Posts Tagged ‘Randleman’

McCrary Eagles II

July 30, 2009

Sometimes when I try to put everything I know into one post, it gets w-a-y t-o-o l-o-n-g (See textile processes, above.)

So last time I refrained from putting in those photos I mentioned of the 1935 Eagles game in Randleman.

The seven pictures I have came with the three Bud Scarboro photos, which all seem to date from 1934 or 1935.

Dates are written on the backs of the photos, but are confusing. For example, the photo above is captioned “Clark Thornburg catching; Bright Holland batting, made at Randleman, N.C. 1934”

But the photo is all but identical to this one, captioned “Press Burge in action, 1935.” The tin roof over the dugout, the wooden cage protecting the crowd from foul balls, the women in white dresses behind the catcher, the boys in overalls- all appear to be the same, though labeled a year apart.

The owner wrote “Jack Cox, 1935” on this view.

This one just says, “Monk Davis, 1935”. Monk Davis was the uncle of J.B. Davis, the current CEO of Asheboro furniture manufacturer Klaussner Furniture Industries.

Here is the only photo of a pitcher in action, labeled “Grant- Pitcher, 1935;” behind him in the outfield distance is the scoreboard.

And the scoreboard is shown in detail here, the most visually-interesting photo, and of course it’s the only one where the subject is not identified. But the 1935 chalk board/ scoreboard couldn’t be much different from modern Major League electronic scoreboards… The Home Team evidently won this game 3-1, so given this McCrary Eagle’s happy aspect- looking for all the world like he hit a game-winning home run- this scoreboard may not have been in Randleman. Unless, that is, the Eagles at the time played their home games where ever they could find an empty ball park- a problem not unknown to new teams.

The last photo is the only one in the collection of a non-Eagle. The Oak Ridge player is captioned on the back of the photo “J.O. Scarborough- Oak Ridge Left fielder. He, leading his club in batting in 1925 [sic- 1935?], batted .439 with five homeruns. Miller- at bat; Bruton- catching.” I assume that the name refers to the Oak Ridge Military Academy, located in northwest Guilford County, NC []. FYI, in one of the many ironic paradoxes of Piedmont history, Oak Ridge Institute was founded in 1852 as a Quaker boarding school. During World War I, the ROTC came to campus, and by 1929 the school had been transformed into a full-fledged military academy- since 1991 the “Official Military Academy of North Carolina.” The paradox, for those who are still stopped a few phrases back, is that Quakers historically have fervently held to the so-called “Peace Testimony,” putting them on the exact opposite side of the spectrum from war and the military. For further information, see , since the school’s own history link doesn’t appear to be working. They have been nearly sunk by financial troubles this summer, after all.

Bridge over Deep River at Dicks Mills

April 13, 2009

Another Bridge petition from the Randolph County records in the State Archives in Raleigh…

This one is for the first bridge across Deep River at what is now US 220 Business in the City of Randleman; before 1868 it was known as Union Factory; at the time of this Petition it was still known as “Dicks Mills.” The “Dicks” of Dicks Mills was Peter Dicks, a merchant of nearby New Salem, a largely Quaker community which grew up in the early 19th century on the old Indian Trading Path.

The petition is undated, so I’ve tried to narrow down its time frame. First and most obviously, it not only has to date to a time before the construction of the Union Factory in 1848-49, but before the death of Peter Dicks in February, 1843. The petition is interesting because it’s not predominantly a local request, like the Dunbar’s Ford petition which was signed by western Randolph and eastern Davidson resident. The 84 signers here include obvious local people like Peter Dicks and his son James, Orlando Wood, Joseph Deveny and other northern Randolph names such as Coletrane, Clark, Chamness, Dennis and Hockett. It also includes several from western Randolph such as Daniel Bulla, Aaron Hill and Phineas Nixon; together with eastern Randolph notables such as Philip Horney, H.B. Elliott, and at least seven southern Randolph Hinshaws. But what really catches my eye is the number of Asheboro merchants and court officials. A.H. Marsh, Joseph Brown, James B. Moss and James Page were all storekeepers; Benjamin Swaim was a lawyer and publisher of the Southern Citizen, the local newspaper; Hugh McCain was the Clerk of Superior Court; Jonathan Worth was a lawyer and Clerk and Master in Equity; and John M. Dick was a Superior Court Judge.

