White Store Township-Cemeteries and Historical Events

OLD CEMETERIES: Almost every home had its family "graveyard," and these old cemeteries are filled with tombstones dating back to the 18th century. Many of these were hand-made, cut out of soap stone; the ravages of time and weather have erased most of the lettering. It was the custom to leave one side of the graveyard for the slaves.

Among the oldest of these old cemeteries is the Redfearn family cemetery located on the old farm of Nimrod Redfearn. The grave of Nimrod Redfearn and that of his son, Wilson, were marked with soap stone slabs, which have crumbled with age. There are evidences of other graves, some with soap stone slabs, some with brown rock, and others with decaying oak markers. A few railings of the old fence are still lying around. On one side are the graves of the slaves.

About a mile west of this cemetery is one near Alfred Redfearn’s old home. In this are buried James Redfearn, born 1807, died 1847; Alfred Redfearn, born 1871, son of James and Elizabeth Huntley Redfearn; Ann Huntley Redfearn, wife of Albert, and several small children.

On top of the hill known as the "Becky Gulledge Hill" is the cemetery known as the Malachi Gulledge Cemetery. Here are buried Malachi Gulledge, born 1788, died 1853, and his wife, Rebecca; she was the daughter of the first Robert S. Huntley, and Malachi Gulledge was the son of the first William Gulledge.

In the Elijah Huntley Cemetery, where he and his wife, Elizabeth Swa, are buried, their graves are outlined with brown rock; the grave of their son, John W. Huntley, born 1817, who made his home with his sister, Louisa Huntley Lockhart, and who died at the age of 23 years is similarly outlined. Several young children of Townley Redfearn and Sarah Huntley are buried here.

In the Chambers Cemetery back of Mt. Olive Church, Wilson Chambers, born 1788, died 1866, and his wife, Jemima, born 1789, died 1843, are buried. Jemima was the daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Powell.

In the Rushing Cemetery across Brown Creek, Darling Rushing, born 1801, died 1896; Malachi G. Redfearn, born 1820, died 1877, and his wife Susan, a sister of Darling Rushing, are buried. This is a very old cemetery, and it has many old stones with names on them. Four or five generations are buried here as evidenced by the various types of markers for the Rushings, Morgans, and others.

At the old John W. Huntley place is a private cemetery in which Thomas Huntley, born 1794, died 1863, and his wife Polly Cason (Mary W.), born 1793, died 1863, are buried; John W. Huntley, born 1822, died 1907, and wife, Martha Crowder, born 1819, died 1893, are buried there also.

The Townley Redfearn Cemetery where he is buried is located on his old home place. His wife, Sarah S. Huntley, daughter of Elijah and Elizabeth Huntley, born March 12, 1813, died May 20, 1859, is also buried there. On her tombstone are these impressive words:

"Remember me as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me."

Teresa A. Redfearn, daughter of Townley Redfearn and Sarah S. Huntley Redfern, born 1845, died 1876, who married Alfred Redfearn, her double first cousin, in 1875, is also buried in this cemetery.

In the Lockhart Cemetery adjoining the lot on which Meltonville Church stood, are found the graves of Clara, wife of James Lockhart , born 1784, died 1854, Adam Lockhart, son of James M. and Clara Morris Lockhart, born 1817, died 1896; Louisa, wife of Adam Lockhart, daughter of Elijah and Sarah Huntley, born 1820, died 1846; J. J. Lockhart, born 1819, died 1889; his wife E. A. Lockhart, daughter of Darling and A. Rushing, born 1826, died 1866; Henry Womble, born 1791, died 1855, and Ann Scott, third wife of Adam Lockhart.

The Berry Redfearn Cemetery where he, his wife, and some of his family are buried, is located immediately north of his old home.

In the early years before many churches had been established, many families had their private cemeteries in their own yards or nearby.

HISTORICAL INCIDENTS OF WHITE STORE: For sixty to seventy-five years White’s Store proper was a florishing little village. There were several stores, shops, boarding houses, a temperance hall, churches, a school house, a post office, local doctor’s offices, and a number of residences. At first most of the homes were near Mt. Olive Church, but gradually the people built at the crossroads where the main mercantile business was located.

