could be eaten by a flock of geese which the women of the family kept upon the place and which flock my grandfather detested. In addition to this, on the same day, my evil genius induced me, notwithstanding my aversion to useful work, to plow, with a hoe, a miniature farm in the lane where the rains would wash away all the loose dirt and leave gullies in the road. My grandfather was a man of good and even temper. But on his return that day he seemed to be somewhat out of humor. Doubtless something had gone wrong in the transactions of the day. When he saw how much corn I had wasted on the despised geese and the condition in which my unusual streak of industry had put his lane, his anger rose to the boiling point, and he made me feel most sensibly the virtue of some peach tree spouts that had, unfortunately for me, grown up from a broken tree behind the crib. During the time and vicinity under consideration, the rule among people was “early to be and early to rise.” The promises of the balance of the couplet were not altogether unfulfilled. Some may have been made healthy and some wise, but none wealthy. I remember with distinctness the enforcement of the “early to rise” part of the saying, especially on cold winter mornings. How I hated to be disturbed and made to get up at the very time before daylight when I was doing my best and healthiest sleeping. But the people of the neighborhood followed what they regarded as the good old plan of rising early, making the fires and feeding the stock, so as to get to work as soon as daylight came on short winter days. But even now I wish, on behalf of country boys and girls, to raise my voice in protest against the custom of forcing children, except in cases of necessity, to lose their morning naps and be exposed to the bitter and chilling cold of winter mornings. The old maxim above quoted may be very well for grown up people, but the construction put upon it in the period I am speaking of, is too harsh for young and growing children who need all the sleep they can get. Nevertheless, among the pleasant recollections of this neighborhood are the sounds which, on clear, frosty mornings, could be heard of neighbors with their wagons, and teams and axes, beginning at an early hours the labors of the day. Notwithstanding the role of “early to bed and early to rise”, the winter nights were nevertheless too long for the whole time to be spent in bed. After the evening meal was over a short time would be spent by the members of each family around the fireside, discussing the events of the past day, plans for the next, and rehearsing the gossip of the neighborhood. This was before the day of lamps, cheap coal oil, and store candles for use in the country. The women of each family prepared, sometime during the year, “tallow dips” or molded tallow candles for family use. These, however, were too precious for general and constant use. They were reserved for special occasions when no other and cheaper light could be made available. The usual light by which the neighborhood families spent the time between the time of supper and going to bed was the light from the fireplace. If for any reason any brighter light was wanted, a supply of rich pine, generally consisting of pine knots, was provided, and one piece after another, was thrown into the fire, which, with its blaze, illuminated the entire room. Among the most pleasant recollections of my boyhood, were these winter nights at my grandfather’s house. He always sat on the right hand side of the fireplace near one of the little unglazed windows of which I have spoken. The other members of the family formed a semi circle around the fire. The women folks were generally engaged in knitting, mending and sometimes spinning, while they and other members of the family engaged in conversation. My grandfather was often induced to repeat again and again the adventures of his youth when the country was new, and also his experiences among the Indians in Georgia, with whom he spent considerable time in his young manhood. Sometimes some member of the family would read aloud from some favorite book for the entertainment of the others. In this way I remember the “Life of David Crockett by Himself” was read and his hunting stories laughed at and discussed until every member of the family was familiar with them. To my boyhood imagination Crocket thus became a hero, and that feeling lingers with me yet. The first time I visited San Antonio, Texas, which was long after I reached manhood, I went at once to the Alamo, where he so bravely fought and died, and stood with reverence at the very spot where he fought and died. In like manner the lives of Washington, and Marion, respectively, written by Rev. Mason L. Weems, were read around the family circle. Washington, as his character was depicted in Weems’ book, and indeed in all others that I have read, demanded admiration and reverence, but he was always represented as too grand, wise, dignified, distant and aristocratic and altogether too faultless, to be loved. But Crockett and Marion had some human faults and weaknesses about them and were more like other men. The story of their lives drew sympathy and admiration and love. Moreover, my grandfather and his sons had, in their wagon trips to market from time to time, had gone to Chester, Camden, Charleston and other points in South Carolina and thus passed through the very scenes of Marion’s operations during the Revolutionary War. They saw some of the places mentioned in Weems’ book and talked with people whose ancestors had participated in the Little Partisan’s movements. Thus, Crockett and Marion became my boyhood heroes and today still keep a warm place in my regard. Another book which I read and re-read until it was torn to pieces was Peter Parley’s Common School History. I can yet recall the wood cuts in it of Knight’s Errant, of the Kings of England, Cromwell, Charlemagne, and of other French monarchs, and of Napoleon. The use of this book gave strength to a love of history which I have always had, but never had sufficient means or opportunity to gratify. It was the unquestioned historical authority which was used in the great debates which occurred sometimes at the neighborhood schoolhouses on winter nights. Another book I remember was a large, leather covered volume filled with quaint accounts of noted shipwrecks. On the blank leaves of this volume, my grandfather kept his family record. This book was printed in the old fashioned style with long “s”s and with the first word of each page printed at the bottom of the preceding page. My aunts had taught me to read when I was very young. Indeed, I do not remember the time when I did not know the alphabet. As I was for a long time the only child in the family, without associates or playmates of my own age, I sought amusement and recreation in reading this and the other books above mentioned. On Sundays, however, I was required, when not at church, to devote my time and attention to such gay and, to a child, such attractive works as the “Profession of Faith” especially the shorter catechism, Bunyon’s “Pilgrims Progress”, Baxter’s “Saints Rost” Doddridge’s “Rise and Progress”, which, with the Bible, Testaments, and hymnbooks, constituted about all the books in my grandfather’s house. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 3, 1900 When I first remember, the Rev. E.F. Rockwell was pastor of the Fourth Creek church at Statesville. My grandfather’s home was then within the bounds of that congregation. This was before the organization of the church at Bethesda, on the south side of the Third Creek, much nearer, and to which the church members of the family transferred their membership. Mr. Rockwell used to make pastoral visits and although he rarely caught my grandfather and uncles in the house, he always found the women folks and myself, and in his solemn way instructed us. On one of these occasions, he gave me a little pamphlet “Shorter Catechisms” for which I cannot say I was afterwards very grateful. Often when I was desirous of some light and more boyish entertainment and amusement I received the injunction “Get that pretty little book Mr. Rockwell gave you and study it.” Arrangements were also made with the first school teacher to whom I went after receiving this gift to require me as a sort of mental stimulant, to recite a number of answers to the questions in this book every Monday morning. Of course, in order to prepare for this ordeal, I had, on the previous Sunday, to devote myself to memorizing parts of this “pretty little book.” I hope I bore no ill will towards Mr. Rockwell for his gift. It doubtless did me good; but in those days it was a bugbear for me. Years afterwards, when I went to enter Davidson College, and appeared for examination before Mr. Rockwell, then professor of Latin there, I reminded him of the trouble his gift had given me, but he only laughed and in his pleasant way remarked “It doubtless was the making of you.” Mr. Rockwell, in his later years, lived to a good old age and died a few years ago, with the love, respect and veneration of all who had known him. Leaving now for a time the consideration of the family and place where I found my home from 1845 to 1853, I will give such items of interest as I can recall about the other residents of the neighborhood fifty years ago. Of the many who resided there I can give no history subsequent to the summer of 1853. Great lapses of time, long absence from the neighborhood and attention absorbed in other pressing matters, have caused me to lose sight of them. Of the others I will give the subsequent recollection to the best of my recollection. We will first take up those on the north side of the Salisbury Road, beginning in the northwest corner of the neighborhood and going eastwards and then, in succession, the eastern, middle and western parts of the territory south of that road. Milligan Bell lived on the first house on the north side of that road, about two and one half miles from Statesville and in the northwest corner of the boundary heretofore fixed for the neighborhood under consideration. His wife was Nancy Barkley, a daughter of James Barkley, heretofore mentioned. She was my mother’s full cousin, but, as my mother had been raised in Mr. Barkley’s family, the sons and daughters in that family seemed to her more like brothers and sisters than cousins. As I remember them they were: Thomas, John, Archibald and Joseph, Nancy, Louisa and Rebecca. I was taught to call each of them uncle or aunt except Rebecca, the youngest. She was still young enough to be a sort of companion or playmate when I would spend the day at the Barkley home and did not seem to me old enough to be called “aunt”. One of our favorite amusements, I recall, was hunting the nests of the guinea fowls, of which her mother, “Aunt Delilah”, kept quite a number. She afterwards married her near neighbor, Robert White, Jr., a cousin of my father, and afterwards lived, for a time at least, within the boundaries of the old neighborhood. I still remember with pleasure my early associations with her, John, Archibald, and Joseph Barkley—all now dead—married and settled near and around their father’s home place and spent their lives there. But as they were beyond and west of the lines of the neighborhood heretofore described, and about which I am writing, their further history will not be described. The Mr. Bell above mentioned, early in the period described, sold out and moved to the West. This was before the day of railroads and good mail facilities. When a person or family moved to the then far West—which at that time meant anywhere near the mountains of western North Carolina—the chances were that they would never again be seen by their neighbors, and rarely ever heard from even from by their own kin. The parting was regarded, and in most instances correctly, as a final one, almost equal to that caused by death. I was present the day Mr. Bell and his family left their old home. I do not recall the names or number of his children except Nancy and Thomas but as some of them were near my own age, we were much distressed at parting. My mother was very much attached to her cousin, Mrs. Bell, and named her oldest daughter (a child of her second marriage) after her. Some time after the removal of Mr. Bell, his brother-in-law, William Walker, took possession of the place, and lived there for many years. His wife was Louisa Barkley, a sister of Mrs. Bell. Mrs. Walker—“Aunt Louisa” as I called her, was cross-eyed. A surgeon performed an operation on her eyes by which they were straightened out and her appearance greatly improved. I remember what wonderful stories there were in the neighborhood about this operation. One story, evolved from some vivid imagination, had it that, during the operation, the surgeon had completely removed Mrs. Walker’s eyeball and laid it on a table, where it remained some time before being replaced. Mrs. Walker lived to a good old age and died only a few years ago. The next house to the east of the Walker’s was the home of Paul Bost. He was a Dutchman and he and his children always showed this by his peculiar pronunciation of English words. My recollection is that he and his family used the Dutch language a great deal, if not altogether, in their home. Mr. Bost, as I recall him, was a large, stout, broad shouldered man of great strength and vigor, and was much in demand in the neighborhood “choppings”, log rolling and corn shucking. His wife was named Peggy and since beginning these articles I am informed she is still living at the place with a daughter named Lucy. I do not recall the names of all his children except a daughter named Millie I think who at the outbreak of the Civil War was a buxom, fine looking young woman. The next neighbor to the east was Archibald Hoover, a brother-in-law, I think, of Mr. Bost. At any rate, Mrs. Hoover was a Dutch woman and their children, like those of Mr. Bost, when they went to school, showed their Dutch pronunciation of the English language. Mr. Hoover, unlike Mr. Bost, was a small, dark man, rather slow in his movements. I remember attending corn shuckings at his house, and enjoyed, as small, growing boys usually do, the abundance of things placed upon the supper table. He and his wife Annie are both dead, as is their son Martin. Their daughters Polly, Maria, Lena, Eliza and Malinda are still living. The next home, going eastward on the north side of the road, was occupied by Mr. Gayler. Early in the time covered by these recollections, Gayler sold out and moved West. My grandfather took me to the sale made by Mr. Gayler before he moved out. This was the first auction I ever saw, and it was the only time I ever remember seeing Mr. Gayler. If anyone subsequently lived on the place he vacated, I do not now remember it. Willis Jenkins, years afterwards, built and occupied a small house in this vicinity, on the north side of the Salisbury Road. There is a considerable depression in this road, made by a hollow, which crosses it, and runs northward between the Hoover and Gayler