St. Paul’s announced program for Sept. 16 by the Worthville Preservation Group reminds us that local Randolph history is rapidly disappearing. And this should be a concern for everybody, not just those of us who work with museums and historical groups.
Northern Randolph County comprises more than a dozen communities that go back over a hundred years. New Salem, Level Cross, the St. Peter Community, Gray’s Chapel, Sophia, the Ferree Chapel and Harshaw communities, Cedar Square, and the mill communities built along Deep River all make up important parts of the county.
And all of these places (this is certainly not a complete list) have a history about the countless individuals who made these settlements possible.
But how much do we really know about the people and history of these places? Not nearly enough. And with the death of every individual we lose an important source of information.
Which brings me to the real point of this column.
St. Paul Museum wants to establish a scrapbook of stories, anecdotes, information, and remembered events to which anyone can contribute. This collection will never be considered complete or finished, because each account that you read may well remind you of something interesting that probably few other people know. This collection of stories will be available to everyone who visits St. Paul or who goes to our website st.paulmuseum.org.
All of us grew up hearing stories about how things used to be from parents, grandparents, and other family members. Think about family reunions and Thanksgiving dinners. If these memories were written down we could all learn so much about earlier times and how people lived their lives.
I would like to read an account, for instance, about the day the first stoplight in Randleman went into operation. Or what it was like to be a volunteer fire fighter before fire trucks were acquired. Or about local shopping, what long ago parades were like, the first libraries, going to the dentist before 1940, early veterinarians, how people survived when all the mills closed down, when trains actually came to Randleman and other local stops, scouting the woods for the perfect Christmas tree, favorite local swimming holes, early sports teams, school events, what life was like when few people had cars, dating before cars, the first movie theaters. In short, there is no end to what we can tell each other.
How to do this? You can write down your story or memory and turn it in when you come to St Paul, or you can mail it to North Randolph Historical Society, PO Box 1341, Randleman, NC 27317. You can also email it to NRHS@stpaulmuseum.org. Remember to include your name and telephone number or e-mail address so that we can acknowledge your contribution. (Contributions do not need to be typed; we can do this.)
Coming to learn about the Worthville Mill Village will not only inform you of local history but will most probably remind you of special information you have about early days in your locality. You will also have plenty of time to look at the exhibits.
We look forward to seeing you Sunday, Sept. 16, at 2:30. St. Paul’s address is 401 High Point, Randleman.
* Peggy Kirkman Woodlief grew up in Randleman and attended St. Paul as a child. A teacher retired from Greensboro schools, she works with the St. Paul Museum.