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Uncategorized Yesteryear

Yellow Checkered Shirt

Today as I was getting ready for church, the shirt I put on triggered a memory and I began reminiscing about my childhood.  I was privileged to have grown up around my grandparents when I was young. We lived just across the road from their farm, and my dad worked with his father in the lumber & construction business, so we saw them almost every day. My grandad was a quiet, stately man who I admired greatly. I spent as much time as I could with him.  During the summer he would let me help with the chores around the farm. I helped him feed his hogs during the evenings and sometimes he would let me ride with him to downtown Ramseur to have grain ground into feed and pick up supplies.  When we got to the milling company in downtown Ramseur, he would back up the side dock. The owner, Mr. Shoemaker would greet us at the side door and we would shovel our pickup load of corn and wheat into the large abyss that was in the floor of Mr. Shoemakers’ milling company. The hum of the grinding was always mesmerizing to me, and I shuttered to think of what would happen if an animal accidentally were to fall into that pit.  It was just an open hole in the floor that was covered by a wooden trap door when not in use. Once you opened the door, a metal shoot would direct anything thrown into the pit to grinders that would turn it into fine feed or flour. Mr. Shoemaker would then wrap a burlap sack around the mouth of the funnel that came down inside the store and with a quick pull of a lever, fills up a 100 lb sack of feed and quickly tie it with his special knot.  It was then loaded onto the customer’s truck. My job was to shovel the grain into the pit and then pull the bags to the front of the building where my grandfather would be waiting to load them onto his truck. Most of the time the feed we had milled wound up into hog feed.  Each year, Granddad would grow out several hundred hogs to “top hogs” (when they got to around 200 lbs) and then take them to the sale in Siler City. He gave me one of his flock for my efforts every year that I helped him.    

My thoughts were directed to those days while I was dressing for church.   We have a new pastor, and his preaching has caused me to actually enjoy going to church again. I was up early so to get dressed and be there on time. Now my wardrobe is sort of limited. I have never been one to buy a lot of clothes. In fact, I rarely ever throw away anything. That becomes a problem when you grow in places that you don’t want. For some reason, my neck seems to be (well, it actually is) much larger than it was years ago, so my old shirts just don’t fit anymore. They don’t button like they used to either. When I try to fasten the top button to put on a tie, it feels like I am being choked. I do have a few shirts that have a large enough neck that they are comfortable, but most of these are not what I would call “fashionable.” I had put one of these shirts on this Sunday, and as I looked in the mirror, my mind went back to those days with my Granddad and Mr. Shoemaker. While we would grind our own grain for hog feed, Grandaddy would purchase his chicken feed at the store. After we loaded up the bags of feed we had ground, he would go through the stacks of chicken feed and pick out several with patterned designs on the bags. Back then, access to a clothing store was limited to an occasional trip to town or mail order from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Companies would pack their feed in patterned cloth bags that rural women could re-use for dresses, aprons, and table cloths, or whatever they chose to make from them. These feed sacks came in a variety of colors and designs, and when we returned from town with our load, my grandmother would come out and inspect what we had brought. “Now that one will make a nice tablecloth (or something)” she would say “You be careful with it and don’t tear it up.” Granddaddy would nod, as to say “don’t worry.” The shirt I had chosen for church was a yellow checkered one, and it reminded me of those feed sacks and the anticipation of my grandmother getting something new.   

Simple things, for a much simpler time. People seemed to be much happier back then.  Thankful for memories.

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Yesteryear

Pottery of North Carolina

Like many towns on the Deep River, one cannot imagine how busy Franklinville was and how many potters it could support. One of the oldest was Enock Spinks Craven {1810-1893). Craven produced salt-glazed utilitarian stoneware and taught his nephew James Madison Hayes (1832-1922) to make pottery in his shop. Hayes made
pottery in Franklinville before moving to New Salem in 1870.

Hayes may have been one of the unluckiest soldiers in the Civil War. In his book, The Randolph Hornets In The Civil War, Wally Jarrell includes a picture of the heavily bearded Hayes, who enlisted in Company M on Monday 6 March 1862. Hays was captured and imprisoned three times and released twice before the end of the war.

I visited Lindsey Lambeth at The North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove to get pictures of both Craven and Hays’’ pots. Lindsey made the valuable observation that he wished both potters had stamps with deeper indentations for it is difficult at times to read their names.

When I think of 19th century Franklinville potters, the “3Ms” come to my mind. The “3Ms” is a term that I coined for the Marable, Moffitt, and McCoy families of potters. All of which were related by marriage. Many years ago, I received a phone call from Dorothy Auman. She told me to drop everything and meet her near Moffitt’s Mill. She did not elaborate, but upon arriving I found that a bulldozer had unearthed the pottery site of Jesse Moffitt. The hillside was covered with pottery sherds and jug necks made by three different potters. The three potters were Jesse, and his sons Manley Robinson Moffitt (1835-1913) and Elijah Kelly Moffitt (1836-1910).

There is only so much room on a farm or pottery and as one generation grows and starts their own family, it becomes necessary that some leave their homes. Kelly Moffitt left the Moffitt’s Mill area and moved to Franklinville, while his brother Manley first established a pottery near Flags Springs United Methodist Church, before moving near his brother in Franklinville. Both turned high-quality salt-glazed utilitarian stoneware. Manley’s son, William Jasper Moffitt {1864-1936) was the last Moffitt to turn ware in the Franklinville area. His ware was marked Willy J. Moffitt. Willy J. was the great grandfather of local funeral homeowner, Bill Craven.

The second of the “3M” family of potters will be found in Cedar Falls. John Pascal Marable (1856-1932) was the grandson and namesake of potter Pascal McCoy. He is probably the most important potter that many are unaware of. Marable was a journeyman potter who had a route, filling one shop and then going to the next. He did not build his own shop until 1925, just seven years before his death. Beside turning quality stoneware, Marable’s importance as a teacher was instrumental in the emergence of two families that would bridge the change from utilitarian stoneware to art pottery.

Melvin Owens told me that his grandfather’s shop was one that employed Marable, and it was Marable who taught Owen’s sons, James Henry {1866-1923) and Rufus {1872-1948) to turn pottery. These two Owens potters had 9 sons who would be instrumental in the art pottery movement.

While I was working at Seagrove Pottery, I had the pleasure of meeting James Auman on one of his infrequent trips to North Carolina. He was interested in seeing the Potters Museum and I was able to be his guide.

Mr. Auman gave me an education about his family’s contribution to North Carolina pottery and the clay that became known as Auman clay. According to Cole family lore, Benjamin Franklin Cole had a dream about a pure white clay. The next morning, he set out with a bucket and shovel, found the clay, and traded his land for it. Frank Cole sold his shop to Jerome Auman, who would continue to make pottery there with the help of Pascal Marable.

The Auman clay was sought after because of its color and surface texture. Around the turn of the century, white China became attainable to some and the potters tried their best to imitate it. The Auman clay was excellent to create the look the homeowner desired. The clay was problematic, often cracking while turning and also drying. Only the best turner could produce the shapes they desired.

