In the autumn of 1929, the crash of the American stock market started a period that we now call the Great Depression, which lasted for about a decade and challenged the survival of ordinary Americans.

My parents told many stories about growing up during that time. In my Dad’s family, many of those stories expressed admiration for his mother, Loula Richardson Alexander, and her ceaseless hard work, determination, and inventiveness.

In 1930 Frank and Loula Alexander moved their family of nine children, including one new-born, from a house in the town of Vass, N. C., to a farm nearby, on Union Church Road. Loula went into action. She ordered baby chicks that were delivered by mail in a box with air holes, a hundred at a time. She put paper, sand and boards in a corner of the living room to make a warm home for the chicks while Frank built a brooder house. Eventually she would have five buildings for the purpose of raising chickens, about 500 birds at the peak of her business.

Sometime prior to 1933, the Moore County Home Demonstration Clubs started a farmer’s market in Southern Pines to sell produce to Northern women who had winter homes in Southern Pines and Pinehurst. The market was in a basement, on a side street near the depot in Southern Pines, “on the Pinehurst side.” It was an open room with stepped shelves for merchandise. Each of twenty female vendors had a booth. Loula sold butter, eggs, baked goods, and vegetables. She had a flower garden and sold cut flowers. She also sold canned peaches from the family’s orchard of about 40 peach trees, two varieties.

A curb market commitee established rules about the cleanliness and quality of the produce, and set the prices. Sellers were required to sell at the same prices as local merchants, their one advantage being that they were not required to add sales tax.

The income helped rural women with living expenses, as well as children’s clothing, college tuition, and better health care. One of Loula’s most cherished goals was to send her oldest daughter, Willie, to Duke University.

Total sales for the vendors from Dec. 1, 1932-Nov. 1, 1933 were $3,093.28, worth about $65,833.03 in 2022. If Loula had received an equal 1/20 share of that, $154.66, she received, in 2022 numbers, the equivalent of about $3,277.00 for 12 months’ work. Hopefully, her extra hard work netted her more than that, but even in 1933, the compensation must have seemed a little thin.

Nevertheless, an anonymous woman wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, on the subject of the budget for a county home demonstration agent. She said:

“The curb market alone has brought over three thousand dollars into the Moore county farm homes. It seems to me that we need this kind of work as never before.”

Sellers continued to grow produce into fall and winter to sell at the market. They were motivated to improve their farming practices so as to compete with other sellers. An article about the market in the local newspaper mentioned that “Fresh eggs are at a premium…”

First Loula sold eggs at the market, then she discovered she could sell fryers. When the chickens were 8-12 weeks old, they became frying size, about two to two and a half pounds. At that point, she could identify the sex. The boxes of baby chicks contained about an equal number of males and females. If the pullets (young hens) were good layers she kept them to produce eggs, while other hens became fryers. She would sell 3-4 dozen hens per week at the curb market. She learned to caponize young roosters from the Moore County Agricultural Extension agent, and she sold the capons for baking. They would grow larger than the hens, and she sold a lot of them for Thanksgiving dinners.

Dr. Earl Wayne Hunter, a dentist from south Sanford, near Highway One, owned Dr. Hunter’s Hatchery, another market for Loula, as he bought fertilized eggs. She could tell with a candle if an egg contained a chicken embryo.

Loula’s children were very much involved in her business. Several of them described coming home from school on Friday afternoon and immediately joining their mother in preparing chickens for the market. Loula did the slaughtering herself, and the children helped to remove feathers, etc. Their mother would set out alone very early on Saturday morning with her merchandise and come home later with treats they couldn’t produce on the farm, like Jello.

In spite of Loula’s diligence and obvious contribution to the family income, the 1940 census taker described her occupation, just like many wives of the time, with a blank line and checked that she was “engaged in home housework,” and further indicated that she earned no income. Incredible.

When Loula passed away, age 51, in 1943, World War II was in force. She had two married daughters, two sons in the Army, one son in college—soon to be in the Marine Corps, and three younger children living at home. Sadly, she had lost one son to illness in 1935. Her husband, Frank Alexander, was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away only a year and a half later.

Copyright 2022 by Glenda Alexander.  All rights reserved.


Interviews with Lewey Alexander Sr., Robert L. Alexander, Patsy Alexander Rodgers, and Willie Alexander Carr.

