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here - Person Place Preservation Society
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The ferson 1--lace of Louisburg , N. C .
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Volume I
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0011<TMENT
October 15, 1980
OF
CUlJURAL
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lEITER OF ACCEPI'ANCE
'10 WHOM IT .MAY CX>NCERN
Roletg r1.
North Carolina
27611
UMSIOn 0 1
AtCh111€S Ond HISIOIV
Lony E T,s•.: Dtreclor
'Ihe attached report on the Person Place was written by Mr . Michael R.
Hill. Mr. Hill worked for rrore than four rronths on this report, during
the summer and fall of 1980. This is to certify that he has complied
with the terms of the agreement under which the report was compiled .
While an attempt has been made to be inclusive , there doubtless
will be additions and corrections to this document. Please send me
copies of such observations so that they may be included in the ori ginal
copy of the report.
I would also request that I be informed in advance of any plans to
publish any or all of this report , certain portions of which are subject
to copyright restrictions. Moreover , the Research Branch offers its
ass istance in reviewing these plans and , when practicable , in enlisting
~
the aid and cooperation of the researcher , Mr . Hill .
J
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. . rc{. ,{· --~ -- ·-•' "
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1 / Jer
cashion, Supervisor
Research Branch
Archaeology and Historic
Preservation Section
JCC/pc
Sora W Hodgkrns.
Secretory
James B Hunt Jr .
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i
HISTORICAL RESEARCH REPORT
THE PERSON PLACE OF LOUISBURG, NORTH CAROLINA
by
Michael R. Hill
September 19, 1980
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
INTRODUCTION
The Person Place in Louisburg, North Carolina, is a striking amalgam
of architectural styles .
The older Georgian section , built around 1789,
is of a hall-and-parlor, one-and-a-half story plan common to the period.
The largest addition, two stories high and built around 1830, is in the
Federal style.
This unusual blend of Georgian and Federal styles creates
an unbalanced but architecturally significant structure .
The house is situated on a slight rise several hundred feet back
from North Main Street .
The surrounding twenty-acre tract, today adja-
cent to Louisburg College, was part of a 1753 land grant to William
Massey sold the property to Patewills Milner who in turn sold
Massey.
100 acres to the commissioners appointed to establish the town of
Louisburg.
Milner's son, Wilson, built the original portion of the
present-day Person Place .
Subsequent owners included two state senators,
a member of the State House, a coroner, a sheriff , a town commissioner
and mayor, and two headmasters of the academy which became Louisburg
College.
In addition to serving as a residence, the house has been a
tavern and a boarding house for students at the academy.
Thus, in addi-
tion to being architecturally significant , the Person Place has been
important to the development of Louisburg and of Louisburg College.
. The following report traces the history of the house and the land
on which it is located from the mid-eighteenth century to the present
day .
cally .
land.
The survey is organized into four chapters, arranged chronologiThe first chapter describes how Massey and Milner acquired the
The property and the house upon it remained in the hands of
Milner's son until the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The second
chapter traces the history of the house and its owners in the eight years
from 1801 to 1808.
Among the owners and residents during that time was
Matthew Dickinson, the first headmaster of Franklin Academy , the forerunner of Louisburg College.
1808 to 1858.
The thir d chapter cover s the years f r om
During that fifty -year period, the house underwent its
most radical change with the addition of the large Federal section a r ound
1830 .
Though it passed through several hands quickly , the primary own-
ers during the period were William Moore, William P . Williamsand Asher
H. Ray.
The house had a total of nine owners prior to 1858.
In that
year it came to be owned by Thomas A. Person, in whose family it
remained until 1970.
in the fourth chapter.
The period of Person family ownership is covered
1
The primary documentation, as well as material which did not conveniently fit in the text, is found in the appendices (see the Table of
Contents).
Most of the wills, deeds, and inventories were available at
the Franklin County Courthouse in Louisburg (a few were available only
at the Warren County Courthouse or the State Archives) .
Most of the
pertinent private papers, including those of Matthew Dickinson and the
Person family, were housed in the Manuscript Collection at Duke University;
a lesser number were found in the Southern Historical Collection at the
University of North Carolina .
A number of people
in Louisbur g and t he
area were of help in the completion of this r eport.
Betty McKinne,
through her enthusiasm for the restoration project in general and this
research in particular, deserves first mention .
Rebecca Stallings provided this
resea~cher
Joe Elmore and
with a head start by sharing
material they had previously gather ed on the Person Place.
ii
Bil ly
Lumpkin and George Ann Willard were of assistance on specific points.
Mary Hinton Kerr of Warrenton, Lois Smathers Neal of Raleigh, and Elsa
Yarborough of Louisburg were kind enough to lend information on related
subjects .
Regrettably, little photographic evidence pertaining to the Per.s on
Place was found.
Likewise, little detailed information about the house
itself, particularly regarding the construction of additions, was uncovered in the research.
Though few descriptions of the interior were
available, several inventories provided excellent guides to the furnishings.
The combination of the historical evidence presented herein with
the physical evidence at the site will lead, it is hoped, to a fuller
understanding of the background of the Person Place.
iii
•
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
TEXT :
CHAPTER
i
I) ACQUISITION AND DIVISION OF PROPERTY, 1753- 1800
VARIOUS OWNERS, 1801-1808
III) VARIOUS OWNERS, 1808- 1858
IV) PERSON OWNERSHIP, 1858-1970
1
17
41
68
II)
THE RESTORATION PROJECT
96
NOTES . . . .
98
BIBLIOGRAPHY
. 128
APPENDICES
A.
Chain of Title
B.
Map of Bute County
C.
Land Grants
1 . 327 acres from Earl Granville to
2. 650 acres f r om Earl Granville to
3 . Approximate location of Massey ' s
Geological Sur vey map (Louisburg
William Massey, April 23, 1753.
Wil liam Massey, September 1 , 1760 .
land grants plotted against U. S.
quadrangle, 1978).
D.
William Massey
1 . Will of John Massey, Sr . , March 11, 1771 , Warren (Bute) County
Will Book 2, pp . 124-125 .
2 . Will of William Massey , October 15, 1813 , Franklin County Will
Book D, p . 105.
E.
Patewills Milner and heirs
1. Deed , William Massey to Patewills Milner , April 14 , 1767 , Warr en
(Bute) County Deed Book 2, pp. 72-73 .
2 . Deed, John Cl ark to Patewills Milners , September 20 , 1765 , Warren
(Bute) County Deed Book A, p. 351 .
3 . Deed , Christopher Clarke to Patewills Milner , October 31, 1765 ,
Warren (Bute) County Deed Book 7, pp. 77-78 .
4. Deed, Pat ewil ls Milner to John Norwood , Matthew Thomas , and Joseph
Norr is, April 17 , 1779, Franklin County Deed Book 1 , pp . 1- 2.
5 . Deed, Patewills Milner to John Milner, May 9 , 1770, Warren (Bu te)
Coun ty Deed Book 3, pp. 61- 62.
6. Will of Patewil ls Milner, July 1788 , Franklin County Will Book A,
pp . 33-35.
7. Division of Patewills Milner ' s property.
8.
9.
F.
Inventories of the estate of Patewills Milner, Franklin County
Estates Papers and Franklin County Will Book A, pp. 42- 43 .
P~an of the town of Louisburg, circa 1825.
Joseph Williams and John Huckaby
Deed, "W il-sori Milner to Joseph Williams, January 1, 1801, Franklin
County Deed Book 11, pp . 220-221; and, James Milner to Joseph
Williams, January 10, 1801, Franklin County Deed Book 11, pp. 221222.
2. Sheriff John Norwood to John Huckaby, May 14, 1804, Franklin County
Deed Book 11, p. 298.
3. Land and slaves held by John Huckaby, 1790-1820.
1.
G.
Malachi Nicholson
1. Deed, Joseph Williams to Malachi Nicholson, January 15, 1802,
Franklin County Deed Book 12, pp. 18-19.
2. Deed, John Huckaby to Malachi Nicholson, June 12, 1804, Franklin
County Deed Book 11, p. 300.
H.
Louisburg tavern rates, 1790.
I.
Matthew Dickinson
1. Deed, Malachi Nicholson to Matthew Dickinson , October 17, 1807,
Franklin County Deed Book 14, pp. 84-85.
2. List of belongings, 1807.
3. List of books purchased from William Boylan , 1807.
4. Inventories of the estate of Matthew Dickinson, Franklin County
Will Book C, p. 153, and Matthew Dickinson Papers, Duke University
(DU) .
5 . Power of attorney from Noah Dickinson to David D. Fields, 1809,
Franklin County Will Book C, p. 155.
6. Deposition of Walter R. Kibbe, 1809, Franklin County Will Book C,
p. 156.
7. Elegy, (Raleigh) Minerva, October 26, 1809, p. 3 .
J.
Edward Tansil
Deed, Matthew Dickinson to Edward Tansil, November 12, 1808, Franklin
County Deed Book 14, p. 197.
K.
John Drummond
Deed, Edward Tansil to John Drummond, November 19, 1811, Franklin
County Deed Book 15, p. 267.
L.
William Moore and heirs
1. Deed, John Drummond to William Moore, July 14, 1813, Franklin
County Deed Book 16, p. 147.
2. Land acquisitions.
3. Taxable property, 1804-1833.
4. Will of William Moore, May 31, 1829, Franklin County Will Book
1-J, pp. 41-42.
5. Will of Amy Moore, June 4, 183~ , Franklin County Will Book K,
pp. 172-173.
v.
•
6.
Inventory of the estate of Amy Moore, October 15 and November 7,
1838 , Franklin County Will Book K, pp. 183-186 .
M.
William P . Williams and heirs
1. Deed, William Moore to William P. Williams, November 4, 1822,
Franklin County Deed Book 21 , pp. 301- 302.
2 . Devisement from Samuel Williams to William P. Williams, May 20,
1823, Franklin County Deed Book 21 , p. 293.
3. Taxable property, 1814-1870.
4 . Agricultural census reports, 1850 and 1860.
5. Will of Will iam P . Williams, May 13, 1872, Franklin County Will
Book U, pp. 128- 130 .
6 . Will of Emma Williams , April 26 , 1887, Franklin County Will Book
U, p. 274 .
N.
Asher H. Ray and heirs
1 . Deed, William P. Williams to Asher H. Ray, December 23 , 1845,
Franklin County Deed Book 32, p. 161.
2. Insurance application with the Nort h Carolina Mutual Insurance
Company, 1851, Fr anklin County Deed Book 30, p . 361.
3 . Will of Asher H. Ray, January 5, 1850, Franklin County Will Book
0, pp. 352-354.
4. Inventory of the estate of Asher H. Ray , June 1856 , Franklin
County Estates Papers, State Archives .
5. Inventory of the estate and account of sales of the property of
Jane A. Ray, December 14, 1857 and January 5-6, June 21, 1858,
Franklin County Estates Papers, State Archives, and Franklin
County Will Book 0, pp. 231- 234.
6. Account of the sale of the property of Asher H. Ray, January 5-6,
1858, Franklin County Estates Papers, State Archives, and Franklin
County Will Book 0, pp. 216-234.
7. Account of the sale of the proper ty of Asher H. Ray , June 21, 1858,
Franklin County Estates Papers , State Archives, and Franklin
County Will Book 0, pp. 216-234 .
8 . Recommendations regarding sal e of the house, Spr ing 1858, Person
Papers, DU .
0.
Thomas A. Person
1. Deed, Heirs of Asher H. Ray to Thomas A. Person, June 21, 1858,
Franklin County Deed Book 32, p. 162.
2. Agricultural census reports, 1850- 1870 .
3. Slaves held by Person, 1856, Person Papers, DU.
4. Agreement regarding payment on the house, 1858, Person Papers, DU .
5. Purchases, 1858-1859 , Person Papers, DU.
6. Taxable property, 1857-1870.
7. Gr ave marker (shading) .
8. Inventory of the estate of Thomas A. Person, September 1867,
Franklin County Estates Papers, State Archives, and Franklin
County Will Book 5, p. 466.
P.
Heirs of Thomas A. Person
1. Entries f r om Harriet Person's journal , 1869-1870.
vi.
•
2.
3.
4.
Agreement regarding the division of real estate belonging to
Thomas A. Person, September 13, 1880, Franklin County Deed Book
54, pp . 202-204.
Petition for partition, April 1, 1890, Franklin County Orders
and Decrees Book 13, pp . 361-365, and Franklin County Estates
Papers, State Archives.
Will of Abiah Person, May 13, 1884, Franklin County Will Book V,
p. 8.
5.
6.
Q.
R.
"Gray's New Map of Louisburg" (circa 1884).
Obituary of Abiah Person, Franklin Times, August 25, 1893.
Prudence and Willie Mangum Person
1. Wills conveying full interest in the property to Prudence Person
a) Will of Sallie M. Jones, April 8, 1895, Franklin County Will
Book V, p . 63.
b) Will of Matthew P. Person, December 18 , 1897, Franklin County
Will Book V, p. 130.
c) Will of Martha L. Harris, April 29, 1911, Franklin County Will
Book V, p. 443.
d) Will of Temperance Montgomery, February 10, 1920, Franklin
County Will Book W, p. 98.
2. Cover and title page from promotional tract for "Mrs. Joe Person's
Remedy."
3. Profile of Willie Mangum Person , Franklin Times , April 6, 1917.
4. Will of Prudence Person, July 19, 1913, Franklin County Will Book
W, p. 117; also, her handwritten will and sworn testimony attesting
t o its authenticity, Franklin County Will Book U (File Box) , p . 116.
Sanborn insurance maps.
1922 map .
2. 1930 map .
1.
S.
Arthur W. Person
1 . Deed, Prudence Person and Temperance Montgomery to A. W. Person,
May 30, 1914 , Franklin County Deed Book 227, p . 576 .
2 . Plat of property, October 11 , 1930 .
3. Deed, A. W. Person to First National Bank of Louisburg, June 5,
1931, Franklin County Deed Book 272, p. 287.
4. Deed of release , L. A. Lentz (receiver of First National Bank of
Louisburg) to A. W. Person, October 31, 1936, Franklin County
Deed Book 330, p . 586.
5. Plat of property, September 2, 1936.
6. Will of Arthur W. Person, July 1964, Franklin County Will~ Year- 1969,
Film-2, Item-1280.
T.
Lydia Person Trow
1. Deed, Lydia P . Trow to Louisburg College, Inc . , February 11, 1970,
Franklin County Deed Book 677, p. 91 .
2 . Deed of release , Lydia P. Trow to Louisburg College, Inc., December
1, 1970, Franklin County Deed Book 685, pp. 331-332.
U.
Special studies
1. National Register of Historic Places nomination, 1972.
vii.
2.
3.
V.
"Report I " (Architectural Description and Recommendat ions) , 1970.
"An Inventory of the Fabric of the Person Place," December 14,
1979.
Photographs
viii.
CHAPTER I
ACQUISITION AND DIVISION OF PROPERTY, 1753-1800
The name of Bute County has not receded as far into the past as
bas that of other defunct North Carolina counties such as Archdale,
Pamptecough, and Wickham.
Situated in the north-central Piedmont, Bute
was formed in 1764 from Granville County and divided in 1779 into Franklin
and Warren Counties.
2
Thus, its short fifteen-year history extended from
the time of the Sugar Act to the middle of the War for Independence.
The
presence of a Committee of Safety, taken together with the often-repeated
3
phrase, "There are no Tories in Bute," leaves no room for disputing the
revolutionary fervor of the early residents .
Notwithstanding their shared political aims, the day-to-day concerns of a colonist in Bute would have been substantially different from
What was then backwoods and sparsely settled had only
4 The
a few decades earlier been inhabited only by Tuscarora Indians.
one in Boston.
first white settlers, most of English, Scotch-Irish, or occasionally German
stock, probably entered the region around 1735.
A few came from around
Edenton or from Pennsylvania, but those who crossed the border from
Virginia constituted the greatest influx.
The earliest focal point for
settlers was in present-day Warren County around what became the site
of the Bute County Courthouse (about 15 miles north of Louisburg).
Probably the earliest settler in modern Franklin County was John Terrill,
who received a grant of 200 acres in
~hat
was then Edgecombe County and
settled on the south side of Sandy Creek around 1740.
5
2
The first lands granted in the settlement of the colony were so
often along creeks or rivers that it has been said that the early history
of North Carolina was a "search for bottom land."
particularly extensive system of
w~ter
courses. 6
Bute County had a
Nearly every home was
within a few hundred yards of a water source, beyond the flood plain but
with access to the fertile bottom land.
The demand for land adjacent
to a river was so great that attempts were made to regulate how much of
the grant should front the waterway.
The declaration during the royal
period was that the side lying on the river should not be more than a
fourth of the side at right angles to it .
7
A simple procedure of application for land was devised during the
preceding Proprietary period (1663-1729) .
Charles II granted to eight
men, Lords Proprietors , the authority to grant land.
After the prospec-
tive grantee made his request, a surveyor then located it by the ancient
system of metes and bounds, whereby land was related to natural barriers .
8
Tradition held throughout the colonial period that land grants should
remain rather small.
The fear was that large estates would so disperse
the population as to endanger the growth or very survival of the colony .
Thus, in 1670, the Proprietors declared that no grants should exceed 660
acres.
In the 1700's, this limit was lowered to 640 acres.
governors followed the same practice with few exceptions .
The royal
When the colony
shifted from proprietary to royal hands, one of the proprietors did not
In 1744 this share, belonging to Lord Carteret
sell his share of the land.
or Earl of Granville, was apportioned to him.
He continued to oversee
the administration of the property, including the collection of quitrents
and the settling of grants.
9
William Massey received two Granville land grants, the first for
3
327 acres in 1753, and the second for 650 acres in 1760.
10
Each of the two
grants preceded the creation of Bute County and, thus, are for land in
11
Granville County , from which Bute was formed.
The earliest grant, for
a tract on the north side of the Tar River, would include the presentday central business district of Louisburg and extend as far north as
The latter grant, adjacent
the site of the college and Person Place.
12
to the first, included land on both sides of Fox Swamp.
Details on the life of William Massey are random and sketchy.
He
was apparently the son of John and Frances Massey, as he was named in
the elder Massey's 1777 will along with an older brother John, Jr., and
four sisters.
Jacob. "
13
Therein William was bequeathed "one Negro fellow named
John Massey, Sr. came to North Carolina with his family some
time after 1748, since in that year his name last appeared on a
The relationship of William
Brunswick Co ., Virginia list of taxables .
14
to other Masseys in Bute County, such as Rezekiah and Richard, is unclear.
What can be said for certain is that the young William Massey, identified as a planter on his 1753 land grant, remained in the area through
the time of the Revolution.
poll list in 1755.
His name first appeared on a Granville County
Subsequently he was listed in 1766 among the 168
residents of the Cedar Creek district of Bute County and in a 1771 Bute
tax list.
15
According to colonial records, Massey was appointed in 1758
as a vestryman for the Parish of St. John.
probably included processioning land.
16
His duties as vestryman
In the absence of skilled surveyors,
average townsmen took on the responsibility of establishing the boundaries of tracts.
The 1766 list included under Massey's name those of
five individuals--David, Mims, Bob,
B~n,
and Dinah.
A further indica-
tion was that, of the five, two were black, two white and one mulatto.
4
•
A reasonable assumption would be that Massey held indentured servants
as well as slaves.
William Massey, like most able-bodied men in Bute County, was active
in the militia.
His name appeared on a 1775 list of those pledging to
support the resolves of the Congress at Philadelphia in opposition to
the "several Arbitrary and Illegal Acts of the British government . "
Later
in the same year, he signed a similar oath promising to hold himself "in
readiness to March to any part of this pro[vince], So. Carolina, or Virginia
in defense of our Violated Rites and priviledges."
17
His brother John
as well as most men in the county signed their names to such pledges.
In 1778 a pledge of allegiance to the independent state of North Carolina
was required to vote.
Of the 79 men in Massey's district, only one,
Burwell Perry, refused to take the oath,
18
thereby giving lie to the
absolute claim that there were no Tories in Bute.
Where Massey might have lived in Bute County remains a mystery.
The best indication is given by the mention of "Massey's bridge" in early
records.
For example, in the original 1779 deed of land for the estab-
lisbment of Louisburg, the tract was described as "Beginning at a red
oak, on the North side of the Tar River a little above Massey ' s bridge
ul9
Also, around the time of the formation of Franklin County, pro-
cessioners were assigned to survey lands in the vicinity of Massey's
bridge.
20
In the first session of court in Franklin County, Green Bill
was granted the right to erect a grist m.i ll on the Tar River at Massie's
Falls. 21
The location near the courthouse is a logical one for an all-
weather crossing, given the steep banks on either side and the high ground
in the center of the river for the
an~horage
of bridge supports.
Thus,
it is conceivable that, soon after acquiring the rights to the land in
5
•
1753, Massey erected a bridge at or very near the site of the pr esentday Main Street bridge in Louisburg.
22
The bridge could not have been
First,
a very substantial affair since it had to be rebuilt several times.
in Bute County Court in 1777, an order was presented to have David Mabry
23
undertake the building of a bridge at Massey's.
Then, in the first
session of Franklin County Court in 1785 , it was " ordered that Osborn
Jeffreys , William Gr een, Thomas Sherrod, and Thomas Hoke be appointed
commissioners to let the building [of] a good bridge across Tar River
at or near the place where the Bridge now stands opposite Loui sburg. "
24
Griffin Wright of Raleigh was retained to carry out the work in the next
session of court.
bridge.
In 178.7 , he was paid #89 upon completion of the
25
No record exists of the death of William Massey in Franklin
County.
He either died or moved away sometime during the 1780's .
The
fact that men other than himself were signatories to the bridge records
would lead to such an assumption.
Also, no one by that name was listed
in the census records of 1790 or 1800 .
However, by the third national
census in 1810, there was again a William Massey in Franklin County.
26
This same Massey, in his will of October 15 , 1813, left property to his
wife Delphy and a son William.
In affixing his name to the devisement ,
Massey, as was the custom, described himself as "being at this time
porely in Bodily health but in perfect mind and memory. "
27
It should
be stated that this will might have been that of a son or nephew of the
elder Massey , given the common use of William as a given name in the family.
On the other hand , if Massey had moved away and r eturned, it could
have been the same man, now near
fifty years earlier .
eigh~y,
who had received the land grants
6
Massey ' s two original grants were for a total of 977 acres.
Of
that , he sold three tracts, of 100, 150, and 627 acres (for a total of
877 acres) during the 1760s .
Thus, he retai.n ed only 100 acres- -the same
amount held in 1806 by the Massey who was presumably the maker of the
1813 will.
28
Of the t r acts which he sold, the first one of 100 acr es
went to Christopher Clarke for " ten pounds Virginia money."
The land
was described as being on t he north side of the Tar River and adjacent
to Mabry and Person, a part of a grant from Earl Granville to the said
Massey.
The witnesses to the August 26 , 1765 transaction were Patewills
Milner, John Golden , and John Massey.
29
The second tract of 150 acres ,
probably sold within days of the first, went to John Clark.
30
The third,
and by far the largest of the three , for 627 acres , was deeded to Patewills
Milner on April 14, 1767.
Milner paid "two hundred pounds procl. money"
for the tract which began :
at John Charles corner Line on the River then by his
Line to Christopher Clark ' s corner then along to Person's Line
then along his Line to Bond's Line on Fox Swamp then down the
Swamp to Sherrod's corner then by Sherrod ' s Line to Bird ' s Line
then by his Line to Hezekiah Massey's Line then by his Line to
Person Ratley ' s Line then by his Line to John Massey ' s Line
then by his Line to the River at the mout h of Fox Swamp then 31
up the meanders of the River to the first Station • . .
Thus the plot of land then owned by Milner included all of the 1753 Massey
land grant and part of the 1760 grant, bounded by the Tar River on the
south, Person and others on the north, and Fox Swamp, Sherrod, and others
on the east.
32
By the time of the purchase of the large tract , Milner
had acquired both of the smaller portions held by Clark and Clar ke .
On
September 20, 1765 , Milner paid one hundred pounds for John Clar k ' s 150
33
acres described as "near the Lower Fawls . "
On October 31 , 1765 , Milner
34
'
paid fifty pounds for Christopher Clarke's 100 acres .
Thus , by virtue
7
•
of three deeds, two in 1765 and one in 1767. Patewills Milner acquired
all but 100 acres of the 977 acres contained in William Massey's two land
grants.
Patewills Milner and his wife Jacobina sold land to the town com-
'
missioners appointed "for setting a Court House and other purposes" in
1779.
They received 1000 pounds for 100 acres . 35
Little had been known
about the Milners, however, beyond their role in the founding of
Louisburg.
E. H. Davis, Franklin County historian, wrote of them:
"Nothing definite is known of the Milners more than their ownership and
sale of the land on which our town stands .
The name Milner has passed
out of the memory of those now living as has also that of Patewell . . . " 36
The names apparently were as uncommon then as now.
Milner was sometimes
spelled as Millner and Jacobina as Jacobine or Jacobina.
Patewills had
numerous variants such as Paterwell(s), Patewill, Pate Well, Pate Wills
and even Patervilles.
Patewills.
Milner himself usually signed documents as
This, however, was apparently a contraction of a first name
of Pate and a middle family name of Wills. 37
The surname is probably English . 38
It has been claimed in a source
of questionable reliability that Patewills Milner was born in 1734 in
Edinburgh, Scotland and that Jacobina was born in Wales.
The writer
further supposed that they were married shortly before coming to the Bute
County area around 1755 (by which time Patewills would have been 21 years
old).
Though the specificity of the account is intriguing, documentary
evidence indicates that Milner was born somewhat later than 1734 and that
his marriage to Jacobina could not have occurred as early as 1755 .
None-
theless some credence is lent to the a:ccount by the writer's detailed
description of the burial place of the Milners.
They lived, it was
8
•
claimed, in a house later occupied by a Dr. Perry and, further , "the older
members of the family were buried in the corner of the property, on the
39
road which intersected it, just before reaching the Tar River . "
The
house indicated would be the Jacobina Milner House still standing on Cedar
Street in Louisburg.
However, if graves were ever located on the site,
they have either been moved or lost over the years.
The course of the
road by the house has also changed over the years since it no longer leads
directly to the river.
Patewills Milner probably built the house soon
after acquiring the largest tract of land from Massey in 1767.
Several
additions have been made to the original one-story section, part of the
interior of which "suggests it may be the oldest [house] remaining in
t
own .
.. 40
The relative proximity of the river and the availability of
natural springs on the site would have influenced the choice of location
for the house.
As with Massey and the greater part of the early settlers in the
region, Milner came to North Carolina from tidewat er Virginia .
Milners
were more in evidence in Virginia than in North Carolina throughout the
colonial period.
Probably the first to arrive in America was Samuel
Milner, age 18, in 1635.
41
The one who achieved the greatest prominence
was Thomas Milner who held office in both Isle of Wight and Nansemond
counties as well as serving as Speaker of the House of Burgesses from
1691 to 1693.
42
At least seven wills were recorded in Virginia by Milners
prior to the Revolution.
43
One of these, filed in Isle of Wight County
and dated February 12, 1763, was that of Betty Milner.
In the will, she
named herbrothers John and Patewills as recipients of money then in possession of her uncle Benjamin Wills .
44
The relationship of Patew.ills
to other Milners in Virginia and North Carolina can only be the subject
9
of speculation, but it can be stated for certain that his sister's will
was filed in Isle of Wight County .
Whether Patewills himself was in Virginia at the time is less certan but it seems likely that he would have been.
Milner ' s name first
appears in Bute County records in a list of those present at the sale
of an estate on May 24, 1765, three months prior to his first purchase
of land .
1765.
45
Hence, it is likely that he came to the area in 1764 or early
Patewills and Jacobina were probably married for some time before
coming to North Carolina since no record exists of their marriage.
At
the time, Jacobina would have been about 20 years old , having been born
in 1745.
46
Patewills's year of birth is not known.
11 children was named John .
The firstborn of their
He could not , however , have been the John
47
Milner to whom Patewills sold 200 acres in 1770.
Instead , this must
have been his brother named in their sister Betty ' s will.
At any rate,
John Milner did not stay in the area as he sold the land in 1772 and does
not appear in later county records.
48
Patewills Milner was apparently not related to other Milners in
colonial North Carolina .
49
His name has been tied to that of James
Milner , a prominent Halifax lawyer.
50
The two might have crossed paths
when James traveled the legal circuit through Bute and Orange counties,
but they wer e not related.
Patewills in her 1763 will.
Betty Milner named only brothers John and
In his own will, James named only sisters
a nd one brother Arthur, with no mention of Patewills.
51
Probably an even
greater coincidence than his Bute County court appearances was the fact
that J ames Milner visited the August 3 , 1767 meeting of the Buffalo Lodge
of which Patewills was a member.
(J~es
Milner had himself been a moving
force behind the establishment of Freemasonry in the state .
52
)
As chance
10
would have it, Patewills was absent from t hat meeting.
That fact further
s upports the conclusion that the two were not related .
Located on Buffalo
Creek near the center of Bute County (and the present-day Alert community) ,
the Buffalo Masonic Lodge also conducted meetings under the name of the
Blandford Bute Lodge .
