Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

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

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stitute the first year he took charge was 382. Under his
leadership it has grown to 550. Beginning with a teaching
force of ten, he now has a faculty of seventeen. The plant
has been greatly enlarged and a nurnber of new buildings
erected since Dr. Cotton came to take charge. The frame


building which was then the Presbyterian church has been
replaced by a modern brick building worth $25,000. The
plant and equipment of his school is worth something like

Dr. Cotton has taken but little part in politics beyond
expressing the franchise. He is not identified with the
secret or benevolent societies. Though not seeking pri-
marily to make money, he owns an attractive home and
other property at Henderson which shows what he might
have done financially had he turned his attention to busi-
ness rather than educational and religious work.

James Asbury Baxter

Few young men in the State have made a more favora-
ble impression, or done more efficient work for their years,
than has Rev. James Asbury Baxter, A. B., D. D., of Ashe-

Dr. Baxter is a native of John's Island, on the South
Carolina coast near Charleston, where he was born August
25, 1885. His father, Rev. F. L. Baxter, Sr., was a minis-
ter of the M. E. Church. His grandfather, John Amos
Baxter, Jr., was also a preacher and did missionary work
in which his father, John Amos Baxter, Sr., was a pioneer.
John Amos Baxter, Sr., was by trade a millwright, but
spent much of his time in missionary work among the slaves
in the islands along the coast and about the city of Charles^
ton. So it will be seen that Dr. Baxter comes of a long line
of ancestors who have been engaged in religious work. His
mother, before her marriage, was Miss Delia Hazzard.

The family moved from John's Island to Florence, S. C,
when our subject was an infant. There he entered the
graded school and a little later learned the shoemaker's
trade, by which he earned money for his higher schooling,
first at Maryville Institute at later at Claflin University at
Orangeburg. He was graduated from the latter institution



with the A. B. degree in 1910. At a very early age, he be-
came active in the work of the church and can hardly re-
member the time when he did not feel that his work in-
life must be that of the ministry. Accordingly, his school-
ing was directed to that end. After he had finished his
course at Claflin, he took his Theological course at Gammon
Theological Seminary in Atlanta, completing it with the
B. D. degree in 1913.

That same year he joined the Conference at Maxton,
under Bishop Henderson. He supplied for a while at Boone,
N. C, but his first regular appointment under the Confer-
ence was to Trinity, at Wilmington, which he served for
two years, going thence to St. Peters at Oxford for two
years. From Oxford he was assigned to work in the west-
ern end of the State and is now (1920) in his third year
at Berry Temple, Asheville.

Looking back over his career, Rev. Baxter recognizes
what have been at once the restraining and inspiring influ-
ences of his life. He gives first place to his devoted Chris-
tian mother and next to the constant care and training of
the church.

Among the secret orders he is identified with the Ma-
sons and Pythians. Next after the Bible, his favorite read-
ing consists of such standard authors as Victor Hugo, Lew
Wallace, Van Dyke, and Henry Drummond.

On December 28, 1918, Dr. Baxter was married to Miss
Mary E. Banks, a daughter of John and Elizabeth Banks.
Dr. Baxter is a man of pleasing address, who makes friends
readily and is a forceful and attractive pulpit speaker.

Laurie Willis Chester Anderson

Dr. Laurie Willis Chester Anderson, who is now (1920)
a successful physician at the old town of Oxford, is a native
of the capital city of North Carolina, having been born at
Raleigh on March 20, 1882. He is a son of the late Prof.
Henry Anderson and his wife, Amanda Anderson.



Growing up as he did in Raleigh, he attended the local
graded schools and later did his preparatory work at the
Mary Potter School at Oxford. After that, he went to
Biddle University and when ready for his medical course
matriculated at Leonard Medical College, where he won his
M. D. degree in 1912.

His father having died when the boy was still young,
he found it necessary to make his own way through school.
At an early age he learned the barber's trade and soon came
to be proprietor of a shop of his own. After he started to
medical college he spent his vacations at the North in hotel
work and in the Pullman service. The latter gave him an
opportunity to see most of the United States and some of
Canada. The information and practical knowledge thus
gained have been of great value to him.

