Local History Notes

Notes about the history of Iredell County by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian.

Dec 19

Robert E. Brady and the Iredell Blues

Posted on December 19, 2023 at 3:21 PM by Iredell County Local History

This article was written by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian, Iredell County Public Library, Statesville, N.C. and appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark on pages A1 & A2, on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 under the title, “Debt of Gratitude, Robert Brady Jr., shared and preserved rare image of Statesville's history.”

1947 Statesville High School Ann 1947 Statesville High School Bob                                      

Ann “Sharpie” Lowrance Brady passed away a couple of weeks ago on Dec. 4, 2023. Her funeral will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Statesville on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023 at 2 p.m. Sharpie and her husband Robert “Bob” Brady, both graduated in the class of 1947 at Statesville Senior High, and were longtime friends and supporters of the Iredell County Public Library. Ann was a retired librarian and Bob volunteered for many years in the Local History Room helping create a database index of the obituaries printed in the Statesville Record & Landmark, which is online today at https://www.iredell.lib.nc.us/460/Deaths on the library’s website. Even after he was no longer able to volunteer Bob would have Sharpie drive him to the library so he could sit in the Local History Room and read through the various historical magazines we subscribe too. 

In 1985 Sharpie and Bob’s son, Robert E. Brady Jr., who graduated from Statesville High School in 1972, came across a rare daguerreotype photograph in his grandmother Estelle Smith Brady’s effects. Realizing the importance of the image, he took the photograph to the N.C. Division of Archives and History to seek help from another of Statesville’s sons in identifying the men in the photograph and the location where the photo was took. 

Dr. Jerry Clyde “Pop” Cashion, who graduated from Statesville High in 1958, was the research supervisor at the State Archives at the time. Dr. Cashion was the son of Benjamin Harry and Alma R. Cashion and grew up at 522 S. Mulberry. He did his graduate work at UNC-Chapel Hill under history Professor William S. Powell, a 1936 graduate of Statesville High School. Dr. Cashion identified the men as being members of the of the Iredell Blues, an independent military company begun in 1840 and authorized by the N.C. General Assembly in 1842. Dr. Cashion believed the photo of the Blues was probably made in 1860, as they are in formation in full uniform in a “Present Arms” formation in front of a large three-story brick building which Dr. Cash identified as Stockton Hall in downtown Statesville. 

A. Iredell Blues and Stockton Hall

Robert E. Brady, Jr., earned a B.A. in History from the Citadel and later a B.S. in Computer Sciences from N.C. State. At the time of his death on June 5, 1995, he was an information systems specialist at Duke University and a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve. In honor of their son, Bob and Sharpie donated a framed copy of the Iredell Blues photograph along with framed copies of the letters received from the State Archives concerning the photograph their son had researched and preserved. 

Over the years, other local historians have questioned if Dr. Cashion was correct in identifying the buildings behind the Iredell Blues as Stockton Hall. In the fall of 1859, Joseph Wilson Stockton began construction on a large, three-story brick building on what was then the southwest corner of the square on Lot 18 in the original town plan. If the Blues are in front of Stockton Hall then the photograph was took between 1859 and 1861 when they enlisted for the war on April 20, 1861.  

In looking at the uniforms Dr. Cashion states the “ornate uniforms and arms were of that era prior to 1850.” They were not in accordance with the regulations issued by the Quartermaster General of the United States in 1851, nor were they similar to uniforms prescribed for the North Carolina Militia.” There is a military school in the Buena Vista Academy under Captain John B. Andrews during this period, but the men in the photo appear to be grown men many of whom have beards. This leaves only the Independent Iredell Blues as a candidate for the men in the photo. As an “Independent” militia, the Blues had more latitude in choosing their style of uniform. 

Dr. Cashion used the trees in the photo to narrow down the date when the photo was took. In the 1890 image of Stockton Hall, the trees shown are above the roofline while in the older photo they appear to be recently planted. “Trees were ordinarily planted while dormant. Yet, those in the daguerreotype, while only approximately ten feet tall, are in full foliage. Trees reach full foliage in the Iredell County area in early May. From these observations deduces the date the photo’s date to be in the summer of 1860. 