The name Blandford came from a lodge in Petersburg,
Virginia, an area from which many of the members had emigrated .
Patewills
He
Milner was initiated as a member of the lodge on September 25, 1766 .
attended two more meetings in 1766 and, at the February 20 , 1767 meeting,
On
was promoted to Fellow Craft , the second order of the Freemasons.
August 7, 1767, he was promoted to the highest order of Master .
Milner
apparently became inactive after 1767 when overall membership in the lodge
peaked.
53
This came in the same year that Milner acquired most of his land
from Massey and probably built the house on present-day Cedar Street for
his growing family.
In some of the few existing parish records for North
Carolina, land in the area of Milner's purchases was processioned.
The
1766 listing of pr operty from Fox Swamp down the Tar River to Ratley ' s
r oad, compiled by Green Hill and John Bird, does not include t he names
of landholders.
The 1771 returns of processioners Charles Ivey and
Richard Conyear, appointed by the vestry of St . John's Parish, are more
complete:
Pursuant to an Order of Vestry dated the 29th of June 1770,
We have processioned the lands of John Norwood, Green Hill , Geo.
Richards , Wil liam Richards, William Green , James Ross Sr . , James
Ross Jr., William Conyers, William Hil l , John Bird, Thomas
Person, Patewills Milner, Except a dividing line between the 54
said Person and Milner never yet run • . •
The only complete tax listing for the period is for 1771 , when Patewills
His brother John paid taxes
Milner had two slaves, Clarinder and jimm,
on three slaves, Will , Sarah, and Rachel!.
55
11
In 1772, a few months after John sold his 200 acres to William Hill,
Patewills Milner sold 30 acres to the same man.
56
With the exception
of the deed to the town commissioners, Milner was involved in no further
land transactions.
By this time he had risen to a position of some im-
portance in the community.
In 1774, he was appointed constable for the
Cypress district of Bute County.
57
During the 1770 ' s , he served as a
witness to ten or more deeds in Bute County.
58
Most importantly, he was
appointed a captain in the Bute County militia on January 6, 1775 .
The
following June, the local Committee of Safety further urged citizens to
"form themselves into Independent Companys , and chuse their own officers
" Milner's name appeared on several of the same lists as that of
William Massey, including a July 8 , 1775 resolve pledging support to the
group and stating the urgent need for more powder and lead .
In 1778
Captain Milner was charged with compiling a list of those in his district
willing to "bair faithful and true allegiance to the State of North
Carolina .
"59
With the division of Bute in 1779 came the choice of a new name
for the county and the founding of the town "at Milner ' s crystal spring
by the River Tar."
60
At the time, according to an 1810 account, " it was
deemed highly improper that he (the Earl of Bute) should continue to receive honor from the Country he wished to oppress
. , [thus] the name
of his Lordship was deservidly laid aside in order to make way for better
and greater men." 61
Chosen for the honor were Benjamin Franklin and
General Joseph Warren.
obscure .
The origins of the name of Louisburg are more
Though it was often spelled as Lewisburg in the earliest records,
it has most frequently been recorded
~hat
the town was named fo r Louis
XVI , France's leader at the time Franklin went there seeking aid for the
12
.
62
Revo 1ut1.on.
With the purchase of the 100 acres from Milner, the town
commissioners first ordered a lot set aside for a courthouse, prison,
and stocks.
The remainder was laid out by streets and divided into half-
acre lots available for purchase at $40 each .
The legislature, sitting
at Smithfield in 1779, further authorized that every grantee "shall within
four years next after the conveyance erect build and finish on the said
lot one brick, stone or well framed house not less than fifteen feet square
and at least ten feet pitch, with a brick or stone chimney."
Failure
to build on the lot within four years would result in forfeiture of the
land. 63
Though Milner at the time held a great deal of property sur-
rounding the town, there is no reason to assume that by 1779 he had built
on any town lots other than that on which his house was located.
His
family had grown considerably by this time, but the oldest did not reach
adult age until the late 1780's.
After the Revolution, townspeople no longer had reason to use the
public granaries operated by the state.
Thus, the General Assembly in
1784 passed legislation requiring that they be sold .
In Franklin County,
James Denby, William Hill, and Patewills Milner were appointed as commissioners to oversee the sale.
64
Local records also indicate the appoint-
ment of Milner and other men in the community to oversee the laying out
and upkeep of roads.
For example, in 1786, he was appointed to lay out
a road from Louisburg to Partridge.
In March 1788, Milner himself peti-
tioned the court for the opening of "a Road from Franklin Court House
across Fox Swamp into the road that is now leading towards Tarborough."
James Denby and others were appointed by the court to lay off such a road
and make a report to the next session ..
No report was made until December
when the clerk of court recorded that Benjamin Seawell had been appointed
13
to oversee such a road.
Patewills Milner had died in the interim, be-
tween the making of his will in July and the December court session in
1788 .
Court records also show that, in light of his recent death, the
townspeople of Louisburg were asked to work with Jacobina and her son
John Milner as well as overseer Benjamin Seawell on the road described
as "from the Tar River Bridge to the first mile post on the Road leading
towards Henry Hill's Tavern."
65
The will of Patewills Milner was proved by the oaths of Henry Hunt
and Jesse Mabry at the same session of court in December 1788.
and J oh n Milner, t h e o ld est son , qua l ~"f"~e d as executors. 66
of her husband's death Jacobina was 43 years old .
likely in his forties.
to infant age.
Jacobina
At the time
Patewills was most
Their 11 children probably ranged from about 25
In the will, Patewills left various personal items and
property to each of his children.
Most household goods, furni ture , and
utensils as well as slaves were left to Jacobina
with the provision that
upon her death or r emarriage, they be divided among his six daughters:
Martha, Mary, Bathsheba, Jannett, Charity , and Priscilla.
He asked that
the court survey and divide the land into five equal parts for each of
his sons.
Benjamin was to receive the "Manor Plantation," and the other
four parts divided by lot among John, Allen, James, and Wilson.
Milner
further requested that firewood and timber be taken from the land only
for the use of the main house and that the education of those children
67
who desired one be financed by his estate.
An inventory of the estate of Patewills Milner was returned by John
Milner in the June 1789 session of court.
of his death he owned 664 acres
(incl~ding
It indicates that , at the time
three lots in Louisburg), six
slaves, a variety of household furnishings, kitchen ware and utensils,
14
•
tools and livestock.
68
The extent of his plantation did not approach
the ostentation of those in the mid-nineteenth century but it was sizeable
for its time and place .
Various forms of litigation concerning the estate
dragged on for over 30 years after Milner's death.
Claims were filed
in a Court of Equity by Jonathan Stone, Archibald Cunison, Charles A.
Hill, and Thomas Mitchell among others.
of the heirs named in the will.
Appeals were also filed by several
69
Apparently part of the confusion over the settlement of the estate
stemmed from the fact that records of the division of the land were lost
at some point.
In addition, a number of heirs, including Jacobina, John,
Allen , and Wilson , themselves died intestate .
Filed along with the inven-
tory in the June 1789 session of court was the "Division of the Land and
tenements of the Said Pate Wills Millner deed. with a descriptive plan
made by William Hunt Surveyor aggreable to his last Will and Testament."
70
In 1821, when Benjamin sold his land to his brother Wilson, he noted in
the deed that it was "that track of Land Willed to me by
my
Farther Pate
W. Milner which Deed of bargain and Sale I am told islost and does not
appear on record. " 71
When Allen Milner died in 1817 without leaving a
will, his brothers filed as his legal heirs and asked that commissioners
be appointed to determine the boundaries of his land .
72
Wilson Milner received a tract of land north of the town commons
as his share of the settlement of his father's estate.
on both sides of present-day Main Street.
73
The property was
His share amounted to 149
acres (or a bit more than one-fifth of his father's estate).
There exist
no records as to when a house was first built on the property, although
1789 has generally been given as the qate.
74
It would seem to be a
reasonably safe assumption that Wilson Milner built a house on the land
15
•
and moved into it sometime within the first four years after his father's
death in 1788.
The architectural style and physical evidence indicate
that the oldest portion of the Person Place dates from the late eighteenth
century.
The earliest part of the present structure was comprised of
two rooms and an attic.
The three- bay wide, one-and-a- half story Georgian
style structure was of a basic hall-and-parlor type common to the period.
75
It would have been a fit abode for Wilson Milner , who apparently remained
single t hroughout his life.
Yet documentary evidence indicates a strong possibility that the
structure was not located on its present site before 1801.
76
Thus it
is possible that Milner built a house elsewhere on his tract, perhaps
on the opposite side of Main Street, which was later moved to its present
site.
But when Milner might have finished a house anywhere on his prop-
erty or even left his mother's house cannot be pinpointed .
His name does
not appear as a separate head of household in any census records, although
it does show up as a separate tax listing in 1798.
In that year Wilson
Milner's taxable property was shown as 130 acres, one lot in town, one
free pole, and no black poles. 77
In 1790 two males over 16 , two under
16, and six females were listed as belonging to the household ofJacobina
Milner . 78
So , one son, probably either John or Wilson, had left the house
on Cedar Street by 1790 .
Jacobina's personal estate remained constant for sever al years,
then gradually dwindled until her death at 82 in 1827.
In 1793 she held
534 acres (the equivalent of all of Patewills's land , minus one of five
79
shar es, presumably Wilson's), four slaves, and four lots in Louisbur g.
By 1798 she held 410 acres, five town ,lots, and three slaves.
This
dropped to 310 acres and three lots in 1804, wher e it remained constant ,
16
•
with some slight variation in the number of town lots or slaves, through
the year of her death .
80
She died in Person County at the home of her
I
son-in-law Nathaniel Norfleet on July 28, 1827. 81
the legal squabbles over the Milner estate.
Her death revitalized
Charles Applewhite Hill again
sought to recover a debt through the sale of her slaves.
were brought by surviving family members.
Other suits
82
In addition to her daughter Priscilla and her husband Nathaniel
Norfleet, Benjamin and James Milner had also moved to Person County by
1810.
83
James had married NancyMurphey in 1803 . 84
According to court
records, he repaired the main bridge at Louisburg for which he was paid
:j6 in 1807.
The following year, while serving as jailor, he was "allowed
#225 for rebuilding the Gaol of this County." 85
Wilson Milner apparently remained in Franklin County longer than
any of his siblings.
Although there is no record of his death, his name
last appeared in tax records in 1833.
Though he no longer held the Person
Place Property after 1801, Milner soon thereafter acquired other property in Louisburg.
The size of his estate remained constant at 130 acres,
including five town lots, from 1805 to 1833.
He owned five slaves until
1825, when he apparently gave up farming for retirement.
86
•
CHAPTER II
VARIOUS OWNERS, 1801-1808
Wilson Milner's property passed through several owners in the first
decade of the nineteenth century.
of his land to Joseph Williams.
On January 1, 1801, he sold a portion
From indications in the deed that sale
may have included the land upon which the Person Place is today located.
It was described as adjoining the Town Commons and being situated at the
southeast corner of the tract belonging to James Milner.
87
The corner
lot was a small one, containing only two acres, for which Williams paid
only $16 . 88
Such a low price would indicate three possibilities.
the lot was unimproved and later had a house moved onto it.
First,
Second,
Williams (about whom little is known) was either a close friend or creditor of Wilson Milner and therefore in line to receive a favor from him.
Finally, it is possible that the two acres as described in the deed did
not include the present-day site of the Person Place.
A few days later
(and recorded in the next deed book entry) Joseph Williams bought the
property directly behind the two acres.
Virginia money for 94 acres.
89
He paid James Milner #100
This indicates that the two acres might
have been bought from Wilson Milner primarily to grant Williams access
to Main Street.
Wilson Milner lost the remainder of the property left to him by
his father, when it was sold at public auction on May 14, 1804.
had by that time become indebted to
sum of #613 and 13 shillings.
90
J~cob
Milner
Mordecai of Warrenton for the
The exact cause of the indebtedness
18
•
could not be determined.
No record of a legal suit involving the two
appeared in the court records .
However, both gambling and moneylending
were widespread practices at the time.
Given the size and specific amount
of the sum it seems most reasonable to assume that it resulted from a
failure to repay a personal loan.
Jacob Mordecai, progenitor of one of the most prominent Jewish families in the state, came to North Carolina from Petersburg, Virginia, in
1792.
A merchant by profession, Mordecai speculated in tobacco but
incurred heavy losses and was forced to retire from the trade, sell his
home, and seek other employment in order to support his family.
About
the same time the Steward's House of the Warrenton Academy opened and
he accepted charge of it.
However, he found this uncongenial , resigned,
and was then prevailed upon to open a school for girls in Warrenton.
The
school, which opened in 1809, was under his operation for only ten years
but received widespread attention as one of the first private schools
for girls in the South.
91
Mordecai was also a Mason and, as a justice
of the peace, a signatory to numerous Warren County court actions around
1804. 92
At any rate, Mordecai, active in both commercial and civic
affairs, would have been in a position to lend money to an acquaintance
in a neighboring county.
Of course, that is not to say that he was willing to forgive a debt
of such size.
John Norwood, sheriff of Franklin County, therefore placed
on the auction block "the Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements of Wilson
Milner."
The tract of 147 acres was described as "adjoining the Town
of Louisburg, Malachi Nicholson and others."
for all of the property was John
shillings. 93
Huck~by
The last and highest bidder
with his offer of #515 and 10
Huckaby, at the time of the purchase, was an established
19
•
plantation owner with considerable acreage (averaging over the years more
than 1000 acres) throughout the county.
94
Since Huckaby owned the prop-
erty for less than a month it is not likely that he made any improvements
on it or moved his family there.
John Huckaby was among those on a list of patrollers named in 1795.
Concern over the management and control of slaves was further reflected
in this presentation by a grand jury to the June 1799 term of Franklin
County court :
We the Grand Jurors present as a publick nuisance the
outrageous behavior of the Negroes in this County strolling
about nights geting together on Sundays in town buying spirits
getting drunk Fighting with dangerous weapons and Committing
all sorts of Violence in there power all which is submitted to 95
the Court for their consideration . . .
Following the death of his first wife Polly in 1818,
96
John Huckaby be-
came involved in a complicated legal suit involving the possession of
slaves.
His second wife Mary , the widow of Robert Hill, also died , leaving
an estate of over 40 slaves .
According to an undated legal paper , Huckaby
then " in virtue of the marital rights took possession of all the aforesaid legacy . "
Some of Mary ' s children by her first marriage contended
In order to prevent that from happen-
that they should take possession .
ing , they charged in the court document that Huckaby "under some pretence
or other, and with a view of wicked gain to himself, did illegally and
fraudulently endeavour to have levied on and sold all the negroes bequeathed to the said Mary . "
They further charged that Huckaby , through
a third party, placed the slaves on sale only to buy them back for a very
small sum .
In addition , they accused him of trying to prevent the pub-
l icity of the time and place of the sale of the said Negroes "by pulling
down advertisements of the sale ."
97
No record was located as to the
resolution of t he episode, but it does show a possible consequence of
20
•
slave ownership as well as an illustration of the character and reputation of Huckaby.
The suit was probably settled some time after the death
of John Huckaby in 1826.
98
On June 12, 1804, Huckaby sold the 147 acres he had bought at auction
to Malachi Nicholson for $1031 .
erty for just under one month.
Thus, Huckaby held the title to the propReference was made in the transfer to
"the aforesaid Land and premises, with all houses and appurtenances theret o.
1199
The use of the word "houses" in the plural was probably only a
rhetorical or legal device.
It is not conceivable that Huckaby would
have either wanted to or had time to place other structures on the property. Thi s , however , does represent the first use of the word in connection
with the property and, as such, constitutes evidence that the house stood
on Huckaby's rather than Williams's land.
The land that Joseph Williams
had bought from Wilson Milner (the two-acre tract) and James Milner (the
large tract directly behind the former) had by this time already been
acquired by Nicholson.
on January 15, 1802.
100
He paid Williams $1500 for an estimated 225 acres
Thus the acquisition of the land from Huckaby
gave Nicholson a more sizeable single piece of property, all of which
he held until 1807.
Tax records for the years 1805, 1806, and 1807 show that Nicholson
101 In addition
was listed for 345 acres and eight slaves (five in 1805) .
to his farming, Nicholson also worked on the upkeep of roads in town and,
. b urg. 102
. b r idge at Lou1s
in Decemb er 1806 , was appo inted k eeper o f t h e ma1n
No will was filed by Nicholson in Franklin County, leading one to conelude that after selling his property he left the area.
is known about Nicholson, except for
~he
Very little else
possibility that, during the
time he held the title to the property, Aaron Burr, sitting as Vice-
21
•
President and only a few months after fatally wounding Alexander Hamilton,
spent a night in a tavern there .
The story is a long one but deserves attention due to the prominence of Burr and the inherent interest it brings to the house.
The tale,
as it has been handed down over the years, has probably been modified
and embellished.
No less than three versions, each varying somewhat in
The first , as written by J. E. Malone
details, have made it onto paper.
of Louisburg, had it this way.
A Mr . Patterson found it necessary one
According to the account, "the old
morning to make a trip to Warrenton .
Inn from which the stagecoach left was situated on the lot occupied by
Col. Willie Person for many years."
When Patterson walked up to the building
to take the coach, a "rather distinguished gentleman" walked out of the
inn and joined him inside the vehicle.
passengers were thrown about.
The ride was a rough one and the
The mysterious passenger asked the driver
to avoid the bumps, but when he did not heed the advice, drew a pistol
and threatened ,
'~en
we started I asked you to drive carefully, now I
order you to drive carefully."
When Patterson arrived in Warrenton, he
noted that the name the stranger put on the register was Aaron Burr .
The
second account, that of E. H. Davis, had it that Mr. Patterson was in
fact Young Patterson, the proprietor of the tavern at which Burr stopped.
His words to the driver were said to have included:
been doing and I will blow your---- brains out."
"You do as you have
Davis also wrote that
Burr passed through on the way to his trial for treason in Richmond.
A
final account, by Clint Fuller, concurred in most details with Davis,
including the connection with the trial, but it more explicitly identified the inn as the Person Place.
103
The two latter versions were in error in reporting that Burr's
22
•
stop was in connection with his 1807 trial for treason.
Burr was arrested
on February 19 , 1807 on the Tombigbee River in the Mississippi territory
and char ged with preparing an expedition to fight Spain under his leadership independent of the United States government.
He was taken by mili-
tary escort , a Major Perkins, to Richmond, arriving on March 26.
Thus
he would not have been in a position to threaten a carriage driver.
fact, Burr and Perkins traveled on horseback .
In
At the trial, testimony
revealed that, in rur al South Carolina, Burr got off his horse and called
out to a group of villagers, announcing himself and complaining that he
had been illegally arrested . Burr's defense counsel complained that his
treatment was "barbarous, inhuman , and oppressive to the last degree"
and that "he was hurried along through the U. S. without rest, or respite,
deprived of every comfort and convenience."
After the South Carolina
incident , his escort deliberately avoided travel through towns where Burr
might again try to escape.
Chief Justice John Marshall was unconvinced
by the prosecution's argument and declined after an inquiry to press for
an actual trial on the treason charge .
104
Burr did make an overnight stop in Louisburg in 1804 .
Of his travel
through North Carolina, he wrote from Warrenton on October 27, in part:
The fatigues of the day were in some measure compensated by the very hospitable reception which I met from the
negroes of the capitol of North Carolina. I reposed till nine
the next morning, and came the next day only to Lewisburgh
(twenty-nine miles), where I slept in the little up- stairs r oom
which you once occupied; but there is a new landlord. The Jew 105
is broke up. The wind has been two days strong . . .
The words were contained in a letter to his daughter Theodosia with whom
It has been written that they
106
"have never been surpassed in the qua],ity of their mutual devotion."
Burr carried on extensive correspondence .
In 1801 Theodosia married Joseph Alston, a prominent South Carolina
23
•
planter and politician.
Thus she had cause to travel the stagecoach road
through Louisburg in going from Washington to her home in South Carolina.
107
Yet there is no further account of her own stop in Louisburg.
Theodosia was with her father at the trial in Richmond and during part
of his exile in Europe from 1808 to 1812.
elder Burr was struck by a double tragedy.
On his eventual return the
His grandson and namesake
had just died to be followed just six months later by Theodosia who was
presumed lost at sea off the North Carolina coast.
108
Aaron Burr did not have a reputation for being slow to anger.
He
had, after all, shot and killed Hamilton on July 11 of the same year that
he traveled through Louisburg.
There may indeed be reason to believe
he had little patience with the stagecoach driver.
He had been "detained
all day by some trifling repairs to the carriage," he wrote f rom
Fayetteville on October 23, 1804.
109
Nevertheless the supposed threat
to the driver would seem to be more concoction and legend than verified
fact.
More easily verified is the fact of Burr's night "in the little
up-stairs room," although it remains unclear which house or tavern this
might have been.
Certainly the legend has over many years become attached
to the Person Place but little faith can be placed simply in the persistence of the story.
The most intriguing words of Burr's in his letter
to his daughter were " . . • there is a new landlord.
up."
The Jew is broke
As a man of some sophistication and Vice-President of the United
States to boot , Burr would hardly have mistaken the tavernkeeper for a
Jew had it been Patterson, Milner, Nicholson, or most anyone else in
Louisburg.
By far the most prominent .and most easily identifiable Jewish
family in the area were the Mordecais of Warrenton.
Though they lived
24
•
in the neighboring county , members of the family apparently did spend
a good deal of time in Louisburg .
Jacob Mordecai, the father of the fam-
ily, of course, was the recipient of the proceeds from the sale of Wilson
M.i lner ' s property in May 1804.
Ellen, his daughter, wrote to her brother
Samuel in August 1802, r eferr ing to being in "Louisburg a few weeks since ,
there was a race and ball there [and] I enclose you my invitation as I
t hink it deserving a place in your Cabinet of curiosities. "
110
Their brother Joseph Mordecai operated a tavern in Louisburg.
In
the March 1804 session of Franklin County court, it was "Ordered that
Joseph Mordecai bair License to keep a Tavern at his house in Lewisburgh
for one year who entered into Bond in the Sum of two Hundred and fifty
pounds with Alex~ Falconer Esq. his Security."
111
There is no record
of Mordecai owning property in Franklin County; therefore the deed to
"his house in Lewisburgh" must have been held by someone else.
It is
possible that his use of the Person Place as a tavern was in some way
connected to Wilson Milner ' s debt to his father Jacob Mordecai.
It fur-
ther seems to be within t he r ealm of possibility that the house was put
to some use other t han as a home by Malachi Nicholson .
Both sets of cir-
cumstances are only conjecture but appear to be reasonable given what
is known for certain.
At any rate , Joseph Mordecai (like Milner a few months earlier)
became insolvent in September 1804, only a month before Burr wrote " the
Jew is br oke up."
In the county court session for that month , four
creditors filed charges against him.
Though he was then taken into cus-
tody, his father Jacob came down from Warrenton and met his bail.
112
Thus, it is this r esearcher's opinion , stated with some certainty, that
Aaron Burr stayed in a tavern operated of late by Joseph Mordecai , and
25
his best guess, based on the available evidence, that it was located in
the Person Place.
Describing Louisburg in 1810, an anonymous writer stated that "it
is situated on the Tar River contains about twenty houses and is in a
very flourishing state."
113
What the observer failed to mention was that
practically every other house served as a tavern, that is, its owner had
a tavern license.
in 1787.
one .
114
For example, Patewills Milner secured such a license
During that day, there was nothing extraordinary about having
At least two or three were granted at each quarter session of the
court in Franklin County .
Throughout North Carolina at the time, it was
often the outstanding figures in the community who kept the taverns or
ordinaries--merchants, sheriffs, justices of the peace, and even schoolmasters and doctors.
only for a short time .
Even some women we r e innkeepers , though usually
115
E. H. Davis, county historian and pastor, noted the prevalence of
tavern licenses in the early records but refused to believe that all the
prominent town leaders "would have had under the same roof that sheltered
their wives and children an ordinary gin shop or mill as that iniquity
came afterwards to be."
Rather, the Reverend Mr. Davis preferred to think
that it was necessary in order to be properly hospitable.
116
Although
this was certainly true, it is also just as certain, to judge from a wide
variety of observers, that Americans of that day drank great quantities
of alcohol, particularly spirits like whisky, gin, rum, and brandy.
The
unrestrained consumption of such liquors (usually 90 proof) amazed travellers and alarmed many Americans .
According to a recent analysis of
their accounts, " during the first third of the nineteenth century the
typical American annually drank more distilled liquor than at any other
26
. e l.·n our h.l.S t ory. "117
t:un
Though liquor consumption peaked around 1820, the heyday of inns
and or dinaries extended from the colonial period to the coming of the
railroad around 1840.
One of the earliest records of such an operation
in the region is a 1765 Bute County license granted to William Tabb stipulating that he "doth constantly find and provide in his said ordinary
Good Wholesom and Clean Diet and Lodging for travellers, and Stable Fodder
and Corn, or Pasturage and Corn, as the season shall require for the
Horses . "
118
By 1790 the Franklin County court had established rates for
119
all conveniences and refreshment s provided by ordinaries .
The most
popular location for a tavern in each town was near the courthouse.
There
the operator was guaranteed the local business and travelers plus often
the task of cooking meals for those in the jail.
In Louisburg Green Hill
had such an establishment (later operated by his son).
In 1810 Goodson
Drake was granted a license "to sell and retail liquors by the small upon
the public Grounds not within forty yards of the Court House."
120
Louisburg was situated on the main road from Washington and Richmond
to points south .
cumstances.
Inns usually evolved, therefore, by the force of cir-
Though not comparable to first-rate taverns such as in Salem
and Hillsborough, those in small towns and the backcountry provided the
. ht • 121
one essent i a 1 , a p1 ace f or t h e weary trave1 er to spend t h e nl.g
The rough, heavily travelled roads were enough in themselves to tire the
visitor.
Robert Hunter, a British merchant, described "one same, dull
tiresome, and unvaried scene" in 1786.
"Think then, my dear father,"
he wrote, "what horrid traveling it is in North Carolina, where you have
the same d u 11 scene to repeat every d~Y ·
.. 122
One would think that such a traveler, emerging out of the woods
27
to discover a local inn, would have welcomed the sight of a r est stop ,
u sually indicated by an earthen jug suspended by the handle from a pole.
(It is easy to imagine a traveler, heading south from Warrenton , happening
upon such a place as might have been operated by Mordecai on the northern
outskirts of Louisburg.)
Yet such was not the case.
Most travelers (at
least those who have left accounts) were accustomed to the environs of
Philadelphia or Boston and found the local comforts definitely suffering
by comparison.
John Bernard, a British actor and shrewd social observer,
described the typical Carolina ordinary (he suggested " extraordinary"
would be more apt) in his journal.
He claimed to have stayed in a dozen
or more, and to have found them all of a type.
Mostly log-huts , or a
frame structure weather-boarded, they generally were of one floor with
two rooms .
In one corner was the family bed , in another the bar.
The
furniture , usually two chairs and a table, was "all in the last stage
of palsy."
He found that it was deemed a "dangerous luxury 11 to receive
a bl anket , while he was forced to use his saddle as a pillow.
Just before
the front door was found a clay oven , "under and about which are commonly
seen a parcel of black hogs indulging themselves in the sun."
Inside ,
as often as not, he had a dog in his lap, with yelling children and cats
clawing at his elbow.
123
Two other travel accounts from the period include mentions of stops
at taverns in Louisburg.
The first was at Fox ' s Tavern near Louisburg
where Francis Hall, a British military officer , stayed in 1817 .
Traveling
south by stagecoach from Virginia, Hall noted that, outside Richmond,
"the stages are no longer marked by towns and villages, but by solitary
taverns and stage- houses."
Like Bernc;rd, he noted t he poor condition
of the or dinaries, which "are all built of scantling, and are worse than
28
anything in the form of dwellings, but the negro huts."
He found the
cold weather made traveling disagreeable, but was cheered upon his arrival
in Raleigh which he found "by no means 'in a pitiable condition."
124
One final account worth mentioning was of a trip with a stopover
in Louisburg made in January of 1804, the same year that Burr stopped
in the town.
The traveler was Jonathan Mason, a Boston lawyer and former
United States Senator, who journeyed with his family from his home to
Savannah by means of his own carriage .
roads "execrable."
Like the others, he found the
At Warrenton, be was fairly pleased with Johnston's
tavern, although he found it so cold that, even in rooms with fires, the
water in every bowl and basin froze solid at night.
were'~iterally
Most inns, he found,
comfortless, from the slight manner they are built, and
the scandalous inattention to their windows, which in every instance have
more or less panes of glass out."
Mason described the area as:
One continued wood of pines and oaks, with here and there a
spot miserably cultivated, and a few log houses of the very worst
structure. They live miserably, and where you meet a collection
of houses, say ten or twelve wretched hovels, you are sure to
meet a gambling tavern, and a parcel of idle vagabonds. Louisburg,
at Greenhill's, is a striking proof. Warrenton is an exception; though small, it is flourishing and there were many gentlemen who carried the marks of civility and progress.
