Saturday, February 27, 2010

Visiting My Grandparents

By Clarence Jones

In my very early age, about 4 years old [1919], my family lived in Spring Hope, [Nash County] N.C. and my grandparents lived at Westry's Siding—a distance of about 20 miles—with their son Robert "Bob" Pullen, his wife, Carrie, and their children Zorah, Myrtle, Virginia, Mary Rue, Elease and Paralee.

From time to time, mostly in the spring of he year when the weather had warmed up quite a bit, my mother would take me and my brother Walter (Duck was his nickname), bundle us up, board the train, A.C.L., at the station in Spring Hope, and travel to Westry's Siding where we were met by Zorah on a wagon and carried up to his house about a mile from the Siding.

At my grandmother's house, they cooked on a Majestic wood stove that had a warming closet at the top where food could be stored and would stay warm for quite a long time. I remember so well what I wanted when we arrived at her house was one of her warm biscuits. I thought they were the best I had ever tasted and of course all we children had to have one.

We had what we called a play time when we were there and my grandmother and all we children played a game called "Grandmama sent me to you. What must I do? Do as I do."

Grandma would start it off making some kind of sentence and you had to guess what it was that she was doing. When that child guessed what it was it would be his turn to do as grandma had done and so on and on till everyone had had a chance at "Grandmama sent me to you. What must I do? Do as I do."

When it was time for bed I had a fear of sleeping in an upstairs bedroom as I had always lived in a one story house. The fear was than when I lay down to sleep, which was on a pallet, I would roll down the stairs and sometimes it was hard for me to get to sleep. But I would think of the good times we would have the next day and that would lull me to sleep.

Sometimes, in the course of our visit, my mother, grandmother, grandfather, Uncle Bob, Aunt Carrie and all we children would gather on the front porch and have a sing-a-long. I thought it was the sweetest music that I had ever heard. My Uncle Bob had the deepest bass voice and all the rest filled in the other parts and we just had a good time together.

Another happy and pleasant memory was when my brother Edward, named after our grandfather, used to sit down at the piano and play many favorite old hymns and also popular love songs and all the family would join in.

My mother and father were members of singing groups that would meet at each other's houses and join in a sing-a-long. They sang mostly gospel songs which were very beautiful. They would sing sometimes without music and also with music. These occasions were just a few of the happy memories that we enjoyed together.

This story was published in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Winter 2008 issue.

Friday, February 26, 2010


This ad appeared in the Henderson Gold Leaf on 11/10/1887.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Revolutionary War Pension

John L. Ward was born in Bute County, North Carolina on July 12, 1763. He was drafted on March 8, 1780 at Thomas Christmas's in Warren County, NC where Warrenton is now located. The following stories are included in his application for a pension.

Ward saw a little cabin on the road and called and received from the hands of an old lady a glass of milk. While drinking the same, the horse began prancing. "I looked behind, saw a cloud of dust arising. I then, with all speed, gave notice and information to the rear guard that the enemy was at hand. I then pushed for the river where I found the army nearly all crossed over. I forced [my horse] into the river. The enemy arrived t the bank and ordered me to stop or I would be a dead man, but I forced the horse in a still more rapid manner. They fired a volley of balls at me which so much alarmed the horse and myself, too, that I lost my hold on my horse. [However} both arrived safely on the opposite bank safe and sound."

Ward belonged to Gen. Caswell's regiment. On one occasion, as the colonial forces tried to evade Gen. Tarleton, Gen. Caswell and Col. Bufort went in different directions. Tarleton soon caught Bufort and "cut the men to pieces. He then pursued Caswell's Regiment. … Gen. Rutherford, who had previously joined Caswell's Regiment … had a fine Stallion and fearing that Tarleton would get him delivered the horse to the declarant, considered to be a first rate rider, and told him to lose his life sooner than the horse, …"

Ward was discharged from the army in 1781. He remained at home until the spring of 1782 when "Captain Thomas Battle, Hertford [County, NC] came up in Warren County to enlist Marines to man a schooner called Hagora fitted out as a privateer by Colo George Wm and others …Charles Whitehead, James Ransom, Sugar Jones and my self enlisted. My friends and Capt. Battle persuading me that a sea voyage would restore to me my health. We arrived at Winton [Hertford County] the 18 Apr 1782 where we were received by Capt. Battle and the crew. As soon as the schooner was ready for a cruise we set sail. I was appointed clerk and confined mostly below deck and having no knowledge of navigation know very little about the cruise on water. My health recovered and several prizes [were] taken. We landed at Edenton [Chowan County, NC] the last of June from whence I came home …"

This story came from John L. Ward's pension application. It was published in The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Summer 2006 issue. John Ward appears on early censuses of Warren County.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Pair of Cow Stories

A Little More Cider

A LITTLE MORE CIDER TOO.— It happened at a speaking. The ground was thickly dotted with cider carts and melon carts. All appeared to be drawn by the gentleman specimens of the cow tribe; for their proximity to each other seemed to excite their ire, as evinced by angry bellowings. Cider guzzling became epidemic. After a while, instead of one speaker, there were at least forty.

A red haired owner of a fierce little speckled bull shouted, "I'll bet a gallon of cider my bull can butt the horns and hide off any animal on the ground."
"I'll take the bet," cried a hirsute specimen of the piney woods. "Trot out the beast."

The combatants were brought out, held by long ropes in the hands of the respective owners. At each other they plunged, bellowing, pawing and kicking up a fearful dust. They ripped and tore, up and down, round and round, jerked loose from the holders, upset the cider carts, turned over the barrels, and made "confusion worse confounded" generally. But it's an ill wind that blows no one good. Gourds, glasses, shoes and hats were brought into requisition to save the cider. No further interest was taken in the fight, and to this day, no one knows which bull whipped.

This occurred in a classic township, wherein the SOUTHERNER freely circulates

As we left, the cider-maudlin patriots were chorusing: "A little more cider, sweet."

[Tarboro Southerner, Edgecombe Co., NC, Aug. 18, 1876]

Beds for Cows?

In drying off a cow it is customary not to milk her entirely dry the last few times. But one week after this her udder should be milked thoroughly dry, said a speaker at the Wisconsin farmers' course. If this is not done the small amount of milk left in her udder may cause garget.

The farmers were urged to lay a floor of inch boards on top of the cement floorings for cows and calves. Garget, caked udder and rheumatism have resulted from cows lying on cement floor. Experience shows that calves are much more comfortable when they lie on boards over the cement floor.

[The Enfield Progress, Halifax Co., NC, 8/14/1908]

Both of these stories appeared in The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Fall 2005 issue.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weather Alert

Pitt County, North Carolina, 31 August, 1886:

EARTHQUAKE.— The first shock of an earthquake was felt about nine o'clock lst night, followed by two other shocks. No damage was done, but it frightened a great many people. For some time afterwards shocks were felt. Charleston, South Carolina was the center of the disturbance and much damage was done there.

