THE HOMES OF OLD WARRENTON-CONTINUED
THE NEW METHODIST PARSONAGE
On the corner of Ridgeway and Front streets is the residence of the Methodist minister of Warrenton, built more than thirty years ago. The first occupant that I recall was the Rev. John N. Cole and his interesting family. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cole were from Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He became prominent, and was made Doctor of Divinity by Randolph-Macon College. For several years before his death he was Superintendent of the Methodist Orphanage at Raleigh, and he died while occupying that position.
Mrs. Cole was lovely in manner and personality, making friends wherever her lot was cast. The oldest daughter, Mary, has led a very useful life, teaching for some years. Lucy, the second daughter, married Rev. Dr. Plato Durham, now the President of the large Methodist University situated in Atlanta.
Adjoining the parsonage, on the west on Ridgeway Street, is the pretty and comfortable home of Mr. and Mrs. Norwood Boyd. He married one of the seven attractive daughters of William H. Burwell, of Vance County. Mr. and Mrs. Boyd have several children. From early manhood he has been engaged in the tobacco business in Warrenton with his uncle, Walter Boyd, has been very successful, and is now a partner in that firm.
HENRY BOYD'S HOME
On the west side of the home of Norwood Boyd is one of the very old homes of the town, built by Dr. Gloucester, one of the earliest physicians of the town. A kinsman of his, George Anderson, was the next occupant of this home. There were two Mr. Andersons, both useful and intelligent citizens. In the year 1827 the family emigrated to Memphis, Tennessee. It is said that history is largely preserved by letters, and it is only through a letter to me from Mrs. Ellen Mordecai, then of Durham, North Carolina, that I can tell of the place where they lived while citizens of the town. She writes of their removal to the west as follows:
I could not have been more than seven years old when the family moved to the Western Country, the vague name for what that seemed then, the remote region, new Tennessee. I can never forget the starting, when the whole village came to say good-bye. The looks of the big covered wagon, loaded with all the belongings. The stamping of the big footed horses, and all the bustle incident to such an occasion. The vehicle for the family was made strong for the needs of a long journey, which took weeks to accomplish. Warrenton was a friendly, unconventional little place then.
Mrs. Mordecai was ninety-five years old, and blind, when she dictated this letter to her daughter. My grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Mitchell, were the neat occupants of this place, and it was there that my mother was born. In the forties it was the residence of Captain Peter J. Turnbull, of Brunswick County, Virginia, when he and his family came to reside in Warrenton. He was of a distinguished family in that county, one of the name, and of the family, having been clerk of the Court for many years, one succeeding the other. Mrs. Turnbull was a Miss Macklin, from Greenesville County, Virginia. Her brother, Dr. Macklin, was a physician of note, and their home dispensed elegant hospitality. There were seven children in the family of Captain and Mrs. Turnbull.
The oldest son, Captain John R. Turnbull, was a very handsome man, and a gallant Confederate soldier. He was twice severely wounded. He married Miss Bettie Eaton, granddaughter of Mr. Macon. Of that marriage there were several children. Captain Turnbull after the war engaged in merchandise in Warrenton. He died in Norfolk, where he was temporarily residing. His widow and two daughters are living in Littleton.
The youngest son, named Peter, married and settled near Rocky Mount. The oldest daughter, Hannah, married Captain Parham of Sussex County, Virginia, a brave Confederate soldier, who died from his wounds in Warrenton, in 1S66. Mary married Captain O. P. Shell. Cornelia married Mr. Madden, and Miss Sallie, Miss Addie and Miss Nannie did not marry
In 1857 or '58 Captain and Mrs. Thomas Crossan bought this place and greatly improved it. They added the two-story part and made handsome double parlors, with folding doors between them. They were very fond of company, and entertained extensively.
Upon the marriage of Captain Crossan with Miss Rebecca Brehon, in 1854, he resigned his commission in the United States Navy, and settled in Warrenton. He was a very handsome man with distinguished appearance and charming manner, and very heartily liked by his associates.
When the Confederate War came on he espoused the cause of the South, entering the Naval service. He was appointed, by Governor Vance, commander of the steamship Advance, which ran the blockade between Wilmington and Liverpool. Mrs. Crossan was tall and graceful, a distinct blonde in coloring. She had excellent manners, with a fine discriminating mind, and good judgment. She was a most devoted wife and mother, and much beloved by her own and her husband's family.