places. It was a neighborhood tradition, when I was a boy, that many years before, some man had committed suicide by hanging himself in this hollow just north of the road. Superstitious people who had to pass this part of the public road were anxious to do so in the daylight. They feared that at night they might see the ghost of the suicide, as some were reported to have done. I had heard these stories and confess that when I had to pass that way, as I frequently did on trips to and from White’s Mill and other points, I greatly preferred to get past that point before dark. Whether in fact a suicide had been committed there, I do not know. The next house on the east of the Gayler place was occupied when I can first remember by a Mr. Kluttz and his family. He soon, like Bell and Gayler, sold out moved West. He was succeeded by William Walker and wife Louisa, above mentioned, who after a few years of residing there, sold the place to the late Charles L. Summers, and moved to the Bell place, heretofore described. Mr. Summers came there from Davidson College. He was a son-in-law of John Murdoch, who lived in the northern part of the neighborhood. Mr. Summers was an enterprising and public spirited citizen. He was a manufacturer of buggies and carriages. He greatly improved the Walker residence and out buildings. He erected his shops for manufacturing purposes immediately on the south side of the Salisbury Road, a little west of his residence. Later he erected the first steam saw mill I ever saw. It was in a depression on the north side of the road opposite his blacksmith shop. He lived at this place for a number of years until he was elected into some county office—Superior Court Clerk, I think it was. Some time after this, he removed to Statesville and there remained until his death a few years ago. His family, as I first remember them, consisted of his wife, his daughter Mary Eliza, and son Claudius. This daughter, known as Miss Mollie, grew up to be a bright, smart, amiable and intelligent woman. I was proud to be honored with her friendship in our school days in the old neighborhood and afterwards. Some time after the Civil War she married Elam F. Morrison. I was sorry in November last to see a notice of her death in the Landmark. From this notice I learned that she had been an invalid for a very long time. Claudius Sommers, a bright and promising young man, entered the Confederate Army as soon as he was old enough, and died in the service. The next house on the north side was that of John Steele, which was near Fourth Creek, about a mile north of the Sommers place. His family consisted of himself and his wife, whose name was Melissa; his sons Cowan, Martin, Harvey and Rockwell; and daughters Mary, Jennie and Sallie. This was an interesting family. Mr. Steele was quite a dignified old gentleman. Mrs. Steele was a fine looking lady when I first knew her and in her youth must have been quite pretty. Cowan, as I remember him, resembled his mother, was quick and active, and at school took the lead in the games of those days. I think he taught school a while and then went west. Martin somewhat resembled his father and after he was grown went, I think, to Mississippi. Harvey was a splendid penman, the best who ever attended the neighborhood school. I do not recall his subsequent history. Rockwell was too young to attend the schools when I was in the neighborhood, and I knew little of him. As the Steeles were staunch Presbyterians, I take it he was named for the late Dr. E.F. Rockwell, who, as heretofore stated, was at one time the pastor of the Fourth Creek Presbyterian Church in Statesville, to which the Steeles, Murdochs and others in the neighborhood belonged. [Rockwell lived in Statesville for years and kept a photograph gallery. He never married and died a few years ago. Landmark] I presume every country school has its “prettiest girl”. My recollection is that Miss Mary Steele, as long as she attended this neighborhood school, was regarded as its prettiest girl. She was a blonde, amiable and bright. She had a slight impediment in her speech, which caused her to stutter whenever the least excited. This more or less embarrassed her, which caused her to blush and only added to her beauty. I do not know her subsequent history but do know that she did not lack for suitors, and recall how “daft” an army suitor was about her at the time. [Since the foregoing was written, I have learned that Miss Mary married Silas Watts and now lives in Iredell, eight miles west of Statesville.] The second daughter, Miss Jennie, was a brunette. She was one of the brightest, quickest and best pupils that ever attended school in that old school house. She was nearer my age and nearer my age and I knew her better than her sisters. She was one of the best, if not the best, speller, who ever attended schools. She grew up to be a most attractive woman, married a Mr. Thomas, who lived down in the Perth neighborhood, south of Troutman’s Station, and died there a number of years ago. If she made the splendid woman her childhood promised, I have no doubt “her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also and he praiseth her.” Miss Sallie, like her sister Mary, was a blond and an attractive girl. I have an impression she died early in womanhood and unmarried. [The Mr. Thomas referred to is Mr. Stanhope N. Thomas, who died last year. He lived on the Catawba River, about ten miles west of Statesville, instead of in the Perth neighborhood, south of Troutman’s. Landmark] Next, to the east and joining the farm of Mr. Steele, was the home of his brother-in-law John Murdoch. He, like his son-in-law, Summers, was an active, enterprising, industrious man. He was quite advanced in years when I first knew him. I think he was also a manufacturer of carriages and buggies and probably also wagons. He at one time had a stationary threshing machine at his place to which neighbors would sometimes haul their grain to be threshed, before Goodman, Adam Eagle and others began to go around with their moveable machines. I sometimes went with my grandfather to Mr. Murdoch’s when he hauled his grain there to be threshed. I do not recall Mrs. Murdoch, but I do remember the son William Murdoch, who died a few years ago in Statesville. From the time I first remember, he wore spectacles, which always made him appear much older than he was. There were two daughters in the family, Miss Jane and Miss Ellen—the former a brunette, the latter a blond. The former married Thomas Leslie, who, for a time after his marriage, lived on the road between Mr. Murdoch’s and the Summers place. Miss Ellen, I think, married Cowan Graham, a merchant of Rowan County. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 6, 1900 The next house in the neighborhood east of Mr. Murdoch was that of William Haynes, Esq. It was on the northeast corner of the neighborhood near the “Georgia” Road. Mr. Haynes was inclined to public life and became a justice of the peace and I think was once or twice elected to the legislature. He had several sons, among them one, the initials of whose name were J.C.R. I recollect a “take off” which some way was perpetrated on this son. He had written or cut his name on the door, or some convenient place, at Waddell’s Mill, on Fourth Creek. Some mischievous person saw it and wrote a line under it so that it rhymed and said: J.C.R. Haynes More name than brains The Haynes place was subsequently owned and occupied by Rev. Samuel B.O. Wilson, of revered memory. He came there from a professorship at Davidson College and was for many years the beloved pastor of the Third Creek Presbyterian Church and a part of the time I think also of the Fifth Creek Church. His son, John Davies Wilson also became a minister and was afterwards the stated supply or pastor of the Presbyterian churches at Bethesda and Fifth Creek and later at Taylorsville and Wilkesboro. His eldest daughter Miss Mary, I think, never married. A younger daughter Miss Amelia married a Mr. Fleming of Rowan County. John Davies Wilson died many years ago. His father died only a few years ago in western Tennessee at a very advanced age. He preached the gospel until within a year or two of his death and I understand was as greatly respected and loved in his last years as he was while pastor of the Third Creek Church in his prime. As I remember, no person lived in the house at Chambers’ Cross Roads during the time under consideration. The only other person whom I can recall who lived on the north side of the Salisbury Road in this neighborhood during that time was Mattice (“Tice”) Moyer—a good natured, slow moving man, who built a small house close to the north side of the road five miles east of Statesville. His wife Polly, daughter of Joel Kimball. She was a most industrious, energetic woman. After a few years Moyer and his wife moved away. I am informed that both are dead. Their son Luther is a practicing physician in Illinois. The house remained vacant a long time and I remember when, late in the afternoon of summer days, I had to hunt my grandfather’s cattle and bring them home and I often had to pass this house. Somehow its vacant appearance, with door and window shutters down, made a sort of superstitious impression on me. I never fully overcame it during my boyhood. In a few years, Robert Leslie (“Uncle Bob” as many called him) and his family came into possession of the place, and it is now, or was in 1896, occupied by his two maiden daughters Misses Sallie and Margaret. Robert Leslie’s family consisted of himself, his two daughters above mentioned, and his sons Thomas and Wallace. If his wife was living, during the time period under consideration, I do not now recall her. His son Thomas married Miss Jane Murdoch heretofore mentioned. I do not know the subsequent history of Thomas Leslie but am told he has a son who is an able Presbyterian minister. Wallace Leslie, the younger son, married Nancy, the daughter of Dewalt Harkey. Wallace and his wife, as well as Dewalt Harkey, went to Kansas. Both are dead. During the Civil War and for several years before, the local post office was kept at “Uncle Bob” Leslie’s house. He or some member of his family was the post master. When the post office was first about to be established, a name had to be selected. Of course the matter was considerably discussed. Marion Harland’s novel “Alone” was then one of the most popular books of the day. Rev. John Davies Wilson, above mentioned, was at that time spending much of his time at his father’s in the northeast corner of the neighborhood. He suggested the name “Enola”, made by spelling the name of the novel backwards. His suggestion pleased the proposed patrons of the office and that name was selected and retained as long as the office existed. The business of the office was small, though during the war many papers and a great deal of letters between Confederate soldiers and their families, kin and friends passed through it. When the Western North Carolina (now a part of the Southern) Railroad was constructed it ran through a cut only a few feet from the rear of the Leslie House. Here the mails for Enola were received from and delivered to the trains as they passed without stopping; it seems like a pity that such a pretty name with so many warm memories of the then patrons clinging to it should not be retained among the offices of the vicinity. I am not sure the office was ever re-established after the war. Uncle Bob Leslie as I remember him was a pleasant, genial old man. He was a “hower” by trade—that is, he followed the business of hewing logs for dwellings, barns, and other buildings constructed in hewn logs. He was a thoroughly honest and very skillful and swift. He was in great demand and rarely lacked employment. He, however, had the misfortune, while following his trade, to cut his knee badly with his broad axe, which resulted in a stiff knee and made him a cripple for the balance of his life. We will now take up the people in the neighborhood who live south of the Salisbury Road. There were more of them than on the north side of the road. The territory was probably also a little larger. Alexander (“Sandie”) Miller lived at the first house north of the Third Creek Bridge on the “Georgia” Road and on the west side of that road. Several of his children, among them a daughter, Marcus, and sons Stephen and John attended the schools at the neighborhood school house. Stephen and John were killed in the Civil War. Marcus married James Hall and lives near Hillsboro, Illinois. The younger children, Jane and James, are also in Illinois. William Fleming and family lived at the next house on the west side of the “Georgia” Road north of the Miller’s. A son from this family attended the schools at the neighborhood school house. All are dead. Margaret and Agnes Freeland lived at the next house on the west side of the “Georgia” Road and north of the Flemings. Both are dead. Thomas Kimball lived next, west of the Millers. He was a son of Joel Kimball. His first wife was Mary Chambers, daughter of Arthur Chambers, and a half sister to my grandfather. There were two children by this marriage—Mary and Eli. His second wife was Rachel Lentz, a half sister of Henry Lentz. I do not know anything about the children of this second marriage. The children of the first marriage, after the death of their mother, lived with their grandmother Mary (“Polly”) Chambers and their aunt Ruth Chambers, at the old Arthur Chambers place further west, up Third Creek, until their father’s second marriage. After this, Mary, the oldest, lived with her father and step-mother but my recollection is that Eli remained most of the time with his grandmother. Thomas Kimball, as I recollect him, was a rather large man with a hearty manner. He was somewhat famous as a wagoner, a very important personage in those days. He was a fine manager of wagon horses and could induce them to pull more than most drivers. He had a clear, ringing, encouraging voice, and his “cluck” to the horses could be heard as far as the ordinary voice of most men. On clear, frosty mornings, we could hear him speak to his horses when he was at his father’s a mile and a half away. I do not know his history and that of his second wife and children after I left the neighborhood. His daughter Mary, by his first marriage, was a delicate, amiable girl and grew up to be a pretty woman who married James Mills. His son Eli, joined the Confederate Army as soon as he was old enough and lost his life in the service. Next, west of Thomas Kimball, was James Haithcox, whose family then consisted of himself, his wife, his son Henry and daughter Victoria, all of whom are still living, though not in the old neighborhood. As I recollect him, Mr. Haithcox was a rather large, dark, strong man with a hearty laugh. His wife was a full sister of Rachel, the second wife of Thomas Kimball, mentioned above. His son Henry and daughter Victoria attended the neighborhood school. I presume Henry is the present Rev. Henry C. Haithcox of Kansas, who frequently contributes most interesting articles to the