1940 U. S. Census, McNeill’s Township, Moore County, N. C., E. D. 69-13, p. 11A; West Sanford, Lee County, N. C. ED 53-7, sheet 7B.

The Pilot, newspaper, Vass, Aberdeen, & Southern Pines: Friday, Mar. 28, 1930, p. 9; 29 April, 1932, p. 2.; Nov. 17, 1933, Edition 1, pp. 4-5; December 29, 1939, p. 4.

USD Inflation, https://www.usdinflation.com/amount/154/1933, accessed 20 Feb. 2022.

High on the Mountain

The mountain cemetery, as often as not, was placed on the highest ground.  My old neighbors Fred and Laurie Peterson had a family cemetery on a hill behind their house, on the highest point of land they owned.  You could see miles down the Toe River, as it flowed toward Tennessee.  Paying my last respects to them there, I felt uplifted, part of a vast universe.  

Ola Belle Campbell Reid said that when she wrote her song “High on a Mountain,” she was standing by the grave of her mother.  The lyrics speak of longing for “the days that used to be.”  Many people have interpreted the words as speaking to a lost lover.  I think they go much deeper than that.  

In northwestern North Carolina, near Ola Belle’s home grounds, I found the graves of my own great-grandparents and great-great grandparents, as near to heaven as they could be placed.  Standing at the top of a mountain, it’s hard not to feel inspired, even as you feel grief or nostalgia.  Ola Belle’s lyrics begin with “High on a mountain, wind blowing free…”  Every time I hear her song I see the Toe River valley stretching away into a blue-green haze and feel the free air all around, and imagine my neighbors and my ancestors gone to a well-deserved reward for their hard work, perseverance, and benevolence.

With all respect due to Marty Stuart’s interpretation of Reid’s song, I like Ola Belle’s own performance best.  It has a depth no love song can reach.

Copyright 2021 by Glenda Alexander. All rights reserved.

“As I looked at the valleys down below,
They were green just as far as I could see;
As my memory turned, oh,
How my heart did yearn,
For you and the days that used to be.”

The One & Only Town of Toast

There is only one town in the world named Toast, and it is in North Carolina. Toast was born in 1929, when the U. S. Post Office decided that two rural routes served by Mount Airy needed their own address and postmaster. The Mount Airy News of May 23, 1929, reported that the new postmaster was I. V. Hutchens, who had a grocery store in the area. He created a room in the store for the post office and installed lock boxes for those who wanted to rent their own P. O. box.

The Department of the Post Office asked Mr. Hutchens to submit a list of possible names for the new town. They rejected four separate lists he sent them, and finally, some unknown bureaucrat in Washington, apparently without explanation, named the post office Toast. The Mount Airy reporter suggested, humorously, that the bureaucrat was inspired by his breakfast. Judging by an internet search, there is no other geographic location with the name Toast, so perhaps he was right.

Cousins Opal and Hubert Oakley in front of Calvary Baptist Church, about 1936.

In 1924 my grandparents bought a house near the Franklin Road in the area that would become Toast. The same year, my mother was born in that house, near Calvary Baptist Church. The family moved to the Sandhills in 1936, leaving a close-knit community that included some of their relatives.

Copyright 2021, Glenda Alexander. All rights reserved.

Sources: “Post Offices by County,” https://webpmt.usps.gov/pmt007.cfm, accessed 12 Sept. 2021.

“Who Named Our New Post Office Toast,” Mt. Airy News, North Carolina, 23 May 1929, p. 1.

A Mill Family’s Losses in 1918

Boy workers in a N. C. cotton mill. The white specks on their clothing are cotton lint.

I wrote earlier, in “Victim of a Pandemic,” about a World War I soldier who lost his life to the influenza pandemic of 1918. His mother, Margaret McDonald Hicks, had a brother, Neill Archibald McDonald, who lost three children and a daughter-in-law to that pandemic.

Margaret and Neill grew up in the Sandhills region of North Carolina. Their grandfather, Angus McDonald, came from the Western Isles of Scotland to North Carolina near the end of the 1700’s. He came to this country speaking Scots Gaelic, the language his family continued to use at home through his grandchildren’s generation. Neill and his siblings spoke fluent Gaelic, and the language died out with their generation in the first half of the twentieth century.

