Tuesday, December 6, 2022


Sarah Frances Falkner Turner was one of my sixteen Second Great Grandparents. I've been stuck, Stuck, STUCK on her father, John Falkner, for years. I believe I've discovered every record there was on him, which were few, as he was a simple man who lived a simple life. Only DNA research can take me any further now. 

There were two sets of Faulkners or Falkners in Anson County in the 1800's.  The other set were wealthy. I'm now convinced without a doubt that the two were related. Asa Sr., the head of the other family, and my John, were not brothers. That's clear, but very possibly first cousins, as DNA connections among descendants abound.

But to start a thorough investigation, I must start with the very first Falkner in my family tree growing upwards from myself, and that would be Fanny.

In the beginning, the children of John Falkner were nearly as difficult to investigate as he, himself. Fanny was one of his younger children, and at first, it was believed she was the youngest, until I found Ella, who was born after 1870, the last census both John, and his wife Susan Webster Falkner, show up in.

Sarah Frances Falkner shows up as just a wee lass in 1870. Her father is seen as 63 and her mother 43. Six of her older siblings were in the home, but there were others. Susan was John's second wife and several of Sarah Frances' older half-siblings were already out on their own, working, marrying, and starting families of their own.

The family lives on a farm in the Lanesboro area of Anson County, NC.

The census taker completely missed Susan and the children who still lived with her in 1880, but she was alive and well in 1880. The next time we find Fanny in a record is on her marriage license in 1887. 

John Falkner had been dead for about a decade and the groom, William Alexander Turner, knew he was dead, but could not recall his name to have it recorded on the license application. He did know Susan, however, who was still living in Lanesboro and the wedding was held at her home.

William A. Turner was the son of George Washington Turner, who was living, and Wincy Ann Morton Turner, who was not.  Will was the grandfather of my maternal grandfather, Lewis T. Davis, and I can see a resemblance between him and 'PaPaw'. The below photograph was passed down from one of Papaw's brothers family. I'm sure that was probably Fannie's elbow, yet we don't have the entire photo of her and I wonder why not. But she had a delicate hand in her younger years. 

William Alexander Turner

Will would move his family to the town of Albemarle, in neighboring Stanly County, though his home church remained Red Hill Baptist near Ansonville in Anson County. His father, George Washington Turner, was a founding member and his grandfather, the Rev. Samuel Parsons "Crying Sammy" Morton, had preached there.

The years immediately preceding and following the turn of the century were rough on the small farming communties of  the southern piedmont and more than crops were planted in the earth. Will and Fannie Turner started a family and the cemetery at Red Hill Baptist Church in upper Anson County would tell the tale of their many losses. Just in front of his fathers plot, William Alexander Turner had purchased a row of gravesites for his family. His own grave is on the right of the row, while Fannie, who outlived him is several graves down on the left, reason being, several of their children were in the middle. 

First born was little Luanna on January 15, 1888. She passed away on Febuary 8, 1888, only 3 weeks old.

The next two seedlings would take root and grow into adulthood, Annie May in 1889 and Penny Wayne in 1891, my great grandmother, so they are not buried here.

Next followed two more daughters; Viola was born on October 8, 1893. Her family enjoyed her angelic company for 5 years until the little girl expired of unknown reasons on December 1, 1898. Their sorrows were not limited to Viola in 1898. Mary, who was born in 1895, was only three when she died in 1898. Lastly, their only son, and no doubt Will's pride and joy, after 5 daughters, little Willie Turner, Jr., was born on August 29, 1898 and passed away on November 21, 1898, just days before his sisters.


The Messenger and Intelligencer

Wadesboro, North Carolina
03 Nov 1898, Thu  •  Page 3

It was reported in the local newspaper, in Novemeber of 1898, that a small child of Will and Fannie had died. This would have been Willie. There was so many childhood maladies that were fatal then, and not so much now, that the rate of death of small ones was incredibly high, sometimes half of the family, sometimes more. Other dangers were rampant as well, until parents learned over the next century how to keep their small ones safer. Many were burned in fireplaces or were scalded by boiling water, ran over by trains, bitten by poisonous snakes, or injured by other animals. One child in my family tree was kicked in the head by a cow while trying to milk her. The world was a dangerous place. 

