By Thomas James Armstrong Transcribed in its entirety by Carroll Pearsall Following was transcribed in its entirety from a narrative written by Thomas James Armstrong in response to a letter from his daughter living at Bogue Swamp, NC, Mar. 21/67 asking for same. This letter or narrative was transcribed in its entirety by Stephen Carroll Pearsall, formerly of Rocky Point, North Carolina, from the original of a narrative written by Thomas James Armstrong, whom was my great great grandfather. I personally inspected, recorded and transcribed from the original narrative on September 29th and 30th, 1977, said narrative then in possession of Martha Ann Pearsall of Rocky Point, North Carolina, that the original narrative was frayed and well worn, appeared to have been torn out of a binder or ledger. I inserted no punctuation and my recording of the narrative is exactly as written by Thomas James Armstrong. My Dear Children believing that a sketch of my chequeried (illegible) lief might possess something to interest and frother (illegible) to show that we are truely creatures of circumstances I have determined to devote a few of my leasure hours to the task I was born at So Washington the 21st A. D. day of April 1813 (My Father as I have been told was the son of John Armstrong and his wife Barbara her maiden name I never heard) was born on the voyage from Ireland to Wilmington NC in the year of our Lord AD 1766. I never have heard anything in connection of my fathers history from his infancy except that they settled in some of the near counties to Wilmington and married my Mother on the banks of the NE River about five miles below Hallsville, in or about the year 1793 at a place within one mile of the place where uncle Lincoln Sheffield died some time in the year 1863 this place once belonged to my grandfather Isham Sheffield. the father of my Mother, my mothers parents were Isham Sheffield and Barbara his wife her maiden name was Barbara Boney she was three times married first Isham Sheffield, second to Robert Dickson last to DR. Wilkinson who took her property on defensio (illegible) her by her first husband she had two children, viz: Mary Sheffield and Lincoln Sheffield I do not know which was the oldest but I think my mother was. by her second husband she had three children viz Williams Robert and Susan Williams was twice married first to Margaret Sloan near Magnolia the second a Miss Dickson in Charlestown SC by his first wife he had several children some of whom are yet living in Florida. Robert was killed in a light horse loam in Swansboro NC. Susan was married to Col David Hooks and lived many years near Faison Depot Duplin County where she now has one daughter living Ms Thomas Wright her name is Eliza they had several children all of whom moved to Alabama in or about the year 1833 Since which time several of them have died. My Grand Pa Armstrong was also married some two or three times which I am not correctly informed but there are some reason why I think three times as I think I hear my Brother Isham say that he found another uncle or uncles in Georgia that he did not recollect. one of the uncles he mentioned was named Andrew Armstrong Thomas Armstrong was not an own brother of my father but was the youngest brothers he married a Miss Cooper of Duplin County and many years ago before my day and moved to Alabama and some 20 years ago to Miss and when I last heard from him he lived near Jasper, Texas with his fifth wife he has many children and gran children. Some of them filling high positions. one son Pres of a college in Ala another an itenerate preacher one of his Gran daughters husband a member of Congress. The Dicksons ware highly educated one of them a graduate of Yale College The Hooks ware not so --liant (illegible) there opportunities was good but not so much appreciated. My father I learn was married in homespun pants and my mother in a Hummings dress. as it was termed in that day which was a fine bleached goods. they first lived where they were married and bought the first negro they ever owned old Aunt Hannah the mother of Phyllis. If my memory serves he was to pay for her $500 five hundred dollars. he went to work and made a tankiln which runs 100 bbls he got on the raft with another hand and went to Wilmington when he was floating along about what is called manhut dock he was hailed by a Capt of a vessel and ast what he had he answered tar he ast him what he would take for it he answered $5 pr bbl. the Capt threw him a rope or line as they term it to make fast to his vessel he sprang aboard counted the bbls called Father on board the vessel they took him in the cabbin and counted out his five hundred dollars in specia which my father eagerly took up and immediately put out for him home just enough money to pay for old Aunt Hannah. they did not go through with the notice of landing and inspecting as in this our day - I am not informed when or where my Grand Pa and Ma Armstrong died or were buried My Grand Pa Sheffield died a prisoner of war Smithfield NC in the year 1774 75 or 76 the exact time is not remembered My Grand Ma lived until 1827 (or 4 illegible) April 20th and died at her daughters Susan Hooks then living on bear swamp near Faisons depot. Sister Barbara and myself went to see her buried. Sister Barbara then had one child Mary M Caleb I will now return to my father and mother from the N East they moved to a place now owned by Clem Gillespie of Duplin near the Grove Academy then called I think the Joe Dickson place. here they lived several years. had at the time several children Viz Isham Hugh and Susan they all went to school in the same yard of the present Acadamie to Rev Samuel Stanford this was considered a school of high grade and many of the young men of that day finished their course at that school. it was keped up for many years and one time he had what was then termed an exebition spoken of as one of the most magnificient affairs that ever took place in all that country I have very often since my day heard old people speak of that wonderful affair if I have been correctly informed a part of the performance was of a theatrical character Uncle Robert Dickson was spoken of as the hero of some great exploit he had stages erected and the affair continued for several days he farmed at the place just mentioned from that place my father Duplin Court House now called Kenansville moved to the place where Wm. Farrior now lives. The house I suppose has long since been removed and replaced by another at Kenansville he keped a boarding house for the Sawyers Travelers also a Livary stable and I suppose a farm & store. from this place he moved to So Washington where he engaged in a very large merchandise