Landmark. Victoria married Alexander Hoover of the Bethesda neighborhood south of Third Creek. Alexander Freeland lived north of the Haithcox place in quite an old house, probably one of the first built in that part of the country. His family at the time under consideration consisted of his wife, his son Giles and a daughter Mary Ann. A little northeast of this Mr. Freeland and north of Thomas Kimball lived Pink Brawley with a considerable family. His wife Peggy was a daughter of Alexander Freeland. Several of his children—Mary, Emeline, Rebecca and William Brandon, are now dead—but used to attend the neighborhood school when I did. Mr. Brawley was a peculiar character, delighted in fun and frolic and loved to tell big “yarns”. I think he was the musician of the militia company of the captain’s “beat”, to which the men of the neighborhood belonged. At any rate, he used to have a drum and frequently regaled the neighborhood by beating it. His younger children lived in Davidson County. Andrew and Milton Freeland, two bachelor brothers lived some distance north of Alexander Freeland. Andrew was a shoe maker there during the time under consideration and made most of the shoes of the neighborhood and made them well. He was a truly honest man. Moreover, although of a very modest and retiring disposition, he was a man of considerable intelligence and read a great deal for that day. I remember when he used to take the measure of my grandfather’s family for their winter shoes. Sometimes this was done at my grandfather’s house; at other times the members of the family went to Mr. Freeland’s for the purpose. My recollection is that he lived to a good old age and died honored and respected by his neighbors. His brother Milton, when somewhat advanced in age, married his cousin Rebecca Freeland, daughter of his neighbor William Freeland and moved to the south side of Third Creek beyond the bounds of the neighborhood under consideration. After the marriage of Milton Freeland and probably after the death of his brother Andrew, old Mr. Robert Willis and his family lived at their place for a time. Mr. Willis was the father of Robert G. Willis, Esq., lately of Mooresville but now, I believe, lives in Statesville. He had been a blacksmith by trade. There were a number of daughters in this family—bright, intelligent women and, as I recollect, quite famous as singers. They and my aunts were great friends but I do not recollect their names except I think one of them was named Davie and another Isabella and probably another Margaret. A short distance northwest of this place and next to my grandfather’s, Thomas Freeland and his family lived. He was a son of Alexander Freeland and father of my school mate and friend Columbus A. Freeland who lives in Hillsboro in Montgomery County, Illinois. His wife was Caroline Lentz, half sister of Henry Lentz and a full sister to Mrs. James Haithcox and of the second wife of Thomas Kimball, heretofore mentioned. I remember little about the children except for Columbus, of whom more will be said hereafter when incidents connected with the school are more fully discussed. Thomas Freeland and wife went to Illinois after the war and died there. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 10, 1900 South of Thomas Freeland’s place, between it and Third Creek, lived Mr. Wm. (or Billy) Freeland. His family, when I first recollect it, consisted of himself and his wife, John Mushatt (“Shat” for short), Samuel and David and his daughters Jane, Rebecca and Amanda. I think he had an older son who had married and lived beyond the bounds of the neighborhood. Old Mr. Freeland had, at some time, met with an accident by which one of his legs was made stiff. My recollection is a tree he was cutting fell upon him and caused his injury. I think he was a cooper by trade and made churns, buckets, pails, tubs and brooms, etc. “Shat: Freeland as I recall him was a jolly, good natured man; a great talker and had a hearty laugh. He was named after John Mushatt who, I think, was a famous pioneer preacher or leading character of some kind. He married Martha Lentz, daughter of Henry Lentz. He, with many others of the neighborhood, went to Illinois where he died many years ago. Samuel was more kind in his character. David was somewhat solemn in manner and more inclined to books than his brothers. I think all, except “Shat” and Rebecca, remained at the old place. Samuel, David and Jane are dead. Rebecca married her cousin, Milton Freeland and moved with him to the south side of Third Creek, as heretofore stated. This Freeland family and my grandfather were near neighbors and were frequent visitors to each other. Sometimes on Sundays when all my grandfather’s family except myself went to church, I was sent to Mr. Freeland’s to spend the day. At other times, some of that family would come and spend the day with my grandfather. Next, west of William Freeland’s and the nearest neighbor to my grandfather on the south side, was Benjamin Cowan. My grandfather had previously lived at that place, and all his children were born there. Benjamin Cowan was, I think, a relative of my grandfather’s first wife. He was fond of playing the fiddle and we could often easily hear him at my grandfather’s house half a mile away. Early I the time under consideration, he sold out and moved west. He had quite a family but I do not remember any of them. He was succeeded by Dewalt Harkey and his family consisted of his wife “Easter” (Esther), his daughters Christina or Chrissy, as she was called, and Nancy and his sons William Lawson and Doctor Zealous Alexander. (“Doctor” was a part of his name and not an indication of his profession for he was never a physician.) Mr. Harkey was one of a number of Dutch people from Rowan and Cabarrus Counties who moved into this neighborhood about 1846 or 1847. He was a clever neighbor, hard working, and industrious as were all members of his family. I used to be delighted to go there, any time but especially at corn shucking time or singing occasions when Mrs. Harkey’s table groaned beneath the weight of good things cooked in the Dutch style and in which a young, growing boy like myself could always do ample justice. The Harkey children, in going to school at the school house before mentioned, always had to pass right by my grandfather’s place and I usually joined them in coming and going. William Harkey and I became intimate friends. He lost his life in the Confederate Army, where, I understand, he made a brave soldier. Chrissy married a man named Jordan. I am informed she is living in Texas. Nancy married her neighbor Wallace Leslie. She and her husband went to Kansas after the war. Both are dead. Doctor married Mary Barkley, daughter of John Barkley. They went to Kansas. Some time after the Civil War, Mr. Harkey moved to Kansaas where his wife “Easter” died and where, I understand, he died about two years ago. Some years after the death of his first wife, he visited the old neighborhood and married Bettie Lentz, a daughter of his old neighbor Henry Lentz and took her back with him to Kansas. A short distance to the southwest of the Harkey place and nearer to Third Creek lived Mrs. Mary (Polly) Chambers, the widow of Arthur. She was his second wife and my grandfather’s step-mother. Her family, when I can first remember, consisted of herself, her unmarried daughter Ruth and her two grandchildren Mary and Eli Kimball, the only children of her deceased daughter Mary, first wife of Thomas Kimball, heretofore mentioned. Her grandchildren Pinckney, Robert and Mary White, children of her daughter Nancy, wife of Robert R. White, often visited her. Robert R. White lived and had a saw mill near the mouth of a small stream that runs into Third Creek about two miles southeast of Statesville. He was for many years a prominent and honored justice of the peace of Iredell County and member of the county court. My impression is that Pinckney White made a home with his grandmother and managed her farm for a part of the time we have under consideration and before he made his first trip to the west. About the latter time, Eli Chambers, the only son of Mrs. Chambers and his four children, Mary, William, Ann and Joe, came from Alabama where he had lived and lost his wife, and made their home with his mother. She died about 1854. Pinckney White came back from the west and married his cousin Mary Chambers. After the Civil War, he and his wife and her sister Ann, moved to Hillsboro, Illinois as did so many people of this old neighborhood. Mary died there and then Pinckney married her sister Ann. They still live there. Robert White, Jr., married Rebecca Barkley, before mentioned. He became a Confederate soldier and lost his life in that cause. Mary White married Scott Fleming and has since lived at and in the vicinity of Statesville. William Chambers was a very delicate young man and, I think, died about the beginning of the Civil War. Joe went to Mississippi and entered the Confederate Army from that state and died near Manassas Junction early in the war. Ruth Chambers never married and she died some time after the war. Eli Chambers married when well advanced in years and died only a few years ago. When I first knew this old Eli Chambers place and up to the time I left the neighborhood in 1853, I was always glad to be sent on errands there. The good old great grandmother and great aunt, like most women in the neighborhood, knew exactly how to please a growing and always hungry boy. I cannot recall any time when I went there when I was not furnished with a snack or “piece”, as was sometimes called, of new bread and butter or honey, pie or sweet cake. Occasionally I was sent there on Sunday to keep the old lady company when the other members of the family had gone to church. I was glad also to go at other times, especially if I could find there my cousins Mary Kimball, Mary White and later Ann Chambers, or either of them as I was fond of each. Joe Chambers was a little older than I was but we were thrown together a great deal and became attached to each other. During the first few years of the period under consideration, “Uncle Bob” Leslie and family, heretofore mentioned, lived at a place a short distance up what was sometimes called the Kimball Branch, north of the Arthur Chambers place. After his family went to the Moyers place, they were succeeded at the former place by the widow Sarah Brem and her son Stokes Brem and his family. Mrs. Brem was my grandfather’s full sister. Before coming to this place, her son Stokes had, for a number of years, been a miller at the mill of Robert R White, above mentioned, who had married his aunt Nancy Chambers. Stokes thus became well known to the people of the neighborhood who patronized the mill and was liked and respected by all and deserved to be. He lost his life in the Confederate Army. Joel Kimball, the father of Thomas Kimball, and Polly Meyer, heretofore mentioned. Lived next, west of the Arthur Chambers place. His family, when I first knew it, consisted of himself and his wife and his sons William, Henry L., and Calvin and his daughters, Lou, Dorcas, Chrissy and Sarah. There may also have been younger children. Mrs. Sarah Kimball, now over 93 years old, still lives at the old place with her son Calvin and daughter Chrissy, has good health and enjoys the use of her faculties. Wiley Kimball, then unmarried, went west to Tennessee, I think, early in the time covered by these recollections. He subsequently went to Mississippi and after the Civil War to Texas where he still lives. As a boy, I admired Henry L. Kimball as I knew him at the schools and in the neighborhood. He built the house immediately on the south side of the Salisbury Road about three and a half miles east of Statesville nearly opposite and not far from the Gayler place. He lived at this house for a time after his marriage, but moved, I think, west, and then later moved back to Iredell County. In the Landmark of Feb. 23, 1900, issued, since the preparations of these recollections began, I saw a notice of his death the day before in Rock Hill, South Carolina where, it seems, he had been living for a number of years. The notice stated that his remains were to be brought back and buried in or near the old neighborhood. Calvin Kimball was not far from my age and we were great friends at school He still lives at the old home place though the Landmark in the above mentioned article put him and his mother, Mrs. Sarah Kimball, down as “of Statesville”. The daughter Lou married Thomas Murdoch. Dorcas married B.R. Allen and lives in David County. Chrissy is unmarried and lives with her mother and brother Calvin at the old place. Sarah, the bright, smart and friendly little school girl as I remember her, died some 25 years ago. Joel Kimball, as I remember him, was a rather small man and, I think, a little lame. He was a genial and pleasant man and a hard worker. I remember well he got me out of the hardest days work I ever did for my grandfather in the course of the neighborhood custom of “swapping” work. Mr. Kimball came to “pull corn” for my grandfather one day. I was required to work with him. And, much as I disliked work, the old gentleman was so pleasant and such an entertaining companion to me that I worked hard all day to keep up with him and enjoy his conversation. He, however, pulled about four rows to my one but managed nevertheless to make me accomplish a good day’s work for one of my age. Thomas Barkley, a son of James Barkley and my mother’s cousin, lived a short distance north of Joel Kimball. His family consisted of himself and his wife “Epsy” and sons James, Joseph (or “Little Joe” to distinguish him from his uncle of same name), Ortho and a younger son and daughter whose names I think were Davidson and Margaret. James lost his life in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Joseph, before the war, married Lundy, the daughter of his neighbor Henry Lentz. For a time, I think, he and his wife lived at the old place after his father moved elsewhere. Like so many of their neighbors, they went west to Illinois where they now live. Ortho, who was not far from my age, was somewhat active in business of various kinds in Statesville and vicinity until his death a few years ago. An unmarried man by the name of Kluttz built a small house on a piece of land on the south side of the Salisbury Road and about four miles east of Statesville. His house was about half way between that road and my grandfather’s house. He did not live there long and was succeeded by a man named Daniel Bailey who with his family remained there for several years. Henry Lentz lived in the western part of the neighborhood, next west of the Thomas Barkley place. I do not remember his wife, but I recollect his sons Jerry, Wiley, John and David; his daughter Lou, who married Joseph Barkley, Sr., the son of James Barkley and his daughter Lundy who married Joseph Barkley, Jr., the son of Thomas Barkley, a nephew of her sister’s husband of the same name. Another daughter, Bettie, only a few years ago married her former neighbor Dewalt Harkey of Kansas. Martha married John Mushatt Freeland and went with him to Illinois. The youngest daughter, as I remember her, was a fair, blue eyed, pleasant girl when we attended school together. I think her name was Margaret. Jerry Lentz went to Pennsylvania and now lives in Wilkes-Barre, in that state. Wiley Lentz went to Pennsylvania to complete his education and I think he became a Lutheran minister. Probably David did the same thing. [They are both Lutheran ministers-Landmark.] John, about my own age, remains, I think, at the old place or at least, in that vicinity. I saw him in Statesville a few years ago when I was there on a visit. Adam Lentz, a kinsman and son-in-law of Henry Lentz, lived north of the latter’s place near the south side of the Salisbury Road, about half way between the Bell and Bost places heretofore mentioned, on the north side of the road. My information is that he now lives in Rowan County. We have now gone around this old neighborhood beginning at the Bell place on the northwest corner and ending at the Adam Lentz place just a little southeast of the place of beginning. I think I have named all or nearly all the people who lived within these boundaries from 1845 to 1853 and so far as my memory serves me for giving a short account of each member of the family. Of course, after so long a time some that I then knew may have been forgotten and those who were small children at the time are not remembered. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 13, 1900 The little school house, when I first remember it, was on the edge of the old field, one quarter of a mile north of the Salisbury Road, four miles east of Statesville and on the west side of the neighborhood road leading from the Salisbury Road to John Steele’s and John Murdoch’s. In those days, a session lasted only a very short time. The first teacher that I can remember at that location was the late Miles F. Freeland, a noted school teacher in his day, who afterwards was for so many years a clerk of the county court of Iredell County and a prominent citizen of Statesville. At this time, it must have been about the winter of 1846-47, some of my aunts and uncles were still young enough to attend school. I had heard them talking at home about the school and about Mr. Freeland as a teacher and somehow had got it in my mind that he was a very rigid and severe disciplinarian and would punish his pupils for the smallest infringement of the rules where as I afterwards found out, he was the kindest of men. The first day that I was in attendance at school and while I was satisfying my curiosity by looking around the school room (I had been taught to believe that I must not take my eyes off my book during study hours), Mr. Freeland had occasion to speak sharply to some pupil in the school room. Supposing his exclamation was intended for me, I became greatly alarmed and immediately raised my voice in lamentation, much to the entertainment of the other pupils. I remember seeing the larger pupils in this school playing the then popular games of “town bar” and “base” in the playground just east of the road. Cowan Steele was one of the swiftest runners in either game and my recollection is that his younger brother Harvey was one of the best “strikers” in “town ball” who ever went to school in the neighborhood. As Mr. Freeland was the most popular teacher of that time, in that part of the country, I have no doubt that all the young people of that neighborhood who could do so, attended school at that place. I know the school house was well filled. I can now, however, recall, in addition to those above named, only Martin Murdoch, Martin Steele and some of the Freelands. A year or two after this, the old school house was abandoned and a new one for the same district was erected on the south side of the Salisbury Road about a half mile from it and about a mile south of the old location. This brought it within a half mile of my grandfather’s home. The nearest house to it was about 300 yards to the northeast and was the one which had been erected by Mr. Kluttz and occupied by Daniel Bailey, heretofore mentioned. After the school house had been moved to this location, some called it the “Hickory Grove” school house because there were a number of hickory trees in the woods immediately around it. It was situated on the west side of the neighborhood road which ran north and south from Dawalt Harkey’s by way of my grandfather’s to the Salisbury Road nearly opposite the Summers’ place. Water for the use of the school was obtained from a spring in the head of a hollow, a little north of the school house, being the same spring used by Daniel Bailey and family. The play ground was cleared up out of the woods and was located at the south end of the school house on the west side of the road. Here, before school began in the morning, at recess and at noon, the pupils amused themselves in playing “Chicky-mi-chicky-mi-cranny-crow”, “Town Ball”, “Base” (running base not baseball), “Ant’ny Over”, “Mumble the Peg” and other school games of that time. The schools were usually taught in the winter when the children could be spared from the home work. Here the schools were taught in succession and probably in successive years by John Louis Smithdeal, George Houston White, a Mr. Milligan, Calvin Plyler and again by Miles F. Freeland. Smithdeal taught the first school at the new location. This must have been about the winter of 1848-49. I would say, from memory, that White taught in the winter of 1849-50, Milligan in the winter of 1850-51, Plyler in the winter of 1851-52, and Feeland again in 1852-53. I am of the impression that no school was taught in the winter following the change form the old location. If this was not the case, then either Smithdeal of Milligan must have taught the schools for two years instead of one. Possibly Cowan Steele taught one session. Mr. Smithdeal was from the neighborhood of St. Paul’s Church not far from Statesville. He was a pleasant man and very popular with the pupils, possible the most popular of any man who taught at the new location prior to 1853. He was a man of genial, pleasant and hearty manner. He afterwards became a Lutheran minister. White was a son—the oldest, I think—of John White, who lived on the south side of Third Creek in the eastern part of the Bethesda congregation. He afterwards became a merchant’s clerk and later went to Chicago where he still lived as of a few years ago when I last heard of him. Mr. Milligan was from the western part of Iredell County and I know nothing of his history subsequent to 1853. Calvin Plyler was from the south side of Third Creek. He was a son, I think, of Daniel Plyler who lived in the neighborhood of Shiloh Methodist Church and he afterwards became a Methodist minister. Mr. Freeland’s subsequent history has already been given. In those days, school books were scarce and costly. Webster’s blue back speller was then the great favorite and a pupil’s progress was marked and his or her own importance correspondingly enhanced, in comprehensibility, the simple reading of lessons, and finally, the fables with their wood cut picture towards the end of the book, were successively reached and mastered. Arithmetic books were at first so scarce that the teacher had to prepare copies of the multiplication table with the pen and give to the pupils to memorize. Pike’s Arithmetic, with many examples, in the old English money, was, in the earliest of the schools at this place, the principle one used. From the habit then acquired I still calculate interest and solve such other math problems as I encounter by the rules laid down in that arithmetic. A few of the scholars who studied geography were able to obtain Mitchell’s Geography and Atlas. I do not now remember the names of such readers as were used but I think that in Mr. Freeland’s first school, the New Testament or any other book the family of the pupil happed to own was used as a reader. There were no printed copy books in these first schools The teacher was expected to be a good penman and set copies for the pupils on paper furnished for the purpose. He was also expected to make good pens out of goose quills and his skill in this regard was often much discussed. Much of the ink used was of domestic manufacture and in this the teacher was also expected to be proficient. It was then the custom for the pupils to study aloud and their united voices could be hard many yards away, punctuated and measured by the stronger and coarser voice of the teacher as he regularly guided some reciting pupil through the mazes of his lesson. The spelling classes would also range themselves upon one bench, swinging their bodies back and forth in unison, spelling the word by syllables. The larger scholars were on pleasant days, permitted, on good behavior, to go outside of the school house to study their lessons. At the time of the opening of the school in the morning and at the close of recess during the day, the teacher would go to the door and shout “books!”. This was the signal for the pupils to at once ceased their play, repair to their seats in the school house and begin their studies. In this way the time for study got to be called “books” and when one spoke of anything occurring “during books”, it meant that the occurrence took place during study hours. A few days ago, in looking over some old copies of the Landmark, I came across an article entitled “The Old School Days”, taken from the Scotland Neck Commonwealth, which, in part, so fits the school in this old neighborhood fifty years ago, that I have been trying to describe, and contains suggestions so worthy of consideration that it is reproduced. It is: “No one who in childhood knows no educational facilities but the ‘old field house’, taught in the old log school house by the teacher who ‘boarded around’, the modern methods seem a little hothouse like. It is a memory to be cherished—the sight of a score of children trooping away from school just before sunset, each one armed with a ‘blue back’ speller and one for every five carrying a tin bucket or oak split casket from which ever and anon some scampering ‘brat’ would snatch the broken biscuit, the cold potato or bit of cold potato pudding left over from the dinner which a half dozen jabbering children enjoyed together on a back log. At ‘play time’, so simple were the school child’s equipment in those days. Now everyone carries a book back or book strap with something under a dozen books. Some carry a slate with a sponge but for the most part the slate, left at home and all work is done on store tablets, composition books, or the like. Indeed, it does seem that the old time way of doing school work is almost forgotten. The acquisition of an education no longer seems a task but with the many conveniences and extra advantages it is more like a picnic holiday all through the school year. We may be a little foggish but we candidly believe that things are made too easy in these days. We believe that we need to return to the ways and means of more simplicity. If the ordinary school children forty years ago could have seen the school child of today, it would have looked like a ‘visitor from fairyland’.” During the time he taught, Mr. Smithdeal once or twice treated the pupils with candy and probably also with some fruit. One or two other teachers as I remember, treated with apples. The oldest men in the neighborhood, in discussing school matters before us boys often told of the wonderful things they used to do at school “when they were young”. This, of course, excited our imaginations and ambitions to do likewise. Among the things of which they bragged was fighting the teacher when he attempted to whip them for some breach of duty and also to “bar out” the teacher who refused to “treat” at the time the pupils wanted it done. I do not remember any fighting or other resistance to any of the teachers at this school house during the time under consideration. Most of the teachers were men of sufficient tact and good nature to manage the school without much attempt at forcible punishment. However, I remember an effort to “bar out” Mr. Plyler in which Columbus Freeland and myself took quite an active part and subsequently suffered accordingly. Mr. Plyler had not “treated” and we felt he was not going to do so, at any rate, did not give any indication of treating within the time desired. Possible we had supposed grievances also. A conference of the larger boys was held at which Willis Jenkins, as I remember, was the lead spirit. I think probably Thomas Freeland who lived just beyond the eastern border of the neighborhood, but who occasionally attended the schools at this school house, also participated in the conference, together with the others of the larger boys. It was decided to “bar out” Mr. Plyler. The time was fixed and the plans laid. A part was assigned to each of the conspirators. All were to be on hand at the school house before daylight so as to have plenty of time to build a large fire in the fire place, barricade the door and windows and prepare to defy the teacher when he came and tried to enter the school house to begin the duties of the day. It seemed to be acceptable as a rule that all were bound in honor that if, in any way, the teacher could get inside the school house on such occasions, the rebellious students would at once surrender. We had heard the old neighborhood men tell of teachers who were barred out, who had torn off a part of the roof and got in that way. I remember that, in preparation for such an effort on the part of Mr. Plyler, I got a long lathe of my grandfather’s and sharpened one end of it so as to make a formidable spear with which to fight Mr. Plyler if he attempted to enter through the roof. The eventful morning arrived. As I lived nearest I was the first of the conspirators to reach the school house which I did before daylight. I made such preparations as I could and waited for the arrival of the leaders and other associates in the enterprise. About daylight I heard the foot steps of someone approaching at a rapid rate which proved to be Columbus Freeland. He explained he was delayed because of the difficulty in eluding his parents at home. He and I then waited impatiently for the arrival of Willis Jenkins and the other leaders. Columbus and I thought it prudent to hide my formidable spear and to say as little as possible about what brought us to school so early in the morning. The spear was hidden behind a log in the woods with the intention on the first favorable occasion, to take it back to my grandfather’s house. But, unfortunately for me, some innocent pupil happed to find it and brought it to the school house and upon discussion as to its purpose and who put it there occurred and the whole scheme finally leaked out and became known to Mr. Plyler. From that day forth, for most of the remainder of the term, Columbus Freeland and I and such others as were ascertained to have been in the scheme felt the heavy hand of authority laid upon us, and our liberties much restricted. Various excuses were made by our leaders for their failure to appear but Columbus and I lost much of our admiration for their alleged bravery, charged them with simply “backing out” from fear of Mr. Plyler or else entering upon a deliberate scheme to get Columbus and myself into trouble. Before the session ended, however, Mr. Plyler seemed to have lost his angry feelings and, so far as I am personally concerned. Became very kind to me. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 17, 1900 The school house was the only house of a public nature in the bounds of the neighborhood. Although there were many children residing within these bounds the churches to which they belonged lay outside. The Fifth Creek Presbyterian Church and New Union Methodist Church were on the north side of Fourth Creek. The Third Creek Presbyterian Church, the nearest church on the east, was on the edge of Rowan County. Bethesda Presbyterian Church was on the south side of Third Creek a short distance to the southeast. Shiloh Methodist Church was also on the south side of Third Creek. The Fourth Creek Presbyterian Church was in Statesville and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was situated immediately on the western boundaries of the neighborhood of the neighborhood a short distance east of Statesville. Most if not all the Presbyterian members in the neighborhood belonged to the Bethesda or Fourth Creek. The Dutch people were usually Lutheran and belonged to St. Paul’s. If there were any Methodists they probably belonged to Shiloh. I recall no Baptists. The few public meetings I recall in the neighborhood had reference to school matters and would be naturally held at the schools. During the time under consideration, debates were frequently held at this school house in the winter time when nights were very long and the men and the boys of the neighborhood would meet there and enjoy the discussions of various questions that were selected for debate. Dewalt Harkey I remember was one who greatly encouraged these debates. He and the other men of mature years thought that the debates would encourage the boys to read, study and reason and they were doubtless correct. As a rule, religious and political questions were not discussed. The subjects were often selected with a view to enabling the boys to practice. Sometimes they were practical and sometimes historical. It was when these latter were under discussion that Weems’ “Lives” of Washington and Madison and peter parley’s “Common School History” and other books of that class came into play as authorities to support the argument of the contestants. Many of the questions I have forgotten but I remember that, with a view to enabling the smaller boys to take part in the debate such questions as “which is the most useful animal the horse or the cow?”, or “in which is there more pleasure, pursuit or possession?”, were sometimes selected. Once, with the former question under discussion one of the champions of the cow, I think, was Mr. Harkey. In order to effect the opposite argument that the horse was necessary in war for the use of cavalry, Mr. Harkey drew an imaginary picture of a great army with banners, mounted on oxen, trained to gore horses and men, with their great horns, festooned with flaming ribbons and rushing headlong with the noise and encouragement of marital music towards a body of cavalry, would scare the horses between them and their riders to flight and sweep everything before them. My recollection is that argument was regarded as unanswerable and won the day for the adherents of the cow. The usual mode of procedure at these debates was to have a president to preside and preserve order and a committee consisting of an odd number either three or five, so there could never be an even division to decide which side had the best argument. Usually at one meeting the question for the next meeting would be selected and the debate divided so that forces of each side would be as nearly equal as possible. My recollection is that a champion or captain for each side would be selected who could “throw up” or in some way cast lots for the selection of sides and then alternately select their respective supporters in the proposed debate. Sometimes famous debaters from outside the bounds of the neighborhood of the school district would be induced to attend and take part in these debates. One of these was the late William “Billy” Watts, who lived near Kestler’s Mill on Third Creek, a few miles south of Statesville. Whenever it was known in the neighborhood that Billy Watts would take part in the debates, the little school would be usually crowded with hearers on the occasion. The eloquence of Mr. Watts was of the lurid kind. He was much given to strong and exaggerated expressions. When no antagonist worthy of his steel was present to contest with him, he usually carried the day. He overcame all ordinary opposition by his dramatic manner and his withering invective. Whenever it was known, however, that he would be present, an effort was always made to procure the attendance of some equally famous debater who would be expected to take the opposite side to Watts and thus equalize the balance in this battle of intellectual giants. There was one old gentleman whose name I cannot now remember who lived some where west of the neighborhood bounds, who frequently attended and took part in these debates and was by many regarded as fully equal to Mr. Watts. His manner, however, was entirely different. He was a great wag and much given to sly humor. He was a man of considerable information but his strong point in debate was ridicule and sarcasm. He delighted with these weapons to punctuate the bubbles blown by Mr. Watts and the adherents of his side of the question. He was one of those men who get a reputation for much humor, with the result that everything they say or do, whether he intends or not, is regarded by the others as funny. His manner of speaking, his gestures, the tones of his voice, the expressions of his face, always caused amusement. I remember yet his peculiar way of opening his speech with “Mr. President, and gentlemen of the committee” accenting and emphasizing the syllables underlined. When the school was in session and especially when any important question was to be discussed, the teacher was expected to attend and give those present the benefit of his learning on the subject. My recollection is that Miles F. Freeland, who was a man of great natural ability and who had cultivated his mind and acquired information from books more extensively and accurately, probably, than any other man in attendance at these debates, was always looked upon as an authority on history and literary subjects. His statements were usually taken as true without question. While he did not have the fiery eloquence and impressive humor of Mr. Watts, or the sly humor or power of ridicule of the other gentleman above mentioned, he was always interesting and instructive. Among others who I remember took part in these debates, were C.L. Summers, Henry I. Kimble, Martin Murdoch, Wallace Leslie, Stokes Brems, and probably Calvin Kimball and Columbus Freeland. The people of this neighborhood were a law abiding, church going, God fearing people. Quite a few of the older men, from habits acquired in their pioneer days, would occasionally drink a little too much and while there may have been some who failed to always live up to the standards of morality, I cannot remember any violation of civil law, the commission of any crime, or legal proceedings for any violation of the law involving any resident of the neighborhood during the entire eight years under consideration. Neither do I remember any civil suit between residents of the neighborhood during that time. While, as before stated, there was no church held within the bounds of this neighborhood, yet the surrounding churches, especially Bethesda and St. Paul’s were near enough to its boundaries and the services at them so arranged that all who wished to attend services somewhere every Sunday during the year could do so. As a general thing, most of the people of this neighborhood would attend services at one of these churches. Every Sunday except in very bad weather, this habit, with the beneficial influence the ministers exerted over their congregations, had its effect in making them a law abiding as well as religious community. A few of the people had buggies and carriages in which to go to church but most of them went on horseback. The women were generally fine horse women. Some of them took quite a pride in this accomplishment and delighted to ride spirited animals. The took almost as much pride in the trappings on their horses, the saddle, saddle blanket, bridle, martingale, and riding habit as they did in their personal appearance. Among the fine riders, I can recall Dorcas and Chrissy Kimball and my aunt Adaline Chambers. At the close of the service, the hurried unhitching and mounting with a view to getting ahead of the crowd and the dust on dry days generally caused a good deal of excitement and interest. The excitement incident to so many horses and the spurs, whips and switches of the riders generally caused the animals to show their spirit to their best advantage. This was the time, too, when the young men sought the privilege of escorting their female friends and sweethearts and protecting them to their homes. I can now vividly recall such scenes as these at Bethesda Church, especially on sacramental occasions when there was always a big crowd of people in attendance. This church and St. Paul’s were so near to the people of this neighborhood that on pleasant days many of them preferred to walk to the church and thus gave their horses a day’s much needed rest. On these occasions, the foot walkers usually lined the sides of the road and chatted with the passers by in the vehicles and on horse back. The crowd was always greatest just at the church and the roads immediately leading from it but thinned out as, from time to time, persons and couples and families diverged into the neighborhood roads leading to their respective homes. In those days, the custom had not yet been discontinued of having a protracted or “camp” meeting. I remember the cabins or camp houses erected at Bethesda early in its history by the families encamped there during the protracted services. The first church building erected there was on logs and was rather small in its dimensions. For the big meetings or on sacramental occasions a stand was erected in the grove west of the church and between it and the “Georgia” Road. Rough seats were provided there for outdoor services when the congregation was too large to accommodate it in the church. The first pastor I remember was Rev. Thomas Davies. Among those who followed him were Pleasant H. Dalton, John Davies Wilson and Stephen Frontis. At the camp meetings and on sacramental occasions ministers from the surrounding and sometimes distant congregations came to help the pastor. I remember that among these was the beloved and eloquent Henry N. Pharr. I can recall how this venerable old gentleman, after the preliminary service, and the announcement of his text, would take off his spectacles and swing them in his hand as he preached. Notwithstanding his piety and his earnest preaching, he had quite a fund of humor and was popular with both the young and the old. He was a very tall man and I recall that on one occasion when he was staying all night at Uncle George Robeson’s near the church, he was asked, with a view to having breakfast the next morning, to state his time of rising, how long he usually slept, with a twinkle in his eye, he stated “a little over six feet”. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 20, 1900 The elders of the Bethesda congregation, as I remember them at the time under consideration, were John Patterson, George S. Robeson, Ebeneezer McNeely and Isaac Witherspoon. I am not sure but that Jesse McNeely was also an elder. Certain it is that he often acted as clerk (“clark” it was pronounced) and sat immediately in front of the pulpit. When the hymns were announced he stood up there and led the congregation in the singing. There were several McNeely families who attended this church and most of them were good singers. Colonel William (“Billy”) King also often acted as elder on sacramental occasions, though, I think, he belonged to another congregation. It was the custom to have the elders present from other congregations to assist in the sacramental services. This habit of the people to attend the churches regularly made most, if not all of the, God fearing people, whether they were members of the church or not. There was no doubt of question of the Divine authority of the Bible and no disrespect ever shown to the gospel or to the ceremonies of the church. Most of the Dutch of the neighborhood including Mr. Harkey, our near neighbor, were Lutherans. I recall yet with what pleasure, in the absence of other literature, I used to read the Lutheran Observer which Mr. Harkey often kindly lent me and which was the Lutheran Church paper published at Baltimore, Maryland. I also yet remember distinctly the large plain letters in which the name of the paper ran across the front page of the paper and also the general typographical appearance of the paper. This was before the establishment of the North Carolina Presbyterian and my recollection is that the church paper usually taken by the some of the neighborhood was the Presbyterian, published at Philadelphia. A few many have taken the Observer from New York. This also was before the time of the daily papers and daily mail in this locality. No paper was then published in Iredell County. A few copies of the Carolina Watchman, published in Salisbury by J.J. Bruner and possibly now and then of some Raleigh papers or of the old National Intelligencer, published by Gales and Seaton at Washington City would find their say into the Whig homes in the neighborhood. I do not now recall the name of any Democratic paper taken. The first presidential canvass that I can remember was that of 1849 between Taylor (Whig) and Cass (Democrat). I have a very distinct recollection of that. I remember, however, seeing campaign pictures of Taylor and the battles and incidents of the Mexican War and of hearing grandfather and other Whigs of the neighborhood discussing the situation. I know that, from the discussions, I got the impression, as a boy, which it took a long time to remove, that the Democrats of that day were the legitimate descendents of the Tories of the Revolution. I remember more distinctly the campaign of 1852 in which General Winfield Scott (Whig) and General Franklin Pierce (Democrat), were the opposing presidential candidates. William A. Graham of North Carolina and William R. King of Alabama were candidates for vice president. Thus it was “Scott and Graham” against “Pierce and King”. John Kerr was the White and David S. Reid the Democrat candidates for governor of North Carolina. I was then old enough to read such of the paper as reached my grandfather’s