Currituck Co., N.C. Houses

 

Old Norris Owens Home

Located up a lane east of Jarvisburg.  The porch room is intact as is the interior of the house, which has extremely low ceilings.  Original panels are there.  Siding is English, and at the end of the porch room, tongue-and-grooved.  Mr. Norris Owens married Nathan Frances O'Neal.

Addendum by Roy E. Sawyer, Jr.--
     This house still stood until around 1982 when it was torn down, south of the Isaac C. Forbes land and north of the Nathan C. Caroon land.  The house featured similar architectural lines as the Oliver Dowdy House at Grandy and the Alexander Dunton House at Narrow Shore.  It is believed the house was the unfinished house of Thomas Banister Jarvis, who mentioned it in his will of 1839.  Thomas B. Jarvis was married to Barbara Baum, who later married Isaac Owens and they were the parents of Norris B. Owens.
     Hadley Woodhouse mentioned his grandson, Banister Jarvis (son of Thomas B. and likely Mary Woodhouse Jarvis) in his will in 1815.  About 1836, Thomas B. Jarvis married Barbara Baum (daughter of Azariah and Sarah Midgett Baum, of Roanoke Island), and they had a daughter, Polly Jarvis (c1837-39 - 7 Jun 1874), who married Elijah Evans.  Their son, Norris Baum Owens (1843 - 1920) married Nathan Frances O'Neal (see Willoughby Owens House).  The property passed to the daughter of Norris and Nathan Owens, Nancy Ann "Nannie" Owens (1877 - 1921), who married Isaac Chadwick Forbes, and her descendants owned the property until the early 1980's.
     Isaac Owens, second husband of Barbara Baum Jarvis, died in 1849.  In 1850 she married Josiah Berry.  Their children were:  Barbara Berry (1855 - 1914), who married first Hezekiah Edmund Owens (1847 - c1887) and second Thadeus Tatum in 1888; Matilda Berry (1857 - 1929), who married Charles W. Owens (1855 - 1929); Nancy Berry (b. 1859); Thomas W. Berry (1851 - 1889), who married first Ella L. Sanderson and second Carolina Sanderson; and Penelope Berry (b. 1858).
     Norris and Nathan Frances Owens took a pitiful black girl, Debbie Gordon, into their home.  Debbie was less than four feet tall, severely hunchbacked, and suffered other medical problems.  She performed domestic duties and cooked.  After their deaths, she went to the home of their daughter, Nannie, who died soon thereafter in 1921.  Then Debbie was taken into the home of
Walter Scott and Mattie Leigh Relfe Newbern, at Newbern's Landing.  The Newberns were later divorced and Debbie remained with Walter Newbern until his death in 1929, when Mrs. Mattie Newbern took Debbie to Durham, NC, where she operated a boarding home for Duke University students.  Debbie cooked for the boarders (my father lived there during the 1932 - 33 school year),
and she became attached to and called the boarders "my boys".  Debbie always made sure that her boys were well fed, and they likewise fell in love with her.  My father played catcher for the varsity baseball team in the spring of 1933, and when he and the other boarders walked towards the house after a ballgame, Debbie would be standing on the front porch jumping and cheering.  Later, when she had her boys inside the house to feed them, she would quietly ask, "Did we win?"  Debbie required frequent hospital visits, and Mrs. Newbern often boarded the train with her and brought her to St. Vincent's in Norfolk.  Debbie died in Duke University Medical Center in 1941 while being cared for by some of "her boys" who had become doctors.  Mrs. Mattie Newbern brought Debbie home and buried her at Pleasant Branch.  Mrs. Mattie Newbern died at the home of her daughter, Margaret Newbern Fowler, in Woodbury, NJ, in Sep 1943.
     The house was rented by Dewey and Ruth Forbes (son and daughter-in-law of Isaac C. and Nannie O. Forbes) from 1956 until 1979 to Henry and Patricia Wright.  Prior to that time, Garnet (Dewey and Ruth Forbes' daughter) and Edison Midgett lived there briefly about 1955.  In the 1930's the house was occupied by the family of John and Sue Sonneliter Foster (parents of Ruth
Forbes, from Lorain, Ohio).

 

This photo and information are from the project "Old Homes in Currituck County to 1860" originally compiled June 1960 by Alma O. Roberts and Alice Flora of the Currituck County Historical Society.   We are indebted to Barbara B. Snowden, president of the Currituck County Historical Society for permission to reproduce this collection on the internet, and also to Gerri Andrews and Diane Ferebee of the Currituck County Public Library who provided digital copies of the photos.  No part of this document may be used for any commercial purposes; however, please feel free to copy any of this material for your own personal use and family research.  Images are for personal use only, not for redistribution.

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2005 Marty Holland