James Auman was pleased to see examples of his family’s work and even identified some that he had turned. We moved along to the stoneware and he saw a jug signed JP MaraBle. In his excitement, he told me that Pascal worked for his grandfather and was instrumental in his sons learning to turn ware. Thus, the second family Marable educated that would make the change from utilitarian to art ware. Auman described Marable as tall and thin and related a story of his family’s fondness for Marable. Long after Marable left the Auman’s employment he received a visit and was taken on a picnic by the entire Auman clan, who had boarded cars and traveled from Seagrove to Cedar Falls. At the end of the Sunday afternoon Marable did not want them to leave, and this was the last time that they would see him alive. Wally Jarrell identified another soldier-potter in the Grays Chapel area. His name was William Clay Routh (1835-1910) and he enlisted in Company Mon 10 June 1861. In 1870 he and Manley Robinson Moffitt filed an Article of Agreement to produce stoneware pottery. Throughout his life he is listed as a farmer and potter on the census records. Routh stamped his ware WC Ruth. He is buried at Grays Chapel United Methodist Church.

Joseph Sand Pottery can be found at 2555 George York Rd. Randleman, NC. This is a little confusing to me because the shop seems closer to Central Falls. Joseph apprenticed under Mark Hewitt in Pittsboro, NC. Hewitt is an interesting character. His father worked for Spode in England and he was one of the last apprentices of Michael Cardew, one of the greatest English potters of the 20th century. Sand is known for his extremely large pots. He has sales a number of times a year and you can receive information about them at www.josephsandpottery.com. His wood fired kiln reminds me of an overturned boat.

Hal and Elanor Pugh have done an amazing job of documenting the Quaker potters in the New Salem area forms the late 18th to early 19th century. These potters were producing lead glazed earthenware, some with intricate slip decorations. Peter Dicks, Henry Watkins, and William Dennis all made pottery here. Peter Dicks was perhaps the first potter in the area and possibly influenced William Dennis in the pottery trade, who in turn influenced Watkins. All were neighbors and were members in good standing of the Friends Meeting. Being a staunch abolitionist William Dennis took a freed black, George Newby, as an apprentice in 1813. Newby’s apprenticeship was completed around 1822, the year that Dennis left North Carolina for Richmond, Indiana.


James Madison Hays moved to New Salem and eventually purchased the Dennis pottery property. He and his brother Eli continued to produce the utilitarian salt glazed ware that he had made in Franklinville.

Today on the Dennis pottery site Hal and Eleanor Pugh have their New Salem Pottery and produce slip decorated earthenware reminiscent of early Quaked slipware. The pottery can be found at 789 New Salem Rd. Randleman, NC 27316 or online at www.newsalempottery.com. Their scholarship and craftmanship is seen in every pot that they produce. From our start in Coleridge to our ending in New Salem we have seen a history of pottery that is still being made today. Our earliest earthenware potters are found near Coleridge and New Salem. Families like the Cravens, who begin near Coleridge eventually move into the Seagrove area near highway 705. J. D. Craven, who was born near our house goes to the area around Longleaf and teaches the Hancock, Chrisco, and Teague families to make pottery. Pascal Marable helps to establish the Auman and Owens potters. Perhaps the Highway 22 corridor should be recognized as once being the center of pottery production in Randolph County with Ramseur being as its epicenter.

Categories
Yesteryear

Ramseur Fall Festival Article from 1989

The following article is of the very first Ramseur Fall Festival and is taken from the Ramseur Bulletin on Wednesday, October 25th, 1989.

Merchant Pleased with First Effort: Festival Crowd Likes The Main Event

Main Street put its best foot forward and came away a win­ner last Saturday as the first Ramseur Fall Festival was judged by visitors and vendors a huge success. 

“It was a great day and I really enjoyed it,” said Grady Lawson, whose Eastern Ran­dolph Boosters booth sold completely out of barbeque by 1:00 pm, underestimating the turnout for the festival. 

Close to 7,000 visitors spent the day on Main Street despite chilly temperatures and a blus­tery wind that kept the crowd in the sun most of the morning. Many of the vendors who had set up booths by 6:00 am were most effected by the cold. 

“I’ve been selling gloves and toboggans all morning,” said H. D. Gooch,ownerofGooch’s on Main Street. “This has been the best day I’ve had all year.”

Many other Main Street merchants had booths in front of their stores. Wayne Stutts and wife Darius, owners of Brady’s Appliance, sold fun­nel cakes all day and couldn’t keep up with the demand. 

“I haven’t sold much in the store today, Stutts said, “but that wasn’t the purpose of the festival anyway; lt was to create interest in and get people downtown and it has surely done that.” 

Stutts added that he plans to get a bigger cooker so that he can cook more funnel cakes for the crowd next year. 

Main Street was crowded by 10:00 am when Mayor June Beane welcomed everyone and formally dedicated the Ram­seur Community Building. Mayor Beane noted that Ram­seur had needed such a facility for some time and that the converted bank building was ideally located to serve the whole community. 

“We hope the building will be a place of laughter, beauty and friendship throughout the year,” Beane said, “and I invite you to take a look.” 

Many people were already taking a look and the flow of visitors through the building was steady all day. Ramseur industries had set up exhibits of locally made products in the refurbished bank lobby and everyone seemed impressed. 

“They’ve really done a nice job with it,” said G. W. Allen, who worked in the building for many years when the Bank of Coleridge was located there. “I really like it.” 

The John Plant Company, manufacturers of industrial gloves, gave gloves to visitors at their booth. The chilly morn­ing temperatures made the gloves a popular item. 

The Weiman Co. held a drawing at 2:30 pm for a table made at the Ramseur plant, and announced the winner, Laurie Spangler of Ramseur. 

Ramseur’s ambassador of good will, Taft Kivett, spent all day giving away pennies and smiles at his booth in front of the Ramseur Mercantile. 

“I don’t want you to go home broke,” Kivett would tell ev­eryone as he placed a penny in their palm. He always added, “don’t spend it all in one place.” 

Kivett estimates he gave away between 1,700 and 2,000 pennies during the day. His daughter Naomi and her husband, Tommy Cranford, from Asheboro gave away 500 bal­loons to children at the same booth. 

Churches and civic organi­zations that had booths reported that sales of food items, espe­cially home made baked goods were excellent. Craft sales were not quite as good, but the vol­ume of lookers was good throughout the day. 

Cheryl Routh of the Happy Hills Animal Foundation was pleased with the number of people that came by her booth and indicated, as most vendors did that she would be back next year. 

“You really couldn’t ask for the crowd to be any better,” Routh said. 

Many visitors noted how neat and clean everything was along Main and Liberty streets, where at 5:00 pm there was very little trash after the day’s activities. 

Main Street Merchants As­sociation President Tim Cox, who spent the day taking care of the logistics of the event said everything ran smoothly with the exception of some minor electrical problems. 

“The electrical drops we had to some booths couldn’t handle the loads, such as coffee pots, deep fryers and things like that,” Cox said, “so we had to get power from some of the stores along the street. Next year we’ll estimate the load a little better.”

Cox was pleased with the turnout for the festival and stressed there would be a festi­val next year since this one had gone so well. 

A steady stream of visitors filed through the Ramseur His­torical Museum all day, many for their first look at items rela­tive to Ramseur history. Scouts from Troop 508 greeted the visitors and gave information about the museum. 

The Ramseur Public Library sold every available copy of the Ramseur 40’s Video and is making plans to reorder. The videotape which shows life on Ramseur streets in 1940 sells for $15 and proceeds go to the library. 

A waiting list has been started for the second order of tapes and anyone wanting a copy should call the Ramseur Public Library or Mrs. H. M. Kivett. The deadline for order­ing a tape is Nov. 10th. 

Word of the festival had apparent! y spread to far beyond the local area. One caller to the Ramseur Bulletin left a name and number on the answering machine saying she had heard Ramseur was having a festival but needed directions because she didn’t know where Ram­seur was located. 

Main Street Merchants are hoping that based on the suc­cess of the festival, it will be­come an annual event and help to promote the town and its location far and wide. 