business at Wilmington So Washington and Kenansville under the name and style of Armstrong Mc Intire & Mc Gowan they did a very extensive business so I have been told Mc Intire was the father of James and David McIntire of this section and Mc Gowen was the father of Mrs Thomas Hall at Hallsville NC. In the midst of this heavy business a very sad event happened to my father he was suddenly stricken with prelaxises lay for days and nights like one that was dead I was then some two years old but can faintly remember the bustle & confusion and well remember the Dr in attendance Dr Albert Guthrie the husband of Mrs Ann Guthrie yet in Wilmington Oh how sad was all around the house and how my dear mother weaped and watched around him. this was the first downfall of our family My father never recovered again he lived a helpless invalid until his death. This affliction of my father and the death of Mr A McIntire forced a speedy close up of their business and I have no doubt a very great sacrifice which is generally the case under such circumstances from this date I do not remember any thing of interest for about Two years when I can remember as a dream another sad time the death of my oldest sister Susan Oh --how many tears were shed. how many seemed to be deeply affected I can remember as a dream how Uncle David Hooks took on also Brother Hugh and a negro man named Issac she was just from school a few days before her 16th year She was buried over a little branch just over the hill under a holly tree in the rear of the house but requested My Father not to move away and leave her their. I suppose she knew he expected to move. when my mother died just 10 years after the remains of Sister Susan Aunt Eva Boney and the last child of my mother was disinterred and buried by the side of my mother. here I will relate a strange thing. in a short time after they were entered by the side of Mother which was the same week in a short time their graves were covered with grass whilst that of My Mother remained without one sprig My Father frequently visited the graves and noticed this circumstance and remarked that no grass would grow their until he was placed beside her which proved to be true. See the next eight page. I will return to So Washington at the date mentioned it was quite a thriving business place. There ware several stores on our side of the creek and several on the other Mr. James Usher the father of the present Wm Usher, he had 4 sons viz: William Patrick James & Holland (illegible) and two interesting daughters Miss Eliza and Miss Franceria They were very wealthy and lived in Much style They ware also a Dr Laroch and family that made a big show. The place at the time was all fun and frolic- horse raceing gambling & I rember a race that came off Christmas day in an old field now opposite Mrs Lewis Thomas It was what was then linned a course race a track laid off all around and a large stage erected for the spectators at the starting and stopping point. Bryant Newkirk owned one of the horses and I think Black head Wm Usher another I do not recollect how many ware entered but I think the purse was taken by Timothy W. Bludworth the father of Robert in the second race there ware many horses entered my father was there on a bony mair just purchased in very hard plight as he was fond of sport he was not hard to persaude Mose was called up the mane fixed up and Mose was mounted everyone laughing at the old bony mair. the drum was struck to make ready your horses the tracks ware thrown up for, the parties all knowing their places the judges called out all reddy the drums struck again for the move and away they bounded. the old mair walked up she soon found she was on a race track the first was soon passed then the second third fourth on the starting time she left every thing behind as soon as Moses got the tack and was sure he had the speed he bent back in his sadle and held his mair with all his might hollowering to the others to come on. I can now in my immagenation see Moses teeth as they shined when he passed the winning point some one or Two hundred yards ahead of all, such shouting and hollowing as they had over the old bony mair she was truely a fast animal but I never knew to be run afterwards. robing hen roosts was also one of the sports of that day they had one of their number a very good hearted soul TB that was all ways put forward on such occasions on one occasion he caught a very large turkey rooster and got him to a very high fence. just as he got on the fence the old rooster fluttered and T fell on one side of the fence and the roster on the other the others would call out hold him Tim Tim would hold and the rooster flutters and then they continued for some time much to the amusement of his comrades, and did really have all his skin torn from his arms by the fluttering of the turkey I have forgotten how the matter ended but I believe the owner of the turkey came to his rescue. the robbing of the hen houses most of them flat roof then because so many people provided very heavy logs and put on them - on one occasion they got up a large party and good time foremost as usual they went to the hen house raised up the logs and sent in Tim to hand out the chickings which he did just as they got as many as they wanted they pretinded to get desperately scared droped the logs on the hen and decamped leaving poor Tim shut up good and fast in the hen house A good old lady Ms Brightman living on the opposite side of the creek had an old horse she called Buck which she keeped her buck was often on our side of the creek picking up fodder & corn & whare persons would feed their teams whilst trading, on one occasion the young men got a bundle of fodder and sprinked it with spirits Turpt and tied it fast to his tail of poor old Buck and set fire to it. if you ever saw running and kicking it was then it burn the old fellow a little but not so much as might be imagined the old Lady kicked up quite a muss but the matter was settled by the payment of some small sum of money. such was some of the sport at So Washington in that day they also had many dancing parties. some few of the ladies that participated are still on the shores of time but the most of them have passed away Mr. Michael Boney Bryant Newkirk Timothy Newkirk Joseph Newkirk Henry Newkirk Jacob Newkirk and Berry Newkirk ware all young men just on their first feet I have been highly entertained by Joseph Newkirk and Bryant Newkirk relating the incidence of them days they have all passed except Berry he still lives. From So Washington which was then quite a thriving village we moved to a place at present owned if living by the widow of Rev Samuel Stanford. this place was owned by My Grand Ma