for Hyde Co., NC
(1999 - 2010)
A CELEBRATION OF LIFE
Leon BALLANCE was honored with a birthday party recently at the home of Judy and R.S. SPENCER in Engelhard. Friends and relatives from near and far attended the floating gathering that celebrated BALLANCE's 82 years. He is shown here with wife Jean. Also attending were daughter Sharon, son-in-law Chuck LOVING and granddaughter Callie. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, February 4, 1999; pg. 3B)
FROM OUT OF THE PAST
(The following is an excerpt from the book "Hyde Yesterdays - A History of Hyde County", written by Morgan H. HARRIS and published in 1995.)
The Battle in Hyde County near Swan Quarter, led by Captain Colin RICHARDS [RICHARDSON] on March 1-6, 1863 - The Union troops anchored in Rose Bay and discovered that most of the bridges and roads had been destroyed by slaves upon the orders of a Henry CREDLE who was taken as prisoner. The troops made a raid around the west side of the lake to Fairfield. About three miles from Fairfield, they met some of the local people who they chased into the woods with little problem. When the Union troops got to Fairfield, it was deserted. They then marched around the lake to Lake Landing, but not before they captured a boat which was sailed to Lake Landing in order to save the bridge. During the trip around the lake, the troops burned or destroyed everything they could find. At Lake Landing they destroyed all the fences, using the posts to rebuild the bridge. From Lake Landing, they marched to within a mile and a half of Swan Quarter, where they were attacked from the swamp on the right side of the road. This battle was about where the sand pit is between where Swindell's Fork and O.A. PEAY School are today. Bate JARVIS and Levi JARVIS from Swan Quarter were killed in the battle. [Bate JARVIS was not killed.] After the battle, Captain RICHARDS marched into Swan Quarter where he found out that about 300 men were waiting in ambush for him at Rose Bay. He then ordered members of his troop to sail to Rose Bay and have the boats brought to Swan Quarter. He sailed back to Washington with little trouble.
* The Burning of Germantown - A body of federal troops came down Pamlico River to Germantown. They burned the village to the ground except for one house. It belonged to Dr. Thomas SMITH, who was a member of the Masons. The captain of the Union troops was also a member of that fraternal organization. The Union captain ordered his men to spare SMITH's home. The burning of Germantown really had our county in an uproar. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, February 14, 1999; pg. 12B)
[ * Anyone having information on the possible burning of Germantown by Union troops, please contact me. John B. McGowan ]
BEST WISHES CONVEYED
Leonard PUGH of the Gulrock community recently celebrated nine decades of life. His children, Elsie MOORE and Leonard PUGH, JR., gathered with other family members at a local restaurant to commerate his 90 years. Seated next to PUGH is friend Verna CARAWAN. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, February 16, 1999; pg. 7B)
The marriage of Joyce MILLER to Bob EDWARDS was announced by Rachel MICHAELIS, daughter of the bride, of Wilmington. The couple was married May 22 on Masonboro Island by Pastor Stephen CROTTS of Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Peter HONAN of New York, N.Y. The bride is the daughter of Sallie MILLER and the late Bill MILLER of Swan Quarter. Mrs. EDWARDS is employed in the Admitting Dept. of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Mr. EDWARDS is a host of "The Sports Page" on radio 1240AM in Jacksonville. They will make their home in Wilmington. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, July 18, 1999; pg. 6B)
CAHOON FAMILY HOLDS REUNION
The descendants of James Henry CAHOON held their family reunion on July 11 at J.B. and Bernice CAHOON's home in Engelhard. Nearly 80 people attended the reunion despite the occasional periods of light rain. The speaker for the reunion was James CAHOON of Columbia, who has done extensive research on the CAHOON family and offered some very interesting information on CAHOON ancestors. He also had a CAHOON Coat of Arms done in copper by Delores ROSE of Gum neck. Young and old alike were designated numbers which were drawn, allowing each to choose from a table full of prizes. Plenty of food, good fun and fellowship was had by all. The Cahoon Chronicle II, a family news printout, was available to take home (along with memories) with the family's latest news. Next year's reunion is planned to be held on the second Sunday in July at Jean and Leon BALLANCE's home in the Lake Landing township. (The Coastland Times - July 1999)
GATHERING WEEKEND FOR GIBBS-COLLINS
The descendants of the late Lessie GIBBS and the late Charlie and Mabel COLLINS will celebrate their annual gathering beginning Saturday. Friends and family will have a cookout beginning at 2 p.m. Everyone is invited to worship with the family on Sunday, August 1, at Mount Pilgrim Church (DOC) in Engelhard. A short memorial service for the family's deceased will be held and dinner served at the home of Doris WESTON in Engelhard immediately after the church service. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, July 29, 1999; pg. 4B)
Lucy and Stephen BERRY of Manteo announce the birth of their first child, a son, Dylan Carter, born November 26 at Albemarle Hospital [Elizabeth City], weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces. Paternal grandparents are Jimmy and Rita BERRY of Manteo. Maternal grandparents are John and Peggy ROBBINS of Nags Head and Lowell and Vicki PERRY of Elizabeth City. Paternal great-grandparents are Sam and Lessie CUTHRELL of Engelhard and the late Cecil and Mabel BERRY of Manteo. Maternal great-grandparents are Nell Jarvis JENNETTE of Elizabeth City and the late Walton C. JENNETTE, the late Inez ROBBINS of Birmingham, Ala. and the late Edgar ROBBINS of Jasper, Ala. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, December 7, 1999; pg. 3A)
HYDE NATIVE ADDED TO ROLL
The Mattamuskeet Foundation has honored Janie Cutrell SWINDELL of the Swindell's Fork Community of Hyde County as a Royal Patron. SWINDELL, a native of Fairfield on the north shore of Lake Mattamuskeet, has been a member of the Mattamuskeet Foundation since 1996, but she recently made a generous contribution beyond dues that qualified her for recognition as a Royal Patron.
According to Dr. Lewis FORREST, executive director for the foundation, SWINDELL is the first individual recipient of the coveted historic bond to be a full-time resident of Hyde County. The foundation has previously awarded a number of the bonds to supporters who live outside of Hyde and individuals who have a second home in Hyde.
Over the next 19 years, the Mattamuskeet Drainage District drained the 50,000-acre lake three times, and the last time it remained dry for six years. Of the original bonds, only 200 have survived, and each bond has a unique sequence number from 1 to 200.
Bond #37 was presented to SWINDELL who found it significant in two distinct ways. First, she was born in 1913, just five months after the historic Mattamuskeet drainage District bonds were issued. Second, SWINDELL was married to John Harold SWINDELL in 1937. John Harold became a noted hunting guide on Lake Mattamuskeet and earned his own place in the rich history of the lake before passing away in 1996.
SWINDELL remembers how the young girls of Hyde County would lift their long dress tails to their knees and wade in Lake Mattamuskeet before it was drained. She also remembers first-hand the period when Lake Mattamuskeet was drained and farmed and remembers visiting the old New Holland Inn that was the center of social life in the community that developed around the world's largest pumping plant.
SWINDELL's sister was a waitress at the New Holland Inn and married Leland CARAWAN of Hyde County, another key individual in the lake's history.
When SWINDELL graduated from Fairfield School in 1930, the regular curriculum was for 11 grades; however, Fairfield School offered an additional year of business training that she elected to complete.
She used that training during World War II when she served as Register of Deeds in Hyde County and later when she worked in the offices of George Thomas DAVIS, SR., a local attorney. The SWINDELL's also farmed, and she continues to own the family farm.