Categories
Yesteryear

The Ramseur Fall Festival – “A DAY ON MAIN STREET”: The First Festival

by WT Cox

This year marks the 33rd year of the Ramseur Fall Festival. An event that has become a tradition in our small town. But how did this festival get started and why. I can answer those questions because I was one of the original founding members. Here is a brief history:

Back in 1985, I purchased the old Craven-Kivett clothing store building on Main Street and relocated Zack White Leather Co from Raleigh to downtown Ramseur.  At that time, the  Ramseur downtown was still thriving. There was over 20 small business located on the short stretch called the Downtown Business District. Soon, the Ramseur Pharmacy closed and Mickey Whitehead moved to the new Rite Aid located on Hwy 64.  Soon after that, First Citizen Bank, formerly the Bank of Coleridge, moved into their new location located across from the old Coble Diary on Hwy 64.  

While some businesses had moved away, still many chose to remain.  Kermit Pell had closed his grocery store and the new owner Wayne Clark was in the process of opening a clothing store in the old building.  Brady Appliance Service had changed owners and now Wayne and Darius Stutts operated the longtime appliance store. Pep’s Appliance had split between Jr. Blackard, who ran the appliance business, and Bud Whillet who handled the service end of the business and Grady Lawson ran the NAPA store.  

Needless to say, Main Street was changing. The once “center of Town” was shifting toward Highway 64.  There were still several businesses that chose to stay downtown, and we were one of them.  Gooches Dime Store still operated as he had for decades, and the Ramseur Diner still served three meals daily, six days a week. The Town Hall was just around the corner and the Post Office still drew people downtown.  There was Albert Chilton’s barbershop, Ramseur Beauty Shop, Allen’s Insurance, and The Ramseur Library among other businesses still located downtown. Centura Bank and Jordan Memorial Methodist Church were there too. All of these older businesses were struggling and there was a feeling that the “Town” had shifted their interest towards the 64 corridor to the north. 

To bring the merchants together into one unified “voice”, the merchants decided to form a Merchants Association. In the spring of 1989, The Main Street Merchants Association was created and our first endeavor was to have a Bar-B-Que on Main Street to raise funds. Julian Butler did the cooking and the merchants sold sandwiches. It went so well that it was decided to try a festival in the fall. I had worked many festivals in my years of selling leather goods, but never put on a festival myself.  The first thing we did was to get permission from our Mayor, June Bean who thought it was a great idea. Next, we polled all the merchants to get ideas as to the layout and dates. We contacted Dwight Holland of the Randolph Arts Guild to get his advice on how to proceed. Mr. Holland was one of the founders of the Asheboro Fall Festival and his advice was very helpful.

 We decided on the third weekend in October because Asheboro had the first weekend for their festival, and Pittsboro had the second. The name “A Day on Main Street” projected exactly what we wanted to accomplish. It was the hope of all the merchants that people would come back downtown and shop. The next thing we had to do was raise funds and get permission from the State to block off Main Street. Since the road was a State road, permission from the Dept of Highways was needed. Also if we blocked off the street, we had to have a fire truck stationed across the bridge in Brooklyn to service that area in case of a fire. The Boy Scouts agreed to help with picking up trash and the Ramseur Fire Dept agreed to help with parking and coordination in exchange for help with their Christmas Parade.  

The biggest cost would be the sound system and to pay for garbage pick up at the end of the Festival  We solicited local merchants and citizens for donations and before long, we had enough money to start. Our first festival had over 40 groups contribute, and all the entrainment was on a  volunteer basis.  We did pay a $20 gratuity to help with gas, and usually had more people willing to preform that time allowed. We advertised through flyers and posters, and word mouth. It was a surprise when the big day finally came and the crowd was estimated to be between 7000 and 8000 people with over 150 venders showing up. The merchants, along with the Town decided to make the Festival an annual event and designate it a “Craft Festival”, with only hand made items or food allowed on the street. Since the charter for the Main Street Merchants Assn was for a non profit, all revenue that was generated from the festival was given back to the town, with the exception of funds need for the next event.

 Over the next several years, the Ramseur Fall Festival grew … a lot. Local artist Neil Kivett drew a historical scene every year and we put it on caps, t-shirts and sweat shirts that were sold the day of the festival. Today, many of these shirts and caps are considered collector’s items. Within 4 years the attendance had almost doubled and the list of crafters and venders grew to over 200. A flea market section was created and the festival was expanded up Main and Liberty streets to include most of the downtown area. The simple stage that had originally consisted of a flat bed trailer donated by Harold Briles, was replaced with a 16’ x 40’ stage that we constructed each year just for the event. We had a midway with pony rides, a small Ferris wheel and games, antique cars, bubble gum blowing contest for the kids and yes, even a tobacco spitting contest… which now seems really gross just to think about it. 

With revenue generated by the Festival, the  merchants were able to purchase planters for the street, American flags that the Boy Scouts to put out for holidays, new Christmas lights and banners for light poles, plus we paid for wiring so merchants could hook up for electricity at future events.   

One of the best results of the festival was the Ramseur Christmas Parade. This event had begun to decline but was given new life when cash prizes were offered for best float and bands from out of the county were bought in to perform. All this was a result of money donated by the Merchants Assn from revenue generated by the Festival. A $500 first place price for the best float… and generous second and third made our small parade popular with churches and groups wanting to celebrate Christmas. One year we had 11 major floats in the parade, and three marching bands. Dudley High School was always a crowd-pleaser with their high stepping and baton twirling show. The Ramseur Fall Festival soon became the premier community event and almost everyone looked forward to the third weekend in October.  Over the years, more and more business gradually moved from downtown and the business district began to decline, and so did the Festival and parade. The Merchants Association ran the festival for several years. I was president of the Association for 13 years, and then when we moved our business out of the downtown area to Moffitt Street. The Festival was managed by Carol Akers and Wanda Simmons for several years. Eventually it was turned over to the Town. Managing an event such as the Festival is a huge endeavor. It requires a lot of work and coordination. As a merchant, it was hard to devote the time needed, but somehow come Festival Day, things worked themselves out. Now the Ramseur Chamber of Commerce is in charge and they have brought a more professional approach to managing and running the Festival. 

They deserve a lot of credit for giving new life to the Festival and turning this event to something Ramseur can be proud of. Their goal is still the same as it was from the beginning, which is to bring more people to downtown Ramseur, to bring people together and to promote our Town.

  Ramseur’s new motto is “Where Friends and Family Meet”… this is certainly true when thinking about the Fall Festival.  Many former residents will make the trip back to their hometown during this time of year just to visit. I tend to like the old motto as well : The Finest Little Town In The World”.  For people who truly know Ramseur, this speaks truth. The Chamber has injected our old Festival with new and better ideas. They have re-created an event that all of Ramseur can be proud of and certainly can enjoy.  The third weekend in October is a special day for Ramseur. We hope to see you there.

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Arts in the Community Yesteryear

NC 22: The Pottery Capital of North Carolina’s Past

This is our second issue on Pottery in Randolph County, “NC Highway 22, the first “Potter’s Highway”. Renowned potter and historian Robert (Bob) Armfield highlights some of the most distinguished potteries from on and around NC Hwy 22 from Coleridge to New Salem. Before Seagrove and NC705 became famous for the pottery shops from that area, there was NC 22. The history of pottery, clay fields, and earthenware that thrived along this historic highway date as far back and the late 1600’s. Our first issue dealt with the pottery families from Coleridge up to Ramseur. In this issue,
Bob goes into detail about some of Ramseur and Franklinville potteries as well as sites across the Ramseur Brooklyn Bridge. The next issue will examine potteries through Grays Chapel, Red Cross, and up to New Salem.

