The small towns of Bonlee and Bennett will be the topic of a historical program by Mr. John Hudson Emerson on Sunday, November 15, 2:30 pm in the Historic Courthouse at Pittsboro.
Mr. Emerson has long been a friend of the Chatham County Historical Association. Over the years he has enlightened us on the career of Sheriff John Emerson, the Bonlee and Western Railroad, the Regulator Movement in the area, numerous other topics, as well as provided extensive genealogy work on the Dunlap and Emerson families. His programs are always in depth, informative, and fun. CCHA is pleased to provide another opportunity to share history with Mr. Emerson.
The towns of Bonlee and Bennett were bustling with business and community life in the early 1900’s. Many factors came into play to transition them to what they are today. Mr. Emerson’s photographic collection included in his presentation will be supplemented by some artifacts on display in the museum.
The program is free and open to the public. The Chatham County Historical Association, Inc. is a non-profit corporation [501(c)(3)] with the goal of preserving and sharing the history of Chatham County, North Carolina. Would you like to share your time and talents to help us reach our goal? For more information or to contact us, call 919-542-6222 or visit our website at
Annual Meeting and Program
February 15, 2:00 p.m.
Chatham County Historic Courthouse
The Story of the
Non-Violent Student Sit-in Movement and the
Black Struggle for Equality - As told by the late Dr. Mansel Philip McCleave
Please join us for the Chatham County Historical Association’s February lecture on Dr. Mansel Philip McCleave and his involvement with the student nonviolent sit-in protest at the Greensboro Woolworth’s lunch counter. To celebrate Black History Month, the CCHA will present a detailed look at how this Chatham County native contributed to one of the most significant events in the American Civil Rights Movement. We invite you to this fascinating celebration of how a local resident helped to shape our contemporary society.
Siler City Police Chief Gary Tyson will open the event with a look at the life of Dr. Mansel and his book, Hunger Pains in Our Heads: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Origin of the Sit-In Movement. Dr. McCleave’s goddaughter, Teresa Walker will provide a personal and in depth perspective on his work with the Greensboro sit-ins and the Civil Rights Movement. Mrs. Walker’s presentation will shed light on how this Chatham County hero became in inspiration to those struggling for equality in America. Finally, Dr. McCleave’s close friend Reverend Barry Gray, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Siler City, will speak on Dr. Mansel McCleave’s legacy and his lasting impact on Chatham County and our nation.
The Chatham County Historical Association’s February meeting is free and open to all. The event will be held at the Pittsboro Historic Courthouse (40 East Chatham Street, Pittsboro NC, in the circle) on February 15th, 2015 at 2:00 PM. Please join us in honoring the legacy of Dr. Mansel Philip McCleave during this Black History Month celebration!
The Siler City Story: Images and Commentary
from Western Chatham County Local Historians
November 23, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
Siler City Courthouse, Siler City, NC
Join us for a wonderful look into the history of Siler City! The November presentation will be opened by local author Marian Rogers-Lindsay with an introduction to her work, Images of America – Siler City. Members will be invited to view fantastic images detailing the rich history of Siler City, and may obtain copies of the book signed by the author.
Siler City natives Tommy Emerson, Jack Moody, and Ed Spence will provide a collaborative commentary on the pictures and their relationship to the past of Western Chatham County. These local historians will provide firsthand accounts of Siler City’s past, as well as vivid descriptions of key people, places, and events which have helped make Siler City a vibrant and integral part Chatham County’s story.
This will be a unique opportunity to learn about Siler City from primary sources and the individual witnesses to the unfolding of Western Chatham County history.
The presentation will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, November 23rd at the Siler City Courthouse. There is no cost, and all are invited!
ALL ROADS LEAD TO AND FROM CHATHAM COUNTY
Lee D. Kent - Adjunct History Professor - UNC Pembroke
September 21, 2014 - 2:00pm
Historic Chatham County Courthouse Courtroom
The presentation will look at the original migration patterns into North Carolina as a whole and in Chatham County in particular. The discussion will center on the groups forming the historical make-up of the county, and the exodus of families and groupings. Particular attention will be focused on the population decrease in the 1830s. A question/answer period will follow the presentation. Mr. Kent has retired from his professional career in the teaching at the public school, community college, and University of Virginia levels. He now lives in Pinehurst and teaches at Pembroke, Sandhills Community College, and according to his wife, wherever someone wants to learn history.
A list of helpful genealogy websites will be provided at the event.
