I said a week or two ago that I’d share photos of the Joe Dan Hackney House as part of my Island Ford photos, and I almost forgot.
It was a beautiful house with a two-tiered, two-story porch like a number of others around Franklinville, and probably built by the same carpenter or group of carpenters. Those homes include: the Benner (Lewis Curtis) house on the same side of the river; the Horney-Parks house (now destroyed); the Dennis Curtis/ Joe Buie house; the Makepeace house. Of all of those, the Hackney house is most similar to the Curtis-Buie house on West Main Street at Buie lane.
Joe Dan Hackney was a local character, and everyone in Franklinville when I moved there had a story about him. As a change of pace, I’m sharing partial transcripts of some of my oral history interviews that mention him.
- From a conversation I had with Clyde Jones, Henry King, and Carrie Parks Stamey in 1981:
CJ: the Benner house (the Lewis Curtis house)… and the Joe Dan Hackney house were quite similar to one another. The Hackney house was well taken care of. It was a beautiful place. Mr. Joe Dan Hackney was a drummer during the Civil War, and he’d get up some afternoons in his balcony and get his drums out, and you could hear him all over this town beating those drums. He was a preacher, a talker, but not an ordained minister. He’d hold services over there, get a little bit out of line on his issues, and get called down.
HK: The Hackney house was the first house on the left after you crossed the steel bridge; Hobe Long lived in it when I came to town.
CJ: When I was growing up Mr. Hackney lived over there, and he had a stable and barn back in there with some horses and cows, and I think he done some farming. I don’t know that he ever worked in the mill. And he probably picked up some money from preaching. The only church I remember Mr. Hackney preaching in is now the community building [i.e., the old First Baptist Church].
CS: I know he handled baptisms, down there just behind the lower dam; I saw him from the meadow. I was sitting up along the railroad tracks and saw him baptize a whole lot of them down there in the river. So he must have been ordained…
- From a conversation I had with Belvin and Dorothy Curtis, 1997:
Belvin: Used to be a two story house down here – Joe Dan Hackney house. It had a veranda up there. Come out of a evening and beat drums. Man you could hear that thing all over. Had prayer meeting, us boys would go over there. He’d beat his drum just to be beating it I reckon.
Dorothy: It was dry one summer, and they had prayer meeting and he’d walk over in town. Course they’s a bridge down here then, and he’d go over to the church ever evening. They’d meet about two o’clock, and they’d pray for rain. And one day he went and carried his umbrella when he went. And they wasn’t any clouds up there; but when they come out of church they all went home in the rain.
Belvin: Pouring down rain.
Dorothy: He’s buried up there in the Baptist cemetery. He wasn’t a preacher.
Belvin: He’s good as one though. Yes sir. I don’t know what he done. I never did hear of him working in the mill.
Dorothy: I guess he’s retired from something, but I don’t know what.
Belvin: You could hear him blow his horn. Me and Elvin, Tate Williamson, Hook Rich(?). Have prayer meeting, we’d set with him.… That house’s put together with pegs. It had a two story porch.
Dorothy: Joe Hackney’s had a front porch that went all around on his.
Blevin: Hoag(?) Long lived down there and let the thing catch afire. Go up here at the highway, go down the there road apiece. They’s trailers down there. Get off the highway, get on that dirt road and go straight, you’ll go where it used to be, right straight across that other old road. It was close enough you could see it easy from across the river. Joe Dean Hackney lived there a long time. All the houses were around here.
- From a conversation with Homer Patterson, 1997:
Now, when we lived over here [bleacher pond hill], now I’ve set there on that porch many a time in dry weather, and old man Joe Dan Hackney would get his drum and come out on that little upstairs porch over yonder and beat his old drum and pray for rain. Yeah, Joe Dan Hackney, I can remember him mighty well; he’s buried over here at the Baptist Church. Seems like he blew on a horn, too, I know he beat on an old drum, and prayed for rain. If it did rain, I just don’t remember whether it did or not. His was a big old house, we’ve been there many time on Sunday evening when me and Momma we lived over there in the country; we’d go over there and see Mr. Hackney and his wife. It had a porch all the way round there and one of those old wooden swings that set on the floor; I used to go over there and get in it and swing backwards and forwards. Miss Hackney, she’d go back in the house, back in a room in there, and come out with a stick or two of candy, and give us some candy. They was good people. All back in there below the house, it’s grown up today, but back then there was land to be farmed back down in there. Who farmed it, I just don’t remember about that. But I know Joe Dan Hackney and his wife had, I don’t know where it was two boys and a girl or three boys and a girl… I don’t know as I ever seen ere one of them boys. They left from around here and went over round Charlotte. One got killed when a train run over him in Charlotte, and it seems like there was one or two left. But their daughter married this man out here in Ramseur up above Service Distributing where that great big tree just come down in the storm, it blowed over and hit that house there and tore it up some. That’s the old John Ward place, and their daughter married John Ward. It’s been all worked over now since the storm and the tree hit it. That’s where the Hackney’s daughter lived, and she looked just like her mother.
When you went over here and crossed the steel bridge the road curved around and went up a terrible steep old rough hill right there; went up across there and around this away, and on down and there was a big hollow and another bridge down there, there wasn’t no creek, just where rain water would come from back up in yonder from the old Prevo place down through by Belvin Curtis’. I’ve been over that old bridge many a time, but they finally tore it down and filled it in, you know. Then it went right straight through there between the Hackney house and the Grose house over here. Daniel Grose, Gladys’ husband Phillip Grose’s daddy, was raised over at that place. So then it just went on down the road like it does now, on by Pumpkinville, down and around, cross that branch, and on out. I don’t know if I ever heard the name of that branch; I’ve been meaning to ask Burnice Jones about that. There’s a branch somewhere back in there that runs into the river that they call the Upton branch; I remember hearing them call it, said that’s the Upton branch, you know. I don’t know where that come from, whether it’s back up here or down in there somewhere. The Lewis Curtis house up on the hill there, it’s still standing now. I guess that’s who grandpaw Moore bought that land from over yonder. I guess he did. There was a fellow lived there, a Luther fellow owned that house, don’t know if he had it built or nothing about that. Way on out there, back in here from Cabbage Head’s place somewhere, was the old gold mine, they called it.
And this house that sits right down back behind the Walls, that was the house there that old man Parks had that his colored folks lived in, that waited on him. They was Allreds. Two of them: John Allred, and Dosie Allred. They’re both dead now. Dosie’s place is still standing, but John’s place caught afire and burnt down. Back down on the other side of where the Walls have put a trailer. Velma Ausley and her husband lived in it several years.