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Sands of Time---The Phelps Family of Caswell And Person Co.

Updated May 10, 2009

Latham Mark Phelps

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The Family Historian
By: Mark Phelps
The phone rings right after dinner and we cringe thinking itís another telemarketer calling but itís that worrywart Mark Phelps wanting to know when did Aunt Bessie die, and who did she marry and not only that but when did it happen. Then he wants to know about all her children and even her grandchildren. We never cared for Aunt Bessie that much to begin with so why should we care about these silly little details of her life. We just want to be left alone and not have to get involved in this family business!

How many people at your workplace or the neighbors you bump into can tell you who their 4th Great-Grandfather was or much less what his life was like. Many people never knew their Grandparents much less anybody past that. Ask the average person what their Great-Grandmotherís maiden name was and you probably get a blank stare. I myself have Presidents in my ancestry and much is known about these people because they were important and someone bothered to write down their history so that generations later their story could be told. Itís just as important to the Family Historian how the modest farmer in Caswell County, North Carolina in the 1700ís made his way through this mortal life.

The first time you gaze upon a document that was written over 200 years ago about someone that had the same blood coursing through his or her veins as you do today, itís an absolutely mesmerizing experience. Just try it some time and youíll see. Go to a county courthouse and read an old will, land deed or marriage certificate about someone that lived during the time of the Civil War or even better yet during the Revolutionary War. See their signatures there on the 200 year old paper, see how simple their possessions were, see where they lived, and the legacy they left to their family however humble it may be. Some were better off than others and could leave large tracts of land or dozens of slaves to their descendants but most left a small piece of what it had taken them a lifetime to achieve and just wanted to share it with his family in the hopes that it would always remain a secure place for generations to come.

How many people could even fathom a time when young girls married at 14, had 14 children and faced death at every birth or feared the child most likely wouldnít make it to itís first birthday. When a simple cold that we treat as a mere inconvenience today could send you to an early grave, unless you were just tough enough to survive. Many didnít! You exist today because someone made it through the diseases, the wars, the trials that man has faced throughout the annals of recorded history. They survived so you could have a chance to face the brave new world of tomorrow.

Being a Family Historian is most of the time a thankless job. Countless hours researching old documents that you need a degree sometimes just to translate it. Running down leads only to crash headlong into a brick wall because a careless census taker didnít do his job, or the British Army burned the courthouse and all the ancestral records that it held. Traipsing through snake and tick infested cemeteries that are sometimes scary even in broad daylight and after having risked your personal well being to find you have just completed another wild goose chase. Your spouse is angry because youíre chasing the dead when youíre among the living. Otherís think youíve flipped your wig because all you want to talk about is someone who turned to dust 100 years ago. So why do they do it? Because they think itís important to know where you came from, that some day when theyíre too old and feeble to continue, that someone in the family will pick up the family flag and march proudly forward into the future, while preserving the past, so 200 years from now when someone asks ďWhat was your Great-Grandmothers maiden name?Ē They can say ďSit down and Iíll tell you all about itĒ