The top floor of the building had a large meeting hall where various entertainments, meetings and ceremonies took place over the next three decades. In later years, the building itself was often called the Opera Hall. Fire destroyed the Stockton Building on Dec. 28, 1892 along with the Patterson building beside it. There is a drawing of the building in The Landmark’s Trade Edition published on May 22, 1890, which can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/icplphotos/collections/72157633647064435/

Troutman historian Jimmy Alley and I thought the men might have been standing in front of the Olin Academy. Olin Academy is the only other three-story brick building in Iredell County that might match the one behind the men in the photo. In 1851, Methodist minister Baxter Clegg began the New Institute Academy in two small, one-story houses in northern Iredell County. The N.C. State Legislature chartered the New Institute on Feb. 14, 1855, but the name was soon changed to Olin High School. In 1856, Rev. B. Clegg moved the school into a newly constructed three-story brick building. The Raleigh Christian Advocate Aug. 1, 1856 issue described the building as being within 14 miles of Statesville and “The building is of brick, 40 feet high, with three stories; 100 feet long, and 74 feet wide. There are 8 rooms, 25 feet square; the third story is divided into two large rooms, with seats and desks.” The cost given is $10,500. Jimmy Alley found another description of the building in “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series II, Vol. III.”

In his book, “Skipping Thru Iredell and Statesville,” Jimmy reprinted a letter from Henry T. Clark to the Hon. J.P. Benjamin; Secretary of War dated January 11, 1862. In the letter, Clark recommends the purchase of Olin College for use as a Confederate prison camp. The building is described as, “Brick, 80 x 100 feet, three and a half stories high; basement, four rooms and a chapel; rooms, 25 by 30 feet; passage, 20 feet; chapel 50 x 80, third floor in two rooms for the school-rooms, with seats and desks for 250 pupils, entered by two flights of stairs from opposite side of the building from the passage.” A plat drawing of the interior of the building is included. 

The Confederacy never purchases the college, which continues as an educational facility. In 1883, it is still operating as Olin High School, but the Wallace Brothers who own it later have it torn down in 1886. An ad appearing in The Landmark on Jan. 7, 1887 advertises “Brick and Lumber” from “the College building at Olin, N.C.” for sale. Unfortunately, we do not have a photo or even a drawing of the exterior of the building to compare with the one the behind the Iredell Blues in the photo. It is also possible that the photo was taken outside Iredell County. The newspapers often give news of the Blues traveling out of town to participate in parades, military drills and official events.  

An article appeared in the November-December 1987 issue of “Military Images” by Robert Fulmer titled, “The Iredell Blues: An Independent Company of North Carolina Militia circa 1860.” In studying, the photo Fulmer identifies 4 bandsmen and approximately 34 enlisted men with most of the men carrying muskets with bayonets and six men carrying “carbine-like weapons with shortened forestocks.” There appears to be four officers one of which appears to Captain Absalom Knox Simonton who will later be killed on May 31, 1862 at the Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia. 

Another question that has arisen concerning the photograph involves its orientation. If you go to https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-iredell-blues-volunteer-militia-company.96302/ online you will see a black and white version of this same 1860 photograph with the building and men in reverse from what we see in the color photo. I contacted Ian F.G. Dunn the Processing Archivist at the State Archives of N.C. for an explanation. “I just pulled the copy negative we made in 1985 and it isn’t reversed. There is no way it would be reversed unless the copy photographer loaded the film backward (which would not happen). So, this means that the black and white image that you sent is what the dag actually looks like if you were to hold it in your hand. The actual photograph is reversed—because all dags or ambrotypes appear in reverse unless the photographer used a reversing prism in the camera (which was not common and risky to the photograph because it increased exposure times) Also, all the soldiers are holding their rifles with their left hands in the picture, meaning in actuality they were holding them with their right. The color reproduction in the Iredell Library is digitally reversed to show how the scene actually appeared on that day.”

Iredell Blues in front of Stockton Hall

The color version is actually showing the men and the building as they actually appeared in front of the photographer. The black and white image is actually showing the men in reverse. Alison Thurman with the Division of Archives and Records also points out that in the color image the men are holding their rifles with their right hand as they normally would while in the black and white photo they are holding them with their left. 

