Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

History of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) online

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grow to a great organization with an income of more than
$1,000,000 a year, operating in 1920 in twelve states. At
this writing, June, 1920, the company has $32,000,000 of
insurance in force, With new business at the rate of $1,000,-
000 a month. And it will be recalled that this is only one
of the organizations which he helped to set up.

Mr. Merrick was a man of winning personality, un-
selfish, generous, sympathetic and charitable. He num-
bered his friends among all classes, indiscriminately, of
white and colored, and had much to do with the present
happy relationship existing in Durham between the two
races. He was always interested in anything put forth
for the advancement of his race and ready to do his part in
any patriotic undertaking. At the same time his private
charities were enormous. He was a trustee of Kittrell
College and secured large sums of money from white friends
for the institution. He gave the College a memorial library
in honor of his wife. He was also the source of securing
from white friends large donations for Lincoln Hospital
and other institutions for the colored people of Durham.

Mr. Merrick was an intimate friend of the late Dr.
Booker T. Washington and accompanied him on several of
his trips. He never sought to press his views on others
but considered himself as a ihumble working man in the
ranks. He served his day and generation well with what
he had. His powers lay along the line of organization and
financial leadership. He used things for what they were
worth. He got rich himself, and left a splendid personal
estate, but he did not get rich by making others poorвАФ
rather he grew rich by helping others and his community,
his State and his race are better for his having lived.

On Dec. 10th, 1880, Mr. Merrick was married to Miss
Martha Hunter. The following children were born to this
union: Mrs. Geneva B. Williams, Raleigh, N. C; Mrs.
Mabel V. Bruce, Winston-Salem, N. C. ; Edward R. Merrick,
Durham, N. C; John T. Merrick, Durham, N. C. ; Mrs.
Martha Donnell, Durham, N. C.

Aaron McDuffie Moore

It is not easy to write the story of the life and work of
a man like Aaron McDuffie Moore, M. D., L.L. D., of Dur
ham, without indulging in superlatives. One must, of
course, take into consideration the time and the circum-
stances under which a man begins life. Dr. Moore was
born at Elkton on Sept. 6, 1863, in the midst of the War
Between the States. So it will be seen that he stands as a
living exponent of what freedom means to the race and of
what has been accomplished in a single generation.

Like so many of the successful men of both races, Dr.
Moore was born and reared on the farm. His parents were
Israel Moore and Annie Eliza (Spaulding) Moore. His
maternal grandparents were Benjamin and Eddie Spaulding.
Young Moore attended the local public schools where he had
for companions and schoolmates boys several of whom were
later to become prominent in the political, professional
and business life of the race. At a time when the stand-
ards of society were perhaps less exacting than now he
reached a determination to be sober and honest and to do
all he could for others. With this vision of life before him
he early realized the need of preparation for the work of
life and made his plans to go to college. Wages were about
eight dollars per month, but the youth would not be dis-
couraged and entered the Normal School at Fayetteville
where he remained for four terms. Later he passed to
Shaw University, Raleigh.

In 1898 he completed his medical course at Leonard
Medical College with the M. D. degree. In 1887 Shaw Uni-
versity, in recognition of his success and attainments con-
ferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws.

On the completion of his medical course, he located at
the growing city of Durham where he has since resided.
Tihe following year, on Dec. 18, 1889, Dr. Moore was mar-
ried to Miss Cottie S. Dancy of Tarboro, N. C. They have



two daughters : Lyda Vivian Merrick and Mattie Louisa Mc-
Dougald. As a physician he was successful from the begin-
ning and is today perhaps the most widely known physician
of the race in the State. He has long been identified with
the different Medical Societies to which he is eligible.

After he had been at Durham for about ten years, Dr.
Moore and others organized in 1899 the North Carolina
Mutual Insurance Company which stands as a monument
to their wisdom, foresight and ability. It is one of the great
institutions of the race. Dr. Moore was for twenty years
the Secretary-Treasurer of the Company and on the death
of the late Mr. Merrick was promoted to the Presidency.