In his record of accounts appended to the journal, Mason noted the service
and prices at each stop.
Johnston's at Warrenton, where he spent ten
dollars, he found was "very decent."
The opposite was the case with
Greenhill's (a contraction of the proprietor's name), where the nine dollars spent was excessive and the tavern generally bad.
Not surprisingly,
on his return trip north, Mason recorded he traveled the 59 miles from
Raleigh to Warrenton straight through, with no stop at Louisburg.
125
Whether a stop on the way back at an establishment operated by
Nicholson or Mordecai would have been more to Mason's liking cannot be
29
said for certain.
It seems likely that it would not have been.
Given
what is known about the two men, one would expect he would have found
a "gambling tavern" and "a parcel of idle vagabonds" there also.
Beginning
in 1805, however, all of this probably underwent some change with the
establishment of an academy on the adjacent property.
In 1807, Malachi
Nicholson sold the house and all of his property, a total of 369 acres
for which he was paid $3000, t o Matthew Dickinson, the headmaster of the
schoo1 .
126
Although he died in 1809, Dickinson ' s role in the history
of Louisburg and Louisburg College makeshis importance disproportionate
to the number of years he spent there.
With the purchase of the 100 acres for the establishment of the
town in 1779, the town fathers decided to set aside 24 acres as a commons
area to be put to educational purposes in the future .
No further action
was taken regarding the land until January 6, 1784 when trustees drew
127
Then,
up a charter for the placing of an academy on the property.
once again, there was no movement toward beginning a school until 1802
when the charter was renewed.
Finally in 1804 considerable activity by
the townspeople of Louisburg was directed toward establishing what would
be called Franklin Academy.
Among the very scattered and limited early
records is a September 18, 1804 order placed by William Vickers indicating
the purchase of "a pair of globes ten or twelve inches in diameter, a
128
Then,
map for each quarter of the globe and one for the whole Globe. "
on December 17, 1804, the trustees led by Green Hill, placed this ad in
the Raleigh Register announcing the opening and describing their first
employee:
The Trustees having employed Mr. Matthew Dickinson from Yale
College, New Haven, as the Principal of their Academy flatter
themselves from the Respectability of his Character, the universal healthfulness of the County and the low price of board and
30
tuition that they will acquire a large number of students and
that the Institution will be patronized by every friend of
129
virtue and literature . . .
Matthew Dickinson, son of Captain Noah and Hannah Dickinson, was
born in 1780 in Somers, Connecticut.
David Dudley Field in October 1803.
130
His sister, Submit, married Rev.
Among their ten children were four
brothers who were distinguished by their accomplishments:
David Dudley
Field, Jr., a New York lawyer; Cyrus W. Field, given primary credit for
the laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable ; Stephen J. Field, a jus131
tice of the Supreme Court; and, Henry M. Field, a minister and editor .
Thus Dickinson came from a notable New England family .
In the fall of
1799 Matthew along with a friend Walter R. Kibbe commenced a year of study
under a tutor preparatory to their enrollment at Yale College, then under
the leadership of Timothy Dwight, in September 1800.
During their four
years there Dickinson and Kibbe "occupied the same apartment lodged in
the Same bed and borded in the Same Hall."
In October 1804 one month
after their graduation Dickinson told Kibbe "that he had entered into
an agreement to go Southward to preside over an academy at Lewisburg •
II
At the close of the month, after "some mutual interchanges of
civilities and engagements," Dickinson departed.
132
In early January 1805, Dickinson directed the opening of Franklin
Academy, with a curriculum especially strong in the classics.
The school
soon flourished, to judge from enrollment figures which never dipped below
70 during his tenure, and from the ser ies of newspaper ads , which reflected
133
For the
the trustees' confidence in and esteem for their instructor.
first year, Dickinson apparently handled the teaching duties singlehandedly.
At the end of 1805 the trustees announced that they had procured
the services of Davis Mayhew, a recent graduate of Williams College in
31
•
Massachusetts, to be his assistant.
134
So great was the initial impetus
that Dickinson gave to the school that a modern president of the college
which evolved from it has said that he "more than anyone else associated
with the pionee r
academy, set the academic, cultural and ethical stand-
ards that have characterized this historic institution."
apparently also held him in high regard.
135
His students
After he had left teaching,
one of them, James Wills, in a letter addressed to "my once worthy and
vigilant preceptor" asked Dickinson to recommend some good English
.
C 1 aSS1CS .
136
Dickinson's aim is said to have been to see that the reputation
of his academy surpassed that of the University of North Carolina.
137
Given his resources, Dickinson was unable to accomplish his goal, although
his school did gain from a dispute at Chapel Hill in 1805.
Following
what was termed "abundantly wild" behavior at the Univers ity, the trustees adopted a very strict set of regulations.
Akin to an honor code,
they called for a monitor system to report absentees, gross or vulgar
language, and non-attendance at worship services.
"If our students had
been a colony of wax- dolls," a university historian has written, "they
might have submitted to this law without a murmur."
Complaining that
they were forced to be spies on the others, over half of the UNC students protested, many of those leaving school, in what was called the
"Great Secession."
138
Twenty or so of the seceders made their way to
Dickinson's academy, including Charles Applewhite Hill, who later headed
the school and in time entered politics.
139
The Franklin Academy building, recently restored to its original
condition, has space for living
quart~rs
upstairs and class rooms below.
Thus, it has been assumed that the academy building served as the first
32
•
home for Dickinson upon his arrival in Louisburg.
howeve4 is incorrect.
140
Such an assumption,
Among the papers left by Dickinson is a receipt
signed by Jacobina Milner reading:
"Received of Matthew Dickinson thirty-
six dollars in full for a year's board commenced on February 1805 and
will end Feb. 6, 1806."
However, it is possible that either Dickinson
at a later time or more likely Davis Mayhew lived in the academy building.
Almost certainly with his purchase of the property from Malachi Nicholson
on October 17, 1807, Dickinson moved his quarters to what is now the Person
Place.
Other receipts from Jacobina Milner indicate that Dickinson used
the services of her slaves and her sons at the academy.
Of particular
interest are records in his book of accounts for October 4, 1808, indieating payments of $4 .75 to James Milner for planks and $4 . 72 to Benjamin
Milner for lathing, planks, and labor.
A receipt signed by Nicholson
acknowledged Dickinson's payment of $16 . 50 on October 3, 1807 for the
services of Denis, a laborer, covering the period from August 1, 1807
to January 1, 1808," and for two months board of the same negro . "
The
likelihood is that Dickinson used the slave for chores around his new
house, perhaps for minor repairs or alterations, as well as his personal
manservant.
Another receipt from Nicholson indicates that Dickinson either
borrowed or received services in the value of $500 on April 3, 1807.
141
The sketch of Dickinson in a collection of biographies of Yale graduates stated that Dickinson ran the academy for several years "with suecess, and accumulated from his earnings some six or seven thousand dol1 ars.
.. 142
Since his salary did not approach such a figure, it must be
assumed that Dickinson profited handsomely from moneylending and speculation.
Receipts among his papers
indi~ate
that he was willing to advance
sums up to $500 to individuals, among them, William Brickell, John Perry,
33
•
and R. Tunstalls .
comers.
Yet Dickinson's good graces were not extended to all
He had obviously rebuffed G. Southworth, who wrote to him on
April 22, 1806, stating his " sundry misfortunes" and soliciting his aid:
. . • I entertained not the smallest doubt but you was my
intimate acquaintance from the description, and stopped in consequence, anticipating you would befriend me, but being disappointed
in your person, likewise by a man that promised to befriend me,
one left in a very deploriable situation, destitute of every
"
means of subsistence
Dickinson himself also
borrowed $835 from Jack Fox in 1808, for example .
143
Besides repayments on loans, Dickinson received payment for tuition,
tickets for school programs, tutoring services , and legal services.
He
paid out money for a wide range of items, including a horse, bridle, taxes,
labor, tools, wine, shoes, books, and the like.
144
Bills for building
supplies included the aforementioned payments to Benjamin Milner for workmen, lathe work, and planks.
One of these, dated October 4, 1808 (or
a month prior to his sale of the Person Place property) was for $10 for
work on the house.
An undated bill for timber from Joel King listed the
length, width, thickness, and price of each of 64 planks .
Such a pur-
chase must have gone toward the alteration of the Person Place house since
he did not own a house but boarded with an acquaintance, after he had
sold that property.
chases.
Rum and wine were among Dickinson's regular pur-
On October 12, 1808, Alexander Gilmour, a friend of his in
Petersburg, Virginia, forwarded to him a case of "portes" (wine), but
warned him that it contained only 18 whole and as many broken bottles.
"One had leaked--! threwed that away as it was spoilt," he explained,
continuing, "The packer of it ought to pay you for the broken Bottles
for I never saw any thing packed so badly in my life."
Gilmour added
that, on top of that, the wine was not very good and therefore be was
' 145
adding to the package two bottles of local Petersburg product .
34
•
Dickinson regularly purchased books from William Boylan of Raleigh .
On occasion Boylan was not able to supply a collection of plays or an
obscure volume , but he usually could oblige.
For example, on November
14, 1807, he sent a letter along with a bill for $48 .75 indicating that
was " the whole of what I have been able to obtain in completing your
The list included a wide range of items such as Milton, Sterne,
order."
classical works, and history.
146
To judge from his library, the Yale-
educated Dickinson was either proficient in or a student of five languages
other than English--Latin, Gr eek, Italian, French, and Hebrew.
The in-
ventory of his estate listed some 78 titles, many of those multi- volume
works, with particular emphasis in his newly adopted field of law.
147
Dickinson resigned as head of the academy in order to pursue the
study of law, sometime in 1808, probably during the latter part of the
year.
But, before he began his study and apprenticeship, he returned
to Connecticut for a visit with relatives and acquaintances .
His long-
time friend Walter Kibbe recorded that he "communicated to the Deponent
[himself] many things concerning the country the manners and morals of
the people among whom he he resided."
148
Hartford, Niagara, Montreal, and Quebec.
His itinerary took him to Utica,
149
The journey lasted through
September, as he wrote to a correspondent on the 29th of that month that
150
he had "just returned from my tour of the Northern States."
Events moved rather quickly for Dickinson after his return.
He
sold the property he had bought from Nicholson in two transactions .
The
first, whereby Edward Tansil on November 12, 1808, paid $2400 for 163
acres, included the house in which Dickinson had resided (the Person
Place).
151
The rest of the land, 206 ,acres, was sold to Lewis Bond for
$1600 the same month.
152
Thus, with the two sales, Dickinson received
35
•
$4000, thereby realizing a profit of $1000 over the $3000 he had paid
Nicholson for the property.
Tansil had only paid half the amount when
Dickinson died, and held a note for the remaining $1200 due t o his estate
on December 25, 1809 . 153
Edward Hooker's diary provides an excellent account of Matthew
Dickinson and Louisburg of his day .
Hooker was a fifth-generation des-
cendent of Rev. Thomas Hooker, who played a role of the founding of the
colony of Connecticut.
Having graduated from Yale in 1805 (one year after
Dickinson) , he accepted a teaching job in South Carolina, while also pursuing the study of law with his brother in Columbia.
By coincidence,
while in the state, Hooker visited Joseph Alston, the husband of Theodosia
Burr, in Greenville.
In 1808 he was called to become a tutor at Yale
and set out for New Haven on November 23.
Six days later, he stopped
at Peter Casso ' s tavern in Raleigh, where he dined with Dr. Joseph
Caldwell, President of the University of North Carolina, whom, he noted,
was "a man of talents, but as little animation and energy as I have ever
witnessed ."
Even less, he believed, could be expected from teacher s at
academies which "with few exceptions have illiterate teachers and the
reason is that here as in all the states, men engaged in the business
of education are not liberally compensated . "
The following day, November
30, Hooker left Raleigh for Louisburg about which he wrote:
Soon after my arrival I sent my name to Mr. M. Dickinson,
the principal of the Academy, who graduated at Yale one year
before me. Dickinson soon came, t ook tea with me at Hill's.
Spent 2 or 3 hours pleasantly; then we walked to his academy,
a pleasant building on the hill about 1/4 m. from the Village
of Louisburg. We Staid at his room about an hour, drank porter,
read, talked and walked back to Hills
No doubt Hooker had found a kindred s'!ul, one who did not fit his image
of the average North Carolina schoolteacher .
He went on to describe the
36
•
town and its people.
"About Louisburg are many young ladies, who touch
the lyre most charmingly," he wrote.
Dickinson had acquired what Hooker
thought "a very decent little estate" worth between six and seven thousand
dollars.
He was paid one thousand a year by the school but, Hooker
recorded, had profited by lending money, for example, "by lending say
600 Dls.cash to a young Sportsman and taking a Bond for 1000 ."
Of
Dickinson's recent sale of the Person Place property, Hooker wrote:
Till lately he owned a house and farm of more than three
hundred acres, six slaves, and a quantity of stock, as horses,
sheep and cattle. Lately he sold his land for 4000 Dlls which
was one thousand more than it cost him. He now keeps a Gig,
two horses and a servant or two and designs in the spring to
visit Conn in this style.
Dickinson told him he had been welcomed and treated with respect and
civility by everyone he had met in North Carolina .
On one occasion
Governor James Turner had invited him to Raleigh where he dined with the
British Consul, a federal judge, and "several characters of eminence to
all of whom he was introduced and by all of whom treated with respect."
Dickinson told him that the local people were "impelled to homage" when
encountering literary men like himself.
cussed education for women.
Finally, the two of them dis-
Hooker expressed surprise at having found
academies for women at several locations in the state .
Dickinson ex-
pressed his opinion that women had the necessary "quickness of apprehension" and, when refined by education, "appear very advantageously."
Hooker
left Louisburg with a different opinion of education in the state than
before he arrived and with the image of a headmaster in a much better
situation than he could have foreseen.
154
The two Connecticut Yankees visited during what was Dickinson's
last term as head of the Academy.
At some point during his tenure, an
undated note shows that Dickinson presented the trustees with an order
37
for a gallon each of cognac, whiskey, and rum, two gallons of apple brandy,
and 100 "segars," ostensibly for use at commencement .
The record also
shows that Dickinson paid a man named Sancho three dollars for fiddling
at t h e
.
occas~on .
155
·~o
Yet, as E. H. Davis has asked with some reason,
drank all of this stuff on that occasion and smoked those SEGARS?"
Davis
concluded that they must have been bought very near the conclusion of
Dickinson's term at the school, and thus, used by his law associates rather
than his students .
At any rate, he wrote, "There must have been some
fun on hand for somebody." 156
Dickinson read law under Alexander Falconer, who was one of four
prominent Louisburg lawyers in the early nineteenth century (the others
being John Hall, Kemp Plummer, and John Haywood) .
Falconer, a Scotsman,
came to the area around 1790 and was admitted to the bar in December 1792.
157
He settled nine miles north of Louisburg in an area known as the Glebe,
near the location of the modern-day community of Ingleside.
158
Dickinson
moved up to Falconer ' s, boarding with him for eight and one-half months,
after he sold the land adjacent to the academy .
159
of 1025 acres and 16 slaves in 1809.
Falconer owned a spread
The established lawyer was a
trustee of the academy and had children in attendance there .
16
°
Falconer
was described as "emphatically a sporting character" who kept race horses,
fox dogs, and game chickens.
He constructed a race course on his prop-
erty and enclosed it with a cedar hedge to prevent the horses from leaving
the track. 161
Men came t o Falconer's to spend the day at their favorite
sport of horse racing "and the nights in other and perhaps less innoIt is said that "Falconer ' s pernicious influence was
162
felt in that community for many years after his death."
cent amusements."
38
Young men continued to study law under Falconer after Dickinson's
death.
Samuel Johnson wrote to his brother William at UNC on September
11, 1810, that "I have been living with Mr . Falconer ever since you left
during which time I've read very hard."
163
Falconer's fortune held out
for a few years (he had 33 slaves in 1810) but he is said to have died
with much less money than he had when he married.
164
His wife Mary died
first, on January 17, 1817 and he died after "a lingering illness occasioned by a stroke of the Paralysis" on March 17, 1818.
165
The proceeds
from the sale of Falconer's estate, primarily household furnishings and
tools, totaled just under one thousand dollars and went to his children.
166
Fifteen years later, his sons Edmund and James, held no property or slaves,
and are said to have returned to Alexander Falconer's native Virginia.
167
Matthew Dickinson only studied and practiced law for nine months
before he died.
Among the cases he handled at that time were that of
Tabitha Edwards, who charged her husband Edward with beating her, and
that of Elisha Stearns of Connecticut, who retained Dickinson to collect
a debt in North Carolina.
deals.
Dickinson continued to benefit from his lending
Sugar Johnson, unable to repay him, conveyed to Dickinson a tract
on Sand y Creek .
.
d . 168
· e 1 and was surveyed , b ut t h. e d eed was never sl.gne
Th
Dickinson apparently was not aware, as a novice lawyer, of the intricacies
of the legal profession.
In the March and June courts of 1809, the case
of State vs. Matthew Dickinson was tried.
He was charged with acting
as a constable without authority but was found not guilty by the sworn
.
JUry.
169
Dickinson died of what was termed "a bilious fever which he con-
tracted on a journey in the low countz:y" on September 17, 1809.
170
The
attending physician, Dr. John Brodie, prescribed medicine and made bedside
39
visits to the 29-year-old Dickinson over the period from September 11
to 16, staying with him through the night on September 13, 15, and 16,
but all to no avail.
171
Obituaries appeared in three Raleigh newspapers--
The Minerva, the Raleigh Register, and the Raleigh Star.
Courant reprinted the notice from the Star .
172
The Connecticut
The Register reported
that he was "highly and deservedly respected by all who had the pleasure
of his acquaintance . "
The Minerva, published by his friend and book-
seller William Boylan, also printed an elegy
to his memory . 173
News of his death first reached Connecticut through his friend
Walter Kibbe who then "forthwith communicated the Melancholy tidings to
Mr . Noah Dickinson the Fat her and his Family and sympathized with them
on the solemn occasion."
Ameriah Kibbe and Theodore Pease also filed
a deposition stating that they had long known Matthew Dickinson .
On October
23, 1809, Noah Dickinson appointed his son-in-law David D. Field to act
as his representative in the settlement of his son's estate.
174
Back in Franklin County, Joel King was appointed executor of the
estate.
The son of John King, who was one of the original trustees of
Franklin Academy, the younger King was a merchant and longtime postmaster
. b urg . 175
. LOUl.S
l.n
Settlement of Dickinson ' s many financial dealings ex-
tended over several years.
One of the first claims settled was that of
Alexander Falconer, for expenses Dickinson had incurred while living with
him, namely:
8~
months board
interest on 8~ months board
To his half of 10 gals. brandy
writing paper
fee in legal suit
f odder and pasturage fo r horse
expenses attendance and other senrices
during his last sickness
$72.80
3.00
5 . 50
1.37
10.00
12.00
30 . 00
Falconer was reimbursed for those expenses on July 2, 1810 .
176
Another
40
•
claim was filed by William Boylan.
In a letter to King on January 29,
1811, he asked that Dickinson's bill for books be paid, adding, "I believe Mr. Dickinson should pay it, as I understand he had the profits
of the school."
177
A preliminary inventory of Dickinson's belongings
was presented to David D. Field, along with the items themselves in
December 1809 . . A fuller inventory, listing all of those to whom he owed
money as well as those to whom he was indebted, plus a list of his personal items, wearing apparel, and books was drawn up at the same time.
178
Field later had shipped to Louisburg an engraved tombstone to mark
the grave of his brother-in-law.
The stone still today marks the grave
which is located several hundred yards off the road from Louisburg to
Warrenton, in a plot surrounded by tobacco fields cultivated by the
Edwards family.
The burial places of Falconer and his wife are believed
to be among the adjacent unmarked graves.
After visiting the site in
1902, Matthew Davis wrote, "There they lie in the same grave--teacher
and pupil--friends in life--companions in the grave--awaiting the great
resurrection morn."
179
The inscription on the imposing marble slab over
Dickinson's grave reads:
Sacred to the memory of Matthew Dickinson, a native of
Somers, Connecticut, a graduate of Yale College and first
Preceptor of Franklin Academy. A man of talents, learning
and virtue. Obit. Sept. 7, 1809. Aged 29 years.
CHAPTER III
VARIOUS OWNERS, 1808-1858
After the Person Place property passed out of the hands of Matthew
Dickinson in 1808, it had five more owners before being acquired by the
Person family in 1858.
The first two of these held the land and house
for a combined total of less than five years .
As has been mentioned,
Edward Tansil purchased 163 acres for $2400 from Dickinson on November
12, 1808.
Witnesses to the indenture were James Milner, brother of Wilson
Milner who had built the original structure on the property almost twenty
years prior , and Lewis Bond, to whom Dickinson sold the rest of the land
he had bought from Malachi Nicholson a year earlier.
180
Tansil had only
made partial payment for the property when Dickinson died on September
17, 1809, but he paid $963 of the balance to Dickinson's executor Joel
King on September 15, 1810.
He also volunteered to be responsible for
.
. d 1v1
. . dua1 s . 181
. k.1nson h a d outstand 1ng
to seven 1n
d e b ts D1c
On October 22,
1808, or just before he bought the property, Tansil purchased for $933
a number (probably all) of Dickinson's slaves--"Maria, 23 or 24 and her
three children, Mingo, Luke, and Neptune."
After he moved up to Falconer ' s ,
Dickinson stor ed some items at Tansil's, notably 100 barrels of corn.
182
Perhaps in return for the favor, Dickinson represented Tansil in an 1809
lawsuit seeking the right to use a fishery of which Tansil claimed he
was part owner, stating that "two days in the week it belongs to the
Plaintiff."
183
What little else is known about Tansil is based upon a few scattered
42
•
mentions of his name in early court and tax records.
taxes on no land, only one slave, and his horse. 184
In 1804 he paid
He was, however,
in that year appointed as a patroller for Louisburg and vicinity, along
with Green Hill, John Hall, and James Yarborough .
In 1807 and 1808, at
several sessions of court, Tansil was appointed overseer of a number of
roads in the area.
185
In March 1808, or just a few months prior to his
purchase of the Person Place property, he apparently resided somewhere
near the main part of Louisburg .
The court, in that month, on the peti-
tion of Benjamin Milner, asked that overseers "view and turn the road
if they think proper, to leave the road near Edward Tansil ' s lane, and
to intersect the main street at the cross street between Jordan Hunter's
and William Connelly ' s old store."
186
Through at least the three years
he owned the land he bought from Dickinson, Tansil served as coroner of
Franklin County.
There is no indication that he had any medical training
for the position .
As has been the case up to the present day, the pos1-
tion was more political than professional.
Tansil resigned as coroner
in the December 1811 court session, whereupon George Tunstal l was elected
to the office .
187
His household in 1810 was a large one, including in
addition to his wife and himself (both between 26 and 45), seven slaves,
one female between 10 and 15, and 14 males under age 25.
188
No will was
filed by Tansil in Franklin County, leading one to conclude that he moved
away, probably in late 1811 , wheh he sold his property and resigned as
coroner .
The next owner of the property was John Drummond who paid
~1400
on November 19 , 1811, for the same 163 acres that Tansil bought from
. kin son . 189
D1c
Although he was
identi~ied
in the deed as "John Drummond
of the County of Brunswick and State of Virginia," indications are that
43
he did spend some time in Franklin County and was not therefore i .n every
respect an absentee owner .
He held the deed to the property for just
over a year and a half, but there is no indication as to whether he
resided there or rented it out to a tenant .
Drummond was, however, men-
tioned in an October 1808 account book belonging to Matthew Dickinson.
The schoolmaster recorded having returned $16 in tuition money to him,
but again, it is not clear whether he was a student or the father of a
student.
190
It would seem more likely, however, that he was the latter
since he died in 1816 .
Drummond did not file a will in Franklin County
but his estate papers filed there named George Hardaway as his executor
and sought recovery of debts from Alexander Falconer and Green Hill, among
others.
The document also called for an inventory of his property to
191
be taken within two years, but none could be located.
Neither Edward Tansil nor John Drummond filed a will in Franklin
County, or left behind personal papers of any description.
Comments from
the papers of other people living in the county at the same time, however,
give an idea of the atmosphere of Louisburg.
Samuel Johnson , writing
to his brother William at UNC on March 23, 1812, said,
"I have no news
to communicate to you, the times are very dull in Louisburg."
192
Letters
to and from Daniel Shine, a Methodist Episcopal minister in Franklin
County, indicate that what excitement did exist in Louisburg was of a
spiritual, evangelical nature.
1812, Nancy Thomas wrote to him:
While Shine was in Georgia in July of
'~e
have had several sermons in the
Court House by the Methodist preachers.
I have been all night and day
except one • • . I can tell you I think the people in Louisburg and about
thinks more of religion than they have done."
In the same letter , she
described having five boarders in her house, explaining, "Since war was
44
•
declared we have passengers almost every stage, sometimes seven and
it is profitable at this time." 193
eight
Three years before he died, John Drummond sold his 163 . acres to
William Moore for $2800.
The indenture, signed July 14, 1813, included
"all houses buildings orchards ways waters water courses profits commodi194
ties hereditaments and appurtenances" on the property.
195
in 1772, and thus was 41 when he bought the land.
196
He held the property
His wife Amy , whom he probably marri ed a round
for nine years, until 1822 .
1795, was born in 1776 .
Moore was born
Their household was a large one .
In 1810,
just prior to buying the Person Place property, it included three males
a.nd two females under age 10, one male 10-15 , one male and one female
16-25, one male over 45 , and 17 slaves in addition to William and Amy
Moore.
197
Moore, though he held a considerable number of slaves, also prac-
ticed law.
He was present at most sessions of Franklin County court in
the first two decades of the nineteenth century.
a store in Louisburg .
198
In addition, he operated
When a new Masonic lodge was formed in town
in 1811, the first since the Bute- Blandford Lodge, Moore was a charter
member . 199
In that same year, he was appointed, along with Alexander
Falconer , Green Hill, and Jeremiah Perry, as a commissioner to let the
building of a new courthouse.
200
Thus, Moore was in a position by 1820
to be elected to a single term as a member of the House of Commons in
the General Assembly.
201
To judge from the amount of land he held , William Moore was one
of the wealthiest men in Franklin County, i f not the wealthiest in the
1810's and 1820's .
He held as many as a dozen lots in Louisburg and num-
erous tracts throughout the county, averaging over the period a thousand
45
•
acres.
202
His land was taxed, along with the rest in the county, at the
rate of five to six dollars an acre.
between 10 and 20.
203
The number of slaves he held ranged
Most of his worth, however, came neither from
planting nor from his work as a lawyer or politician but, almost certainly,
from his speculation in real estate and through lending money at high
interest rates.
Moore left no personal papers of his own , but his name
does appear in relation to lending money in Joel King's papers.
His
reputation was such that when a prisoner named J. Haswell wrote King in
1825 asking for some financial assistance in meeting his bail, he requested
that, should King be unwilling to put up the money, the letter be for204
warded to William Moore or Philemon Hawkins.
Moore died at his residence on September 3, 1829, at the age of
57.
In the death notices in the Raleigh newspapers, the Register noted
that he was "a very respectable citizen ," and the Star that he "was highly
esteemed by all who knew him."
205
In his will, drawn up three months
earlier, Moore devised that his executor should "sell
my
Store House and
Lot in the Town of Louisburg and such part of my crops, stock, furniture,
etc. embracing such things as can be spared from my plantation."
The
remaining property was left to his widow, until her death or remarriage ,
and to his children.
The plantation on which he then lived was to go
t o Amy and then to his sons Alexander and Lucius.
A third son, James,
who had moved to Tennessee, was given two slaves and all the property
he had taken with him when he left North Carolina.
A fourth son, Joseph,
would receive slaves upon dissolution of Amy Moore's plantation.
Two
daughters , Nancy Sanders and Maria Howerton, were given tracts of land
and groups of slaves, whom Moore
list~d
by name.
The remaining slaves
on his plantation, 30 or 40 in number by his estimation, were to be
46
•
divided among the four male heirs when they reached lawful age.
Until
that time they were to be kept together and worked on the plantation in
order to pay all of Moore's debts.
The discrepancy between the total
of about 55 slaves in Moore's will and the 20 on which he paid taxes is probably explained by the fact that many were either underage or overage and
thus not taxed.
Among the personal items which Moore specifically left
to his wife were his carriage and horses, beds, furniture, prints "that
hang around the rooms," and "looking glasses" (mirrors) ~ 06 The settlement
of Moore ' s estate stretched over five years, with his widow serving as
executrix.
During that time, Moore's loans were called in and his own
debts were paid.
Among the 50 or so individuals to whom Amy Moore paid
cash were John Hawkins, Benjamin Milner, Jesse Person, and Presley C.
Person.
In 1834, after all receipts and disbursements, the total assets
on hand amounted to just under five thousand dollars .
207
Amy Moore died nine years after her husband , at the age of 62, on
July 11, 1838.
She was, according to the account in the Raleigh Standard,
confined to her bed for six weeks prior to her death.
She had, it was
reported, "been for eight years an acceptable member of the Methodist
.