After completing his medical course in 1912, he went
to Tennessee, spent a few months in Knoxville, some time
at Morristown, and was at Greenville for a short while.
He passed the State Board in 1913 and located at Johnson
City, Tenn., where he practiced for two years. In the early
fall of 1916, he returned to North Carolina and located at
Oxford, where he has since resided and where he has built
up a good general practice.

On April 29, 1918, he was married to Miss Edith Lan-
caster, of Tyrone, Pa. Mrs. Anderson was before her mar-
riage a teacher at Mary Potter.

In politics, Dr. Anderson is an Independent. He is a
member of the A. M. E. Zion Church and belongs to the
Masons. He is the local examiner for the North Carolina
Mutual Insurance Company and is a member of the National
Medical Association. He is also medical examiner for his
local lodge of Masons.

Dr. Anderson's general observation as well as his inti-
mate contact with his people! in various parts of the country
has convinced him that the greatest single need of the
race is the right sort of education.

Garland Bryant Bass

It would he hard to find in the Old North State or else-
where a finer group of men than the District Superintend-
ents of the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company.
They are picked men who have demonstrated their worth
before being placed on their respective districts. Among
these must be mentioned Garland Bryant Bass of Reidsville.
He is a native of Durham, where he was born Oct. 3, 1879.

His father was the late William Bass, a farmer. The
son also worked on the farm till he came of age. His
mother, before her marriage, was Miss Sallie Evans. She
is a daughter of John Evans and Elizabeth Stapleton. She
passed to her reward on June 4, 1920, at the home of her
son. Mr. Bass' paternal grandmother was Cynthia Mayo.
On Sept. 25, 1913, Mr. Bass was married to Miss Beu-
lah L. King a daughter of John and Martha King of Ruffin,
N. C. She was educated at Danville, Va. They have three
children: Amanda J., Margaret L. and Garland B. Bass.

As a boy young Bass attended the local public schools
and the Whitted High School of Durham, where he com-
pleted his course in 1902. His vacations were spent on the
farm until he grew to young manhood, after which he found
employment in the tobacco factories of Durham. His work
even from a boy was characterized by the effort to do well
whatever was assigned him.

He has been a constant reader of the Bible and has
found help from such inspirational literature as Booker
Washington's "Up from Slavery," and "Character Building,"
etc. He taught school for four terms. He was successful
as a teacher, but finding the work unremunerative, decided
to enter the insurance field. Accordingly he went to work
for the North Carolina Mutual and traveled for that well
known concern for five years. Such was his record that
when he desired to settle down, there was a place awaiting
him. So in 1908, he located at Reidsville, where he is Dis-



trict Supt. for his Company, and where he stands high as a
citizen as well as a business man.

He is a member of the Primitive Baptist Church.

Mr. Bass knows no short cuts to success for the indi-
vidual or for the race. He believes progress comes by
steady work and attending ,to one's own business.

Presley Louis Baskerville

Presley Louis Baskerville has led an active life and
has been successful in a business way. He is a native of
Mecklenburg Co., Va., where he was born on Christmas
Day, 1858. His father, Richard Baskerville, was a carriage
driver for his master before the: days of emancipation. His
mother, before her marriage, was Jane Dortch, a daughter
of James and Isabella Dortch.

Young Baskerville came of school age during the war
but, of course, had no opportunity to go to school during
the days of slavery. In 1868 the family moved to Tarboro,
N. C, and he attended the public school of that old town.
His early training must have been of the right sort, for he
states that the greatest factor in shaping his life has been
the desire to make an honest, honorable living. He served
an apprenticeship of three years to J. L. Baker and after
that worked for Mr. Baker for wages a couple of years
more. After that he was engaged by various firms and in-
dividuals but later took up contract work in painting and
decorating on his own account. Ha has to his credit the
painting of some of the best buildings from North Carolina
to Georgia. During McKinley's administration, he was ap-
pointed, through the influence of Congressman White of
the Second District of N. C, to the position of decorator in
the Department of Agriculture. He has from time to time
been engaged by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and has
done sign painting, switch targets and block signals for that
road through half of the Southern division. This has taken


him into several of the Southern States and in addition to
that he has traveled considerably up and down the coast
from New York to Florida. In 1906 he moved to Rocky
Mount where he has since resided and where he has made a
name for himself for good business ability and for integrity
among the best people of both races.