Sources: Eastern Reflector, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 8 September 1886 and The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogical Society, Fall 2000

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This ad, taken from Zion's Landmark, August 15, 1909, also appeared in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Fall 2000 issue.
Zion's Landmark, a Primitive Baptist publication, was edited by Pleasant Daniel Gold. The Landmark was established in 1867 and was published in Wilson, Wilson County, North Carolina. It was the forerunner of the Wilson Daily Times.

Life In The Fast Lane

This is the age of High Pressure. Men eat faster, drink faster, talk faster than they did in our younger days and in order to be consistent in all points, they die faster. It is to be feared that the invention of the telegraph will give an additional go-ahead impulse to humanity, equal to that imparted by the rush of steam. If so, Progress only knows where we shall land.

Sound familiar? This article appeared in the Raleigh Register in 1850. It was published in The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogical Society, in the Spring 1998 issue.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catching Turtles

One day I was walking home to the farm from school, and Julian Rhodes, my third sister's son, then about nine years, was with me; when we got to Toisnot Swamp, where there were two long railroad bridges, we saw a negro coming up the embankment from the water below; he had in his hands two turtles; we asked him how he caught them.

He said, "On hooks."

"What kind of hooks?"

He said, "Large fish hooks," and he showed us one that he had in his pocket.

What did he put on the hooks?


On the way going home Julian and I talked the matter over, and came to the conclusion that we must have some hooks. When we got home we told our story to the whole family and embellished it the best that we could, trying to enlist enough sympathy with our plan to get the hooks.

At last father said, "I will get the hooks for you." The next day Julian went home with me again and continued to do so as long as the interest in the turtles kept up.

But this interest came to a very sudden stop. My father not only got the hooks for us, but he put the hooks on the lines and put some lead on, too, to help sink the hooks; he showed us how to put the frogs on the hooks, by hooking them through the back. He also told us to put our lines in places so that we would not forget where they were; but to tie them under the water so that others would not see them and rob our hooks. This we did in the morning as we went on to school; in the afternoon we were so anxious to reap the fruits of our planning that we ran nearly all the way to the swamp.

The first day we got two turtles out of the six hooks that we set. We did not know how to get the hooks out of the turtles' mouths, for they had swallowed the frogs, hooks and all. So we carried our trophies in pride and jubilation to the farm. Everyone in the family was highly pleased; for stewed turtle with some parsley put in for flavoring certainly does make an appetizing breakfast. Our good luck followed us for some time, and we had got up quite a reputation as fishermen. The enthusiasm was dying out a little, for we no longer ran in our eagerness to get to our hooks, but went along more like workmen on their way to work.

One day when we had lifted nearly all of our hooks without finding a turtle, we came to one of the hooks that seemed to be hanging onto something down under the water; we could pull the hook up a part of the way, and then there would be a pull on the line like there was a strong spring working against us. We could not pull the hook out of the water; Julian and I both had a trial at it.

We were about to leave it, when I thought of one more way. I cut a pole with a fork at the top; with this pole I straddled the line with the fork, and, keeping the line taut, followed it down in the water, trying on each side of the line to dislodge the hook; at last, I felt the object on the hook giving way, and I was drawing the hook with what I thought to be a large turtle to the surface, when quicker than words can tell it a large copperbellied moccasin came out of the water with the hook in his mouth. He was at least one inch in diameter and three and a half to four feet long.

My hands were so near his head I was afraid that he would bite me; I was so excited I really did not know what I was doing; but to save myself I grabbed him about the neck with my left hand; the snake was busy, too; he tried to turn his head to reach my hand with his mouth; but he did not have enough free neck to do so; he did the next best thing that he could; he brought his long wet body out of the water and threw it upon my shoulder and around my neck. I had already got out my big jack-knife and opened it with my teeth; with this I commenced to cut off his head; two or three pulls of the sharp edge on his throat and his head was off, and I felt the body relax. I dropped my knife, took both hands and unwound the nasty, slimy, scaly body from around my neck and threw it off with that strength born of panic, and got out of the swamp as quick as my legs could carry me.

Julian was ahead of me, for as soon as he saw the snake he made a bolt to get away; he must have fallen in the water, for he was wet all over. We sat down on the railroad, and after breathing hard for a while became calm; then my fighting qualities came to my rescue; so I went back, got my knife and the snake and brought him up on the railroad. Julian held the body while I pulled the skin off. We carried the skin home, and stuffed it with wheat bran, and this snake skin was hanging in my room when we moved away in 1868.

This story was taken from Tributes to My Father and Mother and Some Stories of My Life by Jesse Mercer Battle, 1911. It appeared in The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogy Society in the Summer 2005 issue.

Jesse Battle was the son of Amos Johnston Battle, grandson of Joel and Mary P. Battle. Amos was born at Shell Bank, Edgecombe County, North Carolina. In 1830, he married Margaret Hearne Parker, of Edgecombe County, N. C. He served as pastor of Baptist Churches in Nashville, Nash Co., NC; Raleigh, Wake Co., NC; and Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC.

In 1843, Amos and Mary Battle moved to Wilson, Wilson Co., NC where Jesse Battle, the author of Tributes… was born on Nov. 11, 1850. Therefore, the stories of his childhood took place in and around Wilson.

The full text of the book, Tributes to My Father and Mother" can be found at

Where's My Brandy?

MR. HOWARD: I see a publication in your paper, signed D. Knight & Co., of a most mysterious barrel of brandy, which I feel called on to correct some errors, and say something about seeming inconsistencies. It is true I purchased a barrel of brandy of Squire Joseph John Pippen, who delivered the brandy at the warehouse of D. Knight & Co., in Tarboro' [Edgecombe County, North Carolina]. I paid him the money, and by the consent of Mr. Knight the warehouse door was opened I believe by Mr. Weldon Hunter, and the barrel rolled in the house. I applied to Mr. Knight to gauge the barrel—agreeable to his account it gauged 33 ½ gallons, for which I paid $26 and some cents. I think Mr. Hunter received the brandy in the warehouse himself. When Mr. Knight had gauged the barrel, I requested the barrel should be placed where it would be most out of the way, for I did not know when I would take it away. I did not expect to send for it until I delivered my cotton, not needing the brandy for present use.

The Plot Thickens

And when I was delivering my cotton to Mr. Knight before the warehouse door, that being open, I stepped in to take away my brandy, my wagon being present and [it was] a convenient time to carry it away; but my brandy was not to be seen. I then inquired for my brandy. Mr. Knight appeared astonished—why have you not received it? No, I have never seen it since I left it here. Mr. Knight said, when I went to the north, I left it here & when I returned it was gone. I expected you had got it & I did not inquire about it. Mr. Hunter, says Mr. Knight, is not at home, but he must account for it. Nothing more said at that time.