Name:Wm A Turner
Birth Date:Mar 1869
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
House Number:21
Sheet Number:14
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:181
Family Number:208
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Fannie Turner
Marriage Year:1887
Years Married:13
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Occupation:Cotton Mill, Drawer
Months Not Employed:0
Can Read:No
Can Write:No
Can Speak English:Yes
House Owned or Rented:Rent
Farm or House:H
Household Members (Name)AgeRelationship
Wm A Turner31Head
Fannie Turner31Wife
Annie M Turner11Daughter
Penny W Turner8Daughter
Ella Smith33Sister in Law (Sister-in-law)
Virgie M Smith1Niece

It may have been these grave losses that spurred the Turner families move north to Albemarle, in Stanly County, where they were found in the 1900 census. Will is renting a house in North Albemarle Township and working in a local Cotton Mill, which means the family was probably living on what was called . "The Mill Hill", as Albemarle is located on a number of rolling hills along Little Long Creek, Long Creek, Town Creek and many smaller, contributing branches. Living with them was Ella Turner Smith, Fannies younger sister, who was born after 1870 and was often omitted from family trees, as she was not listed on the last census her parents were in. Ella's small daughter, Virgie Mae, was also living with them and oldest daughter, Annie Mae Turner, only 11, was also working in the Cotton Mill. Child labor was alive and well. 

Fannie was expecting another daughter during this time, Bessie, who would be born on March 19, 1900.

The tragedy would not end. Will Turner, himself, passed away on January 2, 1902. He was only 35 years old. I'm not certain, but I believe he also died of pnuemonia. He passed away just before death certificates began to be issued. He was buried at Red Hill Baptist Church near Ansonville, NC, the Turner family church.

Name:William A. Turner
Birth Date:21 Mar 1865
Birth Place:North Carolina, United States of America
Death Date:3 Jan 1902
Death Place:North Carolina, United States of America
Cemetery:Red Hill Baptist Church Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Ansonville, Anson County, North Carolina, United States of America
Has Bio?:N
Father:George Washington Turner
Mother:Elizabeth Wincy Turner
Spouse:Sarah Frances Turner
Children:Bessie Scarboro

Fannie was now a young widow with three young daughters, Bessie just a toddler. 

Fannie was still a young woman, so after a year of mourning, she began courting for a second time. 

Brantley Mack Thompson was an Albemarle man with Montgomery County roots. His family may have been displace by the building of the dams like several others were. The son of Nathan Thompson and wife Priscilla Coggins, Brantley was Fannie's age and a recent widower just as she was. He had first married Mary Bracey Fesperman and had a sturdy family of five children. Brantley and Fannie would marry on July 3, 1904, in Albemarle, by Magistrate John W. Bostian. The witnesses were J. H. Williams, J. E. Caspar and W. A. Wilson. 

Brantley reported to be 38 and a resident of New London. Fannie reported to be 35, and a resident of Anson County. She now reported that both of her parents were deceased, meaning Susan had died between 1900 and 1904, as her daughter Ella had reported her alive on her marriage license in 1900. 

Brantley and Fannie would have one child together, a son, named Bennett Lee Thompson, born on September 4, 1907. I remember it being told how well my Great Grandmother Penny had loved her little brother. She even named one of her sons, Bennett Davis, for her brother.

In 1910, the extended Thompson family were living on Salisbury Road in Albemarle. Brant was a carpenter and two of his older sons, Travis, 21, and George, 18, were still in the home. Travis worked for the Railroad and George was an Oiler in a Cottonmill. Little Bennitt was only two years old and two of Fannie's daughters also were still living at home. Mae (Annnie Mae) was 20, and working as a Winder at the Mill. Little Bessie was only 10, and a student. The family had taken in two boarders, Mamie Taylor and Will Vanderburg. This was common as single young people would move off of the farms an into the towns to make a new life and living for themselves. 

1910 seemed to be a family grouping of homes, as next to Brant lived next to a John Thompson, 22, his wife, Martha, and John's sister, Ida Fesperman. Yet, although John was a Thompson,  he was neither Brantley's son or brother. There may have been a Thompson connection up the line, but it wasn't close enough to concern me. Likewise, John's sister Ida had married a Fesperman, the maiden name of Brantley's first wife, Mary Bracey Fesperman, but no close connection there, either. Bracey's father was a John Martin Fesperman and Ida's father-in-law was a John Henry Fesperman. Again, those branches may have sprang from the same trunk and probably did, but not a close relation. 

