Friday, February 14, 2014

This Land is My Land: The Irrepressible Nealie Shepherd Part II

North Carolina is a beautiful and historic state. The rolling hills and multiple rivers and streams of the land between the Yadkin and Catawba afforded its early citizens a workable way of life. By the early twentieth century, however, farms had been divided and subdivided to a point wherein not everyone could own their own.

Lundy Cornelia Shepherd was a woman born into the South during the devasting and deadly years of reconstruction. After the death of her mother, she and her brother, who were born in Richmond County, came to Stanly County to live with her aging maternal grandparents, Marcus P Carter and wife Nancy.

The grandparents did not live until the children were grown, however, and Tom Shepherd was left to try and survive on his own, begging work and board from neighboring farmers, and local business people, in order to survive. Imagine how much harder it must have been for his younger sister.

In 1887, Nealy whose age was given at 18 at the time, married a 40 year old bachelor, Joseph I Mauldin. I am very much a Mauldin, my maternal grandmother being one, and both of her parents being Mauldins. Joseph seemed to have led a pretty quite existence. He did not make many waves.

Nealie's age seemed to change to suit her purposes in every record. In the first census she shows up in, 1880, her age is given as 8, birth year 1872. On her marriage license in 1887, it is given as 18, which would have given her a birth year of  1869. As she did not appear in the 1870 census, and was not yet born, I believe her age was elevated in the instance to suit the purposes of her being a bride. She was more likely about 14 or 15. Her second census, as the 1890 is forever lost, was in 1900, where she is listed as 25, with an 11 year old son, and a birth year of 1874. Her son Patterson, in records, steadfastly has a birth year of 1891, from military records, marriage licenses to death certificate and tombstone. He should have been about 9.

By 1910, Nealie's age was written as 30, striked out, and over written as 40. Patterson's as 20. This would have given her a birth year of 1870. On her marriage license to Lewis Dawkins in 1913, her age again is given as 40...3 years later, giving her a birth year of 1873, and Lewis is given as being 55.
Name:Lewis Dawkins
Birth Date:1858
Spouse's Name:Nella Shepherd
Spouse's Birth Date:1873
Spouse's Birthplace:
Spouse's Age:40
Event Date:20 Jan 1913
Event Place:Richmond, North Carolina
By the 1920 census, Nealie is 48, with a birth year of 1872, the same as in her first census, but Lewis's age has jumped 22 years in the 7 years since his marriage license, with his age being given as 77.

Lewis did not live until the next census, passing away in 1927 with an age of 79 on his death certificate, so he got a little younger before his death, only aging 2 years in 7 years time. On the 1930 census, however, Nealie is living with her son and his family, and is 58, corresponding with a birth year of 1872 on the 1880 and 1920 censuses.

Name:Nealie Dawkins
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1872
Birthplace:North Carolina
Marital status:Widowed
Relation to Head of House:Head
Home in 1940:North-West and South Rockingham, Richmond, North Carolina
Map of Home in 1940:View Map
Street:Extension Of North Lee Street Or Honeytown
House Number:344
Inferred Residence in 1935:North-West and South Rockingham, Richmond, North Carolina
Residence in 1935:Same House
Sheet Number:21B
Number of Household in Order of Visitation:2
Industry:Own Home
House Owned or Rented:Rented
Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented:4
Attended School or College:No
Highest Grade Completed:Elementary school, 2nd grade
Hours Worked Week Prior to Census:32
Class of Worker:Working on own account
Weeks Worked in 1939:52
Income Other Sources:Yes
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Nealie Dawkins68
Louis Hudson25

The last available census is that of 1940. In it, Nealie is now 68, which is right on target with a birth year of 1872, and living with her is her oldest grandson, Louis Hudson, probably named for his generous step-grandfather, Lewis (sometimes seen as Louis) Dawkins. This census infers that she was a simple laundress and that she worked 32 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, and I don't doubt she was taking in laundry. Nealie was a smart, insightful and opportunistic individual. The previous census records revealed that she could read and write. She was proud of that and never denied it. On this one, she claims to have only made it to the second grade. School must have been the one on Stony Hill, nearest to her grandfather, Marcus Carter's place.