As a young man, Neill left his home in the Sandhills and traveled to New Orleans, where, in 1897, he met and married Marie Gottschalk, whose family came from Germany. Neill and Marie moved back to his home in Moore County, N. C., and around 1912, they moved on to High Point, N. C., a growing mill town. There, Neill found work at the brand new Highland Cotton Mills and a home in the mill village.

Neill worked at Highland until his retirement in the 1930’s. Marie gave birth to at least thirteen children, one of whom died as an infant. The other twelve children were all Highland Cotton Mill employees, as were their spouses and children.

Early cotton mills are notorious for having employed children, for very low wages. The census of 1920 and 1930 reports children in the family as young as age 15 working in the mill. However, the children probably went to work at much earlier ages.

During the pandemic of 1918, three of Neill and Marie’s children died of influenza. The youngest was Wilbert, age 9, described on his death certificate as a mill worker, as were his brothers John, age 16, and Frederick, 18. Annie McDonald, the 20-year-old wife of their oldest brother, Ughie, was taken by the virus as well. She, too, was a HIghland Cotton Mill employee.

Those four family members, as well as several others, were buried at the Springfield Friends Meeting, near the village. No stones marked their graves, but the Friends kept careful records of the burials in their cemetery.

Copyright 2020 by Glenda Alexander.  All Rights Reserved.


U. S. Federal Census reports for 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940, including Supplemental Questions, 1940.

Miller, Ernest H., High Point, N.C. City Directory, 1923-1924,  (Piedmont Directory Co., 1923.)  accessed online at https://lib.digitalnc.org/record/25291?ln=en, Wilson Special Collections Library, UNC-Chapel Hill; p. 236.

Hills High Point City Directory, 1938, 1939, 1949 (Richmond, Va.: Hill Publishing Co.) accessed online at Ancestry.com.

Louisiana Marriages, 1718-1925, database on-line at Ancestry.com.  Original marriage records from the Clerk of the Court, St. Tammany Parrish, La.

North Carolina Death Certificates, database online at Ancestry.com, original records from North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, N. C.

Brenda G. Haworth, Ed., Springfield Friends Cemetery:  1780-2017, Guilford County, High Point, N. C., (2017:  Springfield Memorial Association, High Point, N. C.) p. 141.

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World, (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1987)

Lewis Wickes Hine, photograph of boy workers in a cotton mill, 1908, digital image, Library of Congress.

A Minister Among Friends

Jesse Allen Johnson, (1838-1920) was the son of Henderson Johnson and Amelia Norman. He was born in the Westfield District of Surry County, N. C., where he lived for several decades. His grandfather, Wright Johnson, was a well-known “local preacher” and deacon of the early Methodist denomination.

Jesse A. Johnson was married in 1859 to Elizabeth Gray. Only two of their children survived the Civil War era. Elizabeth died in 1876. Jesse married again, to a widow from Davidson County, Triphenia Everhart. They continued to live in Westfield.

Around 1890, the name Jesse A. Johnson began to appear in the Meeting Minutes of the Society of Friends (commonly known as Quakers.) A record of that year included “A Minute from White Plains Meeting of Ministry and Oversight asking that Jesse A. Johnson be recorded as a minister among Friends…” His name can also be found as a minister in a number of marriage records in Surry County, including the wedding of his half-brother, Charles Johnson, to Lillian Woodall.

The Yadkin Valley News of Oct. 3, 1891 reported that Rev. Allen Johnson was conducting a revival meeting near Westfield, at Jessup’s schoolhouse. Apparently he continued to preach, using schoolhouses as his venue. An article in the Mount Airy News in 1912 reported incidents at the McBride schoolhouse, during a sermon by Rev. Allen Johnson. In the 1910 census, his home was on McBride Road, in the Flat Rock area. His stepson, William Everhart lived nearby, and his daughter, Mary Hemming, lived with her husband near the granite quarry.

Jesse Allen Johnson died in that area in 1920.

Copyright 27 August 2020 by Glenda Alexander.  All rights reserved.

(News article from The Yadkin Valley News, Mt. Airy, N. C., 23 Oct. 1891, p. 3.  Records consulted include census reports, marriage and death records, newspaper articles, and Meeting Minutes of the Society of Friends.)


Are We Cherokee?