Family Photos

  • Hattie Belle Morton Lunsford---My Grandmother (93 KB)
    Hattie Belle--Mother of Reba Jean Lunsford Phelps-- Wife of William Perry Lunsford--Daughter of James Monroe Morton and Cannie Elizabeth Blackwell-Granddaughter of Vincent Lea Morton and Isabella Oliver--Gr-Grandaughter of Elijah Morton and Mary(Polly)Lea. I know for certain one thing my grandmother is doing on the heavenly shores right now--"FISHING"--Something she loved to do here on earth.--She could give you the "dickens" and then make you smile with her "cackling" laugh-- She also made the best Chicken & Dumplings you ever ate--It has been said that she couldn't throw out the dishwater without hitting my father(her son-in-law) as he would be trying to "sneak" a piece of her "famous" Lemon Icebox Pie.--She had a fantastic memory and spent many hours telling me names,stories & events about our family history and gave me a great start on my geneaology research and never tired of talking to me about it.--Her line's in the water and she's watching that cork right now!!!
  • Wilford Latham Phelps (30 KB)
    My Father--Son of Lewis Elmo Phelps and Cartherine Walker Phelps
  • The Phelps Cabin (111 KB)
    My Father was born here in 1928
  • Baby Pictures--My Mom and her Brother (81 KB)
    Edward Harold Lunsford--On Left---My Uncle--- Reba Jean Lunsford ---On Right---My Mom
  • The Phelps Brothers of Corbett Ridge (385 KB)
    (L to R)Gordon--Latham--Milton--When they were the cat's meow!!!--My Father Latham and his two brothers--"Hide the women" when these three were on the prowl--Not to mention they could "Cut a Rug" on the dancefloor at the local Legion Hut or between dances get into a scrape with some of the other farmboys--According to my dad they set some new landspeed records on the rural roads of Caswell the 40's--They all worked hard on the family tobacco farm--Gordon and Milton Enlisted in the Navy during World War 11--Latham couldn't go because he was the only son left to help on the farm(much to his dismay)as he wanted to go too--They all married and today there are many descendants of the Phelps Brothers of Corbett Ridge including myself
  • Graveside Gathering For- William Cook (1848--1943) (189 KB)
    The family gathers at the gravesite of My Great- Great Grandfather William Cook in 1943.He was the Father of Mattie Cook Lunsford--Mother of William Perry Lunsford. In the top picture my Great-Grandmother Mattie is 2nd from the right with man with hat in hand holding her arm--her Husband Walter Thomas Lunsford is on the far left-(behind flowers)--Tragically he died the very next year
  • Molly Fitzgerald Phelps--(1873-1950) (360 KB)
    My Great Grandmother--Wife of Wyatt Edward Phelps Daughter of Ellis B. Fitzgerald and Ruth Jane Salome Allbarty
  • Mattie Cook Lunsford (1879-1967) My Gt Grandmother (102 KB)
    Mattie Cook Lunsford in 1954.Daughter of William Cook and Lue Dunevant--Wife of Walter Thomas Lunsford--Mother of William Perry Lunsford-My Great Grandmother
  • Margaret Trollinger--(1833-1919) (167 KB)
    My Gr-Gr-Gr-Grandmother--Margaret Trollinger was born in 1833.She married Willis Harder(1836-1863)-- Son Of Joseph Harder(1808-1874) After he was killed in the Civil War she remarried John W. Smith.She was the daughter of Henry Trollinger Jr.(1805-1899)and Mary(Polly)Blanchard. She was the grandaughter of Henry Trollinger Sr.(1762-1844) a Revolutionary Soldier, and Mary Thomas. According to my Grandmother Catherine Walker Phelps (Gr-Grandaughter of Margaret) she was a stern woman with not much fun in her, because of her "strict" German ancestry. She lived hard after her husband died in the Civil War, with just enough land for a house and not enough to farm,poor but proud she remarried later on and was able to provide a better life for her family. She died in 1919 while my Grandmother was there visiting.
  • Robert Young Walker (1842-1914) (100 KB)