Dr. Moore has seen America, Cuba, Haiti and Porto
Rico. In this reading, he gives first place, of course, to
his professional books, after that to the Bible and current
literature. He is a member of the Baptist Church. He is
on numerous committees and boards of religious and educa-
tional institutions. Among the secret orders he is identified
with the Masons and the Pythians. His voice is often heard
at public gatherings and always rings true to the interests
of the race. He believes that "youth must recognize indi-
vidual responsibility to the race, to the nation and to hu-
manity and prepare themselves to become a working unit
in their development."

In connection with the other duties he has to perform,
he is Secretary-Treasurer of the State Teachers Association
and Superintendent of the State Rural School Movement,
which employs a field worker to investigate and improve
the public school system of the state.

He is also Superintendent of the Lincoln Hospital which
was donated twenty years ago by the Dukes of the Ameri-
can Tobacco Company. They have recently made an appro-
priation of a hundred thousand dollars for the erection of
a new building.

There are very few things of importance to the race
with which Mr. Moore is not connected.

Charles Clinton Spaulding

As every student of modern business knows, insurance
is one of the marvels of American finance. In volume and
resources as well as in the type of men it has developed, in-
surance takes its place along with such great activities as
banking and railroading. In its earlier history, the growth
of the insurance business gave rise to some of the worst
abuses of American finance. Gradually the work was put
on a scientific basis and the interest of the policyholders
safeguarded by law. As this tightening up process went on,
many of the organizations which were doing an insurance
business fell by the wayside. Lack of resources made it
necessary for many to retire from the field while the absence
of business experience and ability wrecked many more. As
they were unable to measure up to the legal requirements
or stand the test of good business financing.

In the year 1889 a group of young colored men got
together in Durham and organized what is popularly known
far and wide as the "North Carolina Mutual." That they
were men of unusual ability is shown by the character of
work they have done. That year their premium income
was $840.00. In 1919 their premium income was

They began as the farmers say "at the stump." They
now employ more than nine hundred persons in the various
departments of their work. At no time has there been any
confusion about meeting the legal requirements imposed
by any of the States in which the Company does business.
The high character of the men and women employed by
the North Carolina Mutual is another thing which com-
mends it to the public.

Among the builders and promoters of this great insti-
tution of the race is Charles Clinton Spaulding, a business



man of tried ability and a citizen who is a credit to his
race and an asset to his city.

He was born at Clarkton in Columbus Co., on Aug. 1,
1874. His father, B. M. Spaulding, was a farmer and his
mother, before her marriage, was Miss Margaret Moore.
His paternal grandparents, Emanuel and Susan Spaulding,
each lived to be about eighty-five years of age.

On September 26, 1900, Mr. Spaulding was married to
Miss Fannie Jones, of Washington, D. C. She was a
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Jones. Five children were
born to them. They are Margaret L., Chas. C. Jr., John A.,
Booker B., and Fannie V. Spaulding, who died at seven
months of age. Mrs. Spaulding passed to her reward on
July 19, 1919. As a boy young Spaulding attended the
local public schools and after moving to Durham went to
the High School at Durham.

He began the serious work of life on the organization
of the North Carolina Mutual at Durham in 1899 and in
one capacity or another has been an important factor in the
business since that time. He is now ,1920) Secretary-
Treasurer and General Manager and the growing volume of
business and resources of the Company as well as the splen-
did manner in which he 'handles all the affairs of the con-
cern is evidence of his fine executive ability. He is frank
and hearty in his manner, thinks rapidly and dispatches
his work with facility. At the same time he is thought-
ful and courteous and leaves a good impression on those
with whom he comes in contact. Mr. Spaulding is an active
and prominent member of the White Rock Baptist church
of which he is Treasurer. He is Cashier of the Mechanics
and Farmers Bank of Durham with resources of $250,000.00.
Among the secret orders ihe is identified with the Masons
and the Pythians. There is hardly a religious, educational
or public institution in Durham among his people with
which he is not identified in some way.

All his life he has been prompted by a desire to render
unselfish service and his life ihas been successful not only


from a financial point of view but has been rich in service
as well.