Stranger Took Brandy!

Next news I heard, Mr. Hunter said a man came in my name, he did not know him, nor ask his name; he, Hunter, rolled out the brandy to the man, and that is all he knew about it. Here lies one of the inconsistencies. Mr. Hunter being fully acquainted with all the circumstances about the brandy being in the warehouse, and Mr. Knight should be so particular as to tell Mr. Hunter I had a barrel of brand in the warehouse and the particular room, when he Hunter was well acquainted with the circumstance.

Another strange circumstance: Mr. Knight says a man came in the store and interrogated him Hunter thus: Haint Squire Baker got a barrel of brandy here? Yes. He has sent me for it and told me to tell Mr. Knight to send it to him. Mr. Hunter being busy at the time he took the keys, delivered the brandy to a man he did not know, nor where he came from nor where he went. Is it not strange he should be busy trading? Mr. Knight does not say trading, but one of his friends says he told him he was trading; I say is it not strange that Mr. Hunter was trading, busy trading, as his friend says, and nobody heard the interrogatories in the store but himself? Mr. Knight … is so straight he seems to lean over. He says the barrel of brandy was to be taken away in a few days, and it had lain in silent repose for more than three months.

That is agreed, I did not send in that time, but it was understood the brandy was to be put where it would be most out of the way not knowing when it would be sent for. He would further make you believe I went in an abrupt manner—O where is my barrel of brandy? If this is not leaning or putting unfair coloring on the business, I do not understand what is unfair. As I have stated, I was delivering my cotton before the warehouse door, that being open. I sent in for the purpose of taking it the brandy away—it was gone. All this took place before I made any inquiry. When I made the inquiry, I merely asked where it was, expecting it had been removed to some other room. No warm feeling, but all friendly.

Mr. Knight agreed they would pay for the brandy, but afterwards refused, believing they were not bound. Next news I heard from Mr. Hunter, he was inquiring to find out if I had not received my brandy previous to my applying for it myself. If Mr. Hunter believes I could be guilty of such an act, he should push the inquiry; and to aid him, I will pay twenty-five dollars, besides giving up the brandy, if they bring out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth respecting the barrel of brandy, who got it, and how.


March 4, 1840

[This article appeared in the Tarboro' Press, March 8, 1840. It was also printed in The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Fall 2001 issue.]

Friday, February 19, 2010

With No Regrets

Departed this Life, in the fiftieth Year of his Age, THOMAS LOW THIMBLE, after a long Series of Drunkenness. It may with Truth be said, that no Man ever died less regretted: The Sound of his last Trumpet gave a general Joy to all his Friends, as well as those who had the misfortune to be of his Acquaintance. Take Heed, ye Sons of Bacchus, that when Death comes with his Summons you may not be catched napping; as, you see, was the Case with Mr. Thimble.

February 10, 1773

This obituary appeared in the Virginia Gazette, April 1, 1773. It appeared in The Connector, newsletter of he Tar River Connections Genealogical Society, in the Spring 2005 issue.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hunting in North Carolina in 1898

HE state of North Carolina has much game within its territory. It has an area of 52,286 square miles. The coast line is fringed with low sand islands and bars, making numerous lagoons between these islands and the mainland, which draw thither myriads of wild fowl. Currituck, Albemarle, Pamlico, Bogue, and Core sounds are all famous wild fowling resorts. Although some of the desirable territory in islands and points is controlled by clubs, there is still much good gunning territory open to the sportsman.

From the coast, inland for about fifty miles, the country is level, with many swamps and marshes. Behind this level country the surface is uneven and rolling; the extreme western end of the state is mountainous. The swamps within the state harbor much game, and are famous. The Great Dismal Swamp, which is some twenty miles in length and about twelve miles in width, lies partly in this state and partly in Virginia. Alligator swamp is another that is famous; it is between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

Of feathered aquatic game, there are nearly all the species of the duck family, at least twenty-five species being known to exist; the most sought for are the canvasback, redhead, ruddy duck, mallard, and black duck. Geese of several varieties are found in large numbers; swan are common on the northern sounds; there are besides quantities of the other species of water-birds.

Of the upland game-birds the most highly prized is the wild turkey; there are some ruffed grouse; quail (bob-white) arc very abundant; woodcock migrate through the state, as do Wilson's snipe.

The various kinds of shore-birds are very abundant, but there is so much larger game as to cause the shorebirds to be unmolested to a large degree.

Dare county covers all of the beaches and shoals between Roanoke island and Hatteras inlet, and is a great resort for wild fowl; early in November there arc thousands of duck, geese, swan, and brant there. Most of the shooting is done on the sound on the shoals from batteries or sink-boxes. During the westerly gales the tides arc high, driving the birds from their feeding grounds; at such times good shooting can be secured from the points of the marshes. Beaufort is a first class center for wild fowl and shore-birds.

Near Marines in Onslow county there is a great variety of sport. Large and small game is abundant there, and includes deer, bear, turkey, quail, opossum, raccoon, and rabbit.

At Newbern the duck and snipe shooting is generally good in the season. Near Washington, on the Pamlico river in Beaufort county, is a place where the sportsman is likely to find good furred and feathered game shooting.

Maysville in Jones county, and Riverdale in Craven county, are said to be excellent places for wild turkey.

Duck and brant shooting is excellent in season about Roanoke island. Hobgood in Halifax county is good for quail shooting.

Edenton in Chowan county is an attractive town on the east coast. It is on Edenton bay, where the Chowan and Roanoke rivers enter Albemarle sound. The country in this neighborhood is excellent for quail shooting; after November the shooting is best.

A great deal of the land in North Carolina is posted, but as a rule the sportsman, by gentlemanly conduct, can secure permission to shoot from farmers for a small consideration.

Belfast in Beaufort county usually gives good sport, consisting of deer, water-fowl, and quail shooting.

Those fond of snipe shooting can generally find good shooting about Newbern the first three months of the year; there is also good shooting of other game.

[Taken from Where to hunt American game by United States Cartridge Company, 1898]

Tried to Wreck Nashville Train

Some scoundrel or scoundrels made another effort to wreck passenger train No. 76 on Wednesday evening at the trestle about one mile below the Nashville [Nash County, North Carolina] depot by fastening a piece of iron on the track. Fortunately for passengers, crew and all the piece of iron was large enough for the "cowcatcher" to strike it, and thus a terrible wreck was averted. Had not this been done the whole train would have been thrown into the ravine below and twenty lives lost besides total destruction of cars and other properties. It was only a short while ago that a switch was thrown open between here and Spring Hope and a wreck occurred. We are authorized by the Atlantic Coast Line Co. that it will pay a reward of one hundred dollars for the capture of the party or parties who put this obstruction on the track Wednesday evening and for evidence that will convict. Such acts of diabolism should be ferreted out and the scoundrels caught and then summary punishment meted out to the guilty.

