Eastern North Carolina Living

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ATTHEW Matthew Sessoms Thank You Eastern North Carolina! - Matthew


104 West Blvd-Williamston • 252-792-2154 “Where Customers Send Their Friends”

During this Holiday season, we at Matthew Sessoms Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram would like to take a moment to say “Thank You” to Eastern North Carolina. This is our fourth year in business and the community has been so supportive of the Dealership. It’s because of our loyal guests we are able to give back to Eastern NC in the form of donations, sponsorships and various civic organizations. We are committed to being a true partner in the community and during this Christmas season we wanted to pause and give thanks to “You” our valued customers and friends. Have a safe and happy holiday season and we look forward to serving you for all of your automotive needs.

Matthew Sessoms Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

Thank you for our 4th Christmas in business!! Sales Open: Monday thru Friday-8:30 am to 6 pm Saturday-9 am to 3 pm

Service & Parts Open:

Monday thru Friday 7:30 am to 6 pm Saturday from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm

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Monday thru Friday 7:30 am to 5:30 pm





The Pharmacy will resolve insurance issues and call your doctor for refills in advance...

Your prescription refills will be synchronized to be refilled the same time each month...

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BENEFITS Paid Health Insurance Dental Insurance Vision Insurance 401K with a 3% county contribution Paid Education Uniforms

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We cover the places you know & love and the places you should go & love!

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66. FARM LIFE SCHOOL Life at a community school



New Bern’s silent sanctuary

The sun rises over a barn in Hertford County near Ahoskie. Photo by Andre’ Alfred



Windsor mayor retires



Recipes for eating better

Publisher Kyle Stephens kstephens@ncweeklies.com

Editor Thadd White twhite@apgenc.com

Layout & Design Becky Wetherington


Old barns from our region

82. GRACE & TRUTH Pastor Amanda Hoggard sets up the pins

beckyweth@gmail.com Michelle Leicester mleicester@ncweeklies.com

Photo Editor Jim Green jgreen@ncweeklies.com

Advertising Executives Lou Ann Van Landingham lavan@ncweeklies.com

84. MARK IT!

DeMille Family


A Thank You Note

Kelly Ayscue kayscue@rmtelegram.com Chris Taylor ctaylor@rmtelegram.com

Staff Gene Metrick gmetrick@rmtelegram.com Leslie Beachboard lbeachboard@apgenc.com John Walker john.walkernc@yahoo.com Brandice Hoggard bhoggard@ncweeklies.com Andre’ Alfred aalfred@ncweeklies.com Editorial Contributors Sandy Carawan Sarah Davis Sylvia Hughes Gene Motley Lewis Hoggard Kelly Grady Sarah Hodges Stalls Deborah Griffin Tyler Newman Emily Wells Todd Wetherington Donna Marie Williams Paige Minshew Janelle Clevinger Frank Stephenson Craig Daniels Eastern North Carolina Living Magazine P.O. Box 69, Windsor, NC 27983 252-794-3185 twhite@ncweeklies.com

Eastern North Carolina Living is published by APG Media Eastern NC, and is a subsidiary of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Martin County Enterprise & Weekly Herald, Tarboro Weekly and Rocky Mount Telegram.


EDGECOMBE The Blount-Bridgers House

Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery

S t e p bac k i n hi s to ry Edg e c o m b e C ou nty m u se u ms ar e i mp o r ta nt pa rt of his to ry Story & Photos by John H. Walker Edgecombe County is home to three

130 Bridgers St., was built about 1808 and is

The second floor of the house features

museums — The Blount-Bridgers House

a historic home that was also known as The

a permanent collection of works by

and Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery,

Grove. It was the home of Thomas Blount,

internationally known Tarboro-born artist

the Edgecombe County Veterans Military

who was a Revolutionary War veteran

Hobson Pittman (1899–1972), including

Museum and the Princeville Museum and

and statesman. It is a two-story, five-bay,

oil paintings, pastels, drawings, prints and

Welcome Center.

Federal-style frame dwelling and has a gable


The Blount-Bridgers House is currently open to the public Monday-throughFriday, while ECVMM is open on Friday and Saturdays.

end chimneys.

Blount-Bridgers House also features locally-made period furniture and 19th-

It has been owned by the town of Tarboro

century paintings as well as works by Thomas

since the 1930s and was listed on the

Sully, Thomas Landseer and William Garle

The Princeville Museum remains closed

National Register of Historic Places in 1971.


as recovery and restoration efforts continue

It is located in the 45-square-block Tarboro

following Hurricane Matthew in 2016,

Historic District.

The House and Gallery regularly feature works by local and area artists, including

although the Princeville Mobile Museum

The first floor serves as a history museum,

local watercolor artists Teresa Bray Muse and

was developed by the N.C. State School of

where visitors will see period-appropriate

Russel Yerkes II, and also features changing

Architecture Design+Build summer program


exhibits of contemporary artists.

and was dedicated in August 2019.

documents and a map of the Carolinas

The Blount-Bridgers House, located at


roof and pairs of double-shouldered brick


printed in 1775.







and 20th-century Jugtown pottery are

The Silas Everett House

Edgecombe County Veterans Military Museum

Edgecombe County Veterans Military Museum

Edgecombe County Veterans Military Museum

featured in the collection, along with silver

Common, which will celebrate its 50th year in

quarters in downtown Tarboro. Over the next

and iron objects. Also included is the Batts


two and a half years, the Veteran’s Museum

textile collection, which contains 19th-

Also in Tarboro in the Edgecombe County

grew and expanded while accumulating

century clothing, quilts, military uniforms and

Veterans Military Museum, located at 106

memorabilia and artifacts and on April 21,

household linens.

West Church St., in Historic Downtown

2007, the Veterans Museum moved into its


own building, owned by the town and located

On the grounds of the Blount-Bridgers House, visitors will also find the Blount-

The museum, which is dedicated to

Bridgers Arboretum, the Silas Everett House

preserving the memory of the men and

The museum includes a wide variety

and the Phillips Dependency.

women of Edgecombe County who have

of military memorabilia dating to the

served their county in the military, was

Revolutionary War and includes more than

founded in 2004.

1,000 photographs of Edgecombe natives

The Silas Everett House, also known as the Pender Museum, is an example of the

directly behind Tarboro Town Hall.

Carolina Coastal Cottage style of architecture

The late Joel Bourne, a retired attorney and

and dates to 1810. The Philips Dependency is

former Marine who fought in the Pacific during

a typical antebellum outbuilding dating from

World War II conceived the idea of creating a

The museum, regularly, sets up static

1851. Both are located on the northeastern

veteran’s museum to honor and give tribute to

displays so that visitors can picture what

corner of the property.

the veterans of Edgecombe County, living or

things might have been like during a particular



The Tarboro Edgecombe Public Arts Council

who served in the various branches of the military.

(TEPAC) is located in the Blount-Bridgers

The Edgecombe County Veterans Military

For example, there is a display of medical

house. TEPAC produces the Happening on the

Museum opened on July 5, 2004, in temporary

equipment with a field cot covered in


Princeville Museum and Welcome Center mosquito netting to depict a field hospital setting.

have an enjoyable experience.” Across the Tar River in Princeville,

To commemorate the service of all

planning is still ongoing to effect the best

Americans in Vietnam, the replica of a

possible recovery and display of artifacts

forward outpost was recreated.

that were housed in the Princeville Museum

The museum is home to the military

and Welcome Center at the time it was

collection of Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton

flooded by rising waters from Hurricane

of Speed, who served as the Chairman of

Matthew in 2016.

the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is the highest-

The significance of maintaining the

ranking military officer ever from the state

history lies in the fact Princeville is the

of North Carolina.

oldest town in the United States that was

The museum collection also includes:

founded by African Americans.

• Hundreds of uniforms from all

While the museum remains a regular

branches and carrying all ranks, including

part of the discussion during monthly

that of Gen. Shelton. • Shelton’s final check

recovery meetings, it sits closed with the

from the 82nd Airborne, for 82 cents.

bottom few feet of siding removed as part

• A collection of awards and badges, including bronze and silver stars and the Purple Heart

of the process to stop the deterioration of the building. Before Matthew’s incursion, the former

2019. It was dedicated in August of that year. The museum was designed to be mobile … so that it could be taken to other locations, whether around the community or county or the state … so that people might learn about Princeville.

A World War II-era Jeep, now 80 years

home of the Princeville Grade School had

old, that still runs and is used in parades in

been beautifully restored with immaculate

The exterior of the building is a

the community.

hardwood floors and a collection of the

weathered metal with the town’s name and







noteworthy,” Museum President Herbert

town’s history presented in interpretive displays.

founding date cut out. Inside, the museum includes copies of photos and documents

Whitehurst said. “We are governed by an all-

While the permanent facility has yet

volunteer board and there is no admission.

to reopen, there is a mobile museum ±

We’re always looking for volunteers and we

“Freedom River “ — that was conceived,

John H. Walker is a Staff Writer for the

will train you so that both you and those

designed and built by N.C. State University’s

Rocky Mount Telegram and Eastern North

guests you welcome into the museum will

Summer Build Design Studio Students in

Carolina Living.


that are tied to Princeville’s history.

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Finish up at MCC! Apply online at www.martincc.edu or call 252-792-1521 for personal assistance. MCC Counselors are available at 1161 Kehukee Park Rd., Williamston, NC. Make an appointment or stop by the campus! Call 252-792-0268 or email admissions@martincc.edu Financial Aid is available!

You are encouraged to submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at https://fafsa.ed.gov/ Need help applying? Call 252-792-1521.

Martin Community College is committed to an environment that embraces diversity, respects the rights of all individuals, is open and accessible, and is free of harassment and discrimination.



‘ T he A doption Lady ’ f inds her o ther fam i ly

Story by Kelly Grady Photos by Kelly Grady & Contributed


The apocryphal Mark Twain states, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you found out why.” Diane Gray, of Chocowinity, found meaning in this quote as she completed her journey in the hopes of finding her biological parents.

experiencing being bullied and threatened at her new high school. She dealt with comments such as: “Nobody

Given the name, Mary, at birth, she was born to a

wanted you; your parents gave you up.” “You’re a

young (not yet married) couple in upstate New York

damn Yankee, go back home.” “We’re going to beat

in July of 1955. During those years, it was unusual

you up.”

for a young working woman to keep a child born

Diane tearfully confided these comments to

out of wedlock, so with her maternal grandmother’s

her mother and the harassment stopped after her

strong encouragement, Mary was given up for

mother contacted the school.







At just five days old, Mary was fortunate enough

curiosity and she often found herself wondering

to be adopted by a loving couple and their five-

about her “other family.” She wouldn’t be going

year-old (also adopted) daughter, Ann. Mary’s name

through this if she was still with them. What were

was then changed to Diane.

they doing? Did she have siblings… aunt… uncles...

Diane was five years old when she learned she was adopted. She was often reminded how very

cousins? Did they ever think of her? Eventually,






loved and special she was, but she did have fleeting

surroundings, made new friends and graduated

thoughts and questions about her birth parents.

high school. She then embarked on a 25-year career

She enjoyed her childhood and loved spending

in radio advertising before retiring and opening her

time with her family hunting, fishing and being

own bridal shop for seven years. During those early

outdoors - especially as her dad’s “little buddy.”

working years, she married and had two sons of her

However, at the typically petulant age of


13, Diane was less than happy when her father

Her family continued to flourish and grow - now

announced the family was moving to Virginia for

including three grandchildren - for everyone to

his job with GE.


While the world was experiencing so many

As happy as she was, she continued to be

changes and turmoil in the late 1960s, Diane was

frustrated having no medical history to share


with her sons and their children. She again

Ancestry DNA focuses more on connecting

she had given up. However, her birth father

wondered strongly about her “other family.”

family members compared to the 23 and Me

was quite the opposite. He would finally meet

Did they have any significant medical/health

which focuses more on ethnicity.

the daughter he had no decision in giving

concerns? She wanted and believed it was her right to know this information.

Once again, Diane completed the test and shared her results with Carol. After two false

away because he was never put on the birth certificate.

Sadly, Diane’s father passed away in

leads in finding her birth mother, Carol finally

Surrounded completely by her “other

2007 and her mother in 2009. While she

called Diane with the news she had been

family,” and with tears streaming down

and her sister sorted through their mother’s

waiting on for so many years.

everyone’s faces, Diane and her father were

belongings, they each hoped to uncover some

At the age of 64, Diane learned she had

secrets or clues to their biological families, but

three biological sisters and her (divorced)

were unsuccessful in their attempts.

parents who still live in upstate New York.







Diane’s faith and hope during the last 4.5

unanswered questions that she felt were

years had gotten her this far, so eager to find

owed to her, Diane saw a commercial for the

out more, she picked up the phone and called

23 and Me DNA kit. She ordered the kit, sent

her youngest sister. She left a voicemail stating

in her test, and anxiously awaited results.

who she was and shared a few memories

She was ecstatic when she received such interesting information, but what did it all

of places and things she remembered from when she lived there many years ago.

mean? Looking for help, Diane reached out

Her prayers were answered the next day

to a Facebook Group that helps interpret the

when she finally spoke with her sister. After a


heartfelt conversation, the decision had been

finally able to meet for the first time. As they embraced, he told her, “I thought of you every single day. I hoped and prayed you would persevere in finding us.” Having found the answers she had been looking for, and hoping to give strength to other adoptees, Diane shared her story in her self-published book titled, Faith, Hope & Perseverance. Since publishing her book, Diane has immersed herself in helping others, earning her the nickname, “The Adoption Lady.” She currently serves as the Ambassador of the

Soon, a “search angel” named Carol

made. Diane was going to fly to New York

reached out and offered to help her. Carol,

in January 2019 for eight days and meet her

a genealogy researcher, has been successful

birth family! (She did admit to facing a bit of

in helping hundreds of adoptees find their

a challenge in eastern North Carolina finding

biological families. But, when it came to

winter apparel and snow boots deemed

Diane, she described this situation as being

appropriate for the frigid and snow-laden

be adopted, and is a lobbyist working with

one of the hardest cases she has come across.


Congress to pass the bill granting the rights

Children’s Home Society of NC, she serves on the Board of the Coastal Pregnancy Center in Washington, is an adoption advocate for the 12,000 children in North Carolina waiting to

of adoptees in obtaining critical information

This was not the answer Diane was hoping

She soon met her three sisters over

to receive. In the meantime, Ann, her adopted

lunch; comments were made about physical

sister, who had also been searching, had found

characteristics they shared with each other.

Diane has shared her journey with groups

Stories were shared, laughter was heard and

of various sizes across eastern North Carolina

tears were shed.

and Virginia and continues to be available for

her birth family. Not to be discouraged, Carol told Diane to purchase the AncestryDNA kit which has

Unfortunately for Diane, her birth mother

more members than the 23 and Me database.

was not interested in meeting the daughter


from their birth certificate.

speaking presentations. She can be contacted at fhpspeaker@yahoo.com.

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Mr s. Ge or ge ’s P i e s a r e b ack 18

Story by Paige Minshew

It’s a curious thing how certain foods can make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

and Matt are withholding the identity of the person who gave up the recipe, they

For instance, the chicken soup your

did recruit 30 taste-testers to help refine

mom would give you as a child when you

the pie. All testers were original Mrs. George

were sick or the ice cream you’d have on a

customers, so their opinions were make or

hot summer day while playing with friends.

break for Brandy.

Food can make us nostalgic for a happier time, a simpler time.

“It took a long time to get the recipe just right, but with the help of our taste-

Lucille George, better known as “Mrs.

testers, we were able to recreate it to a T,”

George,” was the owner of The Carolina

she said. “We are Mrs. George’s Pies and our

Cafe from 1942-87. While her delicious

mission is simple — to preserve, protect and

home-cooked meals were a staple of the

celebrate the legacy of our dear Aunt Lucille

Rocky Mount food scene, her peanut butter

George, or as many in the community knew

pie is what made her an icon.

her, ‘Mrs. George.’