Her grandson Louis is a welder, and a widow next door, (in a house that Nealie owned, by the way, Fannie Hinson, was also a laundress.

The 1940 census tells us the family lived on an "extention of North Lee Street or HoneyTown".

John Dubose, a Rockingham native who moved to Florida, shared the following photo in his "Collection of Memories"

John Dubose Collection, Rockingham

R37-Five Points of years ago...coming into Five Points on N Lee St from Honeytown. My input: This photo was taken in the early 50s. That is Five Points - road that the picture was taken from does run from Honeytown - Lee St. Walked those roads many times during my youth. Leftys was in the middle - my uncle John Heavner ran Five Po...ints Barber Shop on the right. Use to be a little store on the right also above that black car. Seagos on the left on old 74 after you would make the turn off of N Lee St . Homer Benoists Five Points Grocery across from there. That main road in view was US 74 - before they diverted it behind Homer's place. That area beside and behind Homers is where Lane Hudson and Mike, Billy and Keith McKenzie grew up. Lot of good memories and glad so many remember that part of Rockingham.
R37-Five Points of years ago...coming into Five Points on N Lee St from Honeytown. My input: This photo was taken in the early 50s. That is Five Points - road that the picture was taken from does run from Honeytown - Lee St. Walked those roads many times during my youth. Leftys was in the middle - my uncle John Heavner ran Five Po...ints Barber Shop on the right. Use to be a little store on the right also above that black car. Seagos on the left on old 74 after you would make the turn off of N Lee St . Homer Benoists Five Points Grocery across from there. That main road in view was US 74 - before they diverted it behind Homer's place. That area beside and behind Homers is where Lane Hudson and Mike, Billy and Keith McKenzie grew up. Lot of good memories and glad so many remember that part of Rockingham.

What the census records fail to reveal, was that Nealie was more than a simple laundress, she was also a land barren, a wheeler-dealer, perhaps a bit manipulative and very ambitious. She went to work as a housekeeper for Mr. Lewis Dawkins, who had a piece of land. Factories were growing up on either side of his property, and she Nealie was the one who obviously saw an opportunity and took it. Lewis owned the property in the beginning, but later turned it all over to Nealie. The most telling document was this one"

 Map showing location of Lewis Dawkins Farm near Honeytown

"  1924   Deed between Lewis Dawkins and Nealie Dawkins

Document 140  Page 511   This 10th day of April, 1924 between Lewis Dawkins of Richmond County of the first part and Nealia Dawkins, his wife of Richmond County of the second part....Witnesseth that Lewis Dawkins, for the love and affection he bears towards his wife, the said Nealy Dawkins, and in consideration of $5.00 paid in hand by the said Nealy Dawkins...tract or parcel of land in Richmond County...viz..

Seven tracts...west of the town of Rockingham by way of the Pee Dee Cotton Mill #2....on public highway leading from Rockingham by way of the Great Falls Cotton Mill.....1 mile west from the center of town....Lots, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, and 7 being part of the land known as Richardson Park....Also, lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Dawkins Development....having been conveyed to Lewis Dawkins by Carolina Land & Exchange Co. ......also Lots 5 & 6 in Block A of the Lewis Dawkins development...having been conveyed from J F Swink and wife Bessie...Feb. 11, 1924... TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. 

Up until his marriage to Nealie, Lewis had been a simple farmer. He had made one or two purchases of large tracts of land. After his marriage to Nealie, however, their names exploded in the land records, with Nealie clearly in charge. She saw an opportunity.

From "Rockingham Remembered Scrapbook", Men in front of Pee Dee Mfg. No 1

The Lewis Dawkins farm was located just west of the turn-of-the-century town limits of Rockingham. There were two roads that either ran along side his property or through it. One was called "The Rockingham -Wadesboro Road, and passed by the Great Falls Factory. The other was called "The Blewitt Falls Road" and passed by the Pee Dee Manufacturing Company. Lewis Dawkins and Nealie , also either owned or purchased property in Longwood Park, in Hamlet, as that is mentioned as well.