1 Churc h • "208
Ep1.scopa
The will, devised on her deathbed, named all of
the six children in her husband's will except for the daughter Nancy
Sanders.
A number of grandchildren, including some by the name of
Sanders, were also left property.
Other recipients named were a Harriet
Moore and Jane Pate, who had cared for her during her illness .
In a codi-
cil to the will added two weeks later, Amy Moore asked that additional
items be left to her daughter Maria and a grandchild.
of her property was compiled and
November 7, 1838.
publ~c
209
An inventory
sales held on October 15 and
At each sale, of livestock, crops, tools, furniture ,
47
•
and the like, the proceeds exceeded eleven hundred dollars.
210
It cannot be said how much of the property belonging to Amy Moore
at her death was also in her and her husband's possession sixteen to
twenty-five years earlier when they owned the Person Place property.
It
is known that at a sale of the estate of Alexander Falconer on January
9, 1819, William Moore purchased a walnut dining table, two pictures in
frames, a knife box, press, and a bay horse.
211
Moore and his family
in 1819 almost certainly were then residing at the Person Place .
Despite
the fact that Moore owned land throughout the county, he apparently had
not yet settled onto the plantation which he left to his wife in 1829.
He and his family picked up and moved within Louisburg on more than one
occasion.
Moore sold the Person Place in 1822, at which point he moved
to another of his town lots .
212
On one of these lots, he operated an
establishment known as Moore's Tavern.
In 1825 he sold to William
Arendell "nine half-acre lots of land with the buildings and improvements
thereon, it being the Tavern House and Lot of Land whereon the said
William Moore now lives in the Town of Louisburg."
213
The buyer of Moore's land in 1822 was William P. Williams.
November 4, Williams paid Moore $4000 for 440 acres.
On
The tract, extending
back to the Tar River, was comprised of the 163 acres Moore had bought
from John Drummond in 1813 plus adjacent property, totaling 227 acres,
purchased from Lewis Bond, John Perry (Huckeby), and Robert A. Taylor.
Witnesses to the transaction were Joel King, Louisburg postmaster, and
John Brodie, local physician and brother-in-law of Williams.
214
William Person Williams was born in 1792 to Samuel and Mary Person
Williams of Warrenton.
215
He was one ,of eight children, the others being
his brothers John A. and William A., and his sisters:
Martha, who married
48
•
John Brodie; Mary (Polly), married to H. B. Hunter; Rebecca, who married
Francis Inge; Elizabeth; and Mary.
Creek in Warren County.
wife and son John.
216
Samuel Williams lived on Shocco
In his 1823 will, he left that property to his
His daughters received other property in Warren
County, which he had purchased from the estate of General Thomas Person.
His son William A. received "all my lands in Franklin County on Tar River
and known by the name of Kinchens," a tract further described as " all
. . " 217
h.Lm an d now i n his possess1on
.
th e proper t y h ereto f ore g1ven
The
elder Williams had for some time held considerable property in Franklin
County.
In 1810 he paid taxes there on 1184 acres.
218
The property involved in the transfer included the land on which
is now situated the home known as Edgewood, long in the Timberlake and
Allen families, just up the road from the Person Place.
E. H. Davis has
traced the ownership of the tract back to John Penn, who passed it
to William Penn.
The latter Penn sold the property to John Kinchen who
gave it to his son Henry Martin Kinchen.
Thus it was Samuel Williams
who devised that the tract "known by the name of Kinchens" should go to
William P. Williams whom, Davis noted in 1943, "people now living will
remember."
219
Williams lived until 1875, but when the house now standing
on the property, which has been added onto several times, was constructed
is not known for certain.
Williams has generally been credited with erect-
ing the original Greek Revival structure sometime in the antebellum
period.
Its style of architecture post-dates the Federal type.
The imposing Federal section of the Person Place overshadows the
Georgian section built by Milner circa 1789.
credited with building the large
1830.
220
temp~e-form
Williams has generally been
east block of the house around
It is representative of the late Federal and early Greek Revival
49
style, as are a surprisingly large
of surviving homes in the area,
n~er
particularly in Williams ' s native Warrenton and Warren County .
221
The
Federal section has a lateral front hall opening onto two large r ooms,
which have plastered walls above a flat paneled wainscot .
had a Federal-style mantl e .
Each room also
The second floor of the section has two large
rooms in the rear and three smaller ones across the front, all with a
molded chair rail .
The entrance to t he section featured a porch with
A large 18- pane lunette domi-
four wooden Doric columns ( r ecently lost).
nates the front pediment of the Federal addition .
222
The Federal addition cannot be dated with absolute certainty .
Builders of that day were not required to obtain a permit in order to
begin their work.
223
A cornerstone or a chimney brick with the date of
construction on it was very infrequently laid, but not usually in a structure of this type.
The year 1830 has been chosen primarily due to the
architectural style of the section.
No other evidence has been found
Since neither Moore nor Williams left personal
to refute such a choice.
papers or accounts, the most that modern observers have to go on are
biographical details from other sources.
Williams's 1822 pur chase price
of $4000 for 440 acres does not seem to differ greatly from the price
he would have paid for unimproved land.
The size of the tract was such
that it is impossible to judge whether the addition might have been made
prior to the purchase .
It seems reasonable , however, to discount the
possibility that Moor e may have been responsible for the addition .
First,
there was no mention in his deed to Williams of recent improvements or
additions to the property .
Second, there is no indication that the valua-
tion pl aced on his land by the tax
as~essor
changed while he owned the
house (though , here too , the amount of Moore's total landholdings makes
50
such a judgment nearly impossible).
Finally, it seems likely, given
Moore's age and the size of his family, that had he made such an elaborate
addition to his residence he would have settled in and remained there
for the rest of his life.
Williams, on the other hand, was 30 when he bought the house and
land, twenty years Moore's junior .
He attended the University of North
Carolina in 1810, but apparently only in that year and did not therefore
graduate.
224
In 1814, at the age of 22, he already had a plantation of
almost unmatched proportions in the county, with 2620 acres and 10
slaves.
225
It was in that year that a female academy was added to the
male one in Louisburg.
Williams contributed $50 toward its establishment,
a sum matched in its size only by the contributions of Robert Hill and
Green Hill .
With the proceeds in hand, the subscribers appointed a group
of commissioners and "authorized [them] to contract with a Workman to
perform the Work."
226
Williams married his first wife, Louisa Matilda Toole of Edgecombe
Count~ around 1816. 227 Their first child was Samuel Geraldus Williams,
born in 1817.
31, 1818.
228
A second child, Mary Eugenia, died in infancy on March
Louisa was the daughter of Elizabeth King Toole, who lived
with Williams, his wife, and son, in 1830.
229
Williams married Hannah
P . Martin on July 18, 1838 (presumably after the death of Louisa).
His third wife, whom he married on June 26, 1855, was Emma W. Curtis,
one of two Curtis sisters teaching at the academy.
230
When Williams sold 50 acres of his land, including the Person Place,
to Asher H. Ray in 1845, he reserved to himself and his heirs a small
231
The only
portion, one-tenth of an acre , for a ~amily burial ground.
graves in the family plot were moved to Oakwood Cemetery in the 1930's,
51
the bodies exhumed being those of Samuel Williams (1817-1853), Mary Ruffin
Williams (1818-1872), and a child , Mary Louisa Elizabeth Williams (18421854).232
William P. Williams lived, therefore, to see the deaths of
It seems reasonable to conclude that Samuel Williams,
his son and family.
his wife, and child lived in the house after the elder Williams built
Edgewood, on the grounds of which he was believed to have been buried.
The elder Williams probably built Edgewood soon after his second marriage
in 1838 .
The younger Williams, born in 1817, would have reached adult
age and probably married in the mid to late 1830's, or a few years after
the Federal section was added to the house.
Whether the size of the family
would have necessitated the building of the addition would not seem to
have been the issue.
The older part of the house was by this time
approaching 50 years old, and, after seven previous owners, was doubtless
in a state of disrepair.
A member of the community of the standing of
Williams, who by this time had served several terms as a legislator and
who commanded a plantation of around 1700 acres and 60 slaves, deserved
better than the small Georgian structure Milner had built on the site .
Tax records indicate a change in the valuation of Williams's property
in 1835, by which time the house had undergone the changes and had
attracted the attention of the assessor.
In 1834 all of Williams's 1509
acres were judged to be worth $8000, or just over $5 an acre.
In 1835,
however, a separate value per acre was placed on each of his three tracts
in order to more closely reflect its worth .
The Kinchen tract of 1069
acres and another of 200 acres, both of which Williams kept in cultivation, were once again assessed at the rate of $5 an acre.
which Williams had purchased from
of $8 an acre .
233
Moo~e,
The 440 acres,
however, were taxed at the rate
Thus, the tax records show that by 1835 the Person
52
Place had been improved and stood, with very few alterations, just as
it stands today.
William P . Williams's political career extended from the late 1820's
through the 1840's.
During that time he took part in the local political
In
affairs of Louisburg, including service as a justice of the peace.
that capacity in 1835 he compiled a list of "merchants, retailers of
234
spirits, peddlars, and stage players" to whom licenses were issued .
His primary political activity, however, was in the General Assembly as
a member of the Senate for five terms (1829/30--1832/33, 1842/43) and
as a member of the House for one session (1838/39) .
Williams was also
a delegate to the 1835 state Constitutional Convention.
The other Franklin
County delegate was Henry John George Ruffin, like Williams a legislator,
and the father of Mary Ruffin who married Williams ' s son Samuel.
On a
national level, Williams was a delegate t o the Baltimore Democratic
Convention of 1832 where he voted for Van Buren for Vice President.
235
The legislative career of William P. Williams was not remarkably
distinguished , but, to judge from his reelection, an entirely satisfactory
one.
Kemp Battle counted Williams among the friends of the University.
In 1830 he helped lead a group of legislators in defeating a resolution
which would have given the legislature full power over the University's
i on. 236
.
c h arter, property, and ~nstruct
Occasionally, the positions he
chose rankled other politicians from the area .
In 1833, U. S. Representa-
tive Micajah T. Hawkins complained that Williams had opposed a pension
bill "after having said in an address to the people in Louisburg last
fall, that he offered no hostility to me; that he had always been my personal and political friend, and had
have pursued the same course I did. "
h~
237
been in Congress, that he would
In 1846 , several years after
53
Williams last held elective office, another member of the Hawkins family
of Warren County turned to him for help in the upcoming election.
John
Hawkins
D. Hawkins wrote concerning the candidacy of his son John, Jr .
addressed the letter to ''W. P. Williams near Louisburg, .. and referred
within its body to ''your position, living near the Court House ...
238
By 1846 Williams and his wife Hannah had lived for several years
at Edgewood, the home built several blocks north of the Person Place.
He had in the previous year sold the latter, which had been the home of
his son Samuel and his daughter-in-law Mary, to Asher H. Ray .
Williams
had one child, Louisa (named for his first wife), born in 1843, by his
second w1..f e. 239
In 1855, at the age of 63, Williams married for the third
time, this time to Emma Curtis, who was 35.
Termed a .. typical Yankee
school marm," Emma was educated at the Emma Willard School in Troy, New
York .
240
She and her sister Jane came to Louisburg in the 1840's to teach
at the Female Academy.
William and Emma had two sons, William W., born
241
in 1858, and Frank P . , born in 1860.
The Curtis sisters ' mother,
Clarissa, followed her daughters to Louisburg, but apparently was not
altogether trusting of her son-in-law William P. Williams.
In her 1865
will she devised that a portion of her estate be placed in trust for Emma
Williams .. free from the control or division of her husband ...
242
An anonymous writer for the Franklin Times in the 1920's wrote that
the 1840's and 1850's in Franklin County were the "Utopia .. indeed for
the gentility of the South with little need for money and plenty of slaves
to do the drudgery and hard work, with the Great House full of gaiety and
pleasure and the cabins full of laughter and song."
the nostalgia inherent in such an
idy~lic
243
Leaving aside
view of the Old South, it can
still be said that Williams was representative of such a planter class
54
•
in the county and thus qualified as a member of a local gentry with few
peers.
Of the 60 slaves Williams owned in 1840, 23 were employed in agri-
culture and five in manufacturing and trades (the remainder were probably
children) . 244
Yet, of that number, there were still apparently not enough
to meet all the needs of Williams .
In 1856, responding to a r equest from
Williams, his neighbor and fellow planter Thomas White sent his ma.n Cyrus,
a boot and shoe mender , to him, pr onouncing him " a man of trust and honesty and almost as much to be trusted as anybody."
245
As slavery became more and more an issue of public debate across
the country , planters in Franklin County as elsewhere became more defensive
about the mainstay of their society .
A petition, undated and unsigned,
was circulated denouncing the advocates of abolition as "maddened by
fanaticism ."
The document , called a Resolution Against Anti-Slavery
Societies and Abolitionists, labeled emancipation "wild, visionary , and
utterly impracticable . "
246
The coming of the railroad to the county pro-
duced a surprising reaction among the planters .
The Raleigh and Gaston
Railroad, the second to obtain a license in the state , was generally hailed
as a harbinger of economic good times.
Yet, when the laying of t he line
through part of western Franklin County was put to a vote in the 1830 ' s,
the voters chose overwhelmingly to keep the railroad out , fearing that
their slaves would use it as a means of escape .
247
The size and value of William P. Williams's plantation remained
fairly constant right up until the outbreak of the Civil War.
There may
have been a slight slackening off during the 1850 ' s as Williams grew older
(he was 68 in 1860) .
248
Yet , the total number of slaves held by Williams
did not fall off until emancipation a~d the end of the war .
Dur ing the
war years, Williams was listed in the Franklin County tax recor ds as
55
•
having the second largest number in Louisburg (W . A. Eaton was in first
place with a total of 70 bondsmen).
$13~000
Williams in 1862 placed a value of
on his 47 slaves, in 1863 he listed 51 at
he paid taxes on 50 slaves valued at $31 , 550 .
a sizeable loss with the Union victory.
249
$34,550~
and in 1864
Thus, Williams suffered
In 1865, however, Williams had
no adult male heir (his son Samuel had died in 1853 and his sons by his
last wife were only five and seven) and, thus at age 73, was probably
prepared for the dissolution of the plantation .
Williams lived for ten years longer.
When he died in 1875 he left
his home (Edgewood) and the property around it to his wife Emma, to go
to his son Frank Person Williams at her death.
Williams devised that
the Kinchen tract go to his wife and then to his son William Haywood
Williams.
He left all remaining lands to be placed in a trust to be over-
seen by M. S. Davis for the use of his daughter Louisa H. Barham (she
had married William Kerr Barham) .
ian of the children.
Emma was appointed executrix and guard-
The will, originally written in 1872 and with a
codicil added in 1875, was witnessed by Ellis Malone, Daniel S. Hill,
and Joseph J . Davis.
250
Emma Williams made no mention of the tracts of land in her 1887
will, leaving only household furnishings and personal items to her sons
Frank and William, her stepdaughter Louisa Barham, and her niece Emma
Hargrove.
'11 • 251
w~
Frank P . Williams was appointed executor of his mother's
By the end of 1887 , however, he was reported to be in California,
after having killed a man in Franklin County.
252
His brother apparently
s uffered some misfortunes of his own, since it has been written that both
of "their careers were short and term:f.nated disastrously."
253
The family
home, Edgewood, was purchased by Edward Timberlake, a lawyer and judge,
----- ----- ··-56
in the 1880's.
The primary heir, with the death or disappearance of the
two sons, became Louisa H. Barham.
She and her husband lived in Warrenton·
and themselves had a number of heirs through their daughter Hannah Martin
Among their 13 children was Bessie May Davis who was left by her
Davis.
grandmother Louisa Barham a miniature portrait of William P. Williams.
254
The purchaser of Williams's tract of land adjacent to the academy
and town was Asher H. Ray.
Ray, a native of the state , paid $3500 for
50 acres, which included the Person Place, on December 23 , 1845.
255
In
order to meet the cost of the purchase , Ray on the same day sold another
256 A stipulation in the deed
50- acre tract he owned to William Arendell .
from Williamswas that one-tenth of an acre be reserved on the land for
a Williams family burial ground .
Such a request was no doubt amenable
to all parties, particularly so because Williams in 1855 married Emma
Curtis, sister of Ray's wife Jane, both of whom were originally from
Vermont.
On March 14, 1850, Asher Ray insured the Person Place against fire.
In his application filed with the North Carolina Mutual Fire and Life
Insurance Company, Ray indicated the dimensions of each section of the
main house as well as the location of outbuildings on the property.
The
full policy was for the sum of $3300 although this was considerably less
than Ray's estimated value of all of the buildings and furnishings.
ing to his description the main house was:
32 x 32 . 2 Stories high with one addition 14 x 30 . 1 Story.
Also another addition of 16 x 28. 1 Story with a Piazza to
this addition 7 x 28. A Large Colonade Porch in front 10 x
16. The whole has chimneys and fire places, Stoves with pipes
pointing into flues of chimneys.
Described as being 55 feet northwest of the house were three offices,
90 feet west was the kitchen, and 15 feet south a small lumber house.
Accord-
57
•
The latter, it was noted, was "perfectly isolated" and ther efore not a
fire hazard to the main dwelling house.
One additional outbuilding men-
tioned was a smokehouse (although its relationship to the main house was
not noted).
In listing the items to be insured, Ray included his library
and, separate from an inclusive collection of household furniture, "two
fine pianoes."
The property was bounded by the Academy on the south,
the property of Thomas K. Thomas on the east, and that of William P .
Williams on the north and west .
The insurance agent was J.Hersman.
257
Asher Ray took an active part in the affairs of the community as
well as those of the academy .
When a new Masonic organization, known
as the Clinton Lodge, was incorporated in 1852, he was a charter memb er.
258
He was also one of the guiding forces behind a movement to build
and furnish a local parsonage for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1849 Ray headed the committee charged with building the structure .
In addition he contributed $50 in 1850 toward the cause, twice as much
as the next largest donors .
Among others giving money were John King
and Nicholas B. Massenburg with $25 and William P . Williams with $10.
Ray also pledged other amounts during the 1850's, including $5 toward
buying furnishings for parsonage and $3 toward meeting everyday church
expenses sueh as b e 11
·
·
r~ng~ng
and l'ghts.
•
259
Of course most of Ray's activity centered around the academy .
Fol-
lowing John Bobbitt in 1843, he and his wife Jane assumed joint principalship of both the male and female schools .
260
began operation under separate administration.
In 1851 the two schools
The Franklin Academy (for
men) was placed under the leadership of Rev . Turner M. Jones , while Mr.
and Mrs. Ray continued operating the r;emale Academy .
Eventually, in 1855,
and near the end of the Rays' time at the school , the academy, with the
58
•
approval of the legislature, was converted into Louisburg Female College .
Instruction began under that name in a new two-story brick building in
. t co 11 ege
1857 with J ames P . Ne 1 son as th e f ~rs
"d ent. 261
pres~
While the Rays operated the Female Academy, they boarded students
in their house, the Person Place .
Probably for the first time since its
construction around 1830, the large new section was filled and put to
perhaps its best possible use.
The charge for room and board was $40
per term in addition to regular tuition of $15 and extra charges of up
to $20 for music courses .
In a 1851 promotional circular for the Louisburg
Female Seminary, the location and regulations of the school and boarding
house were described:
The buildings of the Institution are situated in a beautiful
grove in the most elevated and delightful portion of the Village.
The residence of the Principal is not more than 50 yards distant,
but lying without the limits of the corporation, and entirely
remote from the noise and bustle of the Town, combining all the
real advantages of both town and country .
. . . The regulations of the boarding house are designed
to promote order and energy. Young ladies boarding in the family of the Teachers receive those offices of maternal care and
kindness which are needed for their health and comfort; though
under such restraints with regard to manners, company , and the
employment of time, as judicious parents know to be necessary
in a well conducted boarding school .
. . • The Library of the Principals, comprising a valuable
Selection of Literary and Scientific works will be accessible to 262
students of the higher classes, without extra charge.
Ray also offered to "convey pupils from Franklin Depot (in Franklinton)
to Louisburg free of charge if notified."
263
In 1850 the Person Place brimmed with life and activity .
Asher
and Jane Ray, then 33 and 32 respectively, had two children of their own.
William was born in 1842 and Emma in 1847.
born in 1851.)
(A third child, Charles, was
In addition, Jane's sister Emma, 36, and mother, Clarissa
Curtis, 62, both of them from Vermont, lived in the house.
Emma Curtis
(who married Willi.am P . Williams in 1855) was an instructor in piano and
59
•
Another instructor of guitar and drawing,
vocal music at the academy.
R. S. Fairall , age 23 and originally from Maryland, lived with the Rays.
Two of her brothers , Saul and William, were among the 20 students boarding in the house in 1850.
The 20 were evenly divided between males and
females since the Rays at that time were still in charge of both academies.
All were from North Carolina, except for the Fairalls from Maryland, and
They ranged in age from 12 to 22 , with most
one student from Alabama.
around 15 to 17.
The Rays also had seven slaves, two older males and
five females in 1850 .
These were all used in the house as servants and
. 1 s.
. h t h e census o ff"1c1a
. 1 tura1 report w1t
1 e an agr1cu
ma id s; Ray d1"d not f"l
264
Mary and Sally Person, daughters of Thomas A. Person, boarded in
the Ray's house in 1854 .
They corresponded with their sister Harriet
who lived with her parents in the Sandy Creek area north of Louisburg.
Harriet was a few years older and had attended Raleigh Female Classical
Institute in 1852 and 1853.
She chided them about idling away their time
and urged them to spend their leisure moments reading.
"I know you think
I am giving you too much advice , " she wrote, "but if you take it you will
always thank me and if you do not you will never cease to regret it . "
The younger girls were homesick and unaccustomed to being away from their
family .
Mary wrote , "Pap said if we would be smart he would let us come
home often we are smart you know."
She was pleased to report that their
Uncle Jesse "has been to see us he come last Thursday evening but never
Saying how anxious she was to
come in the house stoped at the gate."
see the family, she told Harriet that
'~r.
Ray is going to give hollyday
next Friday and you must send after us , but I know you won ' t . 11
closed by saying that "Sallie and
mys~lf
She
sleep together every night.
Sallie makes up the bed one morning and I the next . • .
11265
60
•
Responding, in a letter of January 22, 1854, Harriet wrote, "I
hope you are pleased and like making up beds, which I guess you think
is too bad."
Again, she asked them to "be kind and polite to all your
companions and above all your teachers and superiors in age."
They should
avoid unnecessary talk and bad company and "associate with no girl but
what is of the 'best stamp.'"
every appearance of evil."
A wise maxim, she advised was to "avoid
In closing, she asked them when they next
wrote, to "tell me everything," such as what part of the house they roomed
in, how it was furnished, the kind of food they were served, and the
names of teachers and students.
266
Thus, it is because of the curiosity and inquisitiveness of Harriet
Person that we have a good idea of what the Person Place was like as
a boarding house.
Mary Person, replying to her sister's request, reported
that Mr. Ray was forced to turn away boarders and furthermore . • .
I will now tell you something about our room and our room
mates, there is five beds in our room so ten girls will stay
in it, there is eight girls here now and there is two at Miss
Whitakers coming and they will stay in our room, our room is
not furnished like yours when you was at Raleigh, there is four
large beds and one trundle bed, three beds sit on one side and
two on the other and a water stand and table and a desk shelves
and all has a shelf apiece, and trunks sitting all around . .
our room is very large, we stay in the room over the parlor .
Mr. Ray hasn't got but three rooms for girls to stay in. He
has got 19 boarders.
. . • we have just got up from the table and never eat
half enough they had hogs head an greens beef potatoes and
bread and you know that was a sorry dinner . . . You must send
us something to eat.
P.S. I forgot to tell you, we are very well pleased.
The Person sisters apparently became more accustomed to the place, but
they did not fail to complain whenever possible about the schoolwork.
In 1855, her second year at the academy, Sally wrote to a Mr. Southerland
that "tis so tiresome and confining to be obliged to stay in school all
day."
She reported to him on her courses in music , arithmetic, and
61
•
French which she had dropped ("rid of its many vexations and perplexities"), and invited him to come to the examinations and meet the girls
The rigors of German were no more congenial to Sally Person,
there.
given the report that she relayed to her sister.
to her,
'~r.
Harriet wrote back
Ray must have been taken in badly when he got Dr . Mann for
a great German teacher he had better be more careful in the future how
11 267
he gets German teachers .
The disrespectful attitude toward their teachers found expression
in the classroom as well as in letters home .
H. A. Adams, an instructor
at the academy, wrote to Thomas A. Person about the conduct of his children
in school in the late 1850's (by which time he would have had both sons
and daughters enrolled).
Addressing his message to "Respected Sir,"
Adams wrote that it was "truly painful" for him to be forced to bring
up the subject.
Too often, he said, the Person children replied with
impolite answers such as "I won't!" and "while passing from the room
such expressions frequently greet my ears also:
'mean' , 'no account ,'
'running distracted for Mr . Davis, ' and the like . "
Adams said he could
not tolerate " such insults (and they are nothing else) " and offered
either to send them home or " punish them as I see fit. "
268
The Mr. Davis whom Adams referred to was Matthew S. Davis , a UNC
graduate , who took charge of the Male Academy in 1857 and continued to
serve the academies or college the rest of his life.
Be was president
of Louisburg Female College at the time of his death in 1906.
269
An
advertisement announcing the hiring of Davis appeared in the Raleigh
Register on January 2, 1856 .
It emphasized that he had "selected
teaching not as a stepping- stone to some other calling, but as a perma11 270
.
ment pr o f ess~on.
The notice was signed by A. H. Ray , President ,
. .. ..,. . .~
·- .. , ...
........... .........
#.-..-~
~ . -...&'I·---- · --
.. . . . . . . ... . ... -·. . . . .,
62
•
and Daniel S. Hill, Secretary, for the trustees of the academy.
It was
to be, however, the last such notice to which Ray ' s name was affixed.
To judge from a letter written by one of the Person sisters he had been
sick for several months .
On August 3 , 1855, Sally Person wrote to her
friend Mr . Southerland :
I like my teachers very much. I don ' t think they are too
strict, but enough so. M4 Ray the principle is in bad health,
he has not been to school for the last two days, I fear for
h im, as he looks badly . There are five teachers besides him, 271
the rest are all ladies . . .
Asher Ray made out his will on January 5 , 1856 , only three days
after the ad appeared in the Raleigh newspaper.
He was only 38 years
old when he wrote that he was "feeble in body , but of sound and disposing
mind."
He left all of his estate after his debts were paid to his wife
Jane, out of which she was to support their children , William, Emma,
and Charles, up to age 21.
He specifically requested that she should
"provide each of said children with the best education that the schools
or colleges of this state can afford."
Should his wife remarry or move
outside the county , Ray devised that she would still receive one-third
of his estate, with the remaining two-thirds to be divided equally among
the children.
N. B. Massenburg, authorized to be co-executor along with
Jane Ray , was empowered to sell or divide the estate when such would become necessary.
dren.
Likewise he would also be appointed guardian of the chil-
Each child , as he or she r eached 21, would rece ive their portion
of the estate .
Finally, Ray devised that his mother-in-law , Clarissa
Curtis, be provided for by the estate.
272
Ray died between January and June of 1856.
273
An inventory of his
personal property, co-signed by Jane Ray and N. B. Massenburg, was returned in the June session of court.
He died owing money to a number
63
of individuals but with a great many more owing money to him.
These were
divided into good and bad debts, the latter apparently those on which
payment was not expected.
Among the debts owed to the estate, one on
which the executors did expect payment, was the amount of $43.50 due from
William P. Williams.
The extensive inventory of Ray's belongings included
Among
nine slaves, livestock, tools, household furnishings, and the like.
the more extraordinary items were a mahogany secretary and bookcase, a
silver watch, an orrery, tin and wooden safes, and four pianos with
stools.
274
Louisburg Female College opened in the fall of 1857 with Professor
f.1rst p res1.d ent. 275
.
J ames P . Ne 1 son as 1ts
The academies also remained
in operation , with Matthew S. Davis as the head of the Louisburg Male
Seminary and Jane A. Ray, "a lady of eminent capacity and long experience
as a teac h er, II
•
~
c h arge o f t h e Fema 1e
276
.
sem~ary.
Announcements re-
garding the appointments and openings ran in the Louisburg and Raleigh
papers in June and July of 1857.
Yet, by the end of the year, Jane Ray
had died , at 39, the same age at which her husband had died the previous
year. 277
An inventory of her estate and an account of its sale was filed
by N. B. Massenburg on December 14, 1857.
278
Two separate sales of the
property of Asher and Jane Ray were held, the first on January 5-6, 1858,
and the second on June 21, 1858.
Literally thousands of items, everything
in the house and on the grounds, were sold to the highest bidder.
Three
complete accounts of to whom the item or items were sold, and the price
they paid for it, were compiled.
The goods ranged from a buggy, beds,
wash stands, carpets, cows, pigs, lumber, and wheat to items as small
and particular as pencils, jars of citron jam, onion seed, peaches, a
bag of rags, and a bag of turkey wings.
The total proceeds from the
64
three days of sales were $3104.04.
