Martin County, NCGenWeb

An NCGenWeb/USGenWeb Project

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Photo: W.C. Chance

Many thanks to Julia Chance for submitting this photo of her grandfather, W.C. CHANCE.  In the early 1900s, Mr. Chance was principal of Higgs Industrial Institute  a school of African American youth located in Parmele.

ChanceWC_med

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Cushing Biggs Hassell (1808-1880)

Cushing Biggs HassellCushing Biggs Hassell was born near Williamston, in Martin County, North Carolina, on the 14th day of October 1808. His father, John N. Hassell, was an honest and hospitable man. His death occured in the year 1824. He left no property. His wife, Martha Biggs, was a woman of remarkable sagacity, energy and decision of character. For the thirty years prior to her death she was confined to bed with severe rheumatism. In this affliction she displayed wonderful resignation and cheerfulness. She was a zealous member of the Primitive Baptist Church. During the life of his father Cushing Biggs Hassell attended the neighborhood schools at irregular intervals. Here he imbibed a thirst for knowledge and acquired habits of thoughtfulness and studiousness that became the ruling factor in his life. During his idle hours as a merchant he pursued his studies in the classical languages. “While at school he was noted above his fellows for aptness at learning, steady moral habits, and serious disposition. At the age of eighteen he entered into some excellent resolutions, to which he steadfastly adhered through life – to wit: To abstain from the use of liquor and tobacco; not to indulge in profanity or gaming; and to be stricly honest, truthful and upright in all his dealings.”He was twice married. In 1832 he married Mary Davis, who bore him seven children and died in 1846. Three years afterward he married Martha Maria Jewett, widow of Daniel E. Jewett, of Warich, New York. She bore him four children.

To illustrate his usefulness as a citizen, it may be stated that he energetically and successfully filled the following positions of usefulness and honor: Trustee of the University of North Carolina, trustee of Williamston Academy, founder, Secretary and Treasurer of Williamston Library Association; Clerk and Master in Equity of Martin County; Treasurer of Martin County; President of the Roanoke Steam Navigation Company; member of the Constitutional Convention of 1861 and also of the Constitutional Convention of 1875. These important positions show the versatility of his usefulness. When first elected treasurer of Martin County only four votes were cast against him. In politics he was a Democrat, and in the struggle of his party to redeem the State in 1875 he exerted all his great power of mind and body. As a campaign speaker he was eloquent and convincing. His statements on public questions were not questioned by his opponents. But his great services to his community, county and State in secular matters were all overshadowed by his work in the ministry of his church.

In 1828 he was baptized by Elder Joseph Biggs and by him received into the fellowship of the Skewarkey Church where he subsequently became pastor.

Source: Ashe, Samuel A. Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present. Greensboro, N.C.: C.L. Van Noppen, 1905.


Additional Resources

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Whitmel Hill (1743- 1797)

Hon. Whitmel Hill resided in this county.  He was distinguished for his devotion to the cause of liberty, a man of strong natural sense and of cultivated mind.  He was born in Bertie on the 12th Feburary 1743, son of John and Martha Hill, and was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, at which he graduated.

He early entered with great earnestnes into the dubious and dangerous conflict between England and America, and threw into the scale of liberty his “life, his fortune, and his sacred honor.”

In 1775, he was a delegate from Martin to the Assembly of Freemen at Hillsboro’, and was in the State Congress in Halifax in April, 1776, which placed the State in military organization, and, in Nov., 1776, which fomed our present State Constitution.  In 1778 he was delegated to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, and served until 1871.

He resided at Hill’s Ferry, in Martin County, near the Halifax line, where he died, 26th September, 1797.  He was a man of fine literary attainments, a devoted patriot, and useful citizen.  He married Winifred Blount, of Chowan, by whom he had three sons, Joseph, John and Thomas Blount, and one daughter, Elizabeth.  Joseph and John died young without issue.  Thomas B. Hill left a large family of children and grandchildren, among whom is Whitmel B. Hill, Esq., of Halifax, Mrs. Spruill, and others.  His daughter Elizabeth married John Anthony, of Philadelphia, from whom a large family has sprung.

