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William Odell Spain Photographic Collection
Excerpts from an article written by Odell Spain, “The Marshes Settlement” was published in The Pamlico News, August 13, 1997, pg. 8, about his visit along with others to locate and document some of the old home places in this early community. Odell says that on the above map, "A. Swindell Ditch" should be labeled the "Daniel Spain Ditch" according to old deeds.
At one time almost all the land was in cultivation. Ditches were cut from Jones Bay to some of the home sites allowing them to keep their boats close to their homes. James “Jim” Bateman (1860-1944) and William “Bill” Gaskill (1843-1924) operated stores here. Information about what to look for in specific areas was learned by talking with Rufus Mason (1905-1997), Samuel Swindell (1912-1999) and Joanne Hopkins Spain (1910- ) who spent part of their growing-up years in the Marshes. The specific area we visited was located along the eastern end of what used to be called the Point “Pint” Road that ran through the southern portion of the Marshes to Middle Bay.
During this visit we found cedar fence posts with barbed wire still fastened to them, the front and back steps of the Joseph Robinson Gaskill (1879-1920) home place, cisterns at the Jim Bateman, William “Bill” Gaskill and Christopher “Kit” Gaskill (1876-1969) home places, parts of a fish bench and pump pipe where Steven Jewel Mason (1876-1961) lived, and the wells for Jim Bateman’s store and home. Pieces of iron were found in the area where Andrew J. Swindell (1872-1932) once operated a blacksmith shop. Certain areas in the Marshes have been logged making it hard to see what it was like when it was farmland.
At one time near the head of Middle Bay located on the south side was a brickyard on what was known as Brickyard Road in the 1900s. The finished bricks were used locally and some were loaded at the site on freight boats for transport and sale in other towns. Local word of mouth from those that lived or had parents that lived in the Marshes report this brickyard was in operation during the Civil War and up to the year 1900. Some of these bricks were used in the chimney for the Wateman Emory Sadler home. There is also a cemetery on the south side of the road to Middle Bay known as the Brickyard Cemetery, once called the Cordons Corner Cemetery.
Andrew Swindell moved out of the Marshes in 1924. Minor Taylor moved out later and was the last family to live in this area. People lived in the Marshes until the hurricane of 1933, which flooded and eroded the area causing families to evacuate and move inland.
© 2011 Kay Midgett Sheppard