George’s nephew, Matt Kannan, and his

“We may be biased, but it is our belief

wife, Brandy, were eager to help revitalize

that if Rocky Mount had a taste that it

Rocky Mount. Brandy Kannan, a stay-at-

would be Mrs. George’s World Famous

home mom, said she wanted to contribute

Peanut Butter Pie. And if we could only pick

to the community in the midst of rebuilding

one icon of this great city, we think that

and rebranding itself as a social and

Mrs. George would sit at the pinnacle. We

economic region in eastern North Carolina.

hope to honor her and make her proud in

“Our hope is that this venture will bring

everything that we do.”

positivity and nostalgia to the people of

Books and Beans Coffee Shop at the

Rocky Mount who she loved so much,” she

Rocky Mount Mills recently welcomed Mrs.

said. “We believe Rocky Mount is a great city

George’s Pies into its cafe in a special pie-

because its people are great and we want

cutting ceremony. Single slices of pie and

to be a small part of its strong economic

whole pies are now part of the Books and


Beans menu.

Brandy Kannan spent several months perfecting the “secret” recipe. While she

Orders for whole pies also can be placed at www.mrsgeorgepies.com.



B at ti ng a bal l, Di ggi ng i n the dirt, Ha ngi ng with a ho un d Story by Sarah Davis Photos by Sarah Davis & Contributed “I’d rather strike out swinging than walk to first base every time.”

so is baseball.

Britts have dug in the dirt and farmed the land.

Influenced by both grandfathers, long-

In that regard, Lee Britt and the Britt family

Those words, spoken by Lee Britt when

time Chowan University baseball coach Jerry

are unique; whereas at one time, it was just

a varsity baseball player at Hertford County

Hawkins and long-time farmer Thomas Wade

assumed that farming would continue from

High School and remembered more than

Britt, when asked about himself, Lee declares

generation to generation, that is no longer the

two decades later by life-long friend Dr. Clay

that all he ever wanted to do was bat a ball, dig

case with many family farms being swallowed

Thompson, summarize Britt’s philosophy of

in the dirt and hang with a hound.

by larger, commercial operations. The Britt

work and life. He works hard, never expecting or even wanting anything to be handed to him.

The Britt family has been digging in the dirt - the same dirt - for many years.

farm, however, has remained a family enterprise.

Neighbor Annette Thompson remarks that

After divesting the family farm of row

The use of a baseball comment to describe

they live on “ancient Britt land.” Lee’s great-

crops, Lee’s father, the late Ricky Britt, advised

Lee is natural. As his aunt Becky (Hawkins)

great grandfather bought the present farm

Lee that he needed to find something that

says of him and farming: “It’s in his blood,” and

and home site in 1910, and for five generations

would make “tobacco money.” On his own, and without formal training to do so, Lee began looking for that niche crop that would sustain his farming passion. As Dr. Thompson said of him, all he ever talked of doing was farming from the time he could drive a tractor, which was long before he could drive a car. Rejecting




“stumbled” on sunflowers as his crop with the idea that he had a product he could market directly to consumers. Through trial and error, he moved from the idea to the reality, but there were many innings to play before he would reach home plate. After about a year of research, he persuaded his father to devote a nine-to-


ten-acre field of pasture land to sunflowers;

soaps, lotions, massage oils and lip balms as

and time he has put into getting this off the

in 2015, he experimented with his first crop,

well as asphalt rejuvenation.

ground and rolling.”

determining whether Britt land would grow

Once Carolina Gold was what he wanted

sunflowers. With most sunflower crops in the

it to be, he was ready to market it, and with

Mid-West, he didn’t have a local example and

the aid of his mother, Jerri Lynn, and nephew,

His uncle Chris Hawkins declares “Lee is an

had to experiment by himself.

Dixon, he sells at farmers’ markets, craft

inspiration - in his attitude, his humor and his

shows, pop-up enterprises, and local stores.

work ethic. He put his mind to the sunflowers

The first crop was beautiful with blooms as large as dinner plates, but he quickly

In Hertford County, it can be found

discovered that size was difficult to manage

at Wisdom Produce, Home and Garden,

and more difficult to harvest. He learned to

Rambling Rooster, Colonial Pharmacy and

concentrate on a medium-sized bloom.

ACE, among other stores.

Having determined he could grow the







sunflowers, he was ready to press the oil



which involved another year or so delay. With

the oil, especially the infused oils. She

the equipment coming from Germany, he had

immediately tells how she used Carolina Gold

to wait for it; then, when he did run the first

in last night’s supper whether marinating a

press, it was lackluster, not what he demanded

steak or giving flavor to asparagus cooked on

for market.

the grill. She particularly recommends the

It might not have been a strike-out, but it

garlic infused oil for the latter and is partial

was a walked base, and he couldn’t have that.

to the Italian infused oil for a number of uses

So, there was another delay. He adjusted

including bread dipping.

the presses, and by 2018, he had the clear Carolina Gold oil he wanted. Along the way, of course, he had to develop a business plan, and his uncle, Perry Britt, helped formulate it. He now plants 35-50 acres each year, having increased the acreage this year in order to expand into the bird seed market. Sunflower oil, unlike canola and olive oils, has a direct connection to the farm, to the dirt;

Purchases may also be made online at carolinagoldoils.com. The infused oils (Mediterranean, Italian, Cajun and garlic) are available in 8 oz. bottles; the regular oil is available in 8 oz. to 2.5 gal. containers as well as attractive gift boxes.. Lee has found his niche; it allows him to continue a farming tradition in an interesting new way.

So are relatives, friends and connoisseurs of the product.

and never gave up, despite setbacks. He forges ahead to make an impact.” Lee has made an impact by continuing the Britt family farming tradition and resurrecting a previously closed store. He has put Hertford County on the map, taking the product to “It’s Got to be North Carolina Festival” as well as the “Southern Women’s Show.” With online sales to thirty-eight states, including those as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, Carolina Gold has made Hertford County a household name throughout the country. Having established his own business, Lee has also assisted others, such as Hailey Foster and her Gruesome Beauty Business. Her soap is made from Britt’s sunflower oil. She says he has been most supportive of her business, and she is grateful for the help of what she calls “good people.” Good people are the type who might want to bat a ball, dig in the dirt and hang with a hound.

it goes from soil to oil to the stove or grill to

Aunt Becky notes that it is a family

the table. With a high oleic oil content and a

endeavor. His mother and brother, Joel,

high smoke point, it makes a good substitute

help every step of the way from planting

for butter.

to harvesting to pressing to marketing. The

Lee hangs with many hounds (his mother is

business is mainly housed in what had been

described as a magnet for stray animals), and

an empty storefront in Harrellsville.

you can even hang with Sweet Tea if you are

Stable, with a long shelf life, it is healthy lowering cholesterol, boosting heart function,

Visit the ancient Britt land off 45 on the way to Plymouth, and you’ll quickly realize

willing to pat his head and rub his tummy.

improving the immune system, giving an

For years, “the store” or “Mr. Jupe’s store,”

energy burst and reducing inflammation.

a grill and grocery, served as the hub for local

Lee may no longer play baseball, but his

Cold-pressed, it is not heated which can affect

farmers. Then it closed, but now it houses the

digging in the dirt has certainly produced a

the character of the flavor; nothing is added; it

manufacturing of Carolina Gold Oils and is

home run for him, the Britt legacy, and all of

is pure oil, truly Carolina Gold.

once again a hub of activity.

Hertford County.

A versatile product, in addition to its

Neighbors Monte and Annette Thompson

obvious use in cooking, it can also be used in

declare that they are “proud of the effort

Sarah Davis is a retired librarian and regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.



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Becky Williams, Owner

NORTHAMPTON Story by Gene Motley Photos Contributed

A Voice for All Seasons P ot ec asi S po rt s P l ay-by-P l ay R ad i o Anno unc er e n j oy i n g re t i re m e n t With his smooth, distinctive, velvet-

this fall, surprising some when he revealed

as well as continuing as the ‘Voice of the

toned baritone, Gattis Hodges had the

he is retiring from announcing high school

Hawks’ - doing play-by-play for Chowan

voice that could have taken him to the

football and basketball games.

University football and basketball; part of a

pinnacle of radio play-by-play announcing. Instead, he chose to stick close to home.


But he didn’t completely give up the ‘cans’ (slang for headphones) on his ears.

duty that landed him in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.

A native of Potecasi, Hodges, spent close

He remains with his weekly talk show,

“I kind of made the decision after 40

to four decades behind the microphone. He

’Coaches Corner’, on WDLZ-FM, Earl 98.3

years of covering high school sports that it

decided to give his tonsils a rest beginning

in Murfreesboro at 7 p.m. each Thursday,

was time to step away,” he stated from his

Northampton County home. “Just the travel, my age and the coronavirus pandemic kind of showed me I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. I only did three (high school) games in (the Spring) 2021; so, it was time and I have no regrets. It’s been a great ride. “My press box people and my scorer’s table people are who I’ll miss as much as anybody. These were just people you enjoyed being around and meeting,” he acknowledged. A graduate of Northampton High School, Hodges began as Sports Editor for the Northampton News covering the local area schools. “That was back when I was typing stories on typewriters, and I learned how to use White-Out really well,” he joked. His writing prowess helped him land a job with Georgia-Pacific as a Chemical Process Safety Manager. He retired from G-P back in early 2020 after 28 years. Still, he kept his hand in sports after being asked to serve as the PA announcer at the then-Chowan College men’s basketball program from 1983-1985. His knowledge of sports and his on air charisma landed him a job at local radio station, WBCG 98.3, as a game analyst. That would then turn into a

Carolina, through the First Media Radio Group he worked for a station in South Hill, Virginia. “I was broadcasting (state championship) games for a station out of Lawrenceville, and one featured Greenesville High School from Emporia,” Hodges recalls. “Turns out they were coached by Ruby Allen, who was the women’s basketball coach. We found out in an interview prior to the game that we’d grown up about a mile apart. We found it odd that both of us from the small crossroads of Potecasi, and here we were on the biggest stage in Virginia high school basketball doing a state championship game. “For seven straight years, I did the state

sideline radio reporter’s gig with halftime and post-game interviews. “I was Erin Andrews before Erin Andrews,” he humorously noted, referencing the FOX Sports personality. “I interviewed Lefty Driesell, Bobby Cremins, Chuck Amato, all the big-college coaches that would come to see Chowan play. Not to mention Chowan’s own Hall-of-Fame coaches, Jim Garrison in football and Bob Burke in basketball.” The college football success encouraged him to move upstairs into the radio booth for more announcing, and that’s when Hertford County High School came calling. It would be a relationship that lasted 28 years. And it was not just games in North


championship games,” he said. “One of

nights anymore. So just when I get a chance to

the most wonderful times I had. They just

go see them play, they’re not playing anymore,

appreciated what the radio station did for

so I kinda miss that,” he related. On ‘Coaches Corner’, which recently

them.” During his time, Hodges has called

celebrated its second anniversary, Hodges

23 North Carolina High School Athletic

has a segment called ‘Fun Zone’ where he asks

Association and Virginia High School League

what’s something about you that people don’t

state championships, three Babe Ruth World


Series Tournaments, two Colonial Athletic

“And if I had to ask that about myself the

Association baseball tournaments, several

answer would be I don’t miss calling high

NCAA and junior college regular season and

school sports as much as I thought I would,”

post-season games, two Oyster Bowl football

he remarked. “I’ve gone from bringing it for

games, and the 1988 East Bowl.

everybody to just being a listener. I’ve really

got it from Sammy Doughtie (the late famed

enjoyed that part of it.”

Roanoke-Chowan region radio announcer)

Hodges’ part-time work now leaves him free most Friday nights, but it hasn’t triggered a yearning to return behind the mike.

As he exits the booth, Hodges imparts some advice for any would-be announcers

“The first free Friday night’s of the football

hoping to add their own golden tones to the

season I was working,” he said. “I’ve been

airways. It stresses dedication, and comes

listening and I still follow it pretty closely. I

from a man who’s made many a familial

haven’t been to a high school game. I listen

sacrifice to make sure there was someone

to a lot of guys who’ve followed me (and

who needed to hear the game.

sometimes text some tips). But it’s nice to not

“First of all, you’ve got to be committed

when I first started doing it. He said to always remember that regardless of the magnitude of the game, it’s the biggest game of the day by the people who’re playing it, and you need to treat it as such. “I hope I’ve done that. I’ve tried my best to do that,” he concluded.

to it, because it’s going to be a three month

Gene Motley is a retired Sports Editor and

“Here’s the bad thing, all my grandkids are

commitment of Friday nights,” he maintains.

Sports Director and regular contributor to

grown and not playing any sports on Friday

“Then there’s the best advice I ever got, and I

Eastern North Carolina Living.

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Story & Photos by Gene Motley

H alifax C ou nty e m p o ri u m t e l l s vi sit or s t he s t o ri e s o f s t o n e s When Kaye Lee Brady trekked across

within the Foundation: the museum, the Arts

the community on the earth sciences related

her native Utah as a child with her mining

Council of Belhaven and the Senior Club of

to geology and paleontology.

specialist father, she soon realized there was


“I’ve collected my whole life,” she

a lot more beneath her feet than dirt and that

The museum was founded with the goal

declared. “In Utah I started an organization

the rocks she would collect held more within

of providing a place where people could

called ROCK, which stands for Rockhunters

them than most folks might suspect.

discover and learn about the beauty and

Outreach for Community Knowledge. My

Later, she moved to eastern North

diversity of the world beneath their feet and

father, grandfather and uncles would take me

Carolina with her husband, Kelly, in 2015 and

dedicated to furthering the lapidary arts and

rock collecting (in the Utah Basin) and I was

created a 501c3 charitable institution, the


just always attracted to that. I would collect

Kaye Lees Corner Foundation.

Early on the Bradys would take their

“When I first started the Foundation we

rock demonstrations to schools, as well

were hunting for a house (in Beaufort County)

as entertaining large groups from several

and so I saw this cute building and I had all this

counties away at the museum.

turtle shells, fossils and things like that, so I was always interested.” Brady has worked with the Fossil Festival in Aurora (Beaufort County) and that led

stuff, so we bought a museum at the same

The museum’s goal is to be a primary

to working with Sylvan Heights Bird Park

time,” Brady said. “We had three programs

resource for education and information to

in Scotland Neck. The potential for what


they saw in southeast Halifax County led to another relocation in 2019.

dinosaur bones and prehistoric shark teeth. “Originally, I put together an educational

learn more about rocks with each museum visit.

“Between our home and the museum

program of presentations at the local schools,”

“If someone takes more than one class,

before we moved we had 10 large storage

she related. “One of us would talk about the

then they get more rocks,” she said. “They (the

units filled with (mostly) rocks - literally tons,”

rocks, another about the equipment and

students) will take them out, identify what

she noted. “For a while we went back-and-

safety; then we would build a rock collection

type of rock, mineral or whatever, and that’s

forth. We intend to stay here long term.”

in an egg carton, let the children identify

how they learn. Every collection they get is

them, see a sample and tell them all about


Next came a home purchase and a lease nearby on the former pre-school building off US-258 that has become the museum home. The museum currently features a mix of

these rocks.”

Classroom students, as well as those

A mineral is a naturally occurring substance with




who are home-schooled, participate in the


museum instructional activities. Whether

exhibits that range from specimens of raw

properties, composition and atomic structure.

a rock-hound or a pebble-puppy, there’s

minerals in their natural state to polished

Rocks are generally made up of two or

something for everyone.

stones and other finished material.

more minerals, mixed up through geological

“The schools usually bring busloads of

Among the popular highlights of the

processes. A rock is defined as having two or

students in to see us so it’s like a field trip,”

exhibits are the displays of minerals found in

more minerals which form the Earth’s crust.

Brady observed. “Classes are available and

nearby counties and throughout the state of

The three types of rocks are: igneous (volcanic,

they can take a two-hour class to a four-hour

North Carolina, which has some of the nation’s

like granite), metamorphic (big change, like

class (children and adults).

most diverse mineral deposits. Also popular,

slate, marble), and sedimentary (sediment or

“We’ll do lectures, we have tables set up

especially with youngsters, are the museum’s

layers, like limestone). Brady also says classes

where they can build a collection, there are

displays of fossils which are highlighted by

are structured so that the students gradually

different creative activities where they can


build stuff, we do questions-and-answers and we have prizes we give away,” she added.

the near future in Scotland Neck. “We’ve got a large yard, and we’ll set up

There are also mounds of soil containing

canopies for vendors to come in and do the

fossils and minerals where youngsters can

show,” she admitted. “I want to do one in

dig through finding gems and such with

the spring so the vendors can travel, we just

their tweezers and a magnifying glass and

have to figure out a date.”

then identify them. “We also do lapidary work, where students can take rough rocks, fossils and coral which are then cut on a trim saw and they can do engraving and polishing,” she said. “We can get a beautiful display when they’re done, or we can put them on a chain; some of which we sell in the gift shop. The Museum’s Gift Shop, a primary source of revenue, has loose rocks for sale which can be added to one’s collection. The Brady’s say their rock collection numbers somewhere near 10,000.