He is an active member of the A. M. E. Zion Church
and among the secret orders is identified With the Odd Fel-
lows, having been elected to almost every position in the
lodge as well as having represented the order at the Grand

Lodge. . . ,

Mr Baskerville has been married twice. His ftrst
marriage was on April 2, 1882, to Miss Maria Forman, a
daughter of Henrietta Forman. She bore him three chiL-
dren who grew to womanhood and are now married. Lil-
lian married Mr. Toler, Lydia C. married Mr. Tillery and
Jane married Mr. Locklear. On June 13, 1901, Mrs. Bas-
kerville passed away and Mr. Baskerville again married,
on June 26 1902. His second wife was before her marriage
Miss Susie' C. McLamb, daughter of Isaac and Mary Jane
McLamb. She was educated at Scotia Seminary and is an
accomplished teacher.

Mr Baskerville has very definite ideas as to how the
best interests of the race are to be promoted. He advocates
sticking to business, honest work, letting other folks busi-
ness alone, trying to accumulate something and finally the
education of one's children. He owns an attractive home at
Rocky Mount and has considerable other property.

Clarence Walker Blair

Dr Clarence Walker Blair, Ph. G., the only Negro
druggist at Gastonia, is a native of the old town of Con-
cord, where he was born Sept. 2, 1888 His parents were
Rev Charles and Mary Magdalene Blair. In the humble,
but Christian home, he was taught fidelity to duty, obedi-




ence to his parents and to God and a simple faith in prayer.
His father was a painter and decorator and early taught his
son to use the tools of his trade. In this simple direct fash-
ion the course of the boy's life was shaped. It is not strange
that at a very early age he was converted. He identified
himself with the Rising Mt. Zion Church in which he was
active while residing at Concord.

When of school age, he entered the public schools. He
was a bright student and such was his record that he was
awarded a scholarship at Biddle University. At Biddle he
took the preparatory course. The same ambition to excel
which characterized his public school work was also seen

Even as a youth he was a hard worker and saved his
money for his professional course at Shaw University. The
way was made doubly hard by the death of his mother
which made it necessary for the young man to assist his
father in the support of the younger children. After tak-
ing private lessons he matriculated at the Leonard School of
Pharmacy in 1910 and was graduated from that institution
with the Ph. G. degree in 1912 with high honors. Without
difficulty he passed both the N. C. and Ga. State Boards.
His first position was with the East Avenue Drug Store,
Charlotte. He resigned that place to accept a better one
with the Gate City Drug Co., of Atlanta. Though remain-
ing in Atlanta only nine months, he was successful and
made many friends. In the fall of 1914, he joined Dr. H. J.
Erwin and others at Gastonia in the organization of the
Union Pharmacy. He is the general manager and secretary
of the concern and is the most important factor in the
building of the enterprise which is the only one of its sort
in the county. The Union Pharmacy enjoys a growing
trade not only in Gastonia but in all the adjacent territory.

Dr. Blair has taken no active part in politics. He holds
membership to the St. Paul Baptist Church. He believes
that progress depends on the right sort of education and
on equal opportunity with the other race to do a man's


work and to enjoy the fruits of his labor and the rights of
his citizenship on an equal basis.

On April 10, 1911, Dr. Blair was happily married to
Miss Katherine I. Bell, the youngest daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. Wm. P. Bell of Hickory, N. C. Mrs. Blair is a graduate
of the Allen Industrial Home of Asheville and has entered
heartily into the plans and ambitions of her husband. They
have one child, a son, named Moses Amos after the success-
ful druggist of Atlanta.

James Samuel Brown

Rev. James Samuel Brown, D. D., pastor of the Mount
Zion Baptist Church of Rocky Mount since 1917, is a suc-
cessful pastor, a popular preacher and an organizer of real
ability, whose work both in the secret order field and in
the religious field has made him one of the most widely
known men in the State. He is a native of Bennettsville,
S. C, where he was born April 3, 1881. His father, Rev.
Calvin Brown, was also a Baptist preacher and his mother,
who, before her marriage, was Miss Patience Wood, was a
Godly woman. He thus had the advantages of careful
training and right influences during the days of his boyhood
and youth. Back of his parents he has but little informa-
tion in reference to his earlier ancestry.