My former boss Walter Auman, told me that old beer joints made good pottery shops. The building where Seagrove Pottery and Oakland Pottery started was originally beer joints. Later, our shop became the Hilltop Grocery and eventually, a personal dwelling.

When we opened the pottery in November 1977 many people were curious and wanted to tell
me of their connections to the pottery business. Looking back, it seems funny to remember three that
were close to the shop, just down the Old Siler City Road before you get to the creek.

Behind the shop, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Poindexter lived. Mr. Poindexter was a frequent visitor
and fellow craftsman, his medium being wood. The first story that I treasure came from his daughter
Evelyn, who made me aware that her husband was the grandson of potter J. Pascal Marable. We will
look at Marable more closely when we get near Cedar Falls.

Ruth McKinnon became a frequent customer and I found out shortly that she was Mrs. Auman’s
first cousin. Ruth’s father was Clarence Cole. Cole was a mover and shaker in the early art pottery
movement. Cole died young and will be remembered for his accomplishments with transition glazes,
especially chrome red and ferruginous washed salt glaze. He also built the first horizontal pug mill, using
an auger blade and the transmission of his Dodge truck.

My third visitor was Junior Staley. After I began building my groundhog kiln, Junior became
interested in being a brick mason and son of a potter. I had met his father, the Reverend Audy Staley, a
former potter, that Mrs. Auman had found alive during some of her research. Junior gave me one of his
trowels that I greatly value and will use as I now tear down the old kiln to rebuild it.

Closer to Ramseur my attention has been drawn to a potter named W .T. Hutson on whom I still
have limited information. Terry Zug in his book Turners and Burners. gives Hutson’s birth date as circa
1852 with no death date given. His work was extremely well-turned utilitarian stoneware and stamped
W. Hutson/Reed Creek PO NC.

Ramseur has its own Brooklyn Bridge. After crossing the bridge, the road split. Follow the left
towards “The Ridge” and Andrew Jackson (raven’s shop could have been found. Here he made salt
glazed utilitarian stoneware. In the 1970s Mrs. Auman stated that the walls and part of the chimney of
(raven’s groundhog kiln remained standing.

If you had taken the right fork and gone to the end of Brooklyn Ave. turned right, and right again
you would have been in the driveway of Archie and Yvonne Teague. Archie was the son of one of the
most talented potters of the twentieth century, James Goodwin Teague. Archie learned from his father
and uncle and turned pottery for C.C. Cole and later J.B. Cole where Yvonne also worked. Here Nell Cole
Graves would pay him by the hour instead of by the piece for some very difficult shapes.

In 1967 Archie, Yvonne, and Yvonne’s father, Homer Hancock opened the H&T Pottery on Mack
Rd. in Asheboro. The shop remained open until 1972 when economic conditions contributed to the
closing of a number of smaller pottery shops. Archie and Yvonne made many eye-pleasing shapes and
developed a palette of unleaded glazes with the help of Baxter Mackenzie.

For the next twenty-five years, Archie spent his working hours at the Asheboro Fire Department, but his mind never stopped thinking about what he was going to do after he retired. I met Archie in the 1980s through a mutual friend, Roger Hicks, who Archie worked with at the fire department. Mrs. Auman had told me so much about Teague that he was already my “hero” before we ever met.


One Saturday when I was having a great deal of difficulty with the arch of my kiln Roger told Archie I was stuck and he appeared and helped me in laying out the arch. He did this with a large piece of cardboard in the parking lot of the shop. He then educated me on how to build the arch. I began building the arch and expected to see Teague come to check on my progress and see if I was doing things correctly. I felt abandoned. Later, I found out from Roger that Archie was checking my progress daily. Ever being the teacher, he made sure I did everything correctly and only correcting when necessary.


As retirement neared Archie again made one of his appearances and said he would like to begin making pottery again. I asked if he would consider making pottery for our shop. He said he would think about it. The next day he had off he came by the shop and made fifteen pitchers. We agreed on a price of a dollar apiece. The next day off, Archie said he wanted to see what he “could do.” In an hour he made sixty candleholders. That added up to sixty dollars an hour. 1 wondered if I had just gone broke? Things sold quickly and I should never have worried. A little later Yvonne began making pottery for the shop also. When Archie came to the shop, I had become complacent with my work. He realized this and challenged me to improve. He would make a new shape. I would make at it, and he would say push that shape as far into space as you can before it falls, remember you can have a piece of great beauty or it could fall. What would you be happiest with?


Good things began to come to an end and the Teague’s first built a wood-fired kiln and shop on their pottery here in Ramseur. We would often hear Archie’s truck before we saw it on Saturday mornings. He would pull in the parking lot of the shop and would sell his ware to before they could get into the shop. Good-naturedly, he and Betty Jo would get into a shouting match with each other.


Archie had land on Hwy 705 where his grandfather had made pottery in a section called Longleaf. Here he built his shop and a wood-fired kiln. Here also, he helped develop the careers of many upcoming potters. Sadly, Archie and Yvonne left us too early. We have our cherished memories of them and the pottery that helps to brighten our world.
Another extension of a well-known pottery family in Ramseur could be found on Highway 64. Juanita Luther was the granddaughter of Seagrove area potter Henry Chrisco who made utilitarian ware until the late 1930s. Juanita proudly displayed a picture of Henry in front of his shop looking at a firing of churns, crocks, and jugs. After his death, Chrisco’s shop was given to the Smithsonian Institution for display there.


Juanita, her husband Horace, and son Chris (we adopted Chris as our “fourth son”) all learned to turn pottery. Juanita tended to gravitate to smaller items such as miniature tea sets. Horace was a good turner but his lifelong interest in mechanics helped him design a rheostatic powered pottery wheel. When Horace died, I needed to pass the sad news to fellow potter Faye Baker in Seattle, Washington. She was saddened by his death but said she remembered Horace daily, when she worked on the wheel, he made for her.


Our “son Chris” spent many hours learning to firewood kilns, turning, and trying to perfect the whole pottery-making process. Today he owns Chris Luther Pottery on the Jugtown Rd. near Seagrove. Chris has developed his own style of pottery with traditional influences like his grandfather and Archie Teague.
Now, close to fifty years ago Betty Jo and I met a leather craftsman at a show. We found out he was from Ramseur and his name was Tim Cox. Tim showed an interest in pottery. Over the years he has developed that interest and makes pottery in his basement. When you enter Zack White Leather, take a look at his pottery on the front wall.
To end this month’s journey, we travel across Highway 64 and travel toward Franklinville where would have found the pottery of another Craven with a most distinguished name. Emory John Vandervere Craven (1826-1910} was a contemporary of John Anderson (raven’s sons that we have previously looked at. His salt. – glazed ware was extremely well turned and well glazed. His ware was stamped, E JV Craven. During the War Between the States, Craven served in the Confederate Navy.


Next Month, Franklinville and beyond.

