Log in

Log in here -->

Log in

Chatham County Historical Association

Preserving and sharing the history of Chatham County North Carolina

snippets ~ chatham history BLOG

Little Bits of Chatham History

  • 26 May 2023 7:57 PM | Anonymous

    Oval Oak Manufacturing Co. became a nationally known manufacture of washboards after starting in 1909. This 1916 photograph shows the production staff. Front row L to R: Coley Fox, Lauritt? Fesmire, Ott Curtis, Joe Phillips, Ralph Blair, Paul Blair (?), Clyde Bunting, Unknown. Back row L to R: Mr. Hunt, Dr. Dowdy, J.C. Gregson, Owen Stove, Milton Smith (?), Sam Curtis, Dwight Lambe, Rudy Kirkman, Unknown, Lester Fesmire

    More info about the Oval Oak Manufacturing Co. can be found on our website:

    Photo from Duane Hall's Historic Siler City collection.

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #OvalOakWashboard #industry #1910s

  • 26 May 2023 7:55 PM | Anonymous

    This is the Bray-Paschal house in southern Matthews Township. It was the home of Richard Bray Paschal, who was sheriff of Chatham during the Civil War. His diary of those years provides valuable and interesting information about the county and the Chatham men who were fighting elsewhere.

    The house began as a simple log cabin in the 1790s, and was added to in the early 1800s and again about 1860. It "beautifully illustrates the development of Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival architecture in Chatham County," according to The Architectural Heritage of Chatham County, NC. The log portion of the Bray-Paschal House is the oldest, intact documented log dwelling in Chatham County, according to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the property.

    Paschal's diary can be viewed here:

    The family cemetery is across the road from the house. You can see photos and info here:

    Photo taken in 2012.

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamCountyNC #BrayPaschalhouse #BrayCemetery #ChathamArchitecture #MatthewsTownship

  • 26 May 2023 7:52 PM | Anonymous

    There's a lot of info in this Siler City photo taken about 1908.

    The teams and wagons are posed for a farm machinery publicity photo. The building in the center foreground is at the corner of West Raleigh and Birch Avenue. It was built before 1891 and housed the town's first drugstore. The next building up Raleigh St. has a sign saying "Henry Wright - fancy groceries and restaurant." Wrenn Brothers Co. stands on the southeast corner of Raleigh St. and Chatham Ave. The small building south of the old drugstore on Birch Ave. housed a produce business. The large building shown partially on the edge of the photo on Birch Ave. was Hotel Chatham.

    This photo was contributed to the CCHA collection by Duane Hall. 

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamNC #SilerCityNC #WestRaleighSt #ChathamAve #BirchAve #1900s

  • 21 Apr 2023 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    Siler City's Post Office Mural depicts "Building the First House at Siler's Crossroads" painted by Maxwell B. Starr in 1942. Note the rabbits on the left side. The house being built is the John Siler house (also called the Siler-Matthews house), which stood, until 1938, on the site of the present Siler City Post Office.

    United States post office murals were produced from 1934 to 1943. Although they are associated with the New Deal, most of the Post Office works of art were funded through commissions under the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later known as The Section of Fine Arts) and not the WPA.

    The idea was to provide high-quality artwork for public buildings, where it would be accessible to all people. The murals were intended to boost the morale of the American people suffering from the effects of the Depression by depicting uplifting subjects the people knew and loved.

    Post Office murals were funded as a part of the cost of the construction of new post offices, with 1% of the cost set aside for artistic enhancements. Murals were commissioned through competitions open to all artists in the United States. Almost 850 artists were commissioned to paint 1371 murals, most of which were installed in post offices.

    Artists were asked to paint in an "American scene" style, depicting ordinary citizens in a realistic manner. Abstract and modern art styles were discouraged. Artists were also encouraged to produce works that would be appropriate to the communities where they were to be located and to avoid controversial subjects.

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamCountyNC #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #postofficemural #SilerCityNC #PostOffice #murals #art #rabbits #SilerMatthewsHouse #ChathamRabbits #1940s 

  • 21 Apr 2023 4:46 PM | Anonymous

    Henry Fike in buggy with unidentified woman and child. Pittsboro, circa1890s. Taken from south side of the courthouse. Just to the right of the courthouse corner in the photo is the Pope-Beal House on the lot that is now the parking lot for the Pittsboro Presbyterian Church. To the right of the Pope-Beal House is the Pope-Bynum House--where Annie Lutterloh Bynum lived and painted. That house was modified over time and later moved south of town. The educational wing on of the Pittsboro Presbyterian Church is now located on that lot and the church itself is on the next lot to the right.

    Other details in the photo are also of interest. The lady's fancy hat suggests that this was not an everyday outing. Of course, having a photograph made was a special occasion and may be the reason for the fancy apparel.

    The Fike residence was on the south side of East Street, about a block from the courthouse. The house still stands at 200 East Street.

