Aunt Lizzie’s Memories
The pages below are by her own hand. The booklet is dated: 1986
1st. Remembrances at “White House" The white house was so called because it had, at one time been
painted white and very few houses around us had ever been painted. C. E. Daniels lived there before we did
but I don’t know who built it.
I remember the happy Christmases there. We each had a box in a chair for Santa to leave our gift in. Papa
always was up long before day and had a pretty warm fire going when we got up. One Christmas Santa
brought me a little gold bracelet with a hook. Later I lost it on the way to school at Oak Ridge.
The year Santa left a note telling me he had to leave my coat that the graveyard so Pete left before light to
go get it. Daddy and Uncle Durwood were late coming in Christmas Eve and had picked up my coat in
Kinston. It was beautiful Maroon fur fabric trimmed with black. I loved it. Harriet and I walked back and forth
across the fields and played to-gather. In the spring the field between the graveyard and Daddy’s orchard
was a blanket of tiny blue flowers with icy looking foliage. We called them Blue Bells and always gathered a
handful as we passed through.
The time mamma had made me some new panties (drawers). I must have been about 4 years old. Bob and
Flavious were going to Sutton’s Branch (back of the house) and Harriet, Rommie, and I wanted to go. When
we got to the fence, Flavious told me he would help me over if I would show him my “drawers”. I probably
would have but Bob sent us back to the house.
Those happy hours Bob and I spent on Sutton’s Branch, sitting on the huge old log across the water, fishing.
We only had two hooks and Bob cut our poles and baited the hooks We walked those woods and fished
many a day.
I remember when Papa and Mamma helped cousin Clara and Jack Johnson in tobacco. I was too small to
help so, Mary Johnson, Harriet, Louise and I were playing made-up games. Cousin Clara was frying
cornbread and it looked so good, so when my time came to make up the game, I told Mary that we each had
to march around the aspen tree holding a piece of fried cornbread in our hand and of course the game
ended by us eating the cornbread. Mary actually believed me and that was good cornbread.
Another time when we were there to help in tobacco, our little tan dog “Towser” chased one of Jack’s
chickens and papa picked him up by the nape of his neck and beat him with a tobacco stick. Bob, Ram and I
went home crying our hearts out and I’m sure I hated Pete for awhile or thought I did.
All of us spent lots of time at “Daddy’s” (Dr. J. F. Maxwell). He allowed us to go upstairs and ramble and how
heavenly it was! Uncle Durwood’s dark room was still in the closet under the steps to the garret. There were
10 rooms in the house. Daddy’s office was on the left as you entered a long wide hall. His bedroom was back
of his office, which was lined with shelves filled with bottles of medicine. The hall had book shelves on one
entire side that reached to the ceiling and Daddy’s library was filled with classics, novels, biographies, and
most anything you would be interested in. His medicine library was fabulous. On the right side of the hall
was the room with the operating table and cabinets filled with surgical instruments. “Daddy” was also the
dentist or rather he extracted teeth. I remember on may occasions I was there when someone came to get a
tooth out. I would go around the side of the house and put my hands over my ears.
The time Harriet and I filled our laps flowers from “Daddy’s” snowball roses and many other beautiful blooms
and Uncle Durwood came over like a mad bull and gave each of us a hard spank on our bottoms. We were
both shocked but didn’t cry. We sat down in the corner of the chimney to think about it but I don’t remember
our reactions after mulling it over.
Mamma was always into some kind of business at home to help with the finances. I remember when she got
orders for Lee Mfg. Co. from friends and neighbors. The loot would come in a big barrel. She must have
gotten premiums for selling certain amounts. She was also in the hat business as far back as I can remember
and it was always a wonderful occasion when the hats or the Lee M. Co. Goodies
Sister and I always had new hats for the appropriate season and of course Mamma always looked prettier
than any other Mamma in the pretty hat she selected for herself. She set the styles for her sisters and
neighbors. In fact she made most of her cloths and theirs too. She was a remarkable person. She was so little
and frail looking but could work rings around most of the other ladies and had a brain equal to Einstein's.