SWINDELL has two daughters, Patricia, who is married to William GRIFFIN, president of Roanoke Bible College in Elizabeth City, and Lucinda, who is married to Floyd BORDEAUX and resides in Fayetteville. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000; pg. 11A)
BETHLEHEM PBC HOLDS ANNUAL JUNE MEETING
The annual June meeting of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church was held on Sunday, June 4 at 11:15 a.m. at the historic church near Fairfield with 52 persons in attendance. The meeting was called to order by the moderator Morgan HARRIS.
Opening prayer by R.S. SPENCER, JR. was followed by acknowledgments by the moderator of the flowers provided by Joyce and Tommy JONES and the donation of the ice by Kathy and Joey SIMMONS. Willie Mack CARAWAN, church song leader, led the group in singing including the church favorite, "Amazing Grace."
Trustee R.S. SPENCER, JR. read excerpts from the minutes for church conferences in June and December 1900. He then told of the experiences of Elder Albert CARTWRIGHT who served the church from 1855 until his death in 1892. Elder CARTWRIGHT had written of his experience of being saved and of his call to the ministry and these were published in Zion's Landmark, the Primitive Baptist church paper in 1877.
Elder CARTWRIGHT told with poignant words of the depth of his despair and the height of this joy in his religious journey. Copies were provided for those attending. These stories plus a copy of his obituary have recently been posted on the web page of Hyde County Genealogy on the Internet.
Following these moments of history, SPENCER, who serves as church clerk, provided a financial report of the past year. The church has $8000 in its savings account and $912.86 in checking. The major expenditure each year is the maintenance of the large church graveyard which dates back to the 1700's.
Moderator HARRIS paid tribute to Trustee Allen WILLIAMS who passed away last month. For many years WILLIAMS had mowed the graveyard and cleaned the church. A time of silent prayer was held in his honor.
In a brief business session, the church trustees were reelected. They are Morgan HARRIS, C.D. GIBBS, Dorothy BERRY, Nell MARTIN, Dewey SAWYER, and R.S. SPENCER, JR., Sylvia DAVIS of Ponzer was elected to take Brother Allen WILLIAMS' place.
The moderator discussed problems existing with the church roof, and the need for its replacement. By motion of Mack CARAWAN and unanimously carried, the church instructed the trustees to proceed with the roof replacement after the fall hurricane season has passed.
By motion of Mack CARAWAN, seconded by Lori TETTERTON and carried, the church decided to take the offerings at the June and October meetings plus what is received in the interim and replace the roof by withdrawing whatever is needed from the Endowment Fund to pay the bill.
Following another song, the morning sermon was brought by Brother HARRIS. He began with recollections of his early religious training. The speaker took his text from the second and third chapters of Ecclesiastes with the topic "Searching for a Purpose in Life." He used the example of Job and his quest for meaning in life and also that of the rich young ruler who eventually discovered the need for dependence on God in his life.
Brother HARRIS stated that we have two clear choices in life: to live here on this earth for 80 years or so as we please or to live a life for eternity with God. He noted that life is filled with hardship, but God's involvement in a person's life makes all the difference in meeting the challenges life brings. He told how God has been with him during the trials of his life. The speaker noted that 30 years of his life had been spent in Hyde County and that he would never lose his love for this special place.
Brother Ben ALLEN closed the meeting with prayer and gave the blessing for the bountiful covered dish meal which was held in the rear of the church. A total of $1,557 was collected for the benefit of the church. The next meeting will be held on the second Sunday of October. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, June 11, 2000; pg. 12A)
The MIDGETTE siblings recently gathered with various relatives and longtime friends for a buffet dinner in the Ocracoke Community Center. Pictured (front) are Joyce M. SPENCER, and Geneva M. ODOM; (back row from left) Ellis MIDGETTE, Jesse MIDGETTE, Johnny MIDGETTE, Elmer MIDGETTE, and Carnell MIDGETTE. This marked the first time the siblings were all together in 16 years. Along with sister, Janet, who passed away in 1945, they are the children of the late John and Mattie MIDGETTE of Ocracoke Island. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, September 7, 2000; pg. 6B)
CELEBRATING THE PAST WHILE MOVING TOWARD THE FUTURE
One hundred years ago, a 15-year old boy armed only with a third grade education and a yen to become an entrepreneur, opened a general store in Engelhard that, over the next 10 decades, has become a landmark in Hyde County.
It also became a staple in the memory department of Hyde County residents who have long depended on it to provide the merchandise needed to furnish their homes, fill their pantries, provide gifts for their children, and allow them ready access to some of the tools needed to earn a living.
"Mr. Tony's store had everything," said 87-year old Ercell GIBBS, a resident of Cross Creek Health Care Center. "He had everything imaginable--groceries, dishes, furniture, horse plows, harnesses--you name it, they had it."
"Mr. Tony" was Romulus Saunderson SPENCER, born in Engelhard in 1885 to Christopher Columbus SPENCER and Mary Ben BROOKS, and named for the former Sheriff of Hyde County who had died five years earlier. The business Tony began still is a mainstay business of the eastern part of Hyde County--R.S. Spencer Furniture Store and R.S. Spencer True Value Hardware and Variety store.
Always known as a "dresser", the founder of the business was nicknamed "Tony" meaning stylish and/or high toned.
"Mr. Tony" as a dapper young man ------------------ "Mr. Tony" in his later years
Local memories associated with the store as it has grown and weathered wars and downturns in the economy, often carry a personal significance. "In 1935 when my daughter was born--it was the depression--I tried but couldn't find any diaper material. I asked the clerk at the store to save some for me when it came in and she did," said GIBBS, who added that her memories of the store stretch back to her early childhood, as does the memory of the road that led from her home to Engelhard. "It was a dirt road and full of big holes," she said laughing.
"Mr. Tony's" first store opened on September 15, 1900 in a building that his father had purchased for a bushel of oysters. The former fishhouse, which measured about twelve feet by sixteen feet, was first stocked with about $62 worth of merchandise and a pair of scales that cost $2.40. Much of the money needed to open the original store and purchase its first inventory was earned by the young man by working for and fishing with Enoch WISE of Stumpy Point.
The original R.S. Spencer store opened its doors in 1900
The building was later occupied for many years by a barber shop on what is now an empty lot across Golden Street from the side of the present day location of the variety store.
In the early days of the business, men, who were the primary shoppers of the day, did most of their buying at night so Tony worked at occasional odd jobs in the day time and opened the store only at night.
Within two years, business had grown enough to warrant a new, larger building, The second store, built on the site of the present day variety store, measured twenty-four feet by eighteen feet and was the second largest store in town. The inventory had grown to about $1800 in value and the new store allowed then 17-year old Tony to add items such as clothing, foods and health and beauty aids. About 12 years later, Tony once again determined that it was time to expand. The store, added on to five times over the next few decades, was stocked from floor to ceiling with merchandise ranging from horse collars to frozen foods. Eventually in 1957 a furniture and appliance store was built across the street from the general store.
Tony liked to court the local belles but none could guide him down the altar--that is until after he met and courted Elizabeth Leigh BAUM for seven years. At 48, he finally took the walk down the aisle with Elizabeth who was 17 years his junior. They had their first child, R.S. SPENCER, JR., when Tony was 55. Their second child, Mary Lee came two years later.
"Dad loved his store and was in it from early morning until late at night for six days a week and then he would go down on Sunday afternoons and open the doors and windows to "cool things down" he would say. "I never knew him to take even one day of vacation. For many years, Mother would go back after supper with him and stay until time to close up so Mary Lee and I were just about reared in the store," wrote R.S. in "Spencer Seas", printed for the family reunion held in July 2000.