He knows no short cuts to progress but believes it de-
pends on such fundamental things as "promptness in busi-
ness engagements, unselfish social service work, more
wholesome lives by the leaders, better homes, better schools
and more consecrated lives to the service of humanity."

John Moses Avery

The hill country of North Carolina has produced many
hardy, successful men of both races whose contributions to
the business and professional life of the State have added
much to its wealth and fame. Among these must be men-
tioned John Moses Avery, Vice-President and Assistant
General Manager of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insur-
ance Company of Durham.

Mr. Avery was born near the old town of Morganton
in Burke Co., on Oct. 10, 1876. His father, Thomas Avery,
was a farmer and the boy was brought up on the farm.
Thomas Avery was a son of Angeline Avery and George
McRae. Mr. Avery's mother, before her marriage was
Harriett Elizabeth Kincaid, a daughter of Harvey and Cor-
delia Kincaid.

Young Avery attended the local public schools as a boy
and later the District High School at Morganton. He did
his college work at Kittrell College from which he gradu-
ated in 1900. It was necessary for the young man to work
his own way through school.

Mr. Avery has devoted practically all his mature life
to insurance work. After his graduation he returned to
Morganton and accepted the agency of the North Carolina
Mutual. He served in this capacity for five years. Such
was his record as an agent that in 1905 he was made travel-
ing agent and worked in that capacity for one year. In
1906 the growing volume of business done by the concern



made the enlargement of the office staff a necessity. A
man of executive ability, who was familiar with the field
work was needed for the position. Accordingly Mr. Avery
was elected a director and Assistant General Manager, a
place which he held until Jan/1, 1920, when he was elected
first Vice-President. /

On April 9, 1903, Mr. Avery was happily married to
Miss Lula Luvena Aiken, a daughter of James and Savara
Aiken, of Reidsville, N. C. They have two children: Jan-
ette E. and Vivian B. Avery.

In politics Mr. Avery is a Republican, though he has
not been active in party matters.

He is a member of the A. M. E. Church and has been
active in the General Conferences since 1904, and has a
brother, Rev. A. D. Avery, who is in the ministry of that
denomination. He is a thirty-third degree Mason and an
Odd Fellow. He also belongs to the Pythians and the Royal
Knights of King David. His investments and property
interests are at Durham.

Edward Richard Merrick

The first generation of Negroes after Emancipation
worked under many disadvantages. Poverty and ignorance
were general and the lack of business training and experi-
ence made progress and development slow. Notwithstand-
ing these handicaps certain leaders came to the front in
every department of life and became pioneers in their re
spective lines of work. Among these was the late John
Merrick, a story of whose life appears in this volume. This
biography has to do with his son, Edward Richard Merrick,
Assistant Secretary of the North Carolina Life Insurance
Company, of Durham.

Mr. Merrick is typical of a class of young men who
are exerting a profound influence on the business life of
the race. These young men having better educational ad-
vantages and better business training than their fathers




had, have been able to reach places of responsibility and
leadership at an earlier age. Many. of them like Mr. Mer-
rick are men of college education.

Edward Richard Merrick was born at Durham on June
12, 1889. His father, John Merrick, was President of the
North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company. His mother's
name is Martha Merrick.

Growing up in Durham Mr. Merrick attended the Whit-
ted High School and passed from there to the A. & T. Col-
lege at Greensboro from which he was graduated in 1909.
He has always been independent and self reliant, able to
take care of himself in any situation. His first work in
the insurance field was as an agent. Later he took a clerk-
ship in the office and was promoted from that to his pres-
ent position. He is especially interested in current litera-
ture and business magazines.

He is a member of the Methodist church and in politics
is a Republican. Among the secret orders he is identified
with tlhe Masons, Pythians and Royal Knights of King

On Nov. 21, 1916, Mr. Merrick was married to Miss Lyda
V. Moore, a daughter of Dr. A. M. Moore. They have one
daughter, Vivian M. Merrick.