Among those living in the village were Frank Crowder, William Barrett, Wat Broadaway, Dr. J.D. McRae, Dr. Lee, Dr. J.C. Cottrell, H.A. Crawford, J.T. Redfearn, H. Billingsley, and Wilson Chambers.

The stores were operated by Joseph White, Calvin Crowder, James Redfearn, Townley Redfearn, William Faulkner, George Huntley, and Joe McLaughlin. Mrs. J.T. Redfearn kept boarders including the teachers and the clerks in the stores.

In connection with the Redfearn store, which was a general merchandise and hardware store, there was a shop where buggies and wagons were made, a shoe shop, and a large blacksmith shop. The store was a great trading center.

During the period preceding the Civil War political gatherings were frequently held in the village. In 1861 the people gathered in a big grove near the McRae house when a volunteer company was being organized. The injustice of the War Between the States was being hotly discussed. James A. Leak, Sr., was present and made a rousing speech. Stephen Jackson, afterwards known as "Colonel Stephen", was a red hot seccessionist from over the line in South Carolina. He made a speech in which he prophesized that the war would never amount to anything and that he would drink all the blood that would be shed. How futile was this prophecy is shown on so many of the tombstones and on the pages of many of the old Bibles in this community, where we read the names of sons and fathers killed in the war. Colonel Jackson was a member of the Secession Convention which met in Columbia, South Carolina.

Sherman’s main army passed through Maysville and some companies of troops passed through the White Store community. They camped across Dead Fall Creek, and Mary May, wife of David Townley Redfearn, and her mother were alone with the baby, Alexander May Redfearn. The soldiers killed the chickens, took all the meat of forty hogs, broke the china, took the silver, cut open pillows, emptying feathers on the floor, drove off the mules and cows, took the molasses, poured out the salt, set fire to the barns and other buildings, and burned all the cotton and the store.

A faithful old slave, Ben Jackson, took all the land papers, put them in a tin trunk, and buried them under a rock pile. He hid in a wildcat den while the troops were there. After the Yankees left, Ben came over to see if his old mistress had anything to eat. They took up the dirt in the smoke house floors, put it in hoppers, dripped it, then boiled the water to get salt. For baking soda the women burned corn cobs, sifted these ashes, and used them with buttermilk in the bread.

As this portion of Sherman’s army advanced, Wheeler’s men were pressing them so closely, that Sherman’s soldiers killed 700 horses and mules in front of the old Ann Ratliff house. These horses and mules had been taken from farmers and rather than have them taken back, they were killed and their bodies left by the roadside.

A portion of Sherman’s army camped one night on the hill near the Coppedge place at White Store. Wheeler’s men were camped on the hill where the C.H. Rivers place now stands. A small skirmish took place between some of the men of both armies. Mr. J.T. Redfearn had a horse shot from under him. The next morning Sherman’s army set fire to the temperance hall in which Mr. Frank Crowder had forty bales of cotton stored. The Dr. McRae home was fired, but Wheeler’s men came in time to extinguish it. Two buildings in which supplies had been stored for the Confederate Army were burned. It is said that charred grains of wheat may still be found where the building stood. The same destruction of food took place here as it did all along the way.

Wheeler traveled the old road to Wadesboro, and Sherman went by Union Church. It is said that Wheeler climbed a tree on Gordon’s Mountain to see which way Sherman’s army went.

And so the war became a grim reality, and hardly a home in this section escaped losing a son, or a father. At its close in 1865 the people found themselves impoverished, and most of the men had been killed or wounded.

The soldiers who were able to return home by the first of May 1865, obtained a horse or a mule, here and there, and with stalwart hearts began little crops for food. A few years found them beginning to prosper, and many of the families of this community made a second fortune. Out of these sorrows and struggles came the fine characters of the citizens of this community. They are as fine as any group of citizens to be found in any community.

Source: History of the Redfearn Family by Daniel Huntley Redfearn Miami, Florida 1954.

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