The Brady’s are planning a rock show for

Visitors to the museum leave having quickly discovered that there is more under our feet than just dirt and that there is much more to rocks than just skipping stones. “There’s actually more there than most people suspect,” Brady concluded. The Rock Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit of Kaye Lees Corner Foundation located at 37 Food Lion Rd. in Scotland Neck. It is volunteer run with free admission and open Thursday-thru-Sunday noon to 5 p.m. A donation or gift shop purchase is

“We’ve got rocks from all over the

appreciated as these are the primary source

world,” she maintained. “We purchase

of the museum’s income. Learn more at:

some, but not that many because we have


found about 70 percent of the ones in our

Gene Motley is a retired Sports Editor and

museum. Once a year we do a road trip

Sports Director and regular contributor to

across the United States in search of rocks.”

Eastern North Carolina Living.

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W i l son’s No rth Caro li n a W hi r li gi g Fes tival A F e s t i val for An ything Story by Emily Wells Photos by Janelle Clevinger

When autumn arrives and temperatures begin to drop, most people see visions of pumpkin patches and apple orchards. In Wilson, the trademark event of fall isn’t centered around produce, but art. For seventeen years, the North Carolina Whirligig Festival has been attracting visitors from across the nation to Wilson during the first weekend in November. A celebration of art in motion, the festival draws inspiration from the Whirligigs and their creator, Vollis Simpson. Simpson was a native of Wilson County, hailing from the small town of Lucama approximately eleven miles from the City of Wilson. As he approached retirement, the World War II veteran and farm machinery repairman began tinkering with scrap metal, bicycle parts or anything that was shiny and made noise. The end product was gigantic, colorful windmills that twirled with the breeze — commonly known as “Whirligigs.” The field at Simpson’s farm became spotted with Whirligigs, some reaching fifty


feet in height. They served as friendly way

died in 2013, Simpson was able to see the first

markers to all who passed and took on their

Whirligig moved to its new home. Today, the

own personalities. With the help of the wind,

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum is

each Whirligig told a story. Mules pulled a

home to over thirty Whirligigs, a stage, a lawn

wagon. A dog wagged his tail. Airplanes took

and a pavilion. Since its construction, the park


has been the heartbeat of the festival.

The farm became a destination for art

But Wilson natives saw the value of

enthusiasts from across the country, even

drawing attention to the Whirligigs years

though Simpson never considered himself an

before the park was conceptualized.

artist. Maintenance of the Whirligigs proved to be a huge undertaking.

Before there was a Whirligig Festival, there was the Golden Leaf Festival. Once the World’s Greatest Tobacco Market, Wilson’s identity is

In 2010, plans were announced to create

inextricably tied to its agricultural legacy. The

a park centered around the Whirligigs in

Golden Leaf Festival began as a celebration

Historic Downtown Wilson. Just before he

of that heritage in the early 1980s. When the

Much like the Whirligigs, the festival is always moving and changing. The mission has always been to bring awareness to artists whose work incorporates recycled materials, just like Simpson. popularity of tobacco products

dubbed the NC Whirligig Festival

declined, so did interest in the

“a festival for anything.” Festival

festival. It eventually dissolved in

Director Theresa Mathis takes


that as a compliment.



“One of the best compliments

Festival ended, the desire for a

we get each year is that our

community festival still lingered.

festival is different in that it is not

In 2003, a group of community

just one note,” she shares. “It’s

members organized through the

not just an arts festival or music

Wilson Chamber of Commerce’s

festival. It is a festival that has a

Diversity Committee gathered

good mix of everything.







“From our vendors to our

offerings that would draw enough


interest for a festival. After much

represents the whole region

consideration, the group chose

with a variety of arts and crafts

Simpson’s Whirligigs, which were

and a mix of live music styles. It

still being produced and growing

includes non-profit benefactors

ever-popular by the year.

and is family-friendly. We have



The first “Wilson Whirligig

a good balance of interests that

Festival” was held in 2004.

ranges from the Whirli-Kidz Zone

Upon Simpson’s death in 2013,

to the beer gardens,” she added.

the Whirligigs were deemed the

Mathis has served on the

official folk art of North Carolina


and the festival’s name was

a group composed entirely of

changed to the “North Carolina

volunteers, for fifteen years.

Whirligig Festival.”

In 2010 she assumed the role



Much like the Whirligigs, the

of Festival Director, giving her

festival is always moving and

a front-row seat to the event’s

changing. The mission has always


been to bring awareness to artists

“I’ve often joked that we

whose work incorporates recycled

are a ‘teenage’ festival, as we

materials, just like Simpson. Over

are celebrating our 17th year.

time, musicians, food vendors,

Teenagers by nature are unsure

inflatables, extreme challenges,

of what they want to be when

stunt shows and more have been

they grow up, ready to be on

added to the festival lineup to

their own, but not sure how

meet growing interest.

and still figuring out what they

This year, a Facebook user

really want to do,” she said. “As


a 17-year-old festival, we have done lots of experimenting over the years to test the waters. Some ideas have succeeded and remained, while others were one and done. We want to be that festival that has a 75th anniversary, and we are working hard to make sure a succession plan gets us to that milestone.” Part of making it to year seventyfive is staying relevant. The NC Whirligig Festival does that by remaining true to the needs and desires of its vendors and attendees. “One of our purposeful missions is to keep the festival free so that all children and all families can attend. We do not charge for admission, parking or fees for any shows. We’ve received lots of feedback over the years that this attribute is a driving factor in attendance,” Mathis said. “People have shared that once they paid an admission fee for the whole family at other events, they couldn’t afford to do much of anything else once inside the gates. Our mission is to create a festival where all children, families and friends can enjoy the festival fun and not worry about affordability. We enjoy seeing families from every corner of Wilson and every surrounding area in the region giving it a whirl.”

cars, sea vessels, dragonflies and rockets out of aluminum cans. As a vendor who has over 300 festivals under his belt, the return of the Whirligig Festival was a welcome occasion. “I love the new park, and there is always good attendance and good music. I had a blast even in the 35 miles per hour winds. I do about ten festivals in NC, SC, and VA each year. The Whirligig Festival is in the top three; they have a little bit of everything. They have me — I am as different as they come,” he said. On a stroll through the festival at any given time, handfuls of festival-goers can be seen gazing up at the Whirligigs performing in the breeze. There is no

Like most in-person events, the

distinction in who they impress. Young

festival took a hit in 2020. The committee

and old alike marvel at how the ‘gigs

hosted a virtual “Whirli-Week” that

move and change before their very eyes.

culminated in a food truck rodeo rather






than hosting a full festival with limited

embodied that characteristic. Year after

numbers. They experienced relative

year, dedicated volunteers, vendors and

success, but nothing that could compare

artists contribute hours of work to ensure

to the estimated 50,000 in attendance

that the festival continues to thrill and

in 2019. This year, Whirligig Festival fans

inspire. Their attention ensures that the

were ready to get “back at it a gig” despite

“festival for anything” is exactly what

cold temps and wind gusts of thirty miles

Eastern North Carolina seeks.

per hour. Art vendor Scott Trope has been

Emily Wells is a Sales & Marketing Manager




participating in the Whirligig Festival for

Broadband at the City of Wilson. She

ten years. His creations? Hand-crafted

resides with her cat and five chickens in

sculptures of airplanes, helicopters, indy



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Perry-Wynn’s a n d h er r ing helpe d p ut C o l er a i n on the m ap Story by Lewis Hoggard Photos by Lewis Hoggard, Frank Stephenson & Contributed Bertie County was once proclaimed the largest Herring Fishery in the world. Whether or not that statement was true is probably unprovable.

point of having over two hundred seasonal and permanent employees.

The commercial aspect of the fishery was certainly curtailed. Perry-Wynns Fish

The herrings and herring roe were sold

Company was reduced to about 10 permanent

under the names of the Tidewater Brand,

employees and maybe double that number of

Certainly, millions and millions of herring

Bertie Brand and Chowan’s Best. The canning

seasonal workers.

have been harvested in Bertie County and

of the herring allowed the long distance

then shipped around the world by the Perry-

shipment of the product so people around the

Carolina in September of 2003 with one

Wynns Fish Company from Colerain.

world knew the names Bertie and Chowan.

hundred mile-per-hour winds and great

This business was a big part of the economy

damage. Perry-Wynns Fish Company was

in the area for over fifty years.

devastatingly hit with the destruction of nine

The Perry-Wynns Fish Company was formed in 1952 by L.D. Perry and Leo Wynns.






There had been earlier businesses that had

There was a great reduction of the herring

packed herring and herring roe in Colerain

population in the 1990’s in the Chowan River.

on the shores of the Chowan river, but Perry

Whether that was caused by water quality

In 2006 and 2007, the commercial and

Wynns Fish Company became the company

or perhaps a loss of food sources such as

recreational harvest of alewife and blueback

for this product. This company grew to the

zooplankton is not exactly known.

herring was halted by the North Carolina


of its eleven buildings. This damage proved to be too much for the company to survive.

Marine Fisheries and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Lots of debate about the necessity of a moratorium on the harvest of river herring has occurred, but the

The river herring has played such an important role in our community for hundreds of years as a food source and part of the lifestyle of all our peoples.

moratorium has remained. Murfreesboro writer Frank Stephenson penned a book “Herring Fisherman: Images of an eastern North Carolina Tradition.” Stephenson stated, “It’s a way of life and culture that is gone, it’s a terrible loss.” Certainly




the herring as they spawned each year in our

can be caught by hook and line occasionally

waterways for weeks at a time. There were

by fisherman or caught in fish baskets.

so many herring that they were used as a like

fertilizer in crops.

Herring were prepared in a variety of different ways for consumption by locals.

Colerain the loss of the herring fishery was

Early European settlers to North Carolina

Fried herring is still a favorite delicacy. The

not just culturally, but economic in its impact.

discovered the plentiful nature of the herring

herring were also preserved to be a food

The river herring has played such an

which is a fish species that had visited

source for the rest of the year by salting or


European waterways. The culture of the area

smoking by the last few hundred years in

hundreds of years as a food source and part

adapted to when the herring run or spawning

our community. Herring at times were eaten

of the lifestyle of all our peoples. The Native

happens in March and April.

all three meals of the day when times were






Americans would set up fish camps along

The herring were taken by gill nets, pound

the rivers and creeks in the county to catch

nets, seine nets and dip nets. The herring also

difficult. Some of the thickest collections of herring


would gather at the base of mills placed

impact on a community like Colerain

on the creeks to harness water power

or the commercial fisherman whose

to turn grindstones. At some of these

livelihood was taken away.

small dams, folks would state that they

Bertie County is losing culturally

felt like they could walk across the

the spring herring fish fry or fundraiser

school of herring because they were so

which was interwoven into part of our

thick in the water. What an incredible site if one ever had you the chance to view the congregation of herring spawning up the blackwater rivers and creeks of the county. Fishermen would man small boats and use dip nets to take the herring out of the river and swamp. It was a pastime that was enjoyed almost as much as the herring fries that followed the fishing. Unfortunately, the decline

lives. If the fundraisers still happen the prized herrings have to be purchased from out of state. Let’s hope that one day again we will be able to legally harvest that flashing silver fish that has been part of eastern North Carolina for hundreds of years known as the river herring. Some photographs, memorabilia and articles may be found at the Café 45 Restaurant displayed on their walls

in the population of river herring has led

at 105 South Main Street in Colerain.

to the aforementioned moratoriums

Stop by for a look at a time passed and

that have not been lifted in North

a time not likely to return.


Lewis Hoggard is Executive Director

The loss of the Herring fishery has

of the Windsor/Bertie Chamber of

impacted the area in multiple ways,

Commerce and a regular contributor to

not just limited to the economic

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From Humble Beginnings to an Establ ished Business

Story by Sandy Carawan Photos by Sandy Carawan & Contributed

The Etheridge family has been in the oil and gasoline business for nearly 90 years, a legacy that has spanned four generations. Tommy Etheridge has many fond memories of his father, T. Etheridge, and how his father’s business grew over the years to meet new demands in Engelhard’s fishing and agricultural setting. T., or Thomas Jefferson Etheridge (1913-1986), was born in South Mills to Joseph Gordon and Margaret (Bartlett) Etheridge. In 1930, seventeen-year-old T. left Gates County for Hyde County where he went to work at the Roeder Mill in the Dark Woods community operating the mill commissary first established by his father. In July, 1934, T. became one of Engelhard’s newest entrepreneurs when he purchased for $1,000 an oil business, a Texaco station, from Sam H. Spencer, a salesman for the Texas Oil Company. Then, in October, 1934, T. married Agnes Spencer (1915-2015) and together they raised their children Alice Fay and Thomas Jefferson (Tommy) Etheridge Jr. “When Daddy bought this business, he was twenty years old,” said Tommy. “The Texaco Company wouldn’t take his check for $500 because he owed them $1,000 and had to wait until he was twenty-one to write the two checks for the products he needed.” As automobile sales and motoring grew more popular, not only did automobiles demand more attention, but so did motorists who were driving farther as roadways improved and grew. To draw more interest, T.’s July, 1944 business advertisement in the Hyde County Herald read: “We Are Prepared to Wash and Grease Your Car. Let Us Give You a Good Job.” While Tommy stated that his father sold more oil than gasoline because automobiles burnt more oil, his father also adapted his service station to fulfill customers’ needs by providing auto accessories, batteries, drinks, cigarettes and even hand-dipped ice cream. According to Tommy, his father owned a dock and


Their combined knowledge, education, experience and reputation for quality service, passed down from generation to generation, have bolstered their business in which each new generation is made stronger by the past generation in their service to the customer and the community.

tanks where Sammy Williams’s dock is now. He said that when he

a day, a dollar and a half a piece.” Aside




was fourteen years old, he’d assist

station, T. and Tommy frequently

his father by filling boat tanks.

delivered kerosene to homes and

“I’d have two or three boats

businesses, which was used as

or sometimes five or six backed

heating oil before they switched

in,” remembered Tommy. “But

to LP gas in 1975.

I’d fill all those tanks up and go to

“I’d take the five-gallon tank

Daddy’s to tell him how much I’d

and fill it to the marker, remove it,

put in and he’d make the ticket.

and fill two more. He’d bring back

Sometimes we’d put out 2,000

the empty tanks and carry two

gallons from 4 o’clock in the

more,” explained Tommy. “Daddy

afternoon until 10 o’clock that

had to step high up on a bar and


pour the kerosene in a 55-gallon

In 1958, when Tommy was

barrel using a funnel. He finally

eighteen, his father had the new

got an air-cooled motor on the

flat-roof station constructed that

side of the truck so he could

not only included a mechanic’s

pump kerosene.”

bay for changing oil and tires, but another bay for washing cars.





Barbara Midyette and together

“When I came home in 1961,

they raised their sons, Jay and

I put on the uniform, pumped

Randy, who now run the family

the gas, washed the windshield,

business. Barbara has also worked

vacuumed the car, changed the

for the business in different roles

oil and the tires,” Tommy recalled.

over the years.

“A gallon of gas cost 23 cents.


Sometimes we’d wash fifteen cars


to high

Tommy, school

after and


County residents in the decades to come. Jay’s oldest son, Drake, is now the fourth generation working at T.’s business. “I’ve always been around here. I’ve learned things over the years that I didn’t realize I was learning,” said Drake. “I’ve learned all kinds of skills doing my work. It’s a lifestyle more than anything.” “Granddaddy T.’s business began in humble beginnings when it was simple,” said Randy. “I think it’s a testament for each generation and what they’ve been able to do with the business when it was their turn. I think Jay and myself have done what we’ve had to do, what we’ve wanted to do, and we have a vision of college, each family member has had the

“If you want to stay viable you have to

opportunity to pursue other interests before

keep evolving, changing and staying up with

joining the business full-time.

the times,” he insisted.

