THE HOMES OF OLD WARRENTON-CONTINUED
THE RESIDENCE OF JUDGE JOHN HALL
Among the very old homes of any size or pretension is the Hall home, built in 1.810, and it is the only home in the town that is owned and occupied by the lineal descendants of the original head of the family.
It is a large frame building of two stories with long front extension, according to the custom of building in that day. The parlor is a large room some 20 by 25 feet, with a very high pitch and many windows; the wainscoting is of the best material and workmanship. It is still, even at this time, a handsome room. The other rooms are in keeping with the architecture of that day. There are appropriate front and back porches. The magnificent white oaks that shaded the premises added beauty and dignity to the place. Some of those trees are still standing. It is a most attractive home. It is situated on the eastern edge of the town on a slight eminence, and overlooks the street leading up into the business part of the place.
Judge John Hall was from Staunton, Virginia, and he came to Warrenton when a young man to practice law. He married Miss Mary Welden, then of Halifax County, and the town Weldon was named for her family, (then spelled Welden). At this home they reared a large family, ten children, seven sons and tbree daughters; only one, Eleanor Stuart, bearing the name of the father's mother, died in youth. The oldest daughter of Judge John Hall, Sarah, was a lovely woman in personal appearance and character. She married Richard Smith of Scotland Neck, and spent her long married life in that place. Of that marriage there were born eight children-five sons and three daughters; one of the daughters, Sallie, married F. H. Busbee of Raleigh, where she now resides. The second daughter, Ann, married Ben Cook of Warrenton, and spent all her life in the town. The sons were Edward, who became Judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina; Isaac, who was a physician, married Miss Evans, of Chatham County, and settled there; William, who married and settled in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Alex, who was also a physician, married Miss Louisa Clark, of the distinguished Clark family of Halifax County, and lived on his plantation, near Ridgeway, Warren County; Dr. Stuart, who married Miss Emily Baker, a most charming woman, lived in Scotland Neck, and there practiced his profession; Robert, who was also a physician, practiced his profession in Bertie County, died a young man, and was buried in Scotland Neck; Weldon, who was a teacher by profession, one of the handsomest men, and with as courtly manners, as I ever met.
John Hall and David C., brothers, sons of Dr. Alex, I knew quite well. David was a lawyer and an accomplished man in many ways. He was a very distinguished looking man in personal appearance and had some of the traits of an orator; he was an elector on the Douglas presidential ticket in 1860 and made a canvass of the state. His brother, John, was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, led a quiet life as a planter, and made a study of the works of the leading philosophers and statesmen of ancient and modern times.
Judge John Hall served for some years on the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and was an able and just judge. After he retired from the Bench he was an invalid for some years, dying at this home, and was buried in the garden plot. It may be of interest to relate that in the same plot lie the bodies of three judges, the father, the son, Edward, and Judge Paxton, of Eastern Carolina, who died while on a visit to Judge Edward Hall, and was buried with the family.
THE RICHARD T. ARRINGTON PLACE
On what had been the "Commons" just in front of the old Methodist parsonage. Mr. Richard Arrington built this nice home, in the early, fifties. He had been married but a short while to Miss Bettie Plummer, only daughter of Dr. Henry Plummer, of Warren County, and Sallie Falkener, his wife. They resided there until after the war, when they moved to Petersburg to live. They had a large family, Sallie, a beautiful young girl, who died just as she grew up; Pattie, (Mrs. Wright), William, Turner, and Sam, were those who grew to manhood.
After Mr. Arrington's removal, this home was occupied at different times by several families: Mr. Herr, who was musical director in Dr. Turner Jones' School, William T. Norwood, Dr. and Mrs. Brownlow, and Mrs. Susan Tannahill and family. It is now the home of Misses Maria and Laura Alston and their brothers, Nick and Herbert, when they come for a rest from New York and Philadelphia. Their parents, Alfred Alston and Polly Dawson Kearney, his wife, resided all of their married life at Hickory Grove in the Fork section of the county, and she only moved to Warrenton after his death. Their son, Howard, married Miss Lillie Arrington, and they make their home with her mother. Vann Alston married Miss Grace Jackson and lives in Warrenton. It was in their country home that their much loved aunt, Mrs. Laura Eaton Alston, widow of W. T. Alston, lived with them until her death in 1889.