second husband whare she lived many years after my recollection, when she moved up near Faisons Depot My Father moved to the place, it was owned by Uncle Robert Dickson after his death I suppose it was thought best to sell it for a division, at that place we lived for some 3 or 4 years as near as my memory serves me, where I went to the first regular school at So Washington they would some times get me to go to school with them to WW Rivenbark and DR G H Mc Millan but this was only for pastime the (then the first regular school I ever went to was taught by Rev Samuel Stanford where his son A T Stanford now lives in about 3 miles of Magnolia Mr S was a very cruel teacher whiped most unmercifully and his own children worse than any others He had a tame deer which was a great terror to me he would meet us in the field and if you did not immediately divide your dinner with him he would back his reins and jump right on you and take a way your basket and eat all the bread stuffs in it Mr S was kind to me but I was as much afraid of him as if he had been a deamon. This school did not last long we then went to school to the grove Academy to Micajah Autry. Bro Ed Br John sister Barbara and myself this school continued for some two three years a number of young men finished their Education with this school Mr Autry bought to the school two grown Brothers Sterling and John neither of them knew their letters. this was the second year of the school. we young chaps felt quite large when Sterling and John would ask us to tel them their lessons which we were permitted to do in that school. in a very short time those young men made such fine progress as to be reading Latin and both made finely Educated young men they both soon followed teaching school Sterling when last hear of him was a Methodist Iterate Preacher Micajah was killed in Texas War of 1836 John was teaching school From near Kenansville we moved to a place some three miles below Limestone here my Father built 2 log cabins some 20 feet each and a ten foot passage between them with a long piza all the way across the passage was finaly closed up which made room for T(illegible) beds The house has also two shed rooms by the side off one of the cabins with a three or four feet passage between them. the property is now owned by some of the heirs of Mr Drew Hall at this place my father farmed on quite a large scale raising considerable cotton corn &. Sometimes would have a very large white help employed we would have a long table such as Mrs Mc Caleb and when they all got to the table it took something to satisfy them. at this place we had much trouble My Father Joseph McGowan and Hogan Hunter became security for Mr James Hall for some Thousand Dollars borrowed from the bank to buy negroes with to speculate on. He bought the negroes and took them to Georgia to speculate on Mr Hall was an honest man and though every person the same. he met with a stranger I suppose a regular such. sold him all his negroes for a large price delivered the negroes and the man was to meet him at some town and pay him the gold in a few days Mr Hall went but no man met nor did he ever see the man or negores again he owed considerable money besides the amount mentioned he was compelled to give right up all his affects ware sweped away I well rember the morning he came to my Fathers it was very early I think before my father was up he soon up and assisted to the fire after a short conversation the sad news was related to my father the blow was to heavy and unexpected for he fainted and fell on his face to the floor for some minutes we thought he was dead he was rubed and baithed and finally revived again only however to pross (illegible) though much more trouble and sorrow My father owed considerable money besides this every one pushed for the last dime he called a vandue and all the negroes ware sold Oh how heart rending to see those that he had owned through lief many that he had raised all sold away Uncle David Hooks who was very kind to us bought old Man Friday Phyllis and a boy named Bill he got those negores at low figures people know why and for what reason they were sold he also bought part of the lands which he let My father and family keep just before this date my sister was married to Thomas Davis. he bought part of the lands and Brother John who married his sister part also Wm Sandlin part, at first every negro was taken away old Mr John Whitehead a true friend of my father sent negroes to do for us until some arrangements could be made Mr Whitehaead is the father of the present Col Whitehead, you know this must have been terrible indeed from one of the wealthest families in that section all at once we ware the poorest I however did not regard it much as it seemed to me I could work more cheerful than before I suppose you would like to know what the other securities did one of them took prison bounds the other ran his negroes to tenessce until a compromise was made I think he paid part of the debt. our troubles did not stop here in a year or so after the sale of the negroes my father was easid (illegible) now in this case every earthly thing has to be surrendered So that a man can swear that he is not worth 40 shilings in the world a vandue was called. and every item of every sort even the old Family Bible was put up, and sold as young as I was I could not see that dear old Book which I had seen my mother read so often on Sunday sold I stepped up and ran it up and it was finaly knocked down to me. it is now at Mr Davises I do not know how it was arranged but I suppose some of them paid for it as I had not one cent in this wide wide world. In the horse lott with the cattle there were two little motherless heifers that I had taken when little helpless things and by close attention raised they were given to me by my father on one of them I had a bell and when I was absent or neglected them she would shake it often they wandered from the house and fallen down in their feeble condition when I would have to take them in a wheelbarrow and roll them home they finaly came to them when selling I had no idea they would sell my calves. I protested but there was no use they must be sold. I had keped up my spirits very well until now but I cried as though my heart would break. My Mother tryed to console me my father also. he said he could not help it all must be sold. and my calves went. with the rest. I thought it very hard then I do not know who bought the calves but they passed in to other hands. Just after this sale court came up and my Father fixed up for court he weped and my mother weped and I believe Bro Isham I did not then know why he had often gone to court without weeping and why ware they weeping. Bro