From the President: Our September meeting is being held in Higgins Lodge at the Laurel Ridge Moravian Conference Grounds of Laurel Springs and we are anticipating a good attendance. Our special guest speaker will be N.C. State Representative, Margaret Hayden.
It’s that time of year again when we must think about election of officers for the Society for 1983. The election will take place at the November meeting. The President, Vice President and two Directors will be elected. Progress on the ALLEGHANY COUNTY HERITAGE book has been slower than we expected. We have had to cancel our deadline for receipt of material and keep this time open for awhile. It is hoped that those who have not submitted their family history sketches and photographs will respond quickly to our newspaper advertisements urging them to submit material promptly so as to assure their being included in the Heritage Book. We need to receive another 150 family history sketches before we can effectively start indexing and getting the material in proper order for the publishing company. Members, PLEASE contact families you know and urge them to get their history sketches and photographs turned in as soon as possible if they haven’t already done so. REMINDER: The Society’s office is located upstairs over Farmer’s Hardware (entrance at the Beauty Shop on Main Street) and someone is there to discuss the format of the book and ideas about writing family histories during the following hours: Monday 2:00-4:00; Wednesday 12:00-2:00; and Friday 10:00-1:00. These people are willing to help, so call or come in to see them and ask others to do so.
From the Committees: HISTORY: There’s lots going on in our Book Office these days: Family history sketches and photographs coming in, lots of discussions, typing, making folders, going through photographs, answering telephone inquiries, working on newspaper adds, and other related activities. However, we still don’t have enough family history sketches or book orders! Do you know someone who you could help to write their family history? Here are some ideas you could give them on how to get started: Title of Article: Use full name. Example: The John Wyles Smith Family: or James B. and Carolyn McGee Jones Family: or John J. Hamilton and Descendants. Place and Date of Birth or people being written about. Give town or section of County. Date of Arrival in County if born elsewhere and reason for locating in Alleghany County. Forbears including (when known) the date and name of the ancestor who immigrated to the United States and the date and name of the first ancestor who settled in this part of the country. Brothers and Sisters of people you are writing about. Education (public school, college, technical school) Military Service Record including military honors Church Affiliation including offices held Public Offices, other honors Place and Date of Marriage with full maiden name of wife. Children with date, place of birth (use full names). Outstanding Characteristics such as mode of dress, disposition, favorite sayings, hobbies, colorful anecdotes, etc. Place and date of death including burial place. Writer should indicate on the last page on the bottom right side who submitted the material, giving mailing address and phone number. On the left side of the last page indicate sources of information. The family sketch should be written in the narrative style, using complete sentences rather than an outline form. Spelling should be checked carefully, with special attention given to names, uncommon words, and geographical locations. The sketch should be uniform in punctuation and capitalization. Numbers between one and ten should be spelled out when not used in a date. LIBRARY: The Alleghany County Library is in dire need of $25,000 for their building fund. This is of interest to all of us individually and to the Alleghany Historical-Genealogical Society specifically, in that our Library materials are house in the County Library and we desperately need the space. We urge all ho have not contributed to put whatever amount they can toward this project. MUSEUM: Chairman Roy Crouse and other interested members are still searching for suitable space for our Museum. Nothing promising has turned up so far and this is discouraging, but we hope for better news soon. Don’t forget to keep your ears and eyes open for any possibilities.
Included in this BULLETIN is a copy of the “Fields Family” history which will be of interest to all who read it. This story reflects much of the County’s early history as well as that of the family.
INQUIRIES: Mrs. Floyd Smith, Amarillo, Texas, would appreciate any information on her Higgins ancestors: Linville Higgins and Juda Kirby, Goldman Higgins and Margaret Hampton, Julina Higgins and Thomas Center Carr. She offers to pay for information.
Mary Ines Center, Campton, Kentucky believes her ancestors might have been married or had some record in Alleghany. Her grandfather John A. Rofs was born in Grayson County May 17, 1835 and after moving to Kentucky changed the name to Ross. Grandmother was Mary Ann Handy, born April 11, 1840. Her mother was Sarah Pliney Handy and came to Kentucky with the family, was born September 22, 1813. They were Primitive Baptist.