People from all over the county and
area were attracted to the house on the days of the sales.
James Nelson,
president of the college next door, bought several lots of Ray's books.
William P. Williams, from just up the road, bought a U. S. map for $4 ,
a scythe for $2, a small stove for $5.25, and a bunch of feathers for
$4.25.
Thomas A. Person, from the Sandy Creek area, bought a set of
windowblinds for $8 . 50 and a ladder for one dollar .
Even Asher Ray's
oldest son, William, bought some items (he was apparently charged so that
the accounts could be kept straight).
He bought his father's silver watch
for $25 and a group of books, including Shakespeare, a dictionary, and
Boswell's Johnson, for $8 . 05.
279
Before selling Ray's eight slaves, N. B. Massenburg inquired as
to the local court's opinion .
With their backing, he declared that they
were "all likely to depreciate in value, the women not being child-bearing . "
He proceeded with plans to sell them by placing ads in the local paper
declaring that they would be "to hire" on January 1, 1859.
(In the same
notice, he stated his plans to apply to the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad
for the reissue of stock certificates in Asher Ray's name which had been
mislaid . )
280
At the sale the eight slaves brought a total of $10,492.50.
Added to all the other proceeds derived for Ray's estate, a total of over
$40,000 was put into guardian accounts for William Ray, then 17, Emma
Ray~
12, and Charles
Ray~
8 years old.
281
All three Ray children continued to attend Louisburg Academy .
William P. Williams was appointed by Massenburg as guardian for Emma.
She remained with the Williams family through the 1860's.
Each of the
three children had extensive annual expense accounts filed by their guardians against their parents' estate.
For
example~
in
1859~
Williams was
65
paid $120 for 12 months board for Emma, as well as various amounts for
school and personal needs.
large family.
The two sons lived with Massenburg and his
Nicholas B. and Lucy Massenburg had five children of their
own and three other wards besides the Rays in 1860.
Massenburg, then
54, had farmed land averaging about 750 acres since the 1820's and owned
45 slaves in 1860.
As executor of the estate as well as guardian,
Massenburg paid taxes on the annual interest from the estate and accounts.
Lucy Massenburg made some clothes for the sons, for which she received
credit against their account.
All of the Ray children and their guardians
kept receipts for a variety of goods and services, for example, repairing
a pair of boots, school supplies, and for other items of clothing.
Pay-
.
f or v i s1ts,
.
. .
.
ment was mad e to J oe 1 K1ng
med 1c1ne,
an d extract1ng
teet h . 284
On
December 14, 1860, one of the Person sisters wrote to a relative
that she had seen "our friend Mr. Ray a few days since, he seems to be
enjoying life finely but I guess if he could have the pleasure of living
with our Cousin Ella some he might truly be able to exclaim .
William Ray would have been 18 years old in 1860.
On
May 20, 1861, he
enlisted in the Confederate Army, and was discharged for a disability
. .
f rom wh.1ch h e apparent 1y d.1ed . 286
in August o f 1862 , an 1n]ury
In her
1865 will, his grandmother, Clarissa Curtis, devised that her greatgrandson William Ray, son of her deceased grandson William E. Ray, should
receive $250 when he reached age 14.
niture to Emma Ray.
Curtis also left $250 and some fur-
287
In the late 1860's, the guardianship of Emma and Charles passed
into other hands following the death of N. B. Massenburg in 1867.
Junius Ballard, appointed guardian in .his stead, was given all rights
to draw on the trusts set up by Asher and Jane Ray .
In submitting a
283
•
66
schedule of expenses to the court, however, Ballard complained the fund
for their support was already under $3000 and would soon be insufficient
for their maintenance.
The war, he explained, had caused many debtors
to call in their money and thus "their means have been greatly reduced."
By 1871 Ballard had also died, and Thomas C. Horton then agreed to become
the legal guardian of Emma and Charles, then 20 and 18, respectively.
They were both then living with relatives in Marshall, Texas (near
Galveston).
When Emma reached 21, her share of the fund came to just
over $200.
The receiver handling it, W. H. Spencer, authorized it to
be paid to an aunt.
288
At the same time that the personal items and slaves were sold by
Ray's executors, provision was also made for the disposal of his property and house.
The overseers of the estate filed papers with the court
describing the tract and recommending that it be kept intact and sold:
. . we are of the opinion that it is to the interest of
their heirs that the same [tract] should be sold--the Dwelling
House is large and the improvements are valuable and the tract
contains only about fifty acres of land. We are of the opinion
that an actual partition could not be had in metes and .bounds
without serious inconvenience and very great prejudice to the
infants of the deceased.
William E., Emma W., and Charles H. Ray were described as "tenants-incommon" of the house.
Forty days prior to its sale advertisement of the
fact was posted at the Courthouse door in Louisburg and at "three or more
public places in Franklin County and also in one or more newspapers."
289
The lot was put up to public auction on June 21, 1858, the same day as
the sale of the remaining items belonging to the Rays.
The highest bid-
der on that day, with a bid of $4925 for the 48 acres, was Thomas A. Person
of the Sandy Creek area, father of the sisters who had boarded with the
Rays a few years earlier . 290
Thus, the house came to be owned by the
67
•
Person family in whose hands it would remain for 112 years .
•
CHAPTER IV
PERSON OWNERSHIP, 1858-1970
The Person family, which has played an important role in the history
of Franklin County and of North Carolina , has been traced back to the
arrival of John Person (ca. 1630-1707) in Isle of Wight County, Virginia,
in 1648 .
His family in England was centered mostly in Somerset and
Gloll;cester counties.
The name , sometimes with an " s " added at the end,
was pronounced as though
it were "parson" in the colonial period, and
thus was sometimes spelled that way.
the Blackwater River in Virginia.
he had only one
so~who
John Person had a plantation on
Through his marriage to Frances Cook,
took his name.
John Person, Jr. (ca. 1660-1738)
acquired several tracts of land in adjacent Surry County but continued
to live where his father had settled in I sle of Wight.
He was a vestry-
man at the Old Brick Church there at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Through his marriage to Mary Partridge, John Person, Jr. had eleven
children, eight sons and three daughters .
291
At least four of the sons left Isle of Wight County and settled
in North Carolina.
The first, Samuel Person, held a land grant in
Perquimans precinct of Albemarle County in 1716.
292
The second was William
Person who settled in the area which became Granville County.
Upon its
formation he was appointed in 1746 as the first sheriff of the county.
William Person held as many as 69 different tracts of land in the county.
One of his sons was Thomas -Person (1733-1800), who was in time known as
General Thomas Person, and was one of the state's most significant
69
•
political leaders in the Revolutionary period.
As a young man, Person
was a surveyor and was active as a Regulator, being imprisoned at
Hillsborough during the revolt.
Person became a member of the Assembly
in 1766 and remained in politics leading the Anti-Federalists in the state,
until his death .
He played a key role in obtaining the charter for the
state University in 1789 and put up the initial money for Person Hall
on the Chapel Hill campus.
His landholdings extended across several
counties in north central North Carolina.
Though married, he had no
c h ~.ld ren. 293
The third and fourth sons of John Person, Jr . to move to North Carolina
settled in the part of Granville County which became Bute in 1764.
Person named 36 slaves in his Bute County will filed in 1772 .
294
Benjamin
His
brother Francis Person (ca. 1697-1758) made his initial purchase of land
in
the state in Granville County on the north side of Fishing Creek from
James Saintsing in 1750. 295
had 12 children.
By his marriage to Mary Turner, Francis Person
One of his sons was Jesse Person (1747-1806), who lived
in Warren County in 1790.
296
He and his wife Amy had several children,
the youngest of whom they named Presley.
297
Presley Carter Person (ca. 1785- 1847) moved to Franklin County around
1805.
The following year he bought 760 acres "on both sides of Sandy
Creek" from John Myrick.
Arrington. 299
298
On October 22 , 1807, he married Mary
Presley Person's land and slaveholdings increased gradually
after that time to over 5000 acr es and 60 slaves .
300
In addition to main-
taining one of the largest plantations in Franklin County, Person also
held public office , first as county trustee and then as sherif£.
301
1826 he bought what he called the "mansion house" two miles north of
Franklinton and began to acquire land in that area .
The house where
In
•
70
Person lived with his family until his death, was built by Ben Hawkins
in 1820.
The financial burden created by its construction led Hawkins
to kill himself just before its completion.
The house, one of the largest
and most elaborate structures in antebellum Franklin County, was torn
down in the 1950's.
302
of special occasions.
In its day the house was witness to its share
For example, in 1843, Presley's brother Jesse,
a lawyer in Louisburg, invited Senator Willie Person Mangum to the marriage of Presley's youngest daughter at the home . 303
Presley Person's only will was made out in 1832, fifteen years before his death.
In it he made provisions for the disposal of several
tracts of land, including some in Tennessee, but not for that on which
the family home was situated .
304
At the time of his death, Presley Person
owned 5663 acres in Franklin County--3405 acres surrounding his home and
2258 on Sandy Creek.
living children.
His slaves and acreage were divided among his nine
(His wife Mary had died in 1846.)
the oldest child, acted as executor of the estate.
Thomas A. Person,
The eight other heirs
were Willie Person, Mary Person Montgomery, Joseph A. Person, Levin R.
Person, Mourning Person Harris, Presley C. Person, Jr., Anthony Person,
and We ld on E • Person.
305
(A tent h c h 1.ld , J osh ua, h a d d.1e d ear1.1er. )
Presley Person's landholdings were so extensive that he was able to leave
a sizeable plantation for each of his nine children .
at least six slaves worth around $3000.
306
Each also received
Their father had also in-
structed, in his 1832 will, that the rest of his property in Warren County
and in Tennessee be sold, with the money resulting from the sale to be
equally distributed among his heirs.
307
Thomas Arrington Person (October 8, 1808-March 12, 1867) lived with
his wife and their six children, all under the age of ten, on the Sandy
_....._.................
------· ·-·----- --···--·-·
·-~··
.... -··
--· ...... ·-·---·- ..-- --·------··- -
71
•
Creek tract in 1847.
In the division of his father ' s property in that
year. it was stated that "the Land whereon the said Thomas now lives of
some three or four hundred acres which will go as a part of his distribution share" had been in the son's hands for several years.
In addi-
tion he received about 700 additional acres in the division for a total
estate of 1129 acres
in
1847 . 308
Thomas Person married Abiah Culpepper
(May 27, 1810-August 7, 1893) around 1833.
named Matthew, was born in 1834 . )
(Their first child, a son
Abiah was the daughter of Matthew and
Abiah Culpepper and had moved to Franklin County from her native Nash
County.
The young Abiah had first come to Louisburg in 1818 when she
began attending the Female Academy.
is no record of her father's death.
309
Her mother died in 1846, but there
On September 17, 1836 , however,
Matthew Culpepper made Thomas Person his legal representative in Franklin
310 Although a lawyer,
County through a power of attorney arrangement.
Person apparently did not devote much attention to the practice (certainly
not as much as his uncle Jesse who was a prominent attorney in Louisburg
at the time and under whom Thomas would likely have been apprenticed).
Instead, he devoted considerably more of his efforts toward farming.
With
the land he received from his father's estate in 1847, he had a sizeable
acreage under cultivation.
By 1850, he owned 35 slaves and raised wheat,
corn, oats, and livestock .
By 1860 Person was devoting most of his efforts
toward growing tobacco .
311
Conditions were not always so favorable and prospects so bright .
In 1839 , before he r eceived the extra acreage from his father, Thomas
A. Person got a letter from his brother Levin in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Levin wrote about how well he had done financially in the past year and
further stated:
"I would advise you to leave North Carolina and come
72
to a place where you can make a living you will perish where you are now
is the time for you to make something it is not worthwhile to say anything
" He closed by giving his love to Abiah and the children .
more .
Thomas Person proved his brother wrong .
Yet,
By staying in Franklin County
and becoming a planter, he did quite well for himself and his family.
Receipts and accounts for the 1840's and 1850's reveal that their economic
and social standing, if not quite as high as that of William P. Williams,
was just one level below.
For example, in 1848 when carpets were still
a relative luxury, a cousin wrote to a member of the family, "Tell Aunt
'Biah that her carpet is done."
In the late 1840's and early 1850 ' s,
they received invitations to dancing parties, social parties, and balls
at Tolliver Terrell's, Jones' White Sulphur Springs, Sandy Creek Mill,
Male and Female Academies, and John Barnes's Hotel in Louisburg. 312
Thomas Person apparently had a reputation as a man from whom one could
buy a bottle of brandy.
In 1841 Ellis Malone, a local physician, pur-
chased from him 21 quarts .
him this note:
313
As late as 1864, Alfred Perry relayed to
"Sir, I learn you have some brandy--Please send me a quart
as my wife will need [it] in a few days--"
314
Person made occasional
loans of money to individuals in the county, but not as frequently as
some of his neighbors .
He also took an interest in affairs of the com-
munity, for example, as a road overseer in 1839 and as one of four wardens
of the poor in 1844. 315
It seems reasonable to assume that Thomas A. Person bought Asher
Ray's 48 acres on June 21, 1858, in order to be closer to where his
ren were
child~
{~g to schoo1. 316 Wh ereas t h e h ouse f ormer1y h a d b een a
go ~
boarding house operated by the principals of the academies, it became
after 1858 the residence of Person, his wife, and children, ranging in
73
•
age from six to twenty.
As part of the purchase agreement, Person made
a down payment and filed a note with Thomas R. Thomas, clerk of the equity
court, promising payment of $2462.50 or one-half of the total amount would
be made two years after the date of the sale.
317
The year 1858 had been a good one financially for Person.
In a
letter of May 14, 1858, a tobacco dealer said that his type of tobacco
was in demand and would bring a good price.
Numerous receipts later in
the year indicate that the prices for his 400- pound bales of cotton were
in the $500-600 range.
Hence he was able to not only purchase the prop-
erty, but also to buy a numbe r of items to be used in remodeling and furnishing the new place.
These included different lengths of boards,
weather boarding, and nails, purchased from A. W. Arrington throughout
1858.
Another account with the merchant firm of Ballard and Massenburg
indicated the purchase of cloth and carpet binding.
Still other bills
were for tables, wine glasses, wash stands, bedsteads, steak dishes, brass
candle sticks, dinner plates, tumblers, tea spoons, and the like.
Person
also paid John Foster $180 for services rendered (possibly for carpentry
work) in 1858 and 1859.
318
In 1860, for purposes of the federal census, Thoma s A. Person estimated the value of his real estate at $19,368 and, of his personal estate,
at $36,000.
319
For local tax purposes, he listed two tracts of land,
the Sandy Creek spread of 814 acres and the town lot of 24 acres (he had
purchased twice as many acres but apparently only half were subject to
the tax).
The cultivated land was taxed at the rate of $3.50 per acre,
while the property on which the house was located was assessed at a value
of $10 per acre in 1859 and $25 per
a~re
in 1860.
Person paid additional
taxes on his carriage, a harp, a piano valued at $150, and various other
•
74
320
.
f urn1.ture.
During the war years, Person's daughters continued to attend the
Female Seminary and College, then run by James Southgate .
The regula-
tions of the female students by 1866 were quite strict and made it clear
that town property, including the Person home, was off limits to them.
They could not go beyond the college grounds unless accompanied by an
officer of the institution and were then limited to one shopping trip
per month.
No pupil was allowed to spend a night in town without writ-
ten permission from their parents.
No package or letter could be del-
ivered to them by a town resident; all communications had to be through
an officer of the college .
Finally, all defacing of college property
(not to mention that in town where they were not allowed) was forbidden.
321
The Persons' youngest son Joseph attended the local academy for
some time and then transferred to a military academy at Hillsborough.
The second oldest son Jesse enrolled at UNC at the age of 19 in 1860.
He wrote home, telling his "Pap" that he had bought furniture for his
room in Chapel Hill.
By late 1861, he was writing from Manassas and asked
his parents to send him a sabre, a pistol, blankets, and some ham.
He
also asked if they could spare the services of a boy to attend to him
and his horse.
In his last letter home on June 2, 1863, he complained
that rations were still scarce ("we can't get vegetables for love or money")
and that he feared the worst was yet to come ("the longer the war lasts,
the meaner the people get") .
He had risen from private to first lieuten-
ant in Company E of the First North Carolina Cavalry and had participated
in action around Richmond, at the siege of Harper's Ferry, and at Brandy
Station.
He was "shot through the heSrd" at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.
A posthumous degree from the University was conferred an him in 1911.
322
.
•
..-
.
......_
---- -·
-...-.........
----........................
_._
___
.,.,__""'.._
....-.. .. ,_...
'-
.. _....
~
_
....
_ _,
.........
......._.__.
__
- · · · · -~-.--
..- ...··-·- ·--- --
75
Two other family members, another son and a son-in-law, were killed
in the war.
Thomas Person, Jr . was 16 when he wrote home describing the
formation of a company of 25 boys his age who drilled with guns every
day:
• . . we will soon be ready to go if we are called on . I
think the most of us would do better business in war than in
going back to school. What we learn at school the Yankees will
knock out of us before we can turn around if we do not look
sharp.
He enlisted on July 20, 1863, and died at Warrenton on October 20 of the
323
· ·
·
. d f our d ays ear 1·~er at Aub urn, V ~rg~~a.
same year, f rom woun d s rece~ve
Harriet Person married Theophilus Perry on February 9, 1860, in Franklin
County.
324
She soon after moved with him to Harrison County, Texas.
Having heard of the deaths of Jesse and Thomas, she wrote to her mother,
in words that seem today inadequate to what must have been her feelings,
"How sorrow is added to sorrow, what a shock to hear of the death of two
brothers."
Then, on April 17, 1864, her husband, a captain, died at
Mansfield, Louisiana, of wounds received a week earlier at the Battle
of Pleasant Hill.
r i ed .
Harriet returned to Franklin County and later remar-
325
Two often-told stories involve the part played by the people of
Franklin County in the Civil War.
The first is that the Confederate flag
was first flown in Louisburg, having been designed by Major Orren R. Smith
of the town.
326
The second involves the Person Place and the role it
played when Sherman's troops camped in Louisburg on their way home in
1865.
The story, like the tale of the night Aaron Burr stopped in Louis-
burg, has been retold and embellished to the point that legend has been
accepted as fact.
As it is related,
~he
Persons and other people in town,
having been told of the approach of Sherman's infamous troops, put their
76
valuables in a secret pantry in the loft of the older portion of the house.
They then sealed the room by plastering i t over to give the appearance
of a wall.
Thus , the sealed pantry was impossible for the Union soldiers
to detect from inside or outside the house.
327
Today there is no evi-
dence of the sealed room; it has long since been opened.
However , accor d-
ing to two residents of the house in the 1930's, the room was still plastered over when they lived there .
.
t~ons
Their landlord left explicit instruc-
. s h ould rema1n
. c 1 ose d . 328
t h at 1t
Reason would dictate that the
townspeople, in order to have retrieved their goods, would have had to
reopen it once the troops left.
The best estimation is that the room
was then resealed out of convenience, thus leading to t he creation of
the legend.
Nothing in the letters of the Person family indicates that the upstairs room was put to such use.
It is clear from their correspondence,
however, that members of the family were made aware of the rapacity of
Sherman ' s forces and of their expected arrival in Louisburg.
Hugh Perry
wrote to Thomas Person on April 3 , 1865 , "If Sherman will come out and
fight, I think he would be whipped
A great many outrageous dep-
redations have been committed upon the citizens by the soldiers."
Samuel
Person, another of the family ' s sons, wrote to his sister from Weldon,
North Carolina on March 27 that the Yankees could be expected through
t here very soon.
approached .
The family even took in extra boarders as Sherman
In a letter of March 20, 1865, L. Blake asked that he be
t aken in so that he might avoid the Yankees whom he thought would pass
his way .
"I dislike very much to leave home but I t hink it will be safer
to do so , " he wrote, " If you do not feel willing to take anyone don ' t
hesitate to tell me so.
I know you have a large family and it may
77
inconvenience you a great deal. " 329
An excellent account of the effects of the war and Union occupation upon Louisburg is found in the diary of Anna L. Fuller.
She was
the wife of Jones Fuller, a town merchant , and the mother of Edwin Fuller,
the author of Sea-Gift, a novel based on his time spent at UNC .
330 In
the days after Vicksburg and Gettysburg she wrote that events " cast their
shadow over many homes in the community."
After Chancellorsville she
bel ieved "this is a dark and gloomy time for our beloved Confederacy . "
Yet her greatest despair was upon hearing in February of 1865 of the
approach of Sherman's army.
"In a few months the trial may come to us
when we shall have to given Edwin, our precious boy, up."
He was then
16 and attending the University. 331
The days spent by Sherman's army in Raleigh, by which time the war
was for all purposes over and their desire to punish the South played
out, have been called an "opera bouffe."
332
First Zeb Vance , together
with William Graham and David Swain requested "suspension of hostilities"
and " final termination of the war. "
Then, Sherman received a committee
made up of Ellis Malone, Daniel S. Hill, and Jones Fuller (Anna's husband)
bearing a resolution sent by Mayor W. H. Pleasants surrendering the town
of Louisburg .
General Sherman ' s initial response is said to have been
"Louisburg--hell--what and where is it?"
(Of that statement E. H. Davis
wrote that "such abysmal ignor ance on the part of a leader sank him even
lower in the es t imate of the committee and those whom they represented.")
Sherman did , however, then relay a r esponse to the mayor, saying , "I do
not think you will be molested in any manner .
,334
His words did lit tle to allay the fears of Anna Fuller , who called
it only a "verbal promise" and wrote we
a r e threatened with invasion."
333
78
"I never looked forward to anything with more fearful apprehension than
I do t o their coming among us," she wrote .
' ~e
On March 26 she indicated,
want to secure some of our valuables but know not how or where to
Then just a few days before their arrival , she reported:
secret them."
We have been planning all day how to secret our valuables .
Tonight Sister Mary and myself have carr ied several [loads] of
things to what we consider a place of safety . I fear some evil
eye was upon u s, to betray us, I hope not .
The hiding place, which Anna Fuller was just as fear ful to reveal in her
diary, could have been in the Person Place although there is no specific
indication.
She did not put everything in the same location for she wrote
on April 20 that she "made Atlas take my box of silver and go with it
I do not know where. "
335
In other towns that fell in Sherman's path,
people hid similar items in cellars , woods, fence corners, springs , and
streambeds .
336
The portion of Sherman ' s army which came into Louisburg was commanded
by General John A. Logan, later an Illinois senator and vice- presidential
candidate with James Blaine in 1884.
grounds using all space
av~ilable .
They occupied the college and academy
The old Academy building was used
for the storage of corn, so much as to almost wreck it.
337
An account
by one of Sherman ' s officers bears the tone of the narration of a travelogue.
"Louisburg is an old, beautiful place
trade and enterprise," Captain George Pepper wrote.
a town of considerable
The buildings
" though not elegant are substantial and indicate both liberality and
taste. "
riotic ."
The people, he found, were "intelligent, industrious , and patAfter talking with several planters, he described them as
"honestly and earnestly in sympathy with the anti-slavery policy of the
administration • • • they deeply deplore the murder of the President."
The troops a rrived in Louisburg on April 29 and some of the contingent
338
79
did not l eave until late July.
Not surprisingly, the tone of Anna Fuller's diary was far different
from Pepper's account.
"I have not the language to describe the horrors,"
the reality is upon us, that we are a subjugated people."
she wrote, ".
The chief emotion she felt was "indignation," although she admitted "they
have behaved very orderly, so far."
The college grounds, formerly the
pride of the community, were "now polluted by the tread of our vindictive
foe . . • it is a disgusting, revolting sight and the odor arising from
it is loathsome ."
The Union soldiers, she found, were "very conunon and
very wicked and profane."
The chief itmnediate effect of the occupation
was the emancipation of their slaves .
Hearing of the army's approach,
the Negroes seemed "wild with excitement , they expect now to be set free,
and never more do any work, but poor deluded creatures, they are mistaken ,"
Anna Fuller wrote.
"Lucy left this afternoon;' she wrote on May 7, thus
creating a situation she expected to be "greatly to the discomfort of
both parties."
A number of those who had gone to the Yankees could be
expected to soon return asking the pardon of their masters, she believed.
339
The events and consequences of the occupation affected the Persons
as much, if not more so, than the Fullers.
The encampment on the school
grounds doubtless spilled over onto their property.
which Thomas A. Person owned in 1864 did leave.
with the family.
their work .
Most of the 28 slaves
A few did, however, stay
Record exists of several former slaves being paid for
Rose, who had been with them for many years, was paid begin-
ning in 1866 about $5 a month for cooking.
also paid in 1866 and 186 7.
340
Peter, Delia, and Simon were
In 1870 the family had two adult servants,
listed as Rose Person, 60, and Ann Person, 30, plus three black children,
Estha, Jack, and John.
Ten years later, Rose and Rody Evans, 20, still
80
did the cooking and two black children, Martha Malone, 10, and Emerson
Person, 12, lived with them.
from the main house.
341
They lived in servants' quarters separate
The cooking was done in the kitchen attached to
the back side of the bouse.
Thomas A. Person, as his father had done before him, served as
sheriff of Franklin County.
In 1865, he was appointed to the office by
the Provisional Magistrate and authorized to oversee the collection of
public taxes, including the county poor and school taxes. 342
Person had
suffered an illness of some type, perhaps a stroke, in 1864.
In that
year, a cousin wrote to Harriet, "I heard this evening your Pa was down."
In another letter one of her sisters wrote that "the doctor says the attack
has passed but he has no use of his arm or leg as yet."
343
He apparently
did recover from the attack but died two years later, on March 17, 1867,
at the age of 58, without leaving a will.
344
Thus the settlement of his
estate extended over several years, and the division of his property was
not finalized until 1890.
His widow Abiah relinquished her right to quali-
fy as administrator for her husband's estate, yielding to her oldest son
Matthew P. Person on June 11, 1867.
345
At the September session of court,
he filed an inventory of his father's estate, indicating that he owned
four tracts of land totaling 2040 acres, various tools, livestock, and
furnishings.
346
Matthew Person continued to oversee administration of
the estate through the 1870's.
In 1870 he was late in filing an annual
statement of account regarding the estate, and was ordered to do so within
20 days by Probate Judge R. H. Timberlake.
In 1877 he leased the tract
of land in Nash County toT. F. York for a period of five years.
347
Initial agreement among all the heirs .as to the division of Thomas A.
Person ' s property was not made until 1880 .
- - - - - - - -- - - - -
----
-
81
In addition to his widow Abiah, Person had eight surviving children
as heirs (his sons Jesse and Thomas had died in the Civil War) .
were, in order of birth:
They
Matthew, Sallie, Harriet, Temperance, Martha,
Samuel, Prudence, and Joseph.
Matthew P. Person , the oldest (born on
October 7, 1834) and executor of his father's estate, was also the first
to move away from home , sometime prior to 1850.
He served in the Civil
War for four years, the latter part of which he spent in a brigade band .
After the war, he farmed on the 487-acre tract of his father's near
Kittrell, growing primarily cotton.
He served as a magistrate and was
active in the affairs of the Democratic Party of the county in the 1890's.
He died on April 2, 1898 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Louisburg.
348
Harriet, born in 1840, married Theophilus Perry in 1860 and moved
to Texas .
After his death in 1864, she returned home, where she lived
with her mother , four sisters, and two younger brothers .
From January
1, 1869 to August 20, 1870, Harriet kept a journal describing household
chores and comings and goings around the Person home.
was married again, to Jordan F . Jones.
349
By 1880 Harriet
Known as Colonel Jones, her hus-
band operated a grist mill, near Louisburg in the late 1860's .
During
the 1870's, he moved his operation, which included the grist mill, a
cotton spinning mill, and eventually a general store, to Laurel , 12 miles
northeast of town.
350
Following Harriet ' s death, Jones married her ol der
sister Sallie (born in 1838).
351
Their sister Mary Temperance, born in 1844 and known as Tempie,
marr ied William P. Montgomery.
They lived on the property north of
Franklinton once owned by Presley Person and in time came to own the large
house there.
There, W. P . Montgomery, known as Billy, farmed, operated
a gin mill, and, particularly late in the nineteenth century, bred horses .
82
•
They very often corresponded with and visited their kin in Louisburg .
352
Such was also the case with Tempie ' s younger sister Martha , born in 1846
and cal led ''Mart" in letters , after her marriage to Henry Vaughan in 1867.
By 1911 , when she made out her will, she had since remarried and was then
Martha Harriss.
353
Samuel Person, born in 1847, attended the local academy in 1862,
transferred to Hillsborough Military Academy in 1864, and saw some service
in
the field before the end of the war .
After the war he lived at home
for several years and then built a home and settled with his wife Mary
on the Sandy Creek tract of land that had belonged to his father. Samuel
354 Next in
died on August 19, 1911 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery .
line in the family was Prudence, born in 1848, who eventually inherited
all interest in the house.
as J . J., born in 1851 .
The youngest of the family was Joseph, known
Like Samuel, he attended the military academy at
Hillsborough but was too young to have taken part in the fighting.
By
1870 he was a clerk in the local dry goods store operated by Barrow and
Pleasants .