    Robert Young Walker-with his 2nd wife Ruth Miller and their son Jack--Robert Young Walker was the son of George Washington Walker and Lucy Dortch--the grandson of Robert Walker and Ellenor Latta--the great grandson of William Walker-The Loyalist--He was my Gr-Gr-Grandfather.He was the father of Charles Young Walker.The middle name "Young" came from his maternal grandfather Young Dortch.--Robert Young Walker served in the Civil War--he enlisted in Orange Co. NC Sept.10th 1861--Was wounded and captured at Hanover Pa. June 30th 1863 and released at Baltimore Md. Aug. 23rd 1863--he was present and accounted for thru Sept. 1864--2 of his brothers also served George W. Walker Jr. and Sgt. William S. Walker who died of disease in the War, at Edenton,NC Nov. 26th 1861.
  • Charles Young Walker--(1877-1962) (90 KB)
    Charlie Walker-- My Great-Grandfather-Son of Robert Young Walker and Nancy Jane Cole-Father of Catherine Walker Phelps--Grandson of George Washington Walker and Lucy Ann Dortch--Gr-Grandson of Robert Walker and Ellenor Latta---Gr-GR-Grandson of William Walker "The Loyalist"----I have fond memories of my Grt.Grandfather,he used to gather the children together and tell us wonderful tales & stories,through his white handlebar moustache he could weave a story that would hold you in a spell--He gave me my first "chew" of tobacco--Which as soon as I swallowed some of the juice made me instantly sick--He was always kind to me,and I only wish I could have known him longer.I was 12 when he died.
  • The Good Ole Days--Getting My First Suntan (62 KB)
    In the front yard of the Phelps Home on Corbett Ridge- My Father and Mother,my 1st cousin Sharon Phelps, and that's me on the blanket--Probably around 1951--And a couple of bird dogs essential to any self-respecting Southern Gentleman
  • Catherine James Walker Phelps-(1901-1987) (90 KB)
    Catherine Phelps--Daughter of Charles Young Walker--Wife of Lewis Elmo Phelps--My Grandmother as a young woman
  • My Mother--One On Her Lap And One On The Way (79 KB)
    Taken at a baby shower in 1953--Carrying my brother Gary with me on her lap at my grandparents home.My sister Susan was still just a gleam in my parents eyes. She wouldn't arrive until 1957,3 months before my Grandfather Elmo Phelps died
  • The Walker Sisters (80 KB)
    (L to R)Nannie--Tinnie-Phronia-Catherine-Maude--Daughters of Charles Young Walker and Lena Rivers Murray
  • My Mother and her Brother in 1934 (46 KB)
    My Mother and her brother Harold in 1934 in Reidsville N.C., where my Grandfather worked for the Highway Dept. My Mother was 4 and Harold was 8
  • In 1939 Puppies Were Still Irrisistable (58 KB)
    October 13 1939,My Mother frollicking with a bunch of puppies with a big grin on her face. And why not, it doesn't get any better than this !!
  • Reba Jean Lunsford Phelps--My Mother (20 KB)
    My Mother as a young woman
  • Charles & Lena Walker-My Great Grandparents (58 KB)
    Charles Young Walker & Lena Rivers Murray
  • Johnny Phelps And His 3 Sons (270 KB)
    John Lockhart Phelps--My Half Granduncle with sons Jack,Wyatt,and Wilford
  • My Family V.I.P.'s---Three American Presidents (99 KB)
    A family tree chart showing our relationship to three American Presidents---James Madison--The 4th President of the United States--Zachary Taylor--The 12th President of the United States--Jefferson Davis--President of The Confederate States of America---The person at the bottom the chart "Reba Lunsford" is my Mother. Research and Chart supplied by my 2nd cousin Dr.William Mark Faucette.His Grandmother Gladys Elizabeth Morton and my Grandmother Hattie Belle Morton were Sisters
  • Vincent Lea Morton - Nannie Morton Stephens (80 KB)
    Vincent L. Morton(1823-1902)-Son of Elijah-Father of James Monroe Morton...Picture on the right is his daughter,one of 14 children,Nannie Morton Stephens.--His wife Isabella Oliver was 14 when they married
  • Mollie Fitgerald Phelps and her Grandaughter Dot (99 KB)
    Mollie Fitzgerald Phelps-wife of Wyatt Edward Phelps--With her Grandaughter Dorothy (Dot) Phelps--daughter of Guy Wilford Phelps and Phronia Washington Walker Phelps--The House in the background is the Old Phelps Homeplace in Person County no longer standing. Dot Phelps Newsome--in the picture with Mollie--is my Father Latham's Double 1st Cousin as two Phelps Brothers Elmo & Guy married two Walker Sisters Catherine & Phronia--Picture graciously supplied by Dorothy (Dot)Phelps Newsome, Ahoskie N.C.