Categories
Yesteryear

The Greatest Generation

By WT Cox

Do you remember when you were 17 years old?  What were your ambitions?  What were your goals in life? The current generation has so many opportunities before them that it is hard to plan for just one goal, and many seem confused and unsure as to what path they should take in life. Technology has created countless opportunities that were un-imagined a couple of generations ago.  Today, the world seems to be in a constant state of turmoil, but compared to the world of the 1940s, our time is still very calm. We have the security of living in a “free” country with amenities that our parents could not have imagined. Today, we have comforts like air conditioning and cell phones, provisions like social security, food stamps, government assistance, health care and the availability of food and services that seem to be unlimited. Today’s generation certainly has a lot of options open to them for the future.  BUT, if you listened to some of the comments expressed in the media and on social networks today, you would think we were living in a different time. Drugs, crime, and suicide seem to be rampant.   People not willing to work and relying on government assistance seem to be more evident today. With all of the benefits that today’s society has to offer, many still find a reason to be depressed and many more find reasons to discredit and demonize our country and the future it offers. I think it would do people good to reflect on the goals and aspirations of past generations.   

 If you go back 75 years, the whole world was in turmoil. People were being slaughtered on a massive scale, and money was very hard to come by. Basic everyday items were in short supply. The world was at war. You had to process a card and stamps to purchase basic necessities such as gasoline, and then only a couple of gallons at a time. Food was hard to find… there were no fast-food restaurants and no large supermarkets to purchase groceries from, only smaller, family-owned stores. You had a hard time finding sugar, flour, and basic items for sale. There were no new cars on the market because everything was geared towards the war effort. If you needed tires for your old car, you either patched the ones you had or ran on re-caps if you were lucky enough to find them. Even the clothes you wore were rationed. I am told that designers eliminated the popular “cuffs” in pants and shirts in order to save on material that could be used for the war effort. People worked on the farm or in jobs for long hours just to make ends meet.  

  A couple of weeks ago, a lady who is a fan of the Randolph Bulletin dropped off one of her old annuals… a 1944 Ramsonian Yearbook. As I fingered my way through the worn pages of that book, I was struck by the optimism and enthusiasm of the students from that era. I grew up in the Viet Nam era, and I remember classmates receiving their lottery numbers. At that time, the lottery system was designed to compel boys of draft age to military service. I remember some boys getting low numbers… 15 or 27. We all knew that as soon as they graduated, they were off to basic training.  My lottery number was 327, and since the “draft” never got above 280, I was basically safe.  I remember the tension and the fright that came from being compelled to fight a war that was uncertain at best.  

The generation that fought in WWII had a much different mindset.  Most joined as soon as they were eligible. The “enemy” had attacked our country, and the evil that was the Nazi and Japanese Empire must be defeated if freedom was to prevail. Patriotism and Love of Country were good things. My father tried three times to enlist in the Army, but was turned down for flat feet… until he demanded to be put into the infantry to prove he could handle it…. That is where he was put.  It was his patriotic duty to enlist and many of his cousins were already serving.  Most of his friends had enlisted too; They did not wait to be drafted.  Many were already on the battlefield and some had already given the ultimate sacrifice when my father finally got accepted.  

 Imagine being a senior in high school during that time.  Boys that you had played ball with the prior year were now fighting on some God-forsaken island or battlefield in Europe.  When the 1944 Ramsonion was being put together, D Day was still months away. Victory was still very much in doubt. While the tide had turned in the Pacific, the Nazi regime still held most of Europe and the free world was in danger of collapsing. It was a very challenging time to be a teenager graduating from high school. While looking through the 1944 Ramsonian,  I am amazed at the optimism that generation had for their future.  Surely most, if not all of the junior and senior class knew of someone from their community that was serving in harm’s way.  Perhaps a classmate who has volunteered, or a relative. The ground war that accounted for most of the war’s causalities was basically fought by teenagers.  Boys 18, 19, and 20 years old would be storming the beaches of Normandy in just a few months, yet as you read their Class Prophecy, they were looking forward to careers, marriage, and raising families. The only indication of a War in the annual are the pictures of some classmates serving in the Navy and the patriotism expressed in the “Class Poem” with reference to the Purple Heart that is awarded to those wounded in battle.

A special thanks to Ms. Doris Burgess for lending us her 1944 Ramsonian. 

Ecclesiastes 1:9

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

Categories
Contributing Works Stories Yesteryear

How did they celebrate the 4th of July 150 years ago???

The 4th of July did not always mean fireworks, hot dogs or a trip to the beach. Years ago it had a more traditional meaning. Somehow over the years, we have lost much of our patriotic pride that used to be exhibited to the fullest on Independence Day. As for me, I am very patriotic, but I still enjoy our trip to the beach every July 4th.

Traditional Independence Day celebrations used to include the singing of the National Anthem and the Reading of the Declaration of Independence. It was a time of remembrance and one of thanksgiving for the freedom we enjoy as Americans. Marching bands, local militias doing drill marches and a lot of flag waving were the order of the day. Afterward, a speaker would usually give a patriotic speech and then more singing, then a covered dish dinner on the grounds. 

Our current “National Air ” or anthem is of course The Star-Spangled Banner, but it probably was not the song played in this position on the program. President Woodrow Wilson first ordered the SSB to be played at military and naval occasions in 1916, but it was not designated the national anthem by an Act of Congress until 1931. Before that time, “Hail Columbia” had been considered the unofficial national anthem. The words to “Hail Columbia, Happy Land!” were written in 1798 by Joseph Hopkinson (son of Francis Hopkinson, composer and signer of the Declaration of Independence), and set to the tune of “The President’s March,” a tune composed by Philip Phile for President George Washington’s inauguration.  ‘Hail Columbia’ is still used as the official song for the Vice President of the United States of America.

Whether vocal, instrumental or military, there is a wealth of American Independence Day music that could be inserted here.  “The Liberty Song”, written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768 and set to the music of William Boyce’s “Heart of Oak” was perhaps the first patriotic song written in America. The song contains the line “by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall…”  Others written in the 18th century were “Ode for the 4th of July” and “Ode for American Independence” (1789).  “The Patriotic Diggers,” published in 1814 was popular in the period. If it was another ‘patriotic hymn’ read and sung, “The American Star” is a good possibility because it is one of the few non-religious songs published in the original Sacred Harp hymnal (#346, 1844 ed.).  The first publication of the song was in an 1817 collection entitled The American Star, which was inspired by the War of 1812 and also included the first printing of the Star Spangled Banner.   White and King’s “The Sacred Harp” was first published in 1844, but it was based on William Walker’s “Southern Harmony” (1835).

Taken from https://randolphhistory.wordpress.com, by Mac Whatley , with introduction by WT Cox

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Fife Drum OSV2

Independence Day OSVIndependence Day OSV 2

Categories
Yesteryear

A Town Called Franklinsville

This article is printed by permission of Mac Whatley, who has done extensive research into the beginnings of Franklinville and the textile industry. Published August 3, 2015 in the Raleigh Register About Independence Day, 1842. Article mentions a small town in Randolph County called Frankinsville.

The Raleigh Register and North-Carolina Weekly Advertiser was published weekly in Raleigh beginning in 1799, and in variousformats and title variations to 1852. Its publisher, Joseph Gales, was a well-known British immigrant who was sympathetic to the French Revolution and Thomas Jefferson. It was a leading political voice in North Carolina, first for Jefferson’s Republican Party and later for the Whig Party. Gales became one of Raleigh’s leading citizens and advocated for internal improvements and public education. He privately favored the emancipation of slaves and publicly advocated for the American Colonization Society. He served several terms as Mayor of Raleigh, and was doing so when he died, 24 Aug.

His son Weston Gales was editor and publisher of the newspaper in July 1842.

Upper Mill before 1946 (no laboratory, b. 1946)

Upper Mill before 1946 (no laboratory, b. 1946)

“Celebration at Franklinsville, Randolph County”.

