Wayne County, North Carolina: Memoirs
From the Collection of Tempie Parker Harris Prince
Original Collection at Heritage Place, Lenior Community College, Kinston, NC
Thanks to Heritage Place for permission to post these memories to the Wayne County GenWeb Homepage
Miss Tempie, Miss May, Miss Lady Bird, Miss Baby
Time: From 1800 to 1954
Place: The Middleton plantation in Duplin County, NC between Kenansville and Warsaw
The Carraway plantation named Veinnecci in Wayne Co, NC at old Everittesville, south of Goldsboro
High Rock Farm, between Reidsville, NC and Burlington, NC
Key to Names of Persons
Miss May: Mary Hinton Carraway Parker, 1842-1930
Miss Lady Bird, her daughter: Temperance Rebecca Parker Harris (Mrs Alvis Lea), 1879-1953
Captain Joe, Miss May’s husband: Joseph Alfred Parker, 1825-1893
Miss May’s father: William Carraway, 1809-1865
Miss May’s mother: Temperance Ranselear Middleton Carraway, 1815-1885
Miss Baby, Miss Lady Bird’s daughter: Tempie Parker Harris Prince, 1904-
Baby John, son of Miss Baby
Lyn: Miss Baby’s granddaughter
Dr Charles F Deems: Methodist Minister; former President of Greensboro Female College; Editor, etc
Minnie Deems: his daughter
Lieutenant Theodore Deems: His son & suitor of Miss May killed at Gettysburg
Robert Middleton: Miss May’s grandfather (maternal)
Alice James: bride of Robert Middleton
John Carraway: brother of Miss May
Henry Carraway: the nephew who went for the Bible, called Captain
Cousin Minnie: his daughter
Cousin Mattie Best: William Carraway’s niece
William Carraway Parker: Miss May’s oldest son
1. Little Rocking Chair
2. Brass Andirons
3. Dining Table
4. Drop-leaf Table, Grandmother Pope’s
5. Silver Ladle
6. Old Walnut Bed
7. Desk Made from Melodeon
8. Sewing Table
9. Grape-Leaf Bridal Present from Minnie
10. Little Table Papa Made
11. Old Bible
12. Big Glass Vase
13. Mr William’s Glass Decanter and Glasses
14. Picture of House
16. Baby Dress
Miss Lady Bird’s Recollections of Miss May Listed
A child of six
A school girl
A college student
A graduate with honors from college at the age of fifteen
A young lady at home
Friendship with Mr Deems
Helping her mother with the cares of a large plantation
Sadness caused by the Civil War
Loss of her lover at Gettysburg
Sudden death of her father a few months after the fall of the Confederacy
The ensuing poverty
The terrible days of Reconstruction
Her teaching school at the Academy at Everittsville where she had gone as a pupil before college
Brave struggle for eight years
Her marriage on June 18, 1873, at the age of thirty-one, to a widower seventeen years her senior, with four girls, the oldest ten years younger than Miss May and the youngest only ten-to Captain Joe Parker, a good Christian man
The coming and rearing of her babies, three boys and one girl, the oldest boy named William Carraway Parker, for her father, the girl Miss Lady Bird
Teaching music and a day school
Loss of her husband
Her cares, sorrows and joys
The silver ladle brought her by Miss Tempie when Miss Lady Bird was born (named for Miss Tempie)
Death of her mother, Miss Tempie, on December 12, 1885, twelve year after Miss May’s marriage
Heirlooms she took home with her when she went to Miss Tempie’s funeral (previously given to her)
Her later days in Greensboro
Her death at the age of eighty-eight
Approximate Dates of Purchasing
Old Ladle: About 1810 (Middleton)
Old Glass Jar(Vase): About 1810
Dining Table bought by William Carraway: 1848
Little Rocking Chair: 1848 (Miss May’s 6th birthday)
Little Desk: Given Miss May by Dr Deems (Some time after the Battle of Gettsburg)
Mama’s Suit of Furniture: Bought in 1871; given to Miss Lady Bird in 1934
Mama’s Bed: Bought by Ad H in 1910 or 1912
Two Dressers: Bought in 1908 by Ad H
Grape leaf: Aunt Minnie Deems’ Bridal Present
Book of flowers
The Little Sewing Table
The little sewing table was bought by Mr William around 1855 for Miss Tempie. It was made of mahogany, was on a pedestal, and had drawers in it, with places for spools, needles, thread, and sewing implements. It stood beside the fireplace in Miss Tempie’s bedroom, right by her chair, so she could drop by at any time and pick up her sewing; and she did such lovely work. On the top of this table she kept her religious books and peridocals. Never a day passed by that these were read. Before her death she gave the table to Miss May; and when Miss Lady Bird was being married, Miss May gave it to her, along with the brass andirons, Grandmother Pope’s table, and the wild cherry dining table.
The Brass Andirons
Ever since Mr William bought them for his new home on June 24, 1848, the brass andirons have been in the family. As long as Miss Tempie lived they were kept in the parlor, shining and bright. At her death Miss May inherited them and always loved them. When Miss Lady Bird was six or seven years old, it was her regular Saturday morning job to polish them, and she loved to see them glisten like gold. Her mother taught her how to shine them, using sifted ashes, salt, and vinegar. It was her responsibility to have them spotless and shining, and she was proud of them and loved them as her mother did. Now Miss Baby loves and cares for them.
The Wild Cherry Dining Room Table
At the same time Mr William got the andirons and the sewing table, around 1845 or 1848, he bought the dining table, a lovely thing made of wild cherry, looking something like mahogany. It, too, was for the new home. It was handed down to Miss May, Miss Lady Bird, and Miss Baby.
The Old Quilt
The old quilt was made by old Harriet, the sewing woman, a good old darky who was faithful to her beloved mistress through the war, serving her for all the years after until her death; and when she died, she was buried at the feet of her beloved mistress, faithful to the end.
Grandmother Pope’s Table
The mahogany drop-leaf table which Mr William’s mother’s, was used at Miss Tempie’s wedding, along with the big glass vase and the silver ladle. It was handed down to Miss May, Miss Lady Bird, and Miss Baby. When Miss Baby was going into her new house which had just been completed, Miss May gave her this table. She had the legs fixed on it and always speaks of it as Grandmother Pope’s table.
The Christening Robe
This lovely dress has really never been use as such although it was made to be so used. Miss May used a number I2 needle and 200 thread, it is very dainty and sheer. Miss May was almost 62 when she completed it in 1904 for Miss Baby. It has always caused a great deal comment throughout the years. Miss Baby, her son Baby John, and his daughter Lynn have all had their picture taken in it.
The Gold Medal
When Miss May graduated from college in Goldsboro, she won a lovely gold medal, which was presented to her by Dr Charles Deems in behalf of the college. It bore the inscription "Mary Hinton Carraway, A M", a greek motto, and the date 1859. It has been told elsewhere how she managed to save it during the Civil War by wrapping it in heavy paper and wearing it in the heel of her shoe for several weeks until the soldiers had gone. She gave it to Miss Lady Bird, who passed on to Miss Baby, who greatly prizes it.
The lovely cameo was brought back to Miss May from Italy by a friend who was a great traveler.
The melodeon originally belonged to Miss May’s suitor, Theodore Deems, who was killed in the Battle of Gettsburg. His parents gave it to Miss May, who passed it on to her granddaughter. Miss Baby had it fixed up as a desk and kept it in a bedroom on the third floor of her High Rock house, treasuring it as Miss May had done.
The Rosewood Piano
Mr William bought a lovely square piano for Miss May; rosewwod which shone like satin. She appreciated it so much and did so well in her music that it was always a joy to him. He left it to her in his will. When she was married, it was sent to her new home in Laurinburg, where it was used by her in giving lessons to her music class for many years. Later, when she moved away from Laurinburg, the piano was stored. Somehow it became a casualty and disappeared.
