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Historic Woodville

Preserving Woodville's Heritage

Letter to Friends of Historic Woodville

To All Historic Woodville/St. Frances Friends & Relatives:

November 22, 2004

Dear Historic Woodville friends,

We are thrilled to announce that St. Frances Methodist Church's restoration is at long last completed – and we will ring the bells on our January 15 celebration service!

Bruce Lassiter has been faithfully with us on this project since 1998, when he began stabilizing St. Frances for the 2000 move. This fall, a full 6 years after we visualized a moved/restored St. Frances, he has completed the final touches: painted the interior, restored the foyer floor, refinished the floors, restored the altar area to its original wood, polished the altar rail and furniture, and painted the pews. Joe Whitehead spiffed up the much-neglected yard for us a few weeks ago. We are so proud of this project, and thank you for your support and perseverance. While grant money from the state we received in 1999 helped immensely, your donations provided almost half of the total costs. We are indebted to those who have provided uncompensated labor to our efforts, too!

We are honored that Laura Early, minister of All God's Children Methodist Church in Aulander and Jesse Staton (Laura’s and Elizabeth Widmer's Methodist minister friend in Durham) have enthusiastically agreed to co-minister a special celebration service on Saturday, January 15, 2005 at 2pm. Snow date is Saturday, February 12, 2pm. The organ will be back in place, and we'll sing old time hymns. We hope that you will be able to join us for the 2pm service and afterwards for refreshments at Molly’s home. Please mark your calendar and help us celebrate.

We now have four signs "WOODVILLE HISTORIC DISTRICT" in Lewiston-Woodville marking the boundaries of the historic district. After years of trying to convince D.O.T. to provide the signs, we dipped into our shallow pockets and had them made. Bruce is in the process of erecting them now.

We also have some new additions to the "Historic Woodville" website. We have a newly added transcription of the register of Grace Episcopal Church, with all the members since the mid 1850s, and dates of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. Claudia Williams and Faye Wallace have photographed Grace's interior and all the grave markers in the cemetery. Marianne Ordway, Bertie County's Rootsweb page web master, has added this to the site. There will soon be photos of all the grave markers at St. Frances on the site, too.

On this site, in the “Letters from the Directors”, you can also follow the history of St. Frances’ restoration, and our other projects since 1997 – nomination as a National Register listed Rural Historic District, The Pugh/Clark/Smallwood gravesite moves to St. Frances and Grace Episcopal’s cemeteries, the securing (foundation and roof) of the old Woodville Supply and the Bazemore House for future restoration. There is much more to explore on our site, too – genealogy, diary excerpts ( Charles Smallwood and Moore Rawls), maps, old homes and churches and schools, with many photos.

Since we are now 100% dependent on private contributions to sustain preservation efforts, we are very appreciative of any level of contribution that is comfortable for you. Your gift is tax deductible. We prefer that your gifts go 100% to preservation efforts, so we donate our time.

We thank you for your continued enthusiasm for our efforts. We have completed St. Frances' restoration, but will always have maintenance expenses there - fuel, electricity, insurance, yard care, and repairs. In the spring, we want to plant bushes/flowers around the church. Your donations will help with these current and future expenses.

Our next project, once we catch our breath, is to restore the already stabilized circa 1750-1790 Bazemore House, the oldest structure in Lewiston-Woodville. We hope all of you share our vision of a preserved rural historic district that reflects an important part of North Carolina’s – and our ancestor’s – history.

Many blessings to you this season of Thanks and Giving,

Vicki Paton and Molly Urquhart, co-directors

Please send us your comments and questions.

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