Last update by Virginia Crilley:Tuesday, 22-Sep-2009 08:22:55 MDT
USGenWeb NCGenWeb

Famous Personalities of Bertie County

Bertie Brothers |Governors of Colonial Bertie |Chief Cucklemaker" | Famous People | Political Persons

William H. Rhodes

July 16, 1822 - Apr 1, 1876) Eldest Son of Elisha Averitt Rhodes and Ann Maria Jococks Rhodes. His mother dies when he was 6. (giving birth to younger son, Thaddeus Maria Rhodes) William H. Rhodes was the eldest son of Elisha Averitt Rhodes and Ann Maria Jacocks Rhodes who died when he was 6 years old at the birth of his younger brother, Thaddeus Maria Rhodes.
"Reese Moses" shares this letter:
Written from Windsor, NC to her brother, (my gggrandfather,) Jonathan Thomas Jacocks of Brownsville, Tn., dated Oct. 29, 1826, Ann Maria wrote of her family, ...."We arrived from New York on the 12th of this month. We were all of us very sick in New York and had the misfortune of losing our baby Pauline Maria who died on the 20th of Sept. of dropsey of the brain. She was one of he finest children I ever saw and was only sick from Friday till Wednesday. I have never been well since she was born .........Mother has been very sick while we were in New York.....I have two little boys, William the eldest is a smart healthy boy but James is a poor little sickly fellow but is very smart. I fear that I shall never have a daughter to live" and she didn't. [James also died young]

In the letter, she complained that her brother, Jonathan, did not visit her and her mother. This is hardly reasonable in view of the distance and difficulties of travel. She complains also of a lack of letters and this seems to be entirely reasonable.

He went to school at the Bertie Academy (Woodville Academy) under the tutelage of old, retired, Colonel Averett. (Col Averett was in the War of 1812).

His interest was in writing and science, however, and his contemporaries said had he lived a normal span of life, he would have become greater known than Jules Verne, the father of science fiction.

His father, Elisha, was appointed as consul to the Republic of Texas by President Tyler, and the Republic of Texas President Sam Houston recognized Elisha A. Rhodes as Consul of USA to port of Galveston, Nov. 6th 1838. Young Rhodes went there at the end of his schooling until 1844 when he enrolled in Harvard to study law....but literature was his first love. He did complete law school and served as a probate judge in Galveston in 1846.

William married (ca 1848) Mary Elizabeth Kimball, born Aug 14, 1830 in Trinidad, British West Indies, the daughter of Sherman Driggs and Mary W. Kimball. She and William returned to Windsor and she died on Nov 8, 1850 at the birth of twin daughters, Lorena Sophia and Mary Capehart Rhodes both of whom also died. All three were buried in the private graveyard on Scotch Hall Plantation. His home is now the King Street Bed and Breakfast in Windsor.

While at Harvard he had written the epic poem we mentioned yesterday which was published in book form in 1846, The Indian Gallows and Other Poems. Harry Thompson book, Bertie Folklore summarizes this epic poem about the English maiden Elnor whose parents were missionaries to the Tuscarora Indians.

He continued to write under his pseudonym, Caxton. His primary contribution was "science fiction"....although at the time they were written they were presented as "unusual happenings".

One such was similar to Orson Welles "The War of the Worlds" published on 13 May 1871 in the Sacramento Union. It was a story of a "man who discovered a substance to break down water into its component parts which would then burst into flames, and who threatened to destroy the world by setting the oceans afire unless he was paid a large amount of money".

Lured by the news of the gold rush, after the death of his wife, he set out by sea to California, where his father and stepmother were also living. There he worked as a lawyer and also for 6 months in 1856 he was coeditor of the Daily True Californian. He had remarried in 1859, Susan McDermott of Crewkerne, Somerset, England, and they had six children.

He was never rich, prefering his writing, rather than the practice of law. A tragic event happened in April, 1876. An intruder entered their bedroom (with children in an adjoining room) and Rhodes attempted to capture him. He was slashed severely by the burglar's knife and the encounter "was said to have left him bereft of reason and he died shortly afterwards".

Source: William S. Powell. North Carolina Biographical Dictionary.
Francis D. Winston, "William H. Rhodes: Lawyer and Writer," Raleigh North Carolina Review 5 May 1912.

Elisha Rhodes

Elisha Averitt Rhodes, was a lawyer and served as clerk of court and master in equity in Bertie County. He was appointed US consul to the Replubic of Texas and stationed in Galveston, Tx .