The writers had to be specific, as most readers in Raleigh and the rest of the state would not have been familiar with the tiny community, less than 4 years old.  Modern Franklinville is made up of two initially independent mill villages, Franklinsville and Island Ford, separated by about three-quarters of a mile of Deep River.   The original Franklinsville mill village was developed by the mill corporation beginning in 1838, on property adjoining the grist mill on Deep River belonging to Elisha Coffin.  Coffin, a miller and Justice of the Peace, purchased the property in 1821. [Deed Book 14, p.531 (Ward to Elisha Coffin, 25 Dec. 1821)] Coffin was the initial incorporator of the factory, and developed the new town on the slope between his house and the mills.  The community formerly known as “Coffin’s Mills on Deep River” had “assumed the name of Franklinsville” by March 8, 1839.   Officially named to honor Jesse Frankin, a former N.C. Governor and Congressman from Surry County, unoffically Coffin and his anti-slavery family and investors apparently meant to honor Franklin  for his crucial vote to keep slavery out of the Northwest Territory (now Ohio, Indiana and Illinois).  “Franklinsville” was officially recorded in the town’s 1847 legislative act of incorporation.[ Chapter 200, Private Laws of 1846-47, ratified 18 Jan. 1847].  The community surrounding the factory was the largest urban area in Randolph County until 1875.

“The Visitors… amounted to 1200 or 1500”-
The entire population of modern Franklinville is less than 1500;  the 1840 census of Randolph county found the total population to be 12,875 people, so if 1500 people actually attended this event, that would have constituted about 11% of the residents of the entire county in 1842.

“The Franklinsville Volunteer Company of Light Infantry”-
The state militia, organized by county and divided into “Captain’s Districts,” had been the foundational political body in North Carolina since colonial times.  The militia had been reorganized in 1806 (Revised Statutes, Chapter 73) to allow “Volunteer”companies raised by private subscription in addition to the official “Enrolled” companies made up of “all free white men and white apprentices, citizens of this State, or of the United States residing in this State, who are or shall be of the age of eighteen and under the age of forty-five years…”   Enrolled companies were known by the name of the commanding Captain, and Randolph County was divided geographically into about 12 Captain’s Districts, which functioned much like modern voting precincts.  Each district had its own “muster ground,” and four times each year were required to assemble and practice military drills.  One of the annual musters was usually also election day, and the men voted by district.

NC Militia Officer 1840

NC Militia Officer 1840

Prior to the creation of the new town of Franklinsville, men of that area of Deep River were considered to be part of the “Raccoon Pond District,” unusual in the fact that it was named after a geographical feature and not after its Captain.  As Captains often changed, making the location of muster fields and districts hard to pin down, this distinction allows us to pinpoint the area of the Raccoon Pond District, even though the pond has over the years silted up and is no longer known as a modern landscape feature.  Raccoon Pond (by the account of Robert Craven and other local residents) was situated at the base of Spoon’s Mountain, south of the modern state road SR 2607 and west of its intersection with SR 2611, Iron Mountain Road.  The Spoon Gold Mine was located in the area later in the century, and probably helped to silt up the pond.  The enrolled militia of the Raccoon Pond District in 1842 was evidently headed by Captain Charles Cox.

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Volunteer militia companies were considered the elite of the citizen army and their members were exempt from service in the enrolled companies.  Because they were organized and equipped by those who could afford to raise their own private company, volunteer companies enjoyed preferential placement in reviews, and were often the last to see actual service.  Volunteer companies also functioned as social organizations, sponsoring dances and suppers to entertain ladies; could dress themselves in elaborate uniforms, and were usually known with impressively martial names such as “Dragoons,” “Light Infantry,” or “Grenadier Guards.”  The “Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry,” formed in 1793, is a unique survivor of this type, and  is known as “North Carolina’s Official Historic Military Command”  They provide an honor guard at special events, funerals and dedications.
http://www.fili1793.com/  The Washington Light Infantry (WLI), organized in Charleston in 1807, is another of these old original militia units, named in honor of George Washington.

Independence Day OSV 2Technically, light infantry (or skirmishers) were soldiers whose job was to provide a protective screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight formations that were the core of large battles.  Light infantry sometimes carried lighter muskets than ordinary infantrymen while others carried rifles. Light infantry ironically carried heavier individual packs than other forces, as mobility demanded that they carry everything they needed to survive.  Light infantrymen usually carried rifles instead of muskets, and officers wore light curved sabres instead of the heavy, straight swords of regular infantry.
The name “Franklinsville Volunteer Company of Light Infantry” was evidently a cumbersome mouthful, as it was officially recognized in 1844 as the “Franklinsville Guards.”  See the Session Laws of the General Assembly of 1844/45:  The legislature went into session on 18 Nov. 1844, and Henry B. Elliott of Cedar Falls was accredited to represent Randolph County (Senate District 35).   (Thurs. 11-28-44) “Mr. Elliott presented a Bill, entitled A Bill to incorporate the Franklinsville Guards in the County of Randolph, which was read the first time and passed.” (p57). The Bill was passed a second time by the Senate on Monday 2 Dec. 1844 (p78); and passed and third time, engrossed and ordered to be sent to the House on Tuesday 3 Dec. (p84).  The House of Commons received the engrossed bill and a note “asking for the concurrence of this House” on 23 Dec.; it was read the first time and passed that day (p277), and was passed the final time on Jan. 1, 1845 at 6:30 PM. (p652).

Categories
Contributing Works Stories Yesteryear

Nicknames. Like it or not, most of us had one.

by W.T. Cox

What’s in a name?  Every person has one.  The folks from Randolph County are special, in that most people who grew up here have more than one name.  Almost everybody had a “nickname”.  These were names given to people and you were known for the most part by your NickName.  Many times, we recognize a person’s nickname and not know his real “birth” name.  Nick Names are special and are given for a variety of reasons.  Some glamorize a person or highlight a certain achievement.  Examples of this kind of nickname is “Slugger”, or “Hard Hitter”.  Other nicknames describe a person’s appearance, such as “Red”, “Freckles” or “Slim”.  There are even nicknames that are basically shortened versions of a person’s name, such as “Mit”, “Bob”, and “Ed” for Eddie.   Then there are the nicknames that are given for reasons unknown that seem less glamorous.  Examples of these are “Stump”, “Fat”, “Stick” and “Dub Dub”.   Also some nick names seem to be given for no reason at all.   For these, there seems not to be an explanation. 

One thing is certain:  No one ever gets to choose their nickname.    

My nickname growing up was “Dub Dub”.  I used to hate that name.  It seemed so demeaning, or sometimes like a tease.  But over time, I accepted it, and today when someone comes up to me and calls me “Dub”, it brings back memories of growing up here in Ramseur and many of the good times I shared with friends.   Just like most people, I did not have a choice as to what my nickname would be.  Mine goes way back to my first grade class in Ramseur School.  I was in Ms Pete Burgess’ first grade class.  As a six year old, I saw Ms. Burgess as a strict, no nonsense teacher, but one that we could tease… sort of like a female Sergeant Schultz. In our class, we had three “Tim’s” in there, and when the teacher would call on “Tim” to answer a question or to tell “sit down and behave”, all three of us would answer.  This seemed to irritate our teacher, so naturally we all did it every chance we got.  There was Tim Cranford, Tim Clarkston Cox and me… William Timothy Cox.   Sometimes we would do this just to spite Ms Burgess.  Most of the time, we knew which one of us she was referring to when she snapped “sit down and be quite”, but being the malicious little kids like we were, all of us would answer.  Eventually Ms Pete got tired of our mocking and came up with a solution.  She said, “for now own, when I call on Tim, I mean Tim Cranford and just him.  If I say Tim C, then that is you Timothy Clarkston, and from now on Mr. Cox, you will be Tim W.” I immediately protested saying that my name was not Tim W, but W Tim.  Ms Burgess would not listen to reason, and told me to shut up and sit down or I would experience her wrath (which could be considerable). When recess came and we were allowed on the playground, my classmates began to laugh and kid me about my new “name”..  “Tim W… Doubua.. Doubua…   Dub Dub”. Well, I did not like the nickname, but it stuck. I did not have a choice. That was 62 years ago, and some of my classmates still call me by that name.  Over the years, I have accepted it and actually like it now.   