Source: Wheeler, John H. Historical Sketches of North Carolina: From 1584 to 1851, Compiled from Original Records, Official Documents and Traditional Statements : with Biographical Sketches of Her Distinguished Statemen, Jurists, Lawyers, Soldiers, Divines, Etc. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1851.   http://books.google.com/books?id=vEgOAAAAIAAJ.

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Robert W. Hyman (1850-1903)

For a period of more than a third of a century Robert W. Hyman was a resident and prominent business man of Chicago.  Here he passed away, on the 3d of June, 1903, when in the prime of life.  His history is the record of continuous progress gained through the ready adaptability and the wise use of which he made of the opportunities that came to him.  He stood as a high type of American manhood and citizenship and not only was his advancement marked by material gain but also by that intellectual progress that follows a receptive and retentive mind and a deep interest in all those things which are broadening and elevating.

He was born in Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina, on the 26th of October, 1850, and in both the paternal and maternal lines is descended from families of that state.  His parents, Theophilus and Elizabeth Hyman, were both born and reared in the eastern part of North Carolina, and Robert W. Hyman spent his youthful days in Edgecombe county, there pursuing his education in the common schools until at the age of fifteen years he felt it incumbent upon him to start out in the business world and entered commercial circles as a clerk in a general store owned and conducted by his uncle.  He also carried the mail during the period of the Civil war.  His youthful training had been received upon his father’s farm and the outdoor life and the work of the fields had developed in him a strong and robust nature, together with that independent spirit which is so ofen the direct outcome of the outdoor life.

This business that the uncle conducted was later handed down to the two sons of Robert W. Hyman, who are still owners of the store. Their father continued in active connection therewith until 1869 and then leaving North Carolina, moved to Norfolk, Virginia.  Soon afterward, however, he made his way northward to New York city and became clerk in connection with the cotton brokerage business conducted by his uncle.  Three years were spent in the eastern metropolis and on the 30th of May, 1872, he arried in Chicago where he was still associated with his uncle, who engaged in the real-estate field and also engaged in loaning money.  He soon familiarized himself with the property values here and such was the knowledge that he acquired that for a long period his opinions concerning real estate were accepted as authority.  He became agent here for the E. Mott Robinson estate of New York, which he thus represented for many years.  He also purchased and sold large outlying tracts of property for various owners and handled the Hetty Green interests here through her trustees.  He was a most enterprising, alert, successful and prosperous real-estate operator and possessed the ability of predicting valuations years in advance.  His knowledge, advice and judgement were frequently sought and his sagactiy was notable.  He was seldom if ever at fault in foretelling the possible condition of real-estate prices and his keen discrimination enabled him to so place his capital and that of wealthy men whom he represented that substantial results were secured.  In his later years he was associated with a Mr. Mandel in important business interests and was also a director of the Chicago Title & Trust Company.  He was likewise one of the charter members of the real-estate board and was honored with election to its directorate.

On the 26th of October, 1880, Mr. Hyman was married to Miss Anna L. Burrows, a daughter of Robert and Permelia (French) Burrows, of Boston, the former of English descent and the latter of Scottish lineage.  In the year 1865 the Burrows family came to Chicago and the father engaged in the meat business here at an early day.  Mr. and Mrs. Hyman became the parents of two sons: Robert W. , who is now vice president of the Continental Causalty Company; and Rae F., who is engaged in the wholesale shoe business.

While Mr. Hyman usually supported the democratic party he did not consider himself bound by political ties and frequently cast an independent ballot.  He always suportted the men whom he regarded as best qualified for office and in all municipal affairs manifested a public-spirited citizenship.  He held membership in St. Paul’s Universalist church and was a warm admirer of Dr. Ryder, it’s honored and esteemed pastor.  His name was on the membership roll of the Union League, the Chicago Athletic and the Iroquois Clubs and the nature of his recreation was largely indicated in the fact that he belonged to several fishing and shooting clubs.  He was also extremely fond of travel and of literature and he possessed a remarkably retentive memory, holding in the storehouse of his mind much that he read,  so that he could call upon it at any moment.  By nature he was naturally social and his kindly spirit, his geniality and his deference for the opinions of others were factors in his widespread popularity.  The breadth of his interests and the depths of his intelligence also made him a favorite in cultured society circles of the city.

