THE HOMES OF OLD WARRENTON-CONTINUED
THE HENRY L. FALKENER HOME
The present residence of Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Falkener cannot be called one of the old homes as it was built in the last thirty years, on the east side of the old Methodist Church, the old building which he had purchased, after it had been converted into a town hall.
This is a very conveniently arranged house, in all of its appointments, presided over by one of the best housekeepers in the town. She is the oldest child of Captain and Mrs. W. J. White. Mr. Fal-kener was the Second son of W. A. K. Falkener, the third of that name that had lived in the old town. He was reared by his grandmother, Mrs. Ann Falkener, as his mother died when he was quite a small child, she having been Miss Mary Gilmour, of Virginia. This couple have only one son, William, who is a physician (a child's Specialist), now practicing in Newport News. His father took great pride in giving him the best preparation for his professional work. They lost a lovely little daughter, Ann, when about twelve years of age.
Mr. Falkener has been for some years a successful auctioneer in the tobacco warehouses in Warrenton.
THE MASSENBURG HOME
On the east of Mr. Falkener's home is a comparatively new place, a very nice house built by Wiley P. Massenburg and his wife, Panthea Boyd, daughter of John Boyd of the county. Mr. Massenburg was from Franklin County, but for most of his life resided in Warrenton. He was the brother of Mrs. William J. Norwood and Mrs. Joel King. He was highly respected and liked by everybody in his adopted community. He was a member of the Methodist Church, and lived a consistent Christian life. He died at this home 'a few years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Massenburg were a most united and lovely couple. In this home live their son, John Boyd, and his family. Boyd married Nannie White, the youngest daughter of the Captain. They have four children. The oldest is called for his great uncle, Walter Boyd. The only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Massenburg, Mary Speed, makes this her home when she is not engaged in her millinery work, for a large firm in West Virginia. She was trained in Baltimore, and by her skill, taste, industry and fine business qualifications has made a real success in her line. The mother, Mrs. Massenburg, is a fine Christian woman, most useful in her home, and devoted to her children and grandchildren.
HOME OF MRS. ANN FALKENER
Just across Back Street from the Peete residence is the place known in my young life as Mrs. Ann Falkener's home. It is the present residence of Anthony D. Harris and his family. I recall it in my first recollections as a small, story-and-a-half house with a large kitchen and servants' house in the rear. There was an office at the side of the house fronting immediately on the street to the north. A few years before the War Between the States Mrs. Falkener greatly improved the house and the premises, making it a two-story building. Mr. Harris, since he has owned it, has also added substantial improvements. Austin Plummer, the brother of Mrs. Falkener, died in the office in the yard about 1850. Before Mrs. Falkener made the place her home, it was the residence of Dr. Philip C. Pope, formerly of Richmond. He was a distinguished physician in this section of the State.
An amusing incident occurred at the Pope-Falkener place which may interest people who can recall the names of old citizens. When Dr. Pope lived there he invited his neighbor, G. E. Badger, from across the street, to see a new sulky he had bought -for his practice in the country. Taking a seat in it he requested Mr. Badger to take a pull at it to see how easily it would run, which Mr. Badger did pulling him around the back yard. Dr. Pope then went down town and told his listeners that they should have seen the sight-he and Mr. Badger playing horse, Mr. Badger being the horse! Dr. Pope loved a practical joke to such, an extent that he would sacrifice the best friend he had to get off a laugh on him. Dr. Pope's oldest daughter, Ann, married the Reverend Doctor William Hill Jordan, a distinguished -Baptist divine; and his second daughter, Mary, married John Cawthorn and died soon afterwards. He had two sons, Philip and James. James went to California to live and Philip died in Greensboro.
