THE HOMES OF OLD WAR'RENTON - CONTINUED
THE HOME OF JOHN V. CAWTHORN
After the marriage of Mr. Cawthorn with Miss Sarah Blount of Washington, North Carolina, they first resided at the residence afterwards known as the home of Albert Egerton, fronting on Court Square. After the birth of their first two daughters, Mr. Cawthorn bought of Mrs. Ann Bellamy her home on the north of the Mills place, with quite a good sized farm around it; he was a very practical man and farmed very successfully. His grain crops were beautiful, and his fruit trees the best around town. He owned several farms in the county; one he called Do Little, and another Do Less. He was a man of large means, owning a large farm and many negroes in Alabama. He was a man of keen intelligence, an excellent conversationalist, very genial and jocose, an affectionate and faithful friend. From his name it was thought that he was of French extraction, Cawthorn, possibly a variant from Cawthon ; he had the vivacity of a Frenchman. Mr. Cawthorn had a wonderful helpmeet in his wife, she was preeminently practical and untiring in her industry, most capable along all lines, in housekeeping, fancy work, and in the care of her garden and flowers. Their home was a most delightful place to visit; both husband and wife were most hospitable. Mrs. Cawthorn was a devoted and consistent member of the Episcopal Church, and a faithful and useful worker in all its activities. Mr. Cawthorn died in March, 1875; she in June, 1894. Both lie in the burial plot, back of the garden.
Their children were Nannie (Mrs. Walter G. Plummer), Sue (Mrs. William J. White), Mary (Mrs. John McIlhenny of Wilmington), who died in the summer of 1886, leaving two boys, Tom and John; Lurena, who married Fred Wolfenden, of Washington, North Carolina, he having died some years ago, makes her home in Asheville. John married Miss Nellie White, of Vance County. They have several children, who live near him at Warren Plains; the youngest son, Harry, married Miss Bessie Whitaker, from near Littleton. He died several years ago, on his farm, near Littleton, leaving three children.
THE MILLS PLACE
The last house in the northern part of the town, on the east side of Main Street, where E. C. Price now lives, was in my childhood the home of one of the best men, Samuel Mills. All children loved him, as he was so kind and genial, and so pleased to give pleasure to young folks that we never thought it asking too much of him to close his shop and take us for a day's fishing on Saturday. He was tall and stout, his open, kindly expression of countenance re-
Homes of Old Warrenton. 257
fleeting the warm heart behind it. Mr. Mills married a Miss Foote of Warren County, and they had five children. Not long after the war he moved to his farm near Manson Junction.
Dr. G. A. Foote then bought this place and made it his home until his death, in 1900. The Doctor was a very handsome man, of superb figure, always well dressed, with very agreeable manners, and very much liked by his friends and patients. He had a large practice in the town and the county. He had served with distinction as surgeon in the Confederate service, and after the war he was several times given positions of honor by the medical profession in the State. At one time he was elected President of the North Carolina Medical Society. Mrs. Foote was a most estimable woman, possessing warm friends and admirers in the town of her adoption. She (as Sallie McDowell) came with her sisters, and her brother, Captain John McDowell, as refugees to Warrenton early in the war, from Edenton. Dr. and Mrs. Foote had four children Manson, George, Gaston, and one daughter, Helen. Manson went to live in Boston; the other three made their home in Portsmouth, Va.
Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Price, with their interesting family, have made this place their home for some years. Mrs. Price was Miss Loula McCraw, the oldest daughter of J. C. McCraw, and Miss Mary Solomon, his wife. Mr. Price has been in the service of the county government for a long time, a most kind and genial man, enjoying the hearty liking of the whole community in which he has spent his entire life.
J. C. McCraw owned and resided at the home opposite, with his family, for quite fifty years, until his death. Mrs. McCraw was a very pretty woman, sharing in the wonderfully bright minds of her whole family. She was a most interesting talker. They had two sons and three daughters.
In the southeast corner of the Mills lot, Judge John Kerr has built a very nice bungalow, where he and his wife, who was Miss Ella Foote, oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Foote, with their two sons, now reside.
THE WOODSON HOME
To the east of the Mills Place, and adjoining it, was the home of Frank Woodson sixty years ago. He was one of the colonists that I have mentioned as coming to the town in the forties from Prince Edward County, Virginia. Mrs. Woodson was a very well known person in the town life. For many years she was a most useful person in the social and religious life of her neighborhood, and the leading female member of her church, devoted to all charitable works and foremost in all church and Sunday school celebrations. On the first day of May, for many years, she arranged a joint Sunday school celebration, with elaborate dinners, in some convenient place, near town. The procession would form at one of the churches and march out to the woods with music and banners flying, with her always in the lead. She was large of stature, with a fine and intelligent face. There were three sons in the Woodson household: Thomas Jefferson, Edward C. and Frank. The oldest son, after being educated at Wake Forest, studied law. He went South to live. Edward C., after receiving a course at the Male Academy, went to Arkansas to live; from there he entered the Confederate Army with the Arkansas troops, and served the four years. After the war he returned to Warrenton to live. He was remarkably intelligent, very amiable, and a great favorite in the community. He was the life of the old Thespian Corps, and played farces and light comedy to the delight of Warrenton and the county audiences. In fact he was the wit of the town. While living in Warrenton, soon after the war Ed Woodson married Miss Nellie Hervey, of Halifax County. He lived for several years in Raleigh, connected with the Raleigh News, as local editor, and died in that city.