Myrtle Brown, Glendale Springs, N.C. wants to know something about William Reeves, son of George Reeves, Sr. (1735-1811) and Jane Burton, married a Miss Terrial or Terrell. His brothers were Jesse who married Elizabeth Terrell, George, Jr. married Jane Osborne, and John married Phoebe Osborne. It is believed that they moved to Alleghany County.
WANTED: Information about Cornelius Vanover, who was in Rowan County, N.C. in 1790, then moved to Grayson County, Virginia and in 1810 was living in the area of Ashe County that became Alleghany. Will exchange notes.
A BEDWEL FAMILY book is a record of fourteen generations of proven Robert Bedwell descendants in America. It is a brown hard bound book, stamped in gold and contains 3,760 family biographies, 143 portraits and much more. Price is $25.00 per copy. It is published by the author: Larry King, Hendersonville, Tennessee.
GENEALOGICAL INQUIRIES are welcome for publication in this Bulletin.
Following are some names of early families living along Little River who belonged to what is now the Little River Primitive Baptist Church. There was a Little River Meeting House and the first book of records for the Church states “May 6 (1890) the Church met at Little River Meeting House.” In July, the first Saturday, the Church chose delegates to the Association (The Mountain Association). Book I, 1809-1869, starts with what we presume is a list of members at their time. On the inside of the front cover is a notation that “Sister Mary McBridge decest August the 11th day 1801.”
Page 1 lists male names: David Cox decest April M—(corner torn off)
Clara Eduard joined by letter May the first Saterday 1815
Elizabeth Fan (?) joined by letter June 1815
Sala Holbrooks joined by expearenc July 3rd Saterday 1815
Nancy Dickey joined by expearenc April first Saterday 1817
Vicy Vanover joined by expearenc May first Saterday 1817
Marget Recter joined by expearenc June the first Saterday 1817
June the forth Saterday 1817 sister Snow joined by expearenc
Elizabeth Ginnins by letter April 1818
The Fields name is an old one, dating back to at least thirteenth-century England. It is not known when the first Fields came to America but by the time of the Revolutionary War it was a well established name. The first Fields to settle in the south-western Virginia-northwestern North Carolina area was Joseph Fields Sr. Joseph Fields Sr. was born in Guilford county, North Carolina in 1766. Before his twentieth birthday he left his home in Guilford and traveled to Grayson county, Virginia, where he settled on land in the Bridle Creek section. He married Margaret Hash, daughter of William and Eleanor Osborne Hash in 1785 and built a flourishing farm. Joseph Sr. was a slave-holder and raised sheep, hogs and cattle He built the first frame house in the area, a two-story house with large rooms for dancing and entertaining. His farm also boasted a tan-yard, a shop for dressing leather, a still house, a blacksmith shop, a frame store building and a mill. On this homestead Joseph Sr. and Margaret remained for many years and raised twelve children, eleven of whose names survive: William who married Polly McMillan, daughter of John and Mary McLamont McMillan, and remained in Bridle Creek; Jeremiah who wed Patsie or Patsy Davis; Joseph Jr., who married Ann Curan and also remained in Bridle Creek; Nathan, who married a Miss Graham of Missouri; Polly, who wed William Davis; Jennie, who married Andrew McMillan, the brother of Williams’ wife Polly; Rachel, who became the wife of James Roberts; Nellie, of whom there is no record of marriage; and Margaret, who married Cagar Stone. Eventually Joseph Sr. and at least some of his children left Bridle Creek and moved to Missouri, he sold the farm to his son Joseph Jr. who in turn sold it to Joseph Bryant years later. William, like his father, left the Bridle Creek community but his destination was the Elk Creek section of what is today Alleghany County, North Carolina. He and his wife Polly built a home near what is today the Elk Creek bridge and they raised three children: Andrew, born on August 25, 1815; Nancy, born in 1817; and Eleanor, born on September 28, 1818, who married George Austin and remained in Alleghany county. After Austin’s death Eleanor married David Wiley Maxwell. On March 23, 1839 Andrew married Sally Young, daughter o William and Jane Baker Young, possibly of Fox Creek, Virginia. Andrew and Sally settled near the William Fields home on Elk Creek. A part of the log home which they built still stands and is a part of the J.C. Fields homeplace just off U.S. Highway 93 near the Elk Creek bridge. In this house Andrew and Sally raised seven children: John, born July 18, 1841; Martha, born September 20, 1843; Frank P. born December 6, 1854; Wiley, born March 10, 1859; and the youngest, Zebulon Vance, born October 3, 1861. Andrew and Sally lived on and farmed their land until their deaths. Both were laid to rest on the land that they