Since only registered voters could sign the petition, it can’t date any earlier than the 21st birthday of its youngest signer. I haven’t checked them all, but James Dicks (son of Peter, b. 1804) and Jonathan Worth (b. 1802) wouldn’t have been legal voters until after 1823 and 1825. The key signer, I believe, is John M. Dick (1791- 1861), a prominent resident of Greensboro who served as Guilford County as a state senator in 1819 and 1829-1831. The only reason I can see that a Guilford County citizen would sign this petition is the fact that he was elected to the Superior Court bench in 1832 [John Hill Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina; Philadelphia, 1851], and then, as now, Superior Court judges travel from county to county in a circuit. So I believe that the petition was signed during a court session in Asheboro by lawyers and officials whose travel time back and forth to Greensboro would be significantly improved by a bridge in this location.


[From C.R. 081.925.18, “Miscellaneous Road Records”]

State of North Carolina    )

Randolph County        )

To the worshipful the Justices of the Court of Pleas and quarter sessions, Greeting:

We of the citizens of the county aforesaid respectfully show to your worships that a large portion of your citizens of the County now do and long have labored under great inconvenience for want of a good and substantial Bridge over the Deep River at or near Dicks Mills in said County.

Your petitioners, knowing your worshipfull body to be well acquainted with the proposed site and surrounding country would deem it an useless waste of time to attempt to adduce all the many cogent reasonings that might be put forward in support of their petition; however we will just say that this is the rout[e] along which the U.S. mail passes 4 times each week on the rout[e] between Leaksville and Asheborough and is also the main or more direct road for the citizens in the northern part of the County to travel to and from the Court House of the County and also that travelled in passing to and from Fayetteville and other Eastern and Southern markets.

Hence the petition which your memorialists present with Confidence that you will hear and determine and grant such order to be made as in your wisdom may deem right and expedient, and such only would your petitioners even ask.

Wm. HINSHAW        Saml. COFFIN        A.H. MARSH

R. LAMB            Elijah POWEL        Joseph H. BROWN

Dr. George KIRKMAN    Joseph DEVENY        James PAGE

Marsh DORSETT        Orlando WOOD        Jos. LAMB

David E. FRITCHETT    Stephen ALLRED        John SCOTT

James DICKS            Richard RICH        H.B. ELLIOTT

Peter DICKS            Nathan STANTON        G. B. Winningham (?)

Wm. DENNIS        Nathan ELLIOTT        Thomas Thornburg (?)

Mahlon DENNIS        Sam. RICH            Joseph HENLEY

Jonathan LAMB        Enoch ROBINS        J. LAMB

Henry WATKINS        Wiley WALL            Hugh McCAIN

Charles S. DORSETT                        Saml. HILL

Seth HINSHAW                        R.S. MURDOCH

J. B. HINSHAW                        J. HUSSEY

Ezra KIMBALL                        Benj. SWAIM

William CLARK Jr.                        Benjamin HINSHAW

Nathan DENNIS                        James B. MOSS

Alexander CLARK                        John COFFIN

Joseph HODGIN                        Bryant RAGAN

Dougan CLARKE                        Tristram HINSHAW

W.B. LANE                            Joseph LEE

William COLTRAIN                        Joseph McCOLLUM

Nathan HENLEY                        Isaac LEE

Aaron HILL                            Hiram LAMB

Philip HORNEY                        J. HINSHAW

Solomon ELLIOTT                        Jesse HINSHAW Snr.

John McCOLLUM                        John Hockett

Joshua ROBINS                        Wm. CHAMNESS

John ROBINS                        Wenlock REYNOLDS

J.G. HINSHAW                        Daniel SWAIM

Francis REYNOLDS                        Albert LAMB

Job REYNOLDS                        Arthur McCOY

Nathan CHAMNESS                        Wm. DENNIS Jr.

Jesse MILLIS                            Jno. MOSS

William HINSHAW                        Jona. WORTH

Allen LAMB                            Peter W. RICH

Obadiah ELLIOTT Jr.                    P.N. NIXON

Marmaduke VICKORY                    William RICH

Aaron REYNOLDS                        Moses Ritch (?)

James Polk Senr.

Timothy CUDE

Jno. M. Dick





January 28, 2009

As part of my architectural inventory survey work, I not only wrote histories of Randolph County and Asheboro, but of all the 19th century Deep River mill villages.  Those thumbnail histories were not published in the final book due to lack of space, and all of them now need to be updated to reflect the last 30 years of local history.  But I’ll be reprinting them here because for many of them, those 1980/81 articles are the only histories available.


