Albert B Osborne.

Makers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) online

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dently James Allison was the father of John Johnston Ellison,
the name being changed during his orphan boyhood. His grand-
mother, the widow Graham, whose sons were valiant soldiers in
war and most valuable civic officers in peace, was a descendant
of the Dukes of Montrose.

The Pleasants family has been long conspicuous in Eng-
land. "Pleasaunce," County Suffolk, is the arrnigerous branch.

The name assumed its present form of "Pleasants" in the
eighteenth century. The family accumulated land and wealth in
Suffolk, and were styled "gentlemen." The descent of the Ameri-
can ancestor of the Pleasants had been traced through wills and
records, by Mr. J. Hall Pleasants of Baltimore, Maryland.

William Pleasuance, whose will was proven in 1558, is trace-
able to the first William of 1454. He died 1558, succeeded by his
son Robert, who died in 1591, whose son John died 1662, leaving
his widow Katherine ; sons John, Samuel, Benjamin and Thomas,
and three daughters. Of these, John Pleasants of St. Saviers,
Norwich, England, the immigrant, came to Virginia in 1665,
being then twenty-one years of age, and Thomas went to Ireland.


His first land patent was dated October 1, 1679, for five hundred
forty acres; his holdings were afterward increased to some five
thousand acres. He married Jane, widow of Samuel Tucker. He
was a Quaker, and many were the records of complaints issued
against him for acts of non-conformity.

Elder Stephen Pleasants, father of Mrs. Martha B. Ellison,
was born January 12, 1779, joined Ebenezer Baptist Church in
Person County, North Carolina. In 1824 he engaged in the min-
istry, and died November 28, 1852. He was the "Father of the
Beulah Baptist Association 1 ' in North Carolina; organized
Clement Church in Person County, and other Baptist Churches
in the State. Mary (Browne) Pleasants, his wife, was born April
24, 1785, and died April 7, 1867. She was a member of the Bap-
tist Church for sixty-four years.

Their children became prominent and useful citizens. The
sons were: Willis M. Pleasants, William B. Pleasants, and John
L. Pleasants; their daughters were: Martha Browne, wife of
John Johnston Ellison ; Mrs. T. K. Glenn and Mrs. Wood of Ala-
bama, and others whose names have not been found. Moving
their membership from Ebenezer Church to Clement Church in
1835, they remained there until their death, and in the church-
yard they were buried side by side.


F the families whose sterling character and valuable serv-
ice, combined with long residence in this country, have
made them, indeed, "Makers of America," one of the
most illustrious is that which bears the name of Page.

Tracing the name, which is one derived from an occupation,
back to medieval times, when those who bore it were associated
intimately with royalty, and following it down to the present, it
is evident that both in England and America, the Pages have con-
tributed much to the advancement of the race. Among them are
clergymen and ministers, educators, jurists, statesmen, soldiers,
litterateurs, physicians, scientists, engineers, and business men.

Among the earliest records, mention is made of the fact that
in the year 1257 A. D., there lived at Ebor in the County of York-
shire, England, Hugo de Pagham, (or Pageham) who was the
senior son of a feudal baron. The King Edward of that day,
desiring a trustworthy emissary to convey a message to the King
of Spain, selected Hugo de Pagham for this important duty. So
efficiently did he perform the task, and so valuable presumably
were other services rendered by him, that he was knighted, and
it was publicly proclaimed that thereafter he should be known
as Sir Hugo de Pageham. The prefix "ham" meant home, and
thus his name, literally translated, meant Sir Hugo Page of the
home of the Pages.

From the time of Sir Hugo down to the Pages who came to
America in colonial days, many records are existent which give
information of certain members of this family. Old English rec-
ords show that Kichard Page, son of Sir Hugo Page of Pageham,
was appointed by King Edward I of England to accompany Alex-
ander III of Scotland on his tour through England. At the recep-
tion given by Edward in honor of Alexander in 1289, Richard
Page was among the guests. That the Pages were progressing
in royal favor may be judged from the fact that eleven years later
the King awarded them several tracts of land in Devonshire.