The framed image presented to the Local History Department at the library has the correct view of the men and buildings as they were the day the daguerreotype was took. Lacking the historical evidence to prove Dr. Cashion wrong I am fine with saying that the building behind the Iredell Blues is Stockton Hall. Over thirty years pass between when the building was built in 1859 and the image we have of it in 1890. Fires occur regularly in Statesville during this period and the building may have undergone reconstruction. We own Robert E. Brady Jr., a debt of gratitude for sharing and preserving this rare image of an antebellum Southern militia unit. In case you were wondering, Bob and Ann’s son James says his parents were already dating while at Statesville High School in 1947. 

 

Dec 19

Results of the Green Street Cemetery Survey

Posted on December 19, 2023 at 3:11 PM by Iredell County Local History

This article was written by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian, Iredell County Public Library and originally published in the Statesville Record and Landmark on September 19, 2023 under the title, “Results of GPR survey at Green Street Cemetery to be presented".

The numbers are in on the ground penetrating radar study (GPR) at the Green Street Cemetery in Statesville and the results are stunning. Len Strozier of Omega Mapping Services completed the survey on Thursday, May 25, 2023. We received his final report on Sept. 15, 2023 and the survey showed 157 graves in Green Street with headstone markers and 2,073 unmarked graves. In all there are 2,224 graves in the Green Street Cemetery. Of these 406 were born in 1865 and on back meaning they were born enslaved, but died free. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, at 6 p.m. the Local History Dept. staff at the Iredell County Public Library in Statesville will be presenting a special program on the Green Street Cemetery Ground Penetrating Survey (GPR). We will be going over the history of the project along and much of what we have learned from the GPR survey and the historical African American history in Statesville that we learned along the way. We encourage those who have connections to the cemetery along with the Green, Garfield, Chambers, and Elm Street areas to come and share their personal knowledge. This would also be a good opportunity for those thinking of having a GPR survey at their church cemeteries to come and learn more.  

In 1995, if you had come to the Iredell County Public Library and asked how many people were buried at Green Street you would have been told there were 72. The only published source for information on those buried at Green Street up until 1995 was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) report from 1939. The WPA funded a Historical Records Survey project in N.C., part of which included a survey of cemeteries. In May of 1939, W.D. Pharr surveyed what he referred to as the “Greenwood Cemetery, (COL),” and recorded the names of 72 people based on the tombstones he read. 

The WPA report on cemeteries in Iredell County neglected to record all of the graves in Green Street and the readings of other cemeteries in Iredell County was often incomplete and inaccurate. In 1995, Jim Tipton in Salt Lake City, began “Find a Grave,” an online website dedicated to providing cemetery locations and information on celebrities. By the year 2000, the site had become a free online forum for people to publish inventories on cemeteries. By 2020, volunteers such as Statesville’s Peggy O’Malley and Kathy Robinson, along with family members had entered the names of over 700 individuals in the Green Street Cemetery. The 1939 WPA survey and the listings on www.findagrave.com were the only published lists of names for those buried in Green Street up until now. The GPR survey data shows 2,224 graves in the cemetery including 52 graves found behind the Morningside Annex/Davis & Mangum funeral home building. Of these 46 are unmarked and six have headstone markers. Research shows that this area was a “Potters Field” where the poor were buried. The area is now considered a part of the Green Street Cemetery and is being cared for by the City of Statesville. 

Research on the cemetery by Shellie Taylor and I have so far identified the names of 1,461 people buried at Green Street. Of these 1,310 lie in unmarked graves. We cannot take a descendant to the exact location of their ancestor’s grave among the 2,073 unmarked graves, but we can now identify the cemetery where they are buried and provide historical information on their ancestor through death certificates, newspaper death notices, census records, etc. 

A sign will soon be erected at the Green Street Cemetery providing a map of the cemetery, a listing of those buried there, the history of the cemetery, and information about the GPR study and its results. The purchase of the sign and the creation of the informational inserts created at Statesville’s Sir Speedy exhausted the funds from the $20,000 grant we received from North Carolina Humanities. While the grant period and the funds it provided is now over our work on researching the cemetery continues and we hope to add more names to the list of those buried there.   

Spending of the $20,000 we received from N.C. Humanities breaks down like this. The GPR survey conducted by Len Strozier, www.omegamapping.com, cost $5,970.00. Len recorded the GPS coordinates for each grave and then marked the grave with a temporary pin and red flag. The library replaced each pin and flag with a permanent metal marker pin ten inches long with a cap so the location of the grave could be determined either by the GPS coordinates or a metal detector. The metal markers and their caps were driven down level on the ground to allow mowing in the area. The costs for the metal markers from www.hollandsupplyinc.com was $11,072.81. The sign to be placed at the cemetery was purchased from OCC Outdoors and cost $2,185.40 while the inserts providing information about the cemetery was ordered from Sir Speedy of Statesville. The cost of the inserts along with promotional materials took up the remaining $771.79.   