[Nashville Graphic, Nashville, NC, Jan. 21, 1909. The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society, Summer 2002.]

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wake-Franklin County Line

Give Me Franklin, or I'll give you Death!

Franklin County, North Carolina was once a part of Bute County, but in 1779 the General Assembly eliminated the name of Bute and divided part of the area between Franklin and Wake Counties. Surveyors hired to run the southern boundary line of Franklin got along very nicely till they reached Osborne Jeffrey's plantation of several thousand acres. He saw the surveyors at work and asked what they were doing.

When they told him they were running the Wake-Franklin County line, he asked, "Where will it put me?"

"In Wake County," they told him.

"I'll be damned if it will," he said. He went in the house, and returned with his shotgun. "Now, you run that line so that I'll continue to live in Franklin or I'll blow your brains out."

This story was taken from The State Magazine, November 8, 1941. It was published in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Fall 1997 issue

Ring Games From Raleigh, N.C.

You may remember, in your childhood, playing ring games like "London Bridge is Falling Down" at recess. The Google book, The Journal of American folklore, Volume 34 by the American Folklore Society, published in 1921, includes a chapter entitled "Riddles and Ring Games From Raleigh, N. C." In that chapter, there are several riddles and ring games that were popular at that time.

Below are three of the ring games that you may not know.


The ring chorus first sing (a); then, after the player in the centre of the ring makes his choice, they sing b.


King William was King George's son,
All the royal race is run,
Upon his breast he wore a star,
Three gold rings and a glittering star.
Go choose the East, Go choose the West,
Choose the one that you love best,


If he's not here for to take your part,
Choose another with all your heart,
Down on this carpet, you must kneel,
sure's the grass grows in the field,
When you rise upon your feet,
Salute your bride and kiss her sweet.

This song appears in many places, including Newfoundland and Connecticut. One early record of it is in Games and songs of American children by William Wells Newell, published in 1884. This book can be viewed at Google Books.


The players march in couples, leaving one without a partner. After singing, the girls turn the boys aloose, and the boys look for new partners. Each time an odd one is left, and this is where the fun comes in.

It rains, it hails, Cold stormy morning.
In comes the farmer with a jug of cider.
You reap the oats, and I'll be the binder.
Now I've lost my true love, and where shall I find her?
Here we go, to and fro, Looking for to find her,
I have lost my true love, and where shall I find her?


One player lies stretched on the ground for granddaddy; another represents the tree, waves his hands for apples falling; another player outside the ring represents the old lady. "Granddaddy" jumps up and thumps her. The player who represents the old woman, the next time represents the old man.

Granddaddy is dead
and laid in his grave,
Laid in his grave,
laid in his grave,
Granddaddy is dead
and laid in his grave,
Oh, heigh oh!

There grew an old apple tree
Over his head
Over his head,
Over his head,
Oh heigh oh!

The apples got ripe and began to fall"
Then came an old woman
A picking them up,
A picking them up,
A picking them up.

And Granddaddy jumped up
And gave her a thump,
Gave her a thump,
Gave her a thump,
Oh heigh oh!

This ring game also appeared in The Southern Workman And Hampton School Record Vol. 21 which was published 1892.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jolt and Wiggle

Jamesville and Washington Railroad

Facetiously known as the "Jolt and Wiggle" or "Jolter and Wiggler" because of its bumpy ride, the Jamesville and Washington Railroad (J&W) and Lumber Co. was incorporated in 1869. When it was completed in 1885, it linked Washington (Beaufort Co., NC) on the Tar-Pamlico River and Jamesville (Martin Co., NC) on the Roanoke River, a distance of about 20 miles. The J&W was the first railroad to be built in Washington.

Built to haul lumber from Diamond City near Jamesville to the port at Washington, the small wood-burning engine, topped by a large triangular smoke stack, is said to have spent as much time off the track as on. In 1879, an Edgecombe paper wrote, "The Jamesville and Washington [Railroad] is having wrecks while the Williamston and Tarboro [Railroad] is still being argued about." In fact, no train ever ran from Williamston in Martin County to Tarboro in Edgecombe County.

After the Civil War, Jamesville made a comeback, largely due to the J&W. By 1870, the narrow gauge railroad was serving a large-scale timbering operation around the town. In 1889, Daniel Simmons' rejuvenated operation boasted of being the largest maker of wood shingles in the state, thanks in large part to the "Jolt and Wiggle."

Diamond City grew up around the logging camp and flourished for about 25 years before fading away.

This is a picture of a car and, behind it, an engine of the Jamesville and Washington Railroad. The picture was taken from the East Carolina University digital library. It is part of the Capt. Henry C. Bridgers Collection, Joyner Library, East Carolina University. []. It was dated Dec. 23, 1888.

In 1892, the J&W was sued by a customer of the railroad who was not named. According to the suit, the plaintiff, a citizen of Washington, NC, wanting to go to Edenton—which had no railroad— purchased a ticket (for $1) to travel to Jamesville on Sept. 7 and return to Washington on Sept. 9. The Plaintiff road the "Jolt and Wiggle" to Jamesville on the 7th and he went on to Edenton.

It so happened that on the 8th of September, soon after leaving Jamesville for Washington, the axle of the J&W's engine broke. When the plaintiff returned from Edenton to Jamesville on the 9th the railroad was unable to carry him on its road from Jamesville back to Washington, "as it had contracted to do." Therefore the passenger was suing the railroad for damages which he claimed were $500.

The allegation was that the railroad's " roadbed was in a bad, shackly, and ruinous condition; that defendant had but two engines, both of which were worn and in bad condition, one of them at that time being in the shops for repair, and not in a condition to be used; that the bad condition of defendant's roadbed had rattled the other one so as to cause the axle to break." The passenger claimed that this showed willful negligence by the railroad.

Of course the railroad denied the claim of negligence while admitting that the road was not in good condition. Further, the railroad claimed that "it was poor and struggling for existence, and that it was expending the whole earnings of the road, and more, in trying to keep it in good repair, and was not able to do so

The plaintiff did not received the $500 he sued for.

See for a picture of the Jamesville depot.

Washington, North Carolina By Louis Van Camp: 2000
Annual report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners of North ..., Volume 2
The Connector, Newsletter of The Tar River Connections Genealogical Society, Spring 2003

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Kehukee Association

One of the earliest Baptist Associations in America was formed in northeastern North Carolina. The Kehukee Baptist Association was founded in 1765 at the Kehukee meeting-house near Kehukee Creek in Halifax County, North Carolina. It included the following churches:

1. Toisnot, in Edgecombe County;
2. Kehukee, in Halifax County;
3. Falls of Tar River, in Edgecombe County;
4. Fishing Creek, in Halifax County;
5. Sandy Creek, in Warren County;
6. Sandy Run, in Bertie County;
7. A church in Camden County.