THE WALTER A. MONTGOMERY PLACE
Across the lane, to the east of the home built by Richard Arrington, is a house built by Walter Montgomery, in 1879. He with his wife, Lizzie Wilson, and the two sons, Walter and Epps, moved there to live on the New Year of 1880. It was first built as a cottage, but after a few years, as more room was needed, an upper story was added. This was a very simple, unpretentious place; but as the trees grew and the yard was beautified by roses and plants, it became the attractive and much loved home of the family that lived there for thirteen years. Under that roof they experienced hours of deepest joys, and also deepest sorrow in the death of their youngest son Epps, who died after a lingering illness and much suffering. The little body was carried to Raleigh, and buried in Oakwood Cemetery, near his grandfather, Dr. Wilson, for whom he was named. That little grave became the magnet that drew the parents to make their home in Raleigh. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was born in this home.
When they left Warrenton they sold this home to William H. Burwell, who had recently moved there from Granville County, to engage in the tobacco business. Mr. Burwell was a most excellent and lovable man, and greatly liked by the entire community. He was descended from the well known Burwell and Pettway families. His first wife was Miss Olivia Burton, the daughter of Rev. Robert 0. Burton and Olivia Pearson, his wife. She died a young woman, leaving four sons. Afterwards he married Miss Mamie Watson, daughter of Lewis Watson and his wife, Miss Creighton, of Warren County. She has a daughter called for her great friend, and the first wife, Olivia.
THE TATUM PLACE
Just beyond the southeast limits of the town is a residence known in my childhood as the home of Dr. Frank P. Tatum. It stands almost at the forks of the Shady Grove and the Halifax roads, just where I started the history of Warrenton. The house was built by William C. Williams, who lived there several years after he was left a widower. He sold it to Dr. Frank Tatum, a dentist, who came from Norfolk, Va. For some years before the war it was the home of him and his family.
During the war it was occupied by a family of refugees, the Wrays, from Hampton, Va. The next owner and occupant of this place was P. G. Alston, who married Miss Jennie Creighton, of Franklin County, a sister of Mrs. Lewis Watson. Mr. Alston was a member of the Warren County family of Alstons, and a worthy representative of the name. Some years after Mrs. Alston's death he went to South Carolina to live, where he married a Mrs. Roper, from near Bennettsville. His second wife has died, and he now divides his time between his daughters in Warrenton and his step-daughters in South Carolina. He is much beloved by them all. He is now several years beyond eighty, vigorous in mind and body, and enjoys life. Mr. Alston's daughters, Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Thorne, live in a new home opposite the John White place, on Halifax Road. Mr. Alston's oldest son, P. G. Alston, Jr., married Miss Virginia Graham, daughter of John Graham, and they live in Texarkana. The youngest son, Sam, lives in the same town. The second son, George, went to Texarkana when quite a young man, and succeeded splendidly there in the cotton oil mill business. He was a fine business man, possessed the useful gift of being able to control men under him. Hugh died very young. Henry has been in the American Tobacco Company since he was a mere boy. He was one of the very first agents sent out by that company to Turkey, before a market was established there. They showed the natives bow to plant and grow the weed. It is needless to say he has met with great success. He married Miss Rowena Watson, youngest daughter of William Watson, of Warren County. The youngest son, Lewis Watson, was graduated from the Dental schools. His health failed, and he lives on a fine farm near Morganton, N. C.
Mr. Alston sold this place to Dr. R. D. Fleming in the late eighties, where he, his wife, and the four children lived until the Doctor's death in 1898. Dr. Fleming married Miss Virginia Watson, the oldest child of John Watson, of Warren County. She is a very fine woman, intelligent, loyal, generous, and of excellent judgment. She has lived most of her widowhood with her oldest daughter, Rowena, (Mrs. Jeffries) near Palmers Springs, Va. Nannie
(Mrs. Blanton) lives near Marion, N. C. Her husband is a successful merchant in that mountain town. They have an interesting family of children. Walter married a Miss Patterson, and now lives in Warrenton. William married a Miss Scott, a splendid young woman of Fayetteville, Ark., and lives in the South with his wife and daughter.
Dr. Fleming was a deeply religious man, a devoted Baptist, and a warm supporter of his minister and all church interests. He was much interested in the Orphanage of his church at Thomasville. He there built and furnished a cottage, which bears his name. He was much opposed to all secret organizations, declaring that a man who was a church member should let all his charities go through that source, and that only. He was a loyal friend, and where he liked, his heart was warm and sympathetic.
This home is now the residence of William Dameron, who married Miss Mattie Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Jones, who was Miss Adele Smith before her marriage to Mr. Jones. Mr. Dameron has large interests in the town and is a successful business man.