Recognition and Awards:
• National State Teacher of the Year (Virginia)
• Adjunct Professor of the Year - Northern Virginia Community College
• Daughters of the American Revolution History Teacher of the Year
• Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year
• USA Today 100 Most Influential Teachers
“A Peek Into Pittsboro’s Past” a Tour of
Historic Pittsboro Homes
September 13, 2014
The Chatham County Historical Association (CCHA) invites you to take a trip down memory lane during its Saturday, September 13, 2014, bus/walking tour showcasing many of Pittsboro’s appealing and alluring homes and buildings in the historic district.
Homeowners of selected houses will open their homes to tour guests between the two tour hours of 10:00 a.m. to noon (Tour #1) or 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Tour #2). Tour ticket holders will embark on two Chatham Transit buses (each holding 16 guests) from the Chatham Historical Museum located in the Historic Chatham County Court House in the heart of Pittsboro. Proceeds from tour ticket sales will enable the Historical Association to enhance the Chatham History Museum programs and displays.
A total of 64 tickets for the Tour/Fundraiser at $50 per person will go on sale on a “first-come, first-served” basis starting July 15. “When they’re gone… they’re gone,” said Cindy Perry, Tour Committee member… so folks shouldn’t dally, dawdle or otherwise delay their purchase.”
Tickets are available by mailing a check to CCHA, Post Office Box 93, Pittsboro NC 27312. Indicate if you wish to attend the morning or afternoon tour. The ticket price includes bus fare, docent guides, costumed re-enactors, and light refreshments.
The following historical houses are included on the tour and visitors will be permitted to enter the house but will be limited to specific areas of the first floor:
Highlights of “A Peek at Pittsboro’s Past” House Tour
Governor Manly’s Law Office
The Freeman House (Nancy Simon) Salisbury Street
The Yellow House under renovation (Ray and Janet Carney) South Small Street
The Hall London House (Bradshaw and Robinson Attorneys) Hillsboro Street
The Manse (Cindy and Dan Perry) Hillsboro Street
The Wade Barber House (Fred Royal) Hillsboro Street
The Pilkington House (Jamie and Michael Fiocco) Hillsboro Street
The Dr. McBane House (Michelle and Jon-Paul Guarino) Hillsboro Street
Spa at Bell House
Historic Chatham County Courthouse
The tour of historically significant houses and buildings in Pittsboro is a rare opportunity to observe the southern architecture up close and personal and hear from docents and homeown-ers the intriguing history at each stop.
The Chatham County Historical Association preserves and celebrates the unique history of the county; on this tour it spotlights Pittsboro, the oldest city in Chatham, named for William Pitt, the Younger in 1787.
For further information, contact Susan Little,firstname.lastname@example.org , 919-929-7707.
Chatham County Historical Association
Spring Historical Program
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Come and join Linda Carnes-McNaughton, Archaeologist with Fort Bragg Military Base, and Paul Webb with TRCSolutions, Inc., a company providing cultural resources consulting and archaeological compliance services to a broad range of clients. Linda and Paul will talk about surface collecting of artifacts done in the Pittsboro town area in the past couple years as ground was disturbed with various building/renovation projects in the area.
See what you might find when you "play in the dirt."
Mark your calendar for upcoming events in the Historic Courthouse by CCHA:
First Sunday, June 1, July 6, August 3, Museum Open
September 21, Sunday afternoon, Collections of CCHA, program by Melissa Delbridge, Archivist
Come and enjoy an afternoon learning about the wonderful Chatham County.
Questions? Call 919-542-6222
The Annual meeting program will be based on a newly published book "The Civil War in the North Carolina Quaker Belt, The Confederate Campaign Against Peace Agitators, Deserters and Draft Dodgers" by William T. Auman. Mr. Auman was a prominent historian on many aspects on the Civil War. Activities included in the Quaker Belt are also a part of Chatham's history.
Mr. Auman passed away in April, 2013, however, his sister, Ann Brown, lives in Pittsboro and assisted Mr. Auman with his work on the book. After his death, Ms. Brown was able to get the book edited and published following his death. The book became available just a couple of weeks ago. She has a DVD of Mr. Auman talking about his book which she is willing to share and is very interesting.