Isham Hugh and John went with him. Some of them returned that evening with the sad announcement that My Dear old helpless Father was in Jail Oh how my dear old Mother weped how we all weped it seemed that Mother and sister Barbara would break their hearts O how sad every thing given up sold and gone and father in Jail this I believe was the 4th week in March 1826 and April My Father was permitted to take the benefit of the insolvents oath and return home We ware all some glad to see him now than ever before I do not believe any of use loved as we did when we knew he was a poor helpless prisoner. My Mother was at this time in very feeble health her feeble constitution would stand the shock no longer she took her bed and lingered until the next Thursday morning about 10 Oclock when she breathed her last. This was truely a sad day to me I loved my Mother as dearly as ever a Mother was loved Oh how I thought then it would be pleasant to be laid in the cold cold grave with her I well remember my Dear old Father would call me to him and tel me we had lost the best friend we had in this wide wide world and weep as though his heart would break My Dear Mother was buried the next day the 21st day of April 1826 the very day I was 13 years old we then sent for and old Miss Polly Jones that lived about rockfish to come and keep house for us which she did until the next year April 1827 when Brother Isham was married after his marriage she remained a few months when I was sent to carry her to old miss Aly Staling near where Thomas Pigford now lives. My Father after the death of my Mother seemed to linger out a miserable existence he felt lonely and neglected and weped and lamented a great deal would speak of the grass not growing on My Mothers grave and say she was weighting for him about the 1st of October 1827 he was taken sick. I was sent for Brother Hughs family at So Washington Brother Hugh was below Wilmington working on what was termed a dredgering boat building what is called the Jetus (illegible) for the purpose of changeing the course of the water so as to make it deeper. Sister Julia and children went up with me and remained until after the death of my father which was in a few days. after we moved to Limestone as we then called that section previous to the death of my father and mother some 4 or 5 years I occasionally went to a 3 month school the first that I rember to have gone to after moveing to that place to a man by the name of Jinkins (illegible) at the forks of Onslow and Wilmington road where A Newkirk lives or did a few years since he was very kind to his student let them all do as they preferred which rendered him very popular our parents ware as they thought all doing their duty sending us to school without any regard as to the qualification of the teacher. We then went to an old fashioned teacher Daniel Love long teaching from place to place he was a large tall man with very short neck he to was kind to his charge and let every one do as he thought best. He was fond of the over Joyful and would occasionally ramble off from the school house at play time and sometimes be on a burst for a week. he taught on the opposite side of the road from where the present Babtist church now stands to such teaching of course no progress was made We then went to school to Thomas Brickle (illegible) a perfect demon not fit to have charge of any living thing. a perfect tryant and whipped and cuffed us about dayly and all most hourly. He was rather over the common sise, dark complection and black eyes If of the proper disposition would have made an excellent teacher he was well educated. he once delivered a 4th of July oration at Limestone which did him much credit I think it was printed I also went to a man by the name of Hugh Maxwell. he was an old fashioned teacher very kind to his children we all loved him because he was so kind but as to learning that was a mater he left entirely to our choice as a matter of course we preferred to play rather than books which suited him just as well. after the death of my Mother in April in June I was sent to Wilmington with Brother Isham where he fited me up with a new hat and a suit Black Bumbaset the suit was made by miss Patsy Bludworth who lived near where Mr Black now lives. on our way home I was left at Uncle Williams Dicksons then living on the place now owned by J P Bannerman but on the opposite side of the mill where I went to school to James Mc Intire to a house called Duncing Meeting House near the main road and within 300 yds of where J P B now lives I than first formed his acquaintance and soon formed the strongest attachment for him which has continued through lief. I also formed to acquantance of the Mr. Players Mr H Williams and family and many others all of whom have been strongly attached to and have often thought that I had as live be in that section as any I ever knew. I remained at this school about three months without once hearing from home, we had no mail routes, and it was seldom a traveler of any sort passed that way, we had preaching once during my stay at the old Duncing Meeting House by a Universilest Preacher Jacob H. Fereeze (illegible) some time the last of August Brother Edward came for me. Oh how over joyed I was to see him once more. I was very kindly treated where I was but home sweet home still had some charms for me. he came on Saturday and early on Sunday morning we were off for home again. we were driving a young visious horse in and old stick chair. when we had traveled some 10 or 12 miles and had just passed a Mr Rochells near by the road, I looked at Bro Ed and he was fast asleep just at that instant the wheel struck a stump and over went the chair on one wheel and away ran the horse. he soon got loose from the chair and went bounding towards home. we followed on his track as luck would have it a man by the name of Deal met the horse and brought him back until he met us. we went back hitched up and ware soon on our way again, and reached home in safety. I was over Joyed to see My Dear old Father again, and all seemed as glad to see me, but yet when I look around and saw My Mothers chair and bed and remembered that she was not more I was sad sad indeed. I came home to go to school to L W James near the Mr Farrors Wm & John they both had some 6 or 7 children each to send to school at this school I first formed the acquaintace of Miss E F she was some 11 years old I about 13 what young folks we ware to have a love sorasse (illegible) but with our acquaintance and attachment was formed which neither of us attempted to hide or deny it grew with our growth and matured with our years until we reaily believed that we were destined to be man and wife this continued