However, on the other side of John Thompson, in House number 206,  was living Fannie's other daughter, "Wayne", (Penny Wayne), 18,  and her husband, Will Davis,19,  with their baby son, Claude, 13 months old.
These were my Great-Grandparents, both who lived to meet me. 

Beside the Davis's lived the family of Joe and Mattie Holt and their 18 month old son, James. Mattie was the sister of Will Davis.

Below is a fragment from a 1969 map of Wiscassett Mills Housing. While a long time after  1910, it does show clearly, this section of the Salisbury Road before several changes, like the Hwy 52 Bypass that was built in front of where the Service Station sat (and still does) in the upper left corner of this map portion, right before 518.
Now, a Harris Teeter shopping complex took out the first three houses on Leslie Street and the entire area of Sycamore Street, which I don't even remember existing, and an Eckerds/Right Aid now Walgreens took out the Shell Station between Salisbury Ave and Chestnut Street, and all of the houses on that side of Chestnut Street.

The addresses listed for Brantley Thompson, John Clark Thompson, Will Davis and Joe Holt in the 1910 census, houses 204,206, 208 and 210, were gone far before this map was drawn, but should have been located in that section of street between Salisbury Avenue and Leslie Street, or, perhaps Leslie Street may have been the original trajectory. It seems, though, that between the road labeled "US", which was the old Hwy 52 (and Second Street), where Salisbury Ave begins, and the one labeled just "ST.", which was first street, would have been the 100 block and the section between First Street and Depot Street, (where Chesnut ends), would be the 200  block. House number 518 is the first dwelling actually on Salisbury Avenue/ Road in this except, and still is. It began as a farm house and was adapted into the mill vilage built around it, as it was once occupied by my first husbands grandparents, as we had seen a picture of it, still somewhere in our family possessions, of the house with only fields around it, before the mill village was built, and not yet underpinned, crops climbing the hill instead of cottages. 


When I was small, I remember my Great Grandparents living at 106 Chestnut Street. Those houses have also been demolished and the entire block is now a bank, with the bank itself having located where 710 stands and my Great Grandparents home being paved over for the ATM parking lot. 

Except from 1927 J. M. Furr Jr. map of Albemarle from digitalnc.org.

The above  except, from 1927, is much closer in time to 1910. This blowup shows Salisbury Avenue, at that time called Salisbury Street, between Second (which would become Hwy 52) and Depot Streets, crossing 1st Street. It shows W. Davis, or Will, living at 261 Salisbury St. Chestnut Street had not been built yet, but in a blow up, one could see Leslie Street existed at this time. Of note, J. Mauldin, or Jonah Mauldin, lived just across the street at 252 Salisbury Street. Jonah Mauldin is also my Great Grandfather. Here, in 1927, Will's son would be 15 and Jonah's daugther would be 18. A few years down the road they would marry.

1927 J. M. Furr Jr. map of Albemarle from digitalnc.org.

A larger view shows how Salisbury Street related to the rest of the neighborhood. It met with First on its eastern end and headed out of town to the northwest after crossing Little Long Creek on the west. Before its trek towards Salisbury, the city it was named for, it made a curve around the factory buildings and crossed before a massive pond, which is now an abandoned parking lot. Another, smaller pond, is seen located among the buildings on the left labeled 'Wiscassett Mills'. There are railroad tracks between First Street and the neighborhood to the east, which climbs a steep hill and contained roads named Cannon, McGill, Webb and East Streets. Horizontal to Salisbury lie Lefler to the north of Salisbury and Ludlow to the south and Glenn south of Ludlow.  Near the lower right corner of this portion one can see a building labeled Wiscassett Hosiery Mill and dead center, two blocks east of that, is a block labeled playground, with a building labeled 'Pavillion'. This is amazing to me. The park/playground is still there to this day. As I am a grandmother and take my grandchildren there to play, this means this playground and Pavillion entertained at least 5 generations of my family, My grandparents, my Mother and her siblings, myself, my children and my grandchildren. Across the street from the park, where the YMCA now stands as it did during my childhood, are a  School and the Wiscassett Nurses home nestled between two residences, John Fulton and W. A. Smith. There is also another school on the next corner adjacent to the School that became the YMCA, next to the Methodist Church, which also still stands. 