“I can say one thing about my two boys,”

The Ethco Service Station not only offers

Barbara said, “they know this business from

self-service gasoline and diesel as well as

stem to stern because at a young age they

a full-service mechanic’s shop, but is also a

started at the bottom.”

convenience store and sells North Carolina

Starting at the bottom meant picking

Education Lottery tickets.

up trash and painting tanks that eventually

Etheridge Oil & Gas, Inc. also provides

led to work more suitable for their age

appliance installation and service, including

and experience — pumping gas, washing

tankless water heaters, selling and servicing

windshields, carrying 100-pound cylinders,

air conditioners, gas piping systems and

delivering fuel, changing oil, changing tires

plumbing for whole-house generators.

and working as a mechanic and clerk. “Randy and I really built the tire business,” said Jay. “We were selling twenty-five to thirty

A lot of fond memories have been built among the Etheridge family, their employees and customers.

where we want to go. I don’t know what Drake and his vision will be. He’ll make his own.” “It’s special in that someone has given me a way to provide,” Jay stated about his role in being the third generation to run this business. “I think the most valuable thing that allows us to be successful is the reputation that was built a long time ago.” Equally important, Tommy is proud of his sons and grandson for carrying the family business into the future. “They are educated and they have common sense,” said Tommy. “Their ideas are better than mine.” Their combined knowledge, education, experience and reputation for quality service, passed down from generation to generation,

tires a week. I know we were selling a hundred

“We’ve had some really good people work

a month because the tire company gave us a

and help build our business. Without them we

new generation is made stronger by the past

computer to run inventory and make orders.”

would not be where we are today,” Barbara

generation in their service to the customer

The year 1986 presented challenges for

said. “Even without the two secretaries we

and the community.

the Etheridge family. Not only did a tornado

would have a hard time doing our business.

blow through that summer with winds

They play a big part.”

strong enough to cause structural damage, but T. passed away in September. Shortly

“Tyius Watson has been a real asset to our business, too,” said Jay.

have bolstered their business in which each

Etheridge Oil & Gas, Inc. is located at 34970 U.S. 264, Engelhard and they can be either contacted at (252) 925-4301 or through their website at https://www.etheridgeoilandgas.

thereafter, the station was rebuilt on the same

Little could T. know nearly ninety years ago

foundation. Then, in 1987, T. J.’s Restaurant

how his business would not only involve every

Sandy Carawan is an English Language

was added, which operated until 2001.

family member who would go on to play an

Arts teacher at Mattamuskeet Early College

important part, but how this business would

High School in Swan Quarter and a longtime

so greatly impact Engelhard and other Hyde

contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

Regarding the business, Randy stated that you cannot stay the same.




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Pick a copy up at 109 S. King St, Windsor, NC 27983 Eastern Living Magazine

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Bertie County


Phelps Insurance Group Russell Phelps, President Dianne Phelps, Vice President 103 S. King Street, Windsor, NC 27983



We offer complete insurance programs with small town service. Personal lines and commercial lines.

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Thankfully Serving Bertie County for 50 Years!

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121 Granville Street, Windsor, NC 27983 www.windsorbertiechamber.com (252) 794-4277

Bertie Ledger–Advance

CANNOT BE MOVED Community News at your Fingertips Dotsie Dunlow

Golden Skillet



103 W. Granville St., • Windsor, NC 27983 (252) 794-3468

Thadd White Group Editor twhite@ncweeklies.com Leslie Beachboard Managing Editor lbeachboard@ncweeklies.com Andre’ Alfred Sports Staff Writer aalfred@ncweeklies.com Brandice Hoggard Staff Writer bhoggard@ncweeklies.com



he is David Friedman says players. says concerned for State’s Pastor Amanda Hoggard B1 set a table... Hugh Davis B3 should movesays believers onward in B3 faith. Michelle$1 980 S. Academy St. Leicester Past says goodbye to the Bertie or NC 27910 Ledger-Ad time Webb Hogg A4 Ahoskie, vance. B4 to pull back ard write and let it s Its fly.

NGIRL SMALLTOW summer Beachboard says Leslie brings a time of change. A4

e Ber BtieB ancretie Ledger– LeAdv dgLer–Ae rt e t an edgedv r Fridceayinigh FAREWELL&A MEN TRUTH



David Friedman the best NBA covers some of storylines. www.bertieledgerad vance.com



Colu mnis t som $1 etim David Fried es write B1 rs areman says wron g.

Heating & Air Conditioning

980 S. Academ y St. Ahoskie, NC INLEFT 27910





Edito frien r Thadd Whit d and A4 men e reme tor Lann mbe y Hida rs y.

Volume 123: Volume 123: 980 S. • Roxobel • Windsor Hill • Powellsville Academ No. 26 Volum No. 27 Woodville • Merry y Heating & Ahoskie, e • Lewiston • Colerain • Kelford NC 279 St. No. 123: THURSDAY • 32 Askewville Askewville • Aulander Air Conditionin 10 JULY 8, 2021 • Aulan Askew g der • Coler ville 252.209.02River • Au ain • Kelford • Lewist Roanoke/Cashie 23 lande on Wood Chamber at the Water Street in THUe RSD ville r • Co and the Windsor/Berti • Merry Di- Center on at Hill • Powe and will kick off ber of Commercelera plan- of Commerce Executive AY are • AU Windsor Thadd WhiTe llsville • Roxob • Kerector Lewis Hoggard said. town of Windsor theinJuly 5 p.m. with handHeatinel • Winds lforare excited about get- GU Bertie Ledger-Advance ST 19,95.9 will be on Air ning to proceed “We d Magic g& or of • Lew 202 Fireworks if Moth- ting back to a semblance live from theCo Freedom 2 be 1 broadcast will to isto crowd Thad skies Mike,” nditio WindsOR – The d WhiT and have na Wo er Nature will allow. Friday site and a DJ, “Mixin’25 ning there normalcy IndeGroup e odville 2.2 filled with fireworks “Right now we realizeshow- gathered to celebrate Editor • Me See FiReWORKs, A5 09.02 Day.” Clarfor scattered night.WindsOR call a is pendence plan to the is at least –that’s k 23 rry Hill planning be held A Win Or beh but weJr.are follo ers, stop ind threat The festivities will rain. ofdso ple felosome just possible,” • Po bar if atoffall win r man proceed despite A repo ny dru s facieng wellsv ChamKing g a traf charges rt by The Windsor/Berti fic Offi Stre g and mul ille • Win . weaponti- was cer Jess Windso et. Onc Roxob e Ratz dsor Poli s whe driving ie Mizelle r Police reached Officer laff el • ce Lt. on Car said ed 31-y said n he the Win the

works set for –Advan All 4Fire Freedom ce WP

chosen D: Dru gs, w Three to stay eapo ns chBertie file in on BOE argeco s VBH:N.C. Electio un man lodtyge C ns o Board reapp unty d kedersoints lead ‘Stro jailed seat all memb ers isofagre Hoggard files Readlocaly’group asse e with for mayor, ssm Audi Whitaker, Bunch to for commission is just r says fu ent er nd ba ov

he cle driv encoun car son dsor win Mizelle driv sme Lan tere en by dow cer kne en by lled Offi Clar d a veh e juan of the w was a. k. The iodor Clark, he at thecer Miz sus the driv “Offi offiof mar scen elle was a traf pended er’s son cer fic stop i- Cpl. , Bertie e by Chie joined Miz and license Clark County f Jack near initiated vehicleto step elle aske clud Har Boja and away fromd Mr. Kevin Johris William Sheriff’ - Palm e a 9mm dela ngle y, he after s. Glock, nson. s and s Mag etto Onc the Just an ARin Jack complie an initi Lt. offic e Clark num and a ers al also was d,” son revo Taurus 15 hicl caL BRyanT sear By Chie said and found marlver. Offi .41 che detained f and e and . drug , cers foun d hisNews-Herald ijua weaponRoanoke-Chowan par Clar d veThe k was aphernana, pills weapon s in thenarcoticthan 24 charged lia. Less s –veh By Thadd BersWindsOR a firea with arrested con WhiTe WindsOR – Vidant Woodland a icle after . rm by possess and hours fisc ated Group earned Editor gunned tie Hosital has a felo ion woman was inn, alte of The skies Commission’s killer The JointRaLeiGh about Windsor ring/ down, her alleged – Four of Approval® were lit with Gold Seal all returnin Heart people, See chaR fireworks was beon Saturday, American g, have and the Ges, been July 3 as the LesLie appointed hind bars. American A3 county celebrate BeachBOaRd / Bertie Ledger-Advance to the Bertie Association’s/ County Keith d Independ Association’s Board LesL of ence Day. r r i s Thadd WhiTe Stroke ie for tions. Mo BeacElechBOa Heart-Check mark cOnTRiBuTed PhOTO Group Editor Hyman, Rd Ready The N.C. Mana ging Editor Acute Stroke State Board som age 44, of of Election Wind Certification. Award recently. e WindsOR Hospital s met TuessOR Hero of Research – Filing sistencchange W i n d s o r started Hospiday may recognized with the – Bertie were to got s be Vidant appoint Cha to inco ies. associates quickly - Lewiston was locat- Keith Hyman rigorThe Perdue member Gre The acom ing.fournge ns Tho g Then went Friday. tal underwent to Ber allon 100 Com s review ed and arcount silent on mps Ada virtual missiontie Cou Monday. ous, Adams on, Pricms, presboards of rested near a residence the elecDuring tions. nty ers of 11-12. ente March on Thursday & Co., e, Sco in Windsor Three people – were a look LesLie JointdCommisBeachBOa tt, the Inpres enta the P.A., Rd Bertie visit, all County, night. current or prospec audit things atManaging gave som evaluatedthe al yeation twofisc in reviewer sion tive current for is charged of ered the aud e Editor Hymanleaders r that in Windso related Republithe e 30, with canJun . it disc the compliance r – filed for night ended daymember WindsOR 202 the Wednesday sstandards The election ov. 0were appoint recertification on Mon tota – Indepen 34-year-old soon of it Ber Day murderafter dence The ed afordedicated opened another tie wasl reve term. Dr. Lewis’s - thewhite including: pres Wiggins ofat noon nue ed Friday. Cou celebrat the They Cancer Center. Angelec proare Timored, for 2020 andnty com enta how enthy stroke-focused tion Davis durstyle. Research status. mis with fiscalBertie Lewis W. research will study Woodland. and Firewor qualiby ing left $25,324 sion Michael hOGGaRd staffing ocks yea Fields. Hoggard, BRandice Parker, the Presi- hancer RNA molecules can gram,som lit ,669 and board expover r up Thatwhohomicide e professionwas the sky Bobbie serves asloenditur County the .Cashie The Staff Writer medical a wor que fied addition In residence Execustio at a Director River and sch dent of the Bertie Cancer be utilized to treat triple-negtive tota curred stroke ns, outltown edutrained ay most k, in the ofes Windso current als of American Democr (cap r l led sess of the in Arrowhead Mobreast cancer, the catedWindso ats James with wasnight, exp – They Chapter ital Saturda ion r/Bertie endWOOdviLLe to “On behalf ative collaboration of breast celebrat $26 off N.C. Lee andcare, LeWisTOn Park, itur Society stated, ,459 ing Home Anthony aggressive form bile ber manAward Indepen es)America of Comme Cham,383Research” Wardmak e ’s of local emergency Relay we are very cancer. were reappoi of Woodland. “Hero dence. rce filed . The 35 north for mayor 24/7 Farms of Bertie nted agencies, of PerThe Perdue associto was proud by of agement Perdue Freedom and awarded female the wasSee state board. the town pleased Since 1995, Another rapid were Windsor. Lewiston working BaLa ofFirewor than by Hy- of held ks ability to perform they have been nce, have raised more the Saturda “We shot,Inallegedly are happyand labora- at the Youn re- due, y, July of for several ates addition Roanok A5 Woodville same, locagste 3 to wel- to comediagnostic towards this goal $1.7 million in support Counincumman, bentat the rushed newtesting, ability cently. Center after e Cashie to member River rs enjoy last and have finally met it. Commissioner for Life of Bertie She was s to Northtory tion. being resched year Randy P e r d u e years Carolina’sintravenous to see it Relay uled from K. Whitake ’s drive in critical through payroll “It is rewarding electhe day before tions administer the recogr filed medica- to -thro difficult ty, primarily local fundraisteam,” for hospital was due a second through the possibil clot-busting said Karen ugh term. Newdeduction and Brinson condition. Rela for its happen patients ent ity ofnized comer By Gene to eligible Bell, y For inclemtions weather. is charged of COVID, the payroll executiv activities. Hyman David Fordirector of Life ing MOTthe availability Bunch the Bertie and support of times filed even for Life is team pushed ofLeythe Statee as well. The count of 1st deThet. 2021 This Relay with one Board. Ledge technol-p.m. gates opened Relay for Life deductions finally meet their year this year as r-Adv There are one count “Togeth telemedicine to at 4:30 Youngste staff ’s even anceer, we for spectato they Wind still happening gree murder, will currentl received through rs enjoyed continued. for the two t is Satu sORcontinu when rs, with ogy. e to ensure 1st degreey seats – those Parker the opportuni low andvendors BRan dance,goal,” mer that in, 2020 families through event – Wit of attempted entertai eat and rday. dice at more. ty to geta drive of Research” Award held of Research ofnment by Whitake Joint h sum Commission in a row. The counts Hero fireworks. their theto“Hero election hOGThe watch mee develweek break our outside year second murder, two fol- $165,000and ending r FiLe and listen for Relay and accessib berWrite Staff are ting - s are at 7:30 mon raising retirof GaRd Perdue to fund ing Windso deadly to music, standards aPhOTO Comme onItAug allows paring and sch le, safe nexand The wasforathly rce Executivcancer event will take place assault with By Award r WindCounty.Director r Commis cure, andools sebeautifu boaevening int consultation to . 10. breast August. 21. of Bertie sioner sOR oped intent Life e dec for ano to ope leav Lewis with for l thatprethree-year rd Saturday, cheesy for a sunny David Overtonp.m. weapon every care – fundHoggard.conducted affir without the $165,000 experts e thei crab & artichok Don had’ta great Life eli-isio parking – that n on ther votenwith project a21. ing, amid gible Life “We rainclou reaching in mas agahealth remain in thee dip, counts.” this research famous crowd. sight.med will be on veh It will forg school its d time, inproviders, a meaA comatr the The slight BBQ was icle for the first Satu about crowd k wea level and aRResT, breeze bal- A5 Michael nationwhotand Seethe VID-19,newEvery to Lewis mitt raising Rela it cooler the Relaloaded trailer A5 lot. stra two byetDr. year state fries, the years, made have pleaCarolina plantrday same ee isfunnel r- PerdueRela ton than y ofcial expertside but Lewiston size See ReLay, North se y for surement Aug a gus Bertieinsrequires had, in of Schoolsstatute typical y forice cream, top the No one askingcakes, July CO- the shaved years throevening ust past.” ic hot Life There University distwe wea reviewer companies filed for re a masHawaiia The 21 from State thesum of tthree Comprehensiv ughout Cou team patients. mer thonse ice, oneBer is Satu disa guid reve Board fice in any was for the ofLineberger Line ancecones, were multiple nty of rday , alon to appoint gree tors as pare arriving k elinfour from sausage tiespectasnoother Bertie 7:30 achieve Hero -up to dors es for aled to find d seat vennationally one and somember County town. on site theisr it shoSee Ready, -9 p.m forbarbecu , Au-and held star and ing urge g with A5 for nts theHigh This bestSchY’all turkey stud uld beon whe the show. d to veh includedt at the evee. another . at surv ool. will Ber ents – two driv icle put Filing tie Mid ivor a“It nt . The Windso wasther e thro be aprises,Eat Yet,theSpeller , 7:15 man a sign continu a fantasti s be-es Monwith lot. Enterdate evecntevening driv Deep p.m. willr Farmer’ dle be yea The weather ugh See aPPOinTe on thei the through of surv day s rs Mar. Ice alon up South The for Friday Hawaiian ketSchoperate d, 3 for ande others. and was num d the rowbeautifu ool in See tilthese by the ungroups r highlights g withcomnoon said luminarand ivor berFriday, Mas Windso due the on Good l,” secoThey parade Shepherd par good dec ‘do ship charities, then to Ks, A5 king Food r-Bertie VID surv to of orat nd July 16. like-minded ies opened . Tea the opportunity the Cemthe cau Chammak yeaprovide civic ivor ed or event. and their for dHigh abu a Edgewood of foods ms the sponsorvehicle s thatthrough e its of the variety If one tion and munity programs cam- r in Locally, Julynda madtwice’ a Schhome counthe are join cars s willthroughout wreaths the g hot is ool ofway to groups s atte In concernnce includin e signofhav annual Giving etery road veterans’ e COthe par honor ship Thadd betwand usin America enc ndin LesLie BeachBOaRd s for Berto s. g the try The and organizations paign. ourageWhite een ade. reached remember Tea Across the can tie See choose Wreaths Debe Proisg dedicatthe in FiReWORK and through Managing Editor eve res, will d Sponsorship via ing mevery par year The campaign two serv 3 email at ceremony ouricenation’sntsveterans Group to MicheLLe twhite@ year groups and indi- to hicl urged to ticipants schools folloall be for military LeicesTeR Thad the ed to the wing a serincweekl ies.com. es . duty the their cember. d WhiTBertie Ledger-Adv decorat are active in 2007, – Throughout es Bertie WindsOR The name viduals giving back in founding See WReaThs, A5 e Since itswith be- for Life ones atte the par of ance Ledge e thei long. the was brought while helping the nationr-Adv . B&E America be playJuly them has celebrated month of July,the commit communities ndin ade ance to Buen “re- Wreaths Across hundreds e ofof r ve-Giving In WindsOR to term “The cha organization, tee’s attentio a visT ing musDJ Serv g Rela thenmission nonprofit that rges - The al with on whe their wrappin to share the partnered Spookta a lar 5K only used original America for identify was in last ic at ices willy Across has a new Wreaths a being name honor ther – The weecug and teach.” event to avoid shootin tion was ing our the decisio name. its member, interpre k lies the distwill orThe into upwhich event beinfeaturing event. any belief its inve was held in a neganotannual n5K (WAA) deathted of waygby that the rict tive at or near we condone its race 34-y the Hallowe now be to stig Ber will handspart atto file Jamboree of ear-oldshootin en,” use in any and See called the comClar munity. negative rney reads. Bertie g deait aReLa County was Holleytie k of tacular 5K way. Our time “We apSpec. James their kille Jr. Clar preciate th honesty intention nized in 2010y, to & 1 Mile Fun Ber A5 addressorgahas The been She said commit d k tie ers receand Cou and always problem was htness Run. stateme teemile app forthrig the released his riff shot Earl ima orninG nty provide, financia will be County of hunger in ivedMto concern nt.John Mon s froma roxi Good offic this matand Bertie a callthedispatch by raising l support e is ely toand Chu that wer tely ing B3 day .............Bue 9 p.mfor mission at app funds for changin rch itchell we two end, M na eM are Church & Faith ildred fired the Good The Good Shepher Sheriff , Aug..9. Shepher . Classifi & Fait rox- of “Wh B4 Vistga the name Food d Food of theand a that d on injured. Holley foun en they Pantry. Pantry.” Classified ...................... olerain Opinio ed ...... h ............ The per 5Ksho disp ....A4said Thec arri , ts cea d Mr. Busines atch of y imm son . B4 Opinion ...................... n ...... ...... Fun Run Clar ved, was1 Mile ...... s ............ sed Out at the sonnel ed ................ they edia & Abo ......Church subscribing! The ,” Sheriff k was .................&B5Faith Out & 7About .................A2 tely andfor med See sPecTacu scen you Spo Thank sheriff’ Holley deputieical per ............... ............................. B1 G dee. der rts ...... ut ...... LaR, 3 Classifie..A4 3 ood Mornin the said d ............ Sports s s to ............ ...........A . ............. 6 50¢ Good • Windsor Opinion the Matt Roe directio office, G, 2 Falcons Powellsville • Roxobel ........... ............ • Merry Hill • M unn of buck, • Lewiston Woodville ornthelMa W • Colerain • Kelford Jean B1 • Aulander ............ Out & .... 4 alton Askewville reach Maj. worked About nie of linG ................... , carteWisto with 2 Round 4 n W of ear-oldofficers Frank Jonathaarrestn Van