  • Ellis B. Fitzgerald & Ruth Jane Salome Albarty (83 KB)
    Ellis Fitzgerald(1849-1909)& his wife Ruth Albarty(1847-1926) --Parents of Molly Fitzgerald Phelps--wife of Wyatt Edward Phelps---Ellis's Father William F. Fitzgerald(1827-1862)was born in Pittsylvania County,Virginia,and resided as a farmer in Guilford County,N.C.,where he enlisted in the Confederacy for the Civil War at age 34 August 27th,1861. He was killed in the battle at Malvern Hill,Virginia July 1st,1862. Ellis Fitzgerald was the eldest son of William F. Fitzgerald and Sara(Sally)A.Elizabeth Woods. Ellis had three younger brothers-James,William & Thomas Yancey Fitzgerald(1857-1894)who married Corinna Frances Phelps(1861-1904)were ancestors of Bob Timberlake-the Artist.The picture of Ellis & Ruth above is thought to be their wedding picture,and was graciously supplied by my Cousin Kathy Parker Oakley-Daughter of Kathleen Phelps-My Great-Aunt-sister of My Grandfather Elmo Phelps.
  • Lewis Elmo Phelps (1896-1957) My Grandfather (159 KB)
    Lewis "Elmo" Phelps-Son of Wyatt Edward Phelps and Molly Fitzgerald-Grandson of Thomas H. Phelps and Elizabeth Eubank--Husband of Catherine Walker Phelps--Father of Wilford Latham Phelps--I was only 7 when my Grandfather died in 1957 from Emphysema--I can still remember from my childhood seeing him bent over at the waist,holding his knees,trying to get his breath. Elmo married Catherine Walker Nov.22nd,1924 in Person County,N.C.After they married they lived for the first years in a log cabin across the road from his father's homeplace(See The Phelps Cabin Picture on this site).In this humble cabin their first 2 Sons were born--Gordon Elmo(1925),Wilford Latham(1928),Milton Walker was to come later in 1930.They eventually bought their own farm of about 300 acres on Corbett Ridge in Caswell Co. and raised Tobacco and other crops along with their 3 sons
  • Walter Thomas Lunsford-- My Great Grandfather (53 KB)
    Walter Thomas Lunsford--Son of Payton L.Lunsford born 1823(a Civil War soldier) and Margaret Fuqua--Husband of Mattie Cook Lunsford--Father of William Perry Lunsford--Walter's Father Payton L. Lunsford served as a Private in the Civil War. He enlisted at age 38 in Caswell Co., June 16th 1861 and was disharged July 19th 1862 for reason of "general disability" His Brother Joseph R. Lunsford also served in the War,enlisted at age 41, June 28th 1861 in Caswell Co. and disharged July 20th 1862, for reason of "general physical anemia"
  • Robert Walker(1767-1826) Original Homeplace (388 KB)
    The Original(restored)homeplace of Robert Walker and Ellenor Latta(his wife).Thought to be built around 1809,the homeplace is in Orange County N.C. in the present day community of Rougemont on land still owned by Walker descendants.The family cemetery is located in the side yard of the homeplace.Photo taken during a Walker Reunion in August 2002 at the home of John Thomas Walker,who lives very near the old homeplace.
  • Catherine James Walker Phelps (1901-1987) (99 KB)
    My Grandmother--Mother of Wilford Latham Phelps--Wife of Lewis Elmo Phelps--Daughter of Charles Young Walker and Lena Rivers Murray--Grandaughter of Robert Young Walker-Gr.Gr.Gr.Grandaughter of William Walker "The Loyalist" (1743-1819)--My Grandmother was a true "Southern Lady" steeped in the traditions of the Old South--She would rather be "whipped" than appear in Church without being in the latest fashion dress and the perfect hat. She had the fanciest "walk" I ever saw--Made the best Pound Cake in the County--She never learned to drive, but remained fiercely independent and always managed to get where she wanted to go--She loved to talk about family history with me and God Bless her for that.--She would whip you for killing a Blacksnake--And tell you to "make haste" when a chore needed doing--I can see her showing off her new hat to the Heavenly congregation right now.
  • Robert Walker(1767-1826)--Family Cemetery (176 KB)