On December 26, 1914, Dr. Brown was married to Miss
Martha Jane Perry, of Maxton, N. C. She was a daughter
of Frank Perry and was educated at Lumberton, being a
successful teacher in that city before her marriage to Dr.
Brown. They have two children, James Samuel, Jr. and
Chrystobel Brown.

Whe nour subject was four years of age, his family
moved from South Carolina to Richmond Co., N .C, and
it was there that young Brown attended the public school.
Between times he worked on the farm. He went to Fayette-
ville for his Normal Course, which he completed in 1904,



having remained with that institution for six years. His
first year's Theological work was done at Va. Union Uni-
versity, Richmond, Va., the last two years of the course
were spent at Shaw University.

Before he was eleven years of age, Dr. Brown was
converted and joined the Baptist Church. His mind early
turned to the ministry and before he was fifteen he had
definitely decided to make that calling his life work. He
was licensed by the St. Stephen's Church in Richmond Co.,
N. C, and ordained to the full work of the ministry in 1900.
While in school he did considerable teaching during the
summer months both in Richmond and Scotland counties.

His first pastorate was at Aberdeen, where he remained
for eleven years. He was successful from the beginning
and practically every church with which he has been iden-
tified has had a large growth in membership. Among other
churches he served before coming to Rocky Mount are Max-
ton, where he preached four years and built a new house of
worship; Rockingham eleven years, repaired the building;
Nashville, near Laurinburg, eleven years, rebuilt the church
from the ground St. Mark's, near Maxton, and Beauty Spot,
near Fayetteville, each four years.

In 1917 he accepted the call to the Mt. Zion, also known
as First Baptist, Church of Rocky Mount, and is one of
the recognized leaders of the Baptist denomination in the

Dr. Brown has been much in demand for evangelistic
work and is Secretary of the Pee Dee Association and a
member of the Executive Board of the Baptist Convention.
He was Principal of the Pee Dee Institute near Hamlet for
three years, and such was the progress of the school under
his administration that it was necessary at times to turn
away students. He was at one time active and prominent
in the work of the Masons, Odd Fellows and Pythians in
connection with which he did extensive field work. Later,
he felt the necessity of giving his whole time to the min-
istry. He has a large and flourishing congregation at Rocky
Mount and soon after going to that field called together the


colored ministers in that city and adjacent territory and
organized the Minister's Union, of which he is Chairman.
Monthly meetings are held. A quarterly meeting is held
with the white ministers of the city and Dr. Brown is ex-
erting himself in every way possible to bring about the best
understanding and most cordial relationship between the
two races. All he asks for himself and for his people is
simply a square deal. During the war he was active in
various war work at Rocky Mount and Hamlet.

Thomas H. Burwell

For more than forty years Rev. Thomas H. Burwell,
a Baptist preacher of Kittrell, has been going in and out
before his people. Both as a minister and as an educator
he has served faithfully and well his day and generation.

He was born in the Southern part of Granville Co. on
Oct. 25, 1849. So it will be seen that he was nearly twelve
years of age when the war began and was almost a grown
man when it closed. His father, Rev. Jefferson Burwell,
was a farmer and a preacher. So the boy had the advan-
tage of being brought up in a Christian home. His mother
was, before her marriage, Miss Arabella Hayes, a daughter
of Robert Young. After Emancipation, young Burwell con-
tinued to work on the farm. His first schooling was in a
private school at Kittrell. When he decided to go to col-
lege, he was confronted by the difficulties which confronted
the aspiring youth of his day. He was poor and wages
were low — forty cents a day. And yet, in some way, he
managed to make his way at Shaw University until he was
able to secure a teacher's license. After that the way was
much easier and he remained at Shaw for six years. He
began teaching in 1873 and for forty-five years taught in
the public schools of his own and adjacent counties. It is
not unusual for him to be accosted at public gatherings
by mature men and women who introduce him to ,their chil-



dren as the man who taught them years ago. His work
ala teacher is second only to that of his work as a preacher
of the Gospel.