In that capacity, J. J . Person was also local agent for the
''Woman ' s Friend Steam Washer" and the " Family Favorite Sewing Machine. "
355
Later in the 1870 ' s, he opened another store together with John H.
Upperman.
Though he continued to follow the merchant business the rest
of his life, he also did some farming and milling .
356
By his marriage
to Mary Mason around 1872, J. J. Person had four children, Thomas , Bertie ,
Eugene , and Arthur .
He was listed as the primary head of household in
the Per son home in 1880.
Also living in the house in that year were his
mother Abiah and his sisters Martha, Sally , and Prudence, all then in
. 1 e. 357
. t hi r t i es an d s1ng
t h e1r
In 1880 all of the heirs of Thomas A. Person agreed upon how to
83
split up the interests in t he four tracts of land owned by their father.
Abiah Person received the homeplace, containing about 50 acres, as her
dower for as long as she should live .
In return she relinquished all
claims to dower for the three remaining tracts owned by her late husband:
756 acres in Nash County known as the Culpepper tract, 814 acres called
the Sandy Creek tract , and 488 acres near Kittrell known as the Hayesville
tract.
Sallie, Martha , and Prudence received the Culpepper tract while
Harriet, Samuel, and J . J. received the Sandy Creek tract and Tempie and
Matthew got the Hayesville tract.
All heirs mentioned plus the spouses
of those who were married, a total of 13 parties, signed the agreement
on September 13, 1880 .
other tracts.
By doing so they relinquished all claims to the
Matthew and Samuel specifically requested that, in any
future division of the tracts to which they received a share, the residences in which they then lived be allotted to them.
358
Further division of the homeplace property was settled upon in 1890 .
Abiah, J . J., Tempie and her husband, Sallie and her husband, Matthew,
and Prudence Person petitioned the court for a partition of the property .
All were described as "tenants in connnon" on the tract .
The primary pur-
pose of the agreement was to allot to J. J . a portion of the land on which
he could build a house.
A second purpose was to state the interest which
each heir would have in the estate of their mother .
Abiah , it was stated,
was entitled to 7/8 of the full tract during her lifetime, "said tract
having been attached to her as her dower."
Next it was stated that she
had conveyed to J . J . " for a valuable consideration" 1/8 interest in the
tract.
After her death, Sallie, Matthew, and Prudence would each retain
1/4 interest in the full tract , with the remaining 1/8 to go to Tempie.
The petitioners asked that J. J. be allotted his 1/8 interest on the
84
•
northern side of the property, fronting Main Street for 210 feet.
Appar-
ently he had already begun to have a house built there since they further
requested that "the improvements which have been made thereon by J. J.
Attorney
Barrow since the 1st of April 1890" not be taken into account.
for the petitioners was W. M. Person, a Louisburg lawyer and their first
cousin.
Appointed as commissioners to set apart and allot all of the
shares were 0. L. Ellis , George H. Cooper , and R. F. Yarborough.
The full tract was found
was conducted and a plat drawn by W. N. Fuller .
to contain 50 3/4 acres.
A survey
J . J . was allotted 14 1/4 acres valued at $500.
The remaining 36 1/2 acres were valued at $3500.
359
The division of the property in 1890 was in effect a cor ollary to
the terms of Abiah Person's will as set down on May 13, 1884.
she first gave to Prudence her piano.
All property other than the piano
was to be equally divided among Sallie, Martha, and Prudence.
F. Jones was named executor of the estate.
been a widow for 27 years.
Therein
360
Jordan
By 1884 Abiah Person had
The large, old house that her husband had
bought in 1858 had long since come to be identified more with her than
with him.
361
She apparently was held in high regard by friends , neighbors,
and relatives alike.
A niece wrote to one of the Person daughters:
"My
best love to darling Aunt Abiah and tell her that she is much thought
of by me as ever • . . if I were to see her coming Oh! how pleased I would
be, please do kiss her sometimes for me."
362
In January 1892, Abiah Person became ill and her childr en gathered
at her bedside.
Martha stayed with her around the clock .
Writing home
to her husband, she said her mother was taking an opiate and "just lies
in a stupor all the time. "
363
She did recover from that spell but died
a year and a half later, on August 7, 1893, at the age of 83.
Funeral
------~
•
..- · - - -·· - - ,· · - .,
• n --~.o~Tt--
.. .,. _ ·--.- _______.....,.._ _
85
services were conducted at the residence by Rev. L. E. Thompson , pastor
of the Methodist Church .
She was buried in Oakwood Cemetery .
Two weeks
after her death a lengthy obituary of Abiah Person appeared in the
Franklin Times.
Its author, Charles Mather Cooke , prominent Louisburg
lawyer and later a Superior Court judge , praised her as an unselfish,
strong , religious woman of irreproachable character.
She and her husband,
he wrote, had "dispensed as liberal and extended a hospitality as any
family of this county . • . "
Since his death, she had "borne the res-
ponsibilities of her position with a dignity that was grand and beautiful ,
for that it was calm and uncomplaining."
Right up to the last , over the
objections of her children, she had continued to tend to household duties.
364
Almost ten years later, on February 21, 1902 , Matthew Davis paid tribute
to Abiah Person.
He began by noting that she had attended some of the
first classes held at the Louisburg Female Seminary:
Of all those ladies who answered to the roll call in
1818, not one is now living . The last survivor was Abiah Culpepper
(Mrs . Thomas A. Person) who lived and died on the lot adjoining
the Louisburg Female College grounds, within a few hundred feet
of the old building still standing in which was laid the foundation
of that practical business education which made her the model wife
of a Southern planter of the old school. She died August 7, 1893,
and' as we stood by the open grave and saw her body laid to rest,
we said, of a truth a mother in Israel has fallen. We shall never
see her like again . The time and condit i ons that produced such
women have passed away never to return. Many of her descendants
live in and around Louisburg. May they inherit the high and noble 365
character of their sainted grandmother.
After her mother ' s death, her youngest daughter Prudence, usually
called Prude , became the head of the household.
Born in 1845, Prude was
t he only child of Thomas and Abiah Person who had not yet married by 1893.
Through inheritance she acquired all rights to the homeplace.
Her
sisters Sallie, Martha, and Tempie, and her brother Matthew, each devised
in their wills that Prude would receive their interest in the lot
86
•
and house.
366
Prude Person occupied her time after her mother's death
entertaining visitors, tending to the garden and the chickens, and making
hats, a hobby of hers.
In addition, she oversaw the growing of some cotton
and put up boarders in the house.
In 1894, she wrote to her brother-
in-law W. P. Montgomery, asking him to sell her cotton and her railroad
stock in order to meet current expenses.
"It ' s true we take in boarders,"
she explained, "but you know how slow people are to pay."
Throughout
the years she lived in the house, Prude Person put people up there, often
at little or no charge .
Friends and relatives would come with the inten-
tion of only staying a few days and end up there for weeks and months .
367
One of those boarders was Willie Mangum Person, Prude's first cousin,
who had moved there from the area just above Franklinton in order to be
closer to his Louisburg law practice.
On May 15, 1895, he wrote to Prude's
sister Tempie, "Cousin Prude was coming to your house today, but she is
not feeling well enough to take the ride--we will be up the latter part
of the week."
368
On Wednesday, March 10, 1897, at four in the afternoon,
Willie, 35, and Prude, 42, were married at her home.
The ceremony was
quiet, with only relatives and invited friends in attendance.
newspaper extended congratulations to the couple.
The local
"The bride is a lady
most highly esteemed among her friends for her bright and lovable disposition , and her other fine qualities of mind and character," according to
the notice.
Since Mr. Person was a prominent attorney, the newspaper
writer was certain "Many friends throughout the state will be interested
by this news. "
369
Willie Mangum Person was born on August 24, 1862, to Joseph and
Alice Person.
farm.
Due to ill health his father was unable to look after the
His mother, a strong-willed and colorful woman, took over the
87
responsibilities but soon after began devoting all her efforts to the
development and marketing of a patent medicine known as "Mrs . Joe Person's
Remedy."
This "blood purifyer" was a standard sort of cureall popular
at the time.
The formula, she claimed, was one given to her father by
an old Indian woman.
During the 1880's, the medicine was sold as far
away as Texas; in order to meet demand, production was shifted from
Franklinton to Charlotte .
Its adherents in this state included Governor
W. W. Holden, judges, doctors, and druggists.
Alice Person personally
marketed the product, performing concerts, in effect, a one-woman medi.
s h ow. 370
c1.ne
In 1898, the Greenville (N. C.) Reflector referred to her
as the "best known woman in the state," explaining that good medicine
and good music had made her name a household word.
371
She began her auto-
biography, which she called "Banny's Book, " by saying, "My life has been
out of the ordinary run of woman's life."
way to California in 1912.
She died of apoplexy on her
In her will, she left most of her property
to Josie and R. M. Person, explaining, "I have divided what I have according to the needs of each, knowing Wiley Person and Gibson Harris do not
need me."
372
The short shrift was not due to any rift in the family but was only
a measure of the success her son Willie (pronounced and sometimes spelled
as ''Wiley") had achieved.
He was named for his distant cousin, Willie
Person Mangum, a U. S. senator from North Carolina in the antebellum period.
The name was an appropriate choice since Person himself went on to a political career.
He entered Franklinton Academy at 16 and the University
of North Carolina at 21 .
After graduating, he returned to Franklinton
where he farmed briefly.
In the mid-1880's, he moved to Louisburg where
he r ead law in the office of Charles Mather Cooke and was admitted to
88
the bar in 1887.
373
His legal responsibilities led to his travels by
train through several Southern states and up and down the Eastern seaOn a trip to Tennessee in 1889, he wrote to his cousin Prude,
board.
" I am not touching a drop and consequently am doing first rate. "
mother was also concerned about his drinking and other activities.
1890 she wrote to him,
'~ou
His
In
drink too much, you play cardstoomuch, cut
loose from it all in toto .
" Claiming "it hurts me to see you looking
so seedy," she asked him to "stop spending your nights among the young
men of the town, it can certainly do you no good and is certainly doing you
great harm and weakening your influence."
374
Apparently he took her advice to heart since his personal and professional fortunes increased in the 1890's.
He served as the county attorney,
as a town commissioner , and as mayor of Louisburg for three terms.
After
his marriage in 1897, Wiley Person continued to address his wife, perhaps
out of habit , as "Dear Cousin Prude."
he made only increased after 1897.
The number of professional trips
He also regularly traveled to New
York City to attend the theater and opera.
On his return from such trips ,
Wiley Person brought with him opera recordings to play on his Edison,
a taste which Prude did not share .
travel.
where.
She was also bothered by his frequent
She said that when he was gone she had to walk if she went anyIn 1906, just before she entered Rex Hospital in Raleigh , she
complained to her sister , "How Wiley could go and leave me in my condition
I can ' t see •
"
Her stay there, for a period of several months was
looked upon with t r epidation .
She wrote, "How long I will be here I can't
say, suppose I will be br ought back in a box . "
375
Residing in the house in 1900 were Wiley and Prude Person, their
nephews Arthur W. and Thomas A. Person, and Thomas's wife Annie.
Both
89
Arthur, a 20-year-old clerk in a dry goods store, and Thomas, 26-yearold tobacco grower, were sons of J. J. Person, who lived on the adjacent
property.
Also at the Person Place in 1900 were three servants, Josephine
Neal, Bettie Davis, and Bob Pease .
376
The Persons were among the more
prominent social class of tum-of-the-century Louisburg,
to judge by
mentions of their names in the local paper's personals column. 377
Willie Mangum Person served as a UNC trustee from 1913 until his
death in 1930.
He was elected to the State Senate from the Sixth District,
which included Franklin County, for the 1917 and 1929 sessions of the
General Assembly.
378
In the Legislature of 1917 he sponsored the Crop
Lien bill, the publication of the Blue Book, and the revision of the North
Carolina Code.
The local paper, praising his work in behalf of his consti-
tuents, no't ed that he was "a man of sterling worth and sturdy character,
unflinching in his performance of any duty t h at may come h is way • • . "379
(During this same time, another Louisburg lawyer, Thomas W. Bickett , served
as governor.)
Person was a conspicuous figure in the halls of the legis-
lature, being described as "fond of bright colors and frequently [wearing]
a flaming red vest, rendered all the more conspicuous by the fact that
the wearer was decidedly corpulent."
380
He was further described as
"jovial by nature, unique in manner, and a rare combination of optimism
and pessimism."
He was "passionately fond of reading" and was acquainted
with most of the classics as well as the best of English and American
authors .
He commonly quoted freely from such works and dropped obscure
allusions into his speeches on the floor of the Senate.
This speech,
delivered on February 15, 1917, on behalf of an educational bill for
Franklin County, is typical of his
fl~boyant
style:
I have sat in silence here oftimes lately and beheld the
spirit of Democracy assassinated. Here! Here! In the Senate
90
•
and State of North Carolina! . • . If, sir, these cuckoos,
these molly- coddles, these foes of Democratic government,
these Rhinos, these Gaucheros, these Gyascutuses, which are
quadrupeds whose legs on one side are short and on the other
side long, enabling them to graze a hillside on a level--if,
I say, these freaks of nature are permitted to degrade the
policy of the Democratic party of North Carolina . . . our
381
revels are now ended.
Person is said to have been happiest engaged in debate and to have given
more speeches in 1929 than any other five senatqrs combined .
His most
notable political battle was fought in opposition to the Cotton and
Tobacco Growers' Cooperative Association .
He called himself the " spokes-
man for Democracy" and the "only friend of John Smith, the poor taxpayer."
382
In her 1913 will Prudence Person asked that the house in which she
resided be left jointly to her husband and nephew Arthur .
In the event
of the death or remarriage of W. M. Person , her nephew would receive entire
interest.
She also left to her husband her horse and buggy, her watch,
and "a Note I have against him for money borrowed."
To her nephew A.
W. Person she left the household and kitchen furniture, her interest in
the tract of land in Nash County, and any money in her possession or due
her at the time of her death.
executors of the estate.
383
Her husband and nephew were appointed coPrudence Person died of myocarditis, or heart
disease, on April 17, 1922 at the age of 76 .
384
Since her handwritten
will had not been witnessed or placed on file, her husband exhibited it
in court on October 7, 1922.
He also exhibited the signatures of three
of her acquaintances who attested as to the authenticity of the handwriting
and of the w111.
385
W. M. Person continued to live, together with one black male servant, in his late wife's house for a short time after 1922.
for varying periods of time, in Wake Forest and in Raleigh .
386
He also lived,
In 1924,
be married again, this time to Mrs. Bolling Whitefield , a Washington,
91
•
D. C. socialite.
They lived together at the Person Place very briefly
before returning to Washington .
Soon after the adjournment of the 1929
session of the General Assembly, Willie Mangum Person suffered a paralyzing
stroke from which he never recovered.
He died in Washington on May 31,
His body was returned to Louisburg for buria1.
1930.
387
With the death of W. M. Person, Arthur W. Person received full
interest in the Person Place house and proper ty, plus all the outbuildings on the property .
388
The latter included a combination carriage
house (or garage) and shed, a smokehouse, an icehouse, and a two-story
four- room frame structure directly behind the house used as servants'
quarters.
today.
389
The basic structure of the main house was much as it is
The collonade front porch, standing until very recently , was in
its place .
There was no porch on the north side, only an uncovered stoop
and some steps.
In fact, the double doors at the north end of the
entrance hall stayed locked and barred while A. W. Person was the owner.
The kitchen, as was indicated in Asher Ray's 1851 insurance application
was a separate structure off the back side of the house , connected by
a covered walkway with lattice-work on the north side .
The one-room frame
structure, however , no longer served as the kitchen after Wiley Person ' s
death.
. d oors. 390
. cook.1ng 10
Sub sequent tenants did t h e1r
All sorts of
fruits and vegetables were grown on the property while Prude , Wiley, and
Arthur Person owned it.
People in Louisburg associated the place with
pears since a great many were grown there.
A l arge scuppernong vine was
located in the front corner nearest the college grounds.
her b gardens were cultivated every growing season.
Vegetable and
391
Arthur W. Person was born in 1880 to J . J. and Mary Person.
He
lived with his parents, grandmother, and other relatives until be was
92
•
ten years old.
With the partition of the property in 1890, J. J. Person
built a house on the lot just north of the main house.
preferred to stay in the large house.
Arthur, however,
Letters from 1891 and 1894 indicate
that he lived there instead of with his parents.
" I write you this letter
"We are all
to let you hear from Grannie," he wrote to his Aunt Tempie.
very busy cleaning up for Christmas
her chair," he wrote to Aunt Mart.
. Aunt Prude is buisy decoratering
According to Lydia Person Trow, "Aunt
Prude adored daddy and kept pleading that they let him stay a little longer
and he finally stayed on."
the hospital:
In 1906, his father J. J. wrote to Prude in
"Poor Arthur looks like he is lost.
We tried to get him
to come and eat some with us while Wiley would be away but he seemed to
think he must be at home. "
392
Arthur Person worked for a time around 1900 to 1902 as a merchant
in Louisburg, first with G. W. Ford and then independently.
393
By 1905
he had begun to work as a local cotton broker, a trade he followed the
rest of his life.
394
After his marriage to Marguerite Millikin, Arthur
Person made inquiries into purchasing land elsewhere in town.
When Prude
heard of this she insisted that he mark off any space he wanted on her
land and build there.
Thus, on May 30, 1914, Prude Person and Temperance
Montgomery (her sister had not yet given her the final share in the
property) conveyed to him a lot fronting Main Street containing approximately half an acre in return for "love and affection and valuable consi395
deration." ·
Arthur Person and his family moved into their new house
in 1915 on the first birthday of their daughter Lydia (they later had
a son James).
396
Lydia Person Trow remembers spending much of her time at the Person
Place while growing up.
·~en
I was little as soon as I was dressed I
93
•
ran right up there and stayed most of the day--I just slept at home,"
Likewise Mrs. John P . Stripp of St. Louis remembers spending
she recalls.
"many happy hours" there.
"Lydia Person and I used to cut paper dolls
from the Godey Ladies Magazine in the attic • •• ," she writes.
397
Mrs.
Trow also recalls that, during the 1930's, Mrs. Southgate Jones of Durham
took a wealth of materials from the attic of the house, including clothing,
personal items, and letters.
successfu1.
398
An effort to recover the material was not
In 1929 Lydia and her brother James both took part in
an historical pageant commemmorating the sesqui-centennial of the town
of Louisburg.
Their mother and father also took part in the celebration.
Skits illustrated the parts played by Patewills Milner and others in the
. .
o f t h e town . 399
b eg10n1ng
Arthur W. Person served as a town commissioner from 1929 to 1931
and in 1933.
400
During those Depression years, he and his second wife
Virginia became indebted to the First National Bank of Louisburg for the
sum of $5500.
Unable to pay the debt they were forced on June 5 , 1931,
to convey to F. J. Beasley, a trustee for the bank, three pieces of land.
Those tracts were the farm in Nash County which Prude had left to Arthur,
a lot in Louisburg known as the "A. W. Person Storage House, Cotton
Platform, and Cotton Yard ," and the tract adjacent to the college of
approximately 20 acres known as "the Prudence Person Home Place. ,,40l
In
a separate action, on September 28, 1931, Arthur Person filed a petition
on behalf of his children Lydia and James (both under 21) placing in their
names 156 acres near Fr anklinton.
The land had been left to them by their
late mother, Marguerita Milliken Person.
In
the document filed in court
their father stated that he was unable to pay the taxes on the land and
asked that the timber on it be sold for compensation.
402
On October 31,
94
•
1936, a deed of release for the "Prude Person Home Place" returned the
property to A. W. Person.
The First National Bank of Louisburg was by
that time a defunct institution.
L. A. Lentz, its receiver, released
the land to Person upon payment of $100.
The two other tracts remained
in the trust, since Person was said to be desirous of having only the
homeplace released at that time .
A plat of the 20-acre tract, drawn by
M. S. Davis on September 2, 1936 , was filed at the time of the release.
403
Arthur Person and his family did not live in the old house at the
time, but rather in tbe bouse next door which he had built in 1915.
The
large house was instead occupied by tenants for about twenty years.
The
house stood empty for some time after Wiley Person last lived there around
1924-25.
The first people to rent the house from A. W. Person were the
family of H. C. Perry, who lived there from 1927 to 1930.
The next resi-
dents were the family of Alta Chillings , a county extension agent , who
lived there for only a short time in the early 1930's.
They were followed
by the H. C. Perguson family in the mid and late thirties .
The last
tenants under A. W. Person were S. H. Averitt and his family in the 1940's.
Aver itt's daughter, Irene Mills, was a music teacher and regularly gave
piano lessons in the house.
Averitts left it a r ound 1950 .
The Person Place has been empty since the
404
A small fire around 1930 damaged a rear corner room of the house.
Lydia Trow recall s that the fire occurred while she was in high school.
Mrs. H. C. Perguson has no recollection of a fire while she was living
there, bu t does remember that some fire-damaged pieces of furniture were
stored in the attic.
That area was off limits to tenants as was the
" sealed r oom" on the upper floor of tl}e oldest section of the house.
Though both Mrs . Perguson and Mrs . Zealand recall that the room was opened
95
•
(and found to be empty) while they lived there,
the room remained closed until the 1960's.
from the neighboring college .
405
Lydia Trow says that
It was then opened by students
A series of incidents of vandalism by
the Louisburg College students engendered antagonistic relations between
A. W. Person and the college administration.
(Lydia Trow says that it
seemed like her father "spent thousands" to repair damages caused by them.)
When the college approached Person in the 1950's about possibly acquiring
the land for purposes of expansion, he was strongly opposed to any sale.
He declared that the college would never get the property while he owned
.
l.t.
406
In his will, written in 1964 and filed in 1969, Arthur Person left
his residence and lot on North Main Street, plus the tract of land adjacent
to it "known as the Prudence Person place," to his daughter Lydia Person
Trow.
The lot in Nash County, which had originally been given to Abiah
Culpepper Person by her father Matthew and which came to Arthur through
Prudence Person, was given to Lydia and her brother James Person "to share
and share alike."
Personal belongings were to be divided among Lydia,
James, and his stepdaughter, Doris S. Heron.
as executrix of the wil1.
407
Lydia Person Trow was named
Arthur W. Person died on April 3, 1969.
408
Obviously, the objections that A. W. Person had had to the sale were not
shared by his daughter .
Less than a year later, on February 11, 1970,
Lydia P. Trow of Richmond, Virginia, sold the 20.41- acre "Prudence Person
place" to Louisburg College, Inc. for $80,000 .
The transferral was comp-
leted on December 9, 1970, when the deed of release was signed.
409
Thus,
181 years after the oldest part of the house was built and 112 years after
it came to be owned by the Person family, the Person Place passed out
of private hands.
•
THE RESTORATION PROJECT
Initial activity leading toward preservation and restoration of
the Person Place originated with Louisburg College.
In 1970 Allen de
Hart, director of public affairs for the school, first contacted officials
at the Division of Archives and History regarding the steps to be taken
toward such an end .
Consideration was being given at the time to using
the house either as a residenc e for the college president or for needed
expansion of offices and classrooms.
A report outlining the possible
uses for the house was prepared by A. L. Honeycutt, Jr . of Archives and
History on October 8, 1970.
mended their implementation.
He acknowledged the college 's plans and recomThe alternative of complete historic house
d as too cost 1y. 410
.
.
preservat i on was d ~sm~sse
Early interest in the Person Place was stimulated by the appearance
of two newspaper articles .
The first, in the Franklin Times of June 11 ,
1970, detailed some of the history behind the house and pictured it as
well on its way toward being lost.
The second appeared in the Durham
Sun on October 31 , 1972 , soon after the nomination of the Person Place
to the National Register of Historic Places had been accepted .
The story
indicated that the college was experiencing difficulties in raising the
money for its restoration.
Herald argued :
In a followup editorial the Durham Morning
"Both for its history and its architecture, the Person
House emminently merits saving.
It could be a showplace for Louisburg
College. ,.41l
Decisions regarding further plans for the house were delayed by
97
•
financial problems and administrative changes at Louisburg College.
The
school's board of trustees refused to allocate any funds toward restoration.
The primary supporter of such a program, the college president
Dr. Cecil W. Robbins, retired in 1974.
The new president, Dr. Allen Norris,
was also an advocate of preservation but indicated that budgetary limitations prevented the school from going any further with their plans.
Thus,
the restoration of the Person Place was placed on a back burner for several years.
412
The key to the renewal of e fforts toward preservation came with
the incorporation of the Pe rson Place Preservation Society in 1976 and
the choice of Betty McKinne as its pres i dent.
After rejection of a plan
by the Louisburg Woman's Club to restore only the oldest section of the
house, the Society leased the property and proceeded with full-scale plans
for restoration of the complete house.
In 1979 they began efforts to
procure fund s from foundation s and other outside sources.
Several local
fundraising events and a membership drive were held during the year.
An
emergency allocation from Archives and History made possible the stabilization of the structure through removal of dense growth around the base
of the house and repairs to the roof.
Current plans call for restoring
each section of the house to its original condition and furnishing it
appropriately.
The author's hope is that this report will provide a his-
torical perspective on the dwelling and its occupants.
•
NOTES
1
For a complete chain of title, see Appendix A.
~avid Leroy Corbitt, The Formation of the North Carolina Counties ,
1663-1943 (Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1950), p .
48.
3
The expression is said to have originated when Governor Tryon,
at an annual muster ordered the militia in the midsection of the colony
to put down an uprising. Some of the men questioned whether they were to
fight for the King against their kinsmen ; discover ing they were, they
threw down their arms, and shouted, "There are no Tories in Bute!"
(W. L. Pierce, "Historical Scenes," Franklin Times, June 21 , 1946) .
Speaking in 1905, Mrs . J . E. Malone reflected considerable pride
in the tale--"a proverb hackneyed and worn by its use, it may be, but
we glory in it all the same." (Franklin Times, March 10, 1905).
4
Legend has it that a massacre of the Tuscaroras took place at the
site of present- day Louisburg where an old trail forded the Tar River .
The Indians, with white men in pursuit, had the misfortune of reaching
the ford at flood stage. See T. H. Pearce, Franklin County, 1779-1979
(Freeman, S. D.: Pine Hill Press, 1979), p . vii; also, Clint Fuller,
Franklin Times, January 5, 1966 .
5
Albert R. Newsome, ed., "Twelve North Carolina Counties in 18101811," Part III, North Carolina Historical Review VI, 2 (April, 1929):
172.
6
see Appendix B. The map, drawn by Panthea Anne Twitty and Panthea
M. Twitty , is from Mary Hinton Kerr, Warren County, North Carolina Records
(Warrenton , N. C." author, 196 7).
7
JohnS . Bassett, "Landholding in Colonial North Carolina," Trinity
College Historical Society Papers II (1898): 51.
8
of the 3400 land patents in the Proprietary period, only six fronted
on the Tar River, those being much further downstream. See Margaret M.
Hofmann, Province of North Carolina, 1663-1729: Abstracts of Land Patents
(Weldon, N.C.: Roanoke News Co., 1979).
9
Bassett, p. 54. The Granville land grants are housed in the State
Archives ; all other land grant records are in the office of the Secretary
of State .
98
•
10
see Appendices C- 1 and C-2 .
11
Of the 103 land grants in Bute County (1764-1779), none went to
either William Massey or Patewills Milner . See Brent Holcomb, Bute County,
North Carolina Land Grant Plats and Land Entries (unpublished, 1974) .
.
12
see Appendix C- 3 . An aid in placing the 1753 grant on the Tar
River was the apparent indication of a creek near its edge , corresponding
with Fox Creek on the Geological Survey map. The rectangular area boxed
in by the 1760 gr ant was held by Thomas Sherrod. (The author acknowledges
the assistance of Billy Lumpkin, Louisburg surveyor, in plotting the land
grants against a modern map . ).
1.
13
Warren (Bute) County Will Book 2, pp. 124- 125 .
Patewills Milner was a witness to the will.
See Appendix D-
14
For further genealogical information on the Masseys inN. C. , Va .
and elsewhere, see Judge Frank A. Massey, Massey Families in America
(Fort Worth: King and Massey, 1974).
15
rhe 1766 list of taxables, compiled by Osborn Jeffreys, was among
the Bute County Sheriff's Record in the Webb- Moore Papers, Southern
Historical Collection, Louis Round Wilson Library, UNC (hereinafter
abbreviated as SHC). The 1771 list is in the Thomas M. Pittman Papers,
State Archives. It has also been reprinted in " Franklin-Warren-Vance
Counties Area: Father- Son Relationships in 1771 ," Journal of North Carolina
Genealogy XI , no. 3 (Fall, 1965): 1502 .
16
Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina (Raleigh: State
of North Carolina, 1904), vol . 23, p . 497 (hereinafter cited as Clark,
ed. , State Records).
17
Bute County Committee of Safety Minutes, 1775-1776 (Warrenton,
N. C. : Warren County Bicentennial Committee, 1977), pp . 25, 29-30.
18
Ibid., p. 60.
19Franklin County Deed Book 1, pp. 1-2.
See Appendix E- 4.