The Little Pine Table
The story of this little table should not be included in Miss May's story. It belongs to Miss Lady Birds Story. It was made by her Father, Captain Joe Parker when she was a little girl. She loved it so much and when Baby John was born she gave it to him. There is a good picture of him having a "Tea Party " just as his Grandmother had done years before.
The Book of Pressed Flowers
In a book Miss May kept, and carefully pressed, the flowers sent her at different times by her friends. These flowers were from all around the world and form a wonderful collection; from Europe, Asia, Australia. And the gem of the collection is a leaf sent to her by a member of the party sent out to find Livingston in the depths of Africa.
The Glass Vase
The glass vase was used by the Middleton heirs until Miss Tempie married Mr William Carraway in 1837. He was a young man from twenty five miles up the country in Wayne County, kind and loved by all. The big glass vase was again used at their wedding dinner as a part of the table decoration. It was originally part of a pair, and Miss May was given this single one nearly a hundred years after it was used on her mother’s wedding table.
During the Civil War one day a northern soldier came into the house, and while in there he picked up the vase and said he was going to carry it up north. Miss Tempie begged him not to, telling him it had been given to her dear, dear mother as a birthday gift; but he said no. He went off with it; but pretty soon he came back, with tears in his eyes, and handed Miss Tempie the vase. She thanked him, and was really pleased.
It was later given to the wife of one of the boys, one of Miss Tempie’s step-brothers, and his daughter gave it to Miss May around 1910. Miss May gave it to Miss Lady Bird, who in turn gave it to Miss Baby.
The Silver Ladle
The silver ladle has been in the family a great many years. It was bought by Robert Middleton, an Onslow County gentleman, as a present for his lovely bride Alice James, when they were married on April 19, 1808. She died in 1819, when her daughter, Temperance Rensaleer, was a little girl. Robert married again, this time to Jemima Whitfield. He had several children by his second wife. When his daughter Temperence was to be married to William Carraway in 1837, she wanted her mother’s ladle, but her step-mother wanted it too. So her father had another one made, and Temperance was given her mother’s. The second ladle was the work of a North Carolina silversmith by the name of Selph.
During the spring of 1954 Mrs Tempie Harris Prince told this story to Mr Henry Middleton, then aged 88, a grandson of Robert and his second wife Jemima Whitfield; and he said he thought the story true, because his sister has the other ladle.
There is a story about the first ladle, dating from Civil War days. This piece of silver, bearing on its handle the engraved name Middleton, was the object of much sentiment, as it was supposed to be always handed down to the oldest daughter. One day a northern soldier picked it up and started off with it. Soon, however, he came back, threw it on the floor, and told Miss Tempie it was too much trouble to take it, the handle was too long. The fall on the floor caused a crack in the bowl, which can still be seen.
During the years when Miss Tempie was young, it was used whenever necessary for the serving of soups, etc, but at other times it was put away in the drawer with the silver. Gradually Miss Tempie had gotten over her boyish ways, settling down in the home to help her step-mother in all things possible, for with the little folks coming on she could be lots of help. The routine life of the times went on until Miss Tempie met and was won by a young man, Mr William Carraway, when she was twenty two. The ladle was used at their wedding dinner.
The ladle was given to Miss May when her baby girl came in 1879. This child, Temperance, was named for Miss May’s mother. According to family tradition of going to the oldest daughter, it has passed from Miss Lady Bird to Miss Baby and on to Lyn, her granddaughter.
School and Church
Every day the children were carried to and from school by old Uncle Ned, the coachman and man-about-the-house; and their lives were just what all little folk’s lives were in those days; smooth and placid; going to school, play, some work, helping with the flowers, going to church and Sunday School, and delight when visitors came, particularly the minister.
Said Miss Lady Bird years later: "From infancy we went to Sunday School and church, memorizing verses. We also had a game of Bible cards which we all played and which gave us a wonderful knowledge of the Bible." She quotes this as a sentiment that Miss May found and liked: "I could not then know that one, as he grows older, can hardly sustain life in serene fashion without the consolations of religion". Another saying that appealed to Miss May was "A life without generous and consuming enthusiasm is a dead life."
The Little Rocking Chair
The little rocking chair was stuffed and covered with the then fashionable horsehair fabric. It was bought by a fine gentleman as a birthday present for his little girl who was to be six in a few days. When she saw what he had gotten for her in the city nine miles from the plantation home, she was elated, dancing up and down, sitting in it, then running to her father to thank him. All of this was in 1848, over one hundred years ago; and this little girl was Miss May.
Now her real name was Mary; but her mother called her Mollie, her father called her Puss, her brothers called her Sister, and the darkies and others called her Miss May.
The little rocking chair passed in turn from Miss May to Miss Lady Bird, then to her daughter Miss Baby. She gave it to her granddaughter Lynn, Baby John's little girl, as according to family tradition, it is always supposed to pass on to the oldest daughter, when she has her sixth birthday.
Another interesting thing which happened while the soldiers were camped at the place concerned the family Bible. It was missing and couldn't be found anywhere. A few years after the war was ended a friend of Mr William and Miss Tempie had gone to New York and there established a church named The Church of the Strangers.
One afternoon his assistant had gone out making calls and was shown into a parlor and told to wait for the lady of the house. So while waiting he looked around and saw a big family Bible. He opened it, and in looking at the records he found the name of a North Carolina child, the birth record of Charles Deems Carraway.
Upon coming back to the church, he asked the pastor, Dr. Charles Deems, if he knew a family of Carraways in North Carolina. Dr Deems said, "Yes, they are my best friends and have a child named for me. Why do you ask?" So the young man told him about the afternoon's experience. When the lady he had been visiting came in, the assistant asked her about the Bible. She told him a soldier had brought it from the South. He asked her if he might have the Bible, he was sure that one of the children was named for Dr Deems but the woman refused. Dr Deems then went to see her, but she said she would not give it up unless a member of the Carraway family came for it. Dr Deems got in touch with Miss Tempie, who had a nephew in the store business in a little town nearby who was going to New York to buy goods. When he arrived, Dr Deems took him around to the lady who had the Bible, and she gave it to him. When they got the Bible back, Miss Tempie asked some friends in to have dinner to celebrate its return. It is now in the possession of one of Mr William's grandchildren. (Mr William had died suddenly during the summer of 1865, right after the war had stopped; and that was the reason for sending the nephew after the Bible).
This nephew, Henry Carraway, was a relative whom they had raised from a small tot, as his father had died when he was a little fellow. (See the Henry Carraway line elsewhere.)
The Bible now belongs to Miss Baby.
The Middletons came over from England some time in the eighteenth century, bringing with them many treasured pieces and some flowers. They had settled down near the coast on Topsail Sound, where they lived for many years; but when the British became so terrifying in the tactics and the soldiers so numerous as to menace these settlers’ safety, the clan refuged up to the inland and settled in what is now Duplin County. They brought their belongings with them and in the new settlement made a new home. Among the flowers was an old yellow lily, a root from which has followed the different members of the family all around in their roamings and some asparagus which as late as l901 was still living. In 1779 or 1789 the brick house was built, and it was here that Miss Mary' s mother was born. When she was a little girl, Miss Temple lost her mother and her father re-married, raising a large family.
Miss Tempie was born in 1810 and had the usual life of a child of that period. They used to say that she was badly spoiled and gave her step-mother considerable trouble; and when she had or needed punishment she would run over to stay with her grandmother and her mother's sisters. But that is much the way little children with step-mothers usually do, but she got over her boyish ways, became a rather serious-minded girl, and settled down in the home to help her step-mother with the younger children.