While at Shaw University he gave his heart to God and
«oo„ after definitely decided to give his life to the m.mstry.
He was censed and ordained to the full work of the mm-
"try while still at Shaw and for more than forty years has
been in the active pastorate. More than two thousand per-
sons have been converted and baptized under his ministry
h"s first pastorate was the Baptist church at Kittrell which
h served continuously for eighteen years Here a new
house of worship was built and after the lapse of a few
years he was called back to the same church and then after
another period was called for a third time, so that his work
at Kittrell covers something like twenty-five years He
has resided at Kittrell since 1881. He preached at Shiloh
t Vane Co. thirty-one years .which church had been
by his father and Braxton Hunt. He pastored Haywoods
in Franklin Co. twenty-six years and repaired the churcK
He organized and built the church at Manassas Chapel and
served it for ten years. He also »rg«uzed Co^rd^n
Franklin Co., and ordained a man from Shiloh to take
Ilarg of that work. He has been at Zoar in Moore Co.
t ree years and has been preaching at Philadelphia in
Dunham Co. three years. He was for a while Moderator
the Middle Association. At an earlier age he was more
or less active in politics. He served one term - Postmas-
ter at Kittrell, N. C. and was for six years Magistrate. He
is a Mason, Odd Fellow and Gideon.

On Jan. 9, 1879, Mr. Burwell was married to Miss Annie
Cornelia Gee of Halifax Co., who was a daughter of Guilford
and Lucy (Hockaday) Gee. Of the ten children born to
them six are living. They are Lucy C. (Mrs. Avery) , Annie
T. (Mrs. Mitchem), Thomas G., Olivia G. (Mrs. Royster),
Walter C, and Esther E. (Mrs. Rogers).

Mr. Burwell still farms in a small way. His work as an


educator and a preacher has been a good influence in the
life of his people over a long period of years. Such a life is
a great asset to any race or any community.

Ernest Thomas Mclver

Over on the extreme eastern end of the State at Eden-
ton is a young man who has already made for himself a
prominent place in the A. M. E. Zion Connection and whose
future is bright with promise. Rev. Ernest Thomas Mclver,
A. B., B. D., was born at Cumnock, N. C, Nov. 21, 1883.
His father, Pilgrim Mclver, was a farmer, and his mother,
before her marriage, was Miss Leah Hill. Growing up on
the farm in what is now Lee Co., young Mclver attended the
local public schools. He was converted when about, six-
teen years of age and soon after consecrated his life to the
Gospel ministry. He did his preparatory work in the nor-
mal department of Livingstone College and passed from
there to the college department, graduating with the A. B.
degree in 1912. He also has the B. D. degree from Hood
Theological Seminary of the same institution.

On Dec. 22, 1913, Dr. Mclver was married to Miss Julia
C. Huffman of Salisbury. Two children were born to this
union. They are Juliet M. and Janet D. Mclver. On Mar.
7, 1920, Mrs. Mclver passed away.

Dr. Mclver has always been energetic and enterprising
and has a way of bringing things to pass. As a student he
found it necessary to make his own way, which he did by
working at the North during vacations. He entered the
itinerancy in 1910 through the West Central Conference of
North Carolina. He was ordained deacon at Concord and
elder at Monroe by the late Bishop Hood. His first pastor-
ate was the Columbia Heights church at Winston-Salem,
where he preached one year. After that he served Mt.
Pleasant and Bell's Mission two years, Mt. Pleasant and
Reaves Chapel one year and Bethel Station, Kannapolis, one



year. From there he was sent to Kedesh A. M. E. Zion
Church, Edenton, in 1916, where the work has greatly
prospered under his administration. Every department of
the church work has gone forward. The church debt has
been paid off and the membership increased. He also has
charge of the Edenton Normal and Industrial School which
is owned by the denomination. This too has made splendid
progress under his direction and is regarded as one of the
worth while institutions of eastern North Carolina.

Thus the farmer boy has grown into a place of leader-
ship among his people and leads a life of large usefulness.
He demands for himself and his people no more than he is
willing to grant all others. This is simply fair play and
equal opportunity.

Charles Hudson Bynum

One of the gratifying developments of recent years has
been the number of successful physicians who have come to
the front among the colored people of the larger centers and
even of the small cities and country towns. These men
have had the wisdom to lay broad and deep the founda-

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 28 of 48)