Shortly before 1920, Lewis and Nealie probably saw the value in families wanting to settle near the growing factories, to be able to walk to work. They hired a surveryor named J. V. Thrower to stake their property into Blocks and Lots. Other parts were left wooded and the timber rights sold. Lewis and Nealie, themselves, mortaged some of the property, and sold other tracts. Some of the mortgages fell through and so they were selling the same lots over and over, each time with a considerable profit due to the rising cost of real esate. Patterson and wife Louella continued the same course in a smaller way than Nealie, afterwards.

Listed below are some of the transactions found involving Lewis and Nealie, Patterson and wife Louella, as grantees, grantors, or mortgages lent.

The records begin in Stanly County, after the death of Marcus P Carter, and the settlement of his estate. W. W Kearns, husband of Lucy Carter and son-in-law of Marcus Carter, bought the undivided interest in the property from the other heirs. Thomas Shepherd, undoubtedly kept some portion of the land, or either bought it back.

1895  Book 22 Page 122  W. W. Kearns to John A. Russell (husband of Sallie Carter Russell)
1898 Book 22 Page 562  W. W. Kearns to J. T. Shepherd (son of Fannie Carter Shepherd).
1895 Book 23 Page 339  W. W. Kearns to Lunda C. Mauldin (Nealie's name prior to her marriage to Lewis Dawkins, she was the widow of Joseph Mauldin. J. T. Shepherd was her brother.

W. W. Kearns transactions with J. T. Shepherd were a bit confusing. On November 11, 1898, W. W Kearns and wife Lucy J. Kearns sold 11 9/10 acres of land to Tom Shepherd for $15.00

On the same day, Thomas Shepherd and wife, Rosana, sold 59 8/10 acres to W. W. Kearns for $15.
On the same day, Nov. 11, 1898, Book 22 Page 566, W. W. Kearns sells the same 59 8/10 acres to Mrs. E. J. Shankle.

McNeil Rd, Albemarle, NC 28001

The cemetery and lands of Marcus Carter were in between McNeil Road and Indian Mound Road, near the Pee Dee River.

On Lewis Dawkins part, he shows up pre-Nealie in the land records in a transaction on April 25, 1896, purchasing a tract of land from Solomon Ford, of Richmond County and N. A. and Elizabeth Harmon, of Guilford County. The tract was "on the waters of Naked Creek" and adjoining the Pee Dee River and the Ingram estate, near a "Boswick's Mill."

On the 10th Day of December, 1912, not long before he married Nealie, Lewis Dawkins purchased property from E. F. Richardson and his wife Lula, that ran the "edge of the road from Rockingham, NC via Great Falls Factory, to a spring at the head of the Dawkins Spring Branch. This may have been property that had been in his family for a long time, as the spring bore his surname.

From then onward, all the transactions involving Lewis bore both his name and Nealie's, or just Nealie's alone, before and after his decease. 1920 and 1921 were the big action years. The years Nealie decided to turn this farm into a development, and she became a real estate wizard, basically creating her own Mill Hill, and leaving this earth in a much better financial situation than she had been born into.

A view of Dawkins Street in Rockingham, North Carolina

1915 Oct 29 Lewis and Nealie - Henry Morse - road leading from  Rockingham by Pee Dee Mills to Blewitt Falls .

1917 Mar 11 - Lewis and Nealie to M B Thomas adj Pee Dee Mill Village conse. McIntosh Bros. brick building.
1917 Mar 11 Lewis and Nealie to Mary Luther - eastern edge of Wall's Ferry Road to Pee Dee Mfg.

1919 Oct 29  Lewis and Nealie to B C Ussery adj. Jeter Richardson and the late Annie Cole 5 2/10 acres on road to Blewitt falls by way of Pee Dee Mill # 2.

1919 Dec 16  Lewis and Nealie to T. E. Cox  Timber Deed  107 acres- "all timber on this tract on which Lewis Dawkins now lives".

1920 Nov 8 Lewis and Nealie - Neal Henry McQueen Lots 48 & 49 of L. Dawkins property near Pee Dee Mfg. property.

1920 Nov 8 Lewis and Nealie - John and Grace McQueen Lots 50 & 51 Lewis Dawkins Property in Rockingham Heights near Pee Dee Mfg.

