The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild, Mocksville postcard from 1924

Published 10:46 am Monday, September 25, 2023

1924 Postcard on Ebay

By Marie Craig

One source of genealogical and historical information is the website, www.Ebay.com. Recently, a very interesting postcard mailed from Mocksville in 1924 was for sale for $39.99.  I didn’t buy it, but I did take screenshots of the ad. On one side was this photograph to the right.

On the other side of the postcard was hand-written these words: “Wire me right away if you are going to ship anything for our sale Dec. 1st. and oblige.”  It was signed “W Raleigh Clement” and below that was “+ marks shows the winners.” It was addressed to George Miller, Rural Retreat, Va.  [This is in Wythe County.]

Analyzing these brief words gave this information with sources in brackets.

The date on the postcard picture, Aug. 25th, 1924, was a Monday.  [Using Google, type calendar August 1924.]  The time of day was about noon.  [Shadows under the horses.]  There was a fence with wire. There is a plus sign on the arms of two riders. I wish we knew the identity of the big building in the distance. Judging by the hats, there are two men and two women in the foreground. There are many white shirts on the spectators in the bleachers. This is a split second in time 99 years ago.

The date postmarked on the card, 24 November 1924, is only three months after the event. There were probably no streetlights for evening events. This is about the time that downtown Mocksville got streetlights.

The location, Sunset Park, is the flat area that is now Wilkesboro Street, near Lambert Funeral Home and Davie Florist. There was a racetrack where riders went round and round. Near that same area is now, in 2023, preparation for riders to go round and round on the traffic circle to smooth out the five streets that intersect there.

More analysis: this Penny postcard was sent 24 Nov 1924 [Monday] at possibly 4:30 PM.  Dec 1st was also a Monday, one week later.  It’s hard to believe a postcard could arrive so quickly to result in something so involved as getting some sort of merchandise 113 miles from Rural Retreat to Mocksville.  [A Google Map gives the distance.]  The sparse address to Virginia is also amazing.

He wrote “Wire me.” Was there a telegraph office in Mocksville in 1924? Why didn’t Raleigh wire George?

There is a plus sign on the right arm of the lower left rider and on the left arm of the third person, a woman.  They were the winners.

There is a George Stewart Miller from Wythe County on FindAGrave, # 73601006.  On the 1920, 1930, and 1940 US Census he is listed as a farmer.  He would have been 52 in 1924.

The postcard writer, W. Raleigh Clement was born 23 August 1871 and died 6 January 1931; he is buried in Clement Family Cemetery south of Mocksville. He would have been about 53 when he wrote the card. He gave the land for Sunset Park. He never married and lived with his sister, Julia. [Information from tombstone and US Census]. The History Room at Davie County Public Library has photographs of Raleigh.

The Aug. 27, 1924, Davie Record, had this article: “The big Horsetrader’s Convention held here Monday was the biggest thing pulled off lately. The parade was given at 10:30 Monday morning, followed by a number of races at Sunset Park. The auction sale of stock took place Monday afternoon. About 300 head of stock was here from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.”

This is the joy of being able to play detective with just a few words using the Internet and the History Room to discover more details about Davie County history.

Sixty Years

By Gaye Hoots

Saturday, Sept. 9 our graduating class celebrated our sixtieth-class reunion at Junkers’ Barn, where they have graciously hosted us for many years. Janine Roberts and I were greeted by Bob Crotts and his wife Susan, and Charles Crenshaw captured a photo of us as we entered. The planning committee had sent invitations to about eighty of us, decorated the tables, and arranged for Millers to cater the delicious BBQ meal. Gail Frye provided more homemade cakes than I could count, and water bottles labeled with our mascot.

It was good to see everyone and catch up with their families. Several classmates spoke of their educational, career, and family histories. We were a fortunate group with many academic and career options. I married over the summer before my senior year but graduated with my class. My college plans were deferred until after I had children and was divorced. Still, I managed a combination of grants, scholarships, and fellowships to complete an MSN in nursing without incurring student loans.

My great-granddaughter is a senior at Davie High this year and is planning to take advantage of the two years offered free at the community college to pursue a four-year degree in education. I can close my eyes and imagine myself in her shoes sixty years ago. The classes are so large now that it would be challenging to develop the connection we had with our classmates.

There were classmates I did not get a chance to speak to, and because I left my glasses in the car, I mistook Jim Groce for someone else and spent time talking with someone I believed to be Linda Pendleton until I saw the pictures Charles took of Linda. Shirley Boger always shines, as do many others. Robert Kurfees and I talked about his memories of visiting an elderly relative, Carrie Orrell, who lived on Peoples Creek Road when we were children.

Jim Andrews and a friend ate with us and teased Mondell Ellis about high school mischievousness, and Mondell gave his wife Marlyn credit for “straightening me out.”  Travisene Boger brought Kaye Morris as her guest, and I was happy to reconnect with her. Glenda Bread and Julia Alexander had changed very little in sixty years. Martha Kiser and Jim Andrews left at the end of their junior year because their fathers were ministers, but they always celebrate with us because that is where their roots are. Charles and Lorene Markland, Larry and Frankie Corneilson, and Bob Peoples are friends I was fortunate to speak with too.

We all referenced using the years we have left wisely, and a very sad reminder of that was that David Kimmer’s wife who attended with him, left this earth the very next day. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.

Nemo Woodward, Grimes Parker, Charles Markland, Ronnie McClamrock, and other athletes were there. Our class was blessed with many becoming teachers, coaches, nurses, and members of other helping professions. Several were successful business owners, and all made contributions to the community of one kind or another. Jack and Judy Paige and Gail Frye always helped Pete with the dinners the Fryes hosted for our class.

Many have children and grandchildren in helping professions, businesses, and local government. We have been blessed, continue to be blessed, and celebrate with one another. I am looking forward to our next reunion and hope we can have yearly events.

The Adventures of Duckie

Julie Terry Cartner

It truly wasn’t his fault. Really. Of course not. Well, probably not. What was he supposed to do. I mean, there was a deer. Right there. In the yard. Eating the grass. Or leaves. Or something. Or, maybe just standing there. At least I thought it was a deer. Maybe it was a rabbit. Or a squirrel. Do squirrels run around at night? A cat! It could have been a cat. Oh no, I hope it wasn’t Maisie. She wouldn’t take kindly to my chasing Maisie.

Come to think of it, Lucy, their rescue dog, was just standing there. She didn’t seem concerned. Of course, she is old, he thought. Maybe her nose doesn’t work as well. And it was a dark night. Very dark. No moon. Clouds over the stars. I’m younger. Better hearing. Better sense of smell. More interested in the chase.

Surely, that had nothing to do with what happened next. He wasn’t young and impetuous anymore. He wouldn’t just take off after a deer. Or a rabbit. Or a cat…. He wouldn’t. He was more mature than that. Wasn’t he?

It was a dark night. I guess he could call it a blackout. That was fair, wasn’t it? Truthfully, he couldn’t remember. Exactly. Let’s see. She put on his leash. She opened the door. And then…

The next thing he knew, he was in that cluster of bushes and trees at the end of the driveway. Oh yeah, and those shiny green leaves that climbed up the trunk and covered the ground. Hmm. Pretty things. His leash was tangled in some of those vines, and whatever he’d been chasing had gotten away. Tongue hanging, eyes dancing – whatever, it was fun while it lasted. Blasted leash. And now he was trapped.

No big deal, he could already hear her calling him. Duckie! Come Duckie. Sitting on his haunches, he waited expectedly. He remembered that book the children used to listen to, “Ernie Gets Lost.” “Just stay in one place, Ernie’s mother had told him. Stay still and we’ll find you.” And so he did. He could hear her calling, now more frantically, “Duckie! Come on Duckie. Anne will kill me if I lose her dog! Duckie!”

And so he waited. Black dog on a black night in the middle of shrubbery. No problem. She’ll find me.

“Come on Ducks! Bark! Whine! Something! Where’s an Amazon van or UPS truck when you need one?” Silence. He waited. And then he heard the door to the house open and close. Surely. she wouldn’t leave him. He whined and lay down, closing his eyes.

And then the sound of the door and a bright light arcing across the yard. The voice, a bit edgier. “Duckie!” Then he couldn’t see anything but heard the relief in her voice. “There you are,” as the flashlight reflected from his eyes. Then, “Oh no. Not there! Not in that bed of poison ivy. Duckie, really? I’ve got a wedding to go to tomorrow. I can’t show up covered in a rash.”

Light moved in from all directions. He sat up wagging his tail. You have to encourage these humans, he thought. Their instincts aren’t great. Get me out of here already. I have a deer to catch. Or rabbit. Or something. Or maybe just some water to drink. Maybe I’ll steal a bite of Lucy’s food…or maybe not. She’s kinda mean.

“No way around it,” she muttered. “Darn it, Duckie. Do you have to be surrounded by poison ivy?” Then she was there, releasing his leash from the branch and pulling him out. Wait. No! I need to go deeper, find that deer! “Not happening, Bud.” And the walk is over. You’re going in the fence, and I’m showering.

She seems a bit upset; Duckie mused. I wonder what’s wrong with her. Thank goodness, I didn’t run into a skunk. Oh yeah, that’s tomorrow’s story.