Published  2-25-1981, in “The Maxi Page,” the Randolph Guide Senior Adult Newspaper Supplement.

Worthville Mill entrance

Worthville Mill entrance

Worthville was founded in 1880 by Asheboro businessmen John Milton Worth, his son and son-in-law, and John H. Ferree of Randleman. Dr. Worth had previously taken over management of the Cedar Falls mill, and was familiar with the textile business before forming his Worth Manufacturing Company.

The mill was located at a site on Deep River known as Hopper’s Ford. The firm wove sheeting and bags, and employed 125 workers. After 1886 the firm was closely associated with the factory and village of Central Falls, acquired by Dr. Worth’s company in that year. In 1895 the Worthville factory was the larger of the two, employing over 200 persons, while the Central Falls operation employed 125.

Worthville Mill window detail

Worthville Mill window detail

Worth’s heirs sold out to Riverside Mills, Inc., in 1913, which was in turn sold to Leward Cotton Mills, Inc. At this or some other presently-unknown point, the two mill villages were separated once again. Leward Cotton Mills, a partnership between J. Stanback Lewis and Wiley Ward, two Asheboro businessmen, took over operation of the Worthville plant. They continued the careful stewardship of the Worthville community which had been a special concern of Dr. Worth. Circumstances forced the temporary closing of the mill daring the Depression, but it soon  reopened. The village was sold to Erlanger Mills of Lexington in 1948, and to Fieldcrest Mills of Eden in 1964.

Individual houses were sold off and the factory was closed in 1975 by Baxter, Kelley, Foust of South Carolina, the owners at that time. In late 1980 the mill buildings were acquired by Asheboro businessman Stuart Love, who plans to manufacture upholstery and mattress stuffing.

Despite the ups and downs of its past, Worthville remains a very well-preserved Victorian mill village.

Fishing in Deep River, 1922

January 23, 2009

Here is an anonymous letter to the editor dealing with what the writer believes is the unappreciated patriotic history of Bell’s Mill and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

It’s something I found while reading the September 28, 1922 edition of The Courier, published then in Asheboro once a week.

What interests me more than the over-wrought history is the author’s description of recreational fishing and picnicking in the ’20’s; it has been a while since a net or a seine was standard equipment for fishing on the Deep.

That’s why I’ve coupled it to the above photograph, also probably dating to the 1920s or 30s, which has lost any identification other than it came out of a handful of snapshots I bought in an Asheboro second-hand store.

The photo at least can serve to illustrate this happy, long-gone day at Walker’s Mill.

Here is a transcription of the article (typos corrected):

Fishing in Deep River.

Some days ago quite a number of the people in the community of Walker’s Mill, on Deep River, met at the mill for a day’s fishing. It was one of those days that come occasionally in life that makes us feel glad that we are permitted to be present. The day was lovely, and there was that unmistakeable evidence of hospitality and good will among the entire number present that caused those of us out of the community to know that we were welcome. Some time near 12 o’clock the ladies began to fry fish as they were brought in from the men handling the seines. This was kept up till near three o’clock, when they quit fishing, after having caught more than two bushels of fish, some of them weighing as much as six pounds.

Under a table groaning with other good things to eat, and then piled up with fried fish, it was all that any human could ask.

In looking around the place I was told by one of the citizens there that this place was once known as the Bell Mill. It then quickly dawned on me that this was the place where Cornwallis marched his army the next day after the hard-fought battle at Guilford Courthouse. The effect of which was to break down the English power in our state, subdue the Tories and was the blow that broke the chain of tyranny which bound our country to England. For a month the American people had been in breathless anxiety. Cornwallis had sought eagerly a trial by battle with Gen. Greene, but after this he avoided any other conflict with the American army.

I would not help but compare in my mind, the happy and peaceful spirit which characterized the social gathering on that day, with the troublesome times, which the people must have undergone, when there was encamped on the very same ground that well-trained and dangerous foe to American freedom, the British army under control of the skilled and brave Lord Cornwallis.

It was a pleasure to be with these people on the day first referred to, and to know that they have in their veins the very same blood that marked their ancestors as people of pure patriotism, unsullied devotion to liberty, and unyielding opposition to every form of tyranny. The Bell old mill has been replaced by an up to date roller mill, which is now owned by Mr. Will Coletrane, Mr. Routh, and I think one other.

May the people of that section live long and happy, and again meet at their annual fishing place.