2013 EventsANNUAL MEETING AND HISTORIC LECTURE
TRADITIONAL STRING MUSIC IN CHATHAM COUNTY, 1930-2012
Sunday - February 24, 2013 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Holmes Meeting Room
Chatham Community Library
197 NC Highway 87 N
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Tommy Edwards is a bluegrass and folk musician, singer, songwriter and radio show host from central North Carolina. He is a retired history teacher, coach and administrator in the North Carolina Public School System. For the past 40 years he has played and recorded professionally with The Bluegrass Experience, one of the Southeast's most respected groups and has more recently combined with vocalist and bassist Alice Zincone and banjo master Rick Lafleur to create the "super trio" Carolina Lightnin’. A former two-time World’s Champion Bluegrass Guitarist, Edwards is also proficient on mandolin and banjo both of which he plays with The Leroy Savage Group. He also appears from time to time in two-man shows with Doc Watson’s long time accompanist Jack Lawrence. As a songwriter, he has been honored by having his songs recorded by several North Carolina bands including Molasses Creek, Shady Grove, The Brothers in Bluegrass, Kicking Grass, and The Bluegrass Experience. He has recorded four band albums and five solo projects, several receiving critical acclaim in national publications. He and/or his music have been the subject of many articles in a variety of publications, most recently in the January issue of Our State Magazine.
Tommy’s original music has been featured in several diverse settings as well as in his own recordings. He is considered an authority on bluegrass music and has been invited numerous times by William Ferris to present traditional music history programs for the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC Music Department and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has written for Southern Cultures and presented lectures on aspects of folk culture at The North Carolina Pottery Center and at other venues in the state. His radio program "Bluegrass Saturday Night" has been broadcast for five years at WLHC in Sanford, NC and has recently been added to the schedule of WRHC in Rocky Mount, NC.
Tommy lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina in a National Register home that he and his wife, Cindy, restored.
The program is free and open to
the public. Please join us!
AMERICA’S SECOND WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE,
WAR OF 1812, BICENTENNIAL PROGRAM
Sunday, 7 October 2012
Holmes Meeting Room
Chatham Community Library
197 Highway 87
Two hundred years ago, Chatham County citizens provided
troops to America's second war for independence--the War of
1812. Chatham has a special connection to this conflict with
the British through Captain Johnston Blakeley, Naval hero,
lost at sea with his sloop "Wasp."
A program commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 will be presented by Chatham County Historical Association, on Sunday, October 7. Robert Barnes, History Instructor at Central Carolina Community College, will discuss the history of the War of 1812, the origins of the conflict, the motivation for US involvement, a brief synopsis of the major events, and an examination of the consequences of the war -- including the impact of the conflict on North Carolina and Chatham County.
Available at the program will be a list of Chatham soldiers who participated in the War of 1812. Come and see if your family was represented.
The association will also be selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the new Chatham County museum. At the program, items to be raffled will be on display. They include framed "Coal Fields of Chatham," Ramsey 1870 map, and the O'Neil whimsical print of Pittsboro. Winners will be notified after the Pittsboro Street Fair on October 27.
County Courthouse Renovation
Architects Keynote Speakers
at Historical Association Meeting
Sunday, February 19, at 2:00pm
Bldg. 2, Multipurpose Room
Pittsboro Campus, Central Carolina Community College
764 West St., Pittsboro, NC 27312
Grimsley and Taylor Hobbs, AIA, of Hobbs Architects will tell us what is happening inside, outside, and all around the courthouse reconstruction at CCHA’s annual meeting on Feb. 19. Images of the Courthouse in various stages of demolition and rebuilding will illustrate their narrative.
This will be your opportunity to listen, learn, and ask questions to find out what is really happening behind those courthouse doors. Get the inside scoop on those things you wonder about as you circle the courthouse and watch the activity inside the chain link fence. Learn about some of the courthouse’s secrets that the destructive fire of 2010 uncovered.
Also at this meeting, Association members will share the progress on plans for exhibits in the historical museum that will be housed on the first floor of the restored courthouse. For more than a year, a dedicated group of CCHA volunteers has been hard at work developing the exhibits to tell the Chatham story.
Chatham County Historical Association welcomes everyone to the program and a brief annual meeting. Both the meeting and program are free and open to the public.
Continues Civil War Series
Sunday, May 22,
at 2:00 p.m.
Campus of the Community College, Building 2, Multipurpose Room
On May 22, 2011, LeRae Umfleet will present a program entitled "Life on the Home Front." The Civil War had a profound effect on all aspects of life in the South. Stories of bravery and suffering on the battlefields of the war are often told, but most of us know far less about the lives of those who stayed behind during those troubled years. Ms. Umfleet will draw on Chatham County documents for insight into the lives of ordinary local people during the war - how women fared with family and farm with husbands and fathers gone, ambivalent feelings about the war, the home guard, and increasing shortages of goods.
The second in a series of three public lectures commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War will be held in the multi-purpose room, building 2, at Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro, beginning at 2:00 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.