The Name Tempie
For more than three generations the name Tempie, a shortening of Temperance, has been given to the daughters in the family. Mrs William Carraway before her marriage was Temperance Rensalaer Middleton. Her parents were Robert Middleton and Alice James. The latter had a sister named Temperance James, who married Dr J M Nixon. Miss Lady Bird, author of these reminisces, was Mrs Temperance Rebecca Parker who married Alvis Lea Harris. Her daughter, referred to as Miss Baby, is (Mrs) Tempie Harris Prince.
Henry Carraway died in 1784. Wife Elizabeth (?)
John (who inherited Henry’s plantation. This estate was
divided in 1844 into twelve parts, among John’s twelve
children, as listed below)
William (m. Temperance Middleton)
Annie (or Ann)
Charlotte (mother of Mattie Best)
*Henry married Elizabeth, the widow of Gov Richard Caswell’s nephew. She was Elizabeth Foley Caswell. His son Henry, that they speak of as Captain, was the one who went to New York for the Bible. His daughter, "Cousin Minnie", visited Mrs Prince in 1952.
A Henry Carraway, of Wayne County, NC, was in Congress in 1819.(I have never seen proof of this. I judge this Henry is the son of John, son of Henry who died in 1784).
William Carraway inherited 135 acres of land from his father, John, in 1823. He was 13 years old when his father died. Charles Carraway was appointed his guardian, Wayne County Minute Docket 0-2, pg 19.
In 1836 Wayne Co, Vol 17, pg 106, 238, he bought parts of his brother and sisters land.
Wayne Co, Vol 20, pg 147, 1845, he deeds 1 ½ acres of land to the Wayne Lycuiem Academy, consideration, $1,000.
Temperance Ranselear Middleton's Bible
On the front page of the Bible was written the following:
"To W P Carraway.
The Bible your dear old mother read.
Please read it every night, and ask God to bless you and keep you in accordance of it's precious truths".
This was written to William Pope Carraway, oldest son of the Carraway's, born Sept. 18, 1848 and married Sarah J Daniel, May 13, 1875.
To this union was born:
Irma Louise, and Daphne Carraway. (See Carraway booklet for further information.)
Miss Mary Hillard Hinton told me this:
This arm chair belonged to David Hinton, son of Col John and Grizzelle Kimbrough Hinton. David was a brother of Elizabeth Hinton, who married first John Rand and had a daughter Mary Rand who later married Thomas James by whom she had five girls. At her husband’s death his brother, John James was appointed executor and later David Hinton their uncle was their guardian. One of the girls, Alice James, married Robert Middleton and their daughter, Temperence Randselear married William Carraway. Their daughter Mary Hinton (Mollie) married Joseph Parker and their daughter, Temperence married Alvin Lea Harris. They were the parents of Tempie Harris Prince.
The Trip to Duplin
Once a year in the summer, great preparations were made for a trip to spend several days at Grandfather Middleton's place down in Duplin County, some twenty-five miles from this home. Miss Lady Bird said she had often heard Miss May tell her children about the trip. She said that for days nothing was talked of among the children but the trip to Grandfathers. Of course all the details as to the actual preparation had been carefully looked after by Miss May's mother (whose name was Temperance but was called Miss Tempie). On the date set for their departure they left in the carriage with Uncle Ned driving the two well-groomed horses, starting from home by five or six in the morning.
Now anybody who has never traveled in Eastern Carolina in the forties and fifties when the sand was nearly hub-deep will never know what a terribly long, tiresome ride it was, nor how long it took them to make the trip. About nine in the morning Uncle Ned would stop the horses so they could rest and get some water, while Miss Tempie let the children get out to run around to get their little legs limbered up and to eat a little and drink a little water-then on the way until noon, when another stop was made and a longer rest; for both man and beast was made and thoroughly enjoyed. They took a big lunch basket with them, and really the trip down and back was a regular picnic so engraved on Miss May's mind that as long as she lived, just say picnic to her and she was ready to go, anywhere, any time.
But by the time they reached Grandfathers all were worn out; and by the time dark had fallen they were tucked away in bed for a good night's rest. Tomorrow came and with it all the wonderful joy of playing with all the cousins, for this was a regular family gathering and the number there would be more than Miss Lady Bird might tell, for it was so long ago that Miss May told her about it. Anyhow, it was a big crowd; and many pranks were played.
Before Miss May's time Miss Tempie's father had a lot of mulberry trees, used in raising cocoons from which silk was made. In the basement was a huge iron pot in which the water was heated and where the cocoons were put to soften them. This old pot had not been used for years, as the raising of silkworms had been discontinued; so on one of these summer visits all the crowd of children decided they would get some vegetables from the garden and cook them in the big pot. No sooner was the suggestion made
than away some went to get the vegetables, others to get wood to make up the fire under the pot and to use for the cooking, and some to get water to wash the pot. Finally everything was together, the vegetables done and taken up but such a dark color and curious taste! However, about that time the elders realizing that the children had been quiet a rather unusual length of time, began to look for them; and upon finding them just as they began to taste the terrific concoction which they had brewed, reproved them and carried them upstairs to a wholesome meal. Miss May said they all had a really glorius time in all the preparation. It took mighty little to make children happy in those days.
As Miss May’s own children became old enough to enjoy them, she told them all the stories of her girlhood. Among them were her accounts of the annual trips to Grandfather Middletons in Duplin. Later Miss Lady Bird went to see the old Middleton Homeplace and met her cousins.
Description of the Home Place near Goldsboro
The new home was not built for several years after Mr William brought his bride up country; and it was a two-story frame structure, built along the lines common in those days. At the time he selected this site there was a strip of huge pines out to the road about one-half mile. An avenue was cut from this house to the road through these pines. Miss Lady Bird said: "I have often heard Miss May describing to her children the avenue with the tall pines, some fifty feet before there was a limb. She said in coming home from school, when they got to the avenue, they felt safe from all harm; and even to her passing day this was always one of the dearest memories of her life – the long avenue of pines, their branches touching, letting in enough sunshine to dapple the road; and then to hear the whispering of the pines! To one who has never lived among the pines probably the sound is a sad wail, but to her who has lived among them from her earliest infancy they sang a soothing lullaby.
The Flower Garden
There was a large yard out in front of the house; and in it were planted the purple and white lilacs, crepe myrtle flaunting its streamers of shell-pink blossoms, mimosa trees with their lovely pink and white pompons – looking like a great bower of lacy green leaves studded with pink and white powder puffs, with the delightful aroma of a ripe peach – such lovliness. Then in a corner there was a tall pine tree which had the appearance of a huge snake winding around its body up to the limbs, but in the spring one of the most beautiful sights, for up around the green of the pine was the purple wistaria intermingled with the bloom of the yellow jasmine and over it all such sweetness as only the yellow jasmine can give.
In the long rectangle which was fenced in with tall palings about six or eight feet high Miss Tempie had beds of flowers all around the edges. Of course no old-fashioned garden would be complete without its sage, thyme, marjoram, etc.; and there were large bunches of these plants; but in the beds there were lilac bushes, purple and white, and the old yellow lily which had carefully been brought from the old Middleton place on Topsail Sound and which was always cherished.
First of all in the spring the little crocus. Splashes of pink, blue, and purple told where the hyacinths were blooming. Edging the bed were violets. The big spirea bushes looked like a mass of snow. The honeysuckle made its corner bright. The quantities of gold told of a profusion of narcissi and jonquils. The white among the green clumps told of the dainty snowdrop and the star of Bethlehem. Then the reds, yellows, and pinks spoke of the tulips; the purple and white told of the flag lilies. In the spring it was a lovely sight, and one which showed the care of a loving hand.