Most people with nicknames can recall how their name came about, but some still don’t have a clue. One thing is for certain. We don’t have a choice of what we are called, but almost everyone had some kind of nickname growing up here. Below are just a few that I remember? There is also a list of nicknames I recall growing up, but cannot put a name to them. How many of these do you remember? 

Nick Names from the Eastern Randolph area:  

–Twink/ Larry Wright

–Tink/ Tim Wright

–Pickles/ Sally Tucker

–Doughbelly/ Mickey Simmons

–Flash/ Jerry Parks

–Pulpwood/ Danny Presswood

–Stick/ Ricky Horner

–Nose/ Hal Richardson

–Pig/ Bill Marley

–Mit/ Milton Brown

–Mushie/ Johnny Crutchfield 

–Measel/ Kenny Morgan

–Wolfee/ Jerry Wolfe

–DubDub/ Tim Cox

–Yellar/ Richard Garner

–Bubba/ Billy Whitten

–Chigger/ David Chriscoe

–Stump/ Larry Stout

–Noonie/ Robert Poe Tucker

–Blimp/ Bobby Johnson

–Porky/ Karl Ernst

–Skinny/ Joe Hodgin

–Boody/ Waylon Brown

–Mayor/ Steve Siler

–Moe/ Franklin Clyde  McAlister

–Son/ Charles Lane

–Prissy/ Janet Siler Booth

–Cube/ Don  Burgess

–Fat/ Ashley Goldston

–Nellie/ Carnell Goldston

–Ernie/ Earnell Watson

–Red/ Teresa Horner

–Red/ William York

–Happy/ Hampton Spivey

–Gouber/ Bob Graham

–Toad/ Craig Macon

–Toad/ Jerry Hopkins

–Pep/ Culpepper Watkins

–Toot/ Thursell Lineberry

–Pot/ Benny Flowers

–Dynomite/ Mike Brown

–Greenie/ Harris W Marley

–Cowboy/ Richard Garner

–Fish/ Wayne Salmon

–ET/ Claude Edgar Tucker

–Goat/ Billy York

–Jay Bird/ Millard Everette Hinson

–Stanjo/ Stan Brown

–Puddin/ Jaws Jeff Hoover

–Pierre/ Perry Stout

–Flea/ Keith Carmac

–Stop/ Danny Gallimore

–A-Boo/ Edna Nixon

–Hat/ Bobby Bower

–Fid/ James Coward

–Ott/ Arthur Gant Sr

–Little Ott/ Arthur Gant

–Ear/ Ronnie Campbell

–Cotton/ James Raines

–Donut/ Delano Welborn

–Hat/ Clarence Harris

–Bubby/ David Kenedy

–Bush/ Phillip Wright

–Bush/ David Craven

–Cactus/ Terry York

–Charm/ Bobby Burgess

–Soup/ Crain Campbell

–Little Armp/ David Staley
–Sharp Eye/ Jack Stout

–Rabbit/ Jeff Wright

–Measel/ Kenny Morgan

–Duffy/ Jerry Cox

–Tiny/ Frank Chamberlin

–Bunt/ Cletus Carmac 

–Soup/ Craig Campbell

–No Hit/ Wayne Burgess

–Ace/ AJ Kirkman

–Doc/ Robert Thomas

–Doc/ Robert Graham Sr.

Here is a list of NickNames from the Ramseur Area over the past 50 years.  Do you recognize any of these?  E-mail your answer to us and we will include them in the next issue of the “Bulletin”.  Send your answers to info@randolphbulletin.com 

Noopie

Eagle

Bear

Champ

PeeVine

Hard Rock

Sharp Eye

Tractor  

Red Eye

Bad Eye

Bozo 

Babe

Mule

Weed

Short Jaw

Crooked jaw

Shorty

Tall Man

Granny

Monk

Chunk

Chick

Duke

Stone

Bo

Corky

One Arm

Tenny

Trigger

Bones

Possum

Tomestone

Gun

Nemo

Chicken

Short Legs

Sweet

Gink

Scalaway

Speed

Mumbles

High Crown

Foots

New Grounder

History

Long Arm

Smokey

Blinky

Wick

High Gear

Lightin

Hardrock

Wild Man

Dirty Jack

Toonk

Splat

Toonts

Apoe

Cracker

Capsule

Double P

Klondike

Big Daddy

Check

Runs

Showboat

Cat

Biggun

Chuffy

Whitey

Slim

Pops

Ziggy

Handsaw

Whisper

Nug

Mutt

Spider

Click

Ears

Punk

Sleepy

Lobo

Shoe

Minner

Bingo

Noochie

Popeye

Bunch

Rat

Hutch

Duck Soc

Lippy

Gleebo

Mode

Duck

Hitler

Cotton

Sparky

Taser

Bun

Admiral

Deacon

French

Snuffy

Horsefly

Peck

Wimpy

Chops

Lazyeye

Categories
Yesteryear

History of Ramseur

By Inez McMath

Inez McMath was a seventh grade student in Ramseur School when she compiled what is believed to be the first published history of Ramseur, North Carolina. Miss McMath’s essay was published in the April 28, 1918 edition of The Asheboro Bulletin and won first prize in that year’s Randolph County Schools Commencement contest for best paper on any historical subject relating to Randolph County. The text of Miss McMath’s paper is found below:

The town of Ramseur is situated in the central part of North Carolina and in the Eastern part of Randolph County, eight miles from Staley, twenty five miles from Star, and thirty miles from Greensboro. At the close of the Revolutionary War all the land in and around Ramseur was owned by William Allen and was kept in the Allen family until 1840. The town was started by the father of Hezekiah Allen, who died in 1899. None of his descendants are living, since his only son died a short while after he did. Mr. Allen and Henry Kivett built a saw mill along the river in 1840 and started a little town, naming it Allen’s Fall. After building the saw mill and finding the water power so valuable, they built a dam from logs sawed out in the mill. They ran the mill for ten years, during which time three dams were washed away. At that time there were only a few residences and a small school building. In 1850 Messrs. Henry Kivett, John Allen, Washington Brower, and David Kivett built a small cotton mill of only two rooms and about one third the present dimensions. After these settlers came, a store, which was managed by L.H. Foust, Sr., and eight more residences were built. Mr. Foust lived in one end of his store building, which stood where the grist mill now stands. When the cotton mill was built it was named Columbia Manufacturing Company, and the town was named Columbia. Henry Kivett was made the first mill superintendent. The building was heated by stoves and lighted by lamps in which lard was burned instead of kerosene. There were only six cards and 480 spindles. Later twenty four looms were put in on which they made 36 inch goods. Mr. James Whitehead was at that time selling agent.

The next managers of the mill were Messrs, Dennis Curtis and G. H, Makepeace.They made some improvements, among which was the building of a rock dam. They sold out to Mr. W. H. Watkins, the present manager, and others in 1879.

The dynamo was put in after Mr. Watkins came and water was supplemented by steam power. The spindles have increased from 480 to 11.280, and the looms from 24 to 344. The present dam was built in 1888.