some three of four yes five years when another mater occured to me how and in what way we would possibly make a living provide we should marry poverty with all its horrors stood out in full view before us oh how terrible to be miserable now and no way to remedy the case such was truely my unhappy condition no house no horse not one cent in this whole world nothing to do by which I could earn one dime, she did not look on the dark side but wrote on my slate T J Armstrong is his name and single is his lief happy will be maiden be that he doth make his wife. how could I make anyone happy without any thing on the earth I now 16 years old we had a short of a childish agreement that is no change in our minds, and circumstances seemed to favor our plan at the expiration of 5 years that date we would be one, but in about 3 years she made other arrangement and I was left to do the best I could I will probably refer to this part of my naritive again as it comes in another place. More appropertively (illegible) Mr L W James our teacher was very well qualified to teach but was entirely to young and a wild a man for such a position. he would sware before his schollars and actulay made me go with him to steal Wm Sandlins water melons, on one occasion on our way home when we came to the road that turned to Sandlins field he told me to turn I refused he said if I did not he would whip me like H I was compeled to yield. I had no choice Just as we got to the field and he was sleighing the melons all at once there was Mr Sandlin how I rejoiced he did not seemed the least daunted but approached Mr S gave him the time of day and remarked that he had a very fine melons Mr S replied that he would have had a great many fine ones but some persons had stolen them very much James replied it was ashamed for him to be treated so and all passed off. Mr James suceeded by an old man by the of Wm Rhodes he was very well versed in figures and wrote a good hand but I suppose had very little knowledge of grammar geography or any thing of the sort do not suppose he could have written a single sentence correctly if his life had been at stake yet he was and old school teacher for many years He had Rules of his school which are now somewhere among my old papers if not destroyed a copy of which he gave me you were required to bid good morning to all when you entered the S House to say good evening when you left in the evening and required to speak to ever person you met on the road and to speak to all the family on your return home and on your departure in the morning with many other such requirements all of which we found hard to rember and observe Rhodes was succeeded by the late Maj Joseph T. Rhodes a young man just from Chapel Hill and a fine teacher rearly ever sitting in the house constantly engaged in hearing recitations and other matters. if all my school days had been with him I think I should at least had a fair English Education His schollars both loved and feared him. He seemed to manifest so much interest in their improvement. he was succeeded by a little many by the name of Peter Patterson a good scholar but very easy and quite you could study or not as you preferred. This now brings up to the death of my Father which occurred the 5 day of October AD 1827 as before stated After this sad event I began to feel truely my lonely and dependent condition. no home in this wide wide world I could truely repeat those words no foot of land did I possess or cottage in this wilderness a poor way favering boy not grown. I remained with Brother Isham that year and until the next fall I worked as hard as I could but did not get any compensation except the priviledge of going to school again to Peter Patterson a while in the winter month Bro I was in strengthened circumstances not able to do anything for me if disposed I do not remember to have received one single cent for my services and was scantly clothed and shod. I had I think some 5 or 6 shoats which he let run in the fields to fatten which I carried to Newbern and sold and bought the first Bond cloth coat I ever had from a yellow Taylor. I had left Bro Isham before this and was living with T Davis over Muddy Creek he agreed to feed me and cloth me and send me to school six months to work 6 mo but the first fall and winter he had a large quantity of Turpt to Hall which I had to do first which required near all the winter so that I did not go much more than 2 mo and then had to walk 5 miles and cross too very wide swamps. the next summer I worked very hard part of the time. choped turpine time and plowed Mr Davis was usually up before day and have every one to their work I have frequently gone in the field to plow in the morning and had to weight 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour before I could see the corn oh what folly it was to do business in such away poor man such was his idier of doing business which has never prospered with him, This was year 1829 In the spring of which there came along a Babtist Preacher by the name of Curry (Carry -illegible) and He preached at what was then called Stafford or Muddy Creek Meeting House From the Text And they all with one accord began to make excuse and had bought a piece of land and he could not go another a yoke of oxen and he would not and another had married a wife and he would be excused. This is the first sermon that I ever seemed to understand It make a very deep and lasting impression on my mind and I was truely awakened on this Great and important Subject of religion I for the first time read the scriptures regular and made the study of its sacred truth occupying all my leasure hours. Mr Davis made all sorts of fun of me often told persons in my presents that I would be a preacher & I would not let anything he said daunt me and was determined to do what I thought to be my duty. about this date one Sunday in May brother Ed came over from Brother Isham with the sad news that Bro Hugh at So Washington was in a dying condition he Isham was just from their had been their several days I had to borrow a horse and a short time Mr D & Sister Barbara Bro Ed Bro John and his wife Hannah were on our way we reached Washington about 9 or 10 Oclock that night just on the hill this side of the house we met Michael Boney he ast who was their we told him he told us poor Hugh had just died. we went on to the house and found that he had truely passed away Bro Hugh was a favorite Brother with us all he left a wife and three children two of his children Susan and Barbara Precilla had proceeded to the spirit land. after some hours consulation it was though best that I should go immediately back after Bro Isham & family. I was soon on my way had already traveled