Martha White Johnson

My grandmother’s mother, Martha White Johnson, told her children and grandchildren that she was part Indian. Many of us have this kind of anecdotal evidence of Native American ancestry, and with access to DNA tests, we are starting to find out the truth. So far, no relative known to me has had Native DNA results. However, the matter is still not settled.

What I did find in historical records are applications made by three of Martha’s siblings, around 1907, for benefits based on Cherokee kinship.

An act of Congress in 1906 appropriated over a million dollars to pay claims of the Cherokee Nation against the U. S. government, having to do with the Cherokee Removal of the 1830’s. A man named Guion Miller headed a commission to evaluate those claims. The commission received applications representing about 90,000 people, and they approved only about a third. Only 3,203 of them lived east of the Mississippi River; the majority lived in Oklahoma.

In the White family’s applications for benefits, they attempted to prove that they were descendants of a person who was a member of the Cherokee Nation.

Joseph Bill White of Mt. Airy, N. C., Martha’s brother, applied on behalf of his seven minor children. In a deposition taken in 1909, he swore that his grandfather, Pryor May (who lived about 1801-1879,) was the son of John May, whose father, name unknown, was a full blooded Cherokee. Joseph said that his mother, Mary Ann May White was one eighth Cherokee Indian blood, and that his great-grandmother was a Cherokee Indian squaw whose name he did not know. Joseph had always heard that Pryor May was kin to the Cherokee Indians. He further said that he had seen Pryor May, and that he was a tall, slim man, with a very dark complexion and black hair.

Joseph and Martha’s brother, John W. White of Round Peak, N.C., claimed that John May, father of Pryor and husband of Rachel May, “was said to be one half Indian.” In a deposition at Pilot Mountain, N. C., in 1908, John said that Pryor May got his Indian blood from his paternal grandmother, and that Pryor told him many times that his grandmother was Cherokee.

Martha’s sister, Mary White Chandler, of Round Peak, N.C., also applied, corroborating what her brothers said, that their grandfather, Pryor May, was a full blooded Cherokee.

A man named J. F. Edwards, also an applicant, affirmed that he knew Pryor May in Patrick County, Va., where they both lived until May’s death in 1879. He said that Pryor May claimed to be part Cherokee and that his appearance “showed his Indian blood,” as did that of Pryor’s son, William May. Edwards stated in a deposition that the May family consistently claimed Cherokee heritage.

Joseph’s application was rejected because it did “not appear that any ancestor was ever enrolled or that any ancestor was party to the treaties” of the 1830’s. “His ancestors did not live in the Cherokee domain.” He failed to prove any “connection whatever with the Eastern Cherokees.” John and Mary were also rejected, as their statements were not sufficiently backed with written records and they “never lived in Cherokee Country and kn[ew] nothing definite of alleged Cherokee ancestors.”

There is another, as yet unproved, family rumor that the wife of Pryor May, Susanna Puckett, came from the Powhatan reservation in Virginia. The Powhatan were the people who greeted the Jamestown settlers in the early 1600’s, and were the tribe of the famous Pocahontas. The Whites, Mays, Johnsons, and other English families sailed to the coast of Virginia and gradually made their way westward and southward to settle along the Virginia/North Carolina border.

The White family seem to have been convinced of their ancestry and were not solely motivated by possible financial benefits. My mother told a story about her White relatives approaching her parents for documentation of their ancestry. This would have happened decades after the Guion Miller applications. Apparently my grandmother had nothing to offer them, and my grandfather was annoyed with them. In a time when non-white ancestry could bring mistreatment, many people preferred to forget their origins. Now, when we have nothing to fear from knowing the truth, my generation would really like to know about our ancestry. We’re still looking.

Sources consulted:

Ancestry.com. U.S., Records Related to Enrollment of Eastern Cherokee by Guion Miller, 1908-1910 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: M685, microfilm, 12 rolls. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793-1999, Record Group 75. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

“Guion Miller Roll, 1906-1911,” The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, October 4, 2016, accessed 27 Dec. 2020 at https://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans/rolls/guion-miller-rolls.html.

Census, marriage, and birth records in the North Carolina Dept. of History and Archives, Raleigh, N. C.