    The Walker family cemetery located in the side yard of the old homeplace. Top picture is a long view with ny Dad in the foreground photographing the house. The bottom picture is the tombstones of Robert Walker(right) and his wife Ellenor Latta(left)
  • William Perry Lunsford(1901-1980)--My Grandfather (69 KB)
    William Perry Lunsford--Father of Reba Jean Lunsford Phelps---Husband of Hattie Belle Morton Lunsford--Son of Walter Thomas Lunsford--Grandson of Civil War soldier Payton L. Lunsford. "Perry" as most people knew him by or "Four Points" after the store he ran for many years,was born and raised in Caswell Co.,N.C. He married my grandmother Hattie Belle Morton and had 6 children--Edward Harold,Reba Jean,Patricia Ann,Malinda Jane,Dennis Morton & Malcom Perry(died as an infant 1928). One thing My Grandfather loved to do was "Go Hunting". I can remember as a child sitting in the back of a pickup truck in the dark and listening to a pack of dogs "hot on the trail" of a Fox or Coon and my grandfather would "holler out"--"there's Old Smoky Joe" as he could pick out his dogs from the pack just from the sound of their barks.He also loved Deer hunting as you can see from the picture.He was a staunch member of the local hunting club for many years.In his Later years he was absolutely crazy about "Professional Wrestling" on TV. He would sit on the edge of his chair and holler and swing his arms as if he were in the ring with them. No need to try to talk to him when a Wrestling Match was on.
  • Charlie & Lena Walker with Daughter Catherine (213 KB)
    Charles Young Walker and his wife Lena Rivers Murray Walker, my great-grandparents with my grandmother Catherine Walker Phelps, their first born child as a baby. This picture was probably taken around 1902-1903 as my grandmother Catherine was born November 11, 1901. Picture supplied by my uncle Gordon Elmo Phelps
  • Cannie Elizabeth Blackwell Morton--(1888-1909) (51 KB)
    My Great Grandmother--Wife of James Monroe Morton--She was 17 when she married and her husband was 54-She died young when her children were still minors from an accidental overdose of a drug(Belladona or Laudnum)used to control "Spells" (probably seizures)--She was the Gr-Gr-Granddaughter of Capt. Robert Blackwell(1742-1813) a Revolutionary War Soldier and His Wife Zillah Rice Blackwell(1746-1823)daughter of Thomas Rice (1725-1800).The Blackwells' and Rices' both came to Caswell Co.,NC from Hanover Co.,Va.--15 Years after Cannie's death,her husband James Monroe Morton who everybody called "Pug" was kicked in the head by a horse and never recovered from that accident. He laid in bed for a month or two in a kind of coma until he died in 1924,leaving his Daughters Hattie & Gladys as orphans.
  • Ellis Edward Phelps (1894-1950) (236 KB)
    My Granduncle Ellis Edward Phelps--Son of Wyatt Edward Phelps and Mollie Fitzgerald Phelps. Ellis was married to Sally Gladys Wrenn and they had two children, Minnie Sue Phelps and Fred Owen Phelps. These pictures were graciously supplied by his daughter Sue Phelps Clubb. Ellis is buried at the old Phelps Homeplace in the family cemetery. Ellis probably received his name from his mother Mollie's father Ellis Fitzgerald whose picture is also on this site
  • Four Points Store (80 KB)
    A typical day in the store in the 1930's--young girl in center is my mother Reba--boy with hat on is her brother--my uncle Harold--man behind the counter is my grandfather William Perry Lunsford--My grandfather ran this store for many years--a gas station and general store it was an ideal place for the locals to chew the fat around the stove and catch up on the local gossip--My grandparents lived in the back of store with the whole family until later moving to a house acrross the road--Oh I believe the dog's name was Bruno
  • The Cook Family (300 KB)
    L to R: Mattie Cook Lunsford & Walter Thomas Lunsford--Walter, Mattie , and William Cook & Lue Dunevant Cook (Mattie's Parents and my Gr-Gr-Grandparents)
  • Latham Mark Phelps-Your Humble Pagemaster (46 KB)
    A recent photo of me
  • Dad 2005 (36 KB)
    Dad 2005