Harry Thompson shared this information: "Elisha lost his wife when his children were very small. At first, she was buried in the large backyard behind the house, but later moved to a churchyard when a portion of the property was sold for another house. Elisha had a custom bed built so that all of the children could sleep with him in an effort to comfort them and try to be both mother and father. When he subsequently moved to his position in the Republic of Texas, his furnishings were sold at auction and the massive bed was purchased by the Capehart family of Scotch Hall."

For more information see: The Consul's Journey: The Life and Times of Colonel Elisha Averitt Rhodes and his North Carolina Family.

George Higby Throop

(1792-March 9, 1896)
George Throop wrote both prose and poetry while devoting himself to teaching throughout the Southern States. He was hired as a tutor in late 1840 for the Capehart children, and especially for William Rhodes Capehart, the son of George Washington and Susan Bryan (Martin) Capehart living at Scotch Hall. Returning north after his stay there, he recorded his experiences in this autobiographical novel published under the pseudonym Capt. Gregory Seaworthy called Bertie:Life in the Old Field. Mr. Throop had been hired in late 1840 as a tutor for the Capehart children at Scotch Hall. In his novel, Throop gives descriptions of not only the house, but also the activities of its inhabitant.
"The opening scene is Norfolk, with Seaworthy [Capt] and Matters [Professor] heading toward Bertie and Cypress Shore [fictitious name of Scotch Hall]...six miles from Merry Hill post office. On a small boat they are towed through the Dismal Swamp Canal (p.39) and pass a hotel not far from Lake Drummond (p.45). Two days later they arrive at "the pretty village of Edenton" (pg.52) Seaworthy proceeds to Plymouth, thus passing very near Cypress Shore, which 'is not two hundred yards from the head of the sound, between the mouths of the Roanoke and the Chowan' (p 52) and within walking distance of 'the mouth of the Cashie' (p 91). He continues to Windsor to execute a commission for a New York merchant to his factor in Bertie (p 55)

On March 29, 1849, after a three hours' ride on horseback through the pine woods, he arrives at Cypress Shore."....."Beyond the house lies the beautiful sound, on a calm day with'not a ripple on its broad surface. To the right were the mouths of the Roanoke and the Cashie. They were barely discernible among the low cypresses that lined the shore.....Steamers and sailing boats are often gliding past. In the idstance is the familiar light-boat guarding the entance to the Roanoke.

"The plantation of Colonel Smallwood [fictious name], who had come to Bertie from Virginia, spreads over ten thousand ancres. Employing some 250 Negroes, it has an annual yield of about a hundred bales of cotton and fifty thousand bushels of corn (pg 76) Among the animals are 'horses, mules, sheep, and cows'. The slaves are happy for they are provided with allowances, good quarters and a hospital (pg 198)

For six to eight weeks every spring the Colonel's interest turns to his near-by shad and herring fishery, where he has built twenty fisherman's cabins as well as a guest house in which he entertains his friends. Most of the fishing is done at night with torches ablaze.

The families of the eastern Bertie residents lead no dull lives. When not visiting and dining with one another, they go fishing in Salmon Creek (p 223) or fox-hunting (p68). There is 'the excitement of the mail-days', when 'a score of country gentlemen' lounge about the store, talking and 'awaiting the arrival of the mail' (pg 131)

On court days they go to the county seat to observe a variety of activity (merchantile and entertainment). "On another day the gentlemen return to Windsor Muster Day, when the locatl military 'some fiften men and possibly 50 in the ranks of the infantry parade to the music of 'a shrill, squeaking, squealing, singing, broken-winded clarionet' (pg 169. Exciting also are the biq quarterly church meetings at one of the churches, where everyone has his fill of preaching and feasting and visiting"

In summer, 'about the middle of July', the Colonel exports all his household and friends to Nag's Head in a steamer loaded with funiture, live-stocke and passengers.

"The Mysterious Case of George Higby Throop". The North Carolina Historical Review. vol 33, 1956

The Winstons: A Distinguished Family

WINDSOR - Patrick Henry Winston Jr., - lawyer, journalist, orator, wit and humorist, was born in Windsor August 22, 1847 and died in Spokane, Washington, April 3, 1904.

