The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Early Davie Family Records

By Marie Craig

Father, Mother, Children, and they all lived happily ever after.  Throughout time, there have been examples of this happy combination not working.  Just as there are broken homes, adoptions, divorces, early deaths, and low income that we recognize now, the same problems have existed for families in all times.

There are two sets of county records that shed light on family situations in the early history of Davie County.  When Doris Frye was director of the Martin-Wall History Room at Davie County Public Library, she had a good friend, Grace Wight, who worked at the North Carolina Archives.  When Grace found an obscure set of Davie records, she would transcribe them and send them to Doris.  Some of these are in the publication Davie Dossier that the Davie County Historical and Genealogical Society produces quarterly.  They are also on the Davie GenWeb site, Scroll down to Court Records, and you will find links to Guardian Accounts, and also Apprentice Bonds.

The oldest set, Apprentice Bonds, covers 1829-1859.  Before the development of the various social programs devised by the Federal and State government, the counties had to provide for the care of orphans.  Sometimes parents could not support their families.  Children were considered orphans when the father died even if the mother was still living.  In this set of records, training for a future vocation was listed.

This is an example of an apprenticeship:

Date of Indenture: 29 Aug. 1837; Name: George Lapish, orphan; Bound to: Wiley M. Lowery until 21; To learn: Hatmaker, read, write, sypher [cypher] to rule three; Given at freedom: suit worth $30.00 and fifty dollars’ worth of tools; Signed: Wiley M. Lowery; E. Brock; Wit: Jno. Clement

The age of 21 was standard for young men; 18 for young women. Hatmaker [we’ll research to see if that’s what he did later]; cypher to rule three means the student could figure out math proportions. If you have three numbers, can you figure out the fourth?  Example: 5 apples cost $1; what would 4 apples cost? An online inflation finder shows that $30 in 1837 would be equivalent to $820.72 in 2023. Assignment to you: use the cypher to rule three to calculate the 2023 value of $50.

In researching George Lapish, I found his obituary on FindAGrave which states that his father was from England and went back there leaving the rest of the family here in Davie. The dates on George’s tombstone are 1820-1900.  This would have made him about 17 in 1837, the correct age for someone needing to learn a trade. However, in the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 US Census records for Calahaln township, I learned that he was a blacksmith. Evidently, hat making did not appeal to him. [But there was a hat factory in our county that made hats for the Confederate soldiers.]

Apprenticeships were used for affluent young people also.  Immigrants sometimes were bound to a sponsor for many years until they learned a trade.

The second set of records was named Guardianship Records. The range that we can access are February 1847 to December 1859. Guardians were appointed to be responsible for orphans. They could also be children of living parents when the children were receiving money from estates — or other sources — such as grandparents.

This is an example of a guardianship from the list:

February term court – 1850: Nelson Trivillion guardian for Henry M. Austin; other names mentioned: Samuel Taylor JP [Justice of the Peace], G.W. Johnson JP.

In the 1850 US Census, we find Henry M. Austin, 13, living in the household of Nelson Trivillion and his own five children. No mother is included. Nelson, 52, is a farmer originally from Virginia. His worth is $1500 which would match $55,833 now.

Since these records are not indexed, you can do a Global Search [Control+F] to quickly determine if your relative is included.

If you are searching before 1836, you’ll need to research the Rowan County Court Records.

Perhaps you’ll find one of your relatives in one of these two types of court records.

Rose Colored Glasses

By Gaye Hoots

I have been accused of wearing rose-colored glasses many times in my life by friends, colleagues, my children, and my grandchildren. I look for and see the best in others most of the time. My boundaries are firm, but I give others the benefit of the doubt. This has cost my family and me dearly in the past, and I am more wary now, but I have been fortunate in many ways.

There is a theory of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the belief that you will find what you look for. While I have been wrong at times, I have also been grateful for giving others the benefit of the doubt. This is especially true of young people I have worked with. Many who initially appeared to have a bad attitude lived with situations that accounted for their outlook on life.

The public, in general, are hardworking, trustworthy folks. I need to be more careful and frequently hand a cashier money without putting my reading glasses on. I have also left my wallet and, on occasion, envelopes of cash by the register or on my café table. These have always been found and returned, and often, I am handed extra bills I did not realize I had handed to a cashier.