Benjamin Franklin Person

It is not easy to tell the story of a man like Prof. Ben-
jamin Franklin Person of Franklinton in short space. For
nearly forty years, he has been engaged in the important
work of teaching. Those who first went to school to Prof.
Person has grown to maturity and many of them (have
passed away. Not a few have found their way to other
states and other sections. That so many of them have suc-
ceeded in the various walks of life and in the different pro-
fessions is to the credit of this veteran teacher.


He was born in Granville Co. during the war on May
19, 1862. His parents were Burwell and Jane Person. His
paternal grandparents were Ben and Lucy Person, while his
maternal grandparents were Byrd and Rosa Blacknall. The
boy grew up on the farm and attended the public schools.
To this good day he remembers with gratitude the toil and
the sacrifices of his mother in order that he might get an
education. He needed but little urging as he was himself
an ambitious boy. For his college work he went to St.
Augustine and to Shaw University, graduating with the
A. B. degree in 1884. In the meantime he had begun teach-
ing and each summer while in college was spent in the
school room. Soon after his graduation, on Dec. 18, 1884,
he was united in matrimony to Miss Eveline L. Williams of
Kittrell. Their eleven children are Lucy S., Katie F., Anita,
Maggie, Jane M., Jesie M., Ben, Robert, William, Iris and

Prof. Person is a member of the Presbyterian church,
but has not identified himself with the secret orders. His
favorite reading has been history and biography. He is a
member of the State Teachers Association and was the
founder and organizer of the Colored Musical Association.
Prof. Person excels in mathematics and the sciences. Few,
if any other, men in the public life of the State have taught
more students than he. Born and reared on the farm, he
still farms in a small way during the summer.

Junius Hercules Thomas

The pastorate of the First Baptist Church in a city like
Wilmington offers to a young man, who is equipped for it,
unusual opportunities and at the same time weighty respon-
sibilities. The leaders in such centers are more than merely
pastors of their local congregations. They come to be ill
the eyes of the people the representatives of their denomi-



Rev. Junius Hercules Thomas, S. T. B., pastor of the.
First Baptist Church of the historic city of Wilmington, is
a native of Alabama having been born in Dallas Co., on May
1, 1884. His father, Lee Thomas, was a farmer and a hotel
man and the boy grew up on the farm. His grandparents
on the father's side were Crockett Thomas and Vinie Aber-
crombie. Rev. Thomas' mother, before marriage, was Miss
Luvenia Benson.

Young Thomas lost has father at an early age and he
was under the necessity of helping to support the family,
at a time when he wanted to go to sdhool. His mind early
turned to religious matters. He gave his heart to God when
he was about twelve years of age and joined the Oak Grove
Church in Perry, Alabama. As a boy he attended the coun-
try public schools. By the time he was seventeen he had
consecrated his life to tihe ministry and was licensed to
preach by his home church in 1903 and by the same body
ordained to the full work of the ministry in 1905 at twenty-
one years of age. He felt that he must have a better equip-
ment for the serious work of life than that provided by
the public schools, so (he entered Selma University after he
began preaching, and after he was married, completing the
College Preparatory in 1912. That he made not mistake in
spending the time and money for this course is shown by
his rapid progress since.

On December 20, 1903, soon after he was licensed to
preach, he was married to Miss Cassie Elizabeth Harris, a
daughter of John and Mattie Harris.

Rev. Thomas' first work as a pastor was in his native
State. The first church he served was Lillie Grove at Ham-
burg, which he pastored for three years. Other churches
in Alabama which he pastored were Mt. Olive, at Marion,
two years; Provewell at Spratt, three years; Friendship at
Marion a year and a half, Betlhel at Alexander City three
years, Friendship at LaFayette three years ; Ebenezer at
Lanet three years and Seventeenth Street at Anniston two
and a half years. In December, 1918, he began work as a.
pastor of the First Church at Wilmington, which responded


to his leadership. He is rapidly rising to a place of promi-
nence in his section. He combines the qualities of a care-
ful organizer or executive with tlhose of an attractive and
popular speaker. He is not blind to the shortcomings of his
people and believes that they should be trained and encour-
aged to organize race enterprises and that a spirit of co-op-
eration should be fostered among them.

He is not active in either politics nor in the secret
orders. Next after the Bible his favorite reading is history
and sociology.