"Now I must confess, I regret eating all those candy bars and hiding the wrappers, and yes, when growing up, I even pilfered a few packs of cigarettes to share with my friends so we could prove we were nearly grown. There is no doubt that I acquired my love of storekeeping from him and that has remained a lifelong passion for me."
A letter from R.S. recently was sent to customers around the county to let them know of the store's special anniversary and the opening of a new building. When the letter arrived in post office boxes, it became the spark for many conversations about the history of the store and "Mr. Tony".
Mabel COX, a volunteer at Cross Creek Health Care Center, shared this memory with others at the nursing home who were reminiscing after the letter's arrival: Years ago, COX needed a refrigerator but had no money to purchase one. She did, however, have four piglets that she was raising. She went to Tony and bartered by offering to pay for the refrigerator when the pigs were old enough to be sold at market. She got her refrigerator, and when the pigs were grown, Tony received his payment for the appliance.
Liz SWINDELL, Cross Creek's admission coordinator and social worker, shared a much different story that happened around 1960. "Mr. Tony began carrying the ready-made Easter baskets in his store and I really, really wanted one," said SWINDELL. "I was about seven and I thought that those ready-made baskets were something really special. But on Easter morning, instead of one of those baskets, I received a pair of anklets and some colored eggs--I was not happy. After Easter, my grandmother bought one of the left-over baskets for me."
On Christmas morning in 1970, after 70 years of working to build the prospering business, fire claimed the uninsured general store, but Tony, although 85 years old at the time, was not about to let the disaster set him back. By November of the following year, a new variety store was built to replace the one reduced to cinders.
Tony, who always wore a white shirt and tie even though it might get soiled by the day's work, continued working in the two stores until two days before his death in 1973.
Throughout his life, "Mr. Tony" attended to the business of the community as well as the business of making a personal living for his family. He was active in many endeavors to make the area a better place to live. Tony's sense of civic commitment has been passed down to his son, R.S., and grandson, R.S. "Tony" SPENCER, III, as is evidenced by their involvement in community affairs.
R.S. is active in a number of civic projects, and most particularly has been a leader in efforts to preserve and explore the history of the area through research and writing. Grandson Tony is the fire chief of Engelhard Volunteer Fire Department which was founded soon after the fire that claimed the store in 1970.
Although he taught school at Mattamuskeet for several years, R.S. also worked in the family business throughout his work life. In 1976, R.S. left teaching to devote his full time efforts on the business that his father had begun almost three-quarters of a century earlier.
Washing machines, satellite dishes and cellular phones have replaced items such as dry goods, cheroots, and harnesses, but the work ethic still remains. Over the next quarter century, R.S. added his own touches to the business including the plans to combine the two stores into one future home to both the furniture store and variety store will, for the first time, put all the inventory under one roof making it more convenient for shoppers by eliminating the walk across the street to the other building. The new 24,000-square foot building is scheduled to open in November, at which time R.S. plans to hold a combined 100th anniversary celebration and a grand opening.
Not breaking from the tradition set by his grandfather and father, Tony is now working with his father so that one day he can take over the store. Perhaps 100 years from now locals will be sharing "Mr. Tony", R.S., and Tony stories.
Present day R.S. Spencer Furniture Store
Future store in progress - to be opened in November 2000
(The Pamlico News - Wednesday, September 13, 2000; pg. 1B & 5B. Article written by Sandy SEMANS. Photos courtesy of R.S. SPENCER, JR.)
GIFT PRESENTED DURING FALL MEETING
Raymond Mason Taylor of Raleigh presented a reproduction of a portrait of Elder Albert
Cartwright to the Bethlehem congregation during their fall meeting at the Primitive
Baptist Church on Sunday, October 8. The Elder served the church until his death in 1892.
The fall meeting for Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church located near Fairfield was held on Sunday, October 8 with 51 persons attending. Moderator C.D. GIBBS welcomed the group before singing led by Willie Mack CARAWAN. The moderator noted the presence of altar flowers arranged by Joyce JONES. He introduced Sylvia DAVIS, a newly-elected trustee of the church. Those attending for the first time were recognized.
Clerk R.S. SPENCER, JR. gave a financial report of the church which showed $2,000 in checking and $8,000 in savings.
A brief business meeting followed with a recommendation from the trustees to award a contract for replacing the church roof and doing some other repairs to Harrell's Aluminum. The work planned for this fall. The church appointed the moderator and clerk to handle the arrangements.
A special presentation followed by Raymond Mason TAYLOR of Raleigh, who along with his mother, Ada Mason TAYLOR, gave the church a reproduction of a portrait of Elder Albert CARTWRIGHT who served the church for many years prior to his death in 1892. Raymond had found a frame which matched the original. The church clerk read the information contained on the back of the portrait to the group. The portrait will hang in the church on meeting days. The moderator thanked the TAYLOR family for the gift.
Elder Johnny Ray GARDNER bought the morning sermon to the group. He stressed the natural sin of man and his quest for forgiveness available through the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father.
Following the preaching, the group assembled in the rear of the church for a covered dish picnic. The next meeting will be held on the first Sunday in June next year. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, October 29, 2000; pg. 16A)
SOULE HONORS FAITH SERVICE
Soule United Methodist Women honored Lona Bonner CARAWAN during the morning worship service on Sunday, October 8. CARAWAN was recognized for her devotion and outstanding contributions to the church. This recognition also included wishes for her 90th birthday on Oct. 18.
Mrs. Scott COBLE, president of the UMW, presented the honoree with a rose corsage, a devotional book by Helen Steiner RICE and read a poem she had composed for this special occasion.
CARAWAN was born on Oct. 18, 1910 to Claud and Lizzie Swindell BONNER. On Oct. 30 she was baptized by Presiding Elder A. McCULLEN. She was married to W. Ruel CARAWAN who died in January of 1967.
In service to the church she served as a Sunday School teacher and is a member of the administrative council. Presently she is president of Soule Ladies Aid, holding the position for 63 years. In the UMW she prepares and presents the program and has done so for the past 15 years. Under her care the paraments are always changed appropriately and the candles trimmed and replaced as needed. Through the combined program of Providence and Soule she volunteers weekly at Cross Creek Health Care.
CARAWAN is a graduate of East Carolina University (then ECTC). After graduation she continued to upgrade her studies. She retired as a classroom teacher with the Hyde County School System after 40 years of service.
At the close of the worship service the Reverend Hal HARBIN asked the blessing of the meal, a birthday dinner complete with cake and candles. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, October 29, 2000; pg. 16A)
MOTHER OF THE YEAR: FAMILY MEANS EVERYTHING TO BETTY MANN
by Liz Bernston, Staff Writer
Betty Simmons MANN, the Washington Daily News Mother of the Year for 2001, is mother to four children and grandmother to nine (soon to be 10). True to quintessential-mom form, she claims any praise she's due is equally due to her family.
Speaking from the living room of her two-story yellow farmhouse in Hyde County, MANN extends recognition to her husband, her friends, her children - anyone but her herself with the reasons why the family has been able to do the things they have.
"It's just been a family effort," MANN said. "If I ever needed anything, I would just holler and they'd come around. It's just hard to fathom that you would live somewhere you couldn't do that. I can't imagine what it must be like to live somewhere when you don't have your family around."
Sheesh - Isn't that just like a mother?
Included in that 'family effort' meant having the means to provide for her and her husband Richard's youngest son, David, 34, who has cerebral palsy. For David, cerebral palsy means the inability to walk, talk or do anything without assistance from another person. For his family, particularly his mother, it means round-the-clock assistance. Early on, doctors suggested the family consider institutionalizing David, but his mother refused, unwilling to simply "put him off and forget about him." For the MANN's, there was no other way about it - David would stay home and the family would take care of him.