His biographer and brother wrote of him, “from childhood to death he was the wonder, the delight or the terror of all who knew him. His powers of description, his brilliant imagination, his infinite fancy, his sparkling and flashing wit, his droll, irresistible humor, his unbounded sympathy, his intellectual power and audacity, furnished to all beholders an endless display of mental gymnastics and pyrotechnics, leaving impressions that lasted a lifetime."

Patrick Winston was educated at Horner Academy in Oxford and at age sixteen entered the Confederate Army as an aid to Gov. Vance. He served in this capacity for two years. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1867 with highest academic honors and as valedictorian of his class.

Winston was licensed to practice law in 1868 and moved to Baltimore where he practiced for two years. In 1870 he married Virginia Miller of Pittsburgh and moved to that city to practice law. In 1873 he returned to North Carolina for a number of years and in 1884 moved to the Pacific coast, locating first in Lewiston, Idaho and afterward in Spokane, Washington.

Patrick Winston Jr., was a trustee of the University of North Carolina. He was a delegate to two National Democratic and two National Republican conventions. He also served as Presidential elector. While in Idaho, Winston was register of the land office there. In Spokane he served as District Attorney of the Territory of Washington by appointment of President Harrison. Later he was the I first attorney general of the State of Washington by popular election. Patrick Winston owned and edited three newspapers: The Albemarle Times, published in Windsor; the Spokane Review and Winston's Weekly, also published in Spokane.

At his death the bar of Spokane placed on his grave "An Open Book," which said, "It is our deliberate judgment that for wit and humor, for logic, for eloquence, for learning, for love of justice, for kindness of heart, for sympathy with the unfortunate, for lofty and noble Americanism, he had no superior in this or any other, age of our country. His ready and pointed wit, his inimitable expression, his forceful and unanswerable logic, were weapons of great power, which he used only to promote the cause of humanity and the purpose of justice." George Tayloe Winston
George Tayloe Winston, President of, the University of North Carolina from 1891 until 1896, was one of Bertie County's illustrious sons. While the immediate Winston family no longer lives in Bertie, many Bertie families are related to George Winston through his parents.

George Tayloe Winston was born in Bertie October 12, 1852, the second son of Patrick Henry Winston and his wife Martha Byrd Winston. He graduated from the Horner School in Oxford and entered the University of North Carolina in 1868 at the age of 14. When the University was closed during reconstruction days, George Winston received an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy from President Andrew Johnson. He went on to graduate from the Academy first in his class; however, an aversion to sea life caused him to resign his commission after his first sea voyage.

George Winston entered Cornell University in 1871 and graduated three years later with honors. He stayed at Cornell an additional year doing graduate work and assisting in mathematics. In a 1875 he returned to UNC as an assistant professor of Latin and the next year was elevated to full professor, which position he held for sixteen years. George T. Winston was married that, same year to Miss Carolina Taylor of Hinsdale, N.H.

In 1891 Winston was unanimously elected President of the University of North Carolina. The university was suffering great unpopularity in those days. The general masses held it in low esteem and the church colleges feared its influence. Under Winston's able leadership the university enjoyed years of growth and prosperity.

After he relinquished the post of president of UNC in 1896, George Winston also served later as President of the University of Texas and as President of North Carolina State College. George Winston died in Durham in 1932 in his eightieth year of life.

Francis Winston
Francis Donnell Winston was a man revered and respected both in his native Bertie County and throughout North Carolina. He served the state as a Representative to the State legislature; he served the district as District Judge; he served the county as Clerk of Superior Court and as a leading figure in civic and religious endeavors.

Francis D. Winston was born October 2, 1857, the fourth son of P. H. Winston and his wife, Martha E. Byrd Winston. He grew up in "Windsor Castle," and lived there also as an adult. Winston was educated at the Horner School in Oxford and at Fetter's school in Henderson.

In 1873 Francis Winston entered Cornell University in a Ithaca, New York, which he attended for two years. The University of North Carolina reopened its doors in 1875 and F Winston transferred there as the first student to register. He graduated from UNC in 1879. The following year he taught school and studied law with his father. In 1880 he attended Dick and Dillard Law School in Greensboro and obtained his license to practice law in 1881. This same year he was appointed Clerk of Court for Bertie County, a position which he held for two years. After this Winston entered into a successful law practice of his own in Windsor and Bertie County.

In 1887 he represented Bertie and Northampton Counties in the State Senate and in 1898, accepted the Democratic nomination for a seat in the House of Representatives: This election represented the first return to power of Democrats in Bertie in twenty years. He was a leader in the General Assembly for this session and was strongly suggested as candidate for Attorney General. However, he was elected again to represent Bertie in the House.

