Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wake Wednesday - From the Baptist Grove to Moore Square

Did you know that the land that is currently known as Moore Square was once referred to as the Baptist Grove?


I happened upon this tidbit while browsing thru an old issue of our Wake Treasures Journal. The reference is in an article titled Reminiscences of Grandmother Mary Ann Towles in Volume 1, number 4, Winter 1991, p15.

Enjoy this picturesque description:
Uncle William SHAW had a store on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, and his dwelling house was on Wilmington Street. It was a large three story building with a beautiful garden, a large front, and a back yard. In one corner of the front yard, a big oak spread its branches over a large portion of the yard. Back of our lot was the Baptist grove.2 In the center of the grove stood a small wooden church, lighted with tallow candles in tin scones. The candles were lighted by a maiden lady, Miss Lucinda BRIGGS.  
The location is noted in this footnote: 
2 The Baptist Grove is now what is known as Moore’s Square, across from the old City Market. 
Based upon other dates in the entry, this must have been ca. 1820. 

This is just a sampling of the interesting bits of Wake history you will find in our Journal.

Membership is no longer required to access our Journal content.

All 30 plus years of Wake Treasures Journal content is now free and available to all. Browse all past issues at the Wake Treasures tab at our website.

This content is referenced with permission of Journal editor.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Local Memorial Day Events - Soldiers of All Time Periods, Free Flags and More...

 From NC Historic Sites:

Details -

"Following the American Civil War, a “Decoration Day” began in communities across America remembering soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Senator John A. Logan, a former Union officer on staff with Major General William T. Sherman, was instrumental in making this a formal national day honoring our fallen soldiers, which became Memorial Day. Join military living historians representing the American soldier of all time periods throughout our nation’s history. Program is Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 10-3pm."

Memorial Day Events around the Triangle and free flags:


Visit Wake County Genealogical Society's Website - 
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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Wake Wednesday - Historic Raleigh Building With Many Lives


This beautiful building sure had a lot of lives. Extra points if you know the story without even looking. Do you know all the names and functions it had over its long life. Sadly, this beautiful Wake county landmark that our ancestors would have strolled past on a leisurely afternoon is no more.

You can read the wonderful twists and turns of this beauty's history in this Goodnight Raleigh blogpost

Baptist Female University - built in Built in 1899 at the corner of Blount and Edenton streets.

Baptist University for Women - name change in 1904.

Meredith College - 1909 was renamed again, "in honor of Thomas Meredith, founder of the Biblical Reporter (1835) and an early 19th century advocate of higher education for women". The college was housed here until the mid 1920's when it relocated to the present location.

Mansion Park Hotel - from the mid 1920's until sometime in the 1950's. The hotel advertised itself as Raleigh's "Most Comfortable Hotel" with reasonable rates, free parking, between Capitol and Governor's Mansion, 122 rooms, 100 bathrooms, Headquarters, Carolina Motor Club, AAA.


In the 1950's, this beautiful building was purchased by the state and used as office space including a driver's license office. This beautiful old "grand dame" was demolished in 1967. The location is now a parking lot. Ahhhhh.....progress.

This pnhoto is from the Meredith College website. A class photo from the college's early days. I love that they used the spectacular porches and stairways to pose. What a remarkable place with a remarkable story.


As you can see this from this 1920 aerial photo if the area, the "castle" sat between the capitol and the Executive Mansion. 


The beautiful building occupied the southwest corner of the parking lot approximately where the NC State Bar building sits today(marked in yellow).  


Were your ancestors part of this story? Wouldn't you love to stroll that beautiful turn of the century block with them and listing to their stories?

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Wake Wednesday: What did Wake County look like before all the development?

Just look at this wonderful postal map of turn of the century Wake County. It will certainly help you visualise a quieter, more pastoral Wake County. I used this map recently to determine the location of a cemetery in the relocation zone of Falls Lake. Things look so different now. 