Edmund Page was appointed by King Edward II as Com-
mander of Troops in a war waged against Scotland in 1309.
Roger Page was mentioned in 1327 as being the husband of
Matilda Page, who exchanged "land rents" with King Edward III
of England. Edward Page (or Thomas, as one writer gives it)
drilled six hundred archers for King Edward III about the year
1346, and led them in victorious battle against the French. His



home was in Yorkshire. In 1377 mention is made of John Page
of Devonshire. Richard Page was a prominent man of Oxford-
shire in 1386. John Page was living in Buckingham in 1398,
and again the name lingo Page is recorded, this time as a resi-
it of Survey in 1430. Thirty-three years later, mention is made
of <Jrei;<iry Page living in Sussex. Sir Thomas Page is on record
as residing in Wrecklernarsh in 1475. Sir John Page of Devon-
shire was a general in the English Army in 1483. Nicholas Page,
who lived in Essex in 1490, had a son Henry, whose son Henry,
was born at Wembley, in the County of Middlesex, England, in
the year 14!)-. He removed to Essex, where he married about
1520, and later returned to Wembley, where his three children
were born. His Coat of Arms is identical with that used by many
of his name at the present time.

John Page in 1553 married Audrey Eedding, daughter of
Thomas Redding of Hedgeston, Middlesex County, by whom he
had two sons, John and Richard. Richard, John's second son,
was born in 1556, and married twice, his first wife being Frances
Mudge. This couple had a large family. Richard's eldest son
John emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts, and became the progen-
itor of a New England family of Pages. Nathaniel, son of Rich-
ard, son of Richard, came to America about 1675, and altered the
spelling of his name to "Paige." Thomas Paige, seventh son of
Richard, was born at Uxenden about 1597, and married in 1622,
after which he moved to Budbury.

As related in the Volume I of "Makers of America," John
Page, son of Thomas, was born in 1627 and emigrated to Virginia
in 1650, during the early days of the Jamestown Colony. Here
he married Alice Luckin, by whom he had tw r o children, Francis
and Matthew. Colonel John Page was an able, versatile, and in-
fluential man, and rendered notable service to the young colony.
Like many other Pages before and since, he had marked literary
talent, as is evidenced by his manuscript book on religious sub-
jects, which he presented to his son Matthew. A monument to
Colonel Page was erected a few years ago by one of his descend-
ants, Richard Channing Moore Page, M.D., of New York, in place
of the old tombstone which had been broken into fragments.
Some of the pieces of the old monument have been collected and
placed on exhibition in the vestibule of the Episcopal Church of
Bruton Parish. In Colonel Page's will, preserved in the Virginia
archives, he makes mention of his brother, Matthew Page, of Vir-
ginia, and of other brothers in England.

Colonel Page's eldest son, Francis, who was born in 1657, and
died in 1692, married Mary Digges of Hampton, and had an only
child, Elizabeth, who married John Page, referred to as her
"cousin," and died without issue at the early age of nineteen.
This John Page is also described as the nephew of Colonel John


Page, Elizabeth's grandfather, who, it is said, offered the young
man some inducements to emigrate to Virginia.

The second son, Matthew, born in 1659, like his brother
passed away in the prime of his life, in his case in the year 1703.
He married Mary Mann, only child of wealthy parents who en-
riched him with a vast estate. Only one of Matthew's three chil-
dren, Mann Page 1 , born in 1691, survived him. His widow
married the widower John Page, whose first wife had been Eliza-
beth Page. John and Mary (Mann) Page returned to England,
where John died. Their children remained there, but Mary re-
turned to her Virginia home, where she died before attaining her
fortieth birthday.

Mann Page 1 built beautiful old Kosewell, a commodious
brick and marble mansion, with interior fittings of carved mahog-
any, located near the York Elver, in Gloucester County. Here,
it is said, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Mann Page 1 married seventeen-year-old Judith Wormeley, who
died at twenty-one, survived by but one of her three children, a
daughter. Three of the children born to him and his second wife,
Judith Carter, carried on the family line, namely, Mann Page 2 ,
John and Robert, who founded, respectively, the Black Pages of
North End, and the Broadneck Pages, who later removed to
Clarke County. It is probable that many of the Pages, now
widely scattered through the Southern States, are descended from
these Virginia Pages.