"We've always managed to have a house full of somebody," MANN said. "I mean, after all, he's ours. I don't think it's any different than anyone else would've done."
On a typical day, this mother gets up at 7 a.m. and waits for her grandson, 5-month-old Richard, to arrive for the day. She plays with him for a while before putting him down for a nap. David wakes up at 9 a.m., and she transports his 80-pound body to his wheelchair or a recliner-style cot, where he can have his breakfast and four different types of medicine, which keep him from having seizures and help him digest his food. Some days, she watches her son Tom's children, Thomas and Taylor, as well. In the course of an ordinary day, she cooks for those who will be around for lunch, plays with the grandchildren, feeds David three more times and cleans him up before he watches his required television show of the night, "The Tonight Show." The next day, it begins all over again at 7 a.m.
In some respects, taking care of David has changed for the better over the years, but it wasn't always this way.
"When he was little, we spent three days a month in the hospital because he would have some kind of bronchial condition," MANN said.
Today, David is so healthy he hasn't required that much hospital care over several years' time. Approximately eight years ago, his doctor made it possible for him to eat via tube feeding, which provided a two-fold benefit for the MANN family. In addition to easing the effort it takes David to eat and digest meals and necessary medications, it also serves to lessen the onus on Mann and her family. Whereas a single feeding used to take two hours, administering a meal to David today takes literally minutes. MANN marvels that her 11-year-old granddaughter is able to help with the task.
Friday afternoon MANN was, as usual, spending the afternoon taking care of her three grandchildren and David. Upon being presented with a dozen red roses for Mother of the Year, she was genuinely taken back.
"I was so surprised you could've knocked me over with a feather," MANN said. Her husband of 42 years says he can think of no one who deserves it more.
Her daughter Darlene PARENT, a teacher at Mattamuskeet High School, and David penned a letter to the newspaper lauding and nominating their praiseworthy mother for the award. It reads: "Not many people would be willing to give constant care to someone, even their child, for 36 years. I know she has sacrificed much to make my life the best it can be. The beauty of her and all that she has done is that she does not complain or make me feel like I have been a burden to her. She does not act as if she wishes I were different. For her love, her time and sacrifice I thank God. Because of her I still am."
But MANN is convinced compromise hasn't been a detrimental factor in her life. She recalls family trips to Disney World, St. Augustine, Alaska and Massachusetts; she says she always relied on Richard to get the children to school and to their football, baseball and basketball games; and she points out they have always relied on family and friends and helping each other out to get the things they need.
"I don't feel like we've missed anything - in fact, it's just the opposite," MANN said. "It's just been a family effort. Everybody has just pitched in - if you need somebody, there's always someone you can call." (Washington Daily News - May 13, 2001; pgs. 1A & 7A)
ENGELHARD'S CLASS OF '51 HOLDS REUNION
Front Row (l-r): George O'Neal, Elizabeth Long Potts, Glynn Jarvis, Connie Berry Terry, Dawn Berry Gibbs, Norma Gibbs Gibbs, Maxie Marshall Cahoon, Celia Gibbs Cahoon, and school principal, S.D. O'Neal
Back Row (l-r): Wayne Cahoon, Shirlen Spencer, Tommie Marshall and Edward Mason
Engelhard High School's Class of 1951 recently gathered for its 50th class reunion at the Harris Seafood & Steak House in Fairfield. The class colors, red and white, decorated the tables, with the head table featuring an arrangement of red roses along with five white roses in memory of deceased class members: Ethel Lou Cuthrell LITCHFIELD, Max HODGES, JR., Chester WILLIAMS, Edward O'NEAL and William L. ROPER.
A table and easel held photographs of school days, including a senior trip to Washington, D.C., and the group's 30th class reunion. Photos of deceased classmates were also displayed with a candle in their memory.
The welcome was given by Elizabeth Long POTTS, and Tom MARSHALL gave a before-dinner speech, reminiscing about their younger days and how times have changed. Glynn JARVIS offered a prayer before the meal, and the menu featured seafood, turkey, roast beef, creamed potatoes, green beans, dressing, salads and desserts.
Following the meal, Celia Gibbs CAHOON presented each teacher a gift in appreciation for being with the class on the happy occasion of the reunion. They were Mr. and Mrs. S.D. O'NEAL (school principal at Engelhard High), Mr. and Mrs. George O'NEAL (agriculture teacher), Mrs. Carma C. GIBBS (first grade teacher), her niece Carma Star DAVIS, and Mrs. Isabelle WILLIAMSON (lunch room manager).
After the presentation, the classmates brought each other up to date with their families and their lives. Priscilla Armstrong CARTER received the gift for traveling the longest distance, from Arizona. There was a tie between Glynn JARVIS and Edward MASON for the most children, with five each. JARVIS won the draw to receive the gift for that honor, while MASON received the gift for having the most grandchildren. He also received the gift for being married the shortest amount of time, and Connie Berry TERRY won the prize for being married the longest.
In attendance were Mr. and Mrs. Wayne CAHOON, Mr. and Mrs. Edward MASON, Mrs. and Mrs. Shirlen SPENCER, Mr. and Mrs. Glynn JARVIS, Mr. and Mrs. Tom MARSHALL, Maxie Marshall CAHOON, Dawn Berry GIBBS, Norma Gibbs GIBBS, Elizabeth Long POTTS, Priscilla Armstrong CARTER, Mr. and Mrs. Sandy TERRY (Connie Berry TERRY), Celia Gibbs CAHOON and guest Leonard PUGH, JR.
Those unable to attend the reunion were Charles MEEKINS, Dora Lee G. WILLIAMS, Iris FORLOUGH, Elgie L. MIDGETTE, Faye M. CHEATHAM, Elizabeth MIDGETT, and Hans HARDT.
Along with the former faculty members on hand for the festive occasion were guests: Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood SELBY and daughter, Mr. Al SCHMITT, JR., Dr. and Mrs. Joe LIVERMAN, Mrs. Nellie COX and Mr. and Mrs. Sherman WILLIAMS. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001; pg. 6B)
by Kevin Scott Cutler
Let's take a look back at the news of September 1957 ......
(The following information was compiled from clippings found in the Alice K. RONDTHALER collection, housed in the Ocracoke School/Community Library.)
A native of Ocracoke who had been away for more than 15 years revisited his native land during early September. This was Edgar HOWARD, who with his family was visiting his brother Walter HOWARD. For many years he has been known as a favorite banjo player and has lived in the New York City area. He was a favorite entertainer at the Village Barn and other such entertainment spots in New York. He and his family have now moved to Florida.
Sam JONES of Ocracoke and Norfolk and Miss Ursula BRANDT of Bremerhaven, Germany, were married Saturday, September 7 in a private ceremony in the Providence Methodist Church in Swan Quarter. After the ceremony and a luncheon, Mr. and Mrs. JONES left for Manteo and then a wedding trip. Upon their return to Ocracoke, the Joneses will entertain with an open house for the public.
Bill GASKILL, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thurston GASKILL, is enjoying a furlough at home. Bill is in the U.S. Coast Guard, stationed at New York City. Recent visitors with the GASKILL's were Mrs. Margaret GOODWIN of Norfolk and Jack GOODWIN of Washington, D.C.
With the state-operated free ferry in service at Hatteras Inlet, something new is happening on Ocracoke Island! Cattle and old cars are being transported off the island by truck. Formerly such transportation had to be by freight boat to Washington, in Beaufort County. During the past month, cattle have been rounded up in the area where they graze north of the village, loaded on the trucks there, and taken directly to Norfolk. Men in jeeps, boys riding Banker ponies, and recently bull dogs have aided in the roundup. Several hundred cattle have been deported: about 60 to 80 remain now. Deadline for the removal of the cattle, sheep and goats (under 1957 N.C. legislation) is July 1,1958. But with all of this area now part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, removal of the stock is being expedited.