The Kehukee Association was the fourth Association of Baptist Churches in America. Philadelphia, formed in 1707, Charleston, formed in 1751, and Sandy Creek, formed in 1758, preceded the Kehukee Association. The first history of the Association was written by Elders Lemuel Burkitt and Jesse Read, and published in 1803.

Not everyone accepted the doctrine of the early Baptist Church and the pastors often endured persecution for their beliefs. One example involved Elder John Tanner, an Edgecombe County pastor, who was seriously injured and almost lost his life.

A woman named Dawson from Windsor in Bertie County, NC was converted. She wished to be baptiaed and to join the church of a certain Elder Dargan. Her husband was greatly opposed to it, and threatened that if anyone baptized his wife he would shoot him. For a considerable time, the baptism did not take place.

Eventually, Elder Tanner visited Elder Dargan's church at Cashie and Mrs. Dawson applied to the church for baptism. She related her experience and was received. It so happened that Elder Daran was old and feeble, and he asked Elder Tanner to carry out the baptism. It is not known whether Elder Tanner knew of Mr. Dawson's threat to shoot whoever baptized his wife, but, at any rate, Elder Tanner baptized Mrs. Dawson.

The following June, in 1777, Elder Tanner was coming to preach at Sandy Run Meeting House. Mr. Dawson had not forgotten his threat of revenge. He heard of the expected arrival of Elder Tanner and travelled from Windsor to Norfleet's Ferry on the Roanoke River. With a large horseman's pistol, he lay in wait near the bank of the river. As Elder Tanner and Elder Dargan came up from the ferry landing, Dawson shot Tanner at close range.

Elder Tanner was carried to the house of Elisha Williams, near Scotland Neck in Halifax County. Elder Lemuel Burkitt, who was co-author of an early history of the Kehukee Association, was present when the surgeon dressed Mr. Tanner's wound. He revealed that rhe result of the shooting was that seventeen shot went into Tanner's thigh. One of the shot was so large that it went through his thigh and into his clothing.

Mr. Dawson, frightened and fearing Elder Tanner's death and a charge of murder, sent a doctor to attend him, not just once, but on a daily basis. Tanner was ill and near death for several weeks before finally recovering. He never attempted to sue for any damage for the injury, regarding the matter as a persecution for Christ's sake.

In Virginia, Elder Tanner suffered further persecution for his beliefs. He was and six other preachers— William Webber, Joseph Anthony, Augustine Eastin, John Weatherford, Jeremiah Walker and David Tinsley— were jailed in Chesterfield for their preaching.

In describing the event, Burkitt and Read said, "The people were so desirous to hear preaching that they would attend at the prison, and the ministers would preach to them through the grates. In order to prevent their hearing, Colonel Cary had a brick wall erected ten or twelve feet high before the prison, and the top thereof fixed with glass, set in mortar to prevent the people from sitting on the top of the wall to hear the word."

Elder Tanner later moved to Kentucky and then to Missouri.

This story appears in several different places. Among them are:
1. Colonial Records. Vol. VIII.
2. History of Edgecombe county, North Carolina by Joseph Kelly Turner and John Luther Bridgers: 1920.
3. A history of Kentucky Baptists: From 1769 to 1885, including more ..., Volume 1 by John H. Spencer: 1886
4. A history of the Baptists in Missouri: embracing an account of the ... by Robert Samuel Duncan: 1882

A search of the internet will find a number of other references to the incident.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Aunt Abby House

Aunt Abby House was a familiar figure around Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina during and after the Civil War. A search of the internet for Abby House will return a number of hits. This version of her story was written by Rev. R. H. Whitaker, DD in his book, Whitaker's Reminiscences, Incidents and Anecdotes. Recollections of Other Days and Years: Or What I Saw and Heard and Thought of People Whom I Knew, and What They Did and Said, which was published in 1905. [This book can be found at Google Books and includes other interesting stories.] Rev. Whitaker actually knew Aunt Abby in her later years and much of the story is from what she told him.

A Once Turbulent Woman Whose Life Closed in Peace.

Aunt Abby House is remembered by many, and what she did and said, especially in the last years of her life, are …closely connected with the history of the war and the days of reconstruction, … I rode by the little cottage a few days ago in which she spent the last days of her life. It stands beside a ditch near the old Fair Ground, and was built at the expense of a few Confederate soldiers who appreciated her kindness to them during the war, when she, with the bravery of a Moll Pitcher and the tenderness of a Florence Nightingale, served in the double capacity of soldier and nurse, doing deeds worthy of places in story and song. …

Aunt Abby House was a native of Franklin County, born the latter part of the eighteenth century, according to her statement, being, as she once told me, "a right smart gal, enduring of the time of the war of 1812; big enough to have a sweetheart" That sweetheart, she said, went to the war, and the news came to her that he was sick at Norfolk, Va., and, she said, she walked every step of the way from Franklin County to Norfolk to see him, arriving there the day after he was buried.

"O, yes," said she, "I was a right smart gal enduring of that war; but, I can't tell you exactly how old I am now." The conversation in which she gave me this information occurred in 1877.

I have heard that in her early days, and, indeed, through most of her life, she was a turbulent woman; fond of contentions and law-suits, and that she was able to stand her ground in the court-house, on the court-house grounds, or anywhere else, and that no man could beat her swearing, when things did not go to suit her. Indeed, she had not stopped the swearing habit when I first knew her, when she was quite old.

I knew but little of her before the war; but, during the war she began a career that brought her before the public; and, until she died in 1881, there were few women in North Carolina better known.

The first time I remember seeing her after the war, was at Franklinton, at a district conference. Some one was preaching, and in the midst of his discourse he bore down pretty hard on certain sins, especially that worst of all sins, taking the name of God in vain, showing how worse than foolish was the habit some people had of cursing at everything; even some women, so far forgetting their sex sometimes as to use bad language.

About that time Aunt Abby, with a cane in each hand, bounced up and went toward the door, about half bent, making as much noise with her feet and two canes as a horse could have done. She halted just outside the door until the services closed, and as the congregation passed her, she was giving the preacher fits, and fully demonstrating the fact that cursing was no new thing to her. That was in 1867 or '68. From that time I saw her frequently and began to be on speaking terms with her, as I frequently saw her on the train. She never bought a ticket, and the conductor rarely ever got any fare from her. If she had a quarter, she'd give the conductor that, and if he hesitated as if that were not enough, she would threaten to hit him with her stick, and he would move on.

On one occasion I heard her ask General [Matt] Ransom for half a dollar, at the depot, just before the train left. The General, in a sort of teasing way, said: "Aunt Abby, I don't think I have half a dollar."