Victim of a Pandemic



Grave stone of Neill Abner Curtis Hicks, 1897-1918

There is an old Scottish cemetery in the Sandhills of North Carolina, where the oldest grave is dated 1796. Many people buried there were from the Western Isles of Scotland, including Jura and Skye. They spoke Gaelic.  Most of the graves have the names Ferguson and McDonald on them. The last monument was a tribute to a soldier who fell in World War I, not from an enemy bullet, but from a virus, during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

My aunt, Willie Alexander Carr, told me of walking to the cemetery with her mother, Loula Richardson Alexander, when Willie was seven years old. They went down a lane and through the woods near the Alexanders’ farm, balancing on a log to cross the creek. They were visiting the grave of Loula’s first cousin, Curtis Hicks.

The Hicks family lived in the township of Greenwood, in Moore County, North Carolina. Abner Hicks and Margaret McDonald married in 1890, and by 1902, they had five children. Then they lost their sixth child as an infant, and two years later, after the birth of twins, Margaret died. Her babies, a boy and a girl, died soon after. Their graves were all placed beside Margaret’s parents in the old cemetery.

In 1911, Abner remarried, to Flora Ann Yow, a neighbor. My father remembered her as “Aunt Flora Ann,” beloved by the family for her kindness to her step-children.

The fourth child of Abner and Margaret, Curtis, was twenty-one when young men were drafted for the Great War. His draft card described him as dark haired and blue eyed. He worked for a local farmer, Angus Cameron, who owned a saw mill. Curtis registered in June of 1918 and left his home for Fort Jackson in August.

Curtis was assigned to Camp Sevier, built in 1917 near Greenville, S. C., to train soldiers for the war. By the Armistice in November 1918, 80,000 soldiers had passed through the large camp. In September of 1918, the first influenza case appeared in the camp hospital, and it opened a floodgate.

The epidemic developed so rapidly that facilities and staff were expanded and taxed to the limit. When the hospital filled up, the Red Cross and Y. M. C. A. buildings, the schoolhouse, a theater, mess halls, and tents became hospital wards. Medical officers were joined by civilian, professional, and practical nurses in tending to a total of 6,000 patients.

Personnel used many precautions, isolating patients with hanging sheets and screens. Doctors, nurses, and attendants wore masks and gowns. Patients with pneumonia were placed in separate wards. Disposable cups and plates were used and burned afterward.

Curtis Hicks was one of the unfortunate soldiers who developed pneumonia, which caused his lungs to hemorrhage and quickly caused his death. Three hundred and forty soldiers died, a death rate over 5% in the camp. He died on October 4, only a few months after his induction into the Army. By November 11, the epidemic, as well as the war, was effectively over.

Curtis was buried near his mother and his grandfather, John Finlayson McDonald. Willie and Loula visited the grave when fresh soil was still mounded over it. Woods now cover the acre of old family graves, and real estate development has slowly surrounded it.

Copyright 2020 by Glenda Alexander. All rights reserved.



Willie D. Richardson, cousin of Curtis Hicks, WWI

1900 U. S. Census, McNeill’s Tshp., Moore County, N. C., p. 169; NARA Microfilm T623-1207; 1910 U. S. Census, McNeill’s Tshp., Moore County, N. C., p. 193; NARA Microfilm T624-1119; 1920 U. S. Census, Vass, Moore County, N. C., E. D. 92, p. 21B; NARA Microfilm T625-1300; accessed on Ancestry.com.

North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.;

South Carolina Death Records, 1821-1955 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: South Carolina. South Carolina death records. Columbia, SC, USA: South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Influenza Outbreak of 1918-1919, by Steve Case, revised by Lisa Gregory, 2010, NC Government and Heritage Library, NCPedia.com. Accessed 7 March 2020.

U.S., Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917–1918 [database on-line]. Original data: War Department, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Selective Service System, 1917– 07/15/1919. National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland.

Office of Medical History: Office of the Surgeon General, “Extracts from Reports Relative to Influenza, Pneumonia, and Respiratory Diseases,” April 4, 2003, http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwi/1918flu/ARSG1919/ARSG1919Extractsflu.htm#U1. (continued)%20CAMP%20SEVIER%20BASE%20HOSPITAL%20REPORT, accessed March 9, 2020.