    Note the condition of the road!

    Photo from the Chatham County Historical Association collection.

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamCountyNC #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #HenryFike #buggy #courthouse #PittsboroNC #roads #1890s

  • 21 Apr 2023 4:42 PM | Anonymous

    The Bluegrass Experience in the early 1980s, Siler City.

    Left to right, Fiddln' Al Mccanless, Snuffy Smith, Don Beane Senior, Tommy Edwards, guest Jerry Stuart and the group's only female member ever, Patsy Richardson.

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #ChathamCountyNC #BluegrassExperience #TommyEdwards #AlMccanless #SnuffySmith #DonBeane #JerryStuart #PatsyRichardson #music #bluegrass #SilerCityNC #1980s

  • 16 Mar 2023 7:11 PM | Anonymous

    The history of the Milliken log cabin, built by a formerly enslaved man named Bob, is the subject of a pamphlet published in 1977 by Mildred B. Payton, former Chatham County Home Demonstration Agent who recorded reminiscences of members of the Milliken family. The cabin was given to the County Fair Association and moved from its original location about seven miles northwest of Pittsboro to the County Fairgrounds in 1977, where it was renovated and can be seen today.

    You can read Mildred Payton's history of the cabin and its inhabitants on the Chatham County Historical Association website, where it has been published with permission of the County Fair Association.

    Photo by Kimberly Steiner, 2021.

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamCountyNC #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #Milliken #LogCabin #CountyFairAssociation #MildredPayton #enslaved #preservation #PittsboroNC #ChathamCountyFairgrounds

  • 16 Mar 2023 6:57 PM | Anonymous

    Meet Mattie Rogers Beavers, who became a rural mail carrier in 1908. Her mail route was from Siler City to Harper's Crossroads and Bear Creek. For more than 24 years she delivered the mail by horse and buggy. (Think about how awful the roads were in those days!) Women on Mattie's route would give her lists of things they needed which she purchased in town and delivered the next day.

    Mattie's story was told in the Greensboro Daily News (22 July 1928). Her granddaughter, Milli Hammer, has transcribed the article and provided additional information and photos about Mattie and her family. The story has been archived on the Chatham County Historical Association website. Enjoy!

    You'll find the story and more photos here:

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamNC #ChathamHistory #SilerCityNC #HarpersCrossroadsNC #BearCreekNC #MattieRogersBeavers #WomensHistory #ChathamWomen #mail #RuralMailCarriers #1900s

  • 16 Mar 2023 6:49 PM | Anonymous

    This great photo of the Jeremiah Phillips family in Bennett was shared with us by Jerry Phillips. In the center, the man with the beard and hat, with hands on his hips, is Jerry's g-g-grandfather, Jeremiah Phillips (1839-1902). The woman next to him is Jerry's g-g-grandmother Nancy Street Brady Phillips (1847-1923). On the left, holding the mules, is Jerry's great-grandfather, Jeremiah (Jerry) Franklin Phillips (1878-1965). The others in the photograph are not identified, but are five of Jeremiah Franklin Phillips's ten siblings. The photo was taken at the Phillips homeplace in Bennett in the late 1800s.

    What a lucky family to have this record! Thanks to Jerry and Donna Phillips for sharing it with us!

    A list of the eleven Phillips children of Jeremiah and Nancy, and some of their spouses, can be found at

    #ChathamNCHistory#ChathamCountyNC#ChathamHistory#ChathamNC#BennettNC #PhillipsFamily#genealogy

  • 11 Feb 2023 8:29 PM | Anonymous

    What is it? Janet Carney found this Daisy Wheel etched in one of the window trim-casings when removing the paint prior to restoring the windows in the front parlor of the Patrick St. Lawrence House in Pittsboro. Daisy Wheels and other symbols were used to ward of the evil spirits.

    The Patrick St. Lawrence House was built as an inn or tavern around 1790 on a corner lot adjacent to the courthouse square to serve the gentry who would travel to the courthouse on business. Inns/taverns were built throughout the 18th century to serve main roads since travel was slow and often required overnight stays.

    The house/tavern has an interesting history, some of which is covered in our 2016 update on the Carney's restoration. You can read that here and learn more about the other interesting features of the house, such as the folding wall.

    The Carney's have made a lot of progress since 2016 and have nearly completed the renovation of the interior. Next up is the exterior paint and chimneys. They say they will be returning Pittsboro's "Yellow House" to its original mustard/dark yellow color soon. The house is located (after several moves) on Small St. in Pittsboro.

    #ChathamNCHistory #ChathamCountyNC #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #YellowHouse #PatrickStLawrenceHouse #tavern #inn #PittsboroNC #DaisyWheel #1790s 

Chatham County Historical Association  ~   ~  PO Box 93  ~  Pittsboro NC 27312  ~  919-542-6222  ~  

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software