Mr. and Mrs. Clarence SCARBOROUGH recently enjoyed a Sunday trip to Manns Harbor, stopping enroute at Buxton, Nags head and Manteo. It was their first trip across the new Croatan Sound Bridge. Mr. SCARBOROUGH expressed his appreciation of the state-operated ferry, which made it possible for him to go and come the same day. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001; pg. 6B)
HYDE'S DOCTOR FROM TYRRELL TAKES TO PEN
Dr. Joe Liverman
Born and raised in Tyrrell County, Dr. Joe LIVERMAN has dedicated the past 50 years to his family medicine practice in Hyde County. Over several years, his thoughts have turned to fond memories and recently he addressed the Tyrrell Genealogical and Historical Society to discuss his new book, Taking Stock, Life and Death at Juniper Bay.
Dr. LIVERMAN explained that this is his first attempt at writing fiction but thought it would be interesting to folks from this area as he used local places from Tyrrell and Hyde Counties in the book.
The drawings at the chapter beginnings are Tyrrell and Hyde County homes and stores.
Taking Stock, Life and Death at Juniper Bay, will be released on November 11 in Hyde County. There will be a book signing. The day will also mark the 50th year of medical practice for Dr. LIVERMAN in Hyde County.
His first book, High Days and Holidays, was published in 1994 and remains available from area businesses. Dr. LIVERMAN's books are published by Sweet Bay Tree Books. Fiona FINCH is the editor. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001; pg. 6B)
WILLIAM CUTHRELL CELEBRATES 80th
An 80th birthday celebration for William A. CUTHRELL took place on Saturday, September 22 at the Masonic Lodge in Fairfield.
The traditional birthday cake, decorated with blue and white, and a dinner of Parker's barbecue and fried chicken with all the trimmings was enjoyed by approximately 80 of his family and friends.
"Mr. William" was born on September 22, 1921 to Lester and Cordelia Johnson CUTHRELL of Tyrrell County. He married Etta Mae CAHOON on December 14, 1944. This union was blessed with six children, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
CUTHRELL had a brother, Woodrow and a sister, Dora. He spent all of his youth in a village called Kilkenny, north of Fairfield. His mother always told him that Kilkenny received its name from two cats who fought until "Kill" killed "Kenny."
CUTHRELL obtained his education from Kilkenny and Fairfield schools, and has been a member of the Kilkenny Christian Church all of his adult life.
"The Price is Right" and "Wheel of Fortune" are two of his favorite TV shows; he also enjoys good country and western music, tending a vegetable garden and milking his cows each morning. He loves sharing his vegetables and homemade ice cream with his many friends and family.
He recalls when his father was a rural mail carrier for his area, and the closing of Warbler post office in 1935, when postage stamps were three cents.
He loves to hunt and fish; however, he earned his family income by both working on the farm and having a guide service. In the mid-forties he started guiding hunters and fishermen for $5 per person, per day "sun-up to sun-down." His goose hunting was mostly done on the Johnny Armstrong farm in Fairfield, beginning at 4 a.m.
There were two game wardens at the time, Speedy TUNNELL and Jinning McKINNEY. Every Thursday morning he carried his hunters to a breakfast prepared by his wife and mother. He never developed a taste for game; his favorite foods are shrimp and oysters.
The happy birthday event was hosted by his children: Delia MOONEY, Willene BRINN, Helen CUTHRELL, Ronald (Ronnie) CUTHRELL, Rita MARSHALL and Ernest (Ernie) CUTHRELL. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001; pg. 5B)
by Kevin Scott Cutler
Let's take a look back at the news of October1957 ......
(The following information was compiled from clippings found in the Alice K. RONDTHALER collection, housed in the Ocracoke School/Community Library.)
Word was received here that Mrs. Laura BRAGG is improving, but is still in the Morehead City hospital. Her daughter, Kathleen, is staying there during her mother's illness.
Mrs. Mary F. O'NEAL has left Ocracoke to spend the winter with her daughter, Mrs. Louise SIMPSON of Wilmington, Delaware and Mrs. Ruby SWENK of Port Jefferson, New York.
Mr. & Mrs. Frank HELPENSTILL and daughter Frances of Staten Island have been visiting her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Uriah GARRISH, JR.
A good many Ocracokers went up to Portsmouth or Norfolk this month, many to obtain their identification cards as relatives of service men. Among them were Mrs. Marion AUSTIN and children Rudy and June Yvette, Mr. & Mrs. Earl Hill GASKINS, Mr. & Mrs. Lonnie BURRUS, Mrs. Dallas K. WILLIAMS, and Mrs. James GARRISH.
The Rev. Frank Treet FULCHER of Richmond, Va., who was visiting his sister, Mrs. Lena BRAGG, preached at the evening service at the Ocracoke United Methodist Church one Sunday. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001; pg. 5C)
Ivey and Laura BELCH and Hunter of Ocracoke Island announce the birth of a son and brother, Alston O'Neal BELCH, on September 25 at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie. The baby weighed nine pounds, six ounces and measured 21.5 inches. Grandparents are Wayne and Ella BELCH of Ocracoke and Sydney and Donna DUNLOW of Windsor. Great-grandparents include John T. and Mildred O'NEAL of Ocracoke, Leroy BELCH of Colrain, Levina BELCH of Powellsville, Nora NEWBERN of Colrain, and Mable DUNLOW of Windsor. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001; pg. 5C)
Derek M. and Kristen Cahoon NOBLE of Swan Quarter announce the birth of a daughter, Isabella Darlene, at Pitt County Memorial Hospital on November 14 at 5:57 a.m. She weighed six pounds, 11 ounces and was 20 inches in length. Paternal grandparents are Robert NOBLE of Belhaven and the late Darlene Keyzer NOBLE. Maternal grandparents are Lyle and Claudia CAHOON of Swan Quarter. Great-grandparents include Marcel and Patricia CAHOON of Swan Quarter and great-grandmother, Blandina CAHOON of Fairfield. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, December 4, 2001; pg. 9A)
From Nov. 1, 1941 issue of Aycock Brown's Ocracoke Island Beacon
Captain Joe BURRUS, resident keeper of the Ocracoke Lighthouse, celebrates his 38th year in the service. Captain BURRUS is a Republican (he likes to tell people that he is the only "out and out" GOP man on the island), but among his best friends are Congressman BONNER, Comptroller General WARREN and others, all outstanding Democrats. During his career Capt. BURRUS has been on duty not only at local stations (once he was assistant keeper of Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout lights) but he has also handled the old screw-pile light assignments in Pamlico Sound and aboard the Diamond Lightship. Capt. BURRUS is a Hatterasman, but on the beach road at Ocracoke he was built a beautiful cottage where he will live with Mrs. BURRUS and family after he retires.
Capt. Homer S. GRAY is the new skipper of the Ocracoke Coast Guard Station. He relieved Capt. Stephen G. BASNIGHT as commanding officer of the local lighthouse unit. Captain GRAY is married and has five children. His son, Homer Jr., is in the Coast Guard on the Kickapoo in Baltimore. The rest of his family are living at his home in Avon, up the Banks. Mrs. GRAY is the former Miss Annie Gertrude WILLIAMS, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Ervin H. WILLIAMS of Avon.