Throughout her career in public history, Ms. Umfleet has worked with a multitude of sites in a variety of capacities, including the North Carolina State Archives, the North Carolina Collection in Chapel Hill, the Joel Lane Museum House in Raleigh, Davis Library in Chapel Hill, and Historic Hope Plantation in Windsor. Originally from Bath, North Carolina, LeRae graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1991 with a Bachelor's Degree in History and earned a Master's Degree from East Carolina University in 1998. Reflecting her personal interest in plantation slavery, her Master's thesis was entitled "Slavery in Microcosm: Bertie County, North Carolina 1790-1810."
Ms. Umfleet currently is the Chief of Collections Management for the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. In this position, she manages how the agency cares for, collects, stores, and exhibits the objects in its custody. In her spare time, LeRae enjoys learning more about women‚s roles during the Civil War, including sewing period fashions, and sharing her love of history with anyone who will listen!
This lecture series began in early March with Dennis Brooks's presentation about Chatham troops and the battle of Gettysburg. It will end with a program in September presented by Michelle Lanier entitled "A War with Many Voices: African-American Memory and the Civil War."
Directions to the
From the old Courthouse, go west on US Highway 64 through the stop light. In two-tenths of a mile, turn right into the Central Carolina Community College. Turn left into the parking lot. Building 2 is the second building on the right. The multi-purpose room is on the first floor on the immediate right upon entering the building.
Sunday, March 6,
Election of officers
Short reports of the state of CCHA
Dennis Brooks, Noted Historian to speak at Historical Association’s Annual Meeting
Chatham County Historical Association is pleased to have Dennis Brooks present the program “26th NC Regiment at Gettysburg – The Chatham County Connection”. Dennis’ interest in the involvement of Chatham County troops in the Civil War has resulted in his having done extensive study and research on the topic. A rich history exists of contributions made by Chathamites. Come and learn.
The program will be given on Sunday, March 6, 2011, 2:00 pm at the Pittsboro Campus of the Central Carolina Community College, Building 2, Multipurpose Room. The public is invited to attend and is free.
As 2011 begins the Civil War Sesquicentennial Anniversary this program is first in a series. The second program will be May 22 about “Chatham Life on the Home Front” and the guest speaker will be Ms. LeRae Umfleet from N. C. Department of Archives and History. A third program is planned for later in the year about “The Emancipation Proclamation and its Celebration in Chatham County.”
Also at this time, the
annual meeting of the Association will be conducted.
Officers and directors will be presented for membership
approval. Those being nominated for filling vacated
director positions are Jane Hinnant who has been serving
as Secretary in an appointed capacity, Mary Nettles and
Arranging What We
Have in Hand & Finding What We Don’t:
Conducting Local Genealogical & Historical Research
James Vann Comer
Noted Professional Genealogist
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Central Carolina Community College
The Public is Welcome!
Every family has a “skeleton in the closet” and the information that most genealogists are looking for is stored in closets, basements, attics, in trunks and strong boxes. Mr. Comer will be instructing us in how to look at what we have and how to further research genealogical and historical information. Come, listen, ask questions, and be assured that you will take home valuable information and new enthusiasm for your genealogy project.
During his years as a professional genealogist, Mr. Comer has assisted people with their family research, in some cases doing the research for them, and worked on other projects and publications that have enhanced the area’s genealogical and historical records. The holdings of our Chatham County libraries include much of his material. Mr. Comer lives in Sanford – in that part of Lee County that once was Chatham – and is a fount of information about Chatham’s people.
He has published Central North Carolina Journal and was previously editor of the Lee County Genealogical & Historical Society, Inc.’s newsletter The Times. As one of his more unusual projects, he attempted to identify a skeleton found in the area with the attribution that it was “the last man hanged.” Maybe we’ll hear the whole story.
Shew Yourselves to be Freemen:
The Regulator Movement in Chatham County,
John Hudson Emerson, speaker
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Program begins at 3:00 p.m.
Guided tour of the church grounds and
area begins at 2:00 p.m.
Rives Chapel Church, 4338 Rives Chapel Church Rd., Siler City
Join us to learn more about Chatham County’s role in the Regulator Movement—a fascinating and important part of North Carolina and US history. John Hudson Emerson, a Chatham native and historian whose ancestor James Emerson narrowly escaped hanging after being captured at the Battle of Alamance, will discuss the movement at this free program.
Come early for a brief tour of the church grounds or to take a short walk to the Old Tick Creek cemetery nearby, where Regulator James Emerson is buried. His grave marker suggests some of the drama of the Regulator movement. It reads ”Patriot. A Regulator at the Battle of Alamance, condemned to death by Gov. Tryon, pardoned by Gov. Martin, lived to take part in the War of American Independence.” Volunteers from the church will serve as guides for these activities beginning at 2:00 p.m. Lemonade and cookies will be served on the church grounds following the presentation.