She stepped back and looking him full in the face she said: "Matt Ransom, you know that's a lie; and I'm going to tell your wife about it the first time I see her."

The General ran his fingers into his vest pocket and pulled out a dollar and gave it to her, saying, "That's the nearest I can come to it, Aunt Abby. Will that do for you?"

She held it in her hand a second, dropping her head as if in deep thought, and said, "No, that won't do. I'll get it changed."

"No," said the General, "you may need the other half sometime. Keep it."

She replied, "Matt Ransom, I always did say it, you are a gentleman, every inch of you," and the last I saw of her she was crawling into the car.

Aunt Abby's war record will soon be forgotten, as the brave men who wore the gray are falling out of ranks every day, and there will be, very soon, none left to tell how faithfully she ministered, in her rough way, to the sick and wounded men on the Virginia hills. I heard it said of her that she was present at several battles, and that she was as cool and self-possessed as any veteran, and that, on one occasion, while the fight was going on, she was seen, in a very exposed place, holding a horse. Some one said: "Old woman, you'd better get out of here before one of those shells tears you all to pieces."

"I ain't gwiue a step. I told [the] Colonel I'd hold his horse till he came back out of the fight, and I'll do it, shells or no shells."

While that may not have been literally true, it would not be saying too much of her, that she would have done just such a daring thing if occasion had offered.

Everybody heard during the war how anxious Aunt Abby was about her nephew who was in the army, and how she importuned Governor [Zeb] Vance to help her get that nephew out. She was a constant visitor at the Governor's office, and he treated her so nicely, that she became a life-long admirer of him. Governor Vance, at her earnest solicitation, did secure a furlough for her nephew, upon the condition that she would be sure to send him back to the army when the furlough expired. But she did not do it.

One snowy day she walked into the Governor's office, stamped the snow off her shoes, and sat down by the fire, seeming to be in a deep study. All at once she turned to Governor Vance and said: "Zeb, that boy can't go back to the army, he's got the consumption right now, and he'll die in less than a week if he goes back."

"Ain't that boy gone back yet?" asked the Governor, in astonishment.

"No, he ain't, and he can't go, for I tell you he's got the consumption."

The Governor put on a grave face and said: "That will never do. I gave General Lee my pledge of honor that if he would give Marcellus a furlough he should certainly go back when the time was out, and you promised me that you would send him back; and here it is a month over time and he not gone. That will never do, Aunt Abby. General Lee will never have any more confidence in my word. Marcellus must go right back."

"Well, Zeb, won't you write a letter to old Bob [Robert E. Lee] and tell him how it is?"

"Go bring Marcellus here and let me see him, and if I think his case is as bad as you say it is, 1 will write a letter."

In a few days Aunt Abby brought Marcellus in, and just as he expected, there were no signs of consumption, but a very well-looking man stood before him. The Governor wrote a letter to General Lee which sounded all right to Aunt Abby, but, when read between the lines, meant that the young man's complaint was largely imaginary, and was superinduced, doubtless, by his abhorrence of hardtack and gunpowder; in other words, that Marcellus was fit for duty.

As the Governor handed her the letter, he said: "Now, Aunt Abby, take this to General Lee and let me know what he says when he reads it. The General don't like me much, and he may try to make fun of my letter." She said she'd do it; and out she went, Marcellus following; but in a few days she came again, saying as she entered the Governor's office: "Zeb, they took that boy and put him right back in the army, and he's gwine to die in less than a month."

"Did you show General Lee my letter?"

"Yes, and when he read it he sorter smiled, and I raised my stick, jess so, and said: 'I dare you to laff at Zeb Vance's letter, I'll crack your head in a minit, if you do. Zeb told me you upstarts up here didn't like him.' "

"And then what did he do?"

"Why, he pretended like he thought a sight of you, but under the circumstances he reckoned he'd have to take the boy back into the army; and so he tuck him right in."

Aunt Abby was with Lee's army when it surrendered, and gave me a very thrilling account of it. She said they told her that she must wave her handkerchief to let the Yankees know that she was willing to surrender, too.

"Did you wave it?" I asked her.

"Not much. I shook it so, a time or two, and then I stuck my hand behind me. Then I shook it again, and put it behind me. I never was so mad in all my life as I was when one of them Yankees came along and sed to me, 'Old woman, you needn't mind about shaking that rag any more, we don't care whether you surrender or not.' I said, 'Drat your mean soul, if I had a gun I'd shoot you off that horse and leave you here for the buzzards to pick.' "

"And then what did he say, Aunt Abby?"

"He didn't say another word, but rode off looking as cheap as if he'd stole a sheep."

When Aunt Abby arrived at Raleigh from Greensboro, after the surrender, the city, of course, was in the hands of the Yankees, and, as she was getting, off the car at the depot a Yankee soldier, seeing an old woman hobbling out, went to help her down. She raised her stick as he approached her and said, with an oath that shocked him, "Don't you come any nigher, if you don't want your head cracked. No d—d Yankee shall touch me."

Not long after her return she went to headquarters to see the Yankee officials about some horses that had been taken from her. The Governor's office was being used as Yankee headquarters, and to that Aunt Abby went. When she entered the door, the room being full of Yankee officers, she stopped, leaned on her cane, and with a contemptuous look gazed all around. Of course every eye was upon her, and they waited to see what she wanted.

At length she spoke: "Yes, here's where gentlemen used to sit, but now it's a den of thieves." Then, in a very commanding tone of voice, she said, "I want my crap critters."

"Your what?" asked a Yankee.

"My crap critters—my horses, you fool; my horses you infernal thieves stole from me."

"Ah, that's it; you want your horses. How many did you lose?"

"Two as good as ever pulled a plow," she replied.

"Well, madam, just go down to the lot and pick out two of the very best horses there."

"I won't do it. I'll go and get two of the poorest sore-backs I can find. I won't take a fine horse. No Yankee shall ever have it to say I got back more than he stole from me."

It was about 1875 that Aunt Abby made a profession of religion and joined the Methodist church. I saw her not long after, and in our conversation, I told her that in her new life she would have to avoid the saying of bad words. … She finally promised that she would try not to curse at all. I then told her she must forgive everybody and try to live in peace with all men. She said she would forgive everybody but Bill Holden.

"Why not forgive him?" I asked.

"Because," she said, "he treated Zeb Vance so mean."

"But," said I, "you and Zeb, too, must forgive him."

"I hate him too bad," she said, "to forgive him." And, then, she added, "Don't the Bible say that God is angry with the wicked every day?"
"Yes," said I, "but you are not God, and you don't know that Mr. Holden is wicked."

She said she'd try to do the best she could. I do not know how it came about, but she did forgive Mr. Holden, and in her older age, when she was dependent largely upon charity for the necessities of life she had no better friend than he, and there were none she thought more of than she did of him.

