Published Saturday September 13, 1897 in The Observer, Fayetteville, NC
E. J. Hale Editor and Proprietor - E. J. Hale, Jr., Business Manager

Mr. Deming Writes of the Past

Shared by Christine Meinert Spencer    Posted September 12, 2008 by Myrtle Bridges


Some few years after the fire of 1831, a kind of emigration fever took hold of our citizens, who went to Alabama, 
Georgia and Florida, and perhaps Texas. Mr. P. I. Tillinghast* and family I think went to Mobile, Ala. He had a son, 
Oliver**, probably 30 years of age, one daughter, grown. Also, a young man, who was staying with him by the name of 
Jordan L. Howell***. The last I heard of Howell he was living in Columbus, Ga.

The Jordan family consisted of James Jordan, the father of Dillon**** and Thos. J. Jordan-Dillon, I think, was a lawyer. 
I think he became Governor of Florida, eventually. Thos. J. was a doctor. The last I heard of him he was in Alabama.

About the same time several young men went by wagon to Alabama. I think there were eight in the party, but I fear I 
cannot remember who they all were. Maj. A. M. Campbell was one of them, McKinnon, McMillan, Thos. Nunnaly, and others, 
I do not call to mind, at present. I do not recollect of any of them coming back, but Major Campbell, and Thos. Nunnery 
[spelled this way] occasionally, on a visit to relatives, about Gray's Creek.

T. J. Jefferies, who married a daughter of Michael McGary, an old merchant in our town, went to Florida about that time. 
Mr. McGary lived on Dick Street where Mr. Chas. Haigh***** now lives; had quite a family of boys and girls-James, William, 
Samuel and Joseph, the boys. Ann, Mary and Elizabeth, the girls. Ann, I think, was Mrs. Jeffries. They all left here some 
four years after the fire of '31; James going to Wilmington, where I think he died. Mr. McGary was Irish, I believe.

William Locke, another citizen who left about '38, went to Alabama. He had two boys, Cornelius and Thomas. The girls I 
did not know so much about. I think Mr. Locke married either a daughter or niece of Mrs. Mumford, who lived on the corner 
of Mumford and Gillespie Streets where the Methodist Parsonage is now. I do not recollect Mr. Mumford. Think he was a navy 
captain. A whale's rib and an eye-ball could be seen for years there. Mumford's swamp, which extended from the pond to 
Mumford Street, was a great resort for hunters. Birds, crows and opossums, now and then ducks in the low places, all 
through the woods and groves. There were some fine old groves. In fact there was little of it cleared between the pond, 
Winslow, Mumford and Gillespie Streets. The military companies often had their dinners and target shooting there. I think 
the first I ever had the pleasure of enjoying was in Mumford's grove.

On the opposite corner, where Mrs. McDonald now lives, was David Smith. He was a banker and kept his store on Market Square, 
where Sedberry's drug store is now. He was called "Cake Davy," to distinguish him from another man by the same name, who I 
believe built and lived in the house on the hill now owned by Mrs. George Brandt******. The latter was a merchant and made much of 
his money during the war of 1812. I have enjoyed myself many times in reading letters relating to his business during the war, 
that were left in [an] old desk in the cellar. The prices of articles were in pounds, shillings and pence, and it amused me 
to figure up the prices of different articles. Blockade running was in full bloom in those days. I think Mr. Smith was an 
Englishman, as he was called "English Davy," I did not know much about his family. Mrs. Smith left here during the war and 
I think went to Newberry, SC, where she had a daughter, Mrs. Brantly. At that time Mrs. Smith sold the house in which she 
had lived to Mr. Geo. Brandt. Mrs. Smith also owned the house which Mr. Geo. Haigh bought and was burned some few years ago. 
I lived in it several years and thus I became familiar with the correspondence found in the old desk.

I am dodging about a little, but your readers must excuse that, as things are stowed away in my memory's receptacle in a very 
promiscuous way, and I take that which come most convenient, and as some things have been there so long it requires a little 
brushing up to tell what it was originally. My greatest trouble is to find some one to go over these old incidents and revive 
them. I wish some one would help me out as I fear I will not hold out to complete my History.  Gurdon S. Deming

*Probably Paris J. Tillinghast.
**The 1860 Census of Russell County, AL, PO Columbus GA shows Oliver P. Tillinghast 46, merchant, b. NC; Mary J., 24, b. GA; Oliver Tillinghast 8 b. GA; Emily 7, b. GA; Eliza 4, b. AL; Caroline 2, AL & Mary 5 mos, b. AL
***The 1850 Census of Muscogee Co., GA shows Jordon L. Howell, 26, clerk, b. NC; Mrs. E. 22, b. GA; Edward W., 3 b. GA; John W. 1 b. GA; Mrs. M. H. Robinson 78, b. England
****The 1850 Census of Escambia, Pensacola, FL shows Dillon Jordan 48, lawyer, b. NC; James Jordan 21, clerk, b. NC; Dillon Jordan, Jr. 20, b. NC; Wm. Jordan 18, MDS, b. NC; Susan S. Jordan, 16, b. NC; Edward M. Jordan, 12, b. NC; Thomas E. Jordan 10, b. FL; Martin V. Jordan, 8, b. FL, and Robert J. Jordan 5, b. FL
*****The 1870 Census of Cumberland Co., Cross Creek shows Charles Haigh 30 b. NC, Retail Grocer; Alice Haigh 22, b. NC; and Penelope Swann 40, at home, b. NC. The 1920 Census of Cumberland shows Charles Haigh 75; Alice Swann, 71; Alice, dau. 36, single.
******The 1880 Census of Cumberland County, Cross Creek, NC shows George Brandt, 54, dry goods merchant; Mary, 27, wife; Leon J., 6, son; George L., 4, son; Marion, son, 6 mos. and Elizabeth Smith, 29, sister-in-law.

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