THE ALBERT EGERTON PLACE
As we return from the Tatum-Fleming home to the town, west, we first reach a very pretty cottage built by Albert Egerton, in 1886, where he and his family lived until he was called to Richmond, Virginia, to take important work in the main telegraph office of that city, as he was considered an expert in his line of work. When he erected this cottage he invited his father, James Albert Egerton, to come to make his home with him. The old gentleman was then well advanced in years, and thought that to be his last move. He built a room on the rear of his son's residence, calling it Transient Rest. It proved to be very transient, as he left it when his son went to Richmond. In a few years Albert came from Richmond to take control of the telegraph office in Raleigh, and the old and devoted father moved with him.
Mr. Egerton was perhaps the last living white man in Warren County to have a distinct recollection of Nathaniel Macon, of Buck Spring, the most distinguished North Carolinian of his day, and even now, after nearly a century, so considered. He was Speaker of the House for many terms of Congress, was on intimate terms with John Randolph of Roanoke, and the honor was paid Mr. Macon and Mr. Randolph by the great Methodist denomination of calling their college for them. It was one of the greatest sources of pride to Mr. Egerton to tell of his having seen Mr. Macon at Buck Spring, and of his personal appearance, etc. One can imagine bow gratified he was when W. J. Peele, who was arranging a sketch of Mr. Macon for his volume of Distinguished North Carolinians, came to Mr. Egerton and closely questioned him as to Mr. Macon's personal appearance, telling him that as there was no portrait of Mr. Macon, there being none in accordance with Mr. Macon's expressed wish, he, Mr. Peele, would like to have him give Mr. Randall, the portrait painter, his description of Mr. Macon's face, features, coloring, etc., as he wished a frontis-piece for his sketch of the great man. The meeting was arranged at the home of a mutual friend. After several attempts to perfect a likeness of Mr. Macon were submitted to Mr. Egerton, he declared that Mr. Randall had gotten a very good picture. This picture was considered a good likeness of General Ransom, a great-nephew. Words cannot express the pride and pleasure of Mr. Egerton in being the source through which this picture was secured. After living in Raleigh several years, he went to Asheville to visit his daughter, and died there. His body was brought back to his native county, and buried by the side of his wife, in the old Fleming burying ground, near Warren Plains.
Mr. Egerton had two marriages. His first wife was a Miss Powell, and his last wife a daughter of Mr. Simon Fleming. She was the opposite of Mr. Egerton in temperament and disposition. She was very gentle and retiring, a real home maker, much beloved by her husband and children, and also by her step-daughter, Miss Eliza. Airs. Egerton was very pretty, with refined sensitive face, brown eyes, and most beautiful chestnut-colored, wavy hair. By his first marriage there were two children, Richard Davis and Eliza. Richard died early, Miss Eliza is still living, making her home with her sister, Mrs. John Fleming. She is a fine woman, much beloved by her kinspeople and her family. By Mr. Egerton's second marriage there were three sons, Ben, Gray and Albert. Ben has lived in Western Carolina for many years. Gray has farmed in Vance County. His son, Albert, has recently died. He married Miss Annie Young of Blackstone, Virginia, who was a most estimable woman, a devoted wife, mother, daughter and sister. She died three years earlier than her husband. They left two children, Virginia, who married Robert Simms, a prominent lawyer of Raleigh, and Laura, who lives with her sister. The father of these two ladies was an unusual man, certainly one of the most versatile persons I ever knew. He possessed more gifts and accomplishments by which he could earn a living than any man I ever met. He was an excellent musician, an accurate surveyor, a fine merchant and bookkeeper, and, at the same time of which I write, he was regarded by many as the best telegrapher in the State.
Dorsey, the oldest daughter, married John Fleming, her cousin, and lives on her farm in Vance County. They had a large family of children. Minnie married her cousin, Mr. Davis, and lives in Asheville. Lucy never married, she makes her home with her sisters since the death of her brother, Albert. She has been so sweet and gentle a nature, so like her mother, for whom she was named, so helpful in life to all around her, that her presence is a benediction. Mary married the Rev. Mr. Brickhouse, and died early, leaving a large family. One of the sons, Thomas, was taught telegraphy by his uncle, and became such an expert that he won the highest prize offered by the government along his line of work. The youngest daughter, Fanny, married John Dowtin, son of Samuel Dowtin of Warren County. She died quite a young woman.______________
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.