Aunt Abby occupied a conspicuous place in Tucker Hall, the day Governor Vance took the oath of office, standing very close to the Governor and watching his every movement with a concern that could only have been equaled by a mother for an only son; and when the Governor, repeating the oath after the Chief Justice, came to the end of it and said, "I will, so help me, God," Aunt Abby, looking upon him with more than a mother's interest, said, "That you will, honey, that you will."

During the "Centennial of Methodism" here in Raleigh in 1876, three of the bishops of that church attended, and, daily, all three of them sat on the stage, in Metropolitan Hall, where they were seen and heard by the thousands of people who came to participate in the proceedings at that most interesting occasion; and, on the same stage, over to one side, there sat an old woman whose eyes and ears caught everything; who sometimes smiled and sometimes cried; whose bunchy figure, old-time clothes and fly-bonnet attracted the attention of everyone who entered the hall.

It was said that Aunt Abby was on very intimate terms with President [Jefferson] Davis, and always called him "Jeff," when in conversation with him; and it made no difference to her whether callers were allowed or not, to see the President, she'd manage somehow to see him. She heard the ex-president was at the Yarborough House on one occasion and went to see him. The meeting between them was amusing, for the reason that she gave him a pair of her home-knit socks, and was anxious to know of him when he expected to have another war.

I do not vouch for the truth of it, but I heard that she went to Washington City during Grant's administration to see the gold chair she heard that the President sat in. That was before she professed religion, quit saying bad words, and doing ugly things. She got into the White House, saw President Grant, and then turning and looking about she asked, "Where's that golden cheer?"

The President said he didn't know.

She said, "There's one here somewhere, for Joe Turner told me so, and I know he wouldn't tell me a lie; and I've come all the way from North Carolina to see it, and I don't want to hear any more of your lies about it. Bring that golden cheer right out, and let me see it and sit down in it."

After a long parley with the President, she was forced toleave without seeing the "cheer," but she always thought that Grant hid it from her. She knew there was a golden chair there somewhere, for Joe Turner told her so, and Joe Turner would not tell her a lie.

In the last days of Aunt Abby she was a quiet, gentle-minded old lady and seemed never happier than when in a prayer-meeting. She opened the doors of her little cottage for prayer-meeting services, and seemed to enjoy, as much as anyone could, the hymns, prayers and exhortations. She was sick for quite a while before she died, but 1 don't think she suffered for the lack of food, medicine or attention. I went to see her a few days before her death, and as I was taking my leave of her I remarked that I was going away from the city for a few days.

"Then," said she, "I'll tell you good-bye for good, for I won't be here when you come back, but will be with Minnie," alluding to my wife, who had died a little while before. And holding my hand for a moment she asked: "Do you want to send her any word?"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lunatic Asylum

April 24. 1873 Letter to Franklin Courier

Dear Public—I am agent for a fertilizer. It is a popular Fertilizer. I have engaged to deliver largely, and I live ten miles from the Railroad, teams being scarce and rival Railroad companies delaying each others freight.

… My mind, however, remained clear till the past week. People up to that time had been moderate in their demands; they are now clamorous. Their motto [is] "Guano or death!"

Each one has been promised his, first, and each one has been more diabolically deceived than any one else. They come at all hours. Midnight starts them off, day break finds them at my door, sun rise lights up their frenzy; noon tide glares upon them disappointed by dogged sitting on their coupling poles waiting for the loud "we expect this evening,"' and darkness shrouds them plodding home, empty and profane. They come in all weathers—in rain and storm because they can do nothing at home, in sunshine because they are ready and cannot wait.

They come with all known animals, black horses and white, bay horses and gray, and horses with calico spots.— Mules with shaved tales, mules with one eye, mules with none. No-horned steers named "Juke" and long horned steers, called "Huck." Donkeys, all ears, and cows with calves.

They come with all known vehicles: old wagons painted red, and new wagons painted blue, carts made of an axle tree and two wheels, and carts with two planks and a sheep skin for a body; carts with shafts, and carts with tongues; dixies with a place for "just two legs" behind the seat, and broken back buggies for "one more bag" in the foot.

They come with all kinds of harness. Collars of leathers, collars of bark, and collars of shuck; reins of leather, reins of rope, and reins of grapevine; bridles with blind, bridles without, bridles of string, bridles with bits, and bridles of rope tied under the chin.


[This article was printed in the Franklin Courier on May 2, 1873. The Courier was a Louisburg, Franklin County, NC newspaper. This article appeared in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogy Society, in the Winter 2004 issue.]

[The fertilizer ad was taken from The Franlin Courier, 2/5/1875]

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Granville County Girl Wasn't Scared!

Parachutist Demonstrated "Life Preserver of the Air"

Georgia Ann Thompson was born near Oxford, Granville County, North Carolina in 1893. She was called "Tiny" because she weighed only 3 pounds at birth and was only about 4 ½' tall as an adult. Life was hard for the poor farm family of George and Emma Ross Thompson and their 7 daughters. So hard, in fact, that they moved to Henderson, Vance Co., NC when Georgia was about 6 years old to take advantage of the work in the cotton mill there. By 1908, Tiny was a single mother, working 12 hour shifts in the cotton mill for 40¢ a day.

It not known how Tiny managed to travel from Henderson to Raleigh—a distance of about 45 miles—in 1908. What is known is that she was captivated by the huge hot-air balloon rising high into the blue sky over the State Fair at Raleigh. However, when she watched Charles Broadwick—suspended from a crude, flimsy parachute—float lightly to earth, she knew immediately that she had found her future. She described that moment in a Durham Morning Herald interview much later, "When I seen this balloon go up, I knew that's all I ever wanted to do! …"

As soon as the show was over, Thompson introduced herself to Broadwick and begged him to let her join his show. Her mother eventually agreed to give her a trial. It was decided that Broadwick would adopt the young girl since it would raise questions of propriety if she traveled with an unrelated older man. From then on she was known as Tiny Broadwick.

Tiny probably made her first parachute jump before the show left Raleigh. She described it this way, "… that first jump was beautiful. I could see barns and trees and roads and people. …" Her landing left something to be desired. Although she was supposed to land in a large open field, she "managed to land right in the middle of a big blackberry bush!"

The young parachutist and Charles Broadwick traveled all over the country with the Johnny J. Jones Carnival Co. Tiny was advertised as Miss Tiny Broadwick, the World's Most Daring Aviatrice-Parachutist. Because of her small size, Broadwick decided to call her the Doll Girl and she performed in ruffled bloomers and a silk dress with pink bows on her arms and in her hair.