loved. Years before his death Andrew and a friend went walking in the woods that surrounded the farm. Andrew took his knife and marked a young sapling, asking his friend to make sure that he was buried under the tree. True to his word, Andrew’s companion of that day saw to it that he was laid to rest in that wooded area upon his death on November 15, 1872. Andrew was the first man to be buried in what is now the Elk Creek Cemetery. Sally survived Andrew by nine years. She died on May 10, 1881 and was laid y Andrew’s side. John Andrew and Sally’s oldest son joined the Army of the Confederacy during the Civil War. He was taken prisoner and died in a Union Prison camp at Point Lookout, Petersburg, Maryland. Martha, or Matt as she came to be called, married Creed Young and moved to Grayson county, Virginia. She died on December 15, 1866 and was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Virginia. William Jr. became a lawyer and set up a practice in Sparta. He married Jennie Smith of Mocksville and they had four children: Maude, Willie, Beulah and Paul. After Jennie’s death William married Josie Jones. They moved their family to Grayson county where their sons Cam and Hoke became prominent members of the Mouth of Wilson community, updating the town’s woolen mail, turning it into a major source of employment for the area and working to improve their town. Frank remained in the count for a time. After the deaths of Andrew and Sally he and J.C. farmed the homeplace and ran a store in Sparta in partnership with Bob Hackler. The brothers eventually sold their interest in the Fields-Hackler store to Bob Hackler. Frank took his share of the profits and bought land not far from the family farm. He married Flora Carson, daughter of Emaline Boyer and Andrew J. Carson. They eventually moved to Alabama where they settled. Wiley went West for work and adventure but did return to Alleghany county shortly before his death in 1892. Zebulon Vance, called Vance, was known as a rather wild young man as well as a horseman of note. One of his escapades has survived him. The old log structure that served as the original Elk Creek Baptist Church was rumored to be haunted. Strange noises were often heard within the church. Vance, always one for adventure, decided to investigate. One evening he rode his coal lack stallion not only up to but into the church, hoping to solve the mystery of the haunting sounds. The church’s ghost was the grunting and snoring of an old sow pig and her brood. Vance, like Wiley, traveled West to Nebraska among other states. While there he served as a lawman and it is believed that he met his death while in the line of duty. He died on November 23, 1891 at the age of thirty. There is no record of his ever having married. J.C., like his brothers Wiley and Vance before him, went West. He worked in the Missouri wheat fields bundling grain by hand. Once while he was bundling he gathered in a big rattler! After his Missouri experience J.C. pushed on into Texas and New Mexico where he worked as a cowboy for fifteen years. He apparently came home only once during that time. He visited his mother after a ten-year absence but returned to the territories. According to his daughter, Clyde, “he had it in his blood to go.” After the deaths of Andrew and Sally, J.C. returned to Alleghany county and worked the farm with Frank and helped operate the Fields-Hackler store. The brothers sold one hundred fifty acres of the family farm to John Templeton (J.T.) Hawthorne. J.C. AND Frank continued to work the one hundred fifty acres that joined the land they had sold to Templeton and J.C. continued to live at the homepalce. Upon the death of J.T., Jane Carson Hawthorne and her daughter Annise Jane moved into the old Field’s home with J.C. A favorite story has it that J.C. had seen Annise Jane as a baby and had told her mother to “save that one for me.” He apparently never changed his mind as he married Annise Jane on January 20, 1886. J.C. and Aunt Annie as he came to be known, lived in the home built by Andrew, adding to it and making improvements, one of which was a wire hooked by J.C. from the house to the spring. Water could be hauled from the spring to the house by pulling on a rope and by the time a full bucket was hauled the distance it was half empty! Later water was piped to the house from the same spring. That spring still supplies water to the homeplace. J.C. and Aunt Annie farmed and operated the J.C. Fields Store. They had two daughters: Lillian Pearl, born July 7, 1888 and Clyde Adella, born May 3, 1891. They reared their daughters with a combination of femininity and independence. J.C. wanted his girls to learn three things: to shoot, to swim and to ride—not sidesaddle but astride—and they did. Annise taught them beautiful handwork and clothed them in dresses she adorned with he own tatting and embroidery. Both parents had a passionate desire to see their girls educated and as there