Mr. Emerson will discuss the “grievous oppressions” that the Regulators opposed and the implications of the Regulator movement for the formation of Chatham County and for North Carolina’s participation in the Revolutionary War. He will describe clashes between Regulators and British forces that involved thousands of settlers, and will talk about the roles some early Chatham settlers played in the Regulator movement.
Beginning in 1766—six years before the Boston Tea Party and nine years before the Battle of Bunker Hill—settlers in what is now Chatham County participated in a movement that would lead to what many historians consider to be the earliest armed conflict against the British in the American colonies. Yet many are unfamiliar with this Regulator Rebellion, whose participants walked the very ground we call home today.
By some estimates, there were more than 6,000 participants in the Regulator movement—accounting for nearly three-fourths of the NC backcountry’s white adult male population. It began with petitions and civil disobedience, and ended in May of 1771 when Governor William Tryon's Colonial Militia violently suppressed an armed rebellion at the Battle of Alamance, at which two- to three-thousand Regulators were decisively defeated by Tryon’s smaller, but well-armed forces.
Among the Regulators were a large number of early Chatham settlers. Some of their family names are still represented in Chatham today.
In anticipation of Mr. Emerson's presentation on the Regulator movement in Chatham County, a special exhibit will be on display in the Chatham Historical Museum. The display features Chatham-area men who participated in the Regulator movement and the locations of their properties, where known. The exhibit opens August 5 and will remain for several months. The Chatham Historical Museum is located in the historic county courthouse in Pittsboro and is open on Wednesdays from noon until 3 p.m. and First Sundays.
For more information call 542-3603 or 542-4478.
From Pittsboro and points west:
Take US 64 west. From the traffic circle in Pittsboro, go 7.1 miles and turn left on Rives Chapel Church Rd. Go 4.3 miles. When the road forks, stay left. The church will be on your right.
From Siler City and points east:
From US-64 east, turn south on US-421, toward Sanford. Go 6.2 miles. Turn left on Ike Brooks Rd. and go 2.5 miles. Turn right on Rives Chapel Rd. Go 0.2 miles. The church will be on your right.
From Chapel Hill and points north:
Take US-15-501 south. Turn right on US-64 west toward Siler City. Go 11.3 miles and turn left on Rives Chapel Church Rd. Go 4.3 miles. When the road forks, stay left. The church will be on your right.
From Sanford and points south:
Take US-421 north. Turn right on Ike Brooks Rd. Go 2.5 miles and turn right on Rives Chapel Church Rd. Go 0.2 miles. The church will be on your right.
The Chatham County Historical Association is hosting a free
Walking Tour and Open House of Historical Places in Pittsboro
Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
1:00 -4:00 pm
Docents will be available at most sites to discuss the history of the place and to answer questions.
Have you ever wondered what Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church or the Pittsboro Masonic Lodge look like on the inside?
Did you know that the cute house on Salisbury Street next to the Baptist Church dates from before 1815 and was owned, along with much of the property in that block, by a free black man, Lewis Freeman?
See a partially reconstructed log-cabin near the Pittsboro Library, on Rectory Street. Visit the graves of some important Chatham County residents, and see a close-up view of the interior of Governor Charles Manly’s tiny law office. Come discover other Pittsboro treasures you may not even know exist.
This is your chance to come inside some of the interesting places that you pass by in Pittsboro and to learn about their history.
Free maps and a listing of open sites will be available at the Chatham County Courthouse in the traffic circle and at all other sites on the tour.
Enjoy your individual tour, visiting the sites YOU choose. Travel by foot or by car at your own pace.
Sites open for the tour include
The Historic Chatham County Courthouse
Governor Manly’s Law Office
Pittsboro Methodist Church and cemetery
St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and cemetery
Partially restored Marshall log cabin
Pittsboro Presbyterian Church and cemetery
and the Chatham County Historical Museum, located in the Courthouse
MAY 3 IS A FIRST SUNDAY, so: downtown Pittsboro will offer other exhibits, crafts and art vendors, music, food & drink as well.
Please join us!
More info: 919-542-3603
A Conversation with Perry W. Harrison,
retired Superintendent of Chatham County Schools
2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 15, 2009
Superior Courtroom, Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro
Perry Harrison, a highly respected citizen of Chatham County, served as Superintendent of Chatham County Schools from 1967 until he retired in 1994. We are privileged to have him share his first-hand thoughts and observations about this historic period of school history with us.
The Chatham Historical Museum, located in the Courthouse, will open at 2. Our annual meeting will precede the program, and light refreshments will be served following the program.
Please attend and bring your friends to our free program!