Published Tuesday, September 28, 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


While writing of other things, I will try and not forget the old citizens of my remembrance. The first 
I particularly recollect was Dan'l D. Salmon who kept a boarding house, or "tavern," as they were commonly 
called at that time. On my father's moving up town from Campbellton, he boarded with Mr. Salmon for a short 
time until he went into the D. G. MacRae* house on the southwest corner of Court House Square. Mr. Salmon 
was on the southeast corner, James Miller on the northeast and Acy Beebe on the north. All taverns were filled 
court week, also boarding houses all over town, with several hotels--the LayFayette; the Mansion House, which 
stood on the lot where the Military School is now; the Planter's Hotel which stood on the vacant lot east of 
the Dobbin House; the Jackson, at Liberty Point; besides several other boarding houses of minor importance. In 
those days, there were a good many strangers, mostly young men without families, and after the fire of 1831 
carpenters, bricklayers, etc., to help build up the town; hence the demand for boarding houses.

Court Week the town would be filled up with the good old Scotch, from the country around, not so much for the 
business at court, but to see each other and have a good time, especially in the Fall, or when the crops were made.
Mr. David Anderson, Sr., father of Wm. J. Anderson**, grandfather of David and John of the present day, was an old 
man, perhaps 80, when I first knew him. His greeting, when meeting him, was generally, "your sarvant, sir." One of 
his peculiarities was, he generally carried his umbrella, which was of white linen and quite large. I do not know 
whether he was Scotch, but think he was. Our people of my early days were considerably mixed up-Yankees, Scotch, 
and Irish; some few English; now and then a Frenchman; the Scotch most numerous.

Jno. Kelly, one of the older citizens was Irish. He built the Roman Catholic Church, and was the chief support 
of it while he lived. He was one of our wealthiest men. He made a great part of his fortune during the war of 
1812. He dealt largely in sale, and had a large quantity on hand, and sold it for a large price during the war, 
imported from Turks Island and England. The supply was cut off by the war. Mr. Kelly sold it as high as $5 per bushel.

Hugh Campbell was another old citizen of those days, as well as a wealthy one. He was a merchant. He also had several 
farms, one about where Alex. McArthur now lives. He also owned Tokay of the present day, where the rock was quarried 
for the Arsenal, which was commenced in 1838. Capt. Bradford, commander, David Bell, architect, James Hodges, master 
mechanic. They have all passed away. I would like to give your readers a brief history of all of our old town's people, 
as it seems to carry me "away back" to the happiest days of my life, but where are all of my playmates of those days? 
How few do I find to go back and talk over them with?

John McLaurin, Sr., father of Major Duncan and William, a merchant, and Scotch "Black Hugh," as he was called on 
account of his dark complexion, who had resided in the West Indies. A good old Scotchman, Duncan Thompson was another 
very old man. I think he was a northern man, a merchant, and had no family. Oliver P. Stark***, I think a northern man, 
cotton buyer principally. I think he outlived all of his family. He lived for many years with Dr. B. W. Robinson, Jr.****,  
Mr. Wilkings (father of Edward W. Wilkings***, auctioneer, &c.,) I think was a native of the United States, and came from 
Rhode Island. He was a very old man when I first knew him, was in no business of my recollection.

Of course it is not to be expected that I knew everybody on their business, yet there were few prominent citizens that 
I cannot tell something about from "away back" to the present time.

*The 1880 Census of Cumberland County, Fayetteville shows D. G. McRae 72, Justice of the Peace; Ann, wife 72;
Annie daughter 40; Julius Hall, Black 54, servant; and Sarah Jessup 63.
**The 1850 Census of Cumberland County, Fayetteville shows William J. Anderson, 46, Clerk in Bank; Elizabeth 32;
Joanna 16; David 13; John 11; William 8; Margaret 5 yrs.
***The 1850 Census of Cumberland County, Fayetteville shows O. P. Stark, 63, b. NY, Insurance agent.
****The 1850 Census of Cumberland County, Fayetteville shows Benj. Robinson 74, physician, b. Virgin Islands;
Eliza W. 50, b. Rhode Island; Thos. J. 23, druggist, b. NC; Emily B. 19, b. NC; Henry A. 17, student, b. NC
*****The 1850 Census of Cumberland County, Fayetteville shows Edward W. Wilkings, 62, merchant, and his wife Jane 49,
lived next door to the Charles Haigh family.

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