Freedom Cele bration

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Windsor, Cha mb host honor, firework eve Perdue receerives 1 event nt Relay plans 202

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109 S. King St • PO Box 69 • Windsor, NC 27983 Phone: 252-794-3185 • Fax: 252-794-2835

in July’ featuring ‘Giving Fatal ths Across America sh Wrea Asbe New o otine, nam ll aw gw sam aitin ill beeexcellent eve g writ ten re nt revie planned for ports wed October by D In th is ed istric ition t Att In this editi In this edition orne on y

history meets adventure

tie WE HAVE A NEW Ledger–AdvanceB beBer rtNon C iee5K-Em Farmer’s Coerge unncy for slated tyy Tran 252rts P325Ag Festival794-5334 • 252easpo 2460 nutss Thank



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Event slated for

ganizers. off By Thadd WhiTe The event will kick parade Bertie Ledger-Advance at 11 a.m. with a for 11:30 a.m. inaugu- planned following ROXOBeL – The Festival Immediately Farmer’s ral Roxobel Ag the parade, The event is taking shape. the 5K will start. for the Monday evening will offer a prize Roxobel Revitalization male and female who with dressed as Committee met Roxo- are best members of the farmers. sign bel Board of CommisThose wishing to sioners and Roxobel up or who want learn along the FarmFire Department lead- more about contact with community for er’s 5K should ers to iron out plans is the Windsor/Bertie of the festival, which County Chamber slated for April 1. the Commerce, who tradisuch Plans made for the tionally organizes festilocal festival include Run, events for Farmer’s 5K Fun and vals, at 252-794-4277. there children’s games During the day musical entertainment. will be a variety of enfestiThe inaugural tertainment, including provided val is being planned to the amusements to draw people County See FesTivaL, A3 northern Bertie to ortown, according

Vidant Bertie celebrates heart health

LesLie BeachBOaRd

Baptist Herman Missionary in her study at Mt. century. Lucas reads her Bible back more than a The Rev. Alma O. which dates its history pastor of the church,

Church. Rev. Lucas

/ Bertie Ledger-Advance

is the first female

to ministry Lucas ‘called’

Dewitt Proctor ity from Samuel Virginia of Windsor. of Theology of rural area outside from Bertie SchoolUniversity. By LesLie BeachBOaRd Lucas graduated Union in 2004 Bertie Ledger-Advance High School. Lucas was ordained Baptist University Missionary She attended Shaw Sum- at Mt. Olive woman is WindsOR - A local in Raleigh and graduated Church. word throughwith a BatchPastor for 12 preaching God’s ma Cum Laude “I have been a and County,” said degree in Religion out Bertie County. years in Bertie Alma Lucas elor’s The Reverend Philosophy. her educa- Lucas. ministry was a says going into Lucas continued Laude See Lucas, A5 graduating Cum calling. of Bertie tion, degree in DivinLucas is a native with a Master’s raised in the County and was

Zonya Foco speaks

Perry selected Chief

OfTruth tie County Sheriff’s Hospital Heart Atkins By Thadd WhiTe at the fice in 2002 when By LesLie BeachBOaRd was Social on Feb. 16 Bertie Ledger-Advance Conwas sheriff, and Bertie Ledger-Advance Cashie Heritage to Corporal in WindCoun- promoted Ber- vention Center WindsOR – Bertie later. He took WindsOR - Vidant Holley two years a sor. assault inty Sheriff John more Chief over sexual in 2006, tie Hospital hosted Guests learned has named a new vestigations dinner to celebrate about how to “Love began workDeputy. has and then heart health month. Your Heart” in celebraKenny Perry, who areas of the Heart disease claims tion of American Heart year ing in all womserved for the past office. been sheriff’s the lives of many of Month. as Lieutenant, has “I did a little bit spot en. The keynote speaker he said. “I chosen to fill the That is why Vidant of the event, America’s vacant everything,” I was and which has been re- filled in wherever in paBertie Hospital Leader Zonya since Greg Atkins Health Nutrition evneeded – be that other Vidant Foco, invigorated investigatired. entities, East Carolina eryone with her mesmake trol or doing and “I wanted to and tions.” Heart Institute finding simple Holpart- sage of sure I took my time Last year, Sheriff to improve their physician person Perry to to things to do found the right Hol- ley promoted of the reners work together your heart health. for the job,” Sheriff place high- take the offer risk assessments Foco’s tips on healthy Hoggard. ley said. “The staff educastress and tiring Lt. Carl he began and screenings, treat- eating, exercise, ly respects Kenny time, and wise tion, advanced himself At that the entire eight management he has proven eneroffi- overseeing ment options and lifestyle choices His duas a hardworking patrol division. Heart Truth luncheons audience. cer. I have confidence our re- gized the and dinners in Foco enlisted several See PeRRy, A3 he’ll do a great job.” Bergion each year. Perry joined the See heaRT, A3 A large crowd attendBertie ed the Vidant

In this edition

Obituaries ......................A2 Opinion ..........................A4 B1 Sports ............................. B4 ............. Church & Faith B6 Classified .......................

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Story by Thadd White Photos by Andre’ Alfred


B es t of T yrr el l C ou nty Scupper nong Ri ve r F e s t i va l re t ur ns af t er o n e -y e a r h i at u s Talk to just about anyone in Columbia, and

party, gather for fellowship and invite all the

indeed in all of Tyrrell County, and you’ll find

neighbors in Washington, Tyrrell, Chowan and


two reasons they love their home: the people

Bertie counties to come along too?


and the natural beauty.

That’s exactly what happened in early


children and


enjoying carnival music,



BMX to and

fireworks, the day is an unapologetic tribute to

“The people here are just good salt of the

October when the Scuppernong River Festival

earth folks,” Columbia Mayor James Cahoon

made its return to Columbia and Tyrrell

This year, the festival returned after having

said. “They love God, family and county. It’s a

County. Folks gathered from near and far to

been canceled in 2020 – like many events of

wonderful place to live.”

spend the day celebrating all that is good

its kind – due to COVID-19. This year’s festival

about Tyrrell County.

returned with a bang as people gathered from

In addition, everyone from the mayor on

Tyrrell County’s allure,” he added.

down rave about the natural beauty of the

“The River Festival has lots of meaning for

Scuppernong River along with the quaint town

folks with Tyrrell County ties,” Tyrrell County

of Columbia and the historic communities

Manager David Clegg said. “It is a time to

The festival began with the annual parade

located all around Tyrrell County.

celebrate the harvest of the region and to take

through downtown Columbia. The festival

stock of personal connections.

featured entries ranging from the Columbia

So, what better way than to have a big


throughout the region to enjoy a day filled with many attractions.

Folks gathered from near and far to spend the day celebrating all that is good about Tyrrell County. High School Marching Band to the Tyrrell

A pair of queens also highlighted the

Volunteer Fire Department to Smokey the

day, meeting the people of Tyrrell County

Bear to town and county officials.

and taking time to take photos and be part

From there, festival goers moved on to

of the festivities.

award is given annually to a distinguished Columbia or Tyrrell County citizen. This year the festival honored Joe Landino. He served as a Tyrrell County

a variety of events. Children were able to

Miss North Carolina Carli Batson was

ride on rides while children of all ages were

a hit with the young and young at heart.

Agriculture Extension and Farm Bureau

able to enjoy helicopter rides.

She was also a participant in the parade.

programs. He was a member of the Rotary




In addition, there was entertainment

In addition, Miss Rhododendron Queen

Club of Columbia and served in leadership

ranging from live music to water activities

Taylor Loyd was part of the festival,

roles with many local, state, region and

to the Down to Earth Aerials performance.

traveling from the western part of North

national agriculture-related organizations.

Down to Earth performed their highly-





“This year the Scuppernong River


A highlight of the festival each year is the

Festival Committee honors a person with

scaffolding with silk scarves at the Tyrrell

naming of the Scuppernong River Festival

deep Tyrrell County roots who has made

County Courthouse.

Distinguished Citizen of the Year. The

an impact on the business community


in Columbia, in Tyrrell County and beyond,” stated Scott McLaughlin, in making the presentation on the eve of the festival. The





given for lifetime or special service to the community through civic, cultural, service, church, volunteer, business, professional, elected or other dedicated and committed contributions to the town and county. Presented annually since 2005, recipients have





Spencer, George G. Owens Sr., Shelton Ludford, David and Fiono Finch, Frances Voliva, Philip E. House Sr., Joseph B. Wynns, Dr. Alan Brickhouse, Janie Spencer, Thomas W. Spruill, W. Braxton Voliva, Steve Bryan, Dana Summerrell, Durwood Cooper Sr. and Scott McLaughlin. In addition to all the festivities at the festival, Bob Waters presented his tribute to Stephen Foster on the eve of the festival at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Columbia.


The 2021 Scuppernong River Festival went off with the only small hitch being

Those in the region won’t want to miss the 2022 edition next year.

some inclement weather, but even that

Thadd White is Editor of Eastern North

couldn’t dampen the spirits of the people in

Carolina Living and four community newspaper


in northeastern North Carolina.

. . . this and so much more.


#visitsuffolkva 49


C an a da r e me m be re d f or h i s d e d ic ation an d se rv i c e

Story & Photos by Deborah Griffin

Bear Grass Fire and Rescue lost one of its finest in June of 2020. Firefighter and first responder Michael “Mike” David Canada was honored in October by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), along with 87 other firefighters across the nation, who died last year in the line of duty; eight of whom were from North Carolina. Each October, NFFF honors firefighters who lost their lives the previous year, during a memorial service at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, M.D., (90-minutes outside Washington D.C.) This year’s event was live streamed for those who could not attend. Because last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19, 82 firefighters who died in 2019 were honored this year as well. NFFF presented each family with an American flag flown over the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. Since its creation in 1981, names of fallen heroes have been permanently added each year to the memorial in Maryland. The NFFF also shares firefighters’ stories at www.firehero.org, where people can read about how the heroes lived their lives, and what they meant to their loved ones, communities and the nation. Canada, who was 66, is survived by his bride of 44 years, Donna, and their two children, Heath and Heather - and their families. Originally, he was from Chesapeake, V.A.; she is from Henderson. They met at what was then Chowan College in Murfreesboro, fell in love and married. Mike’s job with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service would take them many places - where he was usually stationed no more than three to five years. As a registered nurse, Donna was able to find work wherever they moved. Because of his love for helping people, he


worked as a volunteer firefighter and EMS most places they lived. When Canada was stationed at the Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge in Bertie County, they realized Bear Grass

The couple had just returned home from a dinner out celebrating their anniversary, when his complications began. “He was talking to me one minute and gone the next,” she said.

would put them within a two-hour drive

First-responders to Donna’s 911 call

of their respective families in separate

were, of course, friends. They performed


CPR but were unable to bring him back.

They moved to Bear Grass in 1990,

“All the guys working on him were his

and found “home,” she said. They planted

buddies,” she said. “It was really hard for

roots and were embraced by the tightly knit


community. Mike joined the BGFR and Donna became a member of the BGFR Ladies Auxiliary.

Bear Grass Fire Chief Jody Griffin said Canada’s presence is missed “big time.” “He not only took calls with the fire department and helped with fire training,

“Mike started out as manager of the

but he was also very dedicated to the

Roanoke River Wildlife Refuge. His job

community,” he said. “His biggest things

was to protect the refuges and work with

were devotion to being a fireman and

duck hunters because ducks are federally

helping the community.”

protected,” she said.

Donna echoed those sentiments.

“He truly loved his work at the refuge. He

“He was such a social butterfly,” she said.

was there in the early days of its formation,”

“Everybody loved him - and he lived to help

she added.

people. His happiest moments were serving

Later in his career, Canada joined the USFWS’s law enforcement branch in nearby Washington.

others and spending time with family and friends. “He loved helping people,” she added.

In 2015, he retired after 38 years.

“In fact, the weekend before he died, he

Five years later, a day after their 44th

was out with a search party in Bear Grass

anniversary, Mike suffered cardiac arrest on

looking for a teen who had disappeared in

June 12, after responding to two BGFR calls

the woods. (She was found the next day),

earlier in the day. Though Canada was home

but he was always willing to go and do stuff

when his heart complications began, he was

like that.”

considered to have died in the line of duty

Griffin said Canada was always helping at

- because the complications were directly

community events, like the annual Chicken

related to his service.

Mull Festival in October, something he and


Everybody loved him - and he lived to help people. His happiest moments were serving others and spending time with family and friends. -Donna Canada Donna helped with together.

but some of her own family members were dealing with cases of COVID. As she watched, she said she “felt an overwhelming sense of loss - not just for my beloved husband, but for all the lives lost honored there. Mike’s name is forever

firefighters to go into cardiac arrest “from

inscribed on the bronze Memorial with others who sacrificed to serve.”

