Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yadkin County Woman Writes of Her Beloved Rural Home, 1952

By Mrs. Charlie Gough, Hamptonville, NC
Just off U.S. Highway #21 is the small village of Hamptonville, founded by and named for my ancestors, the Hamptons. Here, my husband, three daughters, Cynthia, 14 years, Amanda, 11 years, and Eleanor, 4 years, and I reside in the old Hampton home. The house, I believe is much over a hundred years old, the two-story part being log inside. It stands diagonally across the road from the home of my parents. This is the fourth time that I have lived here so no place on earth is so dear to me. My husband and I lived here about three years after we were married but his work was in a town about 12 miles away so we built a nice brick house there and moved. However, as we visited my parents often this old house standing all alone beckoned more and more until we could bear it no longer. So back we came and here we’ve stayed. We have worked hard inside and out to make living more comfortable and attractive and yet not spoil the handsome “old look.”
In front, the length of the house we have a hedge. This was put here because the house is so close to the road that we have very little front yard so this hedge seems to give us some privacy. To our right, next to our lot, is the village store. We have done screen-planting so that the view of the store is completely shut off. We have a very large lawn on the back and sides of the house. All around this, enclosing the yard, we have a white fence with climbing roses and shrubs at intervals. From the woods we have transplanted holly, dogwood and red-bud trees to help beautify the yard. We have a small rose and flower garden close to the fence on the left side of the lawn. This large yard, in the summer, is teeming with youngsters playing ball and croquet. We fixed an outdoor light so they can play at night, too. We also have a picnic table and chairs out there for their use. Next summer we plan to build an outdoor furnace.
Our garden is beyond the fence on the right, back of the store, and we try to raise food for summer use and for canning. We planted fruit trees, pear, peach, cherry and apple, to the back of the fence all the way around, last year. In a few years we hope to have plenty of fruit from these as well as the beauty from the trees when in bloom. We have a nice vineyard, also. In the back yard is where the children keep their pet rabbits. From the fence on back is a lot which we keep sown for hay.  And back of this lot are the woods.
The first thing we did when we moved back here was to get water to the house. As there was no well here (everyone used to get water from a “street-well” which was in the middle of the road in the center of the village). We piped water from my father’s well. The pipe was pushed through under the pavement and then brought to the house, which isn’t a great distance.
In order to have a bathroom on the first floor we put a partition across one end of a large bedroom. This left a bedroom large enough for my husband, youngest daughter and me, and made a bathroom and small hall. This hall connects the bath with the everyday living room, dining room and our bedroom.
This bedroom is all yellow, wall paper, bed spread and curtains. We left the fireplace open in there so we can have a fire on chilly evenings. The bedroom suite is maple.
The everyday living room is where the whole family really lives. This is pine-paneled. The maple furniture is upholstered in red and blue and these colors are carried out in the rug and draperies. Here we enjoy the television together, especially on long winter evenings. The radio is in here with loud-speakers from it in the kitchen and in the girls’ room upstairs. This radio helps me greatly while doing my daily chores in the house. Also, in this living room is a bookcase-magazine rack which I designed and my husband had made for me. The lower part has two shelves, one in which the Encyclopedia set just fits and the other for some of the children’s books. Above, there are three rows of magazine racks. In these you may see McCalls, Woman’s Home Companion, Parents Magazine, American Girl, three different religious magazines, The White Ribbon, Farm Journal, a daily and weekly newspaper. Over this bookcase the stairway ascends.
The second floor has just two rooms, one huge and the other very small. The large one we fixed for Cynthia and Amanda. By putting a half-partition through the middle of the room we made two separate bed rooms, yet neither of the girls feels so alone. One room is in pink and the other blue, while the curtains are of pink and blue gingham. The small room we plan to fix for Eleanor later.
In the dining room is the piece of furniture that I treasure most. It is a solid walnut corner cupboard, which was hand-made for my great grandmother and finally given to me by my mother. In here also, there is a gate-leg table, buffet and eight ladder-back chairs.
We built cabinets in the kitchen after the sink was put in. I have a new electric range and a refrigerator with storage space for frozen foods. The back door opens on a screened porch.
Our best living room contains mahogany furniture, my Baldwin Acrosonic piano and a built-in bookcase which used to contain my grandfather’s law books. The big old fireplace was repaired and left open and on the mantle is my grandparent’s clock.
At the end of the house is our guest room, which is done in rose flowered paper. Mahogany furniture is here, also, with a poster bed. The guests thoroughly enjoy the open fire in this room.
We have put hardwood floors in most of the house and plan to do the rest of the rooms. We heat the five rooms that we use every day with a large oil circulator. We have no telephone yet but have signed up for one as soon as the line comes through.
I have an electric washing machine and iron, and do all my family laundry. I also have an electric sewing machine on which I do a great deal of sewing and remodeling clothes.
The girls and I made sort of a hobby of growing potted plants and enjoy them especially during the winter months.
My family is wonderful, I think. My husband, in addition to his position in a textile mill, manages three small farms, cares for our garden and still has time for his family life and a little golf. Cynthia and Amanda, besides their school work, are members of 4-H, Girl Scouts, Baptist Girls’ Auxiliary and the school band. One is learning saxophone and the other flute. They both play the piano and ukulele some, and all three sing.
I have many duties, for long ago I dedicated my life to my God, my family, my community and my country. I am vice president of our P.T.A., family life and music leader of our home demonstration club, pianist and music leader of County Council, director of our County Chorus, and chairman of our Federated District of Home Demonstration Clubs.
We are all church members, except, of course, the  youngest girl, and attend church regularly at our old country church which had its beginning in the 1700s. I am choir director at the church and we all try to work any place we are needed.
I have been a member of Home Demonstration Clubs since the work was organized in our county, about 13 years ago, I believe. I enjoy our monthly meetings more each time I go. Perhaps everyone doesn’t need the help I have needed but I feel sure that without this wonderful organization I would not have been able to manage my home as well as I do. I am still learning and intend to as long as I live.
Here in the country we live, rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Yet, here, in the country, we keep up with world affairs and do everything in our power to make this world a better place in which to live, a better place in which to rear our children.
This is the house where I was born,
Where I first saw the light of day,
Lived with my grandparents for a while,
And then I moved away.
Years when by, childhood days,
                College days, all flew
And then the man for me I met
‘Twould be him for always, I knew.
So back to the old home place I went
After we were married.
And here we’ve lived now many a year,
And mighty glad we’ve tarried.
Though one travels around from place to place
She’ll always want to come
To the house that pulls at her heart-strings so,
The Dear Old Country Home!

From the Special Collections Research Center, located at D. H. Hill Library, which includes collections of rare books, the personal and professional papers of NC State faculty, photographs, architectural drawings, and other primary resources and unique materials supporting NC State's academic programs.

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