Among the earliest North Carolina pioneers record is made
of the Pages. The ancestors of the subject of this sketch, Doctor
Bbney Wells Page, were among the first settlers in Albemarle
County, at the time when Virginians began to pass over the
border into North Carolina. In Volume 22 of North Carolina
State Eecords, there is an account of the receipt of one-half of the
arrears of His Majesty's quit rents in Albemarle County from
September 29, 1729, to March, 1732, which shows that a John
Page paid in part for five hundred twenty acres of land the sum
of four pounds and one shilling. About the year 1734, an Act was
passed establishing a ferry from the west side of Blackwater to
Thomas Page's. At three Edenton Councils, one Wilmington
Council, and a New Bern Council, the name of Thomas Page ap-
pears among petitioners for land in the years 1740, 1741, 1743,
and 1744, such petitions being for several hundred acres of land.

Among those who showed themselves loyal to the State by
taking the oath of allegiance in 1778 was Nathaniel Page of
Goshen District, Granville County.

Several North Carolina Pages are found among Revolution-
ary patriots. There were Corporal Solomon Page of Bailey's
Company, Abraham Page, whose name is mentioned among those
to whom pay was due at end of the war, and Corporal Benjamin
Page, who served in Donoho's Company. Then, too, in a list of


Revolutionary Pensioners, reported by the Secretary of State to
Congress in 1835, is the name of John Page, Private of Cavalry.
Again, among the men "in camp under command of General Har-
rington at Fork's Creek, near Cross Creek, under date of Septem-
ber 5, 1780," mention is made of Captain Page of Duplin County,
whose Christian name is not given.

By 1790, when the first census was taken, the Pages had
spread through many counties of North Carolina, and the pub-
lished lists of heads of families shows that the Christian names
of "John, Thomas, and William" were most frequent.

Doctor Boney Wells Page's great-grandfather, John, of the
Pages of Wake and Moore Counties, moved to Duplin County,
North Carolina, in its early days. His family consisted of four
sons and three daughters all of whom remained in that State
except one son who moved to Mississippi.

The Page family, in Virginia and North Carolina, and else-
where, has included many distinguished individuals. Notable
among them are: Thomas Nelson Page, now representing the
United States in Italy; Walter Hines Page, of the well-known
firm of Doubleday and Page, who now fills the important post of
American Ambassador to Great Britain; Robert Newton Page,
Member of Congress from North Carolina; Charles Nash Page,
who has written a history of the Page family, and Richard Chan-
ning Moore Page, author of a genealogy oi! the Virginia Pages.

The father of Boney Wells Page was John Everett Page, who
was a farmer in Wallace, Duplin County, North Carolina, where
on March 18, 1877, Boney Wells was born. His name of "Wells"
came from the family of his mother, Miss Mary Ellen Wells, a
famih r settled in North Carolina for many generations, which, as
well as the Page family, has a name with an interesting history.

In Norman-French, the word val meant a vale, being derived
from the Latin vallis, a valley. The plural, vaux, sometimes vals,
was the name of a Norman-French family running back to A. D.
794, and is one of the most famous names in history. Harold de
Vauxcame to northwest England in 1120. His family took the name
of de Vallibus, because they settled in the valleys. In 1145 the Eng-
lish record mentioned Robert de Vallibus, lineal descendant of
Hubert de Vallibus, eldest son of Harold de Vaux, under the
name of Robert de Welles. His descendants bore the name of
Lords de Welles of Rayne Hall, Essex. Later appears the name
of Wallys, Wellys, and also Wyllys, which with Wills, is rare.
De Well, and Finally Wells came into use by the beginning of
the thirteenth century.

There were many Wells who came early to America, some
to New England, some to Pennsylvania, and some to the South.
In the 1790 census of North Carolina thev are well distributed


throughout this last State.

Like many other persons of note, Doctor Page was reared on


a farm, and received his early education at the elementary schools
of his neighborhood. Later he went to the Rockfish Academy,
and the Buies Creek Academy. After two years of study at the
State University, he attended the George Peabody College for
Teachers, which conferred upon him the Bachelor of Arts degree.
At Vanderbilt University he studied medicine for two years, and
finished his course at Tulane University, where he received the
Doctor of Medicine degree in 1909. He took special interest in
the college literary societies which rewarded him for his ability
and faithful support by making him President of that society. At
Vanderbilt and Tulane he was a member of the Alpha Kappa Kappa
Fraternity. He found time for reading extensively, his tastes run-
ning largely to philosophy, pedagogy, economics, and history,
but literature relating to sanitation and bacteriology, as well as
to other branches of medical science, attracted him more and
more as the years went by. Before entering upon the practice
of his profession, he taught school for seven different sessions,
which experience has probably been of great value to him in his
later work. For a year he worked professionally as a general
practitioner. He then became a member of the Kockefeller Sani-
tary Commission, and for years held the position of District