Volunteers from the Fire and Rescue

the stress and excitement of going to a call,”

Department cook several drum kettles of the

Donna said. “Heart attacks are covered (for

mull, a stew consisting of shredded chicken

the Memorial honor) if it’s within 24 hours

and saltine crackers. The concoction is sold

of a call. Those who are honored were not

“We are grateful, honored and feel a deep

in to-go cups as a fundraiser for Bear Grass

necessarily killed in a burning building, or by

sense of loyalty to continue serving others

Charter School and the Fire Department.

something that happened at the scene, but by

with humility and kindness to the best of our

something directly related to what they were

ability,” she said.

Despite losing him, Donna has continued helping with the event the past two years. “It gets a little easier over time,” she said. But she still misses him. “Mike enjoyed mentoring young people,” she added. He was a Scout leader when their son was in Boy Scouts, and when their children attended Bear Grass High School, he was on the football field three to four nights a week, helping prepare the kids in marching band for their next competition, she said.

exposed to,” she said. Donna admitted losing her life-longpartner has been hard.

in his own life, which ended so abruptly,” she added. Donna said, through it all she has felt supported at the local, state and national level.

somewhat to be a nurse and know how deaths

“That is what got me through,” she said.

like that work.”

Special help programs are offered through

Canada lived for a few days in the hospital hooked to a ventilator.

the NFFF. “We had a psychologist mediate weekly

“I knew - as a nurse - his brain was gone,

Zoom meetings for those who lost spouses,

unless a miracle happened. But I guess it

or parents who lost adult children,” she added.

helped he didn’t die that night … to be able to say goodbye. We didn’t think he was really

takes special needs kids hunting).

there - but he had a heartbeat and we felt like he could hear us,” she added.

Department and helping with the community,”

Donna was unable to attend the NFFF

she said. “Above all else he loved his family,

Memorial event in October, but watched the

God and country.”

livestream from home.


“These are the things Mike demonstrated

“Combined with COVID, it has been a

He was also active with the Roanoke Cashie

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for

the future, with family, she said.

tough place to be,” she said. “I guess it helped

Youth Dream Team in Windsor (a group that “He loved being a member of the BGFR

She plans to attend a Memorial Service in

“I had wanted to attend so badly,” she said,

The meetings introduced her to people across the country, all sharing similar grief. “One thing Mike loved was the brotherhood [fire departments] have. They really are like another family,” she said. “They’ve been very good to me. “Bear Grass Fire and Rescue, under the leadership of Chief Jody Griffin, did

an outstanding job in the days immediately following Mike’s death and contributing to his

2809 NC Highway 903 • Stokes, NC 27884

memorial service at Maple Grove Christian Church,” she added. Canada’s remains were transported via fire engine to the fire station one last time before being driven to the church. Four of his five grandsons were able to ride on the truck with their granddaddy. “The last call that went out on the Martin County EMS pager for 631 (Mike’s number) was done so honorably at his memorial service at Maple Grove,” she said. “Our minister, Kurt Honican, who is also BGFR Chaplain, did an outstanding job preaching the service,” she added. She also credits the


Williamston Fire Department for their help. “The






orchestrated everything for the funeral,” she said.

C: 252.717.5671 O: 252.752.6423 F: 252.752.6499

email: jmizell@stokescongleton.net


website: www.stokescongleton.com

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Color guard performed a flag ceremony. She hopes the legacy her husband left will be passed down through generations. Their son, Heath, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, lives with his wife, Mary, and their three sons in Newport. Heather Canada Moore, a registered nurse, lives with her husband, Chris Moore, and two sons in the nearby community of Farm Life. Donna said Mike spent most of his free time with his family, enjoying the outdoors - hunting,

Thanks Yall!

Shaw’s Bar-B-Que


and fishing - especially with his grandsons. He taught the boys how to fish and handle a gun safely. “They adored time with him,” she said. “We plan to forever love and honor his memory – by following his example of serving others,” Donna added. As she reflected over his life, Donna said she thought of a quote by St. Francis of Assisi, “Remember when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given: A heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” Deborah Griffin is a regular contributor to


202 West Boulevard • Williamston, NC • 252-792-5339

Eastern North Carolina Living.



S i p & S ho p

Story & Photos by Tyler Newman

Edenton hosts festive downtown event 54

There are times to sip and there are times to shop.

buzzed about seeing the bright and colorful storefront displays and old friends caught up amidst

On Nov. 18 in Edenton, there was time for both.

the shopping extravaganza, with plenty of bags in

Destination Downtown Edenton held a resurgent


Sip & Shop event after a darkened 2020, which was thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mild weather saluted the event, with a few calm breezes sweeping up from Edenton Bay to keep

Dedicated to the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, Sip & Shop returned in 2021 to bring a wave of evening festivities to the Broad Street commercial corridor.

temperatures above average and pleasant for a November evening. Between 5-8 p.m., the Sip & Shop hubbub meandered across Broad Street, ushering in the

From Byrum’s Hardware to Surf, Wind and Fire

peak of the shopping season.

and everything in between, shoppers had a plethora

Local business owners were enthusiastic about

of options throughout downtown Edenton to

the return of the event, with some being newly

choose from on Thursday evening for holiday gift

minted members of the party.

shopping. Christmas

“This is my first time [participating],” says decorations



Annette Ringeisen of Cloth and Twine. “It’s a great

freshly installed and adorning the streetscapes

idea, something like this should be once a month

of downtown. Wreaths hung high, lights casting a

or every Friday, to bring in more people. Especially

warm glow up and down sidewalks as neighbors

for people who can’t make it out because of early

greeted each other in passing.

shopping hours.”

Dogs trotted ahead of their owners, children

At Edenton Bay Trading Company, Debbie


and Malcolm King are both ready to see the holiday season return in a bolder fashion than before. “It’s great to see Sip & Shop kicking off the holiday season,” the Kings said. “We’re glad to see the holiday season back and better than ever after a crazy year last year.” This is the first Sip & Shop for DDE Executive Director Morgan Potts, who is excited for the levels of participation she saw from downtown businesses. “I am beyond pleased with the number of businesses who are participating this year - 21 retailers,” Potts said, who took over as Executive Director in October. “COVID-19 has altered the usual holiday plans for the past

Outside Broad Street Bazaar, Maria Ore

people, it’s great to spend time sipping and

year and I know citizens are looking forward

took on a Santa beard and waltzed to Michael

shopping with friends,” said O’Hara, alongside

to getting back to normal and celebrating the

Bublé’s serenades as shoppers came and

Sandy Moats.

holidays - which includes gift giving.”

went. Some sipped on the hot apple cider just

At North No. 4, Alexandria Evans is looking forward to spending her business anniversary with the event. A significant milestone. “I’m excited to celebrate my one year anniversary with Sip & Shop this week,” Evans said. “I’m excited that it’s back.”


outside the shop, others were laser-focused on their gift hunting. Just inside the Bazaar, Amy O’Hara greeted all those who entered with a warm smile and the offering of wine and cupcakes. “I’ve enjoyed participating and meeting

Post-event, Potts hailed the return of Sip & Shop as a “success.” “Remember, shop small, shop local!” Potts said. Tyler Newman is a Staff Writer for the Chowan Herald and Eastern North Carolina Living.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 KJV CSIC is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational body of believers whose vision is to love all people, win them to Christ, build them in discipleship, and send them out to fulfill their divine destiny!

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Story by Gene Motley Photos by Andre’ Alfred

F ly i ng High Red Baron football coach glad he stayed close 58

There are 800 miles between Sarasota, Florida and northeastern North Carolina, but that didn’t matter to Gates County High School football coach Matt Biggy when he was recruited as a lineman to play football at then-tiny Division III Chowan College. “Steve Lee was the coach here at the time and while he was there for my first year and a half they had a bunch of coaching changes after that,” Biggy recalls. “Looking back on it, while we didn’t win a lot, the experience was worth it because I made a lot of great friendships from that program.” Growing up on the southern Gulf coast of the Sunshine state, a move to the small town of Murfreesboro was quite the experience for a young lad, who lists the University of South Florida, Mars Hill and Elon as among the schools who pursued him for his on-field talents. “I liked the area here,” he related. “I liked the small community and it was kind of nice to go places and know a lot of people; and it was the same thing with a small school environment. It’s been something I’ve grown to like, because there’s something about it that feels like home.” An ankle injury that required surgery would curtail his football career, but in the meantime Biggy studied to become an Athletic Trainer. However, the school dropped the program as a major during his underclassman days so he switched over to Exercise Science with a minor in Biology. With a year of playing eligibility left, it was hard for the 6’-3”, 250-plus pound lineman to give up the game completely, so as part of finishing his course work he went to Hertford County High School as a student volunteer with the Bears’ football program. “Dealton Cotton was the head coach, so I spent a year working with the football team, and then the following year I coached some of the Chowan lineman under Steve Hill,” Biggy said. When Biggy finished college, he was able to land a local job allowing him to remain in the area. “After I graduated, Coach Mark Long (another Chowan grad) was working in Northampton County and encouraged me to apply for a position at the alternative school there as a lateral entry Science teacher so I could get my (teaching) certification,” he noted. In addition to teaching, I also coached wrestling.” Part of the journey for Biggy was learning more and more about the game with each new opportunity. “Some of it’s little stuff, some of it’s X’s and O’s, and then there’s the stuff that’s totally off the field,” he acknowledged. “I was pretty fortunate to be around some people I could learn stuff.” In 2006, Gates County High School had a head coaching vacancy in football and Biggy applied. 2021 marked his 15th


season with the Red Baron program. “Those first two years were kind of rough, but we started building and since then we’ve been pretty competitive,” he said. “We have our ups-and-downs as any small school does. Sometimes you graduate a big group and have to restart a new learning curve, but I think overall we’ve been pretty competitive with the rest of them.” Known for coaching a solid ground game from the ‘Barons, he admits an air attack is not his team’s forte. “We actually completed one pass this year,” he laughs. “But the crazy thing is something I was sharing with some of the other coaches is that in the 2018 season we threw the ball a lot. We didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher that year so we pushed the ball downfield a lot and actually had six (passing) touchdowns that year. Then the following year we didn’t complete a forward pass until Week-8 of the season.” Biggy says much of what transpires offensively depends on the personnel he has each season. “If we’ve got the guys to spread it out and throw it a little bit then we will, but I’m not going to try to force it,” he related. “Because if we’ve got the guys who can run on top and over you, then we will. I don’t want to put guys out there in a position where they can’t be successful.” He admits he’s happy to grind it out like the

late ACC coach and trench fighter Bill Dooley,

bounced around from several conferences

who was teased often for his running game

based on their enrollment.

philosophy of “six yards and a cloud of dust.” “I’m patient,” he stated. “I’m also passionate

“We’ve Louisburg,




conferences North



because if we get three yards, and three yards,

Manteo, Edenton, Plymouth and, of course,

and four more, that’s a first down, so I’ll take

Tarboro,” he explained. “You just have to go

it. If we hit a big play I’ll take it. If not we’ll just

out there and prove how good you are. A lot

grind it out and get chunk yardage on every

of these leagues you just have to line up and


make a run at it.”

When asked, he also has just one doctrine when describing his favorite offense. “One that scores points,” he confesses with a chuckle. Being a small school (with a 1A classification according to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association), Gates County has

Six years ago, Biggy married his wife, Beth, a nurse. In addition to their dog and their cat, the couple follow their three young nephews’ gridiron exploits through Pop Warner football as well as middle school basketball. “We stay busy with that,” he said. “Watching a lot of games.” Biggy credits the administration at Gates County High with helping keep him grounded so he can remain in charge of the Red Baron football program. He admits there have been some other offers to relocate to other schools, but for now he's staying put at “li’l ol’ Gates County”. After a season just ended in December, he can now turn his attention to getting his players in the weight room and in the Spring, he will follow them some more as the school’s assistant track-and-field coach. “Hopefully we’ll have a full off-season after the pandemic year last year,” he stated. “February is what gets us ready for August.” Gene Motley is a retired Sports Editor and Sports Director and regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.



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FA M I LY FAR M Sauls descendants celebrate heritage, working the land, building community Story & Photos by Donna Marie Williams Like his father and grandfather before him, Andrew Sauls has lived his entire life on his family’s homestead in the Greene County countryside northwest of Snow Hill. At the age of 83, he recalls most of the years he worked on the farm, including in the family’s tobacco crops. “I started crooking tobacco in the summer of 1946 at five years old. It has been 76 years ago but I can remember good 75 years ago,” Andrew said. “My momma didn’t want me to crook tobacco. I was the youngest in the family and I wanted to follow the older boys.” He is the fifth generation to work the land, which has passed from parent to child for more than 200 years — a difficult feat for any family, but a great one for a black family who did it through slavery and Jim Crow to the present. The farm nourished the family and the family nourished the community with thrift, hard work and ingenuity. They built other enterprises, created a grassroots network to


support neighbors during hard times and even

as the next generation has seized on the

hosted a Rosenwald school that still stands on

history their family has made and works to

the property today.

preserve and share it.

The family continues to make its living

A man freed

from the farm, leasing much of the land now

The Sauls family traces its roots to Norfolk.

due to Andrew’s age. But a new era is dawning

It was there in 1712 when Capt. John Fulcher

died and willed his 640-acre plantation to

Andrew remembers the family’s 14 mules

his enslaved children, simultaneously freeing

they used to tend the land and can still

them by an act of manumission.

remember when the family began using

Despite the will, a Virginia council later issued a ruling that people granted freedom

tractors to replace the mules’ labor.

I had to come straight home — not stop at no store or nowhere,” Andrew said. “When I came home the truck would be loaded with lumber. Me and my cousin had to

A free man

take that load of lumber to Wayne County and

could not cohabit the same area with slaves.

Issac Sauls Jr. pursued other endeavors. He

unload it,” he added.

The family could not remain on the land and

ventured into real estate and began buying

The enterprising spirit of Issac Sauls Jr. and

remain free.

and selling property in Greene, Wayne, Wilson

his ancestors helped the family keep the farm

and Pitt counties.

through difficult times, his son said.

While some of the children chose to stay in Virginia, many moved to North Carolina. Daniel Artis was among them.

He entered the funeral business along


with Levi Hamilton. They constructed a

Hardships included being freemen in the

He was able to acquire land on what is

funeral home in Snow Hill. Andrew’s brothers

antebellum south, the Great Depression,

now Nooherooka Road, near its intersection

were not keen on helping their father in the

the Great World Wars and living as African

with N.C. 58, not far from the village where


Americans before and during the Civil Rights

Tuscarora Indians were slaughtered in 1713. Daniel Artis passed the land to his daughter, Prior Ann Artis. She left it to her son, Issac Sauls Sr., who passed it along to his son, Issac Sauls Jr., Andrew’s father. Currently, the farm includes more than 400 acres purchased by the family over the generations. Andrew was one of six children. He and his siblings, Cain, Andrew, Johnnie, Isaac III and Hattie, helped their father with the farm.

“Them boys didn’t want to deal with the funeral business. They had to wear suits and hold services on Sunday,” Andrew said.

Movement. It was during the depression that Issac Sauls II carpentry skills were put to work.

“When they built the funeral home, they

“Through the Great Depression, my

thought they would be able to deal with it.

father wasn’t educated, but he had plenty

Back then, they didn’t bury anybody during

of common sense,” Andrew said, adding his

the week. They buried them on Sunday.”

father would work as a handyman to earn

Prodded by his sons, Issac Sauls Jr. then opened a saw and stick mill in 1947.

extra money. “He said during the Depression, things

“It was to supplement income. We sawed

were kind of tight. You had to learn how to

lumber and logs and had a log truck. We did

deal with the Depression. We weren’t making

“My daddy was a businessman and

that in the winter time. When we finished

a lot of money, but if you don’t have a lot of

carpenter by trade. He wasn’t educated and

with the farm work probably in September,

bills to pay you can get by,” he said.

he had a sense of humor. He could be almost

we would work there every day in the winter

anything he wanted,” Andrew said.

unless it was too cold,” Andrew said.