Of course later on there were great splashes of blue, pink, and white larkspurs. Sweet Williams, poppies, phlox, daisies, roses, hollyhocks, hydrangeas, and numerous other plants made it a place to love and remember with nostalgia. There were the altheas-pure white and mixed; the seven-siter rose, the cabbage and tea roses, and the moss rose; and a round bed about twelve feet across in which flowers bloomed from early spring until late fall. There were coxcombs, prince’s feathers, marigolds, geraniums, four-o’clocks, touch-me-nots, bachelor’s buttons, lilies of the valley, fuschias, deutzias, bridal wreath, Mareschal Neil roses, and a regular succession of flowers always in bloom-which spoke eloquently of a mistress who loved her flowers and who worked hard in them to have the home place attractive.
And down the long avenue at brief intervals were the lovely pink crepe myrtle bushes, making a wonderful approach to the house.
The Rear Section
To the rear of the house Mr William built the houses of the slaves and over the field and beyond that the stable and barnyard for the stock. All of the farming activity thus centered at the back and side of the house, which was practically cleared of trees, but on the left of the house was a beautiful oak tree under which children used to play. Mr William was a great tease and thoroughly enjoyed having young folks around.
There was a little stream near the house; a few hundred feet beyond the garden, and here the children loved to go wade and pretend they were fishing, Not so very far from the house along its banks were the soft green willow trees, and the tangled honeysuckle vine which when in bloom made the place sweet with its aroma, and in the spring the yellow jasmine with its flaming yellow and such fragrance as one only gets with the yellow jasmine, and the masses of snow told where the dogwood grew. And all in the woods could be found the trailing arbutus, which is one of the loveliest of the wild flowers, heart leaves, white violets, and the dog-tooth violets. There were all along the bank the wild grape vines, and some of them were looped down and hung down so there were several grand swings; which made ideal playgrounds for the children.
In the fall the children went out in the woods where there were occasional hickorynut trees and gathered the nuts. Old walnut trees at the old place gave them their nuts for the winter.
Picture of the House
There is a picture of the home of Mr William Carraway built for his bride. It was taken when the house was eighty years old. Miss May said it had gone down very much in the course of a century and since the death of Mr William in 1865 and Miss Tempie in 1885.
Miss May started school in Everittesville when she was about six or seven, finishing at the Academy. This academy was a mile and a half from the plantation of the Carraways. It had been built by the planters of the neighborhood so their children could get a good education. There were the Cobbs, the Daniels, the Lanes, the Everettes, the Colliers, and others. Miss May was inclined to be a studious child, and received words of approbation from her teachers in the academy.
From there she went to Goldsboro to college, graduating when she was fifteen (in 1857). Then she went back for post-graduate work and teaching. In 1857 she got a lovely gold medal, presented by her beloved pastor, Dr Charles F, Deems. In 1859 she graduated, after having gone back for post-graduate work in music, Greek, and French.
After a free and wholesome plantation girlhood she was plunged into the tragic excitement of the Civil War. Her hours were crowded with writing letters to the front, making clothes for the soldiers, wrapping bandages, etc.
Then after the war her father died in July 1865, which laid all the responsibility on her and her mother, as there were three young boys. They had to run a plantation of 500 acres, with 30 slaves.
Her life had been saddened by the loss of her lover in the Battle of Gettysburg. (He was Lieut. Theodore Deems.)
Before her marriage she learned to face danger, knew a life of privation, but went with head lifted all the time, unafraid. She began teaching at the Academy near her home, where she had received her primary education, and taught there until her marriage in 1873.
Her husband (Captain Joe Parker) was a widower seventeen years her senior with four daughters, the oldest just ten years younger than Miss May and the youngest just ten years old. Her beloved friend in Wilmington, Lizzie West, came to the wedding, also her beloved friend Minnie Deems came from New York; and Dr Deems from New York came to the wedding, to perform the ceremony.
She had visited Minnie Deems in New York in 1868. She was the daughter of Dr Charles F Deems, who was at one time President of Greensboro Female College. This Dr Deems was a great friend of Mr William and Miss Tempie, and who had a boy named for him. It is told elsewhere how he went to New York, established the Church or the Strangers, and was instrumental in the recovery of the Carraway family Bible, which a Northern soldier had carried off during the Civil War.
Miss May had five children of her own; three boys and two girls Miss Lady Bird and infant Lucy who died an infant).
She started another school, and had quite an impressive one, with three assistants. She got along very well. Her husband was a civil engineer and was away from home quite alot; therefore the responsibility of rearing the children fell on her shoulders. She taught both school and music, and took part in the activities of the church and town. She and Captain Joe began the church, and it has developed into a wonderful institution. She was public spirited, and all who knew her loved her and respected her intellectual ability.
The Charleston earthquake occurred in 1886, Miss May, who had been in the village a few short years as a pioneer in education, was the one to whom the neighbors turned for information. The house began to quake and rock and bricks were falling from the chimneys, and in the darkness the wind began to come from all directions. They looked on her as a haven, asking her what it was. Before she could speak, some wag spoke up and said: "A message has just come saying one of the West Indies has fallen into the Atlantic Ocean." And the seriousness of the situation soon passed off; but through it all she was a tower of strength to all the neighbors.
Her mind was clear until she was taken sick in 1930, and she passed away in March within a few weeks of her eighty eight birthday.
Blind Tom, the Musician
During the Civil War a negro musician called Blind Tom gave a concert in Goldsboro which Miss May attended. He exhibited a trick which he had figured out, whereby he played one tune with his right hand, another with his left, at the same time singing a third tune. It was a difficult combination. After completing his concert he would invite anyone in the audience who would like to learn it to come up to the front and he would show how it was done.
Miss May got up, and he showed her. In a few minutes she had mastered the technique of it and could do it. This always stayed with her, and in the fall of 1929 she was at a party given by a church in Greensboro and did the stunt for them, after sixty-one years.
But going back to Blind Tom, soon after he had had the entertainment in Goldsboro he went abroad for an engagement and played before the crowned heads of Europe and met with universal acclaim. Miss May was married in 1873, and some time that fall her husband was over in the eastern part of the state on the old Wilmington and Weldon Road.
The conductor told him that Blind Tom was on the train, so Captain Joe went back to see him, as he had heard Miss May speak so often of him. While talking to him he asked Blind Tom if he had ever been in that part of the state, and he said yes. Back in 1868 or thereabouts he gave a concert in Goldsboro. Mr Parker asked him if he remembered teaching a young lady to play the tunes with her left and right hand and then to sing a third song. He said yes indeed he did remember it, for she was the only person who had ever caught on to it. Captain Joe said, "Do you remember her name" And he said, "Yes, just wait and I will tell you. Oh her name was Miss Mollie Carraway" which showed what a remarkable memory he had. Captain Joe told him he was Miss Mollie's husband, and Blind Tom wished him all happiness.
The Marl Bed and Fish Frys on the Neuse
Mr William had a big marl bed on his place, and Miss May said in the spring they went to it, getting load after load of the marl to use as fertilizer for the crops; and it was wonderful to hear her tell of the shells that were gotten out. Then she said the neighbors would all join in having a fish fry down on the banks of the Neuse River, which ran through the plantation. They would go fishing, catch the fish, and the old cook and her aides would dress the fish and then fry them nice and brown and have warm corn pones baked in the ashes, and such a time as they all had!
Miss May's Saddle Horse
Like all of the spirited plantation girls, Miss May liked horses, and Mr William had given her a lovely Kentucky saddle horse on which she rode constantly, going out with her father on his daily rounds of the plantation, riding to hounds after foxes and deer. One May morning in 1861 she came in from a ride and the horse was turned loose to go to his stall. Upon his entering the stall, a great bull gored him and he died instantly. The grief of Miss May and the family was intense.