In 1901 Gov. Charles Aycock, a college friend of Winston's appointed him Judge of the second Judicial District. He is said by a biographer to "have combined pleasant manners with judicial dignity and firmness" and to have done more work than any other judge ever to serve in North Carolina.

In 1904 Francis Winston was elected lieutenant-governor , winning praise throughout the State for his able management of this office.

Gov. Aycock said of him, "Mr. Winston is a man both of scholarly and of antiquarian tastes. He encourages the collection and study of historic material by schools and societies. He has taken a deep Interest In Masonry . . .As a private citizen Mr. Winston is marked by interest in all charitable work; as a neighbor, by kindness, generosity and hospitality; as a friend, by loyalty, sympathy and the broadest tolerance.”

Francis Winston married Rosa Mary Kenny of Portsmouth. Although the Winstons had no children, they raised a nephew, Steve Kenny, as their own son. Kenny lived in Windsor and served for many years as Register of Deeds of Bertie County.

Winston was honored by his alma mater with an honorary law degree and served as U.S. District Attorney for the district in which he lived. He was a Trustee of the University and a communicant of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Windsor. Judge Winston is buried in the church yard of this church beside his wife. His tomb catalogs some of his achievements, among which were vestryman, Grand Master of Masons and member of the church choir.

Judge Francis D. Winston died in 1941, having served his community and his State all of his life. Mrs. Winston followed him in death in 1944. Both will long be remembered for their devotion to the community.

Robert Watson Winston
Robert Watson Winston - lawyer, Judge, lecturer, author, scholar, statesman - was born in Windsor September 2, 1860, the son of Patrick Henry and Elizabeth Byrd Winston. Although he spent his adult life in other areas of the State, Robert Winston grew up in Windsor and was related to many Bertie Families.

At the age of eleven Robert Winston entered Horner Academy at Oxford where he studied for four years. He then entered the University of North Carolina. While at the University, Winston was a member of the Philanthropic Literary Society, the baseball team and Zeta Psi social fraternity. He tutored in both mathematics and Latin. At age nineteen he graduated and entered into the study of law.

In 1883 Robert Winston married Sophronia Horner, daughter of his old school master, James Horner of Oxford. He entered the practice of law in Oxford and served as city treasurer and city attorney. By age twenty-five Winston had elected State senator of Granville County and soon became a power in Democratic politics. By age twenty-nine Winston was appointed Judge of Superior Court, which position he held for five years.

In January 1895, Robert Winston retired from the bench to enter the practice of law in Durham as a partner in the firm, Winston and Bryant. The practice of this firm was one of the largest in the State, and Judge Winston was one of the State’s most prominent lawyers.

Judge Winston was a much-sought-after lecturer and speaker as well as being active in law and in politics. He also was a regular contributor to journals and to newspapers. At his wife’s death in 1913, Robert Winston retired from the practice of law to devote his full time to writing and study. At the age of sixty-three he re-entered the university to study creative writing and philosophy.

During the last two decades of his life Robert Winston wrote a number of books in addition to news and magazine articles. His subjects ranged from law to literature to biographies. Only his auto-biographical, A Far Cry, is in the Bertie library, although he published four other books and received critical notice from as far away as New York.

Winston received two honorary degrees. In 1881 he was awarded an LL.B. by the University of North Carolina and in 1913 Wake Forest College awarded him an LL.D. degree.

The Winstons had two sons and two daughters. The oldest son, James Horner Winston, was the first Rhodes Scholar from North Carolina to study at Oxford University. Horner Winston later became a lawyer, living and practicing in Chicago.

Judge Robert Watson Winston died suddenly in Chapel Hill at age eighty-four having enjoyed and mastered several careers in the span of his life-time.
Bertie County 250th Anniversary Edition Section D Page 10 September 28, 1972. Used with permission


DR. JACOCKS: MAN WITH A MISSION

William Picard Jacocks, borned fifth of six boys and three girls, the son of Jonathan Joseph and Emily Baker Nichols Jacocks, has now passed through the portals of time into the memories of yesteryear to take up his abode in the proud and distinguished history of his beloved native county of Bertie. His sojorn here on earth has been a long and exciting one. Countless thousands, all around this globe, are enjoying a healthier and fuller life because he came this way. Bertie County is most fortunate and should be proud for having produced such an outstanding native son.