1920 Nov 8 Lewis and Nealie - Mason P. McIntosh Lots 100-103 & 86 - 89 Lewis Dawkins Property in Rockingham Heights.

1920 Nov 8  Nealie Dawkins 1st part, Pee Dee Mfg 2nd part, for $5069.50 Lots 5 - 8, 22-43, 70-85 of Lewis Dawkins Property Known As Rockingham Heights.

" D C Hinson from Lewis and Nealie Lots 14-18 Rockingham Heights
Same day, same person Lots 19, 20, 52,53,54

1920 Nov 8 L & N - S R Davis Lots 44-45

1920 April 9 L & N -Hiram Thomas Baldwin  East side of the Rockingham - Wadesboro Road.

1921 Apr 5  Pee Dee Mfg. to Lewis and Nealie Lots 56-60

1920 Nov 8  L & D to Clyde Swink and wife Lots 2,3,4 Dawkins Prop. Rockingham Heights.

1920 Nov 22 L & D - W T Hinson  Lots 9 -12

1921 Oct 24 J V Thrower to  Lewis and Nealie Tract 1 lots 5 & 6 Block B, Tract 2 Lot 10 Block B, Tract 3 Lot 4 & 5 of of six choice homesites.

1920 Nov 8 J P Patterson - L & D, Lots 46 & 47 L. D property in Rockingham Heights.

1921 Oct 13 L & N - J. E. Jarman Ltos 1 - 4 Block B of the L. Dawkins development.

1921 Oct 13 L & D - E J Morse Lots 11-13 Block B L. D development.

1920 Nov 24  L & D - Nancy Hinson Lots 61-63 Rockingham heights.

1921 Nov 12 Carolina Land and Exchange Co.  to L & D. Lots 90-98 Lewis Dawkins property West of Rockingham, Lots 90-98 L. D property west of Rockingham, lots 1-4, 13 - 21 Block A, Lots 3,5,6, 21-39 Block B, Lots 1-17 Block C, Lots 1-4 Lots D.

Also in 1921, 24 more transactions, involving Lewis and Nealie and the following individuals: J. F. Swink, T. R. Nichols, Willis A. McIntyre, John R. Lavin, Lorena Barrington, Nancy L Hinson, B C Ussery, Will Long, W. A. McDonnell, H. T. Allen, and D. A. McSwain, among others. There are so many, I've grown tired of typing. 

1920 - Dec 31 Nealie Dawkins to Will Long  Lots 77, 78. 84, 85

1921 -Nov 22  W T Hinson to Nealie Dawkins for $1500 in West Rockingham, Lots 77 & 78, 84 & 85, once known as the property of W. A. McDonald, 77 & 78 being the J. M. Downer lots and 84 & 85 being the Billie Williams lots.

1921- Nealie Dawkins to D L Hinson  Book 139 Page 186

1922 Nealy to J B & Bell Richardson, land in West Rockingham, intersecting with road from said town (Rockingham) by way of Pee Dee Cotton Mill, No 2. and public road leading west by way of Great Falls Cotton Mill...Lot 4 in Block D of Richardson Development, being present homeplace of J. B Richardson and family.
1922- Nov. 13 Carolina Land and Exchange Co., Principal Office in Forsyth County, to Lewis and Nealia Dawkins for $1620 land in Rockingham Township adj. Lewis Dawkins and others.  Lots 1 - 4, Block A  of the Lewis Dawkins Development, surveyed and made by J. L. Thrower Sept 15, 1914 (note: Lewis and Nealie were married in 1913).

1923 - Neila to Will Long  Mortgage Deed, Will Long son of Elisha T. Long Same Lots in West Rockingham.

1923 - Lewis Dawkins - J B Richardson Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 "Richardson Park"

1924 Nealy and Lewis Dawkins  7 tracts West of Town of Rockingham by way of Pee Dee Cotton Mill # 2 and public highway leading from Rockingham by way of  Great Falls Cotton Mill, one mile west of center of town Lots 1 - 7 land known as Richardson Park. Also Lots 1 - 4 of the Dawkins Development coveyed from. Carolina Land and Exchange Co.