Roads displaced by Falls Lake

This map is available online from the North Carolina Collection at UNC. This is a rural delivery route map circa 1910 - 1919. It covers the whole county and provides a context that is just not available to us today. Take a look. Keep a link handy. 

Source: Wake County c.1910-1919, US Postal Delivery Routes

I bet you will be visiting this map as often as I will. 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Wake Wednesday - Raleigh Public Works Map shows the city in 1914

Enjoy this wonderful old Public Works Map of Raleigh in 1914. There are many location names I recognize and a few I don't. How about you?

View full map in high resolution here at the North Carolina Maps Collection at UNC digital library. It has been added to the interactive overlay feature. Overlay version is here
Enjoy a browse and compare to the same locations today!

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Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Wake Wednesday - Heritage Farms in Wake County

Farming was the life and survival of early Wake County. As early settlers entered and settled the land that is now Wake County, farming became the chief occupation in the area once shelter was secured. Today, we see our farms disappearing at an alarming rate. According to county officials Wake lost 20% of its farmland in the last 9 years. At the current rate all unprotected lands will be developed in the next 25-50 years. An ordinance called the Farmland Preservation Program aims to conserve Wake County’s nearly 700 farms and help combat North Carolina’s disappointing ranking as the second highest state in the nation for farmland loss

While we as genealogists can not effect much change in the face of this sweeping progress, we can do what we do best.  We can shine a light on the local heritage farms that remain; recognize and write about their important place in our history and survival; and drop the names of the farms and their stewards so that current and future researchers and relations can recognize their importance in family stories. 

It takes alot of grit, drive and gumption to build and run a successful farm for any length of time. Do you realize that as you commute from the outer reaches of Wake County, you drive by a multitude heritage farms in our midst? There are a forty-nine Century farms and a subset of nine Bicentennial Farms that have stood in Wake County since its very early days, some even predating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. These farms are recognized by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and listed below. 

The Century Farms programs recognizes farms with 100 years of continuous agricultural heritage. The Wake Century Farms are listed below as they appear at the NC Agriculture website. Though their locations are not named here it is obvious that most of Wake is represented as it would have been in the early days. -

Adams Farm: David & Jan Adams (1820)

Adams Vineyards: Joyce C. Adams, John Q. Adams IV (1871)

Charles Baker Farm: Charles Lee Baker Jr. (1910)

Bowden Brothers Farm: Phillip Bowden, Benny Bowden, Danny Bowden (1790)

Bowden's Bend Cattle Farm, LLC: Steve Bowden, Wanda Pierce, Joanie Bowden (1790)

Wakelon Angus Farms: Jill Fowler Bright (1743)

Talmage Brown, Carol Brown (1879)

Fred W. Burt, John F. Burt (1754)

Sauls-Baker Farm: Amy Baker Bynum (1910)

Jewel B. Christian, Joy B. Parrott (1878)

Hunt-Pearce Farm: Eva Pearce Clontz, Herman Pearce Jr. (1894)

Cooke Family Farm: Donald K. Cooke (1882)

Stephenson Farm: Laura Baker Costa (1910)

H. Harold Cotton

Partin-Dean Family Farm: Thomas Ray Dean, Katherine Adcock Dean (1795)

W. Graham Dean (1919)

The Dickens' Sherron Hill: Betty Medlin Dickens (1912)

Robert Matthew Dickens Farm: Donald Dickens, Virginia Dickens, Thomas Dickens, Claudia Dickens (1907)

Nancy Ballentine Elliot, Ross Stocks (1779)

David Ferrell, Beth Ferrell (1890)

Sugg Family: Martha Sugg Field (1887)

Wakelon Angus Farms: James Robert Fowler III, Leigh E. Fowler (1872)

Wakelon Angus Farms: Jane Cate Fowler (1743)

Partin-Dean Family Farm: Candace Olive Gray, Justin Joe Gray (1795)

Robert E. Horton, Elizabeth Horton (1850)

Pearce Farms: Frances P. Jones, R. Louis Pearce Jr.