Long years afterwards she would tell her children about getting up early in the morning to go riding around the plantation with Mr William when he went around to see how the crops were progressing. She said they would go by the slave’s quarters, and all were so glad to see Marse William and Miss May; and some would say, "We have a nice cake of cornbread for you and Miss May and a nice piece of fried streak of lean and a streak of fat meat fried to a turn". So they would get a pone of ash cake and some fried meat and a glass of buttermilk and eat it, for it meant a lot to the slaves that their Master and Miss May had eaten the bread and meat and had a nice glass of cold buttermilk, and had enjoyed it.
I have often heard Miss May laughingly tell of an experience her father had. Some old gentleman, a neighbor, was sitting on the front porch one day with Mr William when he began to sniff. Finally Mr William said, "You smell those memosa flowers over there. They smell so sweet, just like a ripe peach". And the old gentleman said, "Yes, yes, I thought I caught the glimpse of a smell of a peach". And this was a familiar expression with them all for many years. When they smelled the memosa blossoms, they immediately thought of the old man saying "I thought I caught the glimpse of a smell of a peach".
Speaking of sayings like that, Miss May had a party of her college friends out with her for a little visit. This expression was an odd one, and Miss May said no one ever knew where it came from; but every girl in the school was saying it: "Put molasses on the door knob". How a set of people could use such an inane expression was beyond the ken of Mr William, so he decided to cure them. He had the house boy, whose name was Colorado, get a saucer of molasses, not very much, and a little mop all ready; and just as each girl came in the dining room door, he would mop the door knob with molasses. Those who were already in the room and who had had the trick played on them would break out in a hearty laugh to see the girl in utter bewilderment as she looked at her sticky hand and heard Mr William say, "Colorado put molasses on the door knob". However, it broke up the foolish saying, which was what Mr William wanted to do.
The Civil War
During the Civil War a large number of soldiers camped at the home place; and Mr William, Miss Tempie, and the children were obliged to stay in the house. One day young William was sitting on the back steps while his father and a friend were on the porch. Suddenly the friend said to the lad, "William, jump up!" which he did; and about that time the hum of a bullet was heard. If the boy had not jumped as quickly as he did, he would have been killed.
The family had no provisions, but one day the officer in command of the soldiers was talking to Mr William. They shook hands, and Mr William gave his Masonic sign; from then on the family was not molested in any way, and provisions were sent in from the commander for them.
When Miss May had graduated from college in Goldsboro a few years before, she had won a lovely gold medal; so Miss Tempie wrapped it in heavy paper, wearing it in the heel of her shoe for several weeks until the soldiers went away. In this way it was saved and is now in the possession of Miss Lady Bird, who prizes it as one of her most precious possessions.
Civil War Story
When the soldiers came by, they took the family carriage, filled with fine meat, hams, etc. While there they had dinner and drank a toast to the general, and to victory, of course. Then they asked Miss May to make a toast, which she did, ending as follows: "And damnation to the whole Yankee nation."
A Federal officer, seeing an old negro woman preparing food for some meal, told her he wanted her to prepare a number or chickens for his men. She replied, " All right, Sir".
About that time he happened to see a dead chicken on the ground near by, "What killed that chicken?" he asked.
The wise old negro replied "I don't know, Sir; but some sickness must have got hold of them, 'cause I been finding one dead every now and then. Yonder is another dead one over there, don't you see? I seen another one around here somewhere, but I guess I can find enough well ones for you".
But the officer replied: "No, no, don't think of such a thing. You might make a mistake and some of us might become infected by it!"
When they first arrived the old woman had suspected some request like this might be made, so she had driven the chickens off into the woods after killing several and throwing them around.
Civil War Experiences
March 28, 1949
I couldn't get this finished in time to enclose, much to my regret. I can't recall whether I wrote you sometime during the past year of my meeting a lady soon after I reached Dallas, about 40 years ago, who as a child or when she was young lived in the vicinity of your mother's home, or perhaps in an adjoining county. She seemed delighted to meet me. She gave me a lovely description of your mother's home. She said it seemed like a dream house to her in her childhood and so many wonderfully interesting stories were told her of your mother. She said when the nothern army came through North Carolina, they simply took possession of the place (Cousin Molly's home) for a short while and when they left, they took the family carriage filled the fine meat, hams, etc. While there, one of the officers commanded they serve a dinner (the family) for them, which, of course, they did. The officers drank toast to their general and the other leading men and of course to "victory". After this, they insisted on Cousin Molly giving a toast. She responded and I have always wished I could recall the words. I remember her toast ended with the words, "...and damnation to the whole Yankee nation".
This lady also told me of an officer, while there, going out on the back lawn and seeing an old Negro woman preparing food for some meal, told her be wanted her to prepare a number of chickens for them. About that time, he happened to see a dead chicken on the ground nearby. She replied, "All right, Sir" He asked, "What killed that chicken?" The wise old Negro replied, "I don't know, Sir, but some sickness must have got hold of them 'cause I been finding one dead every now and then. Yonder is another dead one over there, don't you see? I seen another one around here somewhere, but I guess I can find enough well ones for you." But, the officer replied, "No, no, don't think of such a thing. You might make a mistake and some of us might become infected by it. When they first arrived, the old woman had suspected some request like this might be made so she had driven the chickens off to the woods after killing several of them and throwing them here and there where they would be seen, with the intent to produce the effect they did. I was a stranger and I never could recall her name. She said your grandfather was considered a very wonderful man and a man of great wealth. My mother told me of his losing many thousands in standing security for some friend. I shall certainly be happy to buy a copy or the story you are writing on your mother's life and also of the antiques. Just let me know the price.
Looking foward to hearing from you soon.
Lovingly yours, Minnie Carraway Hale
"The Grove House"
The following story was written by my grandmother Mollie Carraway Parker, and I have two copies in her handwriting. However, for some reason, it was written in such a manner as to indicate that I wrote it, but such was not the case.
In the summer of 1885 she visited Captain Henry James Carraway and his wife, Sue, in Halifax, and it was there that she had this experience. Captain Carraway's daughter, Minnie Carraway Hale, wrote my mother that she had written a story about the Grove House and that it had been published in the "Atlanta Constitution". I have been unable to get a copy of it.
The Grove House was the home of Willie Jones, and it was here that John Paul Jones got his commission in the Navy and, therefore, it is a historic place.
"The Grove House"
In the summer of 1885 my grandmother visited the town of Halifax, NC, and I have more than once heard her speak of a fine old house that stood in a splendid grove of oaks on the southern edge of the town. This grove gave name to the fine old building, for it was known far and wide as the Grove House, and with its marks of former beauty and grandeur well deserved its reputation of having been at one time a very fine specimen of Colonial architecture.
Every particle of the building material had been brought from England. Even the gravestones in the nearby burying ground were English tho at the time of my grandmother's visit these unfortunately had been so defaced by time and vandalism that it was impossible to decipher any of the inscriptions except the word Johnston on two of the headstones. The steps to the house were three immense semi-circles of stone one upon the other and all bearing the English quarry mark, and they led up to a large double door, with the usual fan shaped transom above it. Upon entering one found himself in a splendid hall, with oak wainscot and panels and ceiling all beautifully carved, but especially would he be struck by an immense fireplace fronting him, with a grand old oaken mantel reaching to the ceiling with its lovely carvings of acorns and leaves. On the right of the fireplace was what looked to be a solid wall of panels, but really was the hiding place of a secret stairway utterly unheard of until a few months prior to my grandmother's visit, after the house had fallen into decay and was uninhabited except by vagrants and ne'er-do-wells.