Shellie Taylor continues to add the results of our research on Find a Grave and there are now 1,466 memorials recorded on the site as of Sept. 14, 2023 at, https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2452867/green-street-cemetery

It is our hope that other cemeteries in Iredell County can one day be inventoried and studied through a GPR survey. The GPR study can identify each grave by sending radar pulses into the ground creating an electronic image of the subsurface. The pulses basically detect the air cavity where the body is or was. The acidity of the soil and rainfall in this area have dissolved away most of the remains of those buried in the 1800s. Almost all the people buried in the 2,073 unmarked graves were laid to rest with a burial shroud and no coffin. 

The GPR study can provide you with the number of people buried in your cemetery, both marked and unmarked graves. It will show if they were buried in a coffin or just covered with a burial shroud. The GPR findings can give you the boundaries of the cemetery based on the location of the graves. The GPR survey conducted at Snow Creek Methodist Church cemetery revealed the location of a stone wall that ran through the cemetery. This wall was later moved back to its present location as the cemetery needed more space. The Snow Creek survey also showed that in some instances there were two bodies in the same grave as a second person was buried over the top of the first.  

For years I had been told by locals that graves were covered when Green Street and Elm were widened and paved. In fact, if you go there now you can see tombstone markers sitting only a few feet away from the pavement on Green Street. The GPR survey conducted up and down those roads though showed no graves underneath. Nor did it find graves where some of those markers sit along the side of the road. We believe these markers were moved at some point over to the side of the cemetery away from the actual graves. 

What the survey did show was that the area of the cemetery beside where the old Annex/Davis/Mangum funeral home sits now there was once a parking lot and people were parking over the location of graves. I think this was the memory passed down and the proximity of those headstones to the road made people believe it was there. 

Older people in the community such as Wiley Patterson, who is now deceased, claimed that the area behind the Annex/funeral home was where poor people were buried. On June 1, 2022, Shellie and I went behind the building and stomped and pushed our way through briars, poison oak, weeds and brush to see what was behind there. We found six tombstones that were almost covered up with vegetation. These markers really didn’t make sense. Buying a plot in the cemetery would have cost far less than buying a monument. You could have buried them and put up a marker later when you had the money. Our research shows that all six of the people with monuments buried behind the old annex/funeral home died between 1939 when Green Street the last of the burial plots are sold and 1943 when the new African American cemetery, Belmont, opens. 

I think they knew that area had already been used as a cemetery when they buried the ones with markers. The GPR survey revealed that there are 52 graves behind the building including the six with monuments. I found a death certificate for Benjamin J. Hendley who died on June 15, 1929 in Statesville. An article in The Landmark reporting his death was titled, “Colored Man Dies Suddenly and is Buried in Potter’s Field.” The article stated that the man was buried in the “potter’s field of the local colored cemetery.” 

Our research and the GPR survey confirm that there was once a “Potter’s Field” for the African American poor in Statesville. It also extends what we thought was the boundaries of the Green Street Cemetery to the area behind the Annex/funeral home. The Statesville City Council approved a resolution on May 1, 2023 formally take ownership of the cemetery and will be maintaining both areas as one cemetery. 

The research conducted for the Green Street GPR Survey project has been placed on the libraries Flickr page for public access at https://www.flickr.com/photos/icplphotos/collections. The first collection on the top left hand corner is titled, “African American Green Street Photos & Maps” and contains an 1956 aerial photo showing the cemetery and Morningside Elementary on Green Street to the left and Morningside High School to the right on Elm Street. 

Green_Street_Cemetery_1956 Map with Greet Streets Results article

The original Morningside building on the left was built in 1921. In January of 1941 the new Morningside High School building opened with students on the corner of Garfield and Elm Streets. The original Morningside building then became an elementary school.  The Morningside High School building at Garfield and Elm became an elementary school after integration in 1969. It was later renamed Alan D. Rutherford on March 9, 1971 after the school’s long time principal. 

