Friday, July 9, 2010

Bertie County Moves Into the Modern World

Since I first began researching my ancestry a few months ago, I have wanted to visit Bertie County, North Carolina. From what I have been able to figure out so far, between 1834 and 1836 just about every one of my ancestors who ended up in Haywood County, TN left Bertie County, NC via wagon trains, landed someplace and then pretty much stayed in a 30 mile area.
According to John Cowand, who is a fellow member of the Bertie Newsgroup on RootsWeb:
"There were many Bertie families that made the trek to Tennessee in the early 1800's, mostly in the 1830's. Most of the families in Bertie lived between Ross Baptist Church and Capeharts Baptist Church and all were usually kin in one way or another. They mostly went either to Humphreys County, TN or to Haywood County, TN. John Dawson Castellaw was said to be the wagon master and he led numerous wagon trains to Tennessee in the 1830's. It is said that he would lead a group out there, then come back and lead another group. He finally just stayed in Tennessee. His kindred remained in Bertie County, and are there to this day..."
Had the ancestors of mine that made the journey been able to use Mapquest, they would know they were making a journey of 803 miles that, if they could drive 65 mile an hour, would take 12 hours and 15 minutes. Of course, their journey took months and, when they left, they knew they would likely never see their friends and families again. My ancestors who made that journey include; John Dawson Castellaw, John Hardy Cobb, John Bembery “Bem” and Penelope White, Bem’s brother Charlton White, William and Millie Thompson Watridge, Dempsey and Elizabeth Rawls Nowell, George Solomon Williams, Edward Brantley, Thomas “T.A” and Unity Shirley Lovelace, George Forrest, and William and Ann Capehart Steel.

Most of these groups included children, friends, extend family and servants. Most seem to have been plantation owners in the Bertie County area and many had slaves that made the journey with them to Haywood County.
This connection I feel with Bertie County, NC made an article posted in our Bertie newsgroup by Ms. Claudia Harrell Williams very fun to read.
Windsor launches website
By Thadd White | Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald
Published Friday, July 9, 2010
WINDSOR – Bertie County’s historic capital is moving into the modern world.
The town of Windsor has officially launched its own website, helping the historic county seat of Bertie County be accessible to people the world over. The new site is and features a variety of information about town government and travel destinations.
During Thursday morning’s regular meeting of the Windsor Board of Commissioners, that governing body had an opportunity to view the new site which was developed by the Windsor-Bertie County Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re really pleased and excited to have a website developed for the town,” Mayor Jimmy Hoggard said.
Commissioner Collins Cooper, who also serves in the role of Executive Director of the Chamber, gave Mayor Hoggard, Town Administrator Allen Castelloe and the board members the highlights of the new site.
“We want you to have the opportunity to see it and then make any suggestions for changes or additions,” Cooper said.
The new site provides visitors with information on the town’s elected officials as well as the staff members who assist the public on a daily basis. There is also a link to the town’s public safety officers, including the Windsor Police Department and Windsor Fire Department.
The site also provides a brief history of the town and a forms library which allows people to print off useful forms and have them filled out before arriving at town hall.
There is also a place to learn more about the town’s ordinances as well as a community calendar.
“We want to add more to the calendar,” Cooper said. “We hope people will pass on community events that we can put on the calendar for everyone to know about.”
Cooper said the Chamber would also be adding a Facebook page for the town of Windsor, which he believed would be useful as well.
“We’ll continually be adding to the website,” Cooper said. “Anything the board wants to see added, all they have to do is let us know.”
Commissioner Joe Alexander said the site “looks good” and complimented Cooper and his staff for their work.
Mayor Hoggard agreed.
“It looks great,” he said. “When people travel now, the first thing they do is Google their destination and check out the information on the town.
“Thank you, Collins, for your hard work on this,” he added. “It’s done really well."
OK, so when I read this article, I could actually see William Holden, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in a courtroom under a giant ceiling fan and everyone wearing seersucker suits and looking all wholesome and happy to be there. Remember the movie Pleasantville with Toby Maguire and Reese Witherspoon. Like that.

Anyway, when they get their Facebook page, I am going to be first in line to be their friend.

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