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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cial, political and industrial life of North Carolina since the
appearance of their first ancestor, Michael Holt, in the colony.*
This Michael Holt settled within the limits of the present County
of Alamance and secured by grant a large tract of land from
the Earl of Granville. From time to time he added to this
original tract and at the present time the towns of Graham
and Burlington comprise much of the original Holt lands.
Michael Holt 1 died in 1785, leaving a son, Michael Holt 2 ,
who figured as an upholder of "law and order" against the de-
mands of the Regulators. A loyal subject of the King, Michael
Holt, a conservative in action at the beginning of the American
Revolution, was arrested by the newly constituted authorities
and carried to Philadelphia. Presentation of the facts in the
case seem, however, to have allayed suspicion for Holt was re-
leased and returned to North Carolina, where he is found later
doing his part for the new Government by furnishing supplies
for the army. Michael Holt 2 married, first, Margaret O'Neill
and by her had one son, Joseph Holt, who went to Kentucky.
By his second marriage with Jean Lockhart, Michael Holt 2 be-
came the father of seven children, of whom the sixth child was
Michael Holt 3 , who married Rachael Rainey, and became the
father of Edwin Michael Holt, to whose genius and unrelenting
energy was due the founding of the Holt cotton mill industry
in North Carolina, and the establishment of the first cotton
mills south of the Potomac River for the manufacture of col-
ored cotton goods.

Edwin Michael Holt married Emily Farish and they were
the parents of Mary Elizabeth Holt who, on the 8th of Sep-
tember, 1865, married James Nathaniel Williamson and to
whom was born, at Graham, North Carolina, January 28, 1872,
a son, James Nathaniel Williamson, Junior.

Educational standards have always been very high in the
Williamson family, and the same care and attention which for-
mer generations had bestowed on such matters were given by
Mr. and Mrs. Williamson to the education of their children.
James Nathaniel Williamson, Junior, was sent, at the age of

* It was doubtless this Michael Holt who had two grants for land in
Spotsylvania County, Virginia (that part which in 1743 was cut off into
Orange County) the first grant in June, 1726 for 400 acres; in St. George's
Parish, Spotsylvania County in the first fork of Rapidan River and the
second grant in September, 1728 for 245 acres in the first fork of Rapidan
River adjoining the said Holt's land and the land of John Broyl.

Michael Holt, of Alamance County, North Carolina, went from Vir-
ginia to North Carolina about 1740.


twelve years, to Pautops Academy near Charlottesville, Vir-
ginia. From Pautops Mr. Williamson became a student in the
celebrated Bingham's School (at that time situated at Mebane,
North Carolina). The military training which he received in
that school was of great benefit to the growing lad. While at
Bingham's Mr. Williamson also occupied the responsible office
of adjutant in the cadet battalion.

Popularity with students and teachers marked the whole
of Mr. Williamson's scholastic career, while close application
to study brought to him high standing in his classes.

An intense interest in the manufacturing business in which
his father, James Nathaniel Williamson, Senior, and his elder
brother, William Holt Williamson, were engaged, led the younger
James Nathaniel Williamson to forego a course at the Univer-
sity of North Carolina. After matriculation he remained at the
University but a short time.

In 1893, the year that he became of age, Mr. Williamson
entered on his business career in the Ossippee Mills in Alamance
County, and during the succeeding three years exhibited such
marked business ability that he w^as, at the end of that time,

> /

admitted a partner in the undertaking, and was made secretary
and treasurer of the concern. Success crowned the young man's
efforts to such an extent that he was able to purchase a one-
fourth interest in the Pilot Cotton Mills at Raleigh, becoming,
at the time of their incorporation in 1907, vice-president of the
company; an office which he has held to the present time. In
other business ventures Mr. Williamson has been equally suc-
cessful and is at the present time vice-president of the Alamance
Loan and Trust Company and a director of the American Trust
Company of Charlotte.

While at Bingham's School Mr. Williamson became a mem-
ber of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and in later years, at
the solicitation of his employees, and to gratify their desire, he
became affiliated with the Junior Order of United American

In political life Mr. Williamson has always exercised in-
dependence, with a tendency in national affairs to the program
of the Republican Party, yet at the same time regarding Grover
Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt with impartial admiration.
In his views on the tariff question Mr. Williamson is uncom-
promising, seeing no hope for commercial prosperity in other
than a high protective tariff with a properly constituted board
to regulate it according to conditions. He also believes that
a large merchant marine should exist, protected by a strong

Mr. Williamson has demonstrated by his own business
career his very strong conviction that success can only come


to the man who puts his whole heart into an undertaking, bring-
ing to bear every particle of energy that he possesses: business
must be an "interest/ 7 not merely "a job." Thus "work" has
proved a pleasure to him and in its exercise he has found great

One of Mr. Williamson's great enthusiasms is "good roads,"
and towards their perfection in Alamance County he has devoted
much thought and work. He was, at one time, treasurer of the
Highway Commission of the county. He thinks that the most
effective method of solving the "good roads" problem is by the
combined financial contributions of the State and the Nation.

Though Mr. Williamson's family are Presbyterians, and in
early life he connected himself with that denomination, he later
became a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church and is
a member of the vestry of the Church of the Holy Comforter,
Burlington, North Carolina.

James Nathaniel Williamson, Junior, was married, in 1898,
to Mary Archer, daughter of E. A. Saunders, of Kichmond, Vir-
ginia, and to them have been born three children, James Saun-
ders Williamson, Mary Archer Williamson and Edwin Holt


CALVIN JEREMIAH DEAL comes of a long Hue of farmer
ancestry. He himself for the greater part of his life fol-
lowed the same calling, but has recently turned his atten-
tion more particularly to the manufacture of cotton.
The ancestors of Mr. Deal have been in North Carolina for
several generations. Originally they were Germans, and came
first to Pennsylvania, thence to North Carolina.

t^ /

The tradition in the family is that two brothers, Peter and
Jacob Deal, came from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and
that their father's personal name was "Yost," and that a family
of Overcast were in the company who came, intermarriages having
taken place between them.

Upon a thorough examination of early records of Pennsyl-
vania, no data is discovered covering the names of such persons in
Montgomery, but in Westmoreland County there are records
which do correspond so that no doubt, as is frequently the case,
tradition during the lapse of years has lost its accuracy, so far as
the Counties are concerned from whence these families emigrated
to North Carolina.

In the archives of Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County, are
discovered the names of Yost Deal, John Adam Overcast, and
Michael Overcast, as land holders and taxpayers; the records
ranging from 1753 to 1786, Yost Deal paid taxes in the year 1772,
in Lowhill township, the same County.

Further research brings to notice that in the year 1739 two
German emigrants came on the same ship from Rotterdam, one
named Yost Delhi, the other Yost Eberkerst; Deal and Overcast
are the Anglicized form of "Deihl" and "Eberkerst," which they
no doubt adopted upon their arrival in America, as did the family
of Zimmerman, one branch of which preferred to be known as Car-
penter, the English version of the name.

The two families of Deihl and Eberkerst came on a ship
peopled with 213 others, all of them from the Rhineland fleeing
from German oppression and persecution.

These immigrants were of the industrious enterprising class,
to whom conditions in the Palatinate had become so intolerable
that they gladly took advantage of the possibilities of the new
land of America, willing to risk the hardships and privations of a
venture into the unknown, because of their hope for betterment.
It was because of the tolerance of William Penn, and the absolute

[ 588]


freedom of conscience established in his Province that such num-
bers from the German Palatinate sought homes in Pennsylvania.
Perm's mother, Margaret Jasper, was a Hollander, which acounts
for the feeling of strong affection he is said to have possessed for
his maternal ancestors, and he wrote and spoke the language flu-

In the Eighteenth Century, after its first quarter, there were
twenty-five thousand immigrants from Germany. They were
tillers of the soil by nature, and only wanted a chance for free
homelife, making no complaint, because of the wilderness, and
their consequent privations. They established themselves firmly
and became known far and wide as Pennsylvania Dutch. This
name is still applied to them.

The province became crowded by the many immigrants, and
desirable land became more scarce. Home makers were obliged to
turn elsewhere, and large numbers went to the Carolinas. They
carried with them and established in North Carolina all the cus-
toms and manners of living which had been formed in Pennsyl-
vania. Their language was known as "Pennsylvanische Deutsch"
and was unlike any other, being a mixture of English and dialects
from along the Khine. Even slaves spoke it in earlier days, al-
though now, it has almost entirely disappeared, so that it is rarely
heard, and only from very aged persons.

The exodus from Pennsylvania began about 1745 and kept up
for years, and at some period of this hegira came the Deals, the
Overcasts and the Colenians (or Kohlenians). Very few records
were kept, and the genealogist must depend upon tradition, title
deeds and family Bibles for lineage and other information. Their
Bibles were brought by the emigrants from Germany, and not
every family had one, since in their voyage they were greatly re-
stricted as to luggage.

To have brought one gave evidence that it was esteemed an
indispensable treasure.

In religion the usual affiliation was with the Lutheran and
the Dutch Reformed Sects, the two being so closely in touch with
each other that the same hymnbook served for both.

Always was built a house for worship; it seeming to be as
necessary as a kitchen fireplace. Some of the old churches are
still standing, and are interesting edifices that should be pre-
served. They were usually long in form, and against one of the
long sides was built the pulpit, which was of a peculiar high gob-
let shape, and mounted by stairs. The stairs were usually
hidden. A sounding board stretched above the speaker's head.

On Sunday two services were held, one in the morning and
one in the afternoon. Entire families would attend for the whole
day, carrying with them the noonday meal, which, in good
weather would be eaten under the trees. Apart from the religious


side of this service, these meetings were certainly a refreshing
event, after the close of a week of hard work.

Good comfortable living for both man and beast was the rule
in these German communities. They kept good stock and fed
them well, while their wagons and farming implements were sub-
stantial and kept in good condition. Big four-horse wagons were
common and it was customary to shelter these in a shed built be-
tween two large corn cribs.

Many relics in handicraft, made under pressure of need, give
evidence of skill, and instinctive artistic ability. Candlesticks,
shaving sets, cooking utensils, in brass, copper, pewter, and iron ;
articles for furniture in wood ; woven fabrics with patterns for
decoration ; and particularly attractive metal backs for their fire-
place stamped or hammered deeply with some legend.

Such things, homemade, sometimes crude, sometimes finely
finished and beautiful, have been kept in use for generations until
now, they are being gathered and treasured as curios.

Such were the ancestors of Calvin Deal, and with this man-
ner of people came to North Carolina in the early days, Peter and
Jacob Deal. From the latter of these two Calvin Deal is de-
scended. There came also, among them the ancestors of his
mother, Susanna Overcast, and too, of his wife Sarah Jane Cole-

The father of Susanna, was Philip Overcast and doubtless,
they were descended from John Adam Overcast of Pennsylvania
recorded in 1753, and possibly from the earlier Yost Eberkerst.

The parents of Sarah Jane were George P. Coleman and Mary
Coleman. Their home was near that of Soloman Deal. Of Cole-
mans there were twenty-three recorded among the early arrivals
of North Carolina. One of them, George.

Of Peter Deal we know that he married and had one child, a
daughter who married James Koseman. There our information
regarding him ends. It is difficult to trace a family line when
there is no male issue and the name is merged into a succession
of others.

Jacob married and had five sons : John, Henry, Jacob, Peter
and Samuel.

John the eldest married and had five sons : John, Jacob, Solo-
man, Allison, and Levi.

Soloman, the third of these had three sons: Calvin, J. J.
Daniel, and Silas. Of these the latter two died, leaving only

As already noted, Calvin Jeremiah Deal, in 1875, married
Sarah Jane Coleman. To their union were born five sons and one
daughter: James Francis, Arthur Leona, Silas Augustus, Clar-
ence Kalph, Claude Fardric, and Mabel Florence.

James, a minister, is married and has two sons: James, Jr.,
and Charles.


Arthur is a farmer and has two sons : Hugh and Carl.

Silas is in the mercantile business and he has three sons :
Kay, Walter, and Arnold.

Clarence Kalph is doing railroad office work, and Claude is
a bookkeeper.

The daughter, Mabel, is married to a minister : the Reverend
W. B. Aul.

Descendants from the other branches of the Deal family
are numerous, and are to be found in many quarters.

Of the personality of Calvin J. Deal, it is a deserved tribute
when it is said he is true to the ancestral type, possessed withal,
of fitness for the changes of manner and method in the present
day. He was born in Eowan County, North Carolina on his
father's farm and a farmer he himself was, until the year 1895.
His father died when he was four years old, and he was conse-
quently deprived of many opportunities during his boyhood, that
might otherwise have been his. There was need of his assistance
on the farm, and his attendance at school was irregular and his
education incomplete.

When he quit farming it was not because of distaste for ag-
ricultural pursuits, but because of attractive opportunities in
other lines. Indeed, he has an inherited love for the soil, and
belief in it. He enjoyed the freedom and independence of a farm-
er's life, the w T holesome quiet of the home, and the security from
want felt by those who live with nature and benefit from her
large abundance.

For five years Mr. Deal was in the mercantile business, but
retired from that pursuit, and becoming interested in cotton
mills, is now giving his full attention to activities in that line. He
has left the farm entirely, and holds residence in Landis, Rowan
County. Mr. Deal has made investments in two Cotton Mills,
in one of which he has been Secretary and Treasurer since the year
1903, while in the other, since 1909 he has held the more impor-
tant office of President.

Mr. Deal votes the Democratic ticket, but has no inclination
to hold office. Neither does he care for societies or clubs, and
holds no membership in any. He is a staunch churchman, how-
ever, and is not only simply a member, but is a Ruling Elder in
the Lutheran body following in the belief held steadfast by his

Mr. Deal is somewhat of a student of history and church lit-
erature. He is full of ideals as to the betterment of mankind, and
believes that the only secure foundation for hope is through the

Apart from his interest in this greater world-work, Mr. Deal
has schemes for organized efforts toward the advancement of
enterprises, and especially toward promoting prosperity among


DURING the early mouths after a state of war had been
proclaimed between the United States and Germany, the
steadfast patriotism and loyalty of many Americans was
manifest in the earnest rebukes they w r ere forced to ad-
minister to the mistaken propagandists whose seditious activities
were designed to make a breach if not to stir up a Revolution in
this country. The mails were loaded with pamphlets and cir-
cular letters of a more or less treasonable character, and loyal
citizens assailed by these literary bombs, from the receipt of
which they were unable to protect themselves.

It was in Mav that Senator Overman in the course of his


remarks upon the floor of the Senate, upon war measures, said:
"I have a letter here from a distinguished North Carolinian, a
very prominent man, who belongs to the Quaker Church; of
course, they (anti-war propagandists) take him to be an
easy subject, and they are sending him communications which
I think are treasonable. I ask to put his letter in the 'Record'
now T . Let it be read, in order that Senators may hear what he
has to say to the Secretary of this organization."

The prominent "North Carolinian" referred to by the Sena-
tor is: William T. Parker, of High Point, North Carolina, a
successful manufacturer and leader in the business life of his
town and State, a staunch Democrat, a faithful and broad-
minded Quaker gentleman, and an ardent patriot.

Because of his Quaker affiliation, no doubt these disloyal
organizations thought to enlist him as an ally in their nefarious
purposes, but his indignation was aroused, and he addressed
earnest words of disapprobation to each of their Secretaries of
the measures proposed by their communications received. Mr.
Parker's letter read upon the floor of the Senate is as follows :

"High Point, N. C., May 6, 1917.
Pauline K. Angel, Secretary,
Washington, D. C.
Dear Miss or Madam :

I have received several communications from your organiza-
tion, making various suggestions in opposition to our Govern-
ment. I wish to state plainly to you that I have no sympathy
with your methods. I have a profound faith in the judgment
of our great President, Woodrow Wilson, and sincerely think

[ 594]





that it is the patriotic duty of every citizen of the United States
to give him, his or her loyal support. I further believe that the
ends you profess to be working for will be obtained sooner and
more permanently by giving support to the President and Con-
gress, and I further believe that your efforts to divide and dis-
sipate public sentiment at this time is giving comfort to our
enemies, and the tone of your letter seems to me little short of

Please take my name off your mailing list, for I believe you
are hindering and not helping the real cause of a permanent

Yours very truly,


June 21, in the official organ of the Baptist Orphanage of
Thomasville, North Carolina, there appeared a letter from Mr.
Parker addressed to this disloyal, nay, treasonable crowd, which
is given in its entirety, showing him to be possessed of a char-
acter which combines ancestral staunchness with modern inde-
pendence of thought:

"American Union against Militarism,

Washington, D. C.
Ladies and Gentlemen :

I am in receipt by this morning's mail of your pamphlet
entitled: 'Conscription and the Conscientious Objector to War.'

I wrote you very plainly a few weeks ago, to take my name
off your mailing list. I did not give you my name and do not
want to have any connection with the various organizations
whose object is to embarrass our Government in this world
crisis and give all the aid and comfort they can to the enemies
of not only our country, but to the enemy of all civilization and


I am fully in harmony with the objects of my country in
the prosecution of this war. If your organization could succeed
in your objects you would frustrate every effort of our Govern-
ment and make us the strongest ally of Germany. There is little
doubt in my mind but that your whole organization is financed
by German sympathizers, and I must insist that you take my
name off your mailing list.

I am a Quaker and my forepareuts have been Quakers for
five generations on both sides of the house, but I am not one
who believes that it is all right to accept the protection of the
best Government on earth and then, when its peace and security
is threatened by a nation whose compact with Hell is to wipe all
trace of civilization from the face of the earth, hide behind my
church relations and let the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians,


and so on, fight for the salvation of Christianity, civilization,
and everything else that is good and sacred, while I seek some
secure place under the pretext of conscience.

The first sentence in your pamphlet reads: 'Liberty of con-
science is essentially an Anglo-Saxon tradition for which our
ancestors fought and died.' Will you please put the question
to your own conscience, if it was right and proper for our fore-
fathers to fight and die for liberty, why is it not right for us
to fight and die, to maintain that liberty? If I were opposed
to maintaining civilization on the earth, then I would harp on
conscience and do all J could to help the bloody Germans and
unspeakable Turks win this war.

I demand of you to take niy name off your mailing list, and
I trust you will not put me to the further trouble of insisting
on it.

Yours very truly,


Thus it was that William T. Parker, the Quaker, stepped
aside for William T. Parker, the Patriot, in the time of national

Mr. Parker's forefathers have not only been Quakers for
five generations, but Americans and North Carolinians as well.

In the year 1713 a grant of land on Chowan Kiver, including
Hollidays Island, was made to Job Parker, from whom, by
means of the records of the Quaker monthly meetings, of Per-
quimans County, Mr. Parker traces his descent in an unbroken

Job Parker's son Joseph and his wife Kuth, were the par-
ents of seven children. A daughter (Mary) was born in 1729;
a son, the youngest, born 1749, received the name of his grand-
father, Job Parker; he married in 1775, at Kichsquare in
Northampton County, North Carolina, Isabel Peele, and this
couple were the great-grandparents of William T. Parker. In
the 1790 Census of North Carolina, Job Parker is recorded as
a citizen of Edenton District, Chowan County, with a family of
three males and eight females. His brother Nathan was also
a resident of this district. Job Parker had a family of nine
children, of whom the eldest, born in 1776, bore his grandfather's
name, Joseph Parker. He married four times. By his first
wife Elizabeth, daughter of Aaron and Miriam Morris, whom
he married in 1880, he had nine children ; of the other marriages
he had no issue. Four of the younger children died in early
childhood. About the time of his marriage, he settled at New-
begun Creek, North Carolina.

Here Joseph E. Parker, the father of William T. Parker,
was born in 1820, February 22. He was the ninth and last


child of his parents, and the only son who lived to maturity.
In 1848, he married Margaret Ann, the daughter of Thomas
Newby, and settled at the old homstead in Pasquotank County.
Here the family lived for six years, when they moved a short
distance away to the adjoining county of Perquimans, and
established a new home in Belvidere, where William T. Parker
was born.

The three counties, Chowan, Perquimans and Pasquotank,
where were the ancestral homes of the Parker family, are situated

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 45 of 48)