were few schools in the county the girls were tutored by Miss Gertrude Blackwell until 1904 when they went to the Bridle Creek Academy. The girls attended the Academy for one year and as roads were rugged and transportation limited they boarded. From the Bridle Creek Academy they went to the Dublin Institute where they also boarded. Upon graduation from Dublin two years later they both went to Women’s College in Greensboro. They went into teaching because, according to Clyde, if you taught for two years the state paid for your education. Pearl attended college for two years and then returned home to teach, first in the small schools in the county; Mt. Zion, Mt. Hope and Grassy Creek, then at Piney Creek and later at Sparta. Perl had suffered since childhood from severe ulcers and after eight years she gave up teaching to work in the store and manage the farm. J.C. died on February 3, 1939. He was a strong man until the day before his death when he suffered a stroke. Clyde continued at Women’s College and graduated in 1912 with a degree in music. She went on to Columbia University and to Chapel Hill to further her education. Clyde’s teaching career began in Mt. Airy where she taught one hundred second graders. She worked in Mt. Airy for one year and then returned to Alleghany county to teach music and literature at Sparta High School. At the end of two years she moved to Statesville where she taught for two years, again returning to Alleghany, this time to teach at Grassy Creek. She stayed at Grassy Creek only one year and then returned to Statesville where she taught for twenty-five years. In 1943, a year after Annise Jane’s death, the Alleghany county school board asked Clyde to return to Sparta as the superintendent of schools. Clyde came home to be with Pearl and their foster daughter Evelyn Brown. Evelyn is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred H. Brown and had come to live with the Fields family when she was four years old. Clyde was only the fourth woman in the state to have ever held the position of County Superintendent and she was the first and only woman to hold that position in the ninety-seven years that Alleghany county has had a school system. She served at a time when there were poor roads, no phones, no federal funds and few local funds. Clyde cleaned her own office, carried coal and built her own fires for heat. The independence and determination fostered in her by her parents emerged as she traveled to each of the schools in the county; rode every school bus route; instituted school lunch programs throughout the system and had indoor bathroom facilities installed in the schools as they were consolidated. Teachers in the county were surprised when Clyde began to supply them with classroom materials, a luxury they had never experienced. Clyde worked with the school board and with the Department of Roads and put buses on roads where they had never been before. When Clyde took over the system in 1943 there were twenty-two schools in the county, eleven of which were one-teacher facilities. She worked with patience and understanding to began consolidating schools at a time when change was viewed as not particularly desirable. When Clyde retired there were two high schools and four elementary schools. At that time not all county schools had certified teachers and she worked to upgrade both black and white schools to insure that all the teachers had “A” certificates. Clyde also worked to bring the arts into the schools. One example of this was an annual festival she organized with the help of George and Arthur J. Edwards. The men pledged five hundred dollars to the school system to be used for the purchase of library books if each of the county’s schools would participate in a singing program. This program was roundly successful and continued for many years. During her sixteen years as Alleghany county’s schools superintendent Clyde worked with her teachers, principles and school boards to broaden and to enhance the scope of education in the county. She knew how to anticipate problems and how to solve them, how to look ahead and how to plan for the future. Clyde retired in 1959, leaving the Alleghany school a much stronger and a more progressive system. She and Pearl built a house in Sparta and filled their time with community work, friends and gardening. Pearl died in June of 1975. Clyde continued to live in the home that she and Pearl had build a continuing source of strength and guidance to all who know her. Her dedication to education has influenced many over the years, including her foster daughter Evelyn Brown Phipps who, like Clyde, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has been an outstanding teacher in the Alleghany county school system for many years. Evelyn presently lives in the old Fields homeplace, continuing to bring life and energy to a home that has stood for more than one hundred and forty years. written by: Burr Bost,