near 30 miles now right back again the horse became tired and dull but Just after day if I recollect rightly I reached Brother Ishams and told the sad news. he however was not taken on surprise it was just what he expected we were soon on our way back to Washington and from their we went that evening to Jeremiah Hands who lived where John Moore now lives, and remained all night. early next morning we ware on our way to the last resting place of Brother Hugh near where J Hand Jr now lives their we buried Brother Hugh we ware all sad sad indeed from their we returned to M Hands eat breakfast and in a short time to our homes again just beyond So Washington we me the late Thomas Irving (Luvring - illegible) and schollas comeing from school Mr I (L - illegible) Thad John Ed Aman and your Aunt Mary. in the crowd was your Ma but I did not know any of them at that time I know I thought the L (I - illegible) family big folks. they are wore store goods at that date which was uncommon with country folks where we lived I have never visited the grave of Brother Hugh I hope yet to do so. The death of Brother Hugh at this time had a tendency to deepen my conviction on the great and important subject of my souls salvation. I seriously thought of uniting myself with the church but deferred doing so. I believe if I knew my self I was truely prepared not only for not only the church here below but for that higher and howlier church above. at the time I am writing of there were many Unaveriless (illegible) in our section and were anaxious there influence should be felt there were several Univerilest papers taken that was sent to me containing Universalis seminars by very able men one I remember by a very smart man J hist from the Text and David seeing Larzarus in Abrahmas boosome, see the Tex in 22 & 23 and 24 V of the 16th chapter of saint Luke. The sermon was ingeniously gotten up and well calculated to miss send a weak mind. in the mean time Mr D devised a plan to worry and heckle me he put me to plowing an ox I had much patience with the ox and he done very well until about 10 Oclock he became very tired and contary would run over the rows get out of the plow and cut up all sorts of rusties Mr D looking on and enjoying the sport after a day or so he became so unmanabable that I could control my profsin (illegible) no longer and cursed the poor old ox this was just what Mr D wanted he was overly rejoiced nothing could have pleased him better he had a plenty to tel and to laugh about. I was motrified badly began to doubt my happy state of mind which I had just passed through and read Universilist papers a great deal and tryed and really thought I did believe Universelist doctrine. That winter there ware a great many balls and frolicks most of which I attended and first completely led astray by such follies. this brings us to year 1830 this year I rented some Turpt boxes from D Brown the most of them worn out and thrown away I though hopefully I could do something with them so I went to work engaged my board from Mr Davis did not have near as many as I would Think I had to walk three of four miles morning & night to & from my work after dipping a few weeks I began to think about how I could get it halled some 8 or 9 miles I heard of a little mari to sell at 25$ dollars she had a jaw that run like berries I went of one day on foot some eight or nine miles & bought the little mair had to give Brother John for security I went home well pleased with my money on Sunday I could ride all round to church I was delighted except that she was the poorest little ugly animal I ever saw I soon began in my mind to cast up what I should make on my Turpt the next was to pay bbls to pay for rafting to pay for my board to pay and my mair to feed so long that I found it would pay me over the left so I determined to wind up Mr D wanted some of the boxes so I told him if he would give me my board while working the trees pay the rent I would give him all I had done which offer he excepted Bro Isham at that time was pushed in his crops sent me word if I would come and plow for him he would feed me and my mair and give me 50 cts per day I went set in and drove hard until we laid by his crops, on settlement he said he did not expect to keep me at 50 cts per day more than a week or so but as I had been their so long he could not afford to give me over 6 pr (illegible) mo but that he would assist me to go to school to John W Stanley then teaching at the Golden Grove Acadamie near Kenansville he procurred me board at Thomas J Kenans about 2 miles from duplin Court House I sold my mair to Bro John if I recollect right for $40 $15 more than I gave he to pay my note. I went to Mr K and commenced school I herghted (illegible) to go very much the most of the boys were much further advanced than I was a number them young men viz D Mc Millan in the same yard miss Mary Stanley was teaching a female school in all I suppose there were some 70 schollars in the yard every day we did not make much progres in learning. Mr Stanley was a young man fond of play and we got interested we would forget when play time expired on Saturday we frequently went to Kenansville in the stores they would have fiddling and dancing it was not unusual to have 15 or 20 men on floor dancing for hours some of them cutting up all sorts of rusties other as particular as though they were in the presence of a hundred ladies this would last for hours when they would tune down and go playing cards this school ended my school days after the school broke I lingered about Mr Keniens for a few they had all been very kind and fond of me and I regretted for the hour to come when I must take my long adrent (illegible) I loved Mrs K as dearly as if she was a sister and miss Mary C more than a sister we were a great deal together and became greatly attached to each other I knew a few love songs she would have me sing, and she would sing for me, the night before I left we sat up late in the piza talked about my leaving what to do I did not know I tel her all my troubles and my destitute condition told her I was goining to Wilmington in search of something to do & we both weped and I believe she really love me as a brother. the next morning came and I made ready to leave I do not now rember how I carried my scanty ward robe, but suppose in a cotton Hkkf If I had one or roled up in a little bundle When I told Mrs K good by she weped like a child Miss C was weighting in piza to give me that last long farewell I lingered long she held me spell bound the question running across my mind is hers a sisters love or could it be any thing more circumstances forbid its being any thing more. well we must part so the long shake and