Will Jacocks felt the yoke of responsibility at a young and tender age. His father passed away while Will was yet a lad. An older brother, Charlie, who lived in Windsor took him in and allowed him to continue his schooling.

While living in Windsor during those early years, Will became very interested in sports and played on the Windsor Heights baseball nine in the early 1900's. His stories of trips up and down the Cashie River aboard the passenger boat the "Mayflower" were most enchanting.

After completing what schools were available in Windsor, he entered a prep school for boys in Chocowinity. The school operated under the auspices of the Episcopal Church and administered by a Mr. Hughes. Two of Will's brothers also attended the same school.

Upon finishing the prep school Will borrowed enough money to go to Chapel Hill and enter the University of North Carolina. In order to finance his education, he would work at odd jobs about town. Several times he withdrew from school and worked until he could either earn or borrow enough money to return to school. In 1904 he received his A. B. degree but continued his studies until he earned his M. A. degree.

For several years he taught in Colonel Bingham's prep school for boys in Ashville. He also served the school as coach. However, as soon as he had saved a little money, back to Chapel Hill he did go. This time he entered the school of medicine and served as an assistant professor in French at the University.

After completing the two years of medicine, which was all Carolina had to offer at the time, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. While there, he earned money by taking care of an old man, a task which led him to remark, "that was the hardest work I ever had to do."

After completing his internship at Pittsburgh, he chose to enter the field of public health. He very shortly took a position with the Rockefeller Foundation.

His travel and experience with projects of public health for the Foundation would fill several volumes. His footsteps lead across North Carolina, Arkansas, the West Indies and Trinidad, Ceylon, Travancore and all of India. He spent approximately 25 years in India.

One of Will's three sisters, Mrs. George Capehart, Sr. of Scotch Hall in Bertie County, related the following story as one "typical" of the many experiences that became so much a part of his life.

When World War I broke out, Will was in Ceylon. He wrote to the Rockefeller Foundation to release him in order that he may come home and go to war. They wired him that he was over the age for the service and would not release him. He said that he was going anyway and for them to send someone to take his place.

He packed his things and got on a French ship at Colombo that was going to Singapore. They had taken on gasoline, or petrol, for ballast. When they were about 15 miles out from Singapore, a typhoon struck the ship and turned it over on its side. Since during war-time the natives would not come out to help anyone after, they thought they would all be killed.

The women and children were put into lifeboats and lowered into the water. The men put on lifejackets and remained on board. While the women and children were riding out the storm in the little lifeboats, the captain made the ship go as fast as he could until it struck a reef. They then all waited until morning and the natives came out to help them.

No lives were lost but Will did lose all of his things, particular his books. He was real upset about that because he always carried a large number of books and kept a diary. He seemed to be more worried about his diary than his life.

When he arrived home, he was made captain and sent to Yale for training. Just before leaving for overseas, influenza broke out at Fort Knox. Will, along with twenty other doctors, were sent there to care for the sick. By the time he finished, the war was over and the armistice signed. He was deeply hurt because he was unable to get over-seas before the end of the war.

He returned to India after the war and took up his work with the Rockefeller Foundation. Upon his retirement from the Foundation in 1948, he returned to North Carolina and for some few years worked with the State Board of Health. In 1948, he took up residence in Chapel Hill to enjoy full retirement.

In recent years, Dr. Jacocks has been occupied with writing the history of Bertie County. His interest and leadership in support of the Bertie County Historical Association has been outstanding. We are certain that the absence of his friendly smile and beaming personality will create a void in our presence. Yet we know, he will always be with us, for he has earned well his place in history. In years yet unnumbered, others will be writing about the outstanding contribution he has made to Bertie County, his state, his nation, and to all mankind all over the globe.

He was a man with a mission, 
 In pilgrimage to a distant shore. 
He tarried near but a season, 
 Yet he's with us and forevermore. 
  
  

 Reminiscences 

A VISIT WITH DR. JACOCKS

By Francis Speight

On the eighth day of January, Mrs. Speight and I visited Dr. Jacocks in Chapel Hill. I wanted to tell him about the research I had been doing in relation to historic sites in Bertie County. After discussing this, the course of our general conservation ranged widely, Dr. Jacocks told us about working his way through the University of North Carolina.