It seems that some boys were idling there one Sunday afternoon and with the thoughtless vandalism or young hoodlums, were beating on the panels to the right of the fireplace, when suddenly the spring door with its secret lock flew open, as several of the panels crashed in, and to their surpise there was a narrow staircase leading down, they knew not where. Being of an adventurous turn, they followed the leadings and came out finally into the open air, some half a mile from the house in a ravine that led away to the north.
This find of the boys was soon noised abroad and very many went to see if it could really be true, and after a few months there was found an old, old couple living some miles away who knew of the existence of this secret passageway and told the following remarkable story of the use to which it had once been put.
After the Battle of Guilford Court House, Cornwallis went to Wilmington for his army to rest and recuperate. In a short while he resumed his march going northward, intending to reach Petersburg and form a junction with the British troops of the north.
When he reached Halifax on this route he halted his staff and attendants at this Grove House, demanding entertainment for his large retinue of officers and servants.
Now the gentleman of the house had a very beautiful daughter who was engaged to be married to a young officer, a Lieutenant in Washington's army. Hearing of the approach of the British, he felt anxious about the safety of his ladylove, so knowing of the secret approach to the house, he rode thru the ravine to the mouth of the cave, where concealing his horse in the nearby woods, he made his way up the hidden passage and was actually in the house when the advance guard of Cornwallis' army rode up. His sweetheart simply bade him goodbye and shut him in the secret place, thinking he would go away as soon as possible. Not so, however, as the sequel shows.
Just behind the huge fireplace and running parallel with the front wall is a cross hall some four or five feet wide with two doors, one opposite the left hand corner of the fireplace, leading into the grand banquet hall, a room large enough to seat easily a hundred guests, and the other exactly opposite this secret chamber we have been talking about, and leading into the wine room.
While dinner was being prepared, Cornwallis and his staff sat in this wine room, and while they drank the fine wines and brandies, thinking themselves quite safe from all listeners or spies, they freely discussed all their plans of the coming campaign, and when called into the banquet hall, they went quite satisfied that everything was settled to their liking. Little did they dream that an ear had been glued to the opposite thin wall of panels, hearing every word, storing up everything discussed, to be repeated to General Washington as soon as possible. When the conference was broken up, and Cornwallis and his officers went in to partake of the feast prepared for them, the young officer hurried thru the secret passage to the open air, mounted his horse and rode at full speed to the headquarters of the American troops. Here be disclosed to Washington all that he had heard from the council of war held in the Grove House. So valuable was this information, that Washington acting upon it, so planned the movement of his troops that Cornwallis was brought to bay and finally compelled to surrender at Yorktown, thus virtually ending the long, hard fought Revolutionary War.
From this incident we see how great things can be the outcome of little ones. But for the coming of the young Continental officer to visit his ladylove, there would have been no listener to the plans of Cornwallis and thus Washington could not have known how to thwart his plans, and thus the war might have been prolonged for weary months.
"The Church and Private Schools of North Carolina" by Charles Lee Raper, Greensboro, NC – Jos J Stone Book and Job Printers, 1898
pg 121 – Wayne Female College
This institution began in the town of Goldsboro in 1834. The Borden Hotel building was used until 1857, when a large four-story brick house was erected. The original promoters were W K Lane, George A Dudley, William Carraway and Nicky Nixon; and when the new building was proposed, fifteen of Goldsboro’s best citizens took stock.
Reverend James H Brent was the first president, and served until the new building was about ready for use. Then Dr S Morgan Closs served as president one year. Rev S Milton Frost was the presiding officer from 1857 to 1862. The school was then suspended until 1866, when Dr Closs revived it and ran it for three sessions.
In 1868 the charter was changed and after that, it was known as Goldsboro Female College. Prof E W Adams became president when Dr Closs left the second time, and ran it until 1871, when it was closed as a college.
Rev N Z Graves, who had been connected with schools in Warrenton for several years, had a private school in the building from 1871 to July, 1874.
The following is the paper that Mary Hinton Carraway wrote for her Commencement in 1857. It was beautifully written in Latin and tied together with white satin ribbon. I do not know whether she delivered it in Latin or not. Mrs Robert Montogomery was kind enough to translate it for us.
"For many long years we, as a band of classmates, have patiently traveled the rough road of knowledge, always looking to this day for the complete fulfillment of our fondest hopes. Anticipation has seized this day which often our wandering dreams of deep, quiet night have outlined, and from it, in some way, has caught one swift gleam, shining amid fiery rays which gild the triumphs of this hour.
This day has come, and this audience has gathered here to witness the presentation of rewards for our many years labor and effort. Dear comrades, shall we not be grateful to them at this, our examination? Certainly, very much so.
Then to you, dear audience, we would say that you are welcome, and we extend to you the hand of Southern friendship and hospitality.
While within these walls, may no cares disturb the quiet pleasure of this hour; but may everything be as joyous as at a wedding feast, so to speak.
In imagination often I have pictured this scene; this audience drawn here by the great concern which they feel in the cause of feminine education; and at times I have wondered if, the day of admission to the school, which was so greatly weighted with fears, would give to others any degree of pleasure.
From the encircling circumstances, it seems that everyone is deeply absorbed; for notice this profound silence. For this flattering gift of attention we thank this audience and we return their polite silence with good wishes for their happiness, both present and future.
We truly wish that this courteous approach to this town and to our school may be a festive occasion, a time of joy and pleasure. Perhaps this is the first time that some in this audience have ever entered these doors; the first time that they have sat under this roof.
If this is so, may this not be the last; but may the echo of your footsteps be heard again and again, as you witness scenes similar to this one. There is no cause more worthy of the support of intelligent people than this one of feminine education; for does not everyone give heed to the cry which rises from the valleys of our republic and resounds from the tops of our mountains lifting up their heads amid the clouds, ‘Educate our daughters’? But again, let there be a happy welcome to all on this, our festive day.
To you, dear teachers, we would say on this day which witnesses our emancipation from the regulations of college life, may you be happy. Put aside those stern faces and put on countenances more suitable for our joyous happiness. Perhaps the dignity of office and the difficulties necessary to the lot of a teacher have demanded austere expressions and firm manners. But lift these now, and let us see, instead of these, gay smiles and happy faces.
If, in retrospect, some things may seem sad; if there are obscure shadows among the splendor, forget them; and the temporary shadows of the past will be forgotten in the light of the hope which arises from the happy present. My wish is that life may be long and happy for each of those by whose aid I have partially penetrated the perplexing roads of knowledge and have drunk abundantly of the bowl of knowledge. May no obscure storms cloud your paths, but may everything be as bright as though shaded by the noonday sun.
How am I able to wish sufficient happiness to you with whom I have lived intimately for so long, and with whom I now share a multitude of college bonds? I am able to repeat only one wish – that you be happy. May not one concern of parting hide the splendor of this hour.
And here, as I stand before this huge audience, surrounded by dear relatives of college life and joined to this small group by chains of love and friendship, I would invoke the blessings of Heaven upon the school, my Alma Mater; upon my teachers, upon the patrons, and especially upon this class so soon engaging truly in the first battle of life.
But a joyous welcome and a pleasant time be to all on this day, the time of our admission to the ‘School of Knowledge’".
(An excerpt from the book "Some Pioneer Women Teachers of North Carolina" published by the Delta Kappa Gamma)
Mary Hinton Carraway Parker
High on the list of notable pioneer teachers in North Carolina stands the name of Mary Hinton Carraway or, as she was generally called, Miss Mollie. Her life covered nineteen years before the Civi1 War and stretched almost a third of a century into the l900's.
