Advertisement for the Dearing Studio, Chatham, Virginia, 1916

Above is an advertisement for the Dearing Studio in Chatham, Virginia. The Dearing family’s home/studio was located behind the Chatham Post Office. Here is a view of Mr. Dearing and his camera:

And here is another interior view of the Dearing home (these pictures may be from the 1920s):

I am not sure who shared the Dearing advertisement with me. The photographs of the Dearing home/studio are courtesy the Virginia/North Carolina Piedmont Genealogical Society in Danville, Virginia.

The Pigg River Slangwhanger, 1840

The following description appeared in The Richmond Enquirer, Richmond, Virginia, on March 21, 1840. Who knew that Chatham (which at that point was not called Chatham yet) had piazzas back then? Probably most folks simply called them porches.

Chatham did have a number of taverns in the 1800s, as Frances Hallam Hurt and other writers documented. Some of these taverns were sites of murders, fights, and other crimes.

If anyone figures out who the Pigg River slangwhanger might be, please leave a comment!

I attended our court yesterday, and, as the boys in your street would say, we had some fun. The Whigs, ever active, were out in obedience to a call . . . It was suspected they intended to speechify for the purpose of getting up a hurrah for Harrison. About 12 o’clock, it was announced at the taverns that there was to be – not a Whig meeting – but speeches delivered, and all were invited to attend.

When I reached the designated point, I found a Whig meeting organized in a piazza. . . . After a short time, I heard the voice of the great Pig[g] River slangwhanger. . . . The aforesaid slangwhanger adopted pretty much the same style of blustering, self-confidence, he used seven years ago, when he returned from Richmond a Nullifier, and met with a memorable discomfiture.

He talked very large, and loud, and boastingly – Told what great things he could do in argument, and how easily he could convince the people, if they would hear him. (Forgetting that almost every voter in the county has heard him again and again, within the last seven years, and that he has talked to them more than any three men in the county.)

He went so far as to challenge his adversaries to meet him in argument. This challenge was promptly accepted. – For this, he seemed not to be prepared: He forthwith drew back . . . . Some sharpshooting and excitement followed, but no discussion. The meeting seemed to fail . . . It produced no animation, no hurrahs among the Whigs. One of the resolutions I heard announced, was, that every Whig voter in the county, should be placed on the Whig Committee of Vigilance. This is truly a committee of the whole!

1959 Chatham Christmas Play

I think not all of the children are identified (there is a scrawled list on the back of the photograph), but here are the names that are known. (Feel free to leave a comment if you know who the children are.)

Patsy Williams played Mary.

Charles Scott (as an adult, he became Rev. Charlie Scott) played Joseph (standing).

Other children: Lynn Hill, Betty Williams, Agnes Giles (probably some of the angels), and Jerry Archer, David Leigh, Henry Law.

Children in the back: Malcolm Woodson, Michael Harris, Lillian Scott, Johnny Ray Neal, Susan Marsh, Carolyn Roach, Irene Barker, Michael Motley, Tom Hodgin, Terry Moore, Kenny Geyer, Wanda Sue Roberts.

Probably in the very back row: Randolph Barker, Jean Shanaberger, David Roach, Debbie Younger, Jane Worsham, Sharon Taylor (hard to read, could be a different name).

From the Preston B. Moses collection. Special thank you to the Moses family for sharing this picture.


Santa Visits Chatham, Virginia

Eva Spencer, Earl Spencer, Hardwick Spencer (toddler in Earl’s arms), Earlene Spencer (behind her brother), and Bobby Wiley are joyous to great Santa Claus! This photograph may have a connection to Hargrave Military Academy, since Earl Spencer is in his uniform from HMA. Or it could have been a Chatham church or civic event.

Photograph from the Preston B. Moses Collection. Thank you to the Moses family for sharing the picture!

Christmas Present: A Car for a Chatham Minister!

According to a conversation with a now-departed Chatham resident, this picture was from the 1950s. For Christmas, the Chatham Baptist Church gave a new car to Reverend Eugene Cullams and his family: wife Jeanie, daughter Tanya, and son Reg.

This photograph is from the Preston Moses collection. Many thanks to the Moses family for sharing the picture!

Mary Morris Thompson and Daughters

Mary Morris Thompson (see last post) and daughters Beulah or Burlah Thompson (born circa 1908) and Mary W. (or Willie?) Thompson (born circa 1912). This photograph was printed on a postcard. It is unknown whether the picture was taken in West Virginia or in Bland County, Virginia (where Mary was from).

My uncle described the relationship Mary and my Grandfather JTW Trubie Mitchell: Trubie’s mother’s first cousin, Mary Morris, was a daughter of Octavia G. Miller & Samuel Morris. Octavia G. Miller was a daughter of Abram Woodson Miller and Rachel Hearn, and a sister to Jasper Wain Miller, who was the father of Minnie Flora Belle Miller Mitchell, Trubie’s mother. (Special thanks to John Esca Mitchell for research assistance.)

Lillie Hatcher (from Louisa Evans’ album)

The back of the photograph seems to say Lillie Hatcher, but I’m not certain. I do love the young lady’s clothing and hair!

The photograph was taken by a studio in Richmond, Virginia. I have tried to find a Lillie Hatcher in Virginia census records that would be correct age for this photo, and the closest I found was a lady born in 1873. (Of course, her name could actually have been Lillian or something else.)

Finley Thompson and family

My Grandfather, JTW “Trubie” Mitchell, collected pictures of older relatives. The picture above is identified as showing Finley or Findley Grayson Thompson, who was born in Giles County, Virginia circa 1878; his wife, Mary Morris Thompson (who was born circa 1877 in Bland County, Virginia, and was Trubie’s kinswoman); and Finley and Mary’s daughter, Nola. According to census records, Nola was born circa 1905, so the photograph was probably taken around 1906 or 1907.

The Thompson family lived in Mercer and Logan Counties in West Virginia in the 1910-1930 census records. (Special thanks to John Esca Mitchell for research assistance.)