Grave monument in McDonald-Ferguson family cemetery, off County Road 1825, approx. .4 mile from Highway 1, just north of Crains Creek, Moore County. Visit to cemetery and photographs taken March 29, 2002.

Interviews with Willie Alexander Carr and Lewey G. Alexander, Sr., by the author, April 1, 2002.

“Stay in Mt. Airy and Work with Us.”

The fashionable young women posing here about 1930 are Reba Oakley (right,) her cousin, Ethel Mae Atkinson (left,) and another friend or relative in Surry County, N. C.

In 1929, when Reba was seventeen years old, she was employed at Argonne Hosiery Mill in Mount Airy. She was described as a button machine operator in the 1930 census. During the years of the Great Depression, many people started to work in the mills at ages as young as thirteen. They could expect to work until they were about sixty years old.

An ad from the Mt. Airy News in 1920 advertised for female workers, promising good wages, ideal working conditions, and the advantage of staying in your home town.

At the Spencer knitting mill of Mt. Airy, in 1930, female employees made 75 cents a day. They worked shifts of up to twelve hours, as many as 6 days a week. A full week at that rate would net $4.50. Men were paid a higher wage. However, half of all textile workers were female.

Statistics from the 1920 census show that North Carolina had become the second-most industrialized state in the South, with an output of a billion dollars per year in textiles, tobacco products, and furniture. By 1930, North Carolina was first in the nation in producing cotton textiles and first of the southern states in knitted textiles.

Copyright 2020 by Glenda Alexander. All rights reserved.


Ad, Mt. Airy News, Mt. Airy, N. C., Feb. 26, 1920.

North Carolina Museum of History, “History Highlights/Twentieth-Century North Carolina,” August 25, 2006, http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/nchh/twentieth.html, accessed Aug. 29, 2006.

“The History of International Working Women’s Day: Ella Mae Wiggins,” no date, http://www.mltranslations.org/US/Rpo/women/iwwd1.htm, accessed August 29, 2006.

Ernest H. Miller, Miller’s Mount Airy, N.C. City Directory, Vol. 1, 1928-1929 (Asheville NC: Southern Directory Co., 1929), p. 198.

Alice B. Hatcher, Spencers, (Dobson NC: published by the authors, 1988) p. 11.

1930 U.S. Census, North Carolina, Surry County, Franklin Township; sheet 2-B, line 65.

“He is a good preacher.  Come and hear him.”

George Washington Oakley (1879-1957) was the oldest son of Robert T. Oakley and Margaret Jane Willey of Surry County, N. C.  He married Etta May Sparks in 1901 at Mitchells River Church in Surry.  They had three children. 

In 1910, he was farming in Carroll County, Va., but by 1918, when he registered for the WWI draft, he was working for a furniture factory in Mt. Airy.  His draft card described him as tall and slender, with blue eyes and medium dark hair.  He was able to read and write, although his father and five younger brothers were not.

He was a charter member of Calvary Baptist Church in Toast in 1913 and served as a trustee in 1920 when land was purchased for the building. 

George became a popular preacher in the Baptist churches of Surry County.  He served as pastor of Hills Grove, Piney Grove, and Ivy Green Baptist Churches in the 1920’s.  In 1930, he was the first pastor of Pinnacle View, near Pilot Mountain.  He also participated in the weeklong Revival services that local churches shared in the summertime.

In the 1930 census, his occupation was “minister, Baptist Church.”  At his death in 1957, he was pastor of a church in Baywood, Va.  His grave is at Pleasant Home Union Regular Baptist Church in Alleghany County, N. C.

The Siloam community column in the Mt. Airy News of the 1920’s frequently announced the titles of his sermons at Hills Grove and asserted that “He is a good preacher.  Come and hear him.”  The titles of his sermons were taken from Biblical texts.  The following sermons were preached between the two world wars, and may reflect the concerns of the times.

Some George Oakley Sermons, 1917-1929:

1.  ”Consider Your Ways.”  From Haggai 1:5-7, a lesson in prudent thinking and action.

2.  “The Unguarded Gate.”  Book of Ezekiel, chapter 38, in which many of the enemies of Israel were named and battles predicted.

3.  ”And With HIs Stripes We Are Healed.”  Isaiah 53:5; preached at a Revival service.

4.  “Handfulls [sic] of Honey”  Judges 14, a story of a riddle told by Samson, which he challenged his enemies to solve.

