Thursday, April 15, 2010

Noah White's Cannonball

My great great grandfather Noah White purchased two tracts of land in Washington County, [North Carolina] in 1840 and moved there from Chowan County [NC}. The land was located on the Albemarle Sound east of Chapel Swamp and west of Holly Neck Road. Noah and Sarah Parker White raised 8 children, 7 boys and 1 girl. The family was a staunch supporter of the Confederate cause and the women did a great deal of sewing and knitting for the soldiers.

A cannonball was said to have been fired at the house Noah built just prior to the Civil War. The ball was solid and weighed 30 pounds. It was a fixture in the front yard for over 90 years. Fragments of other cannonballs have been found about a quarter mile southeast of the house, and one piece of one has been found embedded in a tree. The question is, "Did those 'low down, no good Yankees' shoot at a defenseless farmhouse, or was there a naval engagement on the sound with the cannonballs being simply a product of poor marksmanship?" We will never know.

The last family member to reside on this property was Sallie Cherry Davenport who died in 1955. Shortly after her death that old cannonball in the front yard jumped in the trunk of my car, and I have had it for the last 44 years. There never was a better doorstop.

Source: Some of the Blue Hen's Chickens: Tyrrell and Washington County Folk Culture. The stories in this book were collected by local residents in a July 1997 seminar and published by the Humanities Extension/Publications Program at North Carolina State University in September 1999.

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