The photo clearly shows paths cutting across the cemetery.  Morningside graduate Vivian Williams said these were the paths the kids used to cut across the cemetery to go to school. You will can also see that the area of the cemetery to the side of the Morningside building has no grass. This is the area that the GPR survey showed was at one time a parking lot over an area where we now know there are graves. Behind the Morningside school is a small building. This structure was put up by the school’s masonry and industrial class as a place to keep their tools and materials. Later the building was converted into a library and dedicated on Sept. 13, 1955.  At the dedication, Principal A.D. Rutherford said the school had been keeping its book collection all over the building including the lunchroom. This small library building is later torn down around 1961 when an annex building with classrooms for the younger children is built behind the original Morningside building. This building later becomes a funeral home and is still there today. The original 1921 Morningside building was sold by the school system in April of 1972 and later torn down. 

 The library’s Flick page also has a collection with the complete listing of those buried at Green Street Cemetery in alphabetic order by the last name. We have a collection online of the death certificates we found of people buried at Green Street along with a collection of death notices and obituaries that appeared in local newspapers. With the Green Street research documents is a collection of photographs and documents from a scrapbook on the Morningside High School put together by the Morningside Alumni Association. 

The Iredell County Public Library has put the complete Green Street project report online at www.iredell.lib.nc.us.  This program is supported in part by North Carolina Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, www.nchumanities.org. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of North Carolina Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dec 19

Great Wagon Road

Posted on December 19, 2023 at 3:06 PM by Iredell County Local History

This article was written by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian, Iredell County Public Library and originally published in the Statesville Record and Landmark on May 8, 2023 under the title, “Great Wagon Road’ history to be presented at Iredell library”.

 

Can you imagine setting out on a long trip with your family to a place you had never been too without a GPS or a road map? To a place you have never seen and where there are no doctors, hospitals, fire departments, police officers, stores, or schools? To a place where there are no hotels, and worst of all, no cell phone service? 

It sounds crazy to even think about it. I mean what kind of parents take their families to a place they know almost nothing about. Well, they know a little about it. They know the wildlife around them will include bears, panthers, wolves, and snakes. They know there are people there who may try to kill all of you as they think you are stealing their land, and oh yes, they say the weather is bad there a lot too. Yet, that’s exactly what most of our ancestor did in the 1700s after they first came to what was called, “The New World.” Most of the ones that would settle in what today is Iredell County first arrived at the port in Philadelphia starting in the late 1740’s only to find much of the land in Pennsylvania and the surrounding colonies already taken. 

These early Scots-Irish and German families would have left their homes and spent weeks making their way to an English port and waiting for the ship to depart. The voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from London to Philadelphia could take from two to three months and would cover some 3,500 miles. After arrival at the port in Philadelphia they would have set out on the Great Wagon Road heading south on a journey that could take six weeks to three months more to reach the Carolina’s where new wilderness land was opening up. 

On Monday, May 8, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. the Iredell County Public Library in Statesville hosted Rev. Bill Hallman who presented a special program on “The Great Wagon Road.” Rev. Hallman has spent years researching the Great Wagon Road also known as the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road or the Carolina Road. This program was sponsored by the Iredell Friends of the Library.

Few people today with children would ever attempt the journey our ancestors took to reach Carolina. Safety for ourselves and our families always comes first. Our ancestors risked their lives and everything they had in the world when they left Europe to reach America. The voyage across the Atlantic then was as dangerous as going on an Apollo mission to the moon. The great English writer Samuel Johnson once said, “Being on a ship is like being in jail, with the chance of being drowned.” In fact, most sailors during this period did not know how to swim. There was no way to call for help and no chance of rescue anyway. They reasoned that if your ship went down it was better to go ahead and drown than to paddle around in the water for three days and drown anyway. The voyage over could take up to three months (and that’s without Dramamine too). You and your family would have been crammed aboard a ship with barely room to lay down and absolutely no privacy. Food and water would have been rationed with everyone eating and drinking from the same unwashed cups and plates. Disease such as dysentery, scurvy, typhoid, and smallpox was everywhere and death would have been common. Burial for a beloved father, mother or child would have been over the side of the ship. 

In 1750 German Lutheran pastor and organist Gottlieb Mittelberger left England on board the British ship Osgood bound for Philadelphia. He later wrote about his voyage in “Journey to Pennsylvania,” published in 1756. The Osgood sailed with some 400 immigrants plus crew and arrived in Philadelphia on Oct. 10, 1750. Thirty-two children died on the voyage. 