house and, of course, believed everything in favor of the Whig side which I read in those papers. On one occasion during this canvass, my grandfather took me to Statesville. The old court house stood in the center of the square with the store of Thomas H. McRorie on the northeast corner, that of Samuel R. Bell or Bell Brothers on the southeast corner, that of Joseph W. Stockton on the southwest corner and a tavern----Grant’s, I think— on the northwest corner. A tall flag pole had been erected just south of the old court house between the stores of Stockton and Bell and in the midst of the street which now leads to the railroad depot. This old court house was the biggest and grandest building and its spires the tallest that I had ever seen. To my boyish view, the flag pole seemed to be several hundred feet high. Across it about a half way up, a beam of timber held in place, as I remember it, by ropes, somewhat in the fashion of ropes on ships as represented in pictures, During the day, some Statesville boy—P.C. Carlton, I think it was—climbed up the pole and stood erect on the cross beam which seemed to me to be of a dizzy height. I thought it a wonderful and daring feat on his part. To the top of the pole was attached a large flag upon which in large letters was the legend “Scott, Graham and the Union”. There was some speaking on this occasion from the old stand in the grove near the Presbyterian Church. My recollection is that some men from Tennessee and also Col. John A. Young of Charlotte, probably then still living in Iredell, and others, made speeches in favor of Scott and Graham. I remember well the night on which the old court house, Stockton’s Store, and a number of other buildings near the square in Statesville, were destroyed by fire. This great fire caused considerable excitement throughout the old neighborhood. The whole western sky was brilliant with light from the flames. The people of the neighborhood stood in their yards which were lit up from the reflection from the sky and discussed the great illumination. Some of the men mounted their horses and rode to town to learn the cause. This great fire and what the neighbors saw and heard about it was a topic for discussion in the neighborhood for several months afterwards. Among other things I recollect, that it was told on Mr. Stockton who had lost a leg in an accident and used a cork or wooden one instead, that in the excitement and in the effort to remove his goods from the burning store, he forgot his lameness and would carry out a five cent bottle of ink and carefully place it out of danger instead of removing more valuable articles. I also remember that once, during the time under consideration, the people of the neighborhood were stirred up and excited over a brilliant aurora borealis that passed across the northern heavens one night. Many of them did not know what it was and watched it with feelings of awe and apprehension. Some of the others spoke of one they had seen during the Mexican War. Many of them looked upon it as an omen of evil and prophesied dire calamities to the country. Gong back to the presidential campaign mentioned above: the older citizens will remember that Iredell County was strongly Whig before the war as it has ever been Democratic since. I recall very few Democrats before the war. One of these was my step-father Franklin Jones. He used to take and read the Standard, published in Raleigh, by the late William W. Holden, then one of the boldest supporters of the Democratic party in the state. He also took a Democratic paper published at Winston. I think it was called the Sentinel and the name of one of its publishers was Alspaugh. Being a strong Whig myself, it used to be my custom when I went on a visit to my mother, to arm myself with as many papers as I could get of Whig papers such as the Carolina Watchman, Raleigh Register and National Intelligencer, so as to have their support in the good natured discussion which I often had with my step-father and his boys. It may not be improper here to say that Mr. Jones and his boys showed their faith by their works during the Civil War. He was too old to enter the army himself but all his sons then living in North Carolina were faithful Confederate soldiers. In the neighborhood, as in the country generally, the Whigs greatly preponderated in numbers. I think of our near neighbor Mr. Harkey and probably a few of the Dutch people were Democrats but all the others were Whigs. But this neighborhood, also, like the balance of the country, when war came and soldiers were needed, furnished its full quota. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 24, 1900 In addition to the meetings at church, school and at the debates, the means of social, friendly and business intercourse among the people of the neighborhood, were furnished by the “singings” and the cooperative labor arrangements known as “choppings”, “log rollings”, quiltings and corn shucking. Whenever anyone wanted to clear a piece of timber land and get it ready for cultivation more quickly than he could do so with his own forces, he arranged for a “chopping” and required a number of his neighbors to come with their axes and help him cut the timber from the land. When the men arrived in the morning of the appointed day, the “right handed” men and the “left handed” men were so arranged that when a large tree was encountered four men could chop on it at the same time, two on each side. Interest was often added to the work by contexts between the men in cutting up the trunks of the trees. When the tree fell, the bodies were cut up into proper lengths for rails when fit for that purpose. The limbs were trimmed and, with the balance of the tree, cut into suitable lengths for fire wood. The ringing sound of the axes, the falling and crashing of the trees and the voices and shots of the men always made a scene of animation and excitement. Once when I was a small boy, my grandfather tried to clear a piece of land along the longer branch that ran southward through the hollow east of his house and had a “chopping” for the purpose. I was too small to take part in this work but I remember how, when I was not required to be helping the women at home, I enjoyed the exciting work going on—the greater chips flying as axes forced them out, the flailing and crashing of the trees and the warning shouts of the men to the others to get out of danger when some especially large tree was almost to fall. During the day, the body of a large tree fell across and over a deep hole in the branch. One of the men had to cut this tree in two immediately over this hole. Just as he gave the last stroke, which severed the tree, the “cut” suddenly and unexpectedly turned and threw him, and his axe into the water amid the shouts and laughter of the other men where he was not only thoroughly wet but somewhat strangled before he could get out. When, from those public “choppings”, the individual work of the men of the family, or the falling of a dead tree in the fields, logs unfit for rails, fire wood, or any other useful purpose, had accumulated beyond the ability of the family force to manage, the neighbors, on request, again met to help pile these useless logs hat they might be burned. These occasions were called “log rollings” though in fact many of these logs were carried to the desired place instead of being rolled. In lifting and carrying the heavy logs, friendly contests of strength were often had between the men at the opposite ends of the hand spikes on which the log was carried. It was considered something of a triumph for the man on one end of the hand spike to cause his neighbor at the other end to give way or complain of the burden. Indeed, at all these meetings of the men to help their neighbors with their work—at the “choppings”, “log rollings” and the corn shucking—various devices, such as the context above mentioned, were adopted to temper the hard work with amusement and pleasure. Occasionally, it would be arranged to have a quilting during the day, or singing at night, at the same place and time of a “chopping”, “log rolling” or corn shucking so that the women folk could join with the men, not only in aiding the family work, but in the social pleasure of the occasion. As the country was cleared up, and the farmers got as much cleared land as they cared to cultivate, these public “choppings” and “log rollings” fell into disuse. The men of the family were usually able themselves to make such additions to the cleared land as were needed from time to time. But the corn shuckings were kept up. Indeed, the more cleared land cultivated, the more corn there was to be shucked. These corn shuckings, however, were hardly considered work. They were really regarded more as fun and recreation. They usually occurred one night and were generally so arranged so that no two in the neighborhood conflicted. At them, there was always a shucking race or contest to add interest and fun to the occasion. Upon assembling, the corn pile was divided as nearly equally as possible. Captains were chosen who “threw up” or cast lots, for choice of “ends” of the piles, and then alternately selected the persons present as their partisans and helpers in the shucking contest. These contests wee nearly always exciting and as the pile diminished in size the interest and desire to win increased. The captains and their respective adherents shouted and encouraged each other to such with increasing energy. If the pile and the shuckers had been equally divided, the contests were close and it was sometimes difficult to determine which side was the winner. Now and then in a very exciting race, there would be a little cheating by hiding some of the unshucked corn or by shoving a little under the dividing rail to the other side or by not shucking the corn very clean. But, as a rule, the contests were fairly and openly conducted. The successful side when they had fairly won, always raised an exultant yell and sometimes the men would take the captain on their shoulders and carry him with shouts of triumph around the defeated party. It is a wonder that ill feelings and fights did not occur on these occasions but I do not recall anything of the kind. My recollection is that these affairs were always conducted in the best of humor. NOTE: In a recent letter, Mr. White of White’s Mill near Statesville, informs me that in giving the sketch of the Moyer family, I was mistaken as to the name of Mrs. Moyer, daughter of Joel Kimball. He says her name was Martha instead of Polly. Mr. Kimball had a daughter named Polly but she married Robert Plyler, a half brother of Calvin Plyler, the school teacher, heretofore mentioned. She and her husband and Calvin Plyler are still living. He was from the south side of Third Creek. I have no doubt Mr. White, whose opportunities are better than mine, is right about this. And now that my attention has been called to it, I have an impression that as a boy, I was struck with the names of these two ladies because of the alliteration—Martha Moyer and Polly Plyler. Mr. White also informs me that Thomas Kimball had nine children by his second marriage— five sons and four daughters, viz.: John, Luther, Billy, LaFayette and Allen and Abba, Laura, Margaret and Jennie. Mr. White also says that he attended the school house about 1849 taught by his cousin George Houseton White, at the neighborhood school house, heretofore mentioned. He says Miss Mary Steele attended that school and it is evident from his letter that he still has a soft place in his heart for the “prettiest girl” in the school house. I have no doubt but that a number of other old fellows scattered about the country who were boys fifty years ago, feel just as Mr. White does. For Miss Mary was not only pretty, but amiable and very popular. Mr. White says she would not play “town ball” at all unless she was on his side of the game. There now! What vanity we men have about the preferences of pretty women! Mr. White gave me some other items but they are not strictly within the scope of these sketches which have already become somewhat extended. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. April 27, 1900 It may be that the singings are still kept up and, like at corn shuckings, may be so familiar as not to be of much interest to the present readers. They certainly constitute one of the most important and pleasant customs of the neighborhood and were among its best entertainment a half century ago. As they helped to make up the history of the neighborhood, a short statement will be made about them. The young people and some of the old ones too, would meet at a neighbor’s house usually on a winter night, and practice singing. They brought with them their song books, of which nearly every family had one—and sometimes several members of thee family each had copies. Although they might be of different kinds, there were usually songs enough common to all the books to enable them to be used. In these books, each note with its name was known by its shape or color (blue or white) and not merely by its place on the staff. They were sometimes called “shaped” notes to distinguish them from “round” notes which afterwards came into use. When the company had assembled, the leader divided them up and arranged them across the room according to the qualities of their respective voices. Those who sing bass, tenor, treble and second treble or alto (I am not up on musical terms), respectively, were required to get together in sections in different parts of the room. The leader then took his stand in the center in front of the fireplace and conducted the singers through the mazes of the tunes. Sometimes he had what he called a tuning fork, which was struck on some hard substance and then held to his ear to get the “pitch” or sound for the tune about to be sung. The first man I remember seeing use one of these tuning forks was Mr. Kestler at one of the many singings that used to be held at Mr. Harkey’s house. When everyone was ready and the singers waiting in expectation, the command was given “take the sound”. The leader would then with his arm or inclination of his body indicate in succession to each section of singers around the room when to take up the sound. Then would come the command “all together, sing”. And then would break forth a volume of sound which, in tunes that permitted it, seemed almost to lift the roof from the house. The leader, in the meantime, stood and beat the time with his arms for the guidance of the singers. Whenever the leader understood his business and had the gift of controlling the crowd and inducing the singers to their best, these were exceedingly pleasant as well as useful occasions. The good results were seen in the congregation singing of the surrounding churches. Most of these people in these congregations, with voices that had been trained at these singings, usually joined pretty promptly and heartily in the sacred songs. This was before the day of choirs and organs in the country and village churches. All that was needed was for some man like Jesse McNeely