Family Tree Maker Reports and Trees


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    Thomas Rice--Father of Zillah Rice Blackwell--Served as Sheriff of Caswell County, N.C. and was a Patriot of the American Revolution, Born 1725
  • Old Medical Ailments Translated (62 KB)
    Old medical ailments defined with modern day medical terms. These are of great use when understanding old documents such as Mortality Lists etc. A lot of help for the researcher.
  • Jacob Henry Trollinger-Rev. War Powder Maker (17 KB)
    Jacob Henry Trollinger-son of Adam Trollinger-When General Cornwallis passed thru the Haw River area of N.C. during the Revolutionary War his troops camped at the Trollinger farm and stole grain from the family grist mill. This enraged Adam Trollinger and when he protested he was lashed to a tree and gagged. This further enraged his son Jacob Henry Trollinger and he moved to a piece of land he owned in Pulaski County, Virginia on which existed a saltpetre mine,a basic ingredient in the making of gunpowder.He and his sons Jacob Henry and John supplied the Patriots with gunpowder throughout the Revolutionary War.
  • Last Will of Henry Cobb-- The Elder 1679 (109 KB)
    Henry Cobb--The Elder--Great Grandfather of Noah Cobb--Progenitor of our Cobb family in America-Immigrated from England to Massachusetts in the early 1600's--this line has been researched back to John Cobb of Kent,England born Abt.1299 Also some written history, an accounting of the Life of Henry Cobb-The Elder--From England to his Death in Massachusetts in 1679
  • Last Will of James Phelps ( - 1785) (15 KB)
    Last Will of James Phelps
  • The Latta Brothers of Orange County N.C. (16 KB)
    The story of three Latta brothers James--John--Thomas--who came to Orange County in the 1700's from Pennysylvania and immigrated from Ireland. John Latta was my 5th Great Grandfather
  • Zeri Rice to Thomas Blackwell--Land Deed (18 KB)
    A most interesting deed involving several of my ancestors.
  • James Phelps 1779 Land Grant (7 KB)
    James Phelps 1779 Land Grant in Caswell County, North Carolina.
  • Last Will of Frederick Blanchard (1774-1853) (22 KB)
    Frederick Blanchard with his 1st wife and children moved to present day Alamance County, N.C.(then Orange Co.)from Gates County, N.C. he was the Son of Absalom Blanchard--Father of Mary(Polly) Blanchard who married Henry Trollinger Jr. and Grandfather to Margaret Trollinger whose picture is on this site. Frederick Blanchard was married three times and fathered 15 children. His 1st wife Elizabeth Outlaw's family hailed from the same area as the Blanchards, Gates Co. NC--Chowan Co. NC--and Nansemond Co Va.
  • The Sellars Family in Alamance County, N.C. (43 KB)
    An article written by my 3rd cousin Dorothy Sellars Brawley, that was published in The Alamance County Heritage Book. Also some comments from me concerning my Sellars ancestry.
  • Gabriel Lea to Elijah Morton Land Deed 1830 (8 KB)
    Gabriel Lea Land Deed to his Son-in-law Elijah Morton and by rights to his daughter Mary Lea Morton
  • Gabriel Guardian for Elijah Morton and Siblings (7 KB)
    A Caswell County Court record involving the appointment of Gabriel Lea as Guardian for Morton orphans in January 1797
  • Trollinger Tales from the Revolutionary War (62 KB)
    The escapades of Henry Trollinger(1762-1844)during the Revolutionary War.Told in his own words in testimony to apply for benefits in Orange Co.N.C.Court record of September 1832.From the time Lord Cornwalls had his father lashed to a tree,Henry was on a mission along with his father Jacob Henry Trollinger, who made gunpowder to help defeat the British. The Trollinger family has been traced back to Bernhardt Drollinger born 1545 in Germany. Henry Trollinger was my 5th Great Grandfather. And the story of Jacob Henry Trollinger-son of Adam Trollinger-When General Cornwallis passed thru the Haw River area of N.C. during the Revolutionary War his troops camped at the Trollinger farm and stole grain from the family grist mill. This enraged Adam Trollinger and when he protested he was lashed to a tree and gagged. This further enraged his son Jacob Henry Trollinger and he moved to a piece of land he owned in Pulaski County, Virginia on which existed a saltpetre mine,a basic ingredient in the making of gunpowder.He and his sons Jacob Henry and John supplied the Patriots with gunpowder throughout the Revolutionary War.
  • The Willis Family in Caswell County, N.C. (185 KB)
    My Willis ancestors and related families that came to Caswell County, North Carolina from Goochland County, Virginia in the mid-1700's.
  • The Confession of John G. Lea (39 KB)
    John G. Lea confessed in a document unsealed after his death to his involvement and others concerning the murder of John "Chicken" Stephens at the Caswell County Court House in Yanceyville N.C. just after the Civil War. John G. Lea was my 2nd cousin 4 times removed and a great grandson of John "Country Line" Lea, Grandson of John "Canebrake" Lea, and Son of Thomas L. Lea and Ann Wright

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