Her early years were normal and uneventful, conditioned by the surroundings in which she lived. She was born to William Carraway and his wife Temperance Ransaleer Middleton Carraway on June 24, 1842, (and was named for her maternal grandmother). She grew up at her father's home, Veinnicci, which was about four miles from Goldsboro, NC. It was a typical Southern plantation, with many slaves. On a beautiful saddle horse given her by her father she would frequently accompany him on his daily rounds. Two and a half miles away was the small village of Everittesville, where she attended her first school, completing her studies at the early age of fourteen.
She was next sent to Wayne Female College, partly because her father was one of its prominent stockholders. Here, as elsewhere, she proved to be an outstanding student, completing her college course at the age of fifteen. Her diploma, signed by President T M Frost dated May 27, 1858. Subjects in which this document credited her with proficiency were classic and English literature and "those branches of science usually taught in female colleges of the United States". Her classical training included both Greek and Latin, and to these were added French and music.
Not satisfied with her preparation, she went back for a year of post-graduate work, at the same time doing some teaching in the college. Her studies during this period included music and law. It has been said that she was one of the first women to study law. At commencement in 1857 Dr Charles Deems, in behalf of the College, presented her with a gold medal for the fine quality of her work. Her graduation address, written in a meticulous hand, and composed in Latin, has been preserved by her descendants. A news item published in that year attests to her ability and to the respect and affection she won by her teaching. The medal, still treasured by her granddaughter, bears the inscription "Mary Hinton Carraway, A M", a Greek motto, and the date 1857.
At the age of eighteen she went to Everittesville, to teach in the school she had attended as a child. Here, however, she noted many changes. The planters of the neighborhood had banded together to improve the academy; and her father had given it a tract of twenty-five acres of land, adding permission to the school authorities to cut firewood from his adjacent property. A church and many lovely homes had been built in the village. Names of some of the prominent families of Everittesville included Collier, Cobb, Moore, Whitfield, Hines, Daniel, Hooks, and McKinney. She taught there for a few years and was dearly loved by her pupils. Many of them were a great deal older than she.
That her musical ability unusual was proved by an incident which occurred during the war. A negro musician, called Blind Tom, gave a concert in Goldsboro which she attended. He had a stunt which he had figured out. He played one tune with his right hand, another with his left, and sang a third tune. It was a tricky combination. After completing his concert he would invite any one in the audience who would like to do so, to try it. Miss Mollie got up and he showed her how it was done. It took her only a few minutes to master the technique, one which stayed with her for more than half a century and which she demonstrated at an Old Folks Party given by a church in Greensboro sixty-one years later.
At one time Miss Mollie also kept a diary. The dates covered by this record are the fall of 1860 and the spring or 1861. It mentions the declaration of war and the departure of the local troops. During the war she did much work in Goldsboro, making bandages, sewing for the Confederate soldiers, and anything else she could do.
Still another interest, one which led the mind to the utmost bounds of the earth, was the collection and pressing of botanical specimens, foliage or flowers from numerous parts of the world. Under each specimen the name of the place from which it had come, who secured it for her, and any other pertinent information. Items ranged from Siberia to Australia, Gettysburg to Lucknow. There was even one leaf secured in Africa by the Stanley expedition that went to find Livingston.
An interesting anecdote concerns this minister and the Carraway family Bible. When Dr Deems baptized the baby Charles Deems Carraway, he wrote the name in the family Bible. During the war one of the northern armies camped on the Carraway plantation right near the house, and a soldier had gone off with that Bible with the family records in it. Dr Deems had earlier moved to New York and established the Church of the Strangers. One day his assistant came back from paying some pastoral calls and asked
him if he knew of a family in North Carolina named Carraway. He replied, "Yes indeed, they are best friends down there. Why do you ask?"
The assistant said that while paying some calls he had noticed in an old family Bible the name of Charles Deems Carraway and wondered about it. Dr Deems said, "Yes, he was named for me," so he went to see the woman. She told him that the Bible was a war
relic and she would not give it up unless a member of the Carraway family came for it. So Dr Deems at once got in touch with the Carraways, who sent a member to New York and regained their Bible.
Besides the theft of the Bible, the war brought many hardships. As the Yankees camped near by, the family lost food, supplies, and personal property. The fields were not worked. Then in July after the surrender in 1865 Miss Mollie's father died, and from that time on she and her mother had the responsibility of the family and the plantation. She had many brothers and sisters. Her sisters died early; and when her father died, the ages of her brothers were nine, thirteen, and seventeen. Only two lived to manhood.
Miss Mollie was married On June 18, 1873, at the age of thirty one, to Captain Joseph A Parker, a widower with four daughters. He, from Nanesmond County, Virginia. To them were born three boys and one girl. The boys were William Carraway Parker, James Alfred Parker, and Thomas Wiley Parker. The one girl was Temperance Rebecca Parker, later Mrs. Alvis Lea Parker Harris.
Soon after their marriage they went to Laurinburg, N C to live. Here the school facilities were very poor, so she started her own private school. It grew until it required three or four assistants. In 1885 she attended the first normal school for teachers, which was held in Wilson. She was a born teacher and gave her pupils inspiration to live a higher life. She enjoyed coaching the school plays and church programs, such as bazaars, Easter concerts, and Christmas plays. This was her most important period as a teacher, a mother, and a community leader. Here she taught for twenty-eight years.
Her latter life was spent in Reidsville and Greensboro. In 1901, when she was sixty, she moved to Reidsville with her daughter. They later moved to Greensboro, where she frequently encountered former students who greeted her with expressions of appreciation and affection.
To the very last of her long span of life her mind was active and inquiring. She studied the dictionary each day for new words and meanings, never content with what she knew. She could truly say, with Tennyson,
"...All experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move."
Her children, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild were very close to her.
She died on March 8, 1930, at the home of her daughter in Greensboro and was buried in Laurinburg, NC. She was survived by nine grandsons and granddaughters and one great-grand child.
Her pupils do not forget her nor the inspiration she gave. Her descendants honor her memory. And North Carolina owes her the esteem due to those who give to their day and time more that the age asks of them, a plus quality of permanent enrichment.
(This sketch was written by Marjorie Craig, from information furnished by Mrs Tempie Harris Prince and from the recollections of Miss Lady Bird as recorded in her "Sweet Tales of Long Ago",
Reidsville, NC, 1954)
Dr C F Deems
Charles Force Deems, a young man from New Jersey, came down through the South some time before the Civil War, selling bibles. He later entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In one of his congregation was the Carraway family, with whom he developed a warm friendship. Miss May Carraway, a young lady just finishing college, idolized and idealized him for the rest of her life. It was he who presented the gold medal she won when she graduated. It was he who performed her marriage ceremony. It was to his son Theodore, killed at Gettysburg, that she had once been engaged. And it was his daughter Minnie that she regarded as a best-friend and confidante.
The co-incidence that a Carraway's son's name was partly that of Dr Deems was the clue that made possible for the recovery of the Carraway family bible when a northern soldier took it home with him to New York. And it was in the hospitable Deems home that Miss May paid her memorable visit to New York, just before she started teaching, in the years after the war.
Dr Deems was a remarkable person, accomplishing much in one short lifetime. He was president of Greensboro Female College from 1850 to 1854, editor of The Methodist Pulpit, and pastor of a number of Methodist churches in the South.
He later went back North, and became pastor of the Church of the Strangers in New York City. His influence on Commodore Cornelius Vanderbuilt caused the latter to purchase the above mentioned church for Dr Deems, leave him $25,000 in his will, and make a gift which ultimately amounted to $1,000,000 to the institution that was to become Vanderbuilt University.
Newspaper Clipping Pertaining to Dr Charles Deems
"When Dr Deems was called upon to represent the case of the Rev Mr Long, from your city, he told the Conference that Mr Long had probably many equals in the Southern Church, but probably no superior in America".