There were dangers associated with hot-air balloons. They often blew off course, caught fire, or even cashed. Tiny had many close calls. On one occasion, the fire that heated the balloon scorched it, and when Tiny started up, the balloon ruptured. She was too close to the ground to parachute, but luckily she landed on top of the circus tent and was not seriously hurt. Another time, the wind blew Tiny toward two large buildings. She knew if she went between them, the balloon would be damaged and she would fall to the ground. She barely managed to make a landing on one of the buildings, but only after missing the other. And then there was the time she landed on a train. Fortunately, the engineer had spied her and stopped the train. She hurt her shoulder, but was otherwise OK.

On a lighter note, she once came down in a cemetery as a young girl was walking by. The sight of Tiny floating over the tombstones with her parachute billowing over her scared the girl so much that she ran away screaming. Perhaps she thought Tiny was an angel!

Remarkably, though she broke a few bones during her 14 year career, Tiny avoided serious injury.


In 1911, the Broadwick show was in Los Angles at the same time as the International Aviation Meet. Tiny agreed to jump, but the wind carried her miles away from where she started. One of the pilots landed his plane near where the balloon landed and flew her back to the meet. It was Tiny's first airplane ride, and it proved to be a turning point in her life.

In 1912, Glen L. Martin, an up-and-coming young pilot, barnstormer and airplane designer, saw Tiny's act. He knew that people would come to see Tiny jump from a plane, and if she would jump for him, it would be a boon for his business. He asked her if she would consider it, and, of course, she said yes! She made her first jump from a plane on June 21, 1913, wearing one of Charles Broadwick's parachutes. She was the first woman to parachute from an airplane.

Two reporters were on the plane and wrote stories about the adventure. " … Tiny Broadwick …crossed the great divide between the clouds and the earth," wrote Grace Wilcox. The other reporter, Bonnie Glessner, said, "… as I watched with thickly beating heart, this nervy little girl stepped calmly over the edge of the aeroplane a thousand feet in the air, and with a brave little smile, plunged earthward."

Jumping from balloons quickly became a thing of the past. Having Switched to planes, Tiny soon "became the first person to jump from a hydroplane and the first woman to make a water jump from an airplane."

Charles Broadwick had been working for years on developing safe and dependable parachutes, and in 1914, the team demonstrated his backpack—the life preserver of the air—in San Diego. Tiny made 4 jumps: the first 3 were as usual where a static-line attached to the plane caused the chute to open. On the fourth jump, her line became tangled and she was stuck, hanging from the plane—unable to get back up or release herself to descend. She managed to cut the static line and pulled the remaining end herself, thus creating a "ripcord." With this modification, she was the first person to intentionally free fall from a plane.

The day after the Broadwick demonstration, the San Diego Union carried the following: "…Brigadier General George P. Scriven, chief signal officer, USA, has recommended the purchase of a number of parachutes …."

Charles and Tiny Broadwick separated during World War I. The novelty of parachuting had worn off and it had become more difficult to get bookings for the act. Tiny didn't jump from 1916 o 1920 when she started jumping again. She retired permanently in 1922. She had made over 1,100 jumps.

Tiny married twice after she started jumping: first, to Andrew Olsen in 1912; and then, to Harry Brown in 1916. Neither marriage was successful.

After World War II, Tiny's story was revived and she received several honors: the prestigious United States Government Pioneer Aviation Award; membership in the exclusive aviation organization, OX5 Club, through which she was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Charles Lindbergh and the Wright brothers; the John Glenn Medal; and membership in the Adventurer's Club of Los Angles, whose membership was limited to 200. The honor that pleased her most, however, was membership in the Early Birds of Aviation. There were stringent requirements to becoming a member of the Early Birds. One was that you had to have flown solo before 1917. Tiny met this requirement because she had ascended alone when she was jumping from balloons. She was the only woman in the 80 member group.

Tiny remained close to her family in NC although she made her home in California. She died in 1978. A historical marker was erected in her honor in 2004.

1. Tiny Broadwick: The First Lady of Parachuting by Elizabeth Whitley Roberson
2. First to Fly by Thomas C. Parramore
3. "First to Jump," by T.H. Pearce, The State Magazine, January 1975

This story was first published in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Spring 2006 issue.

Nashville Boy Trains for WWI

From Training Camp At Chickamauga Park, Tenn.

Dear Mr. Lincke:

Thinking that perhaps you might be interested in the work of the Officers Training Camp, I shall briefly give you a sketch of our work.

The location is an ideal one, in that it is contiguous to the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. Its broad plains; towering peaks; innumerable forests and splendid roads wonderfully contribute toward its especial adaptability for the purpose of training. The company to which I belong does all of its drilling on the famous "Snodgrass Hill." This hill was the place which was so hotly contested during the Battle of Chickamauga, and incidentally, it is the vantage point which General Thomas gained and for his success at this point he was later characterized as the "Rock of Chickamauga."

The sanitation of the camp is splendid. A one month camp was held here several years ago, but was resultant of many untimely deaths due to the sanitary methods then employed.

Our work is very strenuous and may be attested by a brief outline of a day's work. We rise at 5:15, AM, and take thirty minutes exercise. Breakfast is called at 6:00 o'clock; we then report at the company street at 6:30 for police duty. This duty of course consists of removing all filth of whatever nature. At 7:00 we fall in for drill which lasts until 11:30 AM. Close order drill, bayonet exercise and signaling constitute the work of this period. We have dinner at 12:00 M. At 1:30 we again fall in for drill or possibly hike four or five miles with about forty pounds. We have from 4:30 until 5:30 to make preparation for supper and rest. At 7:00 PM, we go to our respective mess halls and study the assignments in the text until 9:00, or about three times a week we have a lecture at the amphitheater on some phase of military work. All are required to retire at 9:30 PM. The remaining hours are at our disposal, subject to the express regulation of sleeping.

Today about six hundred men are being transferred to other branches of the service: field artillery, court artillery, aviation and cavalry. There will only be nine companies left or about 1600 men in training for infantry. Cantonments are being built on the park and I understand will eventually accommodate 40,000 troops of the regular army.

The Y.M.C.A. has erected a very commodious building here for the benefit of the men. Various musical instruments and a motion picture machine are furnished free. We have Saturday noon until Sunday evening 10:00 at our disposal.

The people of Chattanooga are true types of southern hospitality, having thrown their homes open to men who desire to stay over-night.

Major General Wood was here some days ago and witnessed the drilling of the various companies and expressed himself as being highly pleased with the one month training, and felt that the remaining two months would graduate men in position to competently handle the new conscript army.

Very Truly,
Archie D. Odom

[This letter appeared in the Nashville Graphic, Nashville, NC, on 6/21/1917. Mr. Lincke was editor of the paper.]

Photo of World War I barracks came from Administrative History of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park by John C. Paige and Jerome A. Greene: February 1983 The book can be found at

This story was published in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Gnealogical Society in the Fall 2007 issue.