There have been 14 superintendents, viz: Henry Kivett, Naland Cox, Elijah Whitney (during the war), G. H. Makepeace, A.W.E. Capel, T. L. Chisholm, W. F. Hurley, J. E. Cole, E. C. Watkins, Charles Randleman, 1. F. Craven, J. M. Whitehead, and E. J. Steed, the superintendent now acting. 

The bridge across the river was built in 1875. Before that time the people crossed the river in boats, or forded it.

There was no post office when Mr. Watkins came here. But, Dennis Curtis, a business man of the town, who lived in Franklinville, brought the mail to the people twice a week. Soon after Mr. Watkins came he sent in an application to the post office authorities for an office and it was granted.

The first post master was Mr. W. R. Burgess. The mail was often misplaced and sent to

Columbia, S.C., so under the influence of Mr. Watkins, the name was changed to Ramseur, in honor of General Stephen D. Ramscur, his Commander in the Civil war. At that time Mr. W. H. King walked and carried the mail from Staley to Ramseur once a day.

When Mr. Watkins first bought the mill the bunch yarn and warps were hauled to Greensboro to be shipped. After the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad was built from Mount Airy to Wilmington, the nearest shipping point was Staley. The railroad was graded from Climax to Ramseur in 1889, and was completed in 1890. It was built by the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Company. The first conductor was Captain Overcash. The train made only one trip a day to Madison, a few miles beyond Greensboro, The Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Company sold out to the Southern Railway System which owns it at present. The train now makes two trips to Greensboro every day except Sunday. Captain W. D. Lane is now conductor.

One among the first places of business was a tin shop operated by a Mr. Henley. He made in buckets, coffee pots, etc. The building stood South of the cemetery. Another place of business was a shop for carding wool, operated by Mr. D.B. Burgess, Sr. The wool was brought from the country, carded, and made into rolls, then spun on the old fashioned spinning wheel and woven on the old fashioned loom into blankets, jeans, and linsey-woolsey dress good.

The first furniture was made by hand by Silas Hopson. He made bed steads, bureaus, wardrobes, tables, and other things. The only furniture made by hand in town now is by Mr. J.T. Turner, The chair factory was built in 1889 by Mr. A. W.E. Capel, and was named Alberta Chair Works, in honor of his daughter, Miss Alberta Blanche Capel. The chairs were made ready for bottoms and then hauled to some of the houses and bottomed for three cents a chair. Then they were hauled back to the factory, varnished and sent to various parts of the State.

Messrs. Samuel and Reed Smitherman managed the first broom shop in the basement of the chair factory. This building was destroyed by fire. The chair factory was replaced by a furniture factory, which was burned in 1908. It was rebuilt on its present site and is the second finest in the State. They manufacture bed steads, wash stands, bureaus, etc. These are shipped to the various parts of the United States.

The broom shop is now owned by Messrs. A. H. Thomas and M. E. Johnson. Its

capacity is sixty dozen brooms per day, The Novelty Wood Works was built in 1900 by Messrs. W. A. Ward and J. A. Martin. It is now managed by Mr. J. W. Parks. They manufacture bobbins, picker sticks, etc. These are sent to mills over the Eastern part of the United States.

The Fleta Lumber Company was built in 1907 by Mr. W. II. Watkins, Jr., and Mr. J.D. York. The plant was named in honor of Mrs. Fleta Watkins Cole. Here they saw and dress lumber which is used for building purposes in this and neighboring towns. 

In 1880 there were no sidewalks, except a few feet of plank in the center of town. Since 1902 the town has grown with great rapidity. Improvement of streets have been carried on to such an extent that there are now several thousand feet of concrete sidewalks, built without issuing bonds, which can be said of but few towns of its size in the State.

The telephone system was installed by Mr. H. B. Moore in 1907. He had 32 telephones but today there are 296 in town and the surrounding country.

At present there are 17 stores, a cafe, meat market, and a flourishing bank in town. The bank is in a brick building which was built in 1907, with a post office building adjoining. The first cashier was Mr. E. R. Smith. Mr. G. M. Kimrey was the first postmaster in the new building.

The electric plant was installed in 1912 by Mr. W. H, Watkins. The power is not so great, but the streets are no longer dark. All of the churches and some of the residences are lighted with electricity. The roller mill was built the same year and it [sic] run by electricity, as is also the broom factory.

The first church was a Missionary Baptist Church, organized by Reverend W.C. Patterson, who died before the building was completed. So Reverend Lane Hutson was called as pastor. Every Sunday the people came from far and near to hold union Sunday School. A cemetery was started by the Baptist people, since the people of that denomination held preaching and Sunday School in an arbor. The first one to be buried was a Jones child. Reverend W. C. Patterson was also buried there. The cemetery was put under the care of the town in 1902. The Baptist building was built on its present site in 1890. It is situated on Liberty Street, being a large brick building, consisting of two Sunday School rooms and a large auditorium. Reverend W.O. Johnson is now pastor.

The M. E. Church was organized by Reverend Joseph Thomas in the old school building. A little later, in 1886, another building was erected on Liberty Street and Reverend Charles Phillips was first pastor.

The Church was built on its present site in 1896. It is situated on Main Street, being a large wooden building, consisting of four Sunday School rooms and a large auditorium. Reverend H. C. Byrum is now pastor.

The Christian Church was organized by Reverend M. H. Hurley. They have a nice wooden building near the cemetery, and Reverend T. E. White is now pastor.

The Holiness Church was organized a little later, and Reverend B. B. Bulla is now pastor.

The first physician was Dr. Holton, who was the only one [sic] in town. There are now three, Drs. C. S. Tate, S. W. Caddell, and F. C. Craven.

The Masonic Lodge was organized in 1885, and was called Marietta Lodge in honor of Mrs. Etta Watkins Craven. The Lodge Room is now in the School Building. There are several other secret orders which meet in the same hall, among them Red Men, Juniors, and Knights of Pythias.

The first school building was constructed in 1820, stood in front of the present school building. It was a square log building with only one door and a rock chimney, with a fireplace which was at least five feet wide. At this time they taught subscription school and people came from many miles around. The first teacher was Mr. Pealau, who was a cripple. He taught only a short while. The next teacher was Jessie Pugh, who taught three months subscription school with 26 on roll. There were four studies, reading, writing,arithmetic, and a very little history of North Carolina. Most of the time was spent on arithmetic, and those who could work the single rule of three were considered fine scholars. The children in those days had a verse which read like this, “Multiplication is vexation, division is as bad; the rule of three perplexes me and fractions run me mad”.

The present school building was constructed in 1890, a short distance North of the old school building. The building consisted of four classrooms and the Masonic Hall. Later two more class rooms were added, together with an auditorium which had an elevated floor and two drawing rooms. The rooms are constructed in accordance with the best theories of light, heat, and ventilation. The first principal was Prof. D. M. Weatherly, who had eight years experience teaching in the high schools and graded schools of North Carolina and Virginia. He then went to the University of Nashville, Peabody Normal College, Nashville, Tenn., and graduated in 1891. We owe much to him for what our town and school is today. The first music teacher was Miss Lily Stroud. Mr. William C. Hammer was at that time Superintendent of Public Instruction. None of the teachers have stayed with us over four years except Mr. Weatherly and our present principal, Prof. W. P. White, who is successfully carrying on the work begun by Mr. Weatherly.

The land around Ramseur is the best farming land in the country and many of the farmers have nice residences, automobiles, and telephones. The sand-clay roads have made the farms more valuable and will do much for the development of the town and surrounding country.