hold on to the hand was given with her well wishes for my prosperity and happiness That long silent but sobing and weping farewwell proved our last our long farewell. She married some few years after to a Mr Blackwell moved to Alabama and died at an early age peace to her ashes she visited Wilmington once after I was their but I did not have the meager amonity to call on her I returned to Limestone for a short while and idled around among my relatives in a shortime there was an association at what is now called Wells Chapel then called Bulltail Meeting house near a creek by that name near Doctors Creek. I determined to go to that meeting on Saturday I started but not knowing any one that I knew of near their I went down to Michael Boneys near So Washington and stayed all night. the next day he went with me to the association, we passed by where your Uncle James now lives went round the fence and stoped at the upper ford. Little did I think then that place would ever posses such a great attraction for me as it did in after years. At the Association I met with many friends that I knew Mr Newkirk Gene Hand & others. The concourse of people was very large this was the first association I ever attended except one at Limestone. I do not remember that one single person ast me home with them. I do not remember anything about the preaching. as evening began to approach I though it best to leave so I mounted my pony and left. on the way some whare near Leesburg I over took Jeremiah Hand his sister and others on their way home, I had started for their house that night some 7 miles below So Washington we reached their a little in the night sister Julia was living with her father this was the first time I had since the death of Brother Hugh this was the first time I ever saw the present Hugh. The family all seemed very glad to see me and I enjoyed my visit very extensively. The next morning I proceeded my journey to Wilmington I got their about 2 or 3 Oclock did not trouble myself about diner I put up my nag at H Nutts stables in front of Mrs Beaches I then walked round from store to store and walk in, and without as much convincing ask if they wanted to employ a clerk. no was the reply every where, old Mr Calhardy the father Mr Bittencount did not want a clerk, but gave raisins crackers and other good things this cheered me up very much that night I stayed with our old friend J Wallace I do not rember whether he let me pay or not they ware glad to see me being from the neighborhood from which they had recently moved I believe I had only three dollars in the world and I expect that was borrowed after paying my slattage (illegible) passages & my pile was quite small. I left Wilmington rather worse than I went all hope of a situation their was give what to do I did not know that night I stayed at T Players I always found a welcome their that night he had a corn shucking I went and assisted them until we shucked the corn, the next day I reached home or T Davises I do not now remember what I did for the next few months but I think I went to shucking and old field that I think Uncle David Saved (Sayed - illegible) me of my fathers land after he had sold off enough to get back what money he had advanced. I do not rember any thing of interest that occurred until January of February 1831 Bro Isham hired me and Willas - illegible) Newkirk ea to take a load of bacon with him to Wilmington he sold I think to James Chambers we delivered our loads and left for home to return by So Washington we arrived at So Washington Sunday morning from this place we ware to carry up some cattle for Bro Isham we soon found the cattle they were almost wild we went running the cattle all over the fields very much to the amusement of Mr Loves boys but no doubt greatly to the annoyance of the old Gent. After raceing round several hours we finally gave up the chase gave up the cattle and left for home or brother Ishams he over took us within one mile of his house he was provoked we did not bring the cattle. after dropping the cattle subject he told me that Mr Chambers wanted me for a clerk and he hand engaged me at once at 6 pr mo and my board and washing for the first year I was glad to hear that I was wanting any where. I believe I could now point out the spot with in ten steps where this news first met my ears. Well I had nothing to do nothing to eat so I had no choice go I must but very reluctantly If any one had offered the same amount to plow on any sort of farm work I should not have gone but no go I must this was Monday evening on the following Saturday morning I was off with T Davis to Wilmington Oh how I hated to leave my native place perhaps never to make it my home again no never again on the way A Maxwell had a horse race and I was to ride Maxwells when we got their we found quite a crowd were gathered to see the race. the friends of Maxwells horse was rejoiced to see me arrive I had quite a reputation as a race rider generally successful. the horses were leading around the grounds we asured the Judges to their stands we mounted the word given and away we went and I had but little trouble in leading the way the race was soon over and the money won how much I do not know old man Maxwell supposed that pike ran as he never ran before then every wanted to drink with success (illegible) rider and they had some miserable whisky I had that morning taken some spannish brandy and now mixed it with mean whiskey it took all my wits from me at once Mr Davis sayed he tried every way to get me to go but I would not he got out of patience and left me he sayed the next he saw of me I came tearing buy him with a great big drunken man behind me what became of him I do not know neither do I know any thing about him that night late in the night we reached a Mr Taylors near shaken creek we drove up to the barns says Mr Davis and hailed the dogs a terrible bad set came tearing out we ast to stay all they sayed we could I told I would stay jumped over in the midst of the dogs declaring I would stay made they all fly round went to the house they still protesting we could not stay and I went says Mr Davis in the house jumped right in the bed and left him and them to make the best arrangements they could I know nothing of all this occurance but I do know that ended my liquor days from that day forward I resolved if it ever injured me it should be out side of me and not in. the next night we camped near where Praggies (illegible) house now stands then called Smokey Tarvern old Mr Isaac Newton and Wm Newton camped with us they ware from near Doctors Creek. they went down to meet rafts next morning we arrived at Wilmington and in a shortime I was at my new vocation Oh how miserable every