Partin-Dean Family Farm: Katherine Dean Jones, Jack McKinley Jones III (1795)

Kirk Farms: Charles F. Kirk (1922)

Ledford: Marjorie Ledford Heirs (1860)

Bailey-Mandeville Farm: John and Wanda Mandeville (1904)

Medlin Family Farm: Clarence Medlin Jr. & Sons (1887)

Emily R. Merritt (1883)

Nowell-Morgan Farm: Sandy M. Nowell Morgan (1909)

Nowell Farms: Edith G. Nowell (1909)

Ogburn Family Farm: Tandy & Sarah Ogburn (1919)

Partin-Dean Family Farm: Gypsie Dean Olive, Ronald Willard Olive (1795)

Page Farms of Raleigh, LLC: W.E.P. Properties, LLC (1916)

Dennis A. Perry (1852)

Glenwood H. Perry, Artelia Perry (1852)

Perry Farm: Ronald C. Perry (1902)

Phipps: Curtis Lee Phipps, Nan Phipps Perkins (1860)

Privette Farm: Randy L. Privette, Janet Brown Privette (1855)

Reaves Family Farms: Jerry Lee Reaves (1869)

Florence D. Sorrell, Allen, A. L. Sorrell; J. D. & W. E. Denning; W. R. Denning Jr.

Richard Baker Todd (1878)

Underhill Family Farm: John W. Underhill, Phyllis Underhill (1914)

Descendants of Zola Judson Sugg: Helen Walton (1891)

Nowell-Webb Farm: Kevin B. Webb, Melissa A. Webb (1909)

Wakelon Angus Farms: Giny Fowler Wheeler, Steve E. Wheeler (1869)

The Bicentennial Farms program is a subset of the Century Farm list and you will see these names on both. These farms  have maintained continuous family ownership for 200 years or more and have submitted a separate application for consideration in this group. There are some 200+ year farms that do not appear here if  they have not applied. The list follows and again does not note locations. - 

Adams Farm: David & Jan Adams (1820)
Bowden's Bend Cattle Farm, LLC: Joanie Bowden, Wanda Pierce, Steve Bowden (1790)
Bowden Brothers Farm: Phillip Bowden, Benny Bowden, Danny Bowden (1790)
Burt Farms: John F. Burt (1756)
Partin-Dean Family Farm: Thomas Ray Dean, Katherine Adcock Dean (1795)
J.C. Rowland Farms, LLC: Martha Rowland Fish, Julia Rowland Yeargan, Virginia Rowland Miller (1761)
Partin-Dean Family Farm: Candace Olive Gray, Justin Joe Gray (1795)
Partin-Dean Family Farm: Katherine Dean Jones, Jack McKinley Jones III (1795)
Partin-Dean Family Farm: Gypsie Dean Olive, Ronald Willard Olive (1795)

One of the farms on the Bicentennial Farm list has received a lot of press and has an interesting story. You can read about the Burt Farm's 270 year and ten generation history in the articles linked below. 

Wake County farm is older than the Declaration of Independence. (NC Ag Blog)

Local farmers being pushed out of Wake County as demand for land soars. (WRAL) 

If you have Burt ancestors, there are several Burt Cemeteries referenced in the Holly Springs section of our Wake Cemetery Survey c1978 image files. Check this link.

Another farm over 200 years old but not on the list is the Lazy J Ranch sheep farm in Zebulon. A recent news feature from WRAL highlights the Wake Board of Commisioners efforts to establish a conservation easement to preserve the farm and save it from devlopment in the future. The Lazy J owner is named as Patrick Johnson in the Indie Week article below.
"Wake County is planning to partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to acquire the easement, which totals more than $1.3 million. Wake County’s contribution is $350,000, with $281,500 coming from bond funds and $68,500 from the state Department of Transportation 540 settlement funding." 

I hope to get some time in the future to get back to this post with research and locations for each of the farms above. If you get inspired to dive into this research, let me know I will publish your efforts here with attribution to you for your work. 

Farming is our history and our future!