Minnie (Mrs. Washie SPENCER) and Katie (Mrs. Herb O'NEAL) left recently for a visit with relatives in Philadelphia, where Washie Jr., who works on a dredge, is in the hospital. This is the first visit Minnie and Katie, who are sisters, have made to see their home folks in Philadelphia since they came to the island as brides 17 years ago. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, February 14, 2002; pg. 6B)
James and Susan PAUL of Ocracoke Island announce the birth of a son, James C. PAUL, III, on December 19 in Albemarle Hospital. He weighed 8 pound and 8 ounces and measured 22 inches. Grandparents are James and Mary PAUL of Washington and Doug and Elaine VARLEY of New Bern. Great-grandmothers are Geneva ODOM of Ocracoke and Ida ROWE of New Bern. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, February 24, 2002; pg. 2B)
From April 1959 Alice K. Rondthaler collection
Carlton Boyce O'NEAL, stationed in the Coast Guard at Portsmouth, Va., visited his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Harry O'NEAL recently.
On Thursday, April 16, Mrs. Sadie GARRISH celebrated her 89th birthday. Relatives and friends were invited to visit her at the home of her granddaughter, Mrs. Travis WILLIAMS. Mrs. GARRISH is the oldest woman on Ocracoke Island.
Mrs. Allie Scott BARBER and Mrs. Raymond RIDDICK of Scotland Neck, were visitors with Mr. & Mrs. Wahab HOWARD. They had a cottage here, the "Ida Lawrence," named after the shipwreck from which lumber was secured for the building of the cottage. The "Ida Lawrence" came ashore at Ocracoke in December 1905.
Plans were made for the opening of the new Ocracoke Restaurant. Alec ELEY, formerly of Washington, NC and more frequently of Norfolk, is owner of the restaurant and will operate it with the help of his wife Marie, who is the daughter of Mrs. Lillian SIMPSON.
Mr. & Mrs. Larry SIMPSON and son of Elizabeth City have been visiting her parents, Mr. & Mrs. John B. GASKINS. Mr. SIMPSON is in the Coast Guard and is being sent to the Navy Base at Memphis, Tennessee for some special school work. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, April 14, 2002; pg. 2B)
THROUGH TIME & TIDE, SCRANTON MAIL SURVIVES
The community of Scranton in western Hyde County once was known as Clarks or Broad Creek. Then, in 1892, the Scranton Land and Lumber Co., based in Scranton, Pa., moved in, providing jobs and a market for local timber. The company established a barge line and carried lumber to northern ports such as Baltimore.
The Company also got a post office established, called Scranton. And over time the community and the creek took on the name of the post office.
Around 1900, Allegheny Lumber Co. took over the operation," wrote Mark INABINETT in The Washington Daily News. "Allegheny expanded operations by building a double-band sawmill, which allowed the production of more lumber than ever. Allegheny also built a larger company store for the community.
"During the heyday of mill times, Scranton sported boardwalks and its first electric lights, run by current supplied by the mill. Allegheny employed Dr. Norfleet M. GIBBS of Fairfield to look after its workers' health-care needs. Scranton prospered so much that it could support a boarding house, the Shingle House run by Mrs. W.R. ROBERTS."
In 1909, John L. Roper Lumber Co., the new owner, transferred mill operations in Scranton and Makelyville to Belhaven. Makelyville and Sladesville lost their post offices, and, along with Scranton, the boom times were over.
But Scranton survived, and so did its post office. However, in 1993, when postmaster Walter E. BISHOP retired after 35 years at the helm, the Postal Service began a reevaluation of the need for continuing the Scranton outlet. Local citizens rallied, wrote letters to postal officials and politicians, and the post office stayed. In 1999, there was no need to write anybody. Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd deluged areas west of the fall line in eastern and central North Carolina, and the flood waters began to rise in Hyde County.
Postmaster Carolyn DUNBAR, who has been in charge since 1991, said the water rose to 40 inches inside the old post office, overturned tables and chairs containing mail and other papers, ruined everything in the safe, destroyed everything of value, and forced operations to move temporarily to Swan Quarter, 10 miles away.
A mobile unit was brought in after the flood waters subsided, and DUNBAR and rural carriers Kerry CARAWAN and Rebecca DUNBAR worked from there until the new post office was built on much higher ground, and opened in July 2000. And so Scranton 27875 continues to receive and dispatch the U.S. Mail as an integral part of the community. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, June 30, 2002; pg. 12A)
(The Coastland Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2004; pg. 13B)
Muzel "Musie" BRYANT celebrated her 100th birthday recently with a community party, social hour, and dinner in the Ocracoke School gym. Musie arrived at the party in grand style, riding in a chauffeur-driven limousine, and was greeted by approximately 300 guests from the Ocracoke community and off-island well-wishers. Host for the gala event was her longtime friend, Kenny BALLANCE, and flowers for the celebration were provided by Chester LYNN of Annabelle's Florist. As the star of the evening, Musie was honored by several guest speakers who remarked on her life and family. They included Mary BRYANT, her niece from Manhattan; Leon BRYANT, a cousin from the mainland and a Hyde County commissioner; Ruthie KING, a friend from Atlantic; and Alton BALLANCE, an Ocracoke friend. On behalf of the Hyde County commissioners BRYANT and Nathan SEARS presented Musie with a plaque and letters and certificates from the offices of Governor Mike EASLEY and state senator Marc BASNIGHT were read. In a nod to her fondness for chocolate candy, Musie received three cases of chocolate bars and a letter of congratulations from Hershey's. Following the dinner and speeches, Musie and her guests continued on to Howard's Pub for a dance with music provided by the Ocracoke Rockers. There, the "birthday girl" celebrated until nearly 2 a.m., outlasting some of her younger companions. despite reaching the century mark, Musie remains active and refuses to let life pass her by. According to Kenny BALLANCE, with whom she has resided since 1997, she loves to read the newspapers and enjoys visiting with her many friends. She also enjoys the company of her cat and watching favorite TV shows. Musie grew up on Ocracoke Island, the second oldest of 13 children born to Leonard and Jane BRYANT. Two of her siblings survive: Annie Laura BARBER,89, of Cross Creek Nursing Home in Swan Quarter, and Mamie BRYANT, 92, of Manhattan. Her grandmother, Winnie BLOUNT, was a slave from the Blounts Creek area of Beaufort County; when freed she came to Ocracoke to live. She and her husband had two daughters, one of whom was Musie's mother. Musie worked in many local home and at the old Pamlico Inn in her younger years; in fact, she continued to work until the age of 90. Her one child, a son Charles, lived in Plymouth until he passed away. According to BALLANCE, even the approach of a hurricane doesn't faze Musie and in her 100 years she has never let a storm drive her from her beloved island. One of her earliest memories as a small child is hearing the older folks of the island talking about "those two fellows trying to get that plane off the ground"---those "fellows", of course, were the Wright brothers. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, April 1, 2004; pg. 1A & 6A)
(The Coastland Times - Sunday, May 30, 2004; pg. 13A)
SWAN QUARTER NATIVE BLOUNT PENS CHILDHOOD MEMORIES IN FIRST NOOK
"Everybody knows an Aunt Sis Ruth," Denise BLOUNT said Friday, leaning forward from the loveseat in her cozy, warm living room. "She used to thank the Lord for everything. If it rained, she thanked the Lord. If the sun was shining, the thanked the Lord. If you were looking for someone to say 'thank you Jesus' or 'hallelujah', she'd be the first one, BLOUNT said.
It was those remembrances of her family, friends and struggles that drove BLOUNT to preserve the true stories of her childhood in her book, Memories of a Southern Girl Writer.
With just a ninth-grade education and sheer determination, BLOUNT, a married mother of two adult children, decided just over a year ago that she needed to tell her life story. "I felt like I owed it to my father and grandmother. There was nothing in my life to say I've been here on this earth. Now, people will read this book and they'll know I'm a little black girl who grew up very poor and struggled, but learned how to survive. I'm no great author--but I want folks to know you can start with such humble beginnings and still have a happy life and turn out all right," she said.