boddy strangers to me I as raw as it was possible to be my employer Mr James Chambers was a very crabid short crusty kind of a man what would I have given could I only been relevied of my embarrasing condition Mr Chambers & E J Hall were doing business together under the name & style of James Chambers Gr (illegible). It so happened that Hall bought the Turpt of Newton Davis and others and they were to buy what ever good Mr Chamber could furnish so the memorandums ware handed in badly written and I set to work to filling it I did not what the items ware or whether we had them or not and dreaded to ast Mr Chambers but I did ask him every thing. I wanted to know sometimes he would answer me pleasantly and at others as though he could snap my head off I bore it all patiently determaning to do my whole duty as far as I could the Mr Newtons seemed please to have me weight on them and remained true customers to me even after Wm Newton went to Georgia and died there was a fire place in the store and I got Mr C to let me burn old boxes bbls and other trash to make this soon drew a crowed to the store and I soon would ask persons warming if I could do anything in their line and some would hand out their memorandums (illegible) and tel me to fill them up such as we did not have get for them In this weigh we soon had a good Mr C changed his manner towards me and in a short time would buy wood and have it sawed it for use. In this way my extensive acquaintance began to find me out and Mr C begun to think me indispensable there ware part of business I did detest that was selling liquor by the draw to negroes yet it was a part of his business and I had it to do it was customary to drink and work until satuday night the most of them were brought to pay their grog bills. in a few I had confidence in my self and could plainly see Mr Chamber had entire confidence in me we keped a cash account and very soon the entire cash matter was left with me during the winter I suffered a great deal with the cold we ware on the shade side of the street and some days I would have to stand on the side walk nearly all day and draw. molasses with nothing on but a thin round jacke a homespun pants my pants were cotton filled with wool and dyed with broom straw a very ugly yellow colour My company formed when I first went to Wilmington was of the worst order, young men of means thought me beneath them, as such I was picked up by very hard characters such as could not associate white good company they would dress very well but the most vulgar black and set state could be mustered they ware hail fellows well met with Mr Chambers as such I supposed they were gentlemen I could mention quite a list of them but they have passed away to the spirits I and some reformed but others continued their wicked course through lief I do not remember a single one of the most wicked ones but soon died Wilmington a very wicked sickly place at this date diarhea and billions fever was very prevelent I was first attached to diarhea which came very near carrying off. I reduced from 168 to 122 lbs I was out all the while. I rember and old see Capt that then boarded at D Thallys where Bailey now keeps. Remarked to me seeing my feeble condition My son they will cary you on the Hill in a few days meaning St James Church yard. Poor old man he was attached and in a few days he was gone I met old Hugh Cowan one night and he had relieved by drinking burnt french brandy with cloves & spice in it the next morning I went to old man Robert Baxters and got the brandy carried it to the store and put in a cup put in the spice laid nails over it laid on the loaf sugar and set it afire the sugar soon melted and I blew out the fire and drank as warm as I could have it seemed to relieve at once and I mended very fast and soon well again. Monday the 2nd week of September 1831 was one of the most exciting times I ever witnessed in Wilmington, the people had all assembled from different parts of the country to court. That morning Ive Thomas arrived as an express from So Washington with a letter from William J Love Sr of So Washington announcing that Dave Morisy and a large party of negroes had risen and ware on their way to Wilmington and that the plot had been revealed by Dave to Levin Armwood at So Washington the week before. that the negroes of Wilmington ware to make a remitations move and that they were to kill and sleigh all whites as they went. that this was a general rising all over the South. to arms to arms was the order of the day many negroes that were suspissioned were taken up and punished most cruely. some acknowledge and revealed a great deal about the move. the people were perfectly panick stricken to add to the excitement the sun had a large black spot over it very perceptable to the eye some of the superstitious thought the whites would be bloted out and the negroes be triumphant.the negroes ware afraid to put their heads out of doors. This excitement continued for many days. I suppose there were 50 or 60 or more in Jail. one afternoon a job met to break in the Jail to kill some that were called ring leaders they broke the doors and would soon have been in. the Jailer was on the spot, trying to suppress the mob at last order was in some way restored. At night there was a large meeting at the present City Hall a call was made for men to do anything that was ast to be done and nearly every man volunteered The jail was then to be blown up with it contents. Just as arrangments were about being made Doye (illegible) Chambers rode in crowd and informed them that if they would desist that the magristrates then in sitting would deliver to them at daylight next morning the ring leaders of the plot some 4 or 6 I do not rember which I was on guard that night at a late hour I was relieved and went to the store and lay down on the counter to go to sleep I slept until day break just as I waked I heard the guns. directly another round then very soon another. I ran on with all my might just as I got to the crowed they were leading out one they called Prince Fuller he was declaring his innocence. he was tied to the stake and the the drums struck once make ready stop aim third fire. when the drum struck once Prince said twice more and I am gone sure enough as the drum struck the third time poor Prince fell I had known him from my youth had always liked him and still think he was innocent the community think that Prince Nichols was the guilty instead of Prince Fuller. Prince was owned by an old Lady Mrs Fuller the Citizans raised money and paid for him. Note on page They were shot Just on top of the hill as to the cemetery on what then called Gales Hill.
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