He told us that he spent as much time as he could spare working at an outside job in order to pay his way, but he attended classes regularly and always took notes. He said that he served his internship in Pittsburgh and was then offered a partnership by an established older physician in that city on a percentage basis. However, after an interview and a good bit of deliberation, he decided to accept an offer to go into public health work instead. He said that the reason for his choice perhaps was partly because the salary that would be coming in right away. This would enable him to start a little sooner, paying back money he had borrowed to help him through school.

It was not long before he repaid the last amount, which was considerable. The man to whom he repaid it wrote him, seeming a bit surprised, saying that he must be really affluent to square this debt so soon. Dr. Jacocks said that what the man didn't know, and he didn't tell him, was that after sending the man the money, he had only two dollars and a half left.

Dr. Jacocks began his public health work in Lincoln County and he said that his membership in the American Medical Association was still as a member of that county's branch of the Association. He gave some interesting accounts of his work helping to organize the campaign against the hookworm in this state and in Arkansas. He said that in Arkansas reinfection was especially hard to combat. It was so much so that it brought out the sense of humor of one of his colleagues who, paraphrasing Milton, remarked: "Parasites lost - parasites regained."

During another part of our conservation, Dr. Jacocks, in a more serious vein, recalled a passage in Paradise Lost which expressed a great length of time with very fine sensitivity. It was a passage that sometimes Dr. Jacocks had occasion to think of while on long journeys in India and elsewhere in the far east in the course of his duties as head of the Rockefeller Foundation there. It also may come to mind toward the end of a long day's work in the field. Dr. Jacocks took a volume of Milton from one of his bookshelves and read it to us:

              From morn 
    To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve 
    A summer's day; and with the setting sun 
    Dropp'd from the zenith, like a falling star. 

One of the things that we discussed was a very fine etching by the American artist Childe Hassam which Dr. Jacks had presented to me. Although Dr. Jacocks did not know it when he presented the etching to me, nor until I told him, The Childe Hassam Fund of the American Academy of Arts and Letter bought one of my paintings in 1953 and that the etching, which was of a New York City street, included the art gallery of E. & A. Milch, who were my dealers for many years. So there are several reasons now why I should especially cherish this fine gift of such a valuable etching.

I shall also cherish the memory of this most pleasant visit with Dr. Jacocks. Although his work was chiefly in other parts of the world, I feel that his life's history is very much a part of the history of Bertie County at its best.
The Chronical of The Bertie County Historical Association Vol XIII April 1964 Number 1. Used with permission. Typed by Marilyn Capps


John Edward Tyler

Mr. Tyler, lived in the Roxobel area, and wrote a collection of poems. These have been published in a book by his son, Ernest R. Tyler. His grandson, John Edward Tyler followed in his grandfather's footsteps and has written many manuscripts about the history of Bertie County, its churches and people.

Delivered by the author at the unveiling of a monument to the Confederate Dead of Bertie County, at Windsor, N. C., in August, 1896. Bertie County was formed from Albermarle in 1722, and was named for James and Henry Bertie, two of the Lords Proprietors. The name of the County is pronounced with accent on the second syllable.

BERTIE AT GETTSYBURG 
  

Before them rose the frowning hill 
     And the valley lay between 
With grazing herd and gurgling rill 
     And meadows broad and green. 
  

Along the valley oak and pine 
Grew side by side and the clinging vine 
     Climbing from tree to tree; 
And waiting near that leafy wood 
An Army tried in battle stood 
Under the banner starred and barred, 
The flag of Stuart bold and free. 
  

Of Young Burgwyn and Beauregard, 
     The flag that followed Lee. 
The word was "Forward!" Line on line, 
From the sheltering groves of oak and pine, 
With measured step as on parade, 
By company, regiment and brigade, 
Across the valley in battle array, 
Silently, steadily, undismayed, 
     Marched the men who wore the gray. 
Rang from the summit the shrill command— 
           "Fire!" 
  

From the ridges of rock and the walls of stone 
Where the strength of the Union had taken a stand 
And the demon of carnage had builded a throne, 
           "Fire!" 
  

Burst from the Northern cannon 
With the leap of a hurricane's breath, 
From twice a hundred cannon 
     Smoke and flame and death. 
  

But never a moment wavered 
The soldiers of Pickett and Lee, 
Never a moment their courage died 
As forward they swept through the valley wide 
And over the stones of the steep hillside 
      With the sweep of a stormy sea. 
Down went the horse and the rider, 
      But no man halted then 
By the horse and the dying rider 
     In the long gray lines of men; 
And up the hill to the cannoneers, 
     As the tide rolls over the land, 
Straight on they charged to the cannoneers 
     And fought them hand to hand. 
  