Mrs. Ann Falkener was the daughter of Kemp Plummer, Sr., and of his wife, Susan Martin. She was always regarded in Warrenton as the most lovable person in the town. She was deeply pious and her daily life was an inspiration to many. She was adored by her family. It is well worth relating that during the time she was a housekeeper, quite sixty years, she had only two cooks, each serving thirty years, one in slavery times and the other from 1865 until Mrs. Falkener's death. These two faithful women attended her burial services together. Mrs. Falkener was the wife of W. A. K. Falkener, the son of the principal of the Female School in Warrenton. Her two sons, W. A. K. and Henry L. are both dead, and her daughter, Sallie, who married John Hawkins of Mississippi, is now living at an advanced age in that state.
The present occupant, Anthony Harris, has made a great success in business in Warrenton and is in every respect worthy of his good fortune.
DR. PEETE‘s PLACE
This house stands on the eastern end of what they now call Fifth Avenue. In the earliest history of Warrenton it was the lot on which stood the first Methodist Church, called in that day "meeting house." Some years later Mr. Reynolds, a Scotchman, built a home there for himself and family, consisting of his wife, himself, his son, Thomas J. Reynolds, his two daughters, Nancy, (Mrs. Varell) and Martha (Mrs. John Price). I have been told that this was a very simple but attractive home, the house scrupulously neat, the yard a lovely sward of grass, shaded by fine trees.
Mr. Reynolds was a most skillful cabinet-maker; there were, before the War Between the States, many specimens of his handicraft in Warrenton. These were quite a number of mahogany sideboards, made by hand, all of the same pattern and for each of which he received one hundred dollars. I myself have one that is more than a hundred years old, having been made for my great-grandfather.
Early in the forties John White built a four-room cottage on that site, (this cottage now stands on the back of Dr. Peete's residence lot). When Mr. White built his handsome house in the south of the town, Mr. Morgan and family came from Petersburg and bought the place. His family was made up of his oldest daughter, Alice, (Mrs. Joe Person) Lula, Rufus and a younger son, Alfred. They loved Warrenton and were devoted members of the Episcopal Church. Several were brought back to their burial place in the garden, years afterwards, though they died far away. Rufus was a photographer of note; now his daughter, Mrs. Wooten, is mistress of the art. While traveling in California he met a very sudden death by eating a poisonous plant, mistaking it for a mushroom, although he was a student of botany and quite an expert in that line.
After the Morgan family Doctor S. G. Ward, a distinguished citizen of the county, moved from his country place and occupied this house for several years. Dr. Ward was not a practitioner of medicine for the last fifteen or twenty years of his life. His two boys, Medicus and Samuel, his only children, were killed in battle in the Confederate Army; Medicus at Winchester, and Samuel at Chancellorsville. After that time the good gentleman's life seems to have gone out. Dr. Ward was a scholarly man and a lover of poetry. A poem in commemoration of his two sons was very striking; I can repeat a couple of lines
I know not where on glory's historic grounds they lie, But this I know, my crushed heart lies buried with them.
Dr. R. S. F. Peete, a native of Virginia, bought this cottage in 1875 and made it his home and that of his family until his death. Mrs. Peete, his second wife, survived him some years. By a former marriage he had two sons, Richard and William, who went west to live. Dr. Charles Henry Peete, who now lives on this spot, is a child of the last marriage. Doctor Peete has met great success in the practice of his profession in his native town. He was in the medical schools of Philadelphia during the years of his preparation, and returned home well equipped for his life-work. He married Miss Lucy Jones of Warren County, the granddaughter of Joseph Speed Jones, and has two children.
THE BEN COOK PLACE
On the east of Dr. Peete's residence is a home built by Ben E. Cook, Jr., about the year 1854 or '55, a small three-room cottage at first, but much added to and improved of late years. Mr. Cook married Miss Ann Hall, the daughter of Judge John Hall, also sister of Judge Edward Hall. They had one daughter, Mary, who married John Powell. Mr. Powell had fine business qualifications, and was much respected in the community. He was the very acceptable postmaster under the administration of President Taft. He died a couple of years ago. Mrs. Powell, her sons and one daughter, still make it their home. On the north side of the Cook-Powell place is the home of a most worthy colored man, John Montgomery Harris. He was born and reared on the home lot with my husband, and a warm and affectionate interest has always existed between them. John is seventy-seven years old, six feet tall, of very good features, with long gray beard. He has been a most useful man in his day, a fine gardener, house servant, and nurse, always giving satisfaction in his work.
