The following was sent to me by Weeks Parker,Jr who has written much on Fayetteville's history and
is a very interesting man of many talents and accomplishments that I enjoy corresponding with and
who you would probably enjoy sharing info with as well :) He has told me that I may share his info
with you and are welcome to share it on your website for Cumberland County if you choose to do so.
You will note that my grandfather(John)Lee McArthur is referred to, as is Chief James Herbert Benton
Debi Rau Florez
MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF FAYETTEVILLE
Written by Weeks Parker Shared by Debi Rau Florez
Contact: Myrtle Bridges July 11, 3012
When I was a very young child I lived with my parents Weeks & Mattie Maultsby Parker, my sister Vivian and
my aunt Lucy Maultsby in a lovely 1800's home at 109 Rowan Street near Saint James Square where the Confederate
Monument stood at the junction of Green, Ramsey, Rowan and Grove Streets.
I fondly remember going with my family to the Cumberland County Fair when it was located on the site of present
day Cross Creek Court. Because there was no bridge over Cross Creek that connected Grove Street with Grove Street
Extension, the only way we could get to the fair was to cross a foot bridge that went from Grove Street to a little
island that was surrounded by water from Blount's Creek and Cross Creek before they merged into one stream. On that
island was a gazebo where Fayetteville citizens enjoyed picnics and other outings. Near the Gazebo was an artesian
spring jetting out of the steep hill we had to climb in order to go to the fair grounds on Grove Street. Not far
from the Gazebo, on the corner of Ann and Grove Streets, was the home of Fayetteville Police Chief Lee McArthur who
had a cow and chickens in his back yard. Further down the street toward the Confederate Monument was the Theofield
Grocery Store on the corner of Barges Lane and Grove Streets where children could buy candy suckers for a penny each
and where Cokes and other beverages were only a nickel. Across from the store on the opposite corner of Barges Lane
and Grove Streets was the former home James Herbert Benton who was another Fayetteville Chief of Police. Chief Benton
was shot to death in his back yard by a bootlegger in 1908. The house he lived in was later moved to Ramsey Street
where it is now a national landmark. My Grandmother, Ether Hall Maultsby and her family once lived in the former home
of Chief James Herbert Benton. The House was once known as Barges Tavern which was a popular meeting place for lawyers
in the late 1800's.
Near Barges Tavern at Saint James Square was the John Alexander Oates mansion. As a child, I remember sitting with
other neighborhood children on the living room floor of that lovely home as we intently listened to historian Oates
tell stories about the old South. His children John and Mary Oates were my good friends, and I often enjoyed playing
in that spacious mansion that was later moved to Vass, North Carolina where it is now used as a country club. In recent
years, my wife, Myra, and I have video taped several weddings and receptions in that historic building that still contains
the portraits of the Oates family whom I knew so well.
As a young boy, I remember seeing the McNeill Milling Company in full operation on the corner of Green and Old Streets.
I also remember the ice company that was next door to the mill where ice could be purchased for five cents for a large
block of ice that was used to cool ice boxes that everyone had in their homes before electric refrigeration was in used.
Across the street from the ice house was the Merita Bakery where freshly baked bread sold for ten cents a loaf and day
old bread was only a nickel. I remember the Millbrook Hotel that occupied the entire block where the First Citizens
Bank and parking ramp now stand. The Millbrook Hotel building was once the first Highsmith Hospital which was considered
one of the finest in the state. Across from the hotel was the PWC Switch House that was used to control all of the lights
in Fayetteville. Next door to the switch house was the main PWC office where customers could pay their monthly light bills.
Next to the PWC office was the Fayetteville Observer which was adjacent to the Overbault House which was once called The
Eagle Hotel. All of these buildings were later replaced by the city hall which is now used as a children's museum called
Fascinate U. When I was very young, I remember my Aunt Lucy Maultsby taking me to the Cumberland County Public Library when
it was in the Market House.
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