A view of the map in its entirety can be viewed Here .

Moving forward to the 1936 map, just about a decade into the future, the numbering is clear.
By now I've figured out that these two blocks of Salisbury Avenue on the map are Chestnut Street. That 106 Chestnut and 106 Salisbury Avenue we're the same house. From my earliest memories, Leslie Street had only one row of houses. The tiny strip of land between today's Salisbury Ave and Leslie St is barely wide enough for a dog house, let alone a human house of any size. That the 'S' curve around the pond that no longer exists is the short section of road in front of the old Wiscasset Dye House that created a little block only large enough for one building and is now a medical building. At some point, a new road came straight up, a four lane road, and wiped out all of houses on the south side of Leslie Street. This road became Salisbury Avenue, and the old part was named Chestnut. It was probably at the time the Dye House was built and the pond was filled in. Only four houses remain on Chestnut Street today. 

A broader view of the neighborhood verifies my theory. House number 106 Chestnut sat on a hill with a high bank and a basement with windows where flowers caught the sun. A wide porch overlooking the hill was much used to watch traffic that ran along First Street and the trains that ran the tracks behind the houses across the street. Webb Street climbed the hill from the valley called Happy Hollow where all those streets merge.

And the second block, the two hundred block, of Salisbury Avenue, now Chestnut Street, is where Fanny and her new family lived in 1910, in the block where what is now Walgreens sits.

The wider view shows how the mill village was built on the other side of the tracks, and how Ash Street extended into what would become Carolina Avenue by the time I came along, and was replaced by the current Hwy 52.

It was also interesting for me, to see the area that extended from the other side of the park. The Catholic Church is seen exactly where it sits today. I was shocked to see it was there in 1936. This County is not known for a population of Catholics. The older folks complained that they were brought in with the factories and referred to them as 'Carpet Baggers.'

The next decade would bring a great deal of tragedy and a small bit of happiness.
The Enterprise - 11 Aug 1910 - Page Page 3

The first tragedy would occur in August, just after the census was taken, when Fannies first grandchild, little William Clyde Davis, would pass away. 

Next was a happy event when oldest daughter Mae found love and married Lanny' T. McDowell in 1912.

Both married daughters would welcome children over the next few years, two more sons for Wayne and two daughters for Mae.

In the summer of 1915, youngest daughter, Bessie, would marry, to Joseph Scarborough, son of Charles and Delia. Both of them lived to the Registrar, and said they were 18 years old, when both were only 15. 

The Enterprise

Albemarle, North Carolina  Thursday, August 02, 1917

From there on was tragedy, Bessie would have a sons, William Clegg, who was born and died in 1917 at only three and a half months old. His cause of death was given as ' toxemia and indigestion from being overfed'. 

The next year, Bessie was again pregnant with a baby boy. She became deathly ill with influenza that would turn into pneumonia. Not only Bessie, but Fannie also was sick with 'The Spanish Flu' that developed into Bronchial pneumonia. 

Bessie went into early labor. Her premature son was born, and died, on October 18, 1918. Three days  later, Bessie would also pass away from her illness. She was only 18 years old, and cause of death was pneumonia with influenza and premature labor being contributing factors.  Bessie and both of her baby boys were buried at Prospect Baptist Church just outside of Albemarle, at the time. 

On October 22, 1918, the very same day as her youngest daughter Bessie, Sarah Frances Falkner Turner Thompson would pass away,  at age 51, of pneumonia. She was buried in the row of Turners with her husband William,  and their deceased small ones,  at Red Hill Baptist Church in Anson County.

Life is like a river that keeps flowing on. If any of the other members of the family caught the flu, they survived. 

Fannies widower, Brantley, would marry a third time, almost exactly a year after her death, to Daisy Tucker. They would have two children together, a son and a daughter. Brantley would live until 1935.

Oldest daughter, Annie Mae Turner McDowell would have four children and become a young widow in 1926, at the age of 37. She would live another 40 years and passed away in 1966. 
Penny Wayne Turner Davis had another eight children after losing her first, five sons and three daughters. She would pass away in 1965.

Fannies baby boy, Ben, would marry a lady named Nellie and have 2 sons and three daughters. He named one Wayne and one Mae.

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