When civil unrest began lighting fires across the nation, the Sauls family was not

“His trade was carpentry. He took up

“I was hauling lumber with a two-ton truck

farming, but I don’t think he ever plowed a

at 17 years old. I was still in school then. (His

“We ran into little bumps and bruises and

mule. He owned mules,” he added.

father) bought me a car. When I got off school

threats, but we didn’t pay it no mind. It was

immune, Andrew said.


sits across a short walking distance from her current home. “We learned a lot,” Jannettie said. The school also served as a center of community for the children and their families. “Our parents back there were farmers and they tended hogs. Every Mayday they would kill pigs and have barbecues. The women would fry chickens and we just had a spread. We would fix a big ole table out here in the yard. We had a big ole pole.They put different materials on the pole and we would wind the pole. That was a big ole event we had here,” Jannettie said. Annie Reid Sauls, daughter of Mabel and kind of tough. You got called some bad names and threatened. Daddy told us to do — just be careful and not to back down,” Andrew said.

community supported each other. “It shows the unity of African Americans in that day. Issac was a businessman. He

“I had been stopped by people like that,

purchased land from other farmers when

but when I was 21 years old I was just as crazy

farmers were losing their property. He and his

as they were.”

wife helped them by mortgaging it for them.

Cain Sauls Jr., Andrew’s nephew and grandson of Issac Sauls Jr. added, “My granddaddy struggled with these racial things but he had a business mind. He kept everything under control. That’s why it’s here now.”

This helped them keep it,” said Artis Stevens said. Issac Sauls II was also a supporter of his uncle, C.D. Sauls. “C.D. went to Tuskegee and spoke. They had a business league with Booker T.

Despite some misconceptions, many

Washington. He was an incorporator of the

African Americans in what is current-day

Concord Cotton Mill. They established the first

Greene County owned land for many years.

black bank in Wilson. C.D. Sauls owned a lot of

Through tough times, they worked together,

property in Snow Hill while Issac owned a lot

Andrew said.

of property around (the Sauls family farm) and

“From here to Snow Hill, pretty much all that land was owned by black people,” Andrew said.

in Wayne County,” Artis Stevens said. “They had people such as Issac supporting their efforts.”

“Our families worked together. We were

With help from Booker T. Washinton’s

cousins and uncles. Another thing about

Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald,

farming back then was the expenses won’t as

president of Sears-Roebuck, the Best Chapel

much if the families worked together. Most of

School was constructed on the farm, teaching

what we needed was what we raised.”

children in the community through the first






businessmen, craftsmen and more.

School is one of the few remaining Rosenwald

“There were a lot of free men and women of color that inhabited this area,” said family member JoAnn Artis Stevens. our young people need to know we were more than slaves. There were free African Americans too.”


The two classroom school taught children a coal heater, outdoor plumbing and water was received using a hand pump. A small kitchen served the children unable to return home for lunch.

Community American

Schools in North Carolina. from grades first to six grade. It operated with

“This history is really important because


half of the 20th Century. The Best Chapel

Jannettie Sauls, Andrew’s bride, was one of families



the many students to attend the school that

William Sauls, also attended the school. She was in second grade when the school closed down. “We lived in a small house across the field. I walked to school every day because I lived right there. At lunch time, I would go home, eat and then come back,” Annie said. “It was good to me.” History When the school closed, Issac Sauls Jr. converted it into a home where many fond memories were made. “We could have been professional baseball players, because every Saturday and Sunday we would get out in the field and play softball. We could play,” Annie said with a laugh. Annie lived in the home until she was married in 1974. Her mother, Mabel, continued to live there until 1992. Annie’s sister moved in and resided there from 1996 until her death in 2010. Now in her 90s, Mabel still feels at home there. “It still feels like home. It’s a blessing to still see the school here,” Mabel said. With the building vacant since 2010, the family begsn a new enterprise — turning the school into a museum and listing it on the National Register of Historic Places. Artis-Stevens is currently working on the renovations and national listing. “We grew up in this house and worked these fields. There were some good memories here. I just love JoAnn’s vision of restoring this place and for all of us to be here today to celebrate the legacy of my grandfather,” said

Tamara Sauls of Raleigh, daughter of Mabel and William Sauls “We had our struggles and hardships, but we overcame. We were able to maintain this farm. At that time, for black people, that’s an honor. I feel proud saying I’m the granddaughter of Issac Sauls.” Plans are still in the works, but preserving the family and other African American history is important, Artis-Stevens said. “I think it's important because it shows the perseverance of a people that have been oppressed but they did not let the oppression hinder or stop them. They found ways to survive


and make it. Listening to family stories, there

Belhaven 906 US Hwy 264E 252-943-6388

was a lot of love, there was hard work, there was working together unity and faith. We’ve lost a lot of what kept them together and what made us

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strong. We’ve gotten away from it. It’s important so we can reconnect to the morals, the values and the faith and the ethics our forefathers had,” ArtisStevens said. Artis-Stevens is thankful for her family's cooperation while the family is thankful for her efforts. “I never thought it would be like this. Thanks to JoAnn — she saw a vision. Thank God for that,” Annie said. Keeping the tradition alive has been difficult for the family at times, but always worth it,

Support the Martin County Arts Council’s Annual Christmas Market

Andrew said. “We had to do some sacrificing. In order to keep something this long in the family you can’t just live outside your income. You have to be protective of how you spend and don’t be too high on the hog,” he said. “It’s something to think about. We had to do a lot of sacrificing and hard work to keep it. It was not easy to maintain this land and keep it out of debt. We did some struggling to keep this land back in the day because the odds were against us. But thank God we made it. … “It was hard work, but I can look back now and see it was worth it. Hard work will not kill you. Laziness will kill you. I worked hard. It didn’t bother me because it was well worth it. I got something to show for it,” Andrew said. Cain added, “We have a lot of history passed





NOV. 11 – DEC. 22 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM TUES. – FRI.

on with my father. We’re trying to keep everything intact. I’m hoping as it goes down, generation to generation, they can keep everything going.”

124 Washington Street, Williamston NC 27892 65

Community built

Farm Life School shaped more than education Story by Sarah hodgeS StallS • PhotoS by Craig danielS & Contributed The iconic brick building once known as the Asa J. Manning

I was able to sit and look through that book with my grandfather

Farm Life School has not housed students for decades now. Its

and hear his memories of checking out the very same book. This

purpose may have changed, but the building and the amazing

was my favorite day as a student at Farm Life School.

people who came and went through those doors are the source of

Grandaddy Oscar, who was born in 1904, was 75 years old

great memories for those who were once students at the historic

or better when we made this memory. Even then I was a fan of


history, but my only regret is I wasn’t old enough to ask more

It would be years later before I understood the role my own family played in the history of the Farm Life School.

He began school at Corey’s School which was one of the three

I was one of the fortunate ones who attended Farm Life School

that consolidated to form the Asa J. Manning Farm Life School

from kindergarten through sixth grade. As a child, one of my

in 1922. This school stood across from the Daniel Road near the

favorite pastimes was to sit in the Farm Life School library and

modern day intersection the Hollow Pond Road and N.C. 171

wander through the giant old history books stacked in the corner.

in what is now known as the Farm Life Community. Then, the

Many of them were so heavy, I would struggle to get them off the

community was called Griffin’s Township.

shelf. The books were old with ornately detailed covers and their pages were brittle and worn. Sometimes I would find pencilsmudged notes written in the margins. Many of them had been there for decades. One day I was flipping through one of the books and when I

The other schools that were consolidated to form the school were Getsinger School #42 and another known as Hardison’s or Kelly’s Hill - #9. The Getsinger School was located on what is now the E.H. Williams Road across from the original Piney Grove Baptist Church.

went to the back inside cover, I saw a pencil-smudged signature

The final location of Kelly’s Hill School was beside Raymond

that looked familiar. I may have been in the fourth grade at the

Gurkin’s Store near the intersection of Maple Grove Church Road

time, no more.

and N.C. 171.

I eased the book cover back to safely get a closer look and there it was, my grandfather’s signature - Oscar B. Roberson. We were not supposed to be able to take those books from the library, but the librarian let me take it home that night. I could barely carry it on the bus and then manage to not drop it as I walked up the lane when we got off the bus.



Students also came to the Asa J. Manning Farm Life School from Lilley’s Hall School, which was located on what is now Fire Department Road between Meadowbranch Road and Yarrell Creek Road. Others came from Smithwick’s School closer to Jamesville. Consolidation of the three schools, along with approval to build the brick building, was given during the July 1921 meeting of

the Martin County Board of Education. The state building fund contributed $6,000 towards the construction of the school. The naming of the school had special meaning. Asa J. Manning, who was from the community, served as county school superintendent from 1914 until 1923. The school opened for its first term in October 1921. My family tree goes back to the opening of the school where I found my great-grandfather (Oscar’s father), Henry Roberson, on the first local committee of the school along with N.R. Manning, W.H. Daniel, C.C. Coltrain and P.E. Getsinger. Francis Manning, local newspaper editor and historian, wrote the school was “destined” to have an important role in developing the community that would become known as Farm Life. “From that time forward,” Manning wrote, “community activities were largely centered in the school and the section (of the county) gained wide recognition as one of the most progressive and cooperative rural areas of the state.” “The federal government then was beginning to encourage and offer financial help for establishment and operation of farm life type schools,” Manning wrote. North Carolina’s General Assembly first authorized the concept in

female principal in the county who left a legacy of hard work and

1911. By 1961, there were 21 Farm Life Schools in operation in North

character that improved the lives of every student who crossed


her path.

In addition to regular academic studies, students received training

At Farm Life School, everyone was family. Respect was the

in modern agricultural methods to promote better farming and home

universal lesson learned and some of us even recited Bible verses

economics. These studies were designed to help improve conditions

on the school bus – only on Fridays.

at home for many and help them better prepare for life after school.

The events of the March 2, 1987 Martin County Board of

The concept would later be replaced with what was called

Education meeting changed things. Efforts to keep the school

Vocational Education and now Career Technical Education. “The school was a success from the start,” according to Manning, “and later gained the North Carolina High School Standard Rating.” The school was enlarged in 1935 by three classrooms. Thanks to

open were unsuccessful and it was decided the school would close at the end of the 1986-1987 school year. Although sad, that decision could not take away the lessons we learned from the school that shaped a community.

the dedication and skills of those in the community, a gymnasium and lunchroom were also added to the campus. In a bold move for the time, a teacherage (two-story house) was

Sarah Hodges Stalls is a longtime contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

established on the north edge of the campus. Young teachers came from all over to begin their careers at the innovative school. The gymnasium is long gone, but was the source of countless basketball games and epic haunted houses in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, the lunchroom is still the home of the Farm Life Ruritanette Club. In 1952, Farm Life School’s high school consolidated with Williamston High School. From the day the doors first opened, Farm Life School led the way in education for everyday people. Skills learned there sent the Greatest Generation off to war and helped them establish a life and living for their families when they were fortunate to return home. The school turned out everything from farmers to teachers and Major League baseball players. Farm Life School saw the first black



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Day’s Trip Cedar Grove Cemetery Story & Photos by Todd Wetherington

New Bern’s silent sanctuary Behind its walls embedded with shells, mollusks, and other river invertebrates, visitors to New Bern’s Cedar Grove Cemetery enter a world older even than the city’s towering Masonic Temple and Harvey Mansion (though not quite as old as Tryon Palace). The Spanish moss draped cedar trees that give the cemetery its name and the majestically arching mausoleums stand sentinel over a landscape still very much alive with the stories of those who rest there. Established in 1800, the cemetery was owned by Christ Episcopal Church until 1853, when it was transferred to the city of New Bern. According to local historians, it’s almost certain that the cemetery was established in response to the yellow fever epidemics of 1798-99. During the epidemic “so many persons succumbed that at night trenches were dug in the Christ Episcopal church yard in a line near the adjoining property to the northwest... and the bodies were buried there indiscriminately,” reads one contemporaneous account. After 1802 the cemetery became the major New Bern burial ground. The grave markers and cemetery records read like a “Who’s Who” of 19th and 20th century North Carolina’s most influential citizens: William Gaston, congressman, writer, state supreme court justice, and author of the North Carolina state song; William Williams, a portrait artist who painted from life the only Masonic portrait of George Washington; Moses Griffin, who established a free school and served the state throughout his life; John Stanly, lawyer, politician and public servant; and Mary Bayard Clarke, 19th century New Bern poet and writer.


With a good map a visitor might even locate the grave of perhaps New Bern’s most famous son, Caleb Bradham, who concocted his Pepsi-Cola formula in a local drugstore in 1893. Cedar Grove Cemetery also bears witness to the region’s brief but lethal engagement in the Civil War. At the cemetery’s mid-point a bronze Confederate soldier rises 18 feet above its granite column, parade rifle at rest, a cannonball propped by his right foot and a sword slung at his side. The monument sits above a vault where approximately 67 Confederate soldiers are interred. A Latin inscription at the statue’s feet reads, “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori,” (“It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”) But for all it’s famous dead and memorials to history’s murderous advance, Cedar Grove Cemetery may be more well known among tourists for its looming black entrance arch than its celebrity occupants. Built from the same shell stone as the cemetery’s wall, legend has it that if the arch “weeps” or “bleeds” its sticky, rust colored ooze on a pallbearer passing beneath, the unlucky individual will soon be the guest of honor at his or her own funeral procession. Inscribed over the arch gates is a hymn composed by Francis Lister Hawks, grandson of Tryon Palace architect John Hawks: “Still hallowed be this spot where lies Each dear loved one in earth’s embrace Our God their treasured dust doth prize Man should protect their resting place.” In 1972, Cedar Grove Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the cemetery is part of a New Bern downtown that has seen massive revitalization, as the city long ago embraced its heritage and earmarked funds to preserve its historical structures. For many, the cemetery now feels more than ever like a sanctuary. An island, for the living and the dead, carved from an older and stranger world. Cedar Grove Cemetery is located at 808 George St, New Bern. For more information visit www.newbern.com/ cedar-grove-cemetery.html


biography •


Jimmy Hoggard


Career of service comes to a close

Each step of his political career Jimmy Hoggard has known when the timing was right.

mayor in his own right.” Hoggard’s political career began when he sought

That was true as he closes out his life as an elective

office as a town commissioner. He said several things

office holder earlier this month and handed the mayor’s

factored into that decision, including high utility rates

gavel to his successor.

and low police officer pay.

“I’ve always heard you just know when it’s time,”

Hoggard said he felt the board of commissioners –

the retiring Windsor Mayor said. “I want to do some

both then and now – have done a good job of rectifying

traveling that I haven’t been able to do and I want to

both situations.

get further invested in the grandparent business.”

“One of the things I’m most proud of is the

Those reasons led Hoggard, who has been

professionalism and training of the Windsor Police

mayor of Windsor for a dozen years and served as a

Department,” he said. “They are as good as they come.”

commissioner for two decades prior, to decide now

The mayor said he has kept in mind the importance

was the time to move on. He didn’t run for re-election

of never returning to the financial struggles the town

in November, and indeed backed his successor, Lewis

has faced in the past.

Hoggard, for the position.

“You can end up back in those situations through no

“Lewis will make a good mayor and I’m excited

fault of your own,” he said. “We’ve been cognizant of

for him,” Jimmy Hoggard said. “I’ll be here to support

that and tried to make sure we are as prepared as you

him any way I can, but I also know the best way I can

can be.”

support him is stay out of his way and let him be the

After 20 years in two different stints on the town


board, Jimmy Hoggard decided to seek the

Hoggard said the town didn’t have to be

mayor’s office when the late Bob Spivey chose

part of the flood program for homes, but chose

to retire.

to because they felt it was the right thing to do

“I served with Bob for a good while and I

for the citizens of Windsor and Bertie County.

learned a lot from him,” Hoggard said. “I was

He said the town is still working to help

watching him, even when he didn’t know it,

commercial businesses who have yet to

and trying to learn.

receive any financial aid from the flooding.

“When he decided to retire, I wanted some projects to continue, and I had a few things I wanted to initiate myself, so I decided to run,” he continued. One of the benefits of seeking office at the time, according to Hoggard, was the town’s employees.

“I found out early on when meeting with other mayors that tourism was growing 20 percent per year and we weren’t getting any of that,” he said. Hoggard led the town to work with officials

“We had – and have – a superb

at East Carolina University and the plan was

administrator, excellent department heads

developed to modernize the old campground.

and good employees,” Mayor Hoggard said. “It

Those same officials suggested something

was a real benefit that I didn’t need to make

that was considered somewhat revolutionary

personnel change and could focus on other

for the region at the time – tree houses.

areas. I’m proud to say I’m leaving it like I found it.”

“I don’t make rash decisions as a general rule,” the mayor said. “I thought about it, but

During his three terms as mayor, Hoggard has seen three “horrific” floods, which he says has been the biggest challenge of the municipal government. “We are still working on some of the flooding programs,” he said. “Over the course of time, 58 houses, give or take, have been purchased or elevated.”


A bright spot for Hoggard’s administration has been tourism.

I felt because it was so different it could be successful.” Since that time, the campground has been completely upgraded and four tree houses have been built as part of the Cashie Treehouse Village. “I went out there the day before Thanksgiving and there were no spaces open

in the campground and the tree hues were

he was heartbroken to have lost four board

full,” he said. “That was about 60 people who

members to death during his time in office.

were in Windsor that may not have been a few years ago.” The mayor said those visitors spend money locally, thereby increasing business for local restaurants and merchants. “They don’t use our schools. They don’t use our jail. They aren’t costing taxpayers,” he said. “They are simply spending money in Windsor and Bertie County.” Hoggard said of the $1.5 million spent on the Cashie River projects, the town only put in about $400,000. “It is paying dividends,” he said. “I think sometimes people don’t know how much.” Another area of pride for Hoggard is the

The mayor said he was proud of the people of Windsor and grateful for his time serving the citizenry.

Windsor Fire Department. “The town of Windsor has always been supportive of the Windsor Fire Department, and they have repaid our trust and faith in them,” he said. “We buy a new truck every four years or so to make sure no vehicle in service is over 20 years old.” He said the department has worked hard to train and bring down fire insurance rates.

He said all four – Joe Alexander, Bob Brown, Collins Cooper and Lawrence Carter – were people he respected and missed. He said the current board – the retiring David





Whitaker, Camille Rascoe and Randy Walston – had been excellent to work with as well. “We are fortunate to have had board members who don’t have a private agenda,” he said. “It has made my job easier. The commissioners have always wanted to do the right thing for the citizens of Windsor.” As he steps aways, Hoggard said his best advice to his successor is to work on things that move the town forward and not get bogged down in the day-to-day operations.

“It’s dog leash laws and horses and things you may not expect that get people upset,” he said. “Fortunately, I’ve learned to be a good listener.” The mayor also praised Town Administrator Allen Castelloe for his work. “I can’t even begin to say how good Allen is

“It’s a lot easier to say that than to do it,” he mused. The mayor said he was proud of the people of Windsor and grateful for his time serving the citizenry. As he steps away from public life, the mayor will continue to own and operate his local business.

While Bertie County has seen a population

at his job,” the mayor said. “He is so proficient

decrease, Hoggard said he is proud the town

not many problems came to my office. I can

“I’m not retiring from work. I’ll still be here,”

of Windsor has basically been stable over the

truly say he allowed me to work on other

he said. “It’s just time to step away and do

past 10 years.

challenges because I rarely had to be involved

some other things.”

“We’ve held our own,” he said. Hoggard also said he had learned it isn’t the big issues that often cause public concern.

in personnel matters and the like.” The mayor also credited his board members for their dedication, while saying

Thadd White is Editor of Eastern North Carolina Living and four community newspaper in northeastern North Carolina.


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Kitchen Sylvia Hughes with her grandmother, Bertie Dameron.

Probably most people would agree that 2020 was a year we never saw coming. If someone had told us we would be wearing masks everywhere and avoiding other people, we probably would have doubted their sanity. While challenging and stressful, it was not quite as difficult in Eastern North Carolina as it was in many large cities where restrictions were much tighter. Still, many people were shut in their homes much of the time or at work with no contact with other people except perhaps a few coworkers. Like many people, I found myself cooking recipes I hadn’t tried before in order to keep myself busy. Many of them I found online. Some were successful and others were not. I tried some artisan bread which didn’t turn out very well. I find now that it was a lack of cooking in the proper pot. I also tried many different kinds of muffins; some were good, others didn’t suit my taste. One pot meals and meals baked on a sheet pan that I hadn’t tried before was another experiment. I found most of those on YouTube.

The results of trying those recipes was about ten pounds I didn’t carry with me before. My doctor was not amused nor impressed with my cooking experiments. She suggested I try healthier things to cook. But here I am almost at the end of 2021, still carrying those extra pounds and having just seen my doctor again. She said I must cut down on starchy foods. Have these last two years found you with extra pounds too? Just in case they have, I will share some of the things I have found and some I am trying. One thing I am sure of is that I have not been eating enough fruits and vegetables. That is my starting point. Buy fresh vegetables to cook for most meals and eat and cook fresh fruit. Second, I will only eat starches sparingly. Just a note here: while beans are starchy, they are also very healthy, Third, I will make sweets without the white sugar. Now if only I stick to it! Two things I tried last week were soup and stew minus potatoes or pasta. I found a recipe online for breakfast or snacks with blueberries that was delicious.

Sylvia Hughes is a retired newspaper editor and columnist residing in Windsor. In addition to three sons, she has a gaggle of grandchildren, many of whom love cooking with her just as she did with her mother and grandmother.


Beef Stew

, V-8 juice and Add peas, carrots ef 2 pounds stew be salt to taste. bes cu n turn heat to 2 beef bouillo g to a boil and in Br as pe n ee gr hour, then mix 1 package frozen w. Cook about an ts lo rro ca by ba e ag and add 1 pack with a little water ch e ar ic st ju rn 8 co Vns 2 small ca five minutes or rnstarch pot. Cook about to 2 tablespoons co with bouillon until a little thick. Cook stew beef on ur ho 1 t ou ab for cubes in large pot simmer.

Vegetable Beef S o


1 ½ pounds 93/7 ground beef 1 small can swee 2 beef bouillon t peas cubes 1 small can gree 1 can petite dice n beans d tomatoes Brown beef. 1 can Margare Add rest of t Holmes ok ra, ingredient tomatoes and co s, br in g to a boil. Turn he rn at to simmer and I can Margare co ok at least an hour t Holmes trip le but the long succotash er the better.

k c a n S y r r e b e lu b d e k Coo e of blueberries, a Bring one packag e, aple syrup to tast little water and m n mer five to seve to a boil and sim o tablespoons of minutes. Add tw d me water, mix an cornstarch to so s. add to blueberrie minutes. more two Cook u e when cold. Yo Refrigerate and us

w yogurt or some lo can add a swirl of m (Cool Whip or fat whipped crea is licious snack. Th canned) for a de pancakes or would be good on u are indulging. French toast if yo used with any kind This recipe can be of berry.



Photos by Andre’ Alfred

Barns and old buildings like these can be found around the 14 counties. 80 2

81 3

Grace & Truth Amanda H oggard

Setting Up the Pins


y kids have been obsessed with the sunrise as we drive

You’ve challenged me to see my life differently and to stop waiting.

to school these beautiful fall days. They’re yelling out,

To enjoy it and give it meaning in the very moment. Thank you, for that

“Look! Pink! Mommy, blue and purple!”

rich gift. You’ve shown me the beauty in things that take a little extra

Graham, our youngest’s, version of ‘orange’ is the best, “Mommy!

Sky is ornesh!” I love it. We’re out the door with our kids by 7:15 a.m., six days a week. And,

time, need to cook a little longer or require just a bit more sunlight. You’ve slowed me down and helped me take my eyes off the pavement to see the rich soil instead.

when I get tired of the drill, and it starts feeling like groundhog day, I’m

For those of you reading this, and you’ve got school-aged children,

reminded of one of the reasons I love Bertie County and its people so

the humdrum comes especially fast and furious. You barely get to work

much. We embrace the things that really make life meaningful here. Hard work, time with family, the mission of God, all are woven through our lives, held together by gratitude and steadiness. I have admired that about Bertie and Askewville. And it has challenged me. Farming in our veins, there is an agricultural attitude in Eastern North Carolina. It’s a willingness to wait for the good things. It’s an appreciation for the slow and steady work of each day, bringing a pleasure in the work itself as well as the end result. I sometimes spend my days waiting for the next exciting day to arrive, like I’m in a continuous countdown, looking forward to another “wow” moment. Don’t you know that sort of perspective fastforwards your days? It covers our ‘regular’ days with a lackluster haze of ingratitude and makes us force them past. But, truly, exciting days are few and far between. The wedding day, the birth of a baby or grandbaby, graduations, the moment you’re finally cancer free. Absolutely momentous. And rare.

and finish your day before it’s practice-homework-dinner-clean uppack the lunches-pack the backpacks-do the bedtime deal-and then you blink and you’re resetting it all again. Be of good cheer, what you’re doing is full of miracles and beauty. It is absolutely profound work. One of my very favorite songs is called “Setting Up the Pins.” Sara Groves says, “My grandmother had a working song, hummed it low all day long, sing for the beauty that’s to be found, in setting up the pins for knocking em down. Cook a dinner, clean the kitchen, hit the light, brush your teeth, read a book, say a prayer good-night Everyone everywhere some way somehow are setting up the pins for knocking ‘em down it can feel simple but it’s really profound…”

Most of life, like Joyce Meyer says, is just, “Monday Tuesday

Today, as you set up your pins for knocking ‘em down, remember

Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday

your “why.” Remember how absolutely miraculous it is that you’re here,

Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday…and if you can’t get

that you have children, or meaningful work to do.

happy in that, you’re going to be pretty miserable.” So, I’ve taken a queue from many of you on how to live contentedly,

And thank you, friends, who have shown me a beautiful, new way of seeing life.

seeing miraculous in the mundane and finding purpose in the plowing

Amanda Hoggard is Connections Pastor at Askewville Assembly

and plodding of the everyday. As the Psalmist says and we sang as

of God and a resident of Edenton. She can be reached via email at

children, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad


in it!” 118:24






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County: Beaufort Marker ID: B-28 Original Date Cast: 1951


DeMille Family Home of motion picture producer Cecil B. DeMille & his father, playwright Henry C. DeMille, stood five blocks west.

MARK IT! Title To Begin Here

Market Street in Washington

Rabore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam Information courtesy of the voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no


orth Carolina lays claim to several members of the deMille family, show business pioneers. Playwright Henry C. deMille was born on September 17, 1853 in Washington, North Carolina, the son of William Edward and Margaret Blount deMille. The Civil War disrupted young deMille’s life. His father left to fight for the Confederacy and the family moved to Greenville as Washington became Union occupied territory. At the conclusion of the war, with the Washington area utterly devastated, deMille was sent to live with his grandfather, Thomas A. deMille. In 1867 he entered Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn, and four years later entered Columbia University. He graduated with A. B. and A. M. degrees in 1875, and taught school at Lockwood Academy and Columbia Grammar School. Throughout his life, deMille remained devoutly Episcopalian. He briefly considered becoming a clergyman in the late 1870s but instead turned to theater, a passion that had been ignited years previously at Adelphi Academy. From 1886 until his death from typhoid fever in 1893, deMille wrote some of the most popular plays in American history such as The Wife, Lord Chumley, and The Lost Paradise. DeMille married Matilda Beatrice Samuel at St. Luke’s Church in Brooklyn in 1876. They had a daughter who died in early childhood and two sons, William C. and Cecil B. deMille. William, born on July 25,

1878, in Washington, North Carolina, and Cecil, born on August 12, 1881, in Ashfield, Massachusetts (while his mother was vacationing), both followed their father into the entertainment industry. The boys both attended private schools in New Jersey including the Henry C. deMille School named for their father. In 1895, Matilda took William to Europe while Cecil stayed in America at the Pennsylvania Military School. William spent a year in Freiburg, Germany, studying at a private academy before returning to the United States and entering Columbia University. After graduation he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and took postgraduate courses at Columbia. In 1902 he returned to teach at the Henry C. deMille School. William began writing plays in 1901, when he wrote his first work, A Mixed Foursome. Several more plays followed including Strongheart and The Woman. In 1914, William left playwriting and moved from New Jersey to California persuaded by his younger brother to enter the motion picture industry. Cecil had entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts while his brother was at Columbia. Like his father and brother, Cecil began his career writing plays and short stories. He helped organize the Standard Opera Company and founded the DeMille Play Company with his mother. In 1913, Cecil moved to California REFERENCES


William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, II, 51-53—sketches by Louise L. Pitman Cecil B. DeMille and Donald Hayne, The Autobiography of Cecil B. DeMille (1959) Anne Edwards, The DeMilles: An American Family (1988) Phillip French, The Hollywood Moguls (1971) Gene D. Phillips, The Movie Makers: Artists in an Industry (1973) Louis D. Giannetti, Masters of the American Cinema (1981) Official Cecil B. DeMille website: http://www.cecilbdeMille.com/

and joined Samuel Goldwyn and Jesse Lasky in founding the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company. Cecil became the senior play director. Five years later the company became the Famous-Players Lasky, and in 1927 became Paramount Pictures after the men realized the profitability of motion pictures. Cecil left the following year to join Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a producer and director, but returned to Paramount in 1932. Over the next forty-three years, Cecil B. deMille produced seventy films including Cleopatra, The Greatest Show on Earth, and The Ten Commandments. During production of the latter work, deMille suffered a heart attack after climbing a 107-foot ladder to the top of the set made to look like Pharaoh Ramses’s temple. Refusing to be sidelined from production, deMille returned to work four days later. Cecil’s brother William joined him in the motion picture industry, producing and directing nearly sixty films. During the 1920s, William served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of which is brother Cecil was a founding member. In the 1940s he took an academic position as head of the drama department at the University of Southern California. Both brothers were active politically, and defended freedom of speech within the motion picture industry. Cecil was censured from American radio from 1936 to1945 for refusing to pay a one-dollar political assessment fee levied by the American Federation of Radio Artists. He also founded the DeMille Foundation for Political Freedom. During the 1950s both brothers actively opposed Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Commission. William C. deMille died on March 5, 1955, and was buried in Hollywood, leaving a widow and two children from a previous marriage. Cecil died four years later on January 21, 1959, of congestive heart failure. At the time he was negotiating the directing rights to Ben-Hur. He is buried near his brother in Hollywood. He left a wife and three children. The Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award is named in his honor. Both men have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


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As the current staff concludes our third year

I think its fitting that I especially recognize Carawan,




– anyone could ask for. His dedication to this product and willingness to be involved in the

managing Eastern North Carolina Living, we’d


also like to take a moment to say a heart-felt

continuing contributor, for her dedication to

“thank you” to those of you who take time to

Hyde County and this magazine. She is one of

Thank yous also go to our other staff –

read this magazine, spend money advertising

a kind and I can’t tell you how much I and our

Jim Green, Kelly Asysue, Chris Taylor, Gene

in it and send us your feedback.

other staff appreciate her.

Metrick, Leslie Beachboard, John Walker,

process are not taken for granted.

Andre’ Alfre and Brandice Hoggard.

Without you, there wouldn’t be an ENCL

In addition, Sarah Hodges Stalls is one of

and we enjoy very much the opportunity to

the longest contributing writers and we are

Our regular contributors over the past three

bring it to you. Here at Adams Publishing, we

thankful that even with a demanding job she

years – Sylvia Hughes, Sarah Davis, Gene

value our readers and advertisers. We don’t

has taken time to continue her writing.

Motley, Lewis Hoggard, the Rev. Webb and

take them – you – for granted. Also, as editor of this publication I want to say a personal thank you to the writers and photographers – new and longtime contributors alike – who take their time and give their all to write stories for Eastern North Carolina Living. Our magazine would not be what it is without their hard work, effort and dedication.

Without you,






Herald and the Rocky Mount Telegram are instrumental in making this publication tick

Amanda Hoggard, Kelly Grady, Travis Jackson and Deborah Griffin have been nothing short of wonderful to work with. Also, we’ll be working towards offering subscriptions for those who want them for

and I am grateful for all they do. I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a special

family not living locally. Keep that in mind.

thank you to Lou Ann Van Landingham,

We’ll be back next year with the 14th year

who heads our advertising sales and has

of Eastern North Carolina Living and I couldn’t

been a major reason for the success of this

be more excited. Until next time, remember… all who

publication since its inception. Michelle

wander are not lost. Continue joining us as we

Leicester continues to contribute to ENCL

wander through Beaufort, Bertie, Edgecombe,

there wouldn’t be

even after moving to a new full-time post.

Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin,

She has been involved since the beginning,

Nash, Northampton, Tyrrell, Washington and

an ENCL and we

and this magazine wouldn’t be the same

Wilson counties.

enjoy very much the opportunity to bring it to you. 86

The full-time staff of the Bertie Ledger-





without her.

Thadd White is a father, an editor and a fan

We also have the best graphic designer in

of everything from Duke University basketball to

the world and Becky Wetherington has been

the late John Ritter. He is a longtime writer and is

a Godsend.

currently Editor of five Adams Publishing Group

In addition to the best graphic designer, we have the best publisher – Kyle Stephens

properties, including the N.C. Press Awardwinning Eastern North Carolina Living.




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