20
E. H. Davis, Historical Sketches of Franklin County (Raleigh:
Edwards and Broughton, 1948), pp. 15, 75-76 .
21
Franklin County Court Minutes, December 1785, cited in Davis, p.
79.
22
E. H. Davis agreed with the likelihood of such a proposition.
Massey, in his genealogical study of the family, went even further,
Frank
•
99
supposing that William Massey ' s father conceived the plan of operating
a toll- bridge at the site in order to supplement his earnings from farming .
See Massey, pp. 104-105.
23
Bute County Miscellaneous Records, State Archives. The signatories
to the order were Henry Hill, Thomas Sherrod, and Patewills Milner.
24
Franklin County Court Minutes, December 1785 , cited in Davis , p.
25
Franklin County Miscellaneous Records, A-c , State Archives .
62.
26
Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken
in the Year 1790: North Carolina (Washington: Government Printing Office,
1908), hereinafter cited as Fir st Census, 1790; Second Census, 1800 :
Franklin County, North Carolina Population Schedule; Third Census, 1810:
Franklin County, North Carolina Population Schedule.
27
Franklin County Will Book D, p. 105 .
28
Franklin County Tax Records, State Archives.
See Appendix D-2 .
29
Warren (Bute) County Deed Book 1, p . 47.
30
There is no apparent account of the deed from William Massey to
John Clark among the Warren County records, nor is there an abstract among
those compiled in Mary Hinton Kerr, Warren County, North Carolina Records
(Warrenton, N.C.: author , 1967-1969) . See Note 33.
3
~arren (Bute) County Deed Book 2, pp. 72-73 .
32
See Appendix E-1.
see Appendix C-3.
33
Warren (Bute) County Deed Book A, p. 351. Within the deed, it
is stated that the land was part of an Ear l Granville grant to William
Massey. See Appendix E- 2 .
34Warren (Bute) County Deed Book 7, pp. 77-78.
35
Franklin County Deed Book 1, pp. 1-2.
See Appendix E-3 .
See Appendix E- 4.
36
Davis, p. 15.
37 rn the will of Patewills's sister Betty Milner, mention was made
of an uncle Benjamin Wills. Isle of Wight County (Virginia) Will Book
7, p. 238 , cited in Blanche Adams Chapman, Wills and Administrations
100
•
of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Vol. III (Smithfield, Va.:
author, 1938), p. 21.
38
No full-scale genealogical study of the family has been published.
Milner is clearly not a Jewish name; no mention of the name could be found
in reference works on Jewish genealogy. Milners were prominent in manufacturing and shipping in northern England in the eighteenth century.
A Joseph Milner wrote a five-volume history of the Church of Christ, published in London around 1800.
39Daughters of the American Revolution Paper No. 424095, prepared
by Jo Alice Wynn Tomford, accepted February 1, 1954. A copy of the paper
is now held by Mary Hinton Kerr of Warrenton. The writer lived fn Texas
and apparently did not visit North Carolina but based her report on the
recollections of her grandfather.
40
catherine Bishir, "Franklin County," in "Historic and Architectural
Resources of the Tar- Neuse Basin: A Preltminary Inventory and Analysis,"
report prepared by the Survey and Planning Branch of the Historic Preservation Section, North Carolina Division of Archives and History, February ,
1977.
~ichael Tepper , ed., Passengers to America (Baltimore: Genealogical
Publishing Co., 1978), p . 88.
4
42
John B. Boddie, Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia
(Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973), p. 463; also, W. E.
MacClenny, "An Outline History of Nansemond County, Virginia" (unpublished),
p. 7. Thomas Milner ' s name is also prominent among processioning record s
found in Wilmer L. Hall, ed . , The Vestry Book of the Upper Parish, Nansemond
County, Virginia, 1743-1793 (Richmond: Library Board of Virginia, 1949).
43
c1ayton Torrence, ed., Virginia Wills and Administrations, 16321800 (Richmond: William Byrd Press, 1931), p. 295.
44
rsle of Wight County Will Book 7, p. 238.
45
Warren (Bute) County Will Book 1, p . 35.
46
Obituary of Jacobina Milner, Raleigh Register, August 10, 1827.
47
Warren (Bute) County Deed Book 3, pp. 61-62.
48
See Appendix E-5.
Franklin County Deed Book 1, pp. 13-14.
49 Among these were a Colo--- Milner who received three land grants
in the Chowan precinct around 1719, Jacob Milner who served in the militia
in New Hanover County in 1755, and Benjamin Milner, a local official of
101
•
some prominence in Rowan County in the 1770's. Hofmann, pp . 282, 284;
William L. Saunders,
of North Carolina, 1904), vol. 22, p. 283, and vol. 9, p . 413.
50
Thomas C. Parramore, in his history of Freemasonry in early North
Carolina, wrote that Patewills Milner was "apparently a brother of James
Milner of Halifax." Parramore, Launching the Craft: The First HalfCentury of Freemasonry in North Carolina (Raleigh: Grand Lodge of North
Carolina, 1975), p. 18.
51
J. Bryan Grimes, Abstracts of North Carolina Wills (Raleigh: E.
M. Uzzell and Co., 1910), pp. 248- 249; copy also in State Archives.
52
Parramore, p . 13 .
53
J. Ray Shute Papers, SHC. The minutes have also been reprinted
in Nocalore, VI (1936) : 162-178, and in the Bute County Committee of
Safety Minutes, 1775-1776, pp. 39-55 . Further information on the Lodge
is available in Parramore, pp. 17-18. William Massey was not a member.
54
copies of the proccessioning records are held by Mary Hinton Kerr
and at the State Archives. Thomas Person's extensive landholdings cover ed
several counties. Absentee ownership probably accounted for the failure
to draw a line between his land and the Milner's. The same Thomas Person
surveyed the 1760 Massey land grant and went on to prominence as a military and political leader.
55P.
1ttman P apers, S tate Arc h'1ves .
56
Franklin County Deed Book 1, pp. 12-13.
57
Warren (Bute) County Court Minutes , March 1774.
58
Kerr, Warren County Records, Vol. 2, index.
59p ·
.
h ave a 1 so b een re1ttman p apers, State Archives. The m1nutes
printed as Bute County Committee of Safety Minutes, 1775-1776. In the
introduction to that volume, William S. Price concluded that by their
activities they risked the disfavor of Governor Josiah Martin and that
"their risks were equal to those taken by any other revolutionary groups
in history." (p. 4).
60
The words are those of Charles Parker in an article celebrating
the sesqui-centennial of Louisburg . (News and Observer, July 5, 1929) .
6
~ewsome, ed., "Twelve North Carolina Counties," p. 171.
102
~avis, pp. 21- 22; also William P. Sharpe, A New Geography of
North Carolina, vol. IV (Raleigh: Sharpe Publishing Co., 1965), p. 1856.
6
63
Clark, ed., State Records, vol. 24, p. 303; also Davis, p. 16.
64
Clark, ed. , State Records, vol. 24 , p. 626.
65
Franklin County Court Minutes, December, 1786 ; March, 1788, p.
110; December, 1788, pp. 138-140.
66
Franklin County Court Minutes, December 1788, p. 138.
67
Franklin County Will Book A, pp. 33-35. See Appendix E-6. For
an indication of the approximate location of the tract left to each son,
see Appendix E- 7.
68
Franklin County Estates Papers, Patewills Milner folder , State
Archives; also in Franklin County Will Book A, pp. 42- 43. See Appendix E- 8 .
69
Franklin County Estates Papers, Patewills Milner and John Milner
folder s , State Archives .
7
°Franklin County Court Minutes, June 1789 , p. 167. Despite the
loss of the surveyor's plat , the approximate location of the tracts can
be determined from the will of Patewills Milner. See Appendices E-6 and
E-7.
71
Franklin County Deed Book 20, pp. 60-61.
72
Franklin County Estates Papers, John Milner folder, State Archives.
The commissioners appointed in 1817 were Joel King, Nathan Patterson,
William Moore, Green Hill, and Jesse Person .
73
see Appendix E- 7. The road may have followed a slightly different
course through the north side of town at the time.
74
"Person Place," a nomination to the National Register of Historic
Places, research by Archaelogy and Historic Preservation Section, N. C.
Division of Archives and History; hereinafter cited as National Register
nomination (see Appendix U-1). Also T. H. Pearce, Early Architecture
of Franklin County (Freeman, S.D.: Pine Hill Press, 1977), p. 114.
75
National Register nomination; also, "An Historic Inventory of the
Fabric of the Person Place, Louisburg, N. C.," research by C. Frank Branan
Restoration and Preservation Services Branch, N. C. Division of Archives
and History, 1979; hereinafter cited as "Historic Inventory. " (see
Appendix U-3). For more information on the Georgian style of architecture,
103
see Doug Swain, ed., Carolina Dwelling (Raleigh: North Carolina State
University Student Publication of the School of Design, Volume 26, 1978.
pp. 33- 36 .
76
When Milner sold part of his property in 1801, he received only
$16 for two acres. Those two acres apparently included the present- day
site of the Person Place. See Appendix F-1 and the beginning of Chapter
II.
77 Franklin County Tax Records, State Archives.
78
First Census, 1790.
79 Franklin County Court Minutes, June 1793, p. 344. The court ordered that she be released from having to pay double her amount of taxes
for the previous year.
8 °Franklin County Tax Records, State Archives . Jacobina Milner was
listed as holding nine slaves in each of the first three census reports.
For an indication of the town lots held by the Milners see Appendix E-9.
The survey, though registered in 1859 (Franklin County Deed Book 32, p .
215), was drawn around 1825.
81
Raleigh Register, August 10, 1827.
82 Franklin County Estates Records, Jacobina Milner folder, State
Archives. Among the litigants in a single 1833 suit were Thomas Denby,
Jacobina Sneed, Samuel Gooch and his wife, Robert H. Jones, Joshua Wynne
and his wife, Leonard Jones, Joshua Mabry, Willie Perry, and Nathaniel
Norfleet and his wife.
83
Third Census, 1810.
84
Franklin County Marriage Register, State Archives.
85 Franklin County Court Minutes, September 1807 and March 1808.
86
87
Franklin County TaX Records, State Archives.
see Appendix E-7 .
88 Franklin County Deed Book 11, pp. 220-221 .
See Appendix F-1.
89Franklin County Deed Book 11, P.P· 221-222.
See Appendix F-1.
90Franklin County Deed Book 11, p. 298.
See Appendix F- 2 .
104
~izzie Wilson Montgomery, Sketches of Old Warrenton (Raleigh:
Edwards and Broughton, 1924), pp. 133- 135. Further information is available in the Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke University and in Harry L.
Golden, Jewish Roots in the Carolinas (Greensboro: Deal Printing Co.,
1955).
9
92
J. Ray Shute Papers, SHC; Warren County Court Minutes , 1803-1805.
93
Franklin County Deed Book 11, p. 298. See Appendix F- 2. The
"chattels" mentioned in the deed indicates personal property exclusive
of real estate ; " tenements" can either refer to a dwelling place or land
itself . Taken together wit h the " improvements and Appurtenances" described, it seems possible that some sort of structure was situated on
the property at the time of the sale. (Only " appurtenances" were mentioned in the deed to Joseph Williams in 1801.) The improvements might
have included the addition of the one-story ell at the rear of the original structure. Milner, being single, would have used the extra room as
a tavern rather than for family . The first addition has been dated as
1804. (Branan, "Historic Inventory") It is unclear from the wording of
either deed whether the house was situated on the property or whether
the first addition had been completed .
94
see Appendix F-3.
95
Franklin County Miscellaneous Records, State Archives.
96
Huckaby was appointed administrator of his wife's estate on March
12, 1818. Franklin County Estates Records, Polly Huckaby folder, State
Archives.
97
Henry Perry Papers, SHC.
98
Huckaby died intestate but an inventory of his estate was made
on February 11, 1826 and may be found in Franklin County Estates Records,
John Huckaby folder , State Archives. The total proceeds from t he sales
of his estate was only $726 . 10.
99
Franklin County Deed Book 11 , p. 300.
See Appendix G-2.
10
°Franklin County Deed Book 12, pp. 18-19.
101
See Appendix G-1.
Fr anklin County Tax Records, State Archives .
102
Franklin County Court Minutes , June and December 1806 ; also ,
Franklin County Miscellaneous Records , State Archives .
103
J. E. Malone , undated clipping, Franklin Times, in the North
Car olina Collection ; Davis , pp . 107-108; and, C·l int Fuller, "Historic
105
House Headed for the Heap?," Franklin Times, June 11, 1970. Both Malone
and Davis attributed the story to Matthew Davis, the historian's father
and longtime president of Louisburg College. The story has been repeated
in connection with the Person Place but with somewhat less detail, in
Sharpe, IV, p. 1874, and Carl Boswell, "Aid Vital to Save 1750 House,"
Durham Sun, October 31, 1972.
104
Examination of Col. Aaron Burr, Before the Chief Justice of the
U. S., Upon the Charges of a High Misdemeanor, and of Treason Against
the U. S.; Together With the Argument of Counsel and Opinion of the Judge
(Richmond: S. Grantland, 1807).
105
Matthew
tions from His
346; also Mark
Theodosia (New
106
L. Davis, Memoirs of Aaron Burr, with Miscellaneous SelecCorrespondence (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1837), p.
Van Doren, ed., Correspondence of Aaron Burr and His Daughter
York: Covici-Friede, 1929), p . 492.
Van Doren, p. v.
107
From the published correspondence, it can be gathered that Theodosia
Burr Alston traveled from Petersburg to Raleigh to Fayetteville between
October 28 and November 9 of 1801. She made another trip (probably one
of many) along the same route in October 1803. In a July 17, 1980 letter
to this researcher, Judith Schiff, Chief Research Archivist at the Yale
University Library (depository for the Burr papers) said no references
to Louisburg were found in the correspondence of the period.
108
Another incident regarding Theodosia and North Carolina deserves
mention. A portrait of her was placed on exhibit in a state historical
display atJamestown in 1908. The picture had been discovered in the possession of a very old woman at Nags Head . She claimed it had been given
to her by a pirate as his share of the booty taken from a ship that undoubtedly was the one on which Theodosia Burr set sail never to be heard
of again. The story of the portrait was carried, by coincidence, in the
Franklin Times, January 31, 1908 . For more information on her, see
Charles Felton Pidgin, Theodosia (Boston : C. M. Clark Publishing Co.,
1907).
109van Doren, p. 191. Burr did, in fact, journey south immediately
following the duel in order to avoid public rancor and the chance of prosecution. He was on his way back north in October when he stopped in
Louisburg.
110
Jacob Mordecai Papers, DU.
111
Franklin County Court Minutes, March 1804, p. 128 .
112Frank1in County Court Minutes, September 1804, pp. 146-147. The
creditors filing against Joseph Mordecai were James Horner, James C.
Jones, Thomas Mitchells, and Garrett Goodloes.
..
- ···-- --·--·-···--- - - - - - - - - -- - - - -107
•
and 1817 (Boston: Wells and Lilly, 1818), pp. 237-239; reprinted in Nevins,
ed ., pp. 101-103.
125
"Diary of Jonathan Mason," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, II, second series (1885-86): 21, 34.
126
Franklin County Deed Book 14, pp . 84-85 .
See Appendix l-1 .
127
The trustees in 1787 were Dr. John King, William Lancaster, Josiah
Love, Benjamin Seawell , Robert Goodlow, Robert Bill, Jordan Hill, Francis
Taylor, Hugh Hays, William Green , Thomas Stokes, and Dr. William Varell.
For more information of the history of the academy and later college,
see Miriam L. Russell, "A History of Louisburg College, 1787-1958," M.A.
thesis (Appalachian State Teachers College, 1959). Not as comprehensive
but also of some use is Roland W. Rainwater, Jr., "The Contribution of
Louisburg College to Christian Education with Special Reference to the
Half-Century 1889-1939," Bachelor of Divinity thesis (Duke University ,
1943) .
128
Franklin County Miscellaneous Records , State Archives .
~R~a~l~e~i~g~h~R~e~g=i~s~t~er~,
129
December 17, 1804 .
13
°Fr anklin B. Dexter, Yale Biographies and Annals, 1701-1815 , vol.
5 (New York : Henry Holt and Co ., 1911), p. 644 .
13
~avis , p. 35; and, Cecil W. Robbins, '~tthew Dickinson: He Laid
the Foundation" (unpublished transcript of speech) . Davis corresponded
with two of the Field brothers in the 1880's, but they reported t o him
that any personal papers belonging to Dickinson had been lost. Judith
Schiff of the Yale University Library recently wrote to this researcher
that no manuscript material by or about him could be located there.
132
Kibbe filed a deposition upon Dickinson's death, found in Franklin
County Will Book C, p. 156. See Appendix I-6.
133Announcements were placed in newspapers in Raleigh, Tarboro , and
Halifax r egarding the progress at Franklin Academy , all of them very
complimentary to Dickinson . (Davis, p. 38). The ads have been reprinted
in Charles L. Coon, North Carolina Schools and Academies, 1790-la4o:
A Documentary History (Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton, 1915), pp. 84100 .
134Raleigh Register, December 17, 1805. Mayhew became head of the
academy upon Dickinson's death, a position he held until 1816. In 1812
while there he married Lucy Hardaway of Granville County (Raleigh Star,
January 3, 1812). The job was apparently an enviable one to some. On
July 16 , 1812, William Johnston, a student at Chapel Hill, wrote to his
brother in Louisburg s t ating his pr eference fo r a job as a teacher, and
........
~
,, _
..... . . .
.........
·- - ~.-.....-
- -- ---··-- - -- ·-·- - -·-·- ·--···
106
•
113
Newsome, ed . , "Twelve North Carolina Counties," p. 173. The articles on county history edited by Newsome originated in 1810 when Thomas
Henderson, publisher of the Raleiih Star, sent a circular to leading citizens throughout the state. In it he asked each of them to prepare an
article describing their county according to several topics. None was
ever published. The history of Franklin County, the author of which is
unknown, was one of only twelve completed. (Davis, p. 65).
114
Franklin County Court Minutes, September 1787, p. 82. Evidence
of Milner's having had a tavern is also found in the inventory of his
estate which included "11 cyder barrels, 70 Gallons of Brandy, (and) 100
Gallons of Cyder." (See Appendix E-8).
115
Alan D. Watson, "Ordinaries in Colonial Eastern North Carolina,"
North Carolina Historical Review, XLV (January, 1968): 71.
116
Davis, p. 80.
117
w. J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 7.
118
Bute County Miscellaneous Records, State Archives.
119
Franklin County Court Minutes, June 1790, p. 199.
See Appendix
H.
12
°Franklin County Court Minutes, September 1810, p. 184.
121
The term ordinary was used to refer to second-rate country houses ,
while tavern was reserved for first -rate establishments, usually found
in towns. (Watson, p. 67). Its function in any case was to both accommodate the traveler as well as to serve the local community as a neighborhood social and civic center. Paton Yoder, Taverns and Travelers:
Inns of the Early Midwest (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969),
ix .
122
Louis B. Wright and Marion Tinling, eds., Quebec to Carolina in
1785-1786 (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1943), p. 282.
123John Bernard, Retrospections of America, 1797-1811 (New York: Harper
and Brothers, 1887), p. 203; also reprinted in Allen Nevins, ed., American
Social History as Recorded By British Travellers (New York: Henry Holt
and Co., 1923), pp. 42-43. Similar accounts appeared, as contemporary
reporting, in American Museum (December, 1790), pp. 178-179, and
European Magazine (January, 1801), pp. 17-18. Thus, Bernard's view of
the North Carolina taverns was that communicated to the rest of the world.
124Francis Hall, Travels in Canada and the United States in 1816
. ---...--~--....·------·- ···"''" ... ~. ..-v• ..,..._ . _ ....
. -.·~~~
··· - - - - .. - · ....... _
108
•
asking him to inquire as to whether Mayhew might leave soon for bigger
things (William Johnson Papers, SHC). Mayhew was apparently redheaded.
In 1922 Stephen Outterbridge as an elderly man recalled selling corn
t o a red-haired young man at the academy by the name of what he remembered
as Mayo (Joel King Papers, DU).
135
Robbins, copy of speech.
136
James Wills to Matthew Dickinson, February 22, 1809, Matthew
Dickinson Papers, DU.
137
Sharpe, p . 1868. Charles Coon, however, has disputed this, finding
no evidence for the purported claim (Robbins) .
138
Kemp P. Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, vol.
I (Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton, 1907), pp. 200-214.
139Davis, pp. 30, 140- 142 . With Hill's ascension in 1828, the string
of academy leaders educated i.n the North , primarily at Yale, was broken .
140r. H. Pearce , Early Architecture of Franklin County (Freeman,
S . D.: Pine Hill Press, 1977), p. 140.
14
~tthew Dickinson Papers, DU.
142
Dexter, ed., p. 644.
143
Matthew Dickinson Papers, DU .
1440n the reverse side of an August 18 , 1807 letter, Dickinson made
a list of what may have been recent purchases or, more likely, a partial
inventory of his belongings at that moment. See Appendix I-2 (Matthew
Dickinson Papers, DU).
145
Matthew Dickinson Papers, DU.
146
Ibid.
See Appendix I - 3.
147Franklin County Will Book C, p. 154.
See Appendi.x I-4.
148Frankl"1n County Will Book C, p. 156.
See Appendix I-6.
149Davis, p. 58. On his way through Norfolk and Baltimore, Dickinson
purchased three lottery tickets . Three tickets for the Philadelphia
lottery were among the items in the inventory of his estate (Appendix
I-4) .
109
•
150
Matthew Dickinson to Wilson Carter, September 29 , 1808, Matthew
Dickinson Papers, DU .
151
Franklin County Deed Book 14, p. 197.
152
153
See Appendix J.
Franklin County Deed Book 14 , p . 214.
Franklin County Will Book C, p. 153.
154 J. Franklin Jameson, ed., "Diary of Edward Hooker, 1805-1808,"
American Historical Association Annual Report (1896): 913-916.
155
Matthew Dickinson Papers, DU.
156E H D .
. Franklin Times, May 25 , 1900 , p. 1 .
• · avl.s, 1.n
157Franklin County Court Minutes, December 1792, p. 328.
158
The Glebe is indicated on the Price-Strother map of 1808.
159 Franklin County Tax Records, State Archives. On the tax list
for 1809, the name of Matthew Dickinson was listed only two names after
Falconer's. Dickinson in that year paid taxes on no land or slaves.
160His daughter, Mary Falconer, attended in 1816 and 1817.
Male and Female Academies Papers, DU.
Louisburg
161
Horse racing and other forms of gaming and gambling were particupasttimes in the Franklin-Warren County area . Lizzie
popular
larly
her book of recollections of old Warrenton, described
in
Montgomery,
race courses in the area, including one at
well-attended
of
a number
tracks operated by Colonel William Johnston
as
well
as
Springs
Shocco
Thorpe. (Montgomery, pp. 29- 33). Ads
Launcelot
named
Englishman
and an
throughout the antebellum period herReporter
.Warrenton
the
in
appeared
the results of the races. (See,
reporting
alding upcoming events and
1824, and September 24, 1858.)
22,
October
for example, the issues of
County received much attention ,
Warren
in
tracks
those
whereas
However,
' s, have faded into obscurity.
Falconer
those in Franklin, particularly
162
Franklin Times, May 16, 1902, p. 1 . Matthew S. Davis wrote a
sketch on Falconer for the local paper. For his information, Davis talked
to Mrs. S. T. Wilder and Mrs. W. H. Allen, both of them in their eighties
in 1902 and both daughters of Tolliver Terrel, who had been Falconer's
nearest neighbor and the executor of his estate.
163William Johnson Papers, SHC.
110
•
164
Third Census, 1810; Franklin Times, May 16, 1902, p . 1.
165
An obituary of Mary Falconer appeared in the Raleigh Register of
January 24, 1817, p. 3 ; Alexander Falconer's obituary was in the same
paper on March 27, 1818.
166
Franklin County Estate Records, Alexander Falconer folder , State
Archives.
167
Franklin County Tax Records, State Archives .
168
Matthew Dickinson Papers, DU. A plat of the tract , along with
the unsigned deed, was among Dickinson's papers. It seems reasonable
to conclude that Dickinson had plans to move from Falconer's to the
property.
169
Franklin County Court Minutes, March and June, 1809.
170
Raleigh Register, September 21, 1809.
171
Brodie's attendance was detailed and charged at the total rate
of #15.18 against Dickinson ' s estate. (Matthew Dickinson Papers , DU)
Brodie married Martha Williams, daughter of Samuel Williams and sister
of William P. Williams (later owner of the Person Place), on December
25, 1809. (Raleigh Register, January 4, 1810) He also served as physician to students in need of attention at Charles Applewhite Hill's Midway Academy in the 1820's . (Raleigh Register, November 14, 1828) He
was registered as a tavern owner in 1834. (Franklin County Miscellaneous
Records, State Archives).
172
(Raleigh) Minerva , September 21, 1809; Raleigh Register, September
21, 1809; and, Raleigh Star, September 21, 1809. The Star obituary ,
the longest of the three, was reprinted in the (Hartford) Connecticut
Courant of October 11, 1809, and read in part:
• • • His learnings talents and industry soon acquired for
the School a deservedly high reputation. His labours were
crowned with every success that could be desired-- while the
Science and Literature of this state owe themselves greatly
his debtor, he had acquired by his meritorious exertions an
estate quite sufficient to subserve the rational purposes of
life. He had more than twelve months ago resigned his situation in the Academy, and was prosecuting the study of the law;
at a moment while the fairest prospects were opening to his
view, while his talents promised him a high rank in his profession, while public favour shone upon him, and the benedictions of
his friends awaited him, while even fortune's smiles were not
withheld, he is suddenly snatched from the enjoyment of all
There are many who command our esteem and admiration;
but we seldom meet with a Matthew Dickinson.
111
•
173
(Raleigh) Minerva, October 26, 1809. See Appendix 1-7 . Ironically, Josephus Daniels , speaking at the 1929 sesqui-centennial celebration of the town of Louisburg, called for the composition of a poem in
honor of Dickinson and men like him. Referring to the late president
of the college, Matthew Davis , Daniels said that he had maintained " the
h igh traditions of the ol d Academy given distinction when Dickinson was
head master • • • when shall an epic poem convey the lasting influence
they exerted? " (News and Observer (Raleigh) , July 5 , 1929) .
174
Franklin County Will Book C, pp . 155- 156.
and I-6.
See Appendices 1-5
175 For more information on Joel King, see Davis , pp. 278- 283 ; also,
Joel King Papers and Matthew Dickinson Papers , DU .
176
Matthew Dickinson Papers, DU .
177J
oel K.1ng P apers , DU .
178The short list presented to Field, along with a four- page inventory, is from the Matthew Dickinson Papers, DU. The most complete listing ,
includng the t itles of all of his books, is found in Franklin County
Will Book C, pp. 153-154. Copies of all three, together with a typed
listing combining them, are in Appendix I-4 .
179 Franklin Times , May 16 , 1902 . Davis wrote that the house occupied
by Falconer (and Dickinson) was years later moved five miles nearer to
Louisburg to a site known as "Locust Grove" and then owned by Charles
H. Macon . Davis also c l aimed in the article that he could judge by the
location of cedars wher e the racetrack had been located.
180
Franklin County Deed Book 14, p. 197.
181
Joel King Papers , DU .
18
153.
See Appendix J .
~tthew Dickinson Papers, DU; Franklin County Will Book C, p.
See Appendix I-4 .
183Ma tth ew D1c
· k.10son Papers , DU •
184Fr anklin County Tax Records, State Archives.
185 Franklin County Cour t Minutes , September 1804, March 1807 , and
September 1808 .
186
Franklin Count y Court Minu tes , March 1808.
112
•
187
Franklin County Miscellaneous Records, State Archives; also,
Franklin County Court Minutes, March 1808 and December 1811. For example,
from the minutes of March 1808: "Ordered that Edward Tansil be allowed
~4, 6 shillings for costs and charges of holding an inquest upon the
body of an infant, interment, and etc."
188
Third Census, 1810.
189
Franklin County Deed Book 15, p. 267 . See Appendix K. The metes
and bounds are the same as those in the indenture between Dickinson and
Tansil.
190
Matthew Dickinson Papers, DU .
191Franklin County Estate Records, John Drummond folder, State Archives .
192
William Johnson Papers, SHC.
193
Daniel Shine Papers, DU .
194
Franklin County Deed Book 16, p . 147.
See Appendix L-1.
195Moore's date of birth is taken from his obituary in the Raleigh
Star, September 10, 1829. The name was a common one. In fact, another
William Moore served as Bute County sheriff in the 1760's. (Webb- Moore
Papers and J. Ray Shute Papers , SHC; also, Bute County Court Minutes,
State Archives) No relationship between the two was established .
196
Amy Moore's obituary appeared in the Raleigh Standard, August
1, 1838 .
197
Third Census, 1810.
have been lost.
The 1820 census records for Franklin County
198
Franklin County Court Minutes, March 1811, p. 44. An overseer
was appointed for the road "leading from William Moore's store to the
cross Roads near Aaron Bledsoe's."
199Dav~s.