I remember the circus that had to go into winter quarters on Uncle Jess’ farm. World War I materialized and
they sold all their equipment when the men had to “Go off to War”. Mr. and Mrs. Vick were the circus
managers. He sold Papa two large tents with carts. Mrs. Vick gave Mamma a beautiful fur stole because Papa
were kind to them.
I must have gone to Oak Ridge school at 5 years age because Papa and Mamma were substituting for
Malcolm Grady who was the teacher. I had a big crush on Bland Lee. Must have been 14 or 15. My hair was
so blond and in the school picture that Malcolm had it seemed to be in a pigtail with bangs. I was wearing the
brown coat the Mamma made with the white fur collar. Wish I had one of those pictures.
We walked from the “White House” to school which must have been at least a mile and a half. Now children
are driven every where they go. The older pupils sat on one side of the room and younger one on the other.
We went up to the front of the room and stood for spelling and I remember well when we were learning to
spell: turkey, durkey, goosey, loosey, ducky, lucky etc. Each time we missed Malcolm gave us a whack in the
palm of our hand with a ruler. My sweet little playmate, Beatrice Harper, was very nervous and just couldn’t
spell these crazy words. I think I hated Malcolm when he hit her sweet little hand.
|Gretchen "playing the
She died of pneumonia at the end of the year and that was on my mind so much for years.
Sister was sick and stayed home one day. I must have gone to her desk at recess and used one of her
composition books to draw in. She was furious the next day. After she reported me to Malcolm and he lectured
me I started crying and as usual ended up sobbing and couldn’t stop. Malcolm took me in his arms and
pretended to chase Sister and I imagine he finally consoled me.
At recess we played games; “Ring around the Roses”, “Wire marching round the level”? Whatever that meant
and other games. In the marching game the one who was in the center, (when we sang; “Go forth and find
your lover” stopped in front of someone and had to be kissed. I was the lover one day and one of my teeth was
just ready to shed and when I kissed the girl my tooth came out!
Our sweet Collie dog named Jack had pneumonia and was critically ill for a week. There were no Vets then but
“Daddy “treated him. Before he died had had convulsions and he died on Sunday morning. It was just as
though a member of the family had died. Papa sobbed. We were all too broken-hearted to go to Sunday
School or Church. We buried Jack in the field. He and Bob were real buddies and played many games
Before we moved to Pink Hill the first time, Sister stayed with Aunt Johnnie and Uncle Jess in the winter and
attended school in Pink Hill. We looked forward to her with weekends at home. She and I would sleep in the
front bedroom on the left. One night I got too close to her and she pinched me, it broke my heart ( I know
where Gretchen got that pinching from)!
Uncle Solon Grady would come to stay a few days with us ever so often. We had a big snow and he rigged up a
wooden box outside and ran a string through the window. When a bird went under the box he jerked the string
and it was trapped. I have no recollection of what he did with them..
The upstairs rooms weren't completed but we slept up there. The stairway was in the dining room. Before we
moved from what is the “home place” now to the “White House”, I can remember when Papa was curing tobacco
in the summer. He built a shed to the barn and had a double bed and bunks so all the family could sleep at the
After we moved to the “White House”, if Papa had to be away from home all of us slept with Mamma. I was always
a “Momma’s Baby”. She would take Sister and Rommie with her to Eastern Star Meetings in Pink Hill (driving a
horse and buggy) and Papa would hold me, screaming for Mamma and trying to hang onto the buggy wheel as
they left. He would walk to the pig pen and to the barn and sometimes up to “Daddy’s” to console me. I wonder if
Mamma ever knew how broken-hearted I was.
(I begin this paragraph about Uncle Dave Koontz. My databases do not find him or the picture that Aunt Lizzie
refers to. Emailing Col. Maxwell returned the same results. Maybe you knew of him.) Uncle Dave Koontz would
come to visit us. He was blind. We have a picture of him with Bob and Sister.