Source: Currey, J. Seymour. Chicago: Its History and Its Builders, a Century of Marvelous Growth. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co, 1912.   [Full-text online at Google Books]

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Joseph John Martin (1833-1900)

MARTIN, Joseph John, a Representative from North Carolina; born in Williamston, Martin County, N.C., November 21, 1833; attended Williamston Academy; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1859 and practiced; prosecuting attorney of Martin County, N.C.; elected solicitor for the second judicial district of North Carolina in 1868; reelected in 1874 and served in this capacity until his nomination for Congress in 1878, when he resigned; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1876; presented credentials as a Republican Member-elect to the Forty-sixth Congress and served from March 4, 1879, until January 29, 1881, when he was succeeded by Jesse J. Yeates, who contested the election; resumed the practice of law in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, N.C.; postmaster of Tarboro from 1897 until his death in that city on December 18, 1900; interment in Williamston Cemetery, Williamston, N.C.

Visit his FindAGrave Memorial – http://tinyurl.com/lwldfc


Source: Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress <http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000190>

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Joseph Bryan Hunter (1782-1839)

BRYAN, Joseph Hunter, (brother of Henry Hunter Bryan), a Representative from North Carolina; born in Martin County, N.C., April 9, 1782; member of the State house of commons 1804, 1805, and 1807-1809; trustee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1809-1817, and was sent to Tennessee on behalf of the university to secure from the general assembly of Tennessee its claims to escheated lands; elected as a Republican to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Congresses (March 4, 1815-March 3, 1819); died at La Grange, Fayette County, Tenn., December 28, 1839; interment in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tenn.

Source: Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress <http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B000986>

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James Ross (1768 – 1853)

Elder James Ross – Born in Martin County, 1768, Died 1853, age 85

In his 18th year he was baptized by his brother, Martin Ross.  He labored as an Evangelist in the counties south of Roanoke and Tar rivers.  He afterwards settled in Bertie county, where her works praised him.  Having passed the unusual limit of fourscore and seven years, unable to reach the house of God, he would send for his neighbors, and dispose them the Word of Life. 

Source:  Delke, James A. History of the North Carolina Chowan Baptist Association, 1806-1881. Raleigh: Edwards, Broughton & Co, 1882.  Available online at Google Books.

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Henry Hunter Bryan (1786-1835)

BRYAN, Henry Hunter, (brother of Joseph Hunter Bryan), a Representative from Tennessee; born in Martin County, N.C., February 23, 1786; attended grammar and high schools; moved to Tennessee and held several local offices; elected as a Republican to the Sixteenth Congress (March 4, 1819-March 3, 1821); had been reelected to the Seventeenth Congress but did not qualify; died in Montgomery County, Tenn., May 7, 1835.

Source: Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress <http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B000986>

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Harry Williams Stubbs (1860-1934)

Hon.  Harry W. Stubbs, one of North Carolina’s leading lawyers, was born in Williamston, N.C., February 16, 1860.  He is a son of Jesse R. and Mary Ella (Williams) Stubbs, the former a native of Beaufort county, N.C., and the mother of Martin county, N.C.   Jesse R. Stubs gained a thorough scholastic training by his own efforts at the Washington academy and prepared for the practice of law.  He was a member of the house of commons of the state from Beaufort county, and later represented Martin and Washington counties in the state senate.  Immediately after the war he was elected to the United States congress from the First North Carolina district, but was not seated.  He wasa a man of great ability, and a brilliat orator.  He first affiliated with the whig party, but later became a staunch democrat.  His death occured in September 1870.  Mr. Stubbs was one of the orginal stockholders in the Williamston and Tarboro railroad company, and was the first president of the company.  His wife died in 1864.  She was a daughter of Harry Williams, Esq., one of the earliest citizens of Williamston.  Two children were born to Jesse and Mary Stubbs, Harry W. and Jessie, wife of D.D. Simmons, of Williamston.