Copyright 2020 by Glenda Alexander.  All rights reserved.


”Personal Mention of Siloam Residents,” Mt. Airy News, 4 June 1926, p. 1; and “Siloam News,” 5 July 1928 p. 4. 

I, Wright Johnson of the County of Surry

This is the will of Wright Johnson (1774-1866) transcribed from the document in the Surry County Register of Deeds, Dobson, N. C. Spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and line breaks have been reproduced as accurately as possible:

[page#] 86

Wright Johnson’s Last Will & Testament

I Wright Johnson of the County of Surry and State of North Carolina
being in sound mind and memory and calling to mind the certainty of death and the
uncertainty of life do make and ordain this my last
will and testament In manner and form as follows. First my will
and desire is that my Executors hereinafter named Shall provide for my body a decent burial
suitable to the wishes of my friends
Second that my executors shall out of my estate pay all funeral
expenses and my just debts to whomsoever owing. Thirdly, I give and devise to my Sons
Henderson Johnson* a tract of Land one hundred acres
more or lefs** lying in Stokes County North Carolina I also give him two
Volumes of Books Clarkes Commenter.* FourThly, I give and devise to my son Wesley Johnson* two volumes of Books Clarks Commentary. I have also previously deeded my son J. Wesley Johnson one hundred acres of Land on Which he now lives. Fifthly, I give and devise to my son James Johnson* two Volumes of Books Clarks Commentary I have also previously to [Third?] Deeded to him a tract of Land one hundred acres on which he now lives Sixthly, I give and devise to my* son John W Johnson* John Wesley’s notes on the New Testament.* Seventhly [marked over] I give to my beloved wife Nancy
Johnson* for her natural life or widowhood The remainder of all my
Estate both real and personal of every discription what soever.
Eightly at the death or Marriage of my wife my will and desire is
That all the property which I or the remainder of all the property that
I have given to her during her life or widowhood be Divided among
My Daughters as follows My Daughter Nancy* Isaac Norman’s* wife
is to have forty acres of Land Commenceing on the Stokes line extending
west West [sic] along the State line far enough to receive her number of acres
My Daughter Elizabeth McMillion* John McMillions wife is to have
Forty acres of Land So laid off as to have the old Dwelling in which
I now live to be on her part
My Daughter Mary* Joseph Whites* wife is to have Forty acres of Land
So layed off that her Dwelling will be on her part
My Daughter Jamima* Joel Snody’s* wife is to have the remainder
Forty acres of Land. Ninethly, also my will and desire is that
all my personal property after the Death of my wife is to be
Equally divided among my Daughters to wit Nancy
Isaac Normans wife Elizabeth McMillions wife Mary
Joseph Whites wife and Jamima Joel Snodys wife


[Second page. Page#] 87

And Lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my Son in-Law
Isaac Norman an Joel Snody my lawful Executors to all intent
and purposes to execute and carry out this my Last wll [sic] and
testament according to the true intent and meaning of the Same
and every part and clause hereof hereby revoking and declaring
utterly Void all other wills and testaments by me theretofore [word inserted] made Invoking
Whereof I the Said Wright Johnson do hereby Set my hand and Seal

[Left-hand column:]
In testmt [marked-out letters] signed Sealed published
and declared by the said Wright Johnson
to be his last will and testament in
presence of us who at his request
and with his presence do subscribe
our names as witnefs thereto
[signature] N Freeman
[signature] A Brim, Just

[Right-hand column:]
February 16th AD 1866
Wright (his X mark) Johnson, {Seal}

North Carolina } Court of pleas and quarter Sefsion

The Execution of the foregoing last will and testament
of Wright Johnson decd was produced in open court and
offered for probate and was duly proven by the oath
of Acaberry Brim one of the Subscribing witnefses thereto
and is ordered to be Recorded and filed
H C Hampton CCC

*Names underlined. Underlining looks lighter than the script and may have been added some time after the creation of the document.
**The original scribe of this document used the long s to write words with a double s, such as less, written as lefs, or witness, written as witnefs.
***Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible; John Wesley, Notes on the New Testament.

Transcribed by Glenda Alexander from Surry County, NC, Will Book 5: 1853-1868, pp. 86-87.

Copyright 2020 by Glenda Alexander. All rights reserved.