at Bethesda, John Steele at Third Creek, Harvey Morrison and others at Fourth Creek, and the old brothers Robert and James White at Perth to stand up and lead the congregation in songs. I constantly regret that I never learned to sing or learned even the rudiments of music and that I cannot join in singing, no matter how glad at times, I would be to do so. But I always greatly enjoy music made by others when it is good—that is, good according to my standards, according to the way it affects me. I have heard music in some of the finest churches, cathedrals, and opera houses in the land. I greatly enjoy the performances, though my untrained ear did not enable me to tell whether they were technically successes or failures. It sometimes seems to me to be a real misfortune to some persons to be very highly educated and accordingly trained in music. They become super sensitive and critical. The slightest violation of the technical rules, no matter how much real melody there may be, makes them miserable and destroys that pleasure. They cannot even enjoy the songs of birds or the good sweet voices of nature. Each individual must necessarily be his own judge in these matters. A fine picture, statue, or other work of art will be judged by the onlooker according to the impression it makes on him. Contrasting the impressions made on me in later life by the fine music above mentioned, with that of my boyhood days, at the singings and churches of the time, seems to me now that it was not halfway as much devotion, warmth and heart in the former as in the latter, however inartistic it may have been. Down at the Third Creek Church, there was a large gallery running around three sides of the interior of the building. A part of this gallery was set apart for the Negro members. On sacramental occasions, both the floor and the gallery of the church were generally crowded. At these times, when such old, familiar tunes as “Alas There Did My Savior Bleed”, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, “How Firm A Foundation” and “There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood”, were given out to be sung, almost the whole congregation joined in the song. The great volume of melodious sound that came from hundreds of black and white singers would completely drown the strident voice of John Steele. Waves of sound would rise up to praise Almighty God. Hearts were warmed, thoughts up lifted, and souls filled with sincere devotion under the spell of this simple but grand country music. The same was true according to the occasion and size of the congregations at Bethesda, Four Creeks, St. Paul’s and the other churches surrounding the old neighborhood. Among the incidents that used to excite interest in the old neighborhood was the passage of drovers and their droves along the Salisbury Road on their way to eastern and southern markets. There were sometimes droves of horses and cattle but most of them were great droves of hogs from Tennessee. The coming of the hogs would be told a mile or two ahead by the peculiar calls and yells of the drovers, the cracking of the whips and the squealing of the hogs. The people within hearing would generally go to the side of the road to see the droves pass by and examine, criticize and discuss the animals. Usually with a drove of hogs would be one or two men on horseback and a number of men on foot, armed with whips having long lashes and short sticks or handles whose business it was to keep the hogs in line and not wander too far from the road. The passing of these droves was a source of profit to the people immediately along the road for a good deal of food was required for the men and a great deal for the animals. A sort of local market was thus made for the surplus products of the little farms along the way. The coming of the railroad, however, has long since done away with the droves and the local profit. Speaking of these passing animals reminds me that doubtless some of the old people will remember the neighborhood incident of the crazy cow. At one time the bell cow of my grandfather’s little herd was a rather tall, raw boned, black or dark brown cow that we called “Old Dais”. I suppose her name was originally “Daisy” for there are few people who have cows that do not give one of them that name. One evening when the cows came home I was sent to let down the bars so that they could get into the barnyard to be milked and remain for the night. Probably my aunt also went along to milk the cows. They were coming southward along the lane north of the barn. The bars were let down and we took our station in the lane south of them to see that the cows went into the barnyard. All came and went in except “Old Dais” the bell cow. When she reached the top of the hill just north of the barn, she stopped, raised her head and looked at us in a startled manner. After waiting some time for her to approach, and go into the lot with the other cows, we called to her or made some motion to induce her to come forward. Instead of that, to our surprise, she turned and fled. Whenever anyone approached her, in an effort to drive her into the yard, she would look at them in a scared and startled manner and then rush off in the opposite direction. We could not get her home. During the night, whenever anyone of the family were awake, they could hear the bell as “Old Dais” ran from place to place in the vicinity. In the morning, another effort was made to get her home but without success. The constant ringing of the bell that night and the next morning, attracted the attention of the neighbors. They could tell from the sound that she was running and began to come out to see what was the matter. They joined in the effort to drive the cow home. Finally, when everyone was tired out it was decided to kill the cow and I think she was shot. The incident and its probably cause created considerable discussion and interest in the immediate neighborhood. The general opinion was that the cow had been bitten by a mad dog and thus given hydrophobia though I do not remember what symptoms indicated this. No other cows belonging to my grandfather or any of the neighbors were similarly affected. So far as I can remember, no mad dog or other animal affected with hydrophobia was found but certain it was that the cow had gone crazy for some reason. She gave the men and dogs of the vicinity a lively and interesting experience. The Statesville Landmark May 1, 1900 Another of the old customs which prevailed in the neighborhood was “wagoning”. At certain seasons of the year, when the men and boys could be spared from the work at home, many of the residents took their teams and wagons and hauled their surplus goods to distant markets and brought back merchandise for the Statesville merchants. Indeed, this latter was the principal object of the trips. A little extra money could thus be realized to supplement the small profits of the farm. The incidents of these trips, as reported by the wagoners and their assistants, gave subjects for discussion among the people in the neighborhood for months afterwards. At first, these trips were made to Cheraw and Camden, and other points in South Carolina and Fayetteville in North Carolina. The old men told of wagon trips in their younger days as far south as Charleston and as far north as Baltimore and Philadelphia. Later, the railroads got nearer, the length of the trips were shortened and finally the custom was abandoned altogether. The men and boys who went on these trips, on their return, always had wonderful tales to tell of what they had seen and heard and of the “mirings” and “stallings” and other interesting incidents of the journey. I was eager to go on some of these trips, but my grandfather was not in the business after I was large enough to go, and I never had the opportunity until after I had left the neighborhood, and then only a four days trip to and from Charlotte, forty miles distant, to which point the railroad from South Carolina had reached. I always felt like I had been cheated out of one of the most enjoyable experiences of a country boy’s life. When one man did not have enough horses to make up a team for himself, he would unite with another neighbor and the two would take a joint interest in the enterprise. It was on these wagoning trips that such men as Thomas Kimball, heretofore mentioned, were in demand in managing the teams and hauling heavy loads. McHenry’s Hill, on the “Georgia” Road, just south of the Third Creek Bridge, was looked upon by the wagoners of this old neighborhood as a most serious obstacle on their way to southern markets. It was the longest and highest hill on the way to climb with a heavy load. To get up it with a heavy load called for all the skill of the driver and strength of the horses. Often when wagons were started on the trip, extra men would go that far bringing extra horses. The hill took its name from a family that lived at the top. When I can first remember, Henry McHenry, a man of somewhat hermit habits, lived there with a few servants. The man was very eccentric, and within the latter days of my recollection, stayed closely to home and had little to do with his neighbors. It was reputed that he had a considerable sum of money about the house. The story was told that sometimes, probably when he had been drinking a little heavily, he used to get out his money and scatter the coins about the room and afterwards gather them up and hide them away. How much of this was true I do not know. He let his servants do pretty much as they pleased and his house, barn and fence were in a dilapidated condition. His house was about a hundred yards west of the public road, a little too far for talking to passers-by on the road, but still in plain view. Persons passing along that road during the day time could always see Mr. McHenry sitting on his front porch. In going to and from Bethesda, I have often seen him sitting there. He was old and white headed. My recollection is that if anyone approached the house from the road, especially if it was someone the old man did not wish to see, he would run in the house and close and fasten the door. In this day, before the railroad and the numerous stores in town and country, the neighborhood was often visited by tin peddlers and chicken buyers with their wagons and foot peddlers carrying their packs of linen table cloths, towels and such things. It was always an event in the family when the tin peddler with his glib tongue, big box wagon and shining contents came around. The women of the family then laid in their coffee pots, tin cups and pans and japanned ware and such things needed in the family and gave in return beeswax, feathers, eggs and other such produce of the farm as the peddler could be induced to take and gave him as little money as possible. The coming of the chicken buyer and foot peddler, though not so showy and important as the tin peddler, was, nevertheless, an interesting occasion which broke the monotony of the simple country life. These customs have been almost entirely discontinued under the changed conditions of modern life. Another thing, always of interest and discussion among the neighbors, was the passage of wild fowls and birds. Wild geese and ducks were often seen in large flocks flying northward in the fall, stopping occasionally in the neighborhood. But the most interesting thing in those days was the passage of large flocks of wild pigeons that used to come in acorn time on their way south. They flew down nearer the ground than the other birds and in such numbers as to darken the air and sometimes break the limbs of the branches they alighted upon. I do not recall that their was any roost in the immediate neighborhood, but sportsmen, nevertheless, managed to get a good number of these birds as they passed through, or sometimes sojourned in the country. For some reason, these flocks of pigeons afterwards ceased to appear. I do not remember hearing of any for many years. The people of this neighborhood were so intimate with each other that the personal peculiarities of every individual were well known. Some of the families were known for their abundant and somewhat lavish hospitality during the choppings, log rollings or other occasions heretofore mentioned. Others, again, were regarded as the contrary. Some of the good women of the neighborhood were celebrated for their excellence in certain types of domestic work. Ruth Chambers, Jr., was noted for her industry, her excellent corn-pone she could make and the beautiful “counterpins” (counterpanes) she could weave. Mrs. Harkey was noted for her fine pumpkin and potato custards and other toothsome products of her “Dutch Oven”. This oven was the first of its kind I ever saw, and probably the first one of the kind ever built in the neighborhood. The Dutch residents were probably more inclined to liberality in their table supplied than the more economical Scotch-Irish. However, all were hospitable and delighted to share their good things with their neighbors or passing strangers. As before stated, there were no churches within the bounds of the neighborhood. Neither were there any doctors. Insofar as I can remember, not a single death occurred in the neighborhood during the entire eight years covered by these sketches. No reflection on the doctors is intended by the statement of this fact. The “chills” with their ravenous demands for quinine, had not yet erupted that far west. Whenever a doctor was needed, Dr. Moore or Dr. Nesbit of Statesville, and later Dr. Kelly or Dr. Campbell was usually sent for. During part of this time, Dr. James L. Dusenbury was located at “Farmville” the old Chambers homestead eight miles east of Statesville, then owned by P.B. Chambers. Dr. Dusenbury was reputed to be a fine physician and was also sometimes sent for to attend persons in the neighborhood. Dr. Murchison, a “steam” or “Thomsonian” doctor lived on “I.L.(?)” Creek, a short distance south of Third Creek. He was held in a sort of professional contempt by the regular doctors, but, nevertheless, his simple remedies acquired for him a considerable practice in his locality. He was now and then called into the old neighborhood. I recollect that at one time, my grandmother’s Negro man, John, was taken down and confined a long time to his bed with a severe and painful attack of rheumatism. He could hardly move and yelled with pain at every attempt. Some of the other physicians had tried to help John but had failed. Finally my grandfather determined to call in Dr. Murchison, notwithstanding the prevailing prejudice against his style of medicine. I remember well the doctor’s treatment. He managed to get John into a chair and covered him with heavy blankets fastening closely around his neck and reaching to the floor. He then had ovens or pots of hot water shoved under these blankets to create steam. The water was kept hot as long as wanted, as I remember, by stone which had been heated in the fire, just as was the custom to keep water hot at hog killing time. The perspiration from John, together with the steam, would drop from him and run in great streams across the floor. When the doctor had thus steamed the patient until he was weak, he would gradually remove the blankets and rub the patient briskly with some pepperish liquid to prevent his taking cold, put him back in bed, cover him up, leave him some simple remedies, and go on his way. The results of several successive treatments of the above effected a cure. So far as I can recollect, though John was exposed afterwards to as much of the conditions which produce the disease, and though he lived to be quite an old man, he never again had a touch of rheumatism. This cure gave Dr. Murchison a big reputation in the neighborhood. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. May 4, 1900 I have heretofore spoken of the superstitious people and the supposed ghost of the suicide in Hoover’s Hollow. A good many people then believed and doubtless still believe in ghosts, “spirits”, “haunts”, haunted houses, etc.—at least to the extent of making them timid at night about deserted houses and lonely places. Much of this resulted from the habit many of them had then of telling ghost and witch stories to and in the presence of small children. There was an old lady from the Plymouth settlement south of Third Creek whom I remember only as “Granny” Matthews who used to visit in the old neighborhood and who had a vast fund of such stories which she delighted to tell and in truth of which she seemed to me to thoroughly believe. I remember that once when she was on a visit at my grandfather’s she told some of these uncanny stories with such minuteness of detail and such powers of vivid description that my heart seemed almost to stand on end at her bare recital. I have long since lost all fear of ghosts but some of her stories still remain in my memory. “Tice” Wilson, heretofore mentioned, used to tell a ghost story on himself. Although a mature, married man when I heard him tell it, he had a strong vein of superstition in him and still, even then, to think he had actually seen a ghost or “haunt”. He said when he was a young man he had on one occasion been detained at a neighbor’s house until after night. In order to get home, he had to travel over a newly cut road leading through the woods. He did not at all like the prospect of going alone, but there was no one to go with him or he was ashamed to ask for an escort. He was bare footed and was carefully picking his way through the stumps and other obstructions to keep from stumping his toes, when he happened to look behind him and saw something white as a sheet silently following behind him. When he stopped, it stopped. When he moved, it moved. It kept just the same distance from him. He started to run—it ran too. When he looked back, it was still moving silently along the same distance behind him. To use his own language he then “fairly flew” to home. Indeed, he said he must have flown because though the road was a long one and full of stumps, rocks, roots, he never stumped a toe or hurt his foot in the race. When he reached home, he fainted and fell in the door and was “laid up” for a time. He knew of no plausible explanation of the apparition except as a ghost. I have the impression that his theory was confirmed in his viewby the fact that some person in the vicinity had died about the same hour or shortly before. The inference is that the wraith of the departed was seeking to accompany him on his lonely journey home. In the scarcity of entertaining books, periodicals and newspapers, now so cheap and abundant, the families in the old neighborhood amused themselves by asking and answering conundrums, telling anecdotes and repeating ghost stories as above. I used often to hear my grandfather and the old men of the neighborhood talk about the “shooting matches” for the display of skill in marksmanship, for prizes that had once been customary among the people. While they were not then so frequent and important as in former times to be considered as one of the customs of the time I am writing about. I can remember that my grandfather, who had been no poor shot himself, used still to go on occasion to one of these affairs; and I have a vague recollection of one of them being either in his own place or at the north end of the field, not far from the site of the neighborhood schoolhouse. I recall no other in the immediate vicinity. I think I have heard my grandfather speak of them being held at Sumter Hoover’s and other points on the south side of Third Creek. But the custom had fallen greatly into disuse. Sometimes when a few neighbors with their guns happened to meet and they would shoot at a mark to amuse themselves but without any prize for the one who did the best shot. Moreover, there were still, in those days, plenty of squirrels, some wild turkeys and pheasants, hawks, wild geese at certain seasons, occasional cranes, and wild ducks about the creeks and ponds and possibly, now and then, a deer or “painter” (panther) to furnish sport and which required skill with a rifle. Among the best shots in the neighborhood, as I remember, were James Haithcox and Cowan Chambers. Indeed, the latter was quite a hunter, especially of wild turkeys. Every man and boy in the community, however, was familiar with the use of guns and some of them formed strong personal attachments to their rifles after the manner of Davy Crocket and his “Betsy”. This familiarity with the use of fire arms, together with the thoroughly trained militia men got from the county and general muster, and the martial spirit thus inspired; fitted the men of the neighborhood for the splendid Confederate soldiers they made during the Civil War. While the old fashioned “shooting matches” had not been entirely abandoned, yet they were becoming so infrequent and so few were held in the neighborhood after I can remember that I never became familiar with their use and practice. But I think the usual prize for the winner was the first choice of a quarter-beef, veal or mutton, the price of which had been “made up” or contributed to by the contestants. Indeed, as few families of that day could themselves use or preserve an entire beef, it is probably that the shooting match was used as a means of disposing of it. But time has wrought many changes in the people and customs. Even the physical appearance of the old neighborhood when I saw it in 1891 and 1896 is very different from what it was fifty years ago. The “no fence” law has seemed to me to “turn everything out of doors”. Some of the houses considered fairly substantial structures in their day are gone—not a vestige left—like those of Uncle James Barkley and my grandfather. Much of the wood land is cleared up and under cultivation. Many of the fields then in cultivation are now in broomsedge, sassafras, or pines. The field that was the “new ground” at my grandfather’s place when I left there in 1853 was covered thickly with full grown field pines when I saw it last in 1891. In that year I took my son and some friends in a hack from Statesville with the intention of showing them the place in the old neighborhood which I was familiar in my boyhood. I could not locate and recognized so few places that I gave up the effort. In 1896 my wife and I went in a buggy from Statesville along the Salisbury Road through the neighborhood to “Farmville”, the old Chambers place. It hardly seemed like the same road I had traveled so often when a boy—the houses, fields, and wood lands had been so changed. The Landmark Statesville, N.C. May 8, 1900 I have heretofore alluded to the change in the population of the community. Of course, in ordinary times and in the usual course of things a great many changed would have occurred in fifty years. But the great Civil War and its results wrought many radical changes. In the two trips I previously mentioned I saw a great many people, among them descendents and old residents. But, while not especially in search of those who had left the neighborhood before 1853, Miss Margaret Leslie was the only one of that class that I saw. We met her on the Salisbury Road near her house. In the conversation with her, we found her to be the same kind, gentle, quiet, Christian woman with words full of charity and kindness for others and deprecations of self and with the same implicit reliance upon and faith in her religion that she was when I was a boy. She has led a humble life of hard and useful work. It has been one of constant self-sacrifice for others. She had few of what are called “life’s pleasures” and many of its hardships. She has borne all with Christian fortitude and resignation. She, and such as she, give us faith in human kind and in the Christian religion. My interview with her illustrated how easy it is for a child to grow out of the memory of older people. Her family and that of my grandfather had been dear neighbors and in almost daily intercourse during the entire eight years I was an inmate in the latter’s home. In 1896 she utterly failed to recognize me and could not realize that I was the little, freckle faced boy she had known at my grandfather’s, who used to come to her father’s home on errands and accompany her aunts to Sunday school and church at Bethesda. Another instance of such lapse of memory was furnished by John, the old Negro man who had been owned by my step-grandmother. He is entitled to me mentioned in these sketches as one of the unusual characters of the old neighborhood. As well as I can remember, he was the only Negro man and Mr. Harkey’s woman the only Negro woman who, from 1845-1853, lived and belonged in that neighborhood which lay on the south side of the Salisbury Road. He was the man who was cured of rheumatism by Dr. Murchison as heretofore detailed. He attended many of the log rollings, choppings, and corn shuckings to repay the neighbors for similar work they had done for my grandfather. He was a man of good common sense and was always good natured and polite. He was well liked by all the men in the neighborhood. He was a half brother of the late Isham Dean, so long a barber, and one of the unique characters of Statesville. His wife, whose name, I think, was Caroline, belonged to the late Col. Thomas A. Allison who lived on Fourth Creek, a few miles east or northeast of Statesville. According to the custom of the day, every Saturday afternoon, after John had prepared sufficient fire wood for the family and food for the horses and cattle to last until he returned, he used to go to Col. Allison’s to stay with his wife and children until Monday morning. And on his return, he was nearly always had some wonderful details to tell us about them and abut the occurrences at Col. Allison’s. My father had been buried in the grave yard of the Fourth Creek Presbyterian Church in Statesville in 1842. The grave had then been marked by rough unlettered stones such as still are to be seen in the old part of that graveyard. My mother’s second marriage took her a considerable distance away. After that, she rarely was over in Statesville. The church members of my grandfather’s family changed their membership to Bethesda and ceased to attend regularly at Fourth Creek. In the course of time, the identification of my father’s grave was lost. I later made every effort to locate it. My mother had become an invalid and was unable to visit the place and could only help me by description. I got the assistance of the late Colonel Arthur Walker who for many years knew more about that graveyard and who had been buried in the different graves then any other man. All my efforts, however, were unsuccessful. I had understood from my mother that John had, under the direction of her kind neighbor, John Fleming (father of Scott Fleming) dug my father’s grave. On one of my few visits to North Carolina, I thought that, with what little my mother could recall, John might possible be able to locate the place where he dug the grave. I wanted to see the old man anyway so I hunted him up. I found him plowing corn in a field a short distance southeast of Statesville. As I rode up to him, he had just started to the far end of the field. I waited and watched him until he had ploughed “the round” and got back to the road. I could tell no difference in his voice as he spoke to his horse and in his movements as he guided the plow from what they were in my childhood. When he got back to the road I spoke to him and he responded politely. He was always polite. I took up the usual topics of conversation—the weather, crops, etc.—and asked various questions but in the conversation he answered the questions—just as Miss Leslie had done—without the slightest sign of recognition. I asked him what had become of the little boy Henry who had lived at my grandfather’s. At this he looked a little curious, but answered: “Oh, he went to live with the Pinck Chambers and then went off to war and then went west somewhere, I think. I do not know what became of him.” Then came from him the usual question: “What might be your name?” I replied, “Why, John, don’t you know me?” He looked at me a little more closely, but said “No, sir, you have the advantage of me, I’m sure”. I then told him my name and with the repeated exclamation “you don’t tell me” came forward and grasped my hand warmly. He looked keenly into my face and said “Oh, yes, I can see the favor now, I can see the favor now”. Upon my asking, he told me of his life since the war, the death of his wife and most of his children. Possibly he had also remarried. At any rate, the old man was then alone without wife or child or any kith or kin with him or to care for him. He was, however, still able to work enough to make a living. When I was a boy, he used to tell me about my father whom I never knew well. They were probably about the same age. He remembered digging the grave but was utterly unable to locate it. My information is that John died within the last year. He must have been about 80 years old. With this, I close these sketches, their preparation has become a labor of love. As we grow older, we leave more in the past. It has been a pleasure to live over again a part of my boyhood and to revive and refresh the memory of old friends and neighbors of that time. But the pleasure has been mingled with sadness by the thought that all the old people and most of the middle aged and even men of the younger time have passed away. The few survivors of the then middle aged are now the very old. Even the young children are beginning to bend beneath the weight of years. The people of this old neighborhood were a poor people. They were a hospitable, hard working, good natured people. They were probably no better and certainly no worse than the people of good average Iredell communities. But I rejoice that their faults have faded from my memory and only the qualities kept a lodgment there. But let us trust that the Good Father has been kind and merciful to those old neighbors whom He has called to account; that He has blotted out their transgressions just as we pray He may do for the few survivors when the time comes to appear before Him. The End Transcribed by Christine Spencer, May & June 2008