“But during the voyage there is on board these ships terrible misery, stench, fumes, horror, vomiting, many kinds of sea-sickness, fever, dysentery, headache, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy, cancer, mouth-rot, and the like, all of which come from old and sharply salted food and meat, also from very bad and foul water, so that many die miserably.” Imagine a mother with two children on a ship crossing the Atlantic. Her husband has died of disease and the cost of the voyage took every penny they had. Her only option would have been to sell herself as an indentured servant once making port. It happened to one of my cousins ancestors. Family legend says that when their ancestors set out from England their last name was Grant. While on board the father died leaving the mother and children alone. Fortunately, a single man by the last name of Wallace agreed to marry her once they reached port and help take care of her children. They still go by the name of Wallace today. 

Why take such risks? Our ancestors fleeing Europe were seeking a better life, but there must have been more to it. I think many of them feared what they were leaving more than the dangers that lay ahead. In their minds I think they were escaping.  They were escaping a Europe that had been divested by wars. From 1600 to 1700 Europe had known only five years of peace. From 1700 to 1800 it knew only four. Europe was constantly at war and your husband or son could be swept away into an army at any time.

Our ancestors were leaving a homeland where lack of food, shelter and jobs was making it hard to survive. There was no way really to make your life better. Real wealth meant owning land and all the land was owned by the noblemen and the crown. The average family in Europe was like a sharecropper bound to land they could never own. You worked your life away as a peasant with most of the fruits of your labor going to someone else. Even living as a peasant was becoming impossible. The population in Europe doubled in the 1700s from 100 million to 200 million. The eighteenth century was marked by terrible poverty. With no form of birth control women typically had eight to ten children. Europe’s natural resources such as timber and fish were disappearing. Wars had destroyed buildings that had taken generations to build.  You couldn’t even pray in peace as there was religious persecution everywhere.  

My ancestor Jacob Ries had the plat for the land he bought from Lord Granville run in 1751. He received 640 acres in his Lord Granville Land Grant in what was then Anson County, but today would be Yadkin. 640 acres is one square mile. Can you imagine what it must to have felt like to walk off that much land and know it was yours? It may have been the first time in the entire history of the family that someone actually owned land. 

The first Moravian settlers arrive in Carolina in November of 1753. “Old Father Ries” as they refer to him befriends the Moravians and though not a Moravian himself, he allows them to preach and baptize in his home. Jacob’s son Valentine’s children are baptized by a Moravian minister in their home. They were not of the same denomination, but they had accepted the Lord as their savior. For Jacob’s family and his Moravian Brother guest that was good enough. 

What a difference from the Europe they left behind where people were persecuted, tortured, and executed over the denomination they belonged to. No wonder they were so desperate to get away from European “civilization.” The dangers of living on the frontier would have been great, but no more so than the dangers of staying in Europe. To be able to worship freely, to work your own land, to keep what your hard work and hands produced. Even today you will hear people say all they really want is to be left alone. 

The church I go to has a sister church in Los Encouentros, Guatemala, It is called Genezerath Presbyterian Church. We send money to purchase the kids school supplies and clothes each year. In January of 2022 I read about a caravan of hundreds of men, women, children, and even infants in baby strollers that had been stopped and turned back by the Guatemalan security forces. They were attempting to cross Guatemala to journey on to the United States border. 

The caravan was made up of Hondurans and Nicaraguans all fleeing their homelands. 62 percent of the population in Honduras live in poverty made even worse by the coronavirus and two back-to-back hurricanes in 2020. The Honduras and Nicaragua people have suffered from pollical upheavals and drug wars for years. 

I usually refer to these people as illegal immigrants and I support the belief that only those who enter the U.S. legally should be allowed in or to stay. There is a fine line though between an illegal immigrant and a refugee. Maybe their leaving and risking it all for the same reasons my ancestor Jacob did in 1750. Maybe they are more afraid of what they’re leaving than where they are going too. 

I wonder if the Cherokee or the Catawba Native Americans who first saw Jacob and his family felt the way I do watching illegal immigrants crossing our borders on the evening news.  Jacob Ries and his 640 acres purchased from Lord Granville whose ancestor Sir George Carteret was given the land by King Charles II in the 1660s. Land that neither the Lord nor his King ever saw or owned to begin with.