We always had lots of company and more good food. Mamma made the best cakes and she taught us to make
fudge. We were allowed to cook, use her new sewing machine for doll clothes, in fact we were encouraged to try
to do things that the other children in the family weren't allowed to do. I’m sure if “Hat” had opened Aunt Ermie’s
sewing machine she would have gotten the hair brush.
Aunt Lizzie’s Memories
Harriet was always a chubby little thing and I was very frail and petite. When I spent the night with her on a
school night, I would be dressed and “Hat” would still be getting her stockings on. Uncle Bill would yell at her and
threaten to use his hand on her if she didn’t get dressed.
His old hunting dog had puppies and they were under the front porch in a big box. We were told not to bother
them but we wanted to hold one of those puppies so bad. We sneaked in the box and he caught us. He
spanked both of us and we cried and cried. He had one in each arm walking around trying to console us. I’m
sure he was afraid Papa would walk up and find us crying. Papa didn’t want anyone spanking his children! He
spanked us a few times. I remember one night when we were both small. Ram and I were in the middle bedroom
playing on the bed, turning somersaults etc. The others were in the front bedroom. Pete called us several times
and told us to get off the bed. Just as Ram put his head down to turn a somersault Pete came in and gave him a
spank on the bottom. I think I saw him coming and was on the floor being a little angel by the time he got to us. I
remember Mamma slapping my jaws several times but if Pete ever slapped or spanked me I don’t remember it.
He could scold me and I would cry for an hour.
He switched Bob for staying over at Uncle Mauton’s without
permission. There were no telephones and he went to spend
the day and when he wasn’t back at sunset Papa went looking
for him. He brought him back and just before he got to the
house he cut a switch and switched him.
We were all furious with Pete! Of course he was right.
This was at the “White House” but I have no idea how old I was,
probably 5 or 6. Mamma was sewing in the front bedroom (on
right) I was either playing with the sewing machine treadle or
pestering her someway. She kept telling me to stop and I didn’t.
She got up to get me and I got under the bed. She said; “You’re
going to get a spanking so come on out.” Sister was begging
her not to spank me. I’m sure I got one and deserved it.
“Hat” and I played house in the woods across from the house
where I was born. We found a spot with lots of places and we
marked the rooms off with sticks, used pieces of broken glass
for dishes and plates and leaves for food.
I was in the 7th grade when “Little Bess” was born. Cousin Cilia was my teacher. The next morning when I got to
school, she called me to her desk, put her arm around me and said; “What is this I hear you have at your
house?” I started crying and have no idea why.
She caught us chewing gum one day and told me to bring it to her. I threw it out the window instead (we were
upstairs). She sent me down to get it and I’m not sure how that incident ended.
I remember two cute dresses Mamma made for me in the 7th grade. One was pink chambrey and had panties to
match. She appliquéd a flower on the pocket. The other was lavender and white print with long waist and floral
skirt. The top had a white panel down the front with pretty buttons.
Roland Smith was my first love. I grew
or rather after I grew up enough to
have a note from boys, He would
write a whole page telling me how
much he loved me, fold it into a
square so small and send it to me as I
waited for the school bus. I don’t
believe I ever answered a note of his,
bless his heart.
Clarence Jones was a few years
before Roland. He would come in our
store with “Miss Maggie” and look at
me out of the corner of his eye. We
sang a little song together at school;
“I don’t like Bop Girls, old silly Bop
Girls” and were asked to do it over
several times. I gave him a toy horse
at Christmas and he kept it for years.
I think he gave me a doll. His father
“Uncle Robert” was the engineer on
the train that ran from Kinston to
Beulaville. The excitement of the day
was going down to the Railroad
Station in the afternoon to see the
train come in. We would put two
straight pins crossed on the track and
the train ran over them and made
|Lizzie in a purple velvet
|Lizzie when she worked at
|Leo and Lizzie down
on the farm
|Mary Holt, Lizzie &
|Mary Holt, Lizzie &
|Mary Holt, Lizzie &
Mary H. Richardson
|Gretchen and some of
|daughter & father
Gretchen & Leo
Mamma always belonged to more clubs etc. She was a very popular hostess and she and Papa were always
friendly with the teachers and minister’s family. We were so fortunate to have them for parents.