Intelligent people have come to realize that much illness,
and even death, is avoidable, and could be prevented by practice
of the laws of health. The conviction had been gradually increas-
ing in the minds of the members of Robeson County Medical

c5 *>

Society that public education along hygienic lines should be
undertaken. The result of this was, that in 1911 a recommenda-
tion was made by the Medical Society that a capable physician
be employed, who should devote his entire time to public enlight-
ment along hygienic lines. Such an office was created March 1,
1912, and Doctor Boney Wells Page was deemed the most suit-
able physician to fill it. Thus he became the Health Officer for
Robeson County, North Carolina.

When he first began to tour the country in the performance
of his duties, people listened courteously to his opinions, but
many were frankly sceptical concerning the possibility of edu-
cating the public along the lines proposed by Doctor Page. Some
did not believe in "germs," which is not so strange, considering
that it has been only some thirty years since Pasteur first demon-
strated this theory. Others were somewhat fatalistic, and be-

*/ f

lieved, with regard to sickness and death, that what was pre-
ordained would happen, and that such afflictions were the chasten-
ings of Providence. Many, however, urged the importance of
public education along these lines, but thought it useless to
expect immediate results. Some, however, more hopeful, have
supported the young doctor in his efforts to stamp out disease
by teaching people how to keep well. He has found valuable


helpers in the public school teachers, who are always leaders in
what stands for progress. The opportunities afforded for the
spread of communicable diseases, by the personal contact unavoid-
able in the schoolroom and playground, have long been feared by
solicitous parents, and not without reason. Many have been the
lives sacrificed in the past through lack of knowledge, but a
brighter day is dawning, and Kobeson County has caught some-
thing of its glow. Besides the checking of communicable
diseases, good work in the schools has been done in the matter
of correcting youthful abnormalities and defects, and detecting
symptoms of constitutional derangement.

The clergy, who have opportunities to reach people both in
masses and as individuals, have nobly aided the good cause. And
not least important among agents for the spread of sanitary
knowledge have been the newspapers, whose editors and writers
have thrown themselves heartily into the work of community

About one hundred articles are being published each year
pertaining to public hygiene. Doctor Page delivers about two
hundred lectures annually, and distributes twenty-five thousand
bulletins on the subject of health. He has prepared a catechism
for use in schools, which is equally suitable for study by older

Doctor Page has never devoted much attention to politics,
but his political affiliation is with the Democratic party. He is
a member of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Lumberton.
He belongs to the American Medical Association, the A. K. K.
Medical Fraternity, the American Public Health Association, the
Southern Medical Association, and the North Carolina Medical

He was married June 14, 1911, at Kaleigh, North Carolina,
to Miss Frances Jane Culbreth, whose birthplace was Whiteville,
North Carolina, and who was born August 26, 1888. She was the
daughter of the well-known physician, Neill Monroe Culbreth,
M.D., D.D.S., and Elizabeth Memory.

Doctor Page is making rural sanitation his life work, and
probably devotes more time to that subject than to any other.
To this end he studies, talks, works, and writes. He is widely
read in the literature pertaining to the subject, and has written
much for the press. His articles have been published in the Robe-
son County papers and Medical Journals. An essay on the "Eti-
ology of Pellagra," so prevalent in certain sections, was published
in the Medical Record of January 2, 1915, and attracted such
favorable attention that it was reprinted in pamphlet form.

Thus Doctor Page is upholding the traditions of his family
and is rendering to the community at large in his day and gen-
eration, useful, valuable and noble service.


WILLIAM THADDEUS BETHEA was a native of "Dothan
Community/ 7 born December 31, 1868, in Marion County,
(now Dillon County), South Carolina. He was of the
sixth generation of his family, American-born, and a typ-
ical example of the true American. His father, David N. Bethea,
was a farmer and a lawyer. At the time of the birth of William
Thaddeus the South had not yet recovered from the effect of the
War of Secession, and upon his father's farm the boy learned to
labor with the assiduity and energy that marked his whole career.
Both his mother and father were cultured and educated and the
boy's mind was trained in unison with his physical development.

The education of William Thaddeus was conducted at the
Dothan High School, which, equipped with an especially fine
corps of teachers, was one of the best in the country, and he was
well prepared to enter college. He decided, however, to begin
us li f e work ^ an early age, no doubt desiring to prepare a home
for his chosen . ^Ipmate. When only nineteen, his maternal uncle,
John C. Sellers, offered him work with the Atlantic Coast Line.
The station, "Sellers," was upon his uncle's farm, and he had
been appointed the agent, but it was the nephew who performed
all the details of the office, while he utilized his spare time in
learning telegraphy. When the telegraph lines were erected he
was put in charge of the station at Dillon. During the twelve
years that he retained this office the business grew to such a
volume that he frequently was obliged to work from sixteen to
eighteen hours a day. Such was his industry that, after his resig-
nation, it required six men to do the work which he had accom-
plished with the help of only one depot hand. He was frequently
offered promotion by the railroad company but he was attached
to his home and to the people of Dillon with whom he was unusu-
ally popular and he was, consequently, unwilling to change his

In 1892 Mr. Bethea married Georgie Alice, daughter of his
uncle, Doctor Andrew Jackson Bethea. His family life was per-
fect. His house was really all that home means. Tender and
devoted as a husband, he was a true father to the children sent
to bless him, his hospitality was proverbial, and he was charitable
in the truest sense of the word.

In 1897 the Bank of Dillon was organized. The confidence
of all classes in Mr. Bethea was evidenced by the fact that a

[ 389]

390 WILLIAM TiiAi)i>i:r.> BETIIEA

wealthy stockholder purchased a large block of stock on the
condition that Mr. Bethea be selected as Cashier, which was
accordingly done. There is no doubt that the success of the bank
was largely due to his keen business capacity. From small be-
ginnings the bank had grown under his wise and conservative
management until it had become one of the strongest in the State,
with an important capital and surplus. For many years Mr.
Bethea was, practically, both President and Cashier, as Mr. T. B.
Stackhouse, the President, being a resident of Columbia, was
only occasionally in Dillon. To relieve him from so great a
pressure of work, the services of an assistant cashier were en-

Mr. Bethea, early in life, joined the Methodist Church, and
has not onlv been a devout Christian, but has alwavs been a readv

I. V *

support in all things pertaining to his religion. He was an organ-
izer of the church at Dillon, Chairman of the Board of Stewards,
Trustee of the District parsonage at Marion and an ex-officio
member of the Conference. For six terms he was Mayor of Dillon,
and has since served continuously as a Member of the Council.
He resigned to accept membership on the Board of Trustees of
the Dillon High School. He was Chairman of the County Demo-
cratic Executive Committee, on the Court House Commission,
besides being Secretary and Treasurer of the Good Koads Com-
mission. Mr. Bethea was honored by being appointed a Delegate
from South Carolina to the National Convention at Baltimore
where he voted from first to last for Woodrow Wilson as the
Democratic nominee for President. He was a Koval Arch, Blue


Lodge and Council Mason, served two terms as Worshipful Master
of the local Lodge, and was Chancellor Commander of the Pyth-
ian Lodge. He was, in fact, associated with every movement
having for its aim the betterment of Dillon. It would seem that
no one man may easily fill his place. His hand was always ready
to dispense alms to the needy and his heart to sympathize with
the afflicted. Not only in his home town was he knowm and appre-
ciated but his advice w^as sought from many other sections.

April 29, 1915, while sitting at the president's desk in the
bank, Mr. Bethea w T as suddenly attacked by paralysis and lived
but a few hours. The "Dillon Herald" of May sixth gives the
character of William Thaddeus Bethea in these words :

"A man of extraordinary personality, kind and gentle to an
unusual degree, sympathetic and considerate in his dealings with
his fellow-men, modest almost to a fault, and of a generous and
forgiving disposition, it is natural that he should have gathered
around him in the forty-seven years of his life a large circle of
strong friends and sincere admirers who feel deeply his sudden
and untimely death. While he thought and felt deeply, and had a
strong conception of the responsibilities resting upon him, yet


Online LibraryAlbert B OsborneMakers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) → online text (page 29 of 48)