The third of seven children born to a commercial fisherman and his homemaker wife, BLOUNT paints a vivid, humorous and, sometimes, heartbreakingly honest, picture of what it was like to grow up black and poor in the rural South of the 1950's. "We never had any toys. We played our own games. Sometimes we played baseball and sometimes we'd just make them up. Daddy would send us to get pinecones and we'd go exploring in the woods. We lived at Juniper Bay, and we'd go fishing for robins in the big ditch by the house. It was some of the best times of our lives," she said.
BLOUNT acknowledged the spelling and grammar errors in her book, explaining they are a testament to the kind of education and care she received from a teacher at O.A. Peay, which was then a school for black children in Swan Quarter.
Recounting one of the chapters of her book, BLOUNT quietly called her schooldays "one of the saddest time of my life. When I was growing up, I wore big, thick glasses and I wore my hair in big, thick braids. We always wore hand-me-downs, so of course, our dresses were faded and the elastic in our socks was stretched out. The teacher would line us up in the morning and look at us. She always made me feel bad for the way I looked and dressed. We were clean but that didn't seem to matter," she said.
BLOUNT was raised in a household where loving God and going to church were both important. It was going to church that made BLOUNT take notice of the people who would later become the characters in this book.
"We didn't have a car, so we walked everywhere we went. But you can believe if there was something going on at that church, we were at it. We children didn't want to go, so my father told us to find something we liked about it and we'd enjoy it better. we started studying the people--how they dressed, talked, moved, sang, shouted. We'd come home and imitate them," BLOUNT said.
Once BLOUNT decided to put those folks in a book for other people to discover, she didn't wait around to get things going. "I put 'em down on paper--that was the hard part--painting a picture with words. I found myself a self-publishing company and I saved my leftover grocery money until I had enough to order books. When I opened up that first box and saw them, I felt just like I had had a baby."
To date, she has ordered 200 copies and is working on publishing a second book. "Sometimes I'll wake up from a dead sleep with a story, so I write it down real fast. And I write in my journal every day."
Copies of her book may be purchased at R.S. Spencer's store in Engelhard. They are $6.95. [Go to this page for ordering instructions.]
BLOUNT said she didn't write the book to make money. "I love Swan Quarter and this is where I want to live all my life. I don't expect to ever get rich or be on Oprah but I want folks to know that they can struggle and still be all right. Even in hard times, there are good times." (The Coastland Times - Thursday, February 17, 2005; pg. 14B
(The Coastland Times - Thursday, September 8, 2005; pg. 15B)
HYDE COUNTY HISTORICAL & GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY MEETING
Article written by R.S. Spencer, Jr. - Photos taken by Judi Raburn
The spring meeting of the Hyde County Historical & Genealogical Society was held on Sunday, May 17, 2009, at 2:30 p.m. at the Charlie Patrick House in Goshen near Engelhard. There were 55 persons in attendance. The house has recently been purchased and renovated by Walt and Jill Liverman of Kill Devil Hills. In spite of a rain which was heavy at times, the group was able to sit on the large back l-shaped porch which connected the kitchen and dining room to the main part of the house and enjoy the meeting. President Roy Clarke opened the meeting with a welcome and called on Ralph Jarvis for the invocation.
Walt Liverman gave a brief history of the house. He noted that Max Fisher, Al Schmitt, and Ed Clarke, all local craftsmen, were responsible for the outstanding work done in the restoration. Liverman then pointed out several architectural features of the house.
One of the fine antiques found in the Patrick House
Stairs in the newly restored Patrick House
Roger Swindell was recognized and gave a report on the Mattamuskeet Apple project. He told of an event on June 6th near Swindell Fork on creating a Mattamuskeet Apple tree by air-layering.
President Clarke introduced the speaker for the afternoon: Bob Hester who is manager of Wild Wings Farm in Fairfield. Mr. Hester has published books on the Civil War in Georgia and in North Carolina. They are books of fiction but are filled with historical characters and events. He related several stories of interest about events and people from Hyde County in the war. He emphasized the terrible effects of the war on the civilians as well as the soldiers. He told of the enlistment of Company F of the 33rd Regiment at Middletown in 1861. He related the story of W. H. Douglas who enlisted in Middletown and was later severely wounded at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Hester followed the life of Douglas through the 1900 census of Hyde. Hester read a letter from Lt. Samuel C. Watson of Hyde written in Pennsylvania in 1863 to Cason E. Swindell of Fairfield. On July 3, 1863, shortly afterward, Watson was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Lora Mooney Byrd, who is retiring as Hyde County Register of Deeds at the end of May, was recognized, praised and presented a copy of the society’s publication: Landmarks of Hyde County which is an architectural history of the county. Mrs. Byrd has been outstanding in her assistance both to members of the society and to the many visitors who frequent her office. Society officers are frequently being told of how helpful she and her staff are to those who come into her office looking for information on their heritage in Hyde.
Lora Mooney Byrd, Hyde Co. Register of Deeds
R. S. Spencer, Jr. gave a report on the National Genealogical Conference he attended in Raleigh on May 13-16. He is the book vendor for the society and was an exhibitor for the society at the conference. He reported sales in excess of one thousand dollars for the booth plus he distributed many society brochures. He noted the excellent location of the society booth next to the National Archives and across from Ancestry.com. He stated the booth was very visible because of the Hyde County flag in the booth. The flag was created during the celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Roanoke Voyages in the 1980s.
Spencer then related the story of Willis Young from Green Valley, Arizona, who came to Hyde to learn more about his third-great-grandfather Richard H. Young who was buried in the Young Cemetery in White Plains, an area between Middletown and Nebraska in Hyde County. Mr. Young and his wife spent several days in Hyde County having left Arizona and driven to Chicago to visit relatives there. The couple flew into Raleigh-Durham and rented a car to journey to Hyde. They discovered that the cemetery had been plowed over during the last few years. However the next day while the couple was in the Hyde County Courthouse, Spencer spoke with Carmen Eaton who lives in the Young House next to where the cemetery was located. She told Spencer she had saved the tombstones because they were being torn up by the large farm equipment. She stated she had what broken pieces she could salvage in a cart at her house. That night Mr. and Mrs. Young were asked to go to the home where they were shown the stones. Spencer asked the group to imagine the emotion this man, 84 years of age and a survivor of a Nazi prison in World War II, felt as he viewed those stones. Mr. Young later called Spencer and told him he was going to try to secure permission to put replacement stones in the Young lot at Amity Church Cemetery where later generations of the family are buried. He said he felt that every person deserved to have a tombstone. The family came to Hyde from Connecticut before 1793 when Richard H. Young purchased land here. Young’s oldest son, Benjamin Young, left Hyde and settled in Illinois while other members of the family remained here. Mr. Young is trying to locate the Young Family Bible which was cited in 1917 as being in possession of Celestia A. (Young) Respass of Pantego.
R. S. Spencer, Jr. then presented a gift to retiring president Clarke on behalf of the board in recognition of Clarke’s tenure as president of the society since 1997. The gift was a two-volume set of identification of records in the National Archives related to World War II which is Clarke’s main research interest. He has compiled a great deal of information on the service records of Hyde County citizens in that war.
The incoming president, Isabelle Homes of Middletown, was called upon by President Clarke to make a few remarks. Mrs. Homes stressed that she would need the support of both board members and society members to keep the society a strong and vibrant organization and that she looked forward to the society continuing its task of recording the heritage of Hyde County. She told a humorous family story to illustrate her point.