Upon her father's death Mrs. Crossan became possessed of a large fortune (for those times). Her father, Dr. Brehon, who was born Somerville, had changed his name, by legislative enactment, to that of his uncle, to inherit his fortune with the name.
He was the son of James Somerville and Katherine Volkes. The Crossans had two sons, James and Brehon. Captain Crossan lies in the Somerville burial plot in Warrenton, Mrs. Crossan in Pittsburg.
Some years later this place was bought by Mr. Felt, and where he and his family resided for some years. They came to Warrenton from Philadelphia, and were a pleasant acquisition to the social life of the town. They had four sons and two daughters. Bessie married Samuel W. Brewer, of Raleigh, and Loula married Captain J. J. Thomas; both are now widows, and live in Raleigh. Mrs. Felt was a very pretty and delightful lady. Her daughter, Mrs. Brewer, is a fine type of womanhood, most capable along all lines that make life for others happy and comfortable. Mrs. Thomas was always very attractive in person and manner, and her delightful voice has given much pleasure to her many friends, and added much to the Baptist Church choir, of which denomination the sisters are members.
The present occupants of this old place, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Boyd, have made it their home almost ever since their marriage. There, their three children, Norwood, Miriam and Anne, (Mrs. Graham) have been brought up. Mr. Boyd is the son of John Boyd of Warren County, and Anne Jones, his wife. He practiced law in the town with success, until failing health compelled him to retire to a quiet, private life. Mrs. Boyd was Bettie Norwood, the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Norwood, born and reared in Warrenton, and a devoted wife and mother.
Adjoining the Crossan home, on the west, was an old place known as the Crossland Place, just outside the town limits, and near the Horse Branch. Mrs. Crossland was the mother of Mrs. Bragg, and grandmother of the Bragg boys, who became governor, judge, and general.
After the war this place was bought by "Uncle" Allan Falkener and he and his family lived there for many years, enlarging and improving the house, and making a very comfortable home of it. He was a well known blacksmith in Warrenton for fifty years, working in the old brick shop that I have written of, also in the Bobbitt & Price Carriage Factory. He was intelligent, sober and industrious, and respected by white and colored.
Beyond the Horse Branch, on the west of the home of John W. White, was the home of Mr. Rogers, the painter. Mrs. Rogers was a Miss Cole, of Warren County, and a sister of Mrs. William White. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers were most highly thought of in the town, being very faithful members of the Baptist Church, and very useful citizens. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers had three children: William, Mollie and Rosa.
THE HOME OF MISS MARY AYCOCK
In close, neighborly call from the Rogers house was the cottage of Miss Mary Aycock and her very old mother. Miss Mary was quite a character among the boys of the town, as most of them went to her for their tailoring work to be done. They all liked her enough to tease and take liberties with her. She would fuss, but at bottom, was so kind hearted and amiable with their jokes that it would all be made up before they left the house. She was really a woman of fine character and good principles. She was most good to the old mother, who looked so old and scary to us children, sitting in the corner by the fire-place with a cap on, and smoking her pipe, that we thought she must be a witch, as we really believed in those days that there were witches. In the kindness of her heart Miss Mary adopted an orphan child from Franklin County, named Dolly Perdue. She reared her with great care, and sent her to one of the best schools in the town. In August, 1865, Dolly married Mr. Harrison, one of the Federal guard which came to Warrenton as the Federal Army passed through on its way North, and was left to keep order in the county and town. Mr. Harrison settled permanently in town and was a clock and watch repairer: He identified himself with the community, and was a very good citizen. They had quite a large family of children. One son was called John. T. Williams, another Walter Montgomery, and another Thomas Wilson. On the occasion of the marriage, Miss Mary invited her friends to be present to witness the ceremony, performed at her home by Rev. T. B. Kingsbury. Afterwards, we were invited out into the yard, under the trees, to partake of a most delicious supper. Dolly was faithful and good to her benefactress, and made her last days comfortable. She was buried from the Methodist Church, in the garden of Mrs. Ann Allen's home, in 1881.
Not far from these two homes was the cabin of "Uncle" Solomon Turner, commonly called "Solomon Mush." He owned a very large scuppernong grape vine, and it was the delight of the young people to walk out there, pay him ten cents, and enjoy as many as one could eat, out under the vine.
