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William Odell Spain Photographic Collection
Submitted by Janet Orndorff

Sarful Emery Home Place on Tillmon's Island

This page contains excerpts from an article written by William Odell Spain about his visit to this home place on November 11, 1997, entitled, "A Visit to Tillmon's Island", which appeared in The Pamlico News, February 4, 1998 along with the photographs below.

This is about the Sarful Emery home place that was once on Tillmon's Island and is gradually slipping into the water as the shoreline continues to wash away.  Today, this area is referred to as Jones Island, but it is actually three different islands that are separated by ditches and canals.  The northwest and upper north side was called Point of Swamp or Bay House Lands.  The southeast end towards Pamlico Sound is Jones Island.  

Sarful Emery was one of the biggest farmers in the area from around 1860-1885.  He farmed a lot of land and had over a hundred head of cattle.  We saw evidence of rows where the land had been farmed decades ago.

In this area the soil is sandy and there is no undergrowth -  just large pine trees.  Walking around the site where the house once stood we found the well located not far from the house and noticed the dead cedar tree that had fallen over

This dead cedar tree forked about six feet up the trunk from the base.  One side of each fork had been cut off with an ax, leaving each branch jutting out about twelve inches.  One end of a pole would have been placed in the fork of this tree and the other end in a fork of another tree to hang the hogs when there was a hog killing.

The old cemetery is about one-hundred feet from the water and in a cleared area about thirty feet square.  There are two stones, side-by-side, marking the graves, one of which is for Sarful Emery.  We are sure there are other graves under the driftwood and debris in the area.

Click here for enlarged map.

Elizabeth Gaskill Cummings, Odell Spain & Vera Gaskill Rice standing at the marked graves

The Emery well.

Old cedar tree used for hog killing

Large circle of stones believed to be base of the chimney.

© 2011 Kay Midgett Sheppard