Roy Clarke & Isabelle Homes
The meeting adjourned for the group to enjoy refreshments provided by the ladies of St. George’s Episcopal Church and to tour the Patrick House which was built about 1915. (The Coastland Times - May 31, 2009; pg. 8A)
HYDE DAUGHTER CELEBRATES 100th BIRTHDAY - Engelhard resident, Mrs. Gennie M. Howard, recently celebrated a significant birthday. More than 200 family and friends joined "Mama Gennie" at the Davis Recreation Center for the 100th year celebration of her life. She arrived in style at the center via limousine. Howard has lived all of her life in Hyde County. She had eight children, three of which are still living, and 23 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great-grandchildren call her Grandma. She was married to the late Eura Howard. One of her grandchildren said that Eura's pet name of Gennie was Pig. "Eura took good care of her and loved her dearly," they recalled. Granddaughter Minnie Bryant said, "Mama Gennie encouraged all of us in the Lord." Bryant remembers her grandmother having prayer services at various houses in the community, and "praying for the children." In earlier years Mrs. Howard often kept a percolator of coffee going on the woodstove. "She would have two to three pans of biscuits to feed anyone who stopped by. A good pot of beans was a mainstay in her home. Despite her 100 years, Mrs. Howard still has a memory as sharp as a tack. She can still tell family members and friends about their ancestral lineages. Keeping house hasn't fallen by the wayside either. Every day she makes her bed military style, with everything being smoothed out. Those attending the celebration came from Hyde communities as well as from the states of New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Mrs. Howard had two honorary guests too--her only step-sister, Beadie Terell from New York, as well as her next door neighbor, Royaton Adams--both of whom will soon be reaching their 100th birthdays. The celebration was held in the Davis gym. Pink was the color of Mrs. Howard's party dress, as well as the color of the bouquet of roses she was presented. Scripture readings, singing, congratulatory comments and refreshments were included in the afternoon's celebration. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, October 11, 2009; pgs. 1A & 9C)
OCRACOKE'S O'NEAL RECEIVES STATE'S HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR - Earl W. O'Neal, Jr. of Ocracoke has received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest civilian honor. The award, bestowed by Gov. Beverly Perdue, was presented by Jack Overman, the governor's designee for the occasion, at the Outer Banks Scenic Byway Advisory Committee meeting held December 15. O'Neal, 80, engaged in distinguished military and business careers before retiring to his ancestral home to work on numerous civic, history and genealogy projects. He served 26 years in active and reserve duty in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, retiring with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. His service included tours in Japan and Korea during the Korean Conflict. He was one of the first eight people in the U.S. Army's Nuclear Cadre, an assignment that led to his career as a professional engineer in nuclear power. O'Neal is dedicated to preserving and sharing Outer Banks history and the stories of his family. He is descended from six of the original Ocracoke families. O'Neal always seems to be writing or revising a book. He has authored 17 books on the island's history and early families. He has written about the island's wild ponies, told Ocracoke stories, chronicled family genealogies, and delved into the history of World War II on the island. His love of history called him to serve as a director of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village and as secretary and director of the Outer Banks History Center, where he was named an Honorary Officer. He is a member of eight or more regional historical or genealogical societies. In his drive to share Outer Banks history, O'Neal has worked to deliver 15 Civil War markers on the Outer Banks Civil War Trail. Most recently, he led the effort to erect an island marker for the U.S. Navy Beach Jumpers, who secretly trained on Ocracoke during World War II. O'Neal helped restore and enhance Ocracoke's British Cemetery, designing plaques and monuments therein. He has diligently worked with state and federal agencies to improve pedestrian safety on Ocracoke. His projects include an expanded shoulder along Highway NC 12 around Silver Lake, an almost completed 10-foot wide multi-use pathway connecting Ocracoke village with the National Park Service campground on the island and widening N.C. 12 with paved shoulder to the island's pony pens. He chaired the island's airport advisory board, helping secure a new emergency helicopter pad and championing improvements to the airstrip. The helicopter pad was recently dedicated. O'Neal served as the first chairman on the Outer Banks Scenic Byway Committee on Ocracoke and of the byway's advisory committee, which brings together members from Ocracoke, Down East Carteret, Dare County, as well as partners. The byway recently received national designation. In 2005, O'Neal was recognized with the North Carolina Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. At the presentation, O'Neal, who was surprised, was feted with a festive breakfast and lunch.
Hyde youngster is accomplished artist
By Kevin Scott Cutler, Lifestyles & Features Editor
Published: [To see this talented young man's paintings click here.]
A love for nature and a talent for painting are helping a Hyde County youngster make a name for himself in the art world.
Richard Mann IV, who lives in Fairfield and attends Pungo Christian Academy in Belhaven, is becoming pretty well-known locally for his wildlife paintings and rural landscapes. He paints what he knows best.
“I’ve always lived around it,” said the 9-year-old son of Lee and Shelly Mann.
According to his mom, Mann began coloring at a very early age. Richard Mann Jr., his grandfather and unofficial agent/promoter, is awed by the young fellow’s talent.
“He was coloring inside the lines when he was only 2 years old,” the elder Mann said. “My other grandchildren were eating the crayons at that age.”
Donna Johnson, the younger Mann’s kindergarten teacher at PCA, noticed that the youngster had a talent for art and suggested to his parents that he take private lessons.
That’s when Washington artist Pat Boyd entered the picture. For the past three years, the younger Mann has been enrolled in weekly, one-on-one sessions with Boyd at her studio.
“Richard is a great student. He’s a sweet kid and he knows a lot about animals,” Boyd said. “I asked him one time how he knew so much about wildlife and he said, ‘Ms. Pat, I am from Hyde County.’ I laughed and laughed at that.”
Along with the two-hour sessions with Boyd, the younger Mann enjoys drawing and painting at home and at school. His hard work has paid off with a state-level first place award in the Junior Duck Stamp competition.
He also received a first place ribbon in a show hosted by the Effie Raye Arts Society in Belhaven. Prints of his work have been auctioned for Pungo Christian Academy and Hyde County’s Relay for Life, and most recently he donated two prints to benefit the Hyde County Waterfowl Association. The association’s board opted to give the funds back to the younger Mann for his college fund.
In fact, all the monies raised through the sale of the prints are being put into a special fund for his college education.
“Granddaddy gets the credit for all of that,” Shelly Mann said.
“Last year, we decided to make prints and offer them to people in the county for sale,” Richard Mann Jr. said. “We started out with 12 and now we’re up to 16 different scenes. We also have packs of notecards with two each of six designs.”
The prints are especially desirable since young Richard Mann’s mom is adamant that his original paintings remain in the family.
“He made a card for a friend earlier this year, and his friend told his mom, ‘Don’t tell Ms. Shelly, but I’ve got one of Richard’s originals,’” Shelly Mann said with a laugh. “But if he wants to sell them when he gets old enough to make that decision, I’ll let him do that.”
The prints are currently available through Richard Mann Jr. (he can be reached at 252-926-4921), as well as at O’Neal’s Gift Shop in Belhaven, Chocowinity Pharmacy, Historic Bath Visitors Center and Harris Seafood in Fairfield. Each print is named, signed and numbered; the age of the artist at the time each piece was painted is also included.
Although an aunt and a couple of cousins dabble in art, the younger Mann is the only one in his immediate family with that interest and talent. His siblings are Wyatt, BoLee, Alex, Demock, Brittany and Tyler.
When he’s not busy with school and his burgeoning art career, the younger Mann enjoys hunting and fishing and is active with Hyde County 4-H, raising and showing goats. His family’s farm is a virtual zoo; in addition to the goats, they have peacocks, quail, cows, chickens, rabbits, ducks, horses, dogs and cats.
“He’d have a rattlesnake if I’d let him,” Shelly Mann said.
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