THE HOME OF JOHN HARRIS
On the west of the Baptist parsonage was the cottage home of Mr. and Mrs. John Harris. He was employed in the shoe factory of John R. Johnson. Mrs. Harris was one of the most successful mantuamakers of the town. She and Mrs. Haithcock were sisters and most heartily liked and respected by the community. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Harris were Anthony Harris, Ann, (Mrs. William Terrell) and Maria, (Mrs. William Rodgers) all living in or near Warrenton. This place is now the home of William Miles, the son of Alex Miles and Sallie Johnson, his wife. Alex Miles was a merchant, and his son is in the hardware business, and has met with success, conducting an additional business in Norlina. Mrs. Alex Miles was the youngest daughter of Mr. Johnson, deeply pious, faithful and good all her life.
On the west of this home was the cottage of Kinchen Harper. Across the street was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Harris. This home, although small was always attractive with flowers growing in the yard, and the porch covered with vines. Nicholas was their only child. He married and lived there also.
THE BAPTIST PARSONAGE
On the west of the Dugger property, some sixty years ago, there was a two-story house, only one room deep. For quite a time it was the residence of Thomas Reynolds. During the war it was occupied by a family of refugees, named Slaughter, from Virginia. Later it was the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Barham and their family. He was a gentleman of fine literary culture, of irreproachable character, generous and charitable. He was known to be a learned and painstaking lawyer, and much liked in the community. This home was bought for the residence of the pastor of the Baptist Church during the pastorate of Mr. Mundy, and much enlarged. It has been the home of Dr. T. J. Taylor for thirty nine years, where generous hospitality, and a hearty friendliness greet the visitor as he enters.
THE RESIDENCE OF DR. CHARLES SKINNER
On the west of the Academy grounds was a large yard shaded by very handsome oak trees; in the midst stood a three-story house, one story a basement, with only two rooms on each floor, divided by a hall. The north and south porches were quite high from the ground, not a pretty house, but a very comfortable home. This had been the home of Mr. Ezell after he had ceased to teach at the Academy. I do not know who built it. His successor in this was Dr. Charles Skinner, who with his family Mrs. Skinner, their three sons, William, Charles, and Tom, and their two daughters, Ann and Lucy, came to Warrenton in 1858 from their plantation near Littleton. Dr. Skinner made the move to be associated with Dr. William '1 '. Howard in the practice of medicine, this partnership continuing until the death of Dr. Skinner from pneumonia, in January, 1863. Mrs. Skinner remained in this home until 1866 when they returned to their country home to live. Her oldest son, William, had died at the town place in the summer after the surrender. About that time her daughter, Ann, who had a lovely Madonna face, with the gentlest manner, married Rev. John Williams, then a minister in the Methodist Church, who later became a minister in the Episcopal Church, and for some years had a parish at Bladensburg, near Washington City.
The second daughter, Lucy, was also a handsome woman, with a very vivacious and attractive manner which contributed to her popularity. A few years later she married Dr. Willis Alston, from near Littleton. They spent the first years of their married life in Washington City, where he practiced medicine.
Dr. Skinner was a native of Murfreesboro, North Carolina, and had married Miss Susan Little, one of the family of unusually handsome daughters of William Person Little, who lived a mile from the railroad station on the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad called by his name. Dr. Skinner was a fine type of the Southern gentleman, a very genial whole souled manner, with a sympathetic heart for all forms of suffering, which he was daily called upon to exercise in his profession. He and Mrs. Skinner were a most united couple, and their home life was ideal. On Mrs. Skinner's leaving this place it was rented by her agent to Mr. and Mrs. J. Y. Christmas. On their moving to the home of my father (1869) it was sold to Captain John E. Dugger, and was his home until his death in 1888, in which he and his family lived, with the exception of a few years spent in Raleigh and two years at Rocky Mount, and in which Mrs. Dugger resided until her death in 1891. Mrs. Dugger was Miss Nannie Wilson, the niece and adopted daughter of Dr. T. E. Wilson. She was a woman of strong character, guided by the finest Christian principles, and a very interesting and attractive conversationalist.
She and her husband were most hospitable in gathering their friends around their board, and in generously sharing what they had with those who needed it. There were four children: John E., Alice, Janet, and Daniel. Alice married Walter Grimes of Raleigh. Janet married Edward Simpson of Enfield.
On the eastern end of the
yard Mrs. Dugger sold a lot to Mr. Scott, son-in-law of Dr. Joseph
Atkinson, where he built a modern home for his family.
Montgomery, Lizzie Wilson; Sketches of old Warrenton, North Carolina; traditions and reminiscences of the town and people who made it, Raleigh, Edwards & Broughton printing company, 1924.