(Excerpt from the "Annals of Southern Methodism", edited by Rev Charles F Deems, D D)
From the North Carolina Advocate, March 8
"Dr C F Deems has been invited by a number of the citizens of Petersburgh, Va, to deliver a lecture in that place, on the 11th inst., and the next evening, the 12th, a magnificent service of plate will be presented to him by citizens of Petersburgh, as an
evidence of their estimation of his eminent worth".
The same paper, April 3 has the following:
"Presentation. An elegant set of plate, costing $600, was presented to Rev C F Deems, D D, on the 12th March, by citizens of Petersburgh, Va.- men and women, old and young, as an evidence of their appreciation of his virtuous life and exalted worth, and especially as a memento of their admiration or his moral courage, his powers of speech, his Christian spirit, etc. Such, in part, is the inscription upon the splendid present".
(Copy of letter to Mary H Carraway from Charles F Deems when she was 13 years old)
To Mary H Carraway:
My dear Mary,
There are no little things! All things connect and this interdependence gives apparently small things an influence which extends to the verge of creation and an existence as during as eternity. Little thoughts, little words, little acts, as we sometimes call them, are the pebbles which slip from beneath huge masses of thought and feeling and precipitate avalanches from mountain-tops to miling plains and roaring gorges. Watch your little thoughts and words and acts, if you would be happy and useful.
With very sincere affection
Charles F Deems
Nov 10, 1855
The following was written by Rev Charles F Deems in the front of the bible he presented to Mary H Carraway:
June 20, 1858
In this wondrous volume are amazing depths and stupendous heights. The greatest grasp of your spirit will never fully comprehend it. But it holds the elements of all spiritual knowledge, the seed of the kingdom of God. Lay the seed up in your heart and let it grow from your earliest youth to your last hour, and it will grow in all your eternity, bringing forth fruits of happiness and beauty.
Charles F Deems
The following was taken from an editorial of the Daily Sentinel, published in Raleigh August 8, 1865. A copy of this paper is now in the possession of the writer.
At his residence in Wayne County NC on the morning of the 31st of July, William Carraway, Esq, in the 57th year of his age.
It would be difficult to select another citizen in the state, whose death would be more severly felt in his immediate neighborhood. Mr Carraway was a man of remarkable natural powers, which if cultivated would have made him distinguished in the nation. He was practical and energetic, he was shrewd and liberal, he was a patriot and a christian. Of gay temperament, he was the life of his circle of acquaintances, and his death has made a great gloom. Long will the light of his hospitalities stream in many a memory over the darkness which has lately befallen the land, and many a heart will beat at the recollection of the name of Wm Carraway, who was "a friend to his friends when they needed a friend".
He died an acceptable and influential member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and is doubtless in the land where the "wicked cease to trouble and the weary are forever at rest".
C F D
July 31, 1865, William Carraway died at the age of 57. His will, Wayne Co R-14, pg 244, Nov term, 1865. As I recall the homeplace was left to his wife, Temperance. There are various transactions, such as:
Wayne Co, Vol 1, pg 368 & Wayne Co, Vol 29, DD, pg 394
Mrs T R Carraway, the widow of the late William Carraway, or Wayne County, died at her old home near Everittsville, N C, Dec. l2, 1885. She was born Aug 29th, 1815, and at the time of her death was in her seventy-first year. This was a ripe old age, and beautifully symbolized all those well matured qualities which made up the character of this most excellent christian woman and mother. She professed faith in our Lord Jesus Christ when 20 years of age and joined the Methodist Church, and for fifty years adorned and beautified her profession and gave a most useful service to the church of her choice.
Every good cause found a friend in her and her lamented husband. Their home was the home or preachers of every name. Many whose eyes may fall, upon these lines can remember the princely entertainment they received in this sweet christian home, and many, who are now among the saints in glory everlasting, found a hearty welcome here while they were on earth.
Her culture, hospitality and religion were so beautifully blended that it made a home of rare peace and attractiveness. Sister Carraway was the queen of the household. Her friends came and her children gathered around her knee like angels to share her joy and gather happiness and love from her sweet spirit.
The early life of this good woman was all sunshine and prosperity, but in her later years the shadows fell heavily across her path; these was loss of health, her husband was taken her children were scattered and some of them gone to the better land, and she sat like a withered trunk with her "tender olive branches" torn away. But she never lost confidence in God nor gave up her hold on Christ. Her faith was abiding; and her hope bright.
It was the privilege of the writer of this tribute to board over a year in the family of sister Carraway and her accomplished daughter, and I look back to that time as one or my brightest and happiest years, and shall ever cherish in tender memory her thoughtful kindness and good words of counsel she gave me. She often urged me on in the good work God had given me to do. And no small part of my success that year was due to her encouragement and progress.
And now that she is gone, it is with mournful gratitude and pleasure that I can bring my tears and flowers and lay them on her new made grave. In the family cemetery we laid her body down to sleep with her loved one and children till Jesus shall call them to the first resurrection. Peace to the dust of this loving sister in the Lord. God bless her memory and keep her children by the power of grace divine until they all meet her in the Home above.
But a little season only,
And the hearts that have were one,
Shall forever be united
In the realm beyond the sun,
J T Harris
In 1885 Temperance died and her will states that her property is to be sold. However, it was not done so, but divided among her three living children. John Carraway was left a share for his children; Mollie C Parker was left 170 acres (which her grandchildren still own); and William was left a share for his children.
John Thomas lived at home with his mother and received the homeplace. After a great deal of litigation, the homeplace was sold, Wayne Co, Bk 139, pg 46, 15 Dec 1917, to Kirby Smith who had married a daughter, Ella, of John Thomas Carraway. Check this information. But at the bottom of the deed is the following statement: "From the operation of this deed the old family graveyard is exempted and is to contain one acre".
(Check Book 2, pg 133)
The first time I went to the cemetery that I can remember there was a fence around it and a lot of magnolia trees and shrubbery. The summer of 1948 I took my mother there and at that time the fence was gone and there were several headstones remaining in place. We had been told that a bulldozer had leveled the lot which apparently was true. At various times from 1953 on, I tried to contact Mr W J Cannon at Mt Olive who owns the property and at whose instigation this work was done, but without success. The last time I went there, there was corn planted over the graves. The stones were stacked up and many broken. I feel some restitution should be made to put this lot back in order. I have received a letter from Mr Cannon stating that he will discuss the matter and I hope to start something soon and get this great wrong righted.
Visits to Relatives
In July 1901 Miss May took Miss Lady Bird and her niece Irma Carraway down to the eastern part of the state visiting at the old Carraway place between Goldsboro and Dudley. The Sunday they were there Uncle John, who then lived there with his family, had a little pig roasted. Miss May just had a fit, for she was crazy about barbecue. And did they all enjoy it!
Then they went on to Aunt Mattie Best's, near Kinston. She was a niece of Mr. William's whom he had raised from the death of her mother--who was his sister--who died when Aunt Mattie was born. From there they went to Warsaw and Kenansville to visit more relatives. While they were in Duplin they went out to the old Robert Middleton house, which at that time was still standing. It was an awfully nice two-story brick place with wings, built along in the 1780's. The exact date is not certain, it was up on the chimney. However, the house was burned down several years after that visit, so Miss Lady Bird could not tell exactly when it was erected.
Miss Lady Bird’s Conclusion
"I will finish up my story by saying that through it all I have told only things I remember as having been told by Miss May, and it is not my imagination but the truth. I shall call them Sweet Tales of Long Ago, for they are the happy remnant of an old civilization".
Contributed by Guy Potts firstname.lastname@example.org of Raleigh, NC.
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