Frank married and settled in Richmond, was long on the editorial staff of the Times-Dispatch of that city, and has but recently died. The oldest daughter, Mary Jane, married Nathan S. Moseley, of Prince Edward County, Virginia. Mr. Moseley was one of the best Confederate soldiers in the entire service. He commanded for the greater part of the war a corps of sharpshooters in Rhodes' Division, and was conspicuous in that service for skill and gallantry. He was twice desperately wounded, at Gettysburg and at Spottsylvania. He died in Raleigh some twenty years ago, where he had lived since the war was over. The two youngest daughters, Nannie and Pocahontas, lived in Richmond.
After the Woodson family left Warrenton this place was bought and occupied by a very worthy family of colored people, Aaron Owen and his wife, Della. They had been the slaves of Mr. and Mrs. Owen, who had kept the hotel and moved to Kentucky in the forties. After the war "Uncle Aaron" returned to Warrenton to live, where he plied his trade as a blacksmith for years. He was impressed into the Federal service, during the war, in Kentucky, for which he received a pension, as long as he lived. Their daughter, Maria, married John Plummer, son of John Plummer and Lizzie Boyd, his wife, well known and highly respected citizen of the town. John and Maria built a very comfortable home adjoining their parents, where he is still living with one of his sons. They had a large family.
Edward Rice was another of the colonists that came to Warrenton, from Prince Edward County, Virginia, in the forties. He was a brother of Mrs. Woodson, and very like her in statue, personal appearance and characteristics. He and Mr. Woodson were contractors in the brick, lime and mortar business, and employed a large force of hands in their work in the town and county, each one of these contractors putting his own hands to the work, if necessary. Mr. Rice's home was next to that of his sister, Mrs. Woodson, and in later years it came to be known as the home of Mrs. Helen Wimbish. I do not know where Mr. Rice went to from Warrenton; I have heard that one son, Henry, was living in Farmville, Virginia.
In the seventies, Mrs. Helen Wimbish came to the town to live with her young daughter, Mary Jones, from Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and resided at the Rice Place until her death, in 1888. She was the oldest daughter of Mrs. Helen Leckie Jones, of that county, and was one of a family of sisters noted for their beauty. Her first marriage was with a gentleman of one of the most distinguished families in Virginia, Benjamin Watkins Leigh, a well known lawyer and orator. Of that marriage there were three very handsome sons, William, Watkins and James. Her daughter, Mary, married T. C. Bailey, Jr., of Raleigh. She died in early life leaving one child, Helen.
THE JOHN WILSON PLACE
Just across the street from the Rice-Wimbish home, John Wilson built a residence about 1850, and lived there with his family until after the War Between the States, when he moved to Johnson County, and became the owner and manager of the well known
Wilson's Mills. His business was lumber and sawmilling; he was also a building contractor, on quite a large scale. He erected the well known John M. Reek residence, in Raleigh, in its day celebrated as the most pretentious private residence in the State.
In the early eighties Mr. Boyd, from Clarksville, Virginia, moved to Warrenton, with his family, and made his home at this place, editing a newspaper while in the town. After a few years' residence in Warrenton he moved to Covington, Tennessee, where he continued to do newspaper work. The oldest daughter Fannie, (Mrs. Frances Boyd Calhoun) became noted in the South as the author of Miss Minerva and William Green Hill. She died before her book became well known. Her father, now a very old man, lives on the royalty of her book. Mrs. Emma Speed Sampson, of Richmond, has written a series of books, using the same characters, for a Chicago book house.
Sheriff Robert Jones, with his family, lived there for several years, and it was there that Mrs. Jones died.
Just north of the old Baptist Church, at the corner of the narrow street on which we have been describing the house fronting on Main Street, is a home now occupied by Mrs. Moore and her family. It was a small house with a very small porch, at the outbreak of the war, and occupied by Harry Harper. In 1876 John Waddill bought it and greatly improved it, and made it his home as long as he resided in Warrenton.
Wesley Williams lived there for some years; then it became the home of Mr. Aycock, a merchant in the town, who married Miss Mollie Rogers. He met a tragic death there. In pulling down a lamp, suspended from the ceiling, it fell, exploded, and burned him so severely that he died.
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.