Want to know more about the friends and neighbors of our ancestors and the lives they led? The History of Alamance, by Sallie Walker Stockard tells their stories. (Note: the colored text is a link that will take you to the free Google ebook which you can read online.) In her book, she mentions several of the rivers and creeks we find in the deeds for land owned by our ancestors: Sandy Creek, Stinking Quarter Creek, Deep River. It includes an interesting account of the Regulator Movement, which was a precursor of the American Revolution, led by some residents of Alamance County, North Carolina. At the end of the book, she includes detailed family histories of some of her ancestors.
While reading the book, I found myself struggling to remember which sides of the fight the “whigs” and “tories” were on. (My American history classes were such a long, long time ago.) For those of you in the same boat, here are the definitions:
- Whig: supported American independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War; later became the Republican Party in opposition to Andrew Jackson and the Democrats.
- Tory: supported the British Crown against the colonists who sought independence.
The author, Sallie Walker Stockard, made history in 1898 as the first woman to earn a degree from the University of North Carolina. She wasn’t allowed to attend the commencement ceremony with her male peers, and wasn’t included in the class photograph. The University commemorated her achievements 100 years later. The press release about the event makes note of the difficulties she faced as a student, such as not being allowed to enter the library to study or borrow a book. It also says:
Stockard represented the independence of her generation of college women by marrying, having two children and eventually separating from her husband and taking back her maiden name, “a subject of no little controversy,” according to Gladys Hall Coates’ book.
As Stockard stated, “I have supported myself and brought up two children from birth without help. I am under no obligations to any man for the use of his name. . . . Shall I have to be cremated to keep that man’s name off my tombstone? Wooden headed tradition!”
I found this book by coincidence while researching a person in our family tree, Henry Jerome Stockard, who turns out to be Sallie Walker Stockard’s first cousin, once removed. Henry Stockard married Mildred Holding, who was Col. William F. Askew’s grand-daughter. Henry and Mildred are buried in the Holding/Askew family plot in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC. Incidentally, the book is dedicated to General Julian Shakespere Carr, also in our family tree – more on him in a future post!