1924- Lewis - J. T. Cox  Lewis buys from J. T. Cox and wife 'Milner'  and T. E. Cox and wife Mattie a tract of land next to the Cox Planing Mill.

Also Lots  5 + 6 in Block A of the Lewis Dawkins Development having been conveyed from J. F. Swink  and wife Bessie. Feb. 11, 1924 to have and to hold.

1924 Louis Dawkins ux - H. W. Sneed ux

1927- Aug 3 Lewis and Nealie FROM H. W. Sneed, orginally T. E. Cox- part of property of Cox Planing Mill on Mortgage Deed.

1927 Nealie to Carolina Land and Exchange

Jan 1 1927 Mrs. Nealie Dawkins bought from E. L Sanford, Mortgage Deed, Mark's Creek Township, on half of the unsold, undivided interest in Longwood Park, Hamlet, NC Lots 36.37,42,80,81,84-86,128,130,132,133,140-145.

1927 Aug 10 - Patterson and Luella Hudson to T P Seago Lot 31 Block B of the Dawkins Deveopment.

Mar 8, 1928  Nealie - J. L. Gordon Lots 36 & 37 Longwood Park addition near Hamlet.

May 21, 1928 Nealie to John and Maggie Perkins Mortgage Deed Lots 1 - 6 Block A, Dawkins Development.

Nealie to T. E. Cox  North side of Blewitt Falls Road thru Pee Dee Village running with Nealie Dawkinss line.

Feb 9 1928 Nealie Dawkins to Patterson Hudson- North side of Blewett Falls Road thru Pee Dee Village, lot adjoining his mother. (Note: Lewis had passed in 1927).

263-15 and 254-193 Louella Hudson (Mrs. Patterson Hudson) as trustee for New Hope Baptist Church.

1962 Nov 16 - John R MacCaskell, John W Davis, Allen P Hudson, Trustees of Rockingham Weslyn Methodist on road leading from Rockingham to the Pee Dee Hill to Blewitt Falls conveyed to (Church) by J. R. Norse and wife Cassie.

1964 Sept 16 Patterson and Luella - Harry C. Carroll Lot 5 Block A Dawkins Development.

19 Feb 1965 Patterson and Loella Hudson Lot 5 Block a of the Dawkins Development same conveyed to them by Boyce and Lenna Martin on Dec. 21, 1953 to Willie and Bettie Tyne.

1965 Nov 9 Patterson and Louella  to Harry C. Carroll Deed of Trust Lot 5 Block A Dawkins Dev.

2 Feb 1967 Luella as trustee for New Hope to Ollie Mae Maske Lot 9 and part of Lot 8 Block A of the Dawkins Development.

1969 May 20 Louella H. Hudson to John Calvin Hudson (subject to a life estate reserved by grantor) Lot 5 in Block A of the Dawkins Development, the same property conveyed to Patterson and Louella by Willie E. and Bettie C Tyner. "Patterson is now deceased and Luella reserves and excepts to herself a life estate in said property".

1970 Apr 14 Allan Patterson Hudson - Paul and Hazel Jenkins Lots 9, 10, 11 in Block C of Hillcrest Subdivision

1972 Mar 1 - Luella and New Hope (notice the spelling of Louella Hudson's name keeps changing)
Lot 37 Block B Dawkins Development and Lot 9 and half of Lot 8 of Lewis Dawkins Development.

1973 Aug 16 Marcus W Hudson (single) Lots 3 & 4 Bermuda Meadows. - T Berry Liles
Marcus Hudson and Harry C. Carroll.

Could this early deed have been related to how Nealie met her "Sugar Daddy", Mr. Lewis Dawkins, who was a simple farmer until Lundy Cornelia Shepherd Mauldin came into his life?

82-99 J. R. Sheppard  (related?) from Lewis Dawkins and wife adjoining J B Richardson and John McNair for $300 Lot 5 of the W. S. Thomas lands via Great Falls Factory to a sping at the head of Dawkins Spring Branch.  One acre more or less.

Nealie became a supreme land baroness, an orphaned girl who came from nothing. She saw opportunities and she took advantage of them. The Irreprssible Nealie Shepherd Mauldin Dawkins.

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