I never was adapt at roller skating and I’m sure the reason for that, I never had but one skate to practice with. Ram
had one and I had the other (Sister’s skates). When she discarded them and we had two, I just couldn’t make
them work together. The extent of our bike riding was borrowing Sis’ bike when she was away and woe unto us if
she caught us.
Ram had a tricycle but I only wanted a doll and carriage. I loved my dolls to the extent that they were about human.
I don’t think Harriette felt the same way I did about them and I really can’t remember her having many dolls.
Actually Christmas at our house was much more exciting than at any of the cousin’s homes. I’m sure they all
thought Papa and Mamma were a bit weird, but they were the dearest most exciting parents any children ever had.
I’m sure each one of us felt blessed and after we were older and looked back we realized how lucky we were.
We moved to Pink Hill when I was 6 (I think). Papa worked in the Turner General Store for awhile, then opened his
own. He built it on the side of the house and we could to from the dining room down steps into the store. The sign
said; R. P. Holt, General Merchandise and under that; Mrs. R. P. Holt Milliners. The cash drawer had a bell in it
that rang when it opened. Ram and I would open it to get a nickel (to spend elsewhere) and yell real loud hoping
no one heard the bell. I remember the old fashioned stick candy, coconut strips (like flags), the best (?) and ice
cream that we sold. Also material, everything in general.
When Dr. and Mrs. Myers moved away (He was a general practitioner) they gave me their canary, “Pete”. He was
the first canary in our vicinity and I must have been fascinated by him. Also they were real good friends of Papa
Pete too one of Mama’s hat show cases and removed some of the glass in the sliding doors, replaced it with
screen wire, made perches and that was “Pete’s” new home. Everyone who came in had to watch “Pete”. He
stayed in the back of the store by a window.
|"Sis", MaryHolt, Gretchen, & "Bit"
|Christmas, 1911 (photo by H. D. Maxwell, Sr.)
|L to R:
Ermie, Mabel, Durwood, Johnnie, Vevie, & Dr. Maxwell
May 14, 1897
Ruth Turner and I played together a lot. Our back yards joined. Later Tersie Smith
and I became good friends. We had a crush on Earl Howard. I think he really liked
Tersie and her brother Roland liked me but he got no encouragement.
We moved back to the white house and Papa moved the stairway into the hall and put
heavy wallpaper on the on the walls in mine and Sister’s room. Sister fixed the room
so cute. She painted our bed and dresser white, covered a table with pretty
Cretonne and had attractive things on the wall. One I remember was the grand poem;
The first time we lived in the white house, Ida Grady (Cousin Pinckney's wife) was
spending the night with us. She was either coming up or down the stairway (in dining
room) in a long gown, in the middle of the night calling Papa. She said she forgot to
tell Pinckney that she left the biscuits in the oven and he would build a fire in the
stove and burn them. Papa told her to go back to bed, that he was sure Pinckney
would check the oven. Poor Ida, she was huge and not all there.
The log train came by our house and that was very exciting in the early ‘1900’s
Jan. 29, 1986 (sleeting) first entry for a long time. This comes to mind,
When we lived in Pink Hill 1st. Time, the Oxford Orphanage singing class came once
each year and usually one or two older girls and a very young one stayed in homes
of church members or Masonic Lodge Members. People in those years placed the
dinner plate down with fork and napkin on the left and knife and spoon on the right.
Papa always put money under the plate of the girl who stayed with us and after the
blessing we turned our plate over and they never acknowledged the money until later.
Mama belonged to a sewing B that made clothes for babies at the orphanage. I
never liked to spend the night away from home and when a friend would ask Mama if I
could spend the night with her I would pray that Mama would say no but she never did.