.
p . 89 .
20
°Franklin County Court Minutes, June 1811, p. 71.
201
John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585-1974:
A Narrative and Statistical History (Raleigh: North Carolina Department
of State, 1975), p. 276.
________
··-··
.....
_.__ ·-··-·- ·-·-.- ·--··----· ---·--- ······
..
~~---·
-···-- ........ .. - ·-· ·-·--·
113
•
202
See Appendix L-2.
203 See Appendix L-3.
204
Joel King Papers, DU.
205
. h Star, Septemb er
' h Reg i ster, Sept emb er 10 , 1829 ; Ral e1g
Ra 1e1g
10, 1829 .
206
Franklin County Will Book I-J, pp. 41-42.
207
Franklin County Estates Records, William Moore folder, State Archives .
~R~a~l_e~ig~h~S~t~a_n~d~a_r~d,
208
209
See Appendix L-4 .
August 1, 1838.
Franklin County Will Book K, pp. 172-173.
See Appendix L-5 .
21
°Franklin County Will Book K, pp. 183-186. See Appendix L-6. No
similar inventory was made of William Moore's property at the time of
his death .
211
Franklin County Estates Records, Alexander Falconer folder, State
Archives.
212
see Appendix L-2.
213
F rankl'1n County Deed Book 24 , p. 12 •
214
Franklin County Deed Book 21, pp. 301-302 . See Appendix M-1.
According to the deed, three and a half acres of the portion Moore had
purchased from Taylor were excepted. It was not determined where this
plot was situated or why it was reserved.
215
Like William Moore, the name William Williams was a common one
in Franklin County. For example, in the 1810 census and in tax records
for the period there as many as three individual listings in the county
by that name, including one who served as sheriff. The confusion was
no less great in Warren County, where the Williams family was even further
extended, and where General William Williams was a prominent planter.
216
Raleigh Register, January 4, 1810 , and December 22, 1815 . His
sister Polly is noted as the wife of H. B. Hunter in her father's will.
For more genealogical information on the family, see Joseph A. Groves,
The Alstons and Allstons of North and ' South Carolina (Atlanta: Franklin
Publishing Co., 1901), pp . 469- 473.
114
217
The will of Samuel Williams is in Warren County Deed Book 27,
pp. 9-15 . The devisement to William P. Williams wa s also filed in
Franklin County Deed Book 21, p. 293. See Appendix M-2.
218
Franklin County Tax Records, State Archives; also Davis, p . 82.
.
219D av1.s,
p. 63 .
220
National Register nomination; "Historic Inventory."
Appendices U-1 and U-3.
See
221
For more on styles of architecture, see Swaim, ed., Carolina
Dwelling, pp. 72-78. For more information on Warren County and its architecture, see Catherine Bishir, "The Mortimenci -Prospect Hill School,"
in Swaim, ed. , pp. 84-101.
222
For a fuller architectural description of the Person Place, see
" Historic Inventory ," National Register nomination, and Pearce, Early
Architecture, p. 114. See Appendices U-1 and U-3.
223
Slave labor was probably used by the builder . One of the skilled
craftsmen who may have had a hand in its construction was James Boon ,
a free black man in Louisburg at the time. He was apprenticed to William
Jones from 1827 to 1829, and then worked a s a carpenter in Louisburg,
Littleton, Raleigh, and Wilmington. Though his papers and accounts are
very few and scattered for his early years, Boon did carry with him in
the 1840's a note of recommendation from Richard Noble, a next-door
neighbor to Williams in Louisburg. See James Boon Papers, State Archives.
224
David Lindsay Grant, Alumni History of the University of North
Carolina, second edition (Chapel Hill: UNC General Alumni Association,
1924).
225
. County Tax Record s, S tate Arc hives.
. F rankl 1.n
See Appendix M-3.
226
Hawkins Family Papers, SHC. Among other contributors, of lesser
amounts, were Davis Mayhew, Alexander Falconer, Jesse Person , Joel King,
and Stephen Outterbridge.
227
E. H. Davis wrote about Williams's family, p. 29. Other genealowas shared with the researcher by Sarah Davis of
information
gical
bond was found for Williams's first marriage.
marriage
No
Louisburg.
228
229
Raleigh Standard, April 10, 1818.
Fourth Census, 1830. Since Williams had remarried by 1840,
Elizabeth Toole was in that year living alone. (Fifth Census, 1840)
She divided her estate of 30 slaves in 1853 among three surviving
u~----·--·-------
------- -·----- •• ··--
115
daughters, Ann, Amelia, and Susan and grandchildr en . The latter was
the wife of Daniel Hill, a prominent political leader in Louisburg.
(Franklin County Will Book 0, pp. 358-360, and, Daniel S. Hill Papers,
DU.)
23
°Franklin County Marriage Bonds, State Archives.
pp. 470- 471.
231
Franklin County Deed Book 32, p. 161.
See also Groves,
See Appendix N-1.
232
Harvey Strother of Louisburg recalled that A. W. Person granted
permission for the graves to be moved. Pluto Stud, a black man, exhumed
the remains, lead caskets for the two adults and a wooden box for the
child. The headstones were moved in a log cart by Terrel Kemp .
(Interview, June 24, 1980) .
233 Franklin County Tax Records , State Archives.
234
See Appendix M- 3.
Franklin County Miscellaneo us Records , State Archives.
235 Cheney, ed . , pp. 292, 294, 296, 298 , 309, 311, 817 . The genealogical information is courtesy of William H. Ruffin of Durham. Also,
see Henry Thomas Shanks, ed. , The Papers of Willie Person Mangum (Raleigh :
State Department of Archives and History, 1952) , II, p. 32.
236
Battle, I, p. 333.
237 shanks, ed., II, p. 32.
238
Hawk.1ns Family P apers, SHC .
239s.1Xth census, 1850.
. , p . 29.
240Dav1s
241
Eighth Census, 1870.
242
. 1n County Will Book U, p. 13 .
Frankl'
243 Franklin Times, undated clipping, North Carolina Collection (NCC).
244
Fifth Census, 1840.
245
Thomas White, Jr. Papers, DU .
116
246
Franklin County Miscellaneous Records, State Archives.
247
Franklin Times, undated clipping, NCC.
248
census records , agricultural schedules, 1850, 1860. See Appendix
(No similar statistical data is available for years before 1850.)
M-4 .
249
Fran kl.1n County Tax Record s, S tate Arc hives .
25
°Franklin County Will Book U, pp. 128-130 . See Appendix M- 5. No
obituaries nor the exact date of Williams ' s death were found; however the
will was presented in Probate Court on July 13, 1875 .
251
Book U, p. 274 •
Frankl.1n County w·11
1.
See Appendix M-6 .
252
Franklin County Minute Docket Book (unnumbered) , pp . 53 , 57 , 64,
Franklin County Courthouse.
253
Davis, p. 29.
254
Louisa Barham ' s will was filed in Warren County Will Book W, p.
3 . In it she left real estate to her son William Kerr Barham, personal
property to her daughter Hannah M. Davis, and to her granddaughter Bessie
May Davis she left some personal items including a miniature portrait
of William P. Williams .
255
256
Franklin County Deed Book 32, p. 161.
See Appendix N-1.
Franklin County Deed Book 29, pp. 275-276.
257
Fr anklin County Deed Book 30, p . 361. See Appendix N-2. Ray
may have responded to an ad similar to the one placed in the Louisburg
Weekly News on February 10 , 1855. J. S. Barrow, then agent for the company
in Louisburg, asked readers "Are You Insured? , " offering to cover all
property against fire. In addition, they insured lives of family members
from 14 to 67 and 'tr.ives of Slaves , from 10 to 60 years of age ."
258
Franklin County Miscellaneous Records, State Archives.
259
Ellis Malone Papers, DU.
260
Ads for both the Male and Female Academies were signed by A. H.
Ray. For example , see North Carolina Times, May 13 , 1848. Within the
notice, Ray announced t hat two young ladies connected with the school
were seeking t eaching positions after the current term and asked t hat
interested parti~s contact h i m. (The North Carolina Times , which moved
117
to Raleigh the following month, was the second newspaper published in
Louisburg . Both it and the first, called the Louisburg Union and North
Carolina Miscellany and begun in 1846, were edited by C. C. Raboteau.)
26L
~ussell,
26
~aniel
p. 160; also Rainwater, pp . 7-10.
S. Hill Papers, DU ; also, Hawkins Family Papers, SHC.
263
Louisburg Weekly News, February 10, 1855. The paper, edited by
W. H. Pleasants, was the third established in Louisburg within a decade .
Two years later, Pleasants began another newspaper, the American Eagle .
264
Sixth Census, 1850 . The surnames of the students included O'Brian,
Williams, Sug, Price , Winston, Roundtree, Moore, Battle, Gray, Boddie ,
Spright, Wiehe, Forbs, and Ricks .
265
Presley Carter Person Papers, DU (hereinafter called Person Papers).
266
267
Ibid .
Ibid.
268
rbid.
269obituary of Matthew S. Davis, Franklin Times, March 14, 1906.
See also Matthew S. Davis Papers, DU.
O.; ,;R; :;a. ; ;l. ;:.e. ; ;i,li lgh=-R;:;.; e.; ,;gli;l;.i;.s.; . .t.; . e. . ; . .r~,
27
271
January 2 , 18 56 •
Person Papers, DU.
272
Franklin County Will Book 0, pp. 352-354. See Appendix N-3 . (Will
Book 0 is housed in the State Archives; there is no copy at the Franklin
County Courthouse.)
273 No obituaries of Asher Ray were located by this researcher.
cause of his death therefore was not determined.
The
274Franklin County Estates Records, Asher H. Ray folder, State
Archives. See Appendix N-4 .
275
An announcement of the opening was placed in the Raleigh Register,
July 29, 1857.
276
American Eagle (Louisburg), June 6, 1857.
118
•
277 Jane Ray died intestate. As with Asher Ray, no obituary could
be located. The cause of her death, and its relationship to that of
her husband, can only be the subjec t of speculation.
278
Franklin County Estates Records, Jane Ray folder, State Archives;
also, in Franklin County Will Book 0, pp. 231-234. See Appendix N-5 .
279
Franklin County Estates Records, Asher Ray and Jane Ray folders,
State Archives; also in Franklin County Will Book 0, pp. 216-234. See
Appendices N-5, N-6, and N- 7.
280American Eagle (Louisburg), December 18 and 25, 1858 .
281 Franklin County Estates Records, Asher Ray folder, State Archives.
Following is a list of Ray ' s slaves, their ages, and the price they brought
at the sale:
$1205
(33)
Catherine
$1310
(37)
Green
$ 700
(45)
Edney
$1277.50
(40)
Wesley
$1600
(23)
Mary
(21)
$1510
Thompson
$1415
(16)
Laura
$1475
(38)
Charity
282Louisburg Female and Male Academies Papers, DU.
283 Seventh census, 1860; also, Franklin County Tax Records , State
Archives. For more information on the family, see Nicholas B. Massenburg
Family Papers, SHC, and Lucy C. Massenburg Papers, DU.
284Franklin County Estates Records, Asher Ray folder, State Archives .
285
Person Papers, DU.
286T. H. Pearce, They Fought: The Story of Franklin County Men in
the Years 1861- 1865 (Chicago : Adams Press, 1969), p. 350.
287 Franklin County Will Book U, p. 13.
288Franklio County Estates Records, Asher Ray folder, State Archives.
289 rbid.
See Appendix N-8.
29°Franklin County Deed Book 32, p . 162.
See Appendix 0-1.
291For more information on the Person family genealogy, see George
Fuller Walker, Person(s) Lineage (Atlanta: Conger Publishing Co . , 1951),
vii- x, pp. 2 ff. For more on John Person, see also Meredith B. Colket,
Jr., Founders of Early American Families: Emigrants from Europe, 16071657 (Cleveland: General Court of the Order of Founders and Patriots
119
•
of America, 1975), p. 220; and, Nell Marion Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers
(Richmond: Dietz Printing Co., 1934), p. 1810.
292Ho fmann, p. 258.
293
Saunders ed., Colonial Records, vol. 8, xxix; also, Walker, pp.
165-166. As a 27-year-old surveyor, Person laid off William Massey's
1760 land grant (see Appendix B-2). At the time of his death he owned
3510 acres in Franklin County alone (Tax Records, State Archives).
294
Warren (Bute) County Will Book A, p. 222.
295
Granville County Deed Book A, p. 516, cited in Walker, p. 21.
296
First Census, 1790.
297
Walker, pp. 22, 32.
298
A copy of the deed was found in the Presley Carter Person Papers,
DU .
299The date is taken from the inscription on the tombstone of Mary
Person (1786-1846) at the Person family burial plot north of Franklinton .
30 °Franklin County Tax Records, State Archives; Fourth Census, 1830 .
301
Presley Person was identified as County Trustee in court minutes
of 1810 and in tax records up to 1819. He apparently was sheriff throughout the 1820's (his name appears on numerous county records for the period,
but by 1830 he was identified as "late sheriff of Franklin County").
See Franklin County Court Minutes, Miscellaneous, and Tax Records, State
Archives; and, Person Papers, DU.
302
An account of a ghost story associated with the house, together
with a photograph, was published in the Durham Morning Herald, January
26, 1946 . The house passed from Presley Person to his son Willie. Mrs.
Billie Montgomery, a daughter of Thomas Person, was the last family and
then to D. T. Smithwick, who had it torn down. The property, on which
is located an overgrown family burial plot, is now owned by a timber
company.
303 Shanks, ed ., vol. 3, p. 445.
304Franklin County Will Book M, p. 17.
305Franklin County Deed Book 30, pp. 87-93. For more on the disposition of Presley C. Person's estate, see Franklin Times, August 28 ,
1890.
120
•
306Person Papers, DU. The six slaves Thomas A. Person received,
valued at $3050, were named Reuben, Angeline, Epich, Nancy, Joshua, and
Mary .
307 Franklin County Will Book M, p. 17.
308Franklin County Deed Book 30, p. 87 .
309 Louisburg Female Academy Papers, DU; also, the 1818 roll of students was reprinted in an article by Matthew S. Davis in Franklin Times,
February 21, 1902.
310Person Papers, DU.
311 Sixth Census , 1850.
See Appendices 0-2 and 0- 3 .
312Person Papers, DU. Receipts among the papers are for goods and
services as varied as repa1r1ng a wagon, doctor's visits, shoe brushes
and polish, and silk cloth.
313 Ellis Malone Papers, DU. Dr. Malone purchased other items from
the Persons as well. In 1844 he bought some potato seed and appended
the postscript: "If Mr. Person is not at home Mrs. Person will please
attend to this note and oblige her old friend in need."
314Person Papers, DU.
315Franklin County Miscellaneous Records, State Archives .
316 Franklin County Deed Book 32, p. 162.
317Person Papers, DU.
See Appendix 0-4.
318Person Papers , DU .
See Appendix 0-5.
See Appendix 0-1.
319 Seventh Census , 1860.
32°Frankl'1n Coun ty Tax Recor ds , State Arc hives.
32
See Appendix 0-6.
~ouisburg Male and Female Academies Papers, DU; also , Russell,
pp. 56- 57 .
322
Person Papers, DU; also, Pearce, Thel Fought, p . 346 , and Grant,
p. 488 .
323Person Papers, DU; also Pearce, Thel Fought, P· 347.
121
•
324
325
Franklin County Marriage Bonds, State Archives .
Person Papers, DU.
326
Sharpe, vol . 4 , p . 1853.
327
The story has been retold by Fuller, Franklin Times, June 11,
1970 ; Sharpe, vol. 4 , p. 1874; Boswell, Durham Sun, October 31 , 1972;
and probably hundreds of times by word of mouth . Ironically, a similar
t ale has been told about the Revolution. The story, writ ten down by
Matthew S . Davis, was attributed to Henry Shelby White, who in 1902 was
the oldest living descendent of Green Hill. According to White , Hill
hear d a rumor that the Tories were preparing a raid on his premises.
Fearing an attack, he took his belongings and "fled to the swamps where
he remained several days in concealment, a faithful servant taking his
meals to him." (Franklin T:ilr:es, February 21, 1902).
328 Interviews with Josephine Zealand, August 8, 1980, and Mrs . H.
C. Perguson, July 1, 1980 (phone).
329
Person Papers, DU.
33 °For more information on the family, see the Jones and Edwin Wiley
Fuller Papers, DU. See also E. T. Malone, Jr . , "The University of North
Carolina in Edwin Fuller's 1873 Novel, Sea-Gift," North Carolina Historical
Review, vol. 53, no. 3 (July, 1976), pp. 288-302.
331Anna L. Fuller Diary, Cecil W. Robbins Library, Louisburg College
(hereinafter called Fuller Diary, LC).
332
Burke Davis, Sherman ' s March (New York: Random House, 1980), p.
250.
333 E. H. Davis, p. 197.
334The War of Rebellion (Washington: Government Printing Office,
1895), vol. 47, part 3 , series 1, p. 225. An account of the incident
is also found in John G. Barrett , Sherman's March Through the Carolinas
(Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 1956), p . 246.
335Fuller Diary, LC.
336Burke Davis, p. 267.
337 E. H. Davis , p. 197 . The building was also used for storage after
1865. In a composition assignment , one of the Person children descr ibed
it as also con taining several pounds of shot. " It has two doors one
122
•
of them is nailed up and the other is shot nearly down. The walls are
cut and marked up as badly and the doors are shot and the desks are cut
up until they will not hold books." (Person Papers, DU).
338
Captain George W. Pepper, Personal Recollections of Sherman's
Campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas (Zanesville, Ohio: Hugh Dunne,
1866) , pp. 435- 436.
339 Fuller Diary, LC .
340Person Papers, DU.
341
Eighth and Ninth Censuses , 1870, 1880.
342
Franklin County Deed Book 33, pp . 95-97; also, in Person Papers,
DU.
343 Person Papers , DU.
344His grave now lies abandoned and overgrown at the former site
of Presley Person's mansion house north of Franklinton. See Appendix
0- 7 (tombstone shading courtesy of Joe Elmore).
345Fr anklin County Estates Records, Thomas A. Person folder, State
Archives.
346 Franklin County Will Book 5, p. 466; and, Franklin County Estates
Records, Thomas A. Person folder, State Archives. See Appendix 0-8.
347
Person Papers, DU; and, Franklin County Estates Records, Thomas
A. Person folder, State Archives.
348Person Papers, DU; also Federal censuses, Franklin Times (August
22, 1892), and Levi Branson, ed., Branson's North Carolina Business
Directory (Raleigh : Branson and Jones, 1872-1890), 1872 ed., p. 98; 1878
ed., p. 122; 1884 ed., p. 314; and 1890 ed . , p. 299.
349
Person Papers, DU .
See Appendix P-1.
350Branson's Directory, 1867/68 ed., p . 45; 1869 ed., p. 62; 1872
ed ., p. 97; 1878 ed. , pp. 120- 122; 1884 ed. , p. 313; and 1890 ed., p.
296 ; also, Chataigne, J . H., ed., Chataigne's North Carolina State Directory
and Gazetteer (Raleigh : J. H. Chataigne, 1883), p . 337; T. H. Pearce,
Durham Morning Herald, March 23, 1958; and, Person Papers, DU.
351Franklin County Will Book V, p . 63. In her 1895 will, Sallie
Per son Jones left property to her husband J . F. Jones.
...__
............. . _.._. _...._ .
_.___ ----123
352
Person Papers, DU; and Branson's Directory, 1884 ed . , p. 314,
and 1890 ed., p . 298 .
353
Franklin County Marriage Bonds, State Archives; and Franklin County
Will Book V, p. 443.
354Person Papers, DU.
355 see, for example, ads placed by Person in the Franklin Courier,
January 31, 1872, and August 8, 1873 .
356 Branson's Directory, 1869 ed., p . 62; 1872 ed., p . 98, 1878 ed.,
p. 120; 1884 ed., p . 314; and, 1890 ed., p . 299. In 1887, J. J . Person
was asked his opinion of the effect of prohibition on local sales. Of
16 people interviewed, he was in a minority, claiming: "I know that prohibition has done a great deal of good . . . I do not think that we have
lost any trade by it, and do not believe the moral effect has been bad."
(Franklin Times, May 20, 1887) Still, his business, while apparently
adequate, was not by any means booming. In 1889, he was given a credit
rating of 6 on a scale of 1-7 (with 7 being the lowest) and his estimated worth in the same year was less than $1000 . (Reference Book of
the Mercantile Association of the Carolinas , 1889).
357Ninth Census, 1880.
358 Franklin County Deed Book 54, pp. 202-204.
See Appendix P-2.
359 Franklin County Orders and Decrees Book 13, pp . 361-365; Franklin
County Estates Records, Thomas A. Person folder, State Archives. See
Appendix P-3.
36
°Franklin County Will Book V, p . 8 .
See Appendix P-4.
361On "Gray's New Map of Louisburg" (circa 1884), the house was simply
identified as the residence of ''Mrs . Person." (0. W. Gray and Son, "Gray ' s
New Map of Louisburg" [Philadelphia: 1184?]). See Appendix P- 5 .
362Person Papers, DU .
363 Ibid.
364 Franklin Times, August 11 and
25 , 1893.
See Appendix P- 5.
365Franklin Times , February 21, 1902 .
366 The enabling documents giving Prudence Person ownership of the
house wer e the 1895 will of Sallie M. Jones (Franklin County Will Book V,
124
•
p. 63), the 1897 will of Matthew P. Person (Will Book V, p. 130), the
1911 will of Martha L. Harris (Will Book V, p. 443), and the 1920 will
of Temperance Montgomery (Will Book W, p . 98). See Appendix Q-1.
367Person Papers, DU; also, interview with Lydia Person Trow of
Richmond, Virginia (by telephone on August 12, 1980).
368
Person Papers, DU.
369 Franklin County Marriage Register; Franklin Times, March 12, 1897.
370Person Papers, DU; also Alice Person Papers, SHC. A 44-page promotional tract, containing testimonials and claims of effectiveness, was
distributed for the product. See Appendix Q-2 (Pamphlet Collection,
Duke University).
371Greenville Reflector, date unknown, reprinted in Franklin Times,
April 1, 1898.
372Al·1ce Person Papers, SHC .
373Kittrell, J. C., ''Willie Mangum Person," Proceedings of the 33rd
Annual Session of the North Carolina Bar Association (Raleigh: Edwards
and Broughton, 1931) : 156-157; and Grant, p. 488 .
374Person Papers, DU.
375 Ibid.; also, interview with Lydia Trow.
376
Twelfth Census, 1900.
377 see, for example, Franklin Times, January 10, 1902, October 14,
1904, and December 10, 1909.
378 Cheney, ed. , pp. 493, 504.
379Franklin Times , April 6, 1917. The profile of W. M. Person also
included a photograph. See Appendix Q-3.
380News and Observer (Raleigh), June 1 , 1930.
38L_
-willie Mangum Person, "Address on the Floor of the Senate of North
Carolina on Behalf of the Franklin County Educational Bill" (February
15, 1917) .
125
•
382
K·1ttre11 , pp. 156 - 157 .
383
384
Franklin County Will Book W, p. 117 .
See Appendix Q- 4.
Franklin County Vital Statistics Book 5 (1921-22), p . 34.
385
Franklin County Will Book U (File Box), p. 116.
See Appendix
Q- 4.
386
" Trow, August 12 , 1980 .
· h Ly d 1a
w1t
·
I nterv1ew
387
News and Observer , June 1, 1930; also Kittrell, p. 157.
388
The Sanborn Map Company surveyed all the structures in Louisburg
for fire insurance purposes in 1893, 1898, 1904, 1908, 1914, 1922, and
1930. The section of town which includes the Person Place was included
in only the last two surveys. The maps indicate that the house was a
large 2-story frame structure attached to a smaller 1~-story section .
The r oof of the large section is tin in both maps. For the smaller section the roof is shown as shi.n gle in 1922, whereas in 1930 it is tin.
In both cases the r oof of the collonade porch is shingle. The smallest
rear section of the house is shown as having a composition roof in each
case .
The placement of four outbuildings on the property can be determined from these maps. Two of these are attached with an indication
that one side was used as a garage (the notation "Auto" ) and the other
as a general outbuilding, probably a storage shed. These were north
of the house on the line separating the Person Place from the adjacent
tract . Just west of these two was an even smaller one-story building
with a composition roof . The fourth outbuilding shown was northwest
(or directly behind) the main house. This was a two-story building which
at one time had been used as the slaves' quarters . All but the smallest
outbuilding had shingle roofs . See Appendices R-1 and R-2.
Interview, Lydi~ Trow. All of the structures she mentioned are
identifiable on the Sanborn maps. Apparently two of the three offices
mentioned in Asher Ray's 1851 fire insurance application (see Appendix
N-2) were no longer standing in 1922. The other is indicated on the
Sanborn maps and in a modern photograph (see Appendix V). The structure
was moved to the Stafford residence in Louisburg.
389
390
Interviews with Josephine Zealand (August 8, 1980), Mrs. H. C.
Ferguson (July 1, 1980), and Lydia Trow. A blowup of an aerial view
of Louisburg in 1930 shows that there was no porch on the north side
of the house. Two photos of the college tennis teams, taken in 1929
and 1930, offer views of the back side of the house, including the kitchen and an outbuilding. See Appendix V (photographs).
391
Interview, Lydia Trow.
126
•
392
Person Papers, DU; also, letter from Lydia Trow to Mrs. Edward
Ford, September 10, 1979 (letter loaned to this researcher) .
393
Franklin Times, March 28, 1902 . The ad read "A. W. Person, formerly with G. W. Ford, just received a Fresh Car Load of Red Seal Flour
II
394
Franklin Times, January 20 and May 26, 1905. The latter issue
carried news of a fire which had destroyed the office housing Person's
brokerage firm.
395
Franklin County Deed Book 227 , p. 576.
See Appendix S-1.
396 rnterview, Trow. The placement of the new house in front and
south of the main house can be seen on the Sanborn maps (Appendices R-1
and R-2) . The tract was surveyed in 1936 (see the plat in Appendix S- 2).
397Letters , Trow to Mrs. Edward Ford (September 10, 1979), and Mrs.
John P. Stupp to Mrs. Colin McKinne (September 12, 1979). Both letters
were loaned to the researcher .
398
The personal letters and papers made their way to the Manuscripts
Collection at Duke University. The Presley Carter Person Papers at Duke
have no accessioning records, only the notation that they were transferred
from a storeroom in 1932 for processing. Curator Mattie Russell agrees
that it is probable that the Durham woman was involved in the transferral
of the papers from Louisburg to Duke.
399Frankl.l.n Times , July 12, 1929, and News and Observer, February
17, 1929; also, Davis, p. 267.
400
Franklin Times, July 30, 1970 .
401
Franklin County Deed Book 272, p. 287.
See Appendix S-3.
402Franklin County Orders and Decrees Book 11, p . 515.
403 Franklin County Deed Book 330 , p . 586. See Appendix S-4.
also the 1936 plat of the 20-acre tract (Appendix S-5) .
See
404 Interviews, Harvey Strother (by phone, August 8 , 1980), Mrs . H.
C. Perguson (by phone , July 1, 1980), and Josephine Zealand (August 8,
1980). Mrs. Zealand, the daughter of H. C. Perry, lived in the house
from 1927-1930. Mr. Strother is a retired mail carrier and recalled
the changes in the residents of the house . Mrs. Perguson lived in the
bouse with her family in the 1930's.
127
•
405
rnterviews, Mrs. H. C. Ferguson, Josephine Zealand, and Lydia
Trow.
406
rnterview, Dr. Cecil W. Robbins, July 1, 1980 .
407
Franklin County Wills, Year-1969, Film-2, ltem-1280.
See Appendix
S-6.
408 Franklin County Vital Statistics Book 57, p. 228.
409 Franklin County Deed Book 677, p. 91, and Deed Book 685, pp. 331332 . See Appendices T-1 and T-2. Reference was made in the deed to
bounds as indicated in the 1936 plat of the property (see Appendix S-5).
410A. L. Honeycutt, Jr., Restoration and Preservation Services Branch,
N. C. Division of Archives and History, "Report I" (Architectural Description and Recommendations), October 8, 1970. See Appendix U-2.
411 Franklin Times, June 11, 1970; Durham Sun, October 31, 1972; and
Durham Morning Herald, November 6, 1972.
412 rnterviews, Allen de Hart (June 2, 1980) and Dr. Cecil W. Robbins
(July 1, 1980).
•
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Duke University, Durham
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Willie Person Mangum Papers
Lucy C. Massenburg Papers
Jacob Mordecai Papers
Presley Carter Person Papers
Daniel Shine Papers
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129
•
Map Collection
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Franklin Courier (Louisburg)
Franklin Times
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Interviews
Allen deHart, June 2, 1980, Louisburg College
Mrs. H. C. Ferguson, July 1, 1980 (phone)
Dr. Cecil W. Robbins, July 1, 1980, home in Louisburg
Harvey Strother, June 24 and August 8, 1980 (phone)
Lydia Person Trow, August 12, 1980 (phone)
Josephine Zealand, July 25 and August 8, 1980, Louisburg College and
home in Louisburg
130
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