Steel and fire and the walls of stone! 
Fire and Steel!  Shout and groan! 
Curse and prayer!  Grapple and thrust! 
In the blinding smoke, in the heat and the dust, 
      Where the Union held its own. 
Oh vainly they rushed to the fierce attack, 
      Outnumbered two to one! 
The Northern thousands upon them dashed, 
Met them and slew and forced them back 
      From the muzzle of every gun; 
Oh vainly they rushed to the fierce attack 
      And fought till the struggle was o'er 
Where the rifles rang and the bayonets clashed, 
And the solid hills and the ridges of rock 
Trembled and reeled in the earthquake shock 
      Of the cannon's ceaseless roar. 
  

The strength of the South was broken, 
      Broken and swept aside, 
For the God of the Nations had spoken, 
And on the heights of Gettysburg 
     The dreams of a Nation died. 
  

Outnumbered, but cowering not, 
Defeated but not in shame, 
Back through the tempest of shell and of shot, 
    Back through the smoke and the flame, 
Back through the broad green valley, 
    Back through the flame and the smoke, 
Back through the death-strewn valley 
    To the groves of pine and oak. 
  

Oh! Bravely there floated for every eye 
    Our banner of battle then; 
Among the flags it floated high, 
    The flag of the Bertiemen; 
Our gallant standard starred and barred, 
    The colors of Company C, 
Our banner of Hampton and Beauregard, 
    Our flag that followed Lee. 
  

Tattered and rent where the bullets went 
    And torn by the bursting shell, 
It sank to the ground on the crimson field 
When with his blood his faith he sealed 
    And Corporal Gregory fell. 
But Byrd, our hero dead and gone, 
    Thank God for the hero then! 
Caught up the flag and bore it on 
    The flag of the Bertie men. 
  

Twice was the flagstaff shot in twain, 
And twice he raised the flag again, 
And over the wounded and over the slain, 
Through the iron hail and the leaden rain 
    He bore it from the field. 

Into the struggle went thirty-eight 
    Privates of Company C, 
And on the field when the fight was o'er, 
Dead and wounded lay thirty-four 
   Privates of Company C. 
  

Fearless and proud is the OLD NORTH STATE, 
   Whatever the odds may be; 
And true to the death were the thirty-eight 
   The brave men of Bertie. 
God speed the dawning o'er land and sea 
When the booming of cannon forever shall cease, 
When every nation shall kneel to thee, 
white winged angel whose name is Peace! 
But still our pulses leap with pride 
At the thought of the men who fought and died, 
Cooper and Rayner and Rhodes and all 
Whose charged to the guns and the granite wall 
On that third day at Gettysburg. 
    The brave men of Bertie. 
  

Honor the men who wore the gray! 
Honor the brave men passed away! 
Honor and glory for Jackson and Lee! 
Honor and glory from mountain to sea 
For Byrd and Pickett and Pettigrew 
Who charged to the guns that smote and slew! 
Honor the men from every State 
Who yielded to naught but to death and to fate! 
Honor the blue and the gray! 
Honor the true men passed away! 
  

As Harold the Saxon was laid to rest 
With his cloak of purple enshrouding his breast 
In a tombless grave by the salt sea wave 
To guard the strand that Hastings gave 
To the grasp of the Norman, even so, 
The past recalling, to guard the land, 
God willing, let yonder sentinel stand 
That all who look thereon feel 
The states are united by bands of steel, 
United for justice to friend and to foe, 
To the weak and the strong, to the high and the low, 
That sectional strife shall forever be dumb 
And silent forever the bugle and drum 
As time sweeps on and the centuries come. 
  

But while the swift years forward fly 
When the tale is told of the days gone by, 
The stern resolve and the purpose high 
Of the soldiers in gray who marched to the fray 
With Ransom and Roberts and Clingman and Lee; 
When they tell of the fields our fathers knew 
Ere the crossing of swords by the gray and the blue, 
The blood bought fields of the olden time, 
Immortal and sacred in story and rhyme, 
Guilford and Yorktown and Monterey, 
Our children's children will answer and say: 
"In the battle's front at Gettysburg 
Were the brave men of Bertie". 


Webmaster: Claudia Williams Claudia Williams

|Back to the top|Return to the Bertie County Main Page| NCGenWeb State Page|USGenWeb Page