The subject of this biographical mention was given exceptional educational advantages,  having been a student of the Horner school at Oxford, and later spending three years in the Hillboro academy, he was graduated from the University of North Carolina, and took up the study of law under the direction of Mr. James E. Moore, and completed his course with Dick & Dillard of Greensboro, N.C.   He was admitted to the bar in January, 1881, and began the active practice of his profession in Williamston, in October, 1885, at that time having become associated with Mr. James E. Moore.  In 1889, he was elected to the state senate from the Second senatorial district on the inferior court of Martin county, and at one time was mayor of Williamston.  His first marriage was in 1882, when Miss Della B. Lanier became his wife.  One year later her death occurred.  In 1888 he married Miss Carrie L. Sitterson, and one child, Jesse R., has been born to them.  Mr. Stubbs is a prominent Royal Arch Mason, and also a member of the I.O.O.F.  As a lawyer he excels, being keen and well read.

Mr. Stubbs died July 9, 1934 in Williamston, N.C.  An obituary appeared in the July 12, 1934 issue of the Robesonian, newspaper of Lumberton, NC.

stubbsharry_obit

Sources

  • McCrady, Edward, and Samuel A. Ashe. Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century. Madison, Wis: Brant & Fuller, 1892. http://books.google.com/books?id=wkYTAAAAYAAJ
  • “[Death notice of Harry W. Stubbs].” Robesonian [Lumberton, NC] 12 July 1934: 1.

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Docton Warren Bagley (1801-1878)

Docton Warren Bagley commands a high rank among Martin County notables of the nineteenth century. While the Hassell, Biggs and other families held prominent places in the field of religion, Mr. Bagley distinguished himself as a Southern patriot, educator and business man.

Complete information about the old patriot is unavailable, since the records of his marriage and those of his parents with other valuable information were lost in the Martin County courthouse fire in 1885. However, the record of the family dates back more than 200 years to Perquimans County, where a Wiliam Bagley deeded land to Josiah Biggs in April, 1748. The first reference to the Bagleys in Martin County is found in a land deed issued by Edward Warren to William Bagley in 1778. The records indicate that William Bagely (who had a brother named John) married Sarah Warren and that Docton Warren Bagley was their son, born in Williamston in 1891. There was a sister named Saba, who married and moved to Mississippi.

William Bagley, father of Docton W. Bagley, was killed by lightening on Christmas Day in the early 1800s. He had stopped with his young son under a tree during a severe electrical storm. Apparently reared under trying financial circumstances, young Bagley cared for his mother until her death years later. His formal schooling was limited, but he was a self-made and self-educated man. He entered the mercantile business when a young man, operating a large establishment in Williamston on property now occupied by the post office on Main Street. On November 8, 1856, a group of prominent Martin County citizens met a the Martin County courthouse to form the Roanoke Steamboat Company, D.W. Bagley was named president on the very same day. Docton W. Bagley managed boat lines, handled mail contracts, supervised timberland operations, promoted education and maintained an interest in his town, county and fellowman, but above all he was a true patriot of the South. He was a confirmed snuff-sniffer and had a great habit of snapping his silk snuff handkerchief, especially when displeased.

Mr. Bagley married Elizabeth Gray. William Bagley, their oldest child and the only son was born at Williamston in 1824. During the Civil War he did code work and was a member of the Confederate Secret Service.  He died in 1875, about three years before the death of his father. There were four daughters, as follows: Marietta, who married Henry Short of Martin County; Clementia, who married John S. Cheeck of Warren County; Margaret, who married Dr. Levi Smith Yates of Martin County; and Helen, who married Capt. L.L. Clements of Hamilton in Martin County.

After a lengthy illness, Docton Warren Bagley died at his home here in Williamston on February 27, 1878. He was buried on his property just off South Watts Street near the railroad. A number of years later, his remains were moved to a cemetery in Camden County by his relatives.

 

Source: McCallum, James, H. Martin County During the Civil War; Including a Roster of Troops from Martin County. Williamston, N.C.: Publication sponsored by Martin County Historical Society, printed by Enterprise Pub, 1971.