From a young man John Harris was very fond of hunting birds, and considered quite an expert in the sport of shooting partridges on the wing. Up to the last three years he would regularly send to us in Raleigh birds of his killing, chickens of his raising, and vegetables from his garden. Since then, he has been feeble from paralysis. His devotion for myself, my husband and my children has been unfailing, and he has taught his children the same interest in us. They never come near us without manifesting this respectful appreciation. His oldest son, John Henry, is a very good looking man, of good principles, and has been in the continuous employment of the Baltimore Steamship Packet Company between Norfolk and Baltimore, as a head waiter, for quite forty years. His daughter, Mollie was trained as a young woman in the Hampton School, and was the most accomplished cook and house servant I ever saw. For some years she has been the useful wife of a minister in the Colored Methodist Church Conference of North Carolina.
THE WALTER ROOERS PLACE
Opposite Dr. Peete's is a very attractive modern home, built by",11x. and Mrs. Walter Rogers within the past twenty years. Mr. Rogers is, I think, English born, and came to Warrenton. from one of the Virginia counties, bordering on North Carolina, to engage in the tobacco business, in which he has been very successful. Mr. Rogers is most highly respected and beloved by a host of friends in the town, and a most devoted and useful member of the Episcopal Church, having been Senior Warden for many years. He married Miss Lalla Arrington, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. P. Arrington. They adopted her nephew, Keppel Falkener, and have given him the devoted love of parents for an own child.
On the eastern edge of the attractive lawn, extending from one house to the other, is the residence of Mrs. Rogers' mother, Mrs. Hannah B. Arrington. This house is a very old one, having been moved from the site of Walter Boyd's present home, and was the house in which Mrs. Allen conducted her school in the thirties. It is a delightful home, made most attractive by Mrs. Arrington and her daughter, Lillie, now Mrs. Howard Alston. Mr. and Mrs. Arrington have been interesting, attractive and prominent figures in the town life for the past sixty years. He was the second son of Dr. John Arrington and his wife, Miss Westray, both of Nash County, North Carolina. He was highly intelligent, very handsome, and possessing a very strong and attractive personality. He was a leader among men in the social and business world. When a very young man he married Miss Sue Eaton, second daughter of William Eaton, Jr. She survived her marriage only three months. In 1861 he married Miss Hannah White, with whom he lived most happily for many years. He died in Warrenton in the spring of 1893. With the exception of some fifteen years spent in Petersburg, where he was engaged in the wholesale commission business with his father and his brother, Richard T., his life was passed in the old town from his early manhood. He returned from Petersburg to build up a tobacco business in the early eighties. lie erected one of the largest and most complete warehouses, for the sale of leaf tobacco, in the State, and for years the business was conducted most successfully.
Mrs. Arrington is now beyond eighty years old. She is perhaps the finest type of a Christian wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend to be found in our Southland. She is yet most vigorous in mind and body, most useful in her church and in her home town. She, is leader in the Auxiliary of Emmanuel Church, and deeply interested in all church activities. There were ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Arrington. Two died quite young. Rosa, (Mrs. Tarleton Heath) lives in Petersburg; John lives in Greenville, S. C.; Lalla in Warrenton; Lillie, (Mrs. Howard Alston) and William J., with their mother; Jessie, (first Mrs. Malvern Palmer, then Mrs. Andrew Falkener) Peter, and Richard died some years ago, the two latter in New York City, where they were very successful business men.
The handsome residence of Walter Boyd is situated on the north side of the street, opposite the home of Mr. Falkener and his sister, Mrs. Massenburg, Walter Boyd, very recently deceased, was the son of John Boyd of Warren County and his wife, Ann Jones, daughter of Duke Jones, of the same county. Walter was one of a large family, a very handsome and intelligent man. He came early in life to Warrenton to engage in the tobacco business and was the pioneer in the sale of leaf tobacco for the farmers. He had wonderful judgment, thoroughly understood his business, and consequently made a great success in it. He was popular with his patrons, and had the confidence of all those who dealt with him. He married Miss Bettie Hawkins, daughter of Philip and Mrs. Fannie Hawkins of Louisburg.
The old house that had stood on that site was the residence of Mrs. Louisa Spruill and her family when they first moved to Warrenton from the county in 1845 then the Rev. J. B. Solomon with his family lived there before the War Between the States. The next occupant was Herod Faison and his family when they came as refugees from Northampton County; after they returned to their home it was occupied by John Jones and his family, who had refugeed in Warrenton all the war from Newport News, Virginia. I recall that B. F. Long and his family resided there until they moved to the Phoenix Hotel.
THE HOME OF JOHN T. WILLIAMS
Fronting on Bragg Street, just north of the elegant home recently built by Palmer Scoggin, is a very old place, three stories, including the basement. I think earlier than 1828 it was built by Hon. Robert H. Jones, Attorney-General of the State, and father of Sheriff "Bob" Jones. Later it became the summer home of James S. Battle of Edgecombe County, where he and Mrs. Battle with their four daughters, Mrs. William Dancy, Mrs. John Dancy, Mrs. Kemp P. Battle and Mrs. William R. Cox came each summer.
At one time it was the home of Mrs. Hickman, mother-in-law of "Billy" Eaton, her two daughters being his second and third wives. In the home life of Mrs. Hickman was her son, the well known character "Beau" Hickman, afterwards quite distinguished in Washington City and New York City as well. He was never known to have any employment or to have earned a dollar. He thought the world owed him a living, so whenever he saw a gentleman in the lobby of the hotel that he daily visited, he would say, "You see I need a hat, or a pair of shoes, or a suit, can't you help me to get one.". Many responded, especially Southerners, and so he drifted down to old age, finally filling a pauper's grave in the Potters' Field in Washington City. Miss Mary Jane, a younger sister, also lived with her mother. Warrenton was her home for many years. This family came from James River, Virginia, where they lived in luxury and style before the wheels of fortune turned for them.
It afterwards became the home of John T. Williams and his family. Mr. Williams was a native of Yadkin County, North Carolina, and was a retired officer of the United States Navy. He was a distinguished looking man, with #. great dignity of manner, a very genial nature and much liked in the community. He had married Miss Mary Somerville, the daughter of James Somerville and Catherine Volks, a handsome woman with a marked haughtiness of manner that prevented her being as much liked in the town life as her amiable husband. They had a very large and interesting family:. Catherine, afterwards Mrs. Chambliss, Miss Sue, Mary, afterwards Mrs. Austin Plummer, Rebecca, afterwards Mrs. Dedrick, and Fannie. The last three removed to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Mrs. Dedrick and her husband still reside. Joe lives in Baltimore, the only son to reach manhood.
Rev. Junius P. Moore, a distinguished presiding elder of the Methodist Church bought and lived there until his death in 1879. After the death of Mr. Moore, Charles A. Cook bought the home and resided there until he and his large family moved to Muskogee. In 1903, a few years prior to his removal to the West, Mr. Cook had been appointed by Governor Russell to the Supreme Court. Not being returned to the Bench at the next general election, he sold this property and left for the West, where he thought finer opportunities offered for the future of his large number of boys. He married a very remarkable woman, Marina Pettway, oldest daughter of Joseph Speed Jones, of Warren County. Mrs. Cook is a woman of unusual intelligence, and very largely connected with the oldest and most influential people of Warren and the adjacent counties. She has taken a great interest in the genealogy and the ramifications of these families, and no one is so well informed as she is along these lines.
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.