Since leaving College, the language of the Bible, He-
brew and Greek, have been mastered for all practical pur-
poses. Post work in Biblical Exegesis has been done so
carefully till now he is referred to as "Expositor." Church
polity is a specialty with him.

Clarence Dillard

Rev. Clarence Dillard, principal of the colored graded
schools at Goldsboro is one of those rare men in this day of
specialists who has been able to combine two important lines
of work and make a success in both. He is at once an effi-
cient and prominent educator among his people and a suc-
cessful pastor. He is a native of Alabama, having been
born in Talladega County just before the outbreak of the
War between the States. The exact date is unknown, in
the absence of written records, but it was perhaps about
1858. His father, Thomas Dillard, was a farmer and died
at the age of eighty. His mother before her marriage was
Julia Woodward. She was a daughter of Thomas and
Peggy Starks, of Winnsboro, S. C, though both had been
originally brought from Culpepper, Virginia, to the South.

Dr. Dillard was married on Oct. 3, 1884, to Miss Annie
Louvenia Hamer, a daughter of the late Rev. Jacob P., and
Janes Hamer, of Washington, D. C. Of the four children



l)orn to them, two are living. Clarence Dillard, Jr., is a
successful physician at Whiteville, N. C. The daughter,
Alberta Estelle, married Rev. J. W. Herritage, an Episcopal
minister in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The subject of our biography left Alabama when about
six years of age. He attended the Winnsboro Academy in
South Carolina and then went to Howard University at
Washington for his college course, remaining there for five
years and winning his A. B. degree in 1883. Since that
time he has had the A. M. and Ph. D. degrees from Lincoln

Dr. Dillard had a hard struggle to secure his education.
The financial conditions were such that he had to make his
own way through school. This he did courageously, with
never a thought of failure, in the face of obstacles which
would have defeated a less dauntless soul. He held firmly
to his faith in God and was prompted by an intense desire
to help the race. When able to secure a teacher's certifi-
cate, he began teaching and has been identified with the edu-
cational life of the State for a generation.

He began preaching as a young man and his first work
along this line was missionary service in Virginia. He had
charge of the Statesville Academy for one year and assisted
the Rev. A. S. Billingsley in church work during the same
time. Later he was called to the pastorate of the Second
Presbtyerian Church at Goldsboro where he preached for
twenty years, during which time a lot was bought and a new
house of works'hip erected. He was pastor of the First Pres-
byterian Church at Elm City for six years. At Dudley he
organized and built the Presbyterian Church, which he pas-
tored for twenty years. He also organized the Presbyterian
congregation at Hookerton and built a church and pastored
it for five years. The work at Wilson had been organized
when he was called there, but he remained with that con-
gregation for five years and paid the church out of debt.
He organized the work at Kinston and also organized a
church at Fremont. He pastored the Presbyterian church
at Rocky Mount for five years and built there a new house
of worsihip also.


He was employed by the State Department of Educa-
tion for ten years, during which time he conducted teach-
ers' institutes in different counties of the State.

He has had charge of the graded schools at Goldsboro
for more than a quarter of a century and has lived to see
many of his early students grow up to be men and women
and to fill positions of usefulness in the business and pro-
fessional life of the race. That he is a good business man,
as well as a teacher and preacher, is shown by the fact that
while not working primarily for money, he has notwith-
standing accumulatEd considerable property in addition to
an attractive, well furnished home at Goldsboro. A con-
servative estimate of the worth of his property would
probably be about $15,000.

He is identified with the Masons but has not been active
in politics, though at one time he served as Alderman at
Goldsboro. In his reading he gives first place to the Bible
and theological literature; after that to text books -on the
science of teaching and to biography.

While seeking to minister to his people in matters both
spiritual and intellectual, he ihas had a rare opportunity to.
observe conditions ; and believes that the best interests of
the race are to be promoted by "an educated ministry in
the pulpit ; better school facilities : an equal chance in life's
race ; sympathy and greater patience on the part of our
white people."

Such, in brief, is the story of a man who, though born

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 2 of 48)