Friday, August 23, 2013
Roxie White of Salem Fork
From Tar Heel Homemakers, 1975
Mrs. Roxie White of the Salem Fork community of Surry County has chalked up many “firsts” in her 81 years of living.
She lives in an area that was the first settlement between Kapps Mill and Dobson, formerly known as “the big woods.”
Mrs. White was the first person to play an organ in the new Salem Fork Baptist Church when she was 13 years of age. Her pump organ was carried to the church for her to play.
Her musical education is a story within itself. She confessed to being self-taught. Her father, James Long, could not read or write but could read shaped musical notes and often sat with a hymn book humming the tunes. This intrigued her as a child and as early as she can remember—around the age of five or six—she would get a hymn book and sit beside him, listening to the sounds as she followed the notes. By the time she was 13, she had mastered the shaped notes to the extent that she was asked to play in the new Baptist Church.
When the first Home Extension Club was organized in Surry County in 1936, she was a charter member and is still a staunch supporter of the Salem Fork Club, having a perfect attendance record for the past 14 years. She probably has the distinction of being the only living charter member in Surry County.
The sturdy brick Salem Fork Home Extension Club House is just a short distance from her home. She gave the land on which the building stands in addition to helping with the annual Harvest Sale and Auction fundraising event, which has provided the money to pay off the building debt. Before the Club House was built in 1952, club meetings were held in the homes.
Mrs. White is still very agile and enjoys canning and freezing plus sewing for herself and her daughter, Ruby White, who lives with her mother and is also an active member of the Home Extension Club.
The home of Mrs. White has served as the scheduled stop for the Surry County Bookmobile every two weeks for many years. She is an avid reader—reading around 150 books per year plus reading the Bible through once or twice.
She is the widow of Brady White and the mother of six children—five are living.
The Spotlight is beamed on Mrs. Roxie White for the place she occupies in the history of Salem Fork community, for her progressive nature and desire to make things better for those who come after her, and for the joy she has brought to others through her persistent efforts in learning to play a musical instrument.