I have yet to be swindled or asked for a loan that wasn’t repaid. I have had many positive experiences with kids I trusted, working hard to earn that trust. I am aware of what goes on in the world, and I don’t pick up hitchhikers, but I have in the past and never regretted it.

The news is filled with horrendous accounts of worldwide atrocities, and while the only newspaper I read is the Enterprise, I do scan headlines on the internet. Some of these prompt me to pray for situations, but I do not allow negative thoughts to spoil my day. I sip my coffee and browse Facebook to see friends celebrating happy occasions or asking for prayers to deal with difficult situations and share their experiences.

I can see the scenery out my window: the sun is shining, birds are feeding at the feeder, I am warm, too well fed, and in no pain. I have lost my siblings this year and grieve them, but none of my immediate family are in crisis, and most of my friends are in similar circumstances. I thank God for this and plan to celebrate this beautiful day he has given me and to remember that he loves each of His children no matter who, where they are, or what they are doing.

Everyone Has a Story: Buddy

By Julie Terry Cartner

“Oh, and you might have inherited a cat,” the realtor said in a rush when she dropped the keys into their hands.

“Wait, what?” was the reply.

“His name is Buddy,” she called through her open window, as she put her car in drive and pulled out of the driveaway.

“Well, that’s interesting…”

Sure enough, he arrived that night after dark, slender, but not skinny, battle-scarred, and not exactly timid, but definitely cautious. He skirted the edges of the porch, neither approaching, nor running away. One ear drooped as if it had been in one or two battles too many, and a scratch ran down his nose. More scars were hidden beneath the dull fur of his gray coat.

It was clear he’d once been a pet, but many rough miles separated the cat he once was from the cat he was today. Like the house, the cat had been deserted for several years. Both bore the marks of disuse, the scars of desertion, the beginnings of decay that spoke of emptiness. Both could be saved, redeemed, restored with time, effort, and love.

Turned out, Buddy was the easier victory. He was smart, savvy, a cat who had figured out how to survive. We’ll never know his entire story, but we can piece together large chunks of his life.  First, he was a family cat, well-fed, well-pampered, well-loved. Then life happened as it is wont to do. The house stood empty for several years, and Buddy took to the woods to eke out a personal survival plan.

His battle scars indicate he was willing to fight to survive. Who knows what challenges he faced? Certainly other cats, but probably raccoons and other small mammals vied with him for available food. Probably, in his wanderings, he slunk onto other porches where fat, sassy pets had more food than they needed, and Buddy, in concern for their health and well-being, alleviated them of some of their kibble.

Being a shrewd cat, Buddy made his new family work for his affection. After all, like Thomas Paine once said, “What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” Buddy was a well-read cat. He knew if he made them work for his devotion, they’d appreciate it more.

They bought him bowls of food and water, a soft bed and his own little house, and left them on the porch for him to enjoy. They marveled at how much he could eat and laughed at his affinity for washing all four feet in the water bowl, perhaps a learned trait from his friends, the raccoons. They sat statue-still with outstretched hands offering treats, begging him to accept them. Little by little he moved closer until he had them convinced that they would be the luckiest people in the entire world if he would befriend them. Only then, only then did he capitulate, allowing them to tickle his chin, to scratch behind his ears, and eventually to pat long strokes down his back.

Soon Buddy was happily purring, snuggled on their laps or making spicy biscuits on their legs. They’d realize they were losing large chunks of their days, catering to this little dictator who had taken over their hearts, and, in the way of cats, had convinced them of the magnificent gift he had bestowed upon them. He made his way into their house and cowed their dogs, sending them off into an adjacent room so he could relax on comfy couch cushions, curled up in a fuzzy blanket.

And yet, his years alone, foraging in the woods and neighborhood for food, fighting for his place in the world, and probably terrorizing house pets, had changed him. No longer could he be merely a house pet; he had a kingdom to run. So, once the humans were ready for bed, he’d return to the outdoors to patrol his watch. Never fear, friends and neighbors, Buddy’s in charge, and the neighborhood watch has never been in better